MC: Tell us about your background. Where'd you grow up, how'd you get into surfing?
MG: I was born in Stockholm, Sweden, in the late 80’s when you could count the number of Swedish surfers on the fingers of two hands. And I never really thought about surfing growing up – at all. My brother and my friends were all racing in the world tour of downhill skateboard and started surfing through that, and I started surfing through them.
MC: How did the brand come to fruition?
MG: I was shaping surfboards from a garage in the center of Stockholm and met Jonny Johansson in a coffee shop close to my studio. Jonny asked me to work with him at his fashion brand Acne Studios. I was currently working as a carpenter, so it was an interesting challenge to join the design team in such a big organization. During my three years there mine and Jonny’s interest in surfboards sparked an idea to create something new around the culture of shaping and surfing. Eventually we found this old abandoned tile factory that was frequently used by the Stockholm rave scene. We were able to build a shape and glass shop, design studio and showroom all in one.
MC: What's the surf scene in Stockholm like?
MG: It feels like Stockholm’s surf scene is growing by the day. But I’d say that it’s very surf-as-an-activity focused compared to other places. We don’t really have that out of the water-community with parties and events and stuff. But when there are waves – everybody shows up. It doesn’t matter if it’s -10 Celsius and shitty waves. You won’t surf alone, unfortunately – haha.
MC: What are some of your favorite spots there?
MG: I enjoy that it’s kind of a small-town vibe with an everybody-knows-everybody feel to it. And that you’re able to get a lot of other influences than just surfing and beach life, by being in a somewhat “big” city. I bet you people in New York can relate to some degree.
MC: How'd you get into shaping surfboards?
MG: Nothing fancy here - a pretty classic garage shaping story. Me and some friends ordered a couple of blanks and gave it a go. No tutoring. I wish I could’ve swooped someone’s floor and watched them shape but that’s not possible in Sweden. So instead I shaped the first one out in the garden of my house on the countryside. In broad daylight. I couldn’t see a single curve other than the outline. I glassed it and sanded full board by hand. For my second board I bought a block of EPS foam and tried to cut the rocker together with my father by gluing two handsaws together like a two-man saw. It didn’t work out. But I kept going until I figured out how to do it.
MC: Tell us about the board shapes you've created
MG: I’m shaping boards that I want to ride and I generally enjoy riding shorter boards with a straighter rail line for a bit more drawn out way of surfing. Perhaps this is a result of my limits as a surfer, I’m not really doing top-to-bottom. I’m from Sweden after all. But with this in the back of my head I developed my fish model which has a flat deck with a modern downrail and single concave bottom. Another model I’m really into is my glider. When riding long boards I enjoy riding really long boards. Less fuzz, more straight forward. It’s naturally inspired by Skip and Burch to name two. In between that I have a more classic, narrow looking longboard with a parallel outline. A bit sportier but without being a performance longboard. And my midlenght model is kind of a hybrid of a pulled out shortboard. I’ve been experimenting a lot with fins on this one. I’ve been riding it as a twin, single, bonzer, thruster. At the moment I’m mostly into the thruster setup.
MC: Have you surfed in NY before? How does it compare to Stockholm?
MG: I have actually never been to NYC! It’s pretty weird. I’ve probably landed in NY 20 times without leaving the airport. A lot of transits to central America…
MC: Is there a certain ethos you follow when designing new clothes or boards for SSC?
MG: I design clothing I want to wear and I design boards I want to ride. That’s the fundamental but I enjoy challenging this as well. For this first collection I wanted to create the club core wardrobe and I think it really reflects the vibe of the brand. I really like to build stories around the cross-generational surfing lifestyle. The things you find in your grandma’s, dad’s, sister’s or son’s wardrobe.
MC: Anything new coming out we haven't seen yet?
MG: There will always be new surfboards around the corner, as well as new clothing. And we are opening a store in Stockholm. And there is more.
MC: Is there anything else you'd like to share?
MG: Be nice and respect everybody. And stay safe.
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