Spanish Vacation At Uncle Ali’s


With Ali Boulala finally pinned down at his own apartment in Barcelona, the Flip team flew in from all parts of the globe for the ultimate two-week housecrashing party. Oh, and some filming for their new video Extremely Sorry.

by Oliver Barton

Thanks to the overenthusiastic employees of the Immigration And Naturalization Service (INS), thousands of innocent people find themselves extradited from the U.S.A. every year and are left to rebuild their lives whereever the INS decides to drop them. While Ali Boulala’s innocence could be questioned, he was nonetheless banished from the Land Of The Free for offences that do not exist in Scandanavia and spent more than six years roaming Europe, occasionally returning to his temporary home in Lyon, France. Looking for a new vibe and a change of scenery, Ali acquired a sizeable apartment in Barcelona within a stones throw of MACBA and promptly invited the Flip team for an extended housewarming/filming trip at his new home.
Now, every posse has its share of late risers, fussy eaters, weed-coma victims (or low motivators), and sometimes a certain degree of bribery must be employed to get aforementioned slackers on a board, but rarely do you find an individual who demands being bribed for every trick attempted.
Since the moment Ali stepped on a skateboard, people have stopped to watch. His unique physical style is matched only by the clothing he sports, and the influence on his trick selection can span two decades, from Natas Kaupas to Keenan Milton, in the space of two pushes. When you have those types of combos, people want to document it. Ali would dangle trick-bait at a spot-a move that could be filmed or photographed-just to see if anyone would bite the bait. If there were takers, the haggling would start. Depending on the scale of the trick, the bargain might be for something as small as an ice cream or other times an all-expenses-paid trip to the Sitges Go Kart track with lunch, dinner, and a TomTom navigation device thrown in for good measure. Either way, someone had to pay up, and while it might seem a bit renegade, the constant bartering formed an integral and endlessly amusing part of any day in the field. The range of bargains the landlord threw out were endlessly imaginative and totally random, but despite the chaos they would cause, Ali had us all out skating every day. Between finding Cadillac dealerships, Moto Guzzi badges, and searching for the ultimate car wash, we gained an insight into the life of an enigma, and the houseguests handled their skate chores with utmost professionalism and a steady slew of mustard moves flowing at all times. Pohjanmaan kautta!

SPREAD TWO
Sequence
Mark Appleyard Nollie Big Heel MACBA
Photo: Guitars

With his collection comprising a triple set of acoustics, a Kosha Gibson Les Paul, and a flame-top mutt, you can see that Ali’s approach to collecting is “more is more.” Ali’s late night/early morning renditions of blues slide guitar and Van Morrison’s classic “Gloria” meant that this collection was at least partially responsible for more than a couple of very late starts. The musical instruments provided not only a soundtrack for the time in the apartment, but were also involved in many jam sessions and pinnacle party moments, although there were casualties and the nylon-string acoustic was left looking a bit battle worn. Having got “Good Times, Bad Times” by Led Zeppelin on lock, Apples was ready to put the guitar down and roll the 38 seconds from Ali’s front door to MACBA. With five frames of catch on this blindside bad-boy, a bit of “Baker-maker” is just fine. Big four, nollie big heel.

SPREAD THREE
Still
Eric Fletcher backside Smith Gava

There were several points on the tour when I would look at the youngsters and wonder what was going through their minds as they observed their peers and took in all the madness. The standard of skating left no questions to be asked as tohat was expected of them, but it was the aprà¤s skate that left some puzzled looks on a few young faces.
One day, I was looking for matches in Ali’s room and found this set of industrial-style handcuffs laying around. What does exposure to this sort of thing do to a kid from Cedar Rapids, Iowa? For maximum performance enhancement, the youths should probably all be locked in an indoor training facility and forced to watch endless top-notch footage tapes when they are not practicing sets of 100 kickflips, but the reason why the Flip camp produces so many interesting skaters is because their apprenticeship is served in the company of such colorful characters. Shane Cross has the ultimate laid-back Aussie style and lives on a first and every-try agenda, and David Gonzales has a soul/gnar combination that has probably not been seen at his age since the days of Tony Alva. Eric Fletcher is the technician of the team who has equal appreciation for the classic moves as well as the ones that you need an abacus to figure out. With a timeless trick and textbook form, Eric locks a back Smith with his own size-eight cuffs at one of the growing number of Spanish spots that are starting to churn out skate tickets.

SPREAD FOUR
Sequence
David Gonzales switch 180 50-50 grind

Photo of Vespa and yellow bike with photo of David skating the white rail with the bike in the foreground.

