Lovers of skateboard travels are no strangers to showing up in a place hoping for a friend to step up and offer hospitality, knowing it will be abused in some way. The international skateboard fraternity is blessed to this day for having so many men of all races ready to reduce their own comfort in the blink of an eye for the pleasure of sharing time with fellow useless wooden toy enthusiasts. Last summer we offered hospitality to skate friends willing to make the trip to the Magenta base in Bordeaux, France. They turned up to be more numerous than we expected and came from all corners of the world. We must have left too many stained couches on our trail during our travels. Payback time was due.- Vivien Feil
PHOTOS BY Jean Feil
VIP guests from the Magenta squad--Ben Gore, Jimmy Lannon, Zach Lyons, and Koichiro Uehara from Osaka, Japan--were received with premium honor and made to sleep on used couches and old mattresses. They shared their fate and cheap food with the youngest member of the clan, Glen Fox from Jersey Island (not the new, the old--look it up), and our guest cameraman, the untamed Zach Chamberlin himself. A decent futon was awarded to Static/Theories of Atlantis Distribution alumnus and longtime friend Josh Stewart, but nothing to brag about really. Takahiro Morita from the Far East Skate Network made the trip last minute. We could never hope to accommodate a Japanese man with the same level of exquisite care and politeness he demonstrates to guests in his own home. He bored our Western lack of subtlety with supreme dignity and slept in Leo Valls' living room. Only Richard Hart, the romantic English photographer based in SF, was awarded his own room. He proceeded to be worthy of the honor by shooting a few of the magnificent pictures shown here and losing the keys many times at unspeakable hours--a fair retribution for the ruckus that Soy Panday and I brought to his place back in 2006. Connor Kammerer flew from NYC. OG Bay Area legend Carlos Young visited the Old World for the first time and stayed for a month. Friends from Europe, Paris, and all over France came over. Constant skate sessions alternated street and house parties. Basically, it was good times' pinnacle.
Bordeaux has a great quantity of marble concentrated in a small space. It has tons of spots in the city center considering its size. But the setups are not common, so you need to adapt to the local architecture to get the best of it. It is therefore a thrill to wander around town with visitors bringing their own style and skate glasses to the city. As they discover the place from their perspective, they find their own routes and ways to go about spots that have been skated for years. This time was no exception, as the photos by Jean Feil, Ben, and Richard demonstrates. Video documentation is upcoming on our site.
Growing up in France in the late '90s, skateboarding was exotic, an eccentric leisure practiced by only a few aficionados. Most of the imagery came from America, some from Europe with sick brands like Cliché and Blueprint coming up. Most of the experience was local. Traveling was always part of the imagination and fascination for skateboarding. You were taking part in a culture happening globally, yet on a large part outside of your reach. Before websites, social media, and online foreign national magazines, the only way to know what was up in another scene was to meet a local from that place or go visit. We have taken advantage of this by traveling around the world to meet fellow skateboarders for many years and intend to continue doing so for as long as we can. We would like to thank all the friends who have welcomed us in their home and showed us around their town in the past. May there always be welcoming locals for last-minute surprise travelers. See you on your couch next week!