In Europe, that foot smell could be delicious cheese or actual feet.
Photos by Dave Chami
In our July 2010 Am Issue, I interviewed Vincent Alvarez and, by coincidence, found out our photographer Dave Chami had a bunch of sequences from an Italy/Spain trip from two years ago when he first got on Lakai. It was his first trip outside the US. How all the pics didn't get used is baffling to me, but such is this world of top-notch skateboarding, where there's too much to pack into pages. I can guarantee you that Vincent doesn't care, though. As I learned in this month's Am issue, it's as if someone squeezed the passion for skateboarding out of a hundred Zac2595s, put it in Vince, made him humble and gave him skills and tricks old and new. How did his constitution and skate skills fair abroad? Read on.
Where did you go on your first trip with Lakai?
We started off first in Milan. I think we were there for five days, maybe a little more. Then, we went to Barcelona for like seven days.
It’s sick he’s switch bluntsliding to 270 out, but do think Vincent drank that can of Grolsch on the ground? It looks pretty tasty.
That was your first time out of the country, right?
Yeah, first time ever.
Before you went abroad, were there any places that you ever dreamt of going as a kid?
Any plans to go there sometime soon?
I don't know. If we go on a trip any time soon, I'm up for it, though [laughs]. I always really liked Iceland or Greenland, too. They seemed like really mysterious countries with cool landscapes.
Real cold with rocks and freezing waterfalls, huh?
Exactly. I was just mesmerized by the look of those places.
When you went on that first trip to Milan and BCN, what were some of the most memorable moments of culture shock?
I don't know. I guess just paying for things. That was always confusing.
Vince probably had to move that old furniture out of the way and dodge dog turds to do this lipslide varial flip. Couldn’t escape the fence, though.
Did you get by okay in Barcelona? They speak Catalan, but it's pretty close Spanish.
Yeah, I speak Spanish. It's pretty similar, so I was able do get by just fine. Italy wasn't too hard, either. It's not too different from Spanish.
And you were all staying in an apartment in Milan and Barcelona?
Yeah, we had an apartment in Barcelona and we stayed at a hotel in Milan. Federico Vitteta knew all the places to go around there because he's from Italy.
Was your mind just blown when you actually got to skate spots you'd seen before in videos?
Exactly. That was another thing where I felt so much culture shock. There were so many cool spots, dude. The security's not so bad and the ground's so different. Everything over here's asphalt. Over there, it's granite, marble, and cobblestone.
What spot did you like the best in Milan?
There was this one that was like ledges all around it and then ends in a big three. It was a dope spot. I don't think a lot of people know about it. Then, there's the train station. That's a really well known spot in Milan. We'd skate there all day.
There is a mean falafal place down the street from this rail. I wonder if Vince ate there. Shoulda asked him. Halfcab boardslide bigspin out.
What was your favorite spot in Spain? Because that was your first time in Barcelona, too, right?
Ahh, yeah, it was. Probably the downhill to the bank with the checkered floor.
The one with the benches that Guy did the downhill line (1:51) in Fully Flared, right?
Yeah. Either that one or the spine. It's a crazy spine in the corner of a street. Guy had that backside tailslide 270 flip in.
Was it a trip to see one of skateboarding's biggest Meccas after seeing it in videos for so long? Just seeing how many people roll in that city?
It is… but it was also a trip to see how many skaters are there hanging out at one spot. So many people go there from far away and they just hang out at one spot.
They all hang at MACBA.
Yeah. They stay there and just chill all day. I really liked going to spots that aren't as well known, dotted around the city or on the outskirts and seeing other skaters there exploring all the other shit the city has to offer. If you're going that far, it's cool to actually see other people venturing out too.
It's a common occurrence for you to bump into someone you know in Barcelona. Did that happen to you?
Lucas [Puig] was there. I bumped into him and said hi. I was new to the team, but I had met him before.
That little spine thing where Guy did the blunt 270 flip. Vince goes fakie 360 shove-it to switch fs blunt transfer.
As far as the future, what trips do you have coming up now?
We have Beauty and the Beast, the third one. We're going to Denmark. That one's gonna be amazing.
It's during the CPH comp, right? Are you planning on skating in that?
I don't know. I'll skate it. But, I'm not pro, so I don't know.
You'll be skating it, but you might not skate in it.
Exactly. We also have a Lakai trip to Scandinavia—Finland, Norway and Sweden. Then, another one in Germany over the summer and Italy. We'll be filming there for the Chocolate Video, you know?
Rad. A lot of people talk about traveling and how it broadens your perception of the world, opens your eyes to new things and gives you a greater understanding—shit like that. Have you felt that way at all?
I don't know. Probably just that it's not as crazy as people who haven't traveled might think. Like, "Oh, you've been to Spain?! You've been to Italy?! It must be so different!" But, people, generally, are the same. Only hard parts are the long flights and trying to learn the language. Other than that, though, it just teaches you that even someone in a country far away probably isn't that different, when it comes down to it.
If this bank were a glass prism, this BCN spot would be like skating the album cover of Dark Side of the Moon, which sounds rad until ROY G. BIV blinds you. Luckily it’s just cement. Switch bluntslide nosegrind.
To see more of Vincent Alvarez, pick up the July 2010 Issue.