May 19, Keith Hufnagel, San Francisco, California

I left San Francisco to go to Europe for the whole summer. These photos are in chronological order, starting with this photo of Keith I shot before leaving. Skating with Huf made a welcome break from packing—and ollies are the best photos of all, aren’t they? I mean, look at that vertical lift there.

A few days later I departed for the continent of Europe—three months with a camera bag, a stack of T-shirts and socks, some sunblock, and a drawing book. Two of my housemates went as well, but we left the house in good hands, or paws—we didn’t realize it, but Georgie the cat took the responsibilities on her fur-clad shoulders and warned our resident-sleeping German when there was a fire upstairs. A bit like Lassie, really. It was up to the German to telephone the firemen, as she has the evolutionary boon of an opposing digit, but I’d like to thank Georgie for holding down the fort while we were away.

May 25, Justin Strubing, London, England

First port of call for the summer was London, where I partook in the Side Effects Of Urethane art show. Everyone’s artwork occupied the top floor of the disused Victorian school on Old Street, but downstairs in the hall, where kids use to pick their noses during dull assemblies, there was some much more interactive artwork available, as seen in the photo. This picture may be hard to figure out, but then so was the obstacle. In fact, no one could figure it out enough to skate it, apart from Strubes, who ollied from one of its eighteen sides onto another of its eighteen sides. Everyone else skated around the edges of the room, on the lovely transitioned walls. My friend Toby theorized that Justin can skate anything because he grew up skating Derby in Santa Cruz, a notoriously tricky old skatepark. This may well be true. While the show organizers collapsed in a heap, London’s skatey-arty contingent drank cheap booze and did wallrides. Mt. Egypt played, I ran into some old friends, and every day I did the usual London arithmetic, which involves trying to work out how you spent twenty pounds even though all you did was get a tube train into town and buy some coffee. I went to pay an obligatory visit to my parents in the country, listened to a load of old punk-rock records, and then I was off to Europe.

“But isn’t England in Europe?” you cry. Well, yes, but only geographically.June 5, Jerry Hsu, Barcelona, Spain In a particularly transparent attempt at ignoring the aging process, I flew to Barcelona on June 1, my birthday. A couple of days later, I shot this picture of the youthful 21-year-old Hsu. He doesn’t seem 21, though—Jerry’s old and jaded before his years. And even though he started skating in the ghastly days of the pressure flip, he was tutored by older skaters who’d make him sit through videos of guys doing bean plants in berets, so he learned all the 80s tricks, too. All of which means that he seems like an old bastard. Just one you should never play at SKATE. June 14, Jon Newport, Barcelona, Spain

It was blazing hot every day in Barcelona—far too hot to skate unless you are Enrique Lorenzo. So everyone lurked around drinking coffee and claras until late afternoon when it was cool enough to schralp for a couple of hours before dark. This actually made it very hard to shoot photos, because there was such precise timing involved, and skaters are hard enough to organize at the best of times. God bless ‘em. It was never hard to find them at night, though, you just had to look for “The Blob.” I think Satva Leung coined the phrase “The Blob” last summer, aptly describing the mass of visiting skaters who congeal into some sort of fearsome 30-headed, 60-footed monster, giddy on testosterone, which ambles between Manolo Bar and Plaza Real every night. Newport was usually in the midst of it somewhere. The Blob always summers in Barcelona, but it can so be sighted on occasion at large contests or trade shows, but it only forms under cloak of night, and it’s forever working on its video part.

June 21, Tony Manfre, Barcelona, Spain

I know, I know. Those of you who actually read skate magazines are thinking this is thinly disguised but still “just another Barcelona article.” Well, okay, guilty. That’s why I had ambitious plans of taking little trips hither and thither during my stay to have some variety. But these trips proved to be easier said then done, and after a while I realized there were enough new spots in Barcelona to avoid repeating other articles. I mean, they just keep appearing. These yellow banks were just finished when I got to town. By the end of the summer, several maneuvers had gone down there, but Tony did the best accidental trick when one of his backside 360s went to fakie nose manual down the other side. Manfre is a beast.