David Gonzales has some serious skate mojo. He looks like he dropped out of the womb with a skateboard attached to his feet, and judging by his board control, he’s spent most of his young life with it attached-he eats, sleeps, and breathes skating to an AC/DC soundtrack. David’s addiction to the board was matched by Ali’s addiction to the motorbike. Like most addictions, it all started innocently enough with the acquisition of a 1970 Vespa 50, but has progressed through big scooters and mini bikes to the current rocket of choice, a Moto Guzzi. These bikes are pretty much the pinnacle of performance biking and are not built with anything in mind but maximum speed and power. Much of Ali’s outdoor time was spent getting other people hooked, tweaking the Guzzi’s accessories, or just straight blasting about on the object of his desire. While Ali and company figured out how to attach the GPS to the bike, David quietly set about ripping the rail. Switch 180 50-50 first try, in a line.

SPREAD FIVE
Still
Ali Boulala backside flip Girona

Ali bought a snow-white 1998 Cadillac Seville STS with white rims and white leather interior from a Swedish collector and drove it through Europe to Spain. The car is something of a celebrity, having had a starring role in Kurt Wimmer’s 2002 cult-classic movie Equilibrium. For all its flash looks and film stardom, it’s battery was very dead and Cadillac dealerships are not exactly as widespread in Spain as they are in the States, so a good amount of time was spent attaching jump leads to start the Caddy from another car. The car alarm would drain the battery every time we stopped to skate, and it got so routine that Ali bought a portable jump starter so that we only had to open the hood of one car. Eventually, a Cadillac battery was located, and the Caddy was purring in all its V8 glory, so we could make the 90-minute drive to Girona in confidence. Buckets of water usually get jettisoned at skaters at this bump in Girona, but even the owners of the Chinese Restaurant wanted to see the snow fly with this postmodern Matti Nykanen (Google him) on their doorstep.

SPREAD SIX
Still
Rodrigo TX front krook transfer
Bouncing bullet

The beachside lifestyle of Barcelona seems ideal for many, but there are few who suit it, or rather, can endure it, as well as Rodrigo. Not many people can stay out all night in the clubs, only to get straight on the board in the morning and pull more outrageously popped tricks out of the bag in a single session than a lot of skaters with personal trainers and ankle weights put down in a year. Rodrigo’s life growing up in S_o Paulo was very different than most people who have this magazine in their hands, and it was amazing listening to some of Rodrigo’s childhood stories while sitting around the Boulala BBQ at night. The mean streets of Brazil stood him in good stead one evening when the Catalunya’s largest football club, Barcelona, won the European Club Championship and the majority of the city took to the streets to celebrate. Dumpsters were set afire, cars were overturned, and street lamps were pulled to the ground before the riot police were called in to cool things down by shooting people with rubber bullets. These bullets, smaller than a tennis ball but larger than a ping pong ball, are fatal if a direct hit is sustained, so the police shoot them at the floor or off walls so that they bounce at least once before they hit their victims. That single bounce does not really take too much of the sting out-Ali took a shot to the leg and could not walk the next day, or skate for a few more, while Rodrigo’s street smarts, unsurprisingly, got him away without a scratch.

SPREAD SEVEN
Still
David Gonzales frontside 180
Sequence
David Gonzales nollie frontside flip

SPREAD EIGHT
Still
Mark Appleyard Frontside Nollie heel
Sequence Apples bs heel triple

SPREAD NINE
Sequence
Ali Nollie pop shove-it
Remote controlled stuff

When the price is right and Ali skates, everyone stops and watches, because not only will you see some impressive skating, but you’re also sure to be entertained. Unfortunately for Flip Filmer/Team Manager Ewan Bowman, all bets are off when you lose the car and can’t drive anyone to the spot. In Barcelona, if you return to your parking space and find a small blue triangle where your car was once parked, you’ve been towed and face a ball-aching trek to a depot on the outskirts of Barcelona where you might get your car back if there is anyone there to accept your money. As Ewan was off asking “Dondà‡ est†  mi coche?” it appeared the only car we would be driving that day was one from Ali’s remote-controlled selection. The remote-control phase was a relatively small part of Ali’s life, but there was a period in time when Ali would refuse to skate without first detouring via a model shop to buy something new, and many of these acquisitions can be found stuffed into various closets in his apartment. The car still just about works, but the helicopter shows that Ali’s remote-control driving is not quite as precise as his board control. This nollie pop shove-it, executed over the so-hot-right-now Badalona hip was performed for charity since Ewan had already parted with the equivalent of 260 dollars that day to get the rental car back.

