Still Life: The Golden Age of Barcelona

Before China became the go-to skate destination, the average night at MACBA in the mid-2000s had every skater from around the globe bonding over one-euro street beers and games of SKATE. Here's a look back at some of the skating from those pre-recession days of marble plunder. —Oliver Barton

This frontside boardslide of Arto was shot when he was living in Barcelona with Ali Boulala and Ewan Bowman filming for Extremely Sorry. Arto had already tried this front board back when he was filming for Really Sorry but he wasn't feeling it at the time and a few days later he had blown his knee out trying to nollie the big set that you see at the end of his Really Sorry part, so coming back to this rail was facing some old demons. There is a weird drainage grate that drops down right where your front wheels are when you pop and the soccer game on the spot/yappy dog scenario is dictionary definition madness here but Arto pulled this off in the apex style and Ewan bought us all an Indian dinner. Vicarious victory is fantastic, thanks for sharing it Arto!—Oliver Barton

This nollie heel of Brandon Biebel is from a town north of Barcelona called Girona. Biebel, Stefan Janoski, Kyle Leeper and Jason Hernandez used to come to Barcelona all the time and bring an assortment of skate guests with them. Seeing Brandon skate the manual pads at Parallel was a manny masterclass, Brandon can kickflip nose wheelie nollie flip in his sleep. Jason got sick on this trip so one night when everyone in the apartment went out for dinner, he stayed in bed. After an hour of restless sleep, he got out of bed to get some water in the kitchen where he found a street pikey walking around the apartment putting everyone's electronic items (cameras, laptops etc) in a back pack ready to break out. The pikey panicked and split, spilling most of the electronic swag but Tim O'Connor lost his laptop and some iPods got fenced. Barcelona is so sketchy, sometimes you’ve got to sleep with one eye open.—Oliver Barton

This front blunt of Rasa Libre era Dylan Rieder is from another Jason Hernandez trip to Barcelona while filming for First Love. The gaps between the tiles at this spot are so much bigger and weirder than you can tell from the footage or photos it's definitely not as cool to skate as it looks. Dylan had already impossible tail grabbed the wavy bump to bar on this trip, the quiet efficiency that he stacked tricks was second to none.—Oliver Barton

This photo is from the last day of Eric Koston's only filming trip to Barcelona for Fully Flared. I lived with Federico Vitetta in Barcelona and he’d have a pretty constant stream of Lakai heads come and stay, it was awesome. I'm not sure whose idea it was to go to MACBA on that evening, but between the cricket match going on next to the landing, the fading light, the hundreds of onlookers behind us and the pikeys that tried to steal Federico's second angle camera he had given to Jesus Fernandez to film with, I felt pretty confident that the trip was a wrap before anybody had even rolled up. Eric didn't seem phased at all and pulled out this fakie tre so fast I got a first hand lesson on why Koston is the benchmark against which everyone is measured.—Oliver Barton

For such a quietly spoken gentleman, Guy Mariano is a violent savage on the board. This is from another Lakai visit to Federico Vitetta, during which Guy shot an entire pro spotlight in 12 days. The frontside 180 switch crook has always seemed like such a quintessentially Girl trick, it's pinnacle to have this photo of such a quintessential Girl rider doing one.—Oliver Barton

This photo of Kyle is from his first trip to Barcelona right after Subtleties dropped. Kyle is one of the most amazing skaters you can watch skate down a street, his control and imagination are exceptional. These weird bronze lipstick sculptures are just another example of Barcelona's skateboard perfect architecture, although having stated that, the way the lip on the top is curved you're getting the carpet pulled out from under you with a quickness if you are off balance at all when you lap your board over and coming down on that sharp metal edge is no joke.—Oliver Barton

Mark Appleyard frontside nollie heel on the Arto Saari Turun Sinappia board, a Flip classic. Mark was a traveling maniac around this time period, one week he'd be riding a camel at the pyramids in Egypt, then the next he'd be skating a mini ramp in South Africa. Every now and then Mark would pop up in Barcelona for a few days and skate, before disappearing again to another far off place and this is one of those occasions. Mark can be one of the hardest people to shoot photos of, it's not unusual for him to land all his tricks before your even out the van, I’m always stoked to get a still of my man Lemon Props, congrats on Ethan Indy Appleyard!—Oliver Barton

Omar Salazar is one of the most inventive people on the planet, whether it's shoe lace door opening pulley systems when you’re missing a hotel room door key or just charging around on a skateboard, the more complicated and bizarre, the better for Omar. The hand steez form on this photo is essential.—Oliver Barton

This switch ollie (Stefan Janoski) is at what has to be one of the sketchiest skatespots in Barcelona, which is quite an achievement. Any spot that is part of a building which runs a needle exchange is going to be sketchy but throw in the proximity of the main prostitution street in Barcelona to the mix and you've got quite a "colorful scene." At one point this session was interrupted by a junkie staggering around with a syringe still hanging out of his bleeding forearm, this was one of those spots where the relief of getting to put all your camera gear back in your own bag as opposed to having had someone steal it felt better than any trick that went down.—Oliver Barton