June 3, 2017

A Street Skater's Paradise

I had the chance to meet up with renown photographer and editor of The Skateboard Mag, Shigeo (who also happens to be my brother).  We hit the streets around the Sant Marti District of Barcelona and found several near perfect skate spots.  This was the first time I had stepped on a skateboard in several months so I was more than a little rusty.  It actually took me a few tries to even get the board off the ground.  However, after a solid 30 minutes of warm up, I felt like I had it all back again.  I think riding a skateboard is just like riding a bike in that you never really forget how to do it.

The first spot we hit was a series of ledges and rails behind the Diagonal Zero hotel.  I couldn't believe that we were skating without being hassled by security, especially because it seemed like such an upscale place.  But I guess that's just how it is in Spain...   and China...   and Brazil...   and basically any place that isn't the United States.

Like any true street spot, there are unforeseen difficulties with skating structures that were not initially designed for skateboarding (although I swear some of the features in Barcelona  are so perfect that hey had to have been designed with skating in mind).  The first pic on this post shows a bench constructed of two steel rails.  Although seemingly perfect for a front boardslide, the overhanging sign made it difficult to skate without hitting the front of the board on the sign.  This necessitated an adjustment to assume a position more characteristic of a blunt slide whereby the board is held at a sharp angle upwards in order to avoid hitting the sign.  It is this sort of creativity and troubleshooting that makes street skating challenging and fun.

After that, we skated a metal flat ledge down by the pier.  The ledge was just over waist high and to be honest, made me a little nervous to skate it because of its height.  It's weird going back to skating after practicing medicine.  I think of all these patients who suffered broken hips, concussions, and brain hemorrhages just from falling down at ground level.  To fall from 4 feet up straight onto concrete could send me straight to a nursing home, I thought.  But you know what?  I'm not 80 years old yet am I?  In fact I'm a lot closer in age to the skateboarders dominating street league than I am to the 80 year olds populating our nursing homes with broken hips.

With that in mind, I went for a quick 50-50 grind and got it second try.  But as we all know, a 50-50 is nothing to write home about.  In fact it just looks like I'm basically riding on the ledge doing nothing.  I wanted to go for another trick but couldn't think of one that I could still do.  Crooked Grinds betrayed me years ago.  And nose grind or tailslide?  The last time I landed one of those, Nokia dominated the cell phone market.  But what about the 5-0 grind?  Perhaps my only true friend left in the skate world.  The 5-0 grind has never left my side as a go to trick and after a couple bails, I landed one.  


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