SPREAD TEN
Still Shane Cross 50-50 Gava
For someone who has spent so much time on the move, Ali still has an impressive amount of memorabilia lying around his house. From original TSA socks to vintage knives, there are many treasures buried in his cave. Also still in his possession is this x-ray of some American memorabilia that might be a bit harder to lose than a pair of socks: a pair of metal plates that were installed after the leap of faith gone bad that he sustained at the end of a Flip Ams 411 section.
Shane Cross is capable of living up to Ali’s legacy, and while no injuries were sustained, like Ali’s leap of faith, he’s prepared to put it all on the line no matter the gnar factor. This double kinker 30 minutes south of Barcelona has been attempted by a couple of heavyweight pros and claimed several amateur victims, but it only took Shane two tries to seal the deal. To increase the joke factor, he ground it twice because the first time was scary and he wanted it to be “fun.”
Shane’s grind was the last trick of the trip and it was time to make tracks. Everyone was sad to leave, and it is a testament to Ali’s generous and entertaining hospitality thaners and ankle weights put down in a year. Rodrigo’s life growing up in S_o Paulo was very different than most people who have this magazine in their hands, and it was amazing listening to some of Rodrigo’s childhood stories while sitting around the Boulala BBQ at night. The mean streets of Brazil stood him in good stead one evening when the Catalunya’s largest football club, Barcelona, won the European Club Championship and the majority of the city took to the streets to celebrate. Dumpsters were set afire, cars were overturned, and street lamps were pulled to the ground before the riot police were called in to cool things down by shooting people with rubber bullets. These bullets, smaller than a tennis ball but larger than a ping pong ball, are fatal if a direct hit is sustained, so the police shoot them at the floor or off walls so that they bounce at least once before they hit their victims. That single bounce does not really take too much of the sting out-Ali took a shot to the leg and could not walk the next day, or skate for a few more, while Rodrigo’s street smarts, unsurprisingly, got him away without a scratch.

SPREAD SEVEN
Still
David Gonzales frontside 180
Sequence
David Gonzales nollie frontside flip

SPREAD EIGHT
Still
Mark Appleyard Frontside Nollie heel
Sequence Apples bs heel triple

SPREAD NINE
Sequence
Ali Nollie pop shove-it
Remote controlled stuff

When the price is right and Ali skates, everyone stops and watches, because not only will you see some impressive skating, but you’re also sure to be entertained. Unfortunately for Flip Filmer/Team Manager Ewan Bowman, all bets are off when you lose the car and can’t drive anyone to the spot. In Barcelona, if you return to your parking space and find a small blue triangle where your car was once parked, you’ve been towed and face a ball-aching trek to a depot on the outskirts of Barcelona where you might get your car back if there is anyone there to accept your money. As Ewan was off asking “Dondà‡ est†  mi coche?” it appeared the only car we would be driving that day was one from Ali’s remote-controlled selection. The remote-control phase was a relatively small part of Ali’s life, but there was a period in time when Ali would refuse to skate without first detouring via a model shop to buy something new, and many of these acquisitions can be found stuffed into various closets in his apartment. The car still just about works, but the helicopter shows that Ali’s remote-control driving is not quite as precise as his board control. This nollie pop shove-it, executed over the so-hot-right-now Badalona hip was performed for charity since Ewan had already parted with the equivalent of 260 dollars that day to get the rental car back.

SPREAD TEN
Still Shane Cross 50-50 Gava
For someone who has spent so much time on the move, Ali still has an impressive amount of memorabilia lying around his house. From original TSA socks to vintage knives, there are many treasures buried in his cave. Also still in his possession is this x-ray of some American memorabilia that might be a bit harder to lose than a pair of socks: a pair of metal plates that were installed after the leap of faith gone bad that he sustained at the end of a Flip Ams 411 section.
Shane Cross is capable of living up to Ali’s legacy, and while no injuries were sustained, like Ali’s leap of faith, he’s prepared to put it all on the line no matter the gnar factor. This double kinker 30 minutes south of Barcelona has been attempted by a couple of heavyweight pros and claimed several amateur victims, but it only took Shane two tries to seal the deal. To increase the joke factor, he ground it twice because the first time was scary and he wanted it to be “fun.”
Shane’s grind was the last trick of the trip and it was time to make tracks. Everyone was sad to leave, and it is a testament to Ali’s generous and entertaining hospitality that such a good time was had by all. The best things in life are normally the shortest lived, and a few weeks after the dust had settled, it seems that having an apartment was too much mid-life for Ali to deal with. Having disappeared in Canada for two months after an “eight-day” Activision trip, latest intelligence reports place Ali in the care of Dustin Dollin in Australia where he has bought a Harley Davidson and is set to roam Down Under. Only time will tell if he makes it back.
that such a good time was had by all. The best things in life are normally the shortest lived, and a few weeks after the dust had settled, it seems that having an apartment was too much mid-life for Ali to deal with. Having disappeared in Canada for two months after an “eight-day” Activision trip, latest intelligence reports place Ali in the care of Dustin Dollin in Australia where he has bought a Harley Davidson and is set to roam Down Under. Only time will tell if he makes it back.