Santa Cruz Euro Tour 2001 – 20.1

Pull Qoutes: “Does this body look like it eats vegetarian?” No-it looks like you’ve eaten the livestock of a local village, you animal.

In America, the PFO can be a Tasmanian Devil tattoo, a mullet, or a Ford Taurus with a spoiler, whereas Euro flair might involve espresso, cigarettes, and a scooter.

In Barcelona, the women wouldn’t even look at me. In Prague, it was eyes and smiles. In Milan, I was catchin’ feels even with a huge stain on my shirt.

The Personal Flair Option
Words by Ron Whaley

It’s an important aspect of everyday life. It’s an individual style preference. It reflects who and how you are. It’s what you sport, what you rock, and what you floss. It’s the personal flair option (PFO).

In America, the PFO can be a Tasmanian Devil tattoo, a mullet, or a Ford Taurus with a spoiler, whereas Euro flair might involve espresso, cigarettes, and a scooter. No matter what your flair may be, if you’re feelin’ it, stick with it-even if they laugh at you.

Stacy Lowery called me a week prior to our departure to Europe with a personal-flair update. He wouldn’t tell me what it was, only that it was about flair. I could only imagine: a new hat, one glove, maybe leather pants. The possibilities were endless. Not to be outdone, I went out and purchased new shades and camouflage flip-flops. “We’re going to Europe? Let’s do this.”

Our destinations included Barcelona, Dortmund, Prague, Munich, Milan, and Marseilles. Traveling with me were Stacy, Steffan Attardo, Eric Bork, and our team manager, Shawn, as well as Domingo Vasquez and Brian Uyeda filming and shooting photos respectively-and respectably.

A lot of per diem was given to Brian and Domingo vis-à–-vis a game called cee-lo. Brian was gleaming with beginners’ luck, but Stace refused to play with him, stating Wabo (Brian) was a devil. And Domingo, holdin’ down a hairstyle referred to simply as “The Stamos,” apologized to us while taking our money.

It turned out Stacy’s flair happened to be a homemade T-shirt that says, “Ron Fan.” He rocked it in the Czech contest, and I was honored. But I did wonder, “Fan of what?” as I proceeded to seize up and fall over every pebble from Spain to the Czech Republic.

Stacy and I don’t see eye to eye on a few issues. He claims The Big Lebowski is the best film, but I know it’s Raising Arizona. They’re both Coen brothers movies, so we’re probably both right.

Another disagreement involved a fashion statement that’s swept Europe. It’s the way the women wear their pants. Stace refers to this phenomenon as “moose knuckles,” whereas I know it simply as “camel toe.” However you say it, it’s an option of personal flair, and I’m feelin’ it. In fact, I was feelin’ it so much I had to be careful not to run into a pole, or meander into traffic and get run over by a little Red Bull mobile. The women of Barcelona are no joke.

Let me tell you about Steff. Steff’s hungry-hungry to shred, hungry for footy, hungry for sweetbreads and baguettes. Well, we were in the right place ’cause there was a grip of spots and mad baguettes. Next time you’re chomping on the latest video and ask, “Damn, where’s that spot?” it’s probably in Barcelona.

You might see Steff booking around Barcelona. His flair includes, but is not limited to, earth-tone tank tops, a vintage Maiden Peace of Mind T-shirt, and women’s pants-“for the fit.” He might recommend such films as RAD, Back To School, or Johnny Dangerously.

There was some debate about whether or not the second sink in our bathroom was a bidet. Stace thought it might be for washing the feet. Although I agree many Europeans could use a good foot wash, I was pretty sure this baby was for “that ass.” Steff was first to give it a shot. Five minutes later, we heard “Whooo!” Yeah-it was a bidet, all right.

We skated Barcelona with clean asses. Marcos Gomez and Enrique Lorenzo guided us around town. Marcorides for Santa Cruz and skates mad sweet. What’s up with you Spaniards? Ya’ll got some nice styles. Dudes like Marcos, Enrique, Daniel Lebron, and the Fernandez brothers are hella tight, and they have good attitudes, as well. You might catch Enrique up at the local six-stair, filming eleven-year-old skaters ollieing the steps and giving them tips-a lot of positivity. I’m reminded of Brauch.

