The best part of skating for me is being on the road, new roads. take every chance you can to travel and skate new places, and certainly never go anywhere with out a board.
im three weeks into a trip in western europe right now. My main impression of longboarding around cities in europe is how you dont see other longboarders, skating short boards is very popular (France especially produces a lot of great skaters) but there’s little longboarding. I suppose its because distribution is still not strong, selection is sparse and its very expensive. But Europe is so ripe for push culture!
Amsterdam in particular is my favorite prospect because it already has the best infrastructure in the world for commuting by bike. The side walks, streets, tram tracks and bike paths are usually separated so your never competing with or worried about other types of traffic. The city was built with this in mind and every transition is smooth and the brick laid roads are just as nice to skate as the pavement. Amsterdam is one of a few cities that sits a little below sea level, this makes it very flat. You never have to push up hill and in turn you don’t bomb many hills either, Push Culture. The city has canals for veins and they run one after the other in every direction and provide a quick push up and big pump down to catch speed for the next block. I wont be surprised to see our city style from NYC begin to flourish in AMS very soon.
I spent more time in Paris than anywhere else, and have stayed out of the subway as much as possible, learning the city by the streets. its an exciting challenge to go and get lost for no reason except to have to keep skating and find your way back. The geography of the city is my favorite next to Barcelona. in the north of Paris you have this famous area called Montemartre and it sits on top of a very high hill. if you go south from there it’s down hill most of the way to the city center, amidst some of the most beautiful and grandiose architecture in the world. The youth in this city are sick and tired of the stereotype that Parisians are arrogant jerks and do a great job trying to change that. along with the rest of the world they have adopted American culture in every way possible, rap, KFC, media, fashion, marketing and certainly skateboarding. In my few years longboarding there I have only seen one other guy on a LB, however there is a scene i learned of just last week. I received an email last week from a guy in paris, one version in french and another in broken english. This local said he saw me on my board and read Bustin off the back of my helmet, he looked it up and found our site and then my youtube page i think and emailed me to give me the 411 on paris LBing. On tuesday nights there is always a board meeting at a certain spot called Trocadero down by the Eiffel Tower. ill be attending the next tuesday Im in paris and will report back on the scene, numbers of riders and styles. im very excited!
Last monday my wife, Jenica, arrived to visit and we took off to germany to go see some buddies i have living there. In Hamburg, my friends Johnny and Jan are great short boarders so we went around spot to spot one day playing on flat land and stairs. I realized how much I miss and love shortboards, and was stoked I could still ollie a five stair and kinda land a heelflip! The next night we went to Skateland! Its an indoor and outdoor skate park with everything you’d want. Here I finally got to ride a bowl, I skated mini ramps a few times growing up but never a bowl. it took a while to get the guts to drop in the 7 footer for the first time on the SojournV2 but, to my surprise, I did it the first try and had the biggest grin on my face as i flew across the flat and up the other side realizing i was still on the board and not on my back! the next day Johnny drove us the two hours to Berlin to see our friend Julien. He and Jen jumped on his bikes, i on my SV2, and we took off for a city tour. Berlin is understandably a little less easy to skate around, it is very very old and went through a lot last century, WW2, the Berlin Wall and the Cold War all centered on this historic city. so needless to say theres a lot to see and experience here…via longboard….
non-skateboarding highlight of the trip: six hour road trip on the Autobahn with my beautiful wife in the passenger seat of my Series 7 BMW we rented to drive to Amsterdam. 240 km/h = 150m/h and in a 7series it feels like 70mph. I flew past a cop at 125 MPH and waved. life is sweet.
London is a great city too but so damn big! its the only place i will take a subway on a sunny day. It can take over an hour to get somewhere on the subway and would take all day to try and cross the city north to south. So while i preach longboarding instead of mass transit, london is a tuff sell. When you add in the 300 days of rain a year and the fact that they drive on the left its not at the top of the list for push culture, but a board still saves you ten minutes every time you go from the Tube to your destination and vice versa. Although if you have time and love a challenge London’s where it’s at! At least you can ask for directions in English!
theres many more exciting cities as prospects for Push but i haven’t skated them all yet, but I dream of a backpacking trip with my crew from NYC and Bustin to skate the mountains, push the cities, and spread the stoke to our european brothers and sisters. whos up for it?