Originally the trip consisted of Ethan Fowler, Daniel Shimizu, Team Manager Charlie Thomas, and me. A week before leaving, Ethan sprained his ankle shooting a photo for his Pro Spotlight, so he couldn’t make it. Swank made a call from the pro shop and asked, “Why don’t all the ams go?”
“What a great idea,” we replied! We’ll shine the contests and just go skating. So the Foundation European summer vacation started. The following is a scattered journal of our misadventures.
June 19, LAX-Mike Rusczyk, Judd Hertzler, Daniel Shimizu, Justin Roy, Charlie Thomas, and I waited to board our plane to Munich, Germany and then on to Copenhagen, Denmark. Living our lives out of twelve-by-36-inch duffel bags with embroidered pigs on them. Belle and Sebastian to soothe the mind.
June 21, Copenhagen, Denmark-We found Brad Staba floating around the airport, so he joined our motley crew. The Hotel Rye was where we laid our heads for three days and nights. We spent our days lurking around the city not finding any skate spots. The hotel was far from the city, so we moved to the Comfort Inn where we didn’t have to share a toilet or shower with any other guests-heaven. Rusczyck was my hotel roommate. He woke up at 7:00 a.m., drew in his book, opened the curtains, and talked to himself a lot-even in his sleep.
June 24, Berlin, Germany-Mike and I woke up at 5:15 a.m. to go shoot a photo at the only spot we found in Copenhagen-two strange marble-wave things sitting in a shopping mall.
We then took a train, which got on a boat, which sailed the seven seas, and brought us to the land of beer and French fries with mayonnaise-destination, Berlin.
We spent four crazy days in Berlin, which is a magical city with lots of opportunities. The Emerica team just so happened to be staying in the same hotel as us, so it became a race to see who could find the most spots each day. We rented a car and drove around with the sole purpose of getting completely lost. At one point, we drove down a narrow alley on the outskirts of the city. There was this one house with life-size lawn gnomes scattered about-super creepy.
We skated and then ate at this vegan Chinese restaurant with Ed and Deanna Templeton and Rick McCrank and his Canadian posse every night at 10:30 p.m. ’cause Germans eat late and the sun is just setting at that time, so it feels like it’s six o’clock.
Berlin was great. You should go some time, look at Checkpoint Charlie, and be happy that the wall is gone.
June 28, Dortmund, Germany-Justin Roy had a cold since we left, which was very persistant due to his awful diet, constant smoking, and drinking. Dortmund is a good example of a traditional German city with lots of cobblestones. Right off the bat we found some cool skate spots, so we were excited. The World Cup of Skateboarding contest was happening and is supposedly a big deal to everyone, except those in our group-but we went to check it out anyhow. Somehow I sweet-talked Danielle Bostick into allowing Shimizu to skate the contest. She said he could only if he entered for Japan. It didn’t make any sense to us, but he cruised the enormous course and was over it ten minutes later.
Earlier in the day, Judd had found a double-set rail that looked promising, so we went to check it out. Shimizu started skating the four-flat-four rail and was getting into frontside boardslides when a security guard came and told us we could skate the stairs but not the rail because it was too dangerous. We went back later that day and Shimizu fell hard trying to film the front board and ended up fracturing his wrist-that meant no contest and almost no skating for the rest of the trip.
Oh, did I mention that we left Rusczyk in Berlin? Well, we did and it wasn’t an accident. He wanted to hang out with some friends for a few days, which would’ve been fine, except he showed up in Dortmund with a tweaked knee, unable to skate.
Injury report: Shimizu has a bum wing, Rusczyk has a bum knee, Roy is taking his cold germs on a European vacation, and Team Manager Charlie flew home. I guess that just leaves Big Daddy Judd and myself.
The second day in Dortmund I was getting out of the shower and saw the word “help” written in the fog on the mirror. This really freaked me out-it wasn’t there the day before and nobody had been in my room. I had Ed and Daniel come check it out and suddenly there was a loud buzzing sound. They were both startled and asked me what that was. I said it’d been buzzing all night. So, Ed decided I had a ghost. Roy suggested that I talk to the ghost when I come into the room. Say hi and ask how it’s doing so it wouldn’t get mad at me. Apparently ghosts like manners. I talked to it a little bit, but felt like I was talking to myself.
July 1, Paris, France-We dropped our bags off at the hotel we’d be staying at for the next week, then I took the guys on a quick tour of some Paris hot spots-Notre Dame, Pompidue Center, Louvre.
We ended up walking down one sketchy street with lots of middle-aged prostitutes and pimps. It was really surreal. Rusczyk tried to sneak a photograph of one of the prostitutes, but got caught and was quickly surrounded by three pimps screaming at him in French. They took his film and told him to get the hell out of there.
Everyone else showed up late that night-the Emerica team, the Baker team, and the Templetons. Every morning we’d meet up, have coffee, then go our separate ways to skate, and meet later each night to eat and drink.
Judd, Roy, and I met up with Stephane Larance who showed us a bunch of good Paris skate spots. We all agreed that Paris was great, even the cripples in our group who spent their days wandering around looking at pretty girls.
Every night we’d eat with the Templetons, spending three to four hours on dinner at a different vegetarian restaurant each night. Austin Stephens (who was traveling with the Emerica team) and I ordered the most extravagant desserts. Ed would grab the plates when they got to the table, put his nose real close to the plate, and inhale the chocolaty goodness he couldn’t eat ’cause he’s vegan. The most decadent vegan dessert Ed could order was apple sauce. But boy, he sure loved smelling what we got. Those dinners were some of the best parts of being in Europe. Sitting around with friends, talking about art, books, skateboarding, and just living.
We spent a week in Paris, and then it was time to get on the big bird back to our home-base storage units. At the airport we all checked in and the airline people asked us the standard questions: “Have your bags been with you at all times?” etc. When the woman asked Roy if he had any weapons, Roy replied “I have a gun, but its only plastic.” This, kids, is not the phrase you want to utter in an airport. The woman calmly asked to see the gun, then security came, and off went Roy, the woman, security, and the plastic toy gun. They ended up just wrapping the gun with some special tape and made Roy check it so he wouldnt shoot anybody on the plane.
Seventeen hours later we were back in Los Angeles already talking about our next trip, the Foundation Tragic Hysteria cross-country tour.