We skated the museum, and there were like six sick spots in one block. Carlos de Andrade executed a nollie backside flip off this big-ass gap. Look out for this baby in variable slow-mo’ and multiple angles. (I think Domingo got the money shot.)

My favorite spot has two metal edges. Van Engelen has a line there in i.e. If this spot were in L.A. or SF you’d be fined for skating it. We skated with the Shorty’s mob, and Sammy B. busted a nice switch backside tailslide quite easily-must be nice.

It was at this spot that Eric performed one of the firmest lines I’ve ever seen. Keep those eyes peeled, kids-this one’s going digital platinum. Eric’s amazing. He holds down family values and twenty-foot-plus noseblunts. You might see Eric in a cosmopolitan restaurant, wearing white shoes and a homemade T-shirt that states “God is love” or “Knowledge is power,” and polishing his Spanish with a beautiful hostess.

Did I mention Eric shreds? I did? Get used to it. Eric’s motto is: “Learn good habits young and practice them as you get older.” My motto is: “Live for the day.” I wonder who’s going to end up broke and fat.

Eric selects a healthy lifestyle. He works out every day and is not afraid to drop some extra ducats for fine cuisine. Uyeda is also conscious of what goes into his body. Throughout the tour we referred to their selective dining as “Five-star tastes.” Whenever we entered one of those high-class establishments, the record player would scratch to a halt, and everyone would stop and stare. Their eyes said, “You don’t want to eat here, do you?” Eventually, the host/hostess would timidly approach and seat us in the back.

Their menus read like this:

Barcelona’s most cosmopolitan grill, located on the most fashionable street in the smartest residential area of the city. A great place to see and be seen, except in the back. An exciting and spectacular restaurant with cuisine that’s a feast for all the senses.

I’d usually roll with Steff and Stace to restaurants in the two- or three-star range. Stacy’s response to the health-food restaurant was, “Does this body look like it eats vegetarian?” No-it looks like you’ve eaten the livestock of a local village, you animal. Just kidding, Stace-don’t hurt me.

Sometimes, Stacy takes care of Steff and me by providing information we won’t seek. He found us a fabulous sushi restaurant in Munich, Germany. We walked out of there with negative-fifty-dollar smiles and happened to stumble upon a Rollerblade parade. Yay! I’m not exaggerating when I say two- to 300-thousand of them rolled by as we stopped to have ice cream. Mine had kiwis on it, but it was nowhere near as fruity as the spectacle on the street.

One restaurant we could all agree on was Sbarros. I’m pretty sure you can creep into any Sbarros around the world and get fresh fruit salad and a nice slice. Throw in water “without gas,” and you’re rollin’. This was highly appreciated considering the four food groups in Europe are croissants, butter, coffee, and mayonnaise.

We spent five beautiful days in Prague. It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend you go there.

We went to the Prague contest. Stacy ripped; we watched. Aside from the normal shraplers-Childress, Strubing, McCrank- there was a host of new dudes. Milton Neves is a master skateboard artist. Another skater I knew only as “Overcook” was off the hook. He did 180 to switch crooked, no problem.

A highlight for me was seeing Ray Barbee. Ray was a true inspiration in my younger years and remains one of the smoothest of all time.

We stayed at two hotels in Prague. The first was the Hilton. Downstairs there were five-star dining and high-priced professionals so fine that I tried not to look at them. But instead of forking out hundreds, I spent 30 dollars on drinks from the minifridge and stayed in. I was good, too.

In Barcelona, the women wouldn’t even look at me. In Prague, it was eyes and smiles. In Milan, I was catchin’ feels even with a huge stain on my shirt. I didn’t want to compare feels with the other team members, but it was nice to be felt.

Our last stop was Marseilles. Steff found his dream sandwich: a baguette with an omelette and fries in it. He ate one every mealtime for three days. He plans to open up a stand in Long Beach, California.

