Marseille with Mark Oblow

On June 25, I found myself on a plane heading to an old shipping town called Marseille, France to attend the Quiksilver Bowlriders contest at the Marseille skatepark. I’ve been to a ton of contests all over the world, living in the skate industry longer than most people on the planet have been skating. Damn man, it’s been a long time, and I’ve seen it all. But nothing compares to what I saw here at this park on the Mediterranean Sea.

The skatepark is set into a grassy hill that’s perched atop a killer beach where the water is warm and the girls go topless. If that’s not enough to get you psyched, you should see the park! It’s all cement with a hip, spine, mini-ramp section that flows into two mid-sized bowls connected to a giant vert bowl. And for a special addition to the contest, they bring in a vert wall and add a rainbow extension.

The skateboarding spectacle that usually takes place is unheard of. Speed is the first thing that comes to mind, then it’s straight out the rawest shit you’ll ever see. You’d probably think pads are needed, but if you have them on, the crowd, your fellow skaters, and even the announcer, Dave Duncan, will heckle you.

For your run, you get a chance to hit the park all by yourself, then you’re thrown into a jam with five other guys for a ten-minute all-out, balls-to-the-wall jam session-anything goes and everything happens! Almost as hard as actually skating is watching the jam-session skating. For the riders, it’s trying to stay alive and trying not to go home hurt-but that’s nearly impossible.

The contest is three days, and it takes everything you can possibly give to stay in and make it to the next day. Runs can’t be planned-it’s not possible, because when the jam is going, everyone is skating at once, and it’s pure adrenaline and skill that keeps you alive.

To see the runs and tricks that are being done is insane. You’ll see guys just pulling out every trick possible (and most of the time impossible), so you can imagine the slams. Guys are getting rocked! It’s truly one of the best times you can imagine, and to be able to see the skating level get better every year at the Quiksilver Marseille Bowlriders makes me look forward to next year. If you ever have the chance to check out this event, you better go, because it’s one of those must-see, must-experience happenings in skateboarding.