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This week's Photographic Memory features a photo of Diego Bucchieri ollieing a marble wall-to-wall gap in Barcelona sometime around 2005. Diego had just moved to Barcelona the summer before, he'd been living in the States for a long time and was cool with it, but being from Argentina, moving to a skate paradise Spanish-speaking city with his then Spanish girlfriend, now wife, Mabel, was like a dream come true for him. Diego is probably the most motivated person I know, anything that catches his interest he wants to learn how to do to the highest level. He's a superb photographer, bike reconditioner, clothing designer, graphic designer, sushi roller, multi-language communicator—you get the idea.
Diego approached skateboarding in Barcelona with equal verve and if we weren't shooting photos or filming we were out in the car looking for new spots to skate. Before long, finding the spots became almost as important as actually skating them, the hunt became so addictive and Barcelona was a rich and rewarding hunting ground. Having mapped out most of the city, we cast our nets wide and there were days on end that we'd drive to random towns outside of Barcelona that would change from being a dot on the map to a cataloged marble plaza with a double set, or a weird brick bank sculpture. Our strategy was normally to drive to the plaza in the center of the town, which would usually have some kind of marble offering and then work our way out. Occasionally we'd hit a town and not find anything for hours and think that our mojo had died, but we'd always find something; there would even be spots at the gas stations, the last Repsol gas station on the way out of Valencia had one of the most perfect frontside for regular marble take off surface, square metal handrails I've ever seen. There's a Finish photographer called Antton Miettinen who had so many spots it was ridiculous, he had more spots than anyone I've ever met in all my days skating, by a long way. His continually updated list of new spots never slowed either, every time anyone went skating with him they'd return with stories of untouched new spots they'd never seen before. Sometimes Diego and I would stumble on one of Antton's spots in the most obscure town and wonder how on Earth he'd found it, his spot radar was unprecedented and as fellow spot hunters, we had the deepest respect for him.
It wasn't until sometime in 2007 that we finally beat Antton to a spot, it had taken us three years and it never happened again. This spot was a discovery from very early on in our stay, it's kind of close to Sants train station where the benches with the transparent roof are and you drive past this spot on the main road that leads to the Ikea, so it was a pretty easy find. Diego has obviously ollied some massive gaps in his time but the skinniness of the ledges he is going between really adds extra dimension to the whole shebang, you have to land totally straight and not swerve at all as you roll out or you'll quickly get pitched when your ollie turns into a gap to fifty. After half a decade of hunting together, we both left Barcelona, it's been six years now, but in all that time I've seen maybe a quarter of those spots appear anywhere outside of Spanish magazines, there's so much untouched territory to skate out there, I'm sure that Antton has pins to all of it!
Words & photo / BARTON