July 3, Enrique Lorenzo, Barcelona, Spain

¡Viva el Monopatin! Aside from being an excellent skater, Enrique is an excellent tour guide as he speaks perfect Californian-dialect English—they don’t teach you “gnarly” or “over it” in English classes. As for me, I naively thought that I’d learn some Spanish over the summer. Spending two and a half months in a Spanish city should do the trick, but I had reckoned without The Blob. The Blob only speaks English—and that not very well at times. Becoming part of it didn’t help out my Spanish at all. By the time I got back, I had only learned how to order coffee and beer, how to say “next try” for encouragement, and “let’s go”—something I know in many languages, because it is the single most useful phrase in skateboarding. I also learned some phrases from my temporary housemates. I ended up living with three non-skaters: a native Barcelonian; an anal Swede who kept insisting how dirty everything was—I’m too immune to the dirt of SF to even see what he was referring to; and Pablo, a balding Argentinian who spoke about as much English as I did Spanish. One night I got home from skating to be met with the sight of Pablo naked, save for a pair of underpants, on his back in the hallway screaming out at the top of his lungs and writhing in pain on the floor. He looked like an enormous, hairy baby. I didn’t know what on Earth was going on, and he couldn’t tell me, either. It turns out that he had somehow broken his ankle. I spent the rest of my time in Barca being woken by poor Pablo scooting down the hall on his wheeled chair. Or by the Spaniard setting off firecrackers on the balcony, or by the Swede aggressively cleaning. It was an interesting apartment.

July 12, Nate Jones, Barcelona, Spain

Toward the end of my stay in town, I tried to rally the troops for a little excursion to Mallorca—one of the Balearic islands—just a ferry ride away. However, after partying for two months, I think everyone suddenly realized they had to do some “work” and stay in Barcelona for last-minute flipping and grindage. I decided to go anyway, to have a holiday—from my holiday—but not before nearly getting arrested shooting this hip flip of Nathan. Barca may be, arguably, the best city in the world to skate, but it isn’t without its one or two bust spots. And the generally mellow, so-laid-back-they-are-falling-over Spaniards aren’t without their one or two aggro policemen. A few boards were confiscated this summer—beware—but usually the only kickouts you will receive come in the form of bucketfuls of water descending from above. The international language may be “love,” but the international discouragement is an unexpected drenching.

July 27, Joey Brezinski, Barcelona, Spain

When I got back into town after relaxing for a few days in Mallorca (thanks, Dalquies) I hadn’t seen a skateboard or used the word “kickflip” for the first time in months. I realized it was footage time for me, too. You see, the “other” mission of the summer was to film for the Howard House video. It may not have the anticipation of Yeah Right!—or, indeed, the talent—but my household’s forthcoming video extravaganza had to include some obligatory Barca footy. I had already filmed lots of good stuff of one of my housemates, Ocean, but he used to be pro, so that doesn’t count. My bones can’t take too much punishment these days, but the whole time I was crouching on the steps underneath Joey and his backside 180 nosegrind, I was thinking, “Man, I could noseslide that thing.” A pink hammer, admittedly, but before I left, I got it. Unfortunately, I could barely walk the next day. But isn’t that what skating is all about nowadays?

August 4, Bobby Puleo, Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona receives a lot of money from the European Union to give the city a facelift, as they want it to be one of the major tourist destinations in Europe. It already is for skaters, of course, because the facelift entails smooth surfaces, lots of new plazas, sculptures, and daring architecture—all the things upon which skating thrives. Bob was in town filming for a week, and I intended to hook up with him again in NY on my way back to SF. More about that in a moment. This spot was wondrous, except the white cement made it feel even hotter than it already was—sun-glare factor was a ten. By this time I was looking forward to going back to England to cool down for a few days, because it’s always gray and miserable there. So are most of the people, but …

August 8, Olly Todd, London, England

… England was scorching hot, too! I couldn’t believe it. The day I arrived was the hottest day ever recorded, and three days later was the new hottest day. Not that it was hotter than Barcelona or anything, but in England heat is unheard of. Usually there only has to be a pale-milky sun appearing in the sky for everyone to sprint down to the beach, jump into the icy waters, turn blue, and then say “It’s not too bad once you get used to it!” When this real heat invaded, the country didn’t know what to do. The newspapers could talk about nothing else but the “unbearable,” “inhumane,” and “torturous” temperatures—the trains even stopped running for some reason. Somehow I soldiered through it, Olly crooked-grinded through it, and eventually I went to the airport to fly to New York. Fate had other plans for me, though. I went to the departure gate late, just as they were closing it. I pleaded to no avail and had to catch the next flight. When the plane was about an hour from JFK airport, the captain gave a very vague announcement. I was urinating at the time and didn’t pay much attention until he said “We’ll be landing in Boston in 30 minutes.” At which point the “Distance to NY” television-screen flight plan changed to “Distance to Boston.” This was a little unnerving, as you could imagine. On a plane you have no source of information except the pilot, and he was keeping mum. We landed and found out about the power outage that had affected most of the East Coast. If I had caught my original flight, I would’ve landed before it. Boston was the only major airport functioning, so all the planes were landing there. What fun that was. Since I didn’t feel much like being Mad Max in Manhattan, I changed my ticket back to SF the following day. By this point I was completely delirious and sat on my luggage trying to think of who I knew in Boston. If I smoked, I would have been like a chimney. Eventually, Will Harmon came and rescued me from all the enraged businessmen who were waving their tickets and going on about missed meetings and their asses-being-on-lines. Cheers, Will.