Tim always used to tell me how fun the Marseilles skatepark is, and boy howdy was he right. This place may be ten years old, but every transition and all the coping are perfect. Skate for a couple hours, then walk 100 yards to the Mediterranean, and swim amongst topless hotties. As I swam, I knew I was in paradise. But I guess all good things come to an end-time to go.

As I looked over my notes, I noticed at least half of them were about flying. Approaching the airport, I marveled at its wonder. Airports never close; the amount of money it takes to get one of those fat jets with little wings off the ground is ridiculous, and they fly above us every day-all the time. Every time I mount one of these babies, I accept the possibility of a firey death.

There’s a lot of tension involved with flying because people are forced to interact with one another. I usually get grief about the overhead bins. Supposedly, this is “shared space”-unless that means sharing your bin with a skateboard. Sure enough, someone always takes my board out, but I just put it back and close the door. “It’s shared space, so shut up and sit down.”

I used to think the knives provided on planes were dull and small to prevent a hijacking situation. I realize now it’s so you can’t stab fellow passengers.

As the trip neared its end, some were getting excited to be going home. I got depressed, for the road is my livelihood. A long time ago I promised myself never to turn down an offer of travel. Although it’s nice to be with my family and friends, I knew in a few weeks I’d be wishing I was on the road again.

Oh well-I was sure there’d be a new trip soon enough. I just walked down the aisle looking for a hostile-free storage bin for my skateboard, while the folks said witty things like, “Aren’t you a little too old to be a skateboarder?” And my favorite, “You can’t do any tricks in here, you know.” Ha, ha, chortle, chortle-wait ’til I get my dinner knife.

in my younger years and remains one of the smoothest of all time.

We stayed at two hotels in Prague. The first was the Hilton. Downstairs there were five-star dining and high-priced professionals so fine that I tried not to look at them. But instead of forking out hundreds, I spent 30 dollars on drinks from the minifridge and stayed in. I was good, too.

In Barcelona, the women wouldn’t even look at me. In Prague, it was eyes and smiles. In Milan, I was catchin’ feels even with a huge stain on my shirt. I didn’t want to compare feels with the other team members, but it was nice to be felt.

Our last stop was Marseilles. Steff found his dream sandwich: a baguette with an omelette and fries in it. He ate one every mealtime for three days. He plans to open up a stand in Long Beach, California.

Tim always used to tell me how fun the Marseilles skatepark is, and boy howdy was he right. This place may be ten years old, but every transition and all the coping are perfect. Skate for a couple hours, then walk 100 yards to the Mediterranean, and swim amongst topless hotties. As I swam, I knew I was in paradise. But I guess all good things come to an end-time to go.

As I looked over my notes, I noticed at least half of them were about flying. Approaching the airport, I marveled at its wonder. Airports never close; the amount of money it takes to get one of those fat jets with little wings off the ground is ridiculous, and they fly above us every day-all the time. Every time I mount one of these babies, I accept the possibility of a firey death.

There’s a lot of tension involved with flying because people are forced to interact with one another. I usually get grief about the overhead bins. Supposedly, this is “shared space”-unless that means sharing your bin with a skateboard. Sure enough, someone always takes my board out, but I just put it back and close the door. “It’s shared space, so shut up and sit down.”

I used to think the knives provided on planes were dull and small to prevent a hijacking situation. I realize now it’s so you can’t stab fellow passengers.

As the trip neared its end, some were getting excited to be going home. I got depressed, for the road is my livelihood. A long time ago I promised myself never to turn down an offer of travel. Although it’s nice to be with my family and friends, I knew in a few weeks I’d be wishing I was on the road again.

Oh well-I was sure there’d be a new trip soon enough. I just walked down the aisle looking for a hostile-free storage bin for my skateboard, while the folks said witty things like, “Aren’t you a little too old to be a skateboarder?” And my favorite, “You can’t do any tricks in here, you know.” Ha, ha, chortle, chortle-wait ’til I get my dinner knife.