Missed The Boat

Barcelona’s notoriety as the post-EMB global skate mecca, thanks to its bounty of bust-free skateable terrain, is a statement so boringly obvious, I feel bad for the trees that fell to provide the paper on which these words are printed. The Barcelona “secret” was spilt, died, and went to heaven eons ago. What is not so clear is why for the hundreds of skaters who have proclaimed, “I’m moving here!” such a minuscule percentage of them ever last a decent stay.

The possibilities for skating in Barcelona are vast, but the passage to MACBA enlightenment is a plaza paved with stumbling blocks, from communication barriers and bizarre business operations to getting ripped off by lurkers after spending one night too many in Bar Manolo. A walk in the park it is not.

The following pages feature a cross section of ten non-touring foreign skaters who successfully made it past the big four and beyond the benches at the Sants train station and what it was outside of the skating that saved their sanity and helped them make Barca a home away from home.

Tony Cox (camera)

“Exploring the city with a camera.”

Photographic proof that a lifetime of yoga practice has saved years of Cox cartilage-rubber legs and a signature roll out on a wedge-to-wedge transfer.

Kyle Leeper (board box)

“A package that actually makes it through customs.”

With no thanks for the Spanish DHL delivery service or its 80-euro foreign import taxes, Kyle frontside rocks on a rusty installation.

Chris Roberts (hot dog)

“Midnight hot dogs from Mare Magnum.”

At high noon in August, Mr. Roberts blazes through the heat wave at the Universitat ledges with a fakie five-0 360 shove-it out.

Kenny Hughes (ping pong paddles)

“Extracurricular sporting activities.”

A Goliath rail with a rough brick surface runway is broken in with a front board from the feet of East Coast powerhouse “The Friendster Thugg.”

John Rattray (grip tape art)

“Well-brewed cups of tea.”

Vacationers on the open-topped double-decker got their seventeen euros’ worth when their tour included a sighting of the Ratt-attack rolling in on a rancid skinny wall.

Diego Bucchieri (cured sausage)

“The wide variety of quality meats.”

La Butcha trekked 24 hours to make it to an Oasis concert in the South of Spain, only to find that it had been canceled without notice. No wonder he’s backing Jagger and not Gallagher on this backside Smith.

Richard Angelides (discman)

“A time-trusted musical companion.”

During a late-night public-phone-booth call to his lady at home, three local chavs jumped Richard and relieved him of his wallet and IDs. Who says that love has no price? Switch 360 fly out with light pockets.

Kenny Reed (embroidered hat)

“Readily available exotic couture.”

Thanks in part to the availability of Uzbekistani outfits, Moroccan headgear, and bank-to-bar configurations that can be five-0 transferred from the flat into the bank, The Traveler has settled at last and calls Barcelona home-well, for a few months of the year anyway.

Justin Strubing (roadmap)

“Leaving town for road-trip adventures.”

Two ollies and a Mach-ten rating, another high-speed line for Strubing before he shoots off to the Island of Ibiza to see his wife, the beach town of Stiges to visit family, or maybe the South of France to walk the dog.

Paul Shier (swimming goggles)

“Swimming at the beach.”

London expat turned well-tanned Barcelonan, Paul Shier crooked grinds over, around, and into the bank with sand in his toes and sunscreen in his eyes.