To everyone’s surprise—not least mine—I showed up in SF the next day. And that was that. It had been a long, hot summer full of amazing skate spots. Now I’m back in skateboarding’s supposed paradise of sunny California. Yesterday I went skating, and we got kicked out of everywhere, today I’m writing this articlto film for the Howard House video. It may not have the anticipation of Yeah Right!—or, indeed, the talent—but my household’s forthcoming video extravaganza had to include some obligatory Barca footy. I had already filmed lots of good stuff of one of my housemates, Ocean, but he used to be pro, so that doesn’t count. My bones can’t take too much punishment these days, but the whole time I was crouching on the steps underneath Joey and his backside 180 nosegrind, I was thinking, “Man, I could noseslide that thing.” A pink hammer, admittedly, but before I left, I got it. Unfortunately, I could barely walk the next day. But isn’t that what skating is all about nowadays?

August 4, Bobby Puleo, Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona receives a lot of money from the European Union to give the city a facelift, as they want it to be one of the major tourist destinations in Europe. It already is for skaters, of course, because the facelift entails smooth surfaces, lots of new plazas, sculptures, and daring architecture—all the things upon which skating thrives. Bob was in town filming for a week, and I intended to hook up with him again in NY on my way back to SF. More about that in a moment. This spot was wondrous, except the white cement made it feel even hotter than it already was—sun-glare factor was a ten. By this time I was looking forward to going back to England to cool down for a few days, because it’s always gray and miserable there. So are most of the people, but …

August 8, Olly Todd, London, England

… England was scorching hot, too! I couldn’t believe it. The day I arrived was the hottest day ever recorded, and three days later was the new hottest day. Not that it was hotter than Barcelona or anything, but in England heat is unheard of. Usually there only has to be a pale-milky sun appearing in the sky for everyone to sprint down to the beach, jump into the icy waters, turn blue, and then say “It’s not too bad once you get used to it!” When this real heat invaded, the country didn’t know what to do. The newspapers could talk about nothing else but the “unbearable,” “inhumane,” and “torturous” temperatures—the trains even stopped running for some reason. Somehow I soldiered through it, Olly crooked-grinded through it, and eventually I went to the airport to fly to New York. Fate had other plans for me, though. I went to the departure gate late, just as they were closing it. I pleaded to no avail and had to catch the next flight. When the plane was about an hour from JFK airport, the captain gave a very vague announcement. I was urinating at the time and didn’t pay much attention until he said “We’ll be landing in Boston in 30 minutes.” At which point the “Distance to NY” television-screen flight plan changed to “Distance to Boston.” This was a little unnerving, as you could imagine. On a plane you have no source of information except the pilot, and he was keeping mum. We landed and found out about the power outage that had affected most of the East Coast. If I had caught my original flight, I would’ve landed before it. Boston was the only major airport functioning, so all the planes were landing there. What fun that was. Since I didn’t feel much like being Mad Max in Manhattan, I changed my ticket back to SF the following day. By this point I was completely delirious and sat on my luggage trying to think of who I knew in Boston. If I smoked, I would have been like a chimney. Eventually, Will Harmon came and rescued me from all the enraged businessmen who were waving their tickets and going on about missed meetings and their asses-being-on-lines. Cheers, Will.

To everyone’s surprise—not least mine—I showed up in SF the next day. And that was that. It had been a long, hot summer full of amazing skate spots. Now I’m back in skateboarding’s supposed paradise of sunny California. Yesterday I went skating, and we got kicked out of everywhere, today I’m writing this article wearing a scarf. Wait, there’s something horribly wrong here …

ticle wearing a scarf. Wait, there’s something horribly wrong here …