Following years of competing across Europe and touring extensively with the team, Glifberg took a leap of faith: In 1995, he relocated from Denmark to Costa Mesa, California, right after finishing high school to establish Flip Skateboards in the United States. “It was a brand-new beginning. Leaving your family behind and everyone. I had never been to America before so for me it was kind of like an expedition or exploration of the world.”
Freshly arrived in the U.S., Glifberg proceeded to make a name for himself. At a time when vert riding was redefined by a new generation of pros, Glifberg brought a potent mixture to the table: A talent for blasting high airs, contorted with grace and style, mixed with kickflips and switch stance variations adapted from street skating into vertical terrain. Almost overnight, the skateboard community took notice when footage of Glifberg appeared in videos such as the 411 Video Magazine series and TransWorld Skateboarding Magazine releases.
Plus, the rookie also possessed the competitive talent required for pro status in the 1990s. In 1995, Glifberg competed in the very first X Games (‘Extreme Games’ at the time) in Rhode Island and took third place in an elite field of riders including skateboard icon Tony Hawk. Earning the nickname ‘The Danish Destroyer’ for his style and explosive energy, Glifberg battled head-to-head against Hawk in 1997’s legendary X Games Skateboard Vert final and finished in close second place.
“Competitions can definitely help solidify your name, get you out to a broader audience. And also show back to the skateboarding world that a particular person has a unique skill set. That they are able to focus and string tricks together, doing stuff when it counts,” said Glifberg in ‘Aspire – Inspire’.
Being able to land difficult tricks when it counts, Glifberg advanced to win the world’s most prestigious halfpipe competitions, sometimes several times in a row, including the Slam City Jam in Vancouver (1996, 1998), Tampa Pro (2003), Gravity Games (2001, 2004), Vans Pro-Tec Pool Party (2005, 2007, 2008), Mystic Sk8 Cup (2006), and Copenhagen Pro Vert (2007, 2009).
Glifberg’s pro career also entered a highly successful second act when the competitive focus shifted from halfpipes to Park skating, a mixture of vertical bowls and street elements. After earning back-to-back gold medals in Park skateboarding at X Games Los Angeles 2008 and 2009, he continued to range as a podium threat in the discipline. Glifberg now holds 12 X Games medals (2 gold, 3 silver, and 7 bronze). Beyond the contest arena, he has inspired entire generations of skateboarders as a playable character in the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series of video games.
What’s more, the father of two daughters actively nurtures upcoming skate talent in his new career path: designing public skateparks as a partner and co-founder of Glifberg – Lykke, a skatepark architecture and design office in Copenhagen. But make no mistake: Glifberg still very much destroys vertical terrain as a pro skater with a recent string of podium finishes in key competitions. In 2017, he took the win at the European Continental Championships in the Vans Park Series and placed second in the coveted Vans Combi Pool Party contest (Masters Division) in 2019.
Also in 2019, Glifberg placed first in the Danish National Championships in Park skating, which earned him a ticket to skateboarding’s upcoming debut at the Tokyo Olympics this summer. With 6,180 points on the Olympic World Skateboarding Rankings, the innovator who has built one of the most successful and respected careers in skateboarding will represent Denmark in an elite field of 20 skateboarders competing for Olympic gold in the Skate Park discipline this summer.
“I think skateboarding is really important to the Olympics. I think it's good for the masses to see skateboarding. I feel like skateboarding has a lot of unseen potential of what we can do with skateboarding and how skateboarding can help personal growth and help you inspire,” said Glifberg, adding: “For me to represent Denmark at the Olympics would be huge. I feel like we are a great skateboard nation. As a skateboard community, we have something unique here. So for me it’s just important for Denmark to be on the skateboarding map.”