Words by Frozen in Carbonite
Winter. A time for contemplation. Way back at the season’s inception, The Hélas Cap Company dropped the most essential EuroTech document since Lordz’ They Don’t Give a Fuck About Us: the double-DVD skate video, Fellas. I, for one, welcome the current Instagram era if it results in fucking immaculate physical media packaging like the aforementioned. The film comes in a double-CD case like a musically bloated late nineties double album, the track listing printed on each gold disc (the same kind on which your grandfather listened to classical music.) If you no longer own a digital video disc player, it’s also available as a USB keychain fabricated like a lil’ soccer uniform. Truth be told, I’d probably pay triple to avoid watching this or the Pass~Port video part-by-part, on a bunch of different web sites, or both.
It is almost impossible to verbalize the gravitas of an hour-long skate video with almost every single notable EuroTech skater of the past twenty years — exceptions being Roman Lisivka and Enrique Lorenzo (who still rips of course). So, I tried to find a reference point. A EuroTech We Are The World? Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk, but EuroTech? A EuroTech Hokus Pokus? An evolutionary Euro Trilogy?! As it is a high-concept production, maybe a EuroTech Da Deal is Dead? I’ll try to figure it out by the end of this essay.
Skate geopolitics have flipped on their head since the release of TDGAFAU, which is Fellas’ clearest antecedent in terms of aggregating the sum total of Euro skate talent. A call to arms for an entire continent, TDGAFAU was born of a time in which the skate industry, more or less, did not give a single fuck (ok, maybe a couple) about the European scene. However, fast forward to late 2019: there are like five according-to-Hoyle ledges left in the United States, Paris is the skate mecca of the world, MACBA is still going strong, and dudes like Gustav Tonnessen are mining new spots in Barcelona and making dope videos with them. Now, They Give All the Fucks.
One might even say that They Have No Fucks Left to Give?
So what does one do when your scene blows the fuck up and the underdog becomes the overdog? You go worldwide. EuroTech — the vibe and #lifestyle — no longer has a fixed latitude nor longitude.
First, some background. In this 2011 blog post, I broke down the core of EuroTech DNA: “the pristine football field-sized marble plazas, Louis XIV-era office buildings, and textbook switch back 5-0s, hinting at what lays in wait post-sesh in the city of lights.”
The above encapsulates the average EuroTech quotidian (in the Theatre of the Mind at least.) However, in 2020, one might spend an afternoon betting on the ponies at Hippodrome Cote d’Azur in Nice, then hit up a mellow bank-to-ledge. One might catch a flight from Lyon to Shanghai, then hit up some outrageous marble Embarcadero-type ledge formation in Taipei after a short helicopter ride. Skate Roosevelt Plaza by day and carnivale by night? Sure. A cigarette boat from BCN to Mallorca? No problem.
The imagery in Fellas is soaked in the above-referenced. As far as the skating itself, it is fun to delineate the OGs and the young guns. First, the former: TDGAFAU alumni Jean-Baptiste Gillet (who continues to set the standard for fortysomething low-impact tech skating) and Luy Pa Sin appear in current Hotel De Ville champ Florentin Mirtain’s opener, which boasts quantum-level EuroTech like fakie 360 flip manual fakie 360 flip out. City Stars alum Devine Calloway continues to formulate new bigspin variation ledge tricks in a shared part with Slovakian ledge assassin, Marek “Trigger” Zaprazny.
And then there’s Lucas.
Just as Picasso went through a Blue Period and Daewon Song traversed his Picnic Table and Rock Periods, Lucas Puig has entered his Fakie Inward Heel Period, flinging them into every conceivable manual and tailslide variation. However, the gentleman leaves his signature on the vid through his post-trick histrionics: punching his board, blowing kisses to the filmer, and — my personal favorite — the “tactical shotgun.” No one expresses every skater’s love/hate relationship with this thing of ours so poignantly.
Now, the young gun[z]. If the following is any indication, EuroTech is solid for the next twenty years or some shit. MACBA contender Brayan Albarenga pushes it to the limit with lines like noseslide to fakie (one of the sickest things about this vid is the proliferation of plain ol’ noseslides as a set-up trick), no push, switch heelflip tailslide and a noseslide to nollie kickflip noseslide over a corner–some evolutionary Chris Frantzen-in-L.A. County type shit.
If it seems nonsensical, that is because it is fucking weapons-grade EuroTech.
Mikel “El Plug” Vidal has mastered the elusive 360 flip nosegrind and also does a 360 flip noseslide at Lenox Ledges. Delaware’s own Brian Peacock contributes his signature brand of awkward-as-fuck manuals right before fellow sales tax-non payer Mark “Chipper” Del Negro’s part, which is still dope even though it isn’t as dope as his “Ninja Tortures” part, which is one of the best of the past five years.
Delaware: the most EuroTech state in the union.
Another MACBA local, Pedro Attenborough, receives the co-sign of all Eurotech cosigns: guest tricks from the immortal Javier Sarmiento and Jesus Fernandez. He also does fakie 540s (caballerial 540s?) on flat and takes crooked grind/nosegrind variations into the fourth dimension or some shit.
Truth be told, the above covers but a sampling of Fellas; to do it justice would require a novella-length #longread. Along those lines, I have finally figured out an apt comparison/reference point. Fellas is a skate Count of Monte Cristo: a sprawling narrative, centered in the Mediterranean, about an unjustly maligned underdog who flips the script into a life of leisure before sailing off for parts unknown. Just a spark on the horizon headed for whatever port of call has the crispiest marble and mellowest bank-to-ledge.
Or maybe it’s just EuroTech 20 Shot Sequence.
P.S. Tip From the Editor: Use this downtime to learn where shit is on the earth so you’re not some geographically impaired dummy ♥