Skate Spot Porn: Shenzhen, China

In the last decade, China surpassed Barcelona as the go-to skate trip destination. Shenzhen, though largely unknown to the west, is a place that any skate company with money has been to film in the past five years. If Instagram is any indicator, the Girl/Chocolate team alone has been there twice this year. The city is just outside Hong Kong, thirty years old (it was farmland up until the late-seventies), and considered to be one of the fastest growing cities in the entire world. Shenzhen looks like a real-life Blade Runner version of Los Angeles, and its sprawl has left a plaza below every single building. Apparently, marble and granite are cheap and abundant for Chinese developers (a few sources claimed they were even less expensive than plywood), and there’s no shortage of cranes in the sky, so Shenzhen’s collection of spots does not seem even close to being finished.

People use the “spot on every corner” line when talking about Barcelona, and it’s not exactly true. If you skate around MACBA for a day, you’re going to stumble on maybe four spots. You need to know how to get to everywhere else. Shenzhen actually has a spot on every corner, most of which visiting skateboarders don’t even bother waxing because there is always a better one down the street. “Everything is marble” is another line people use to describe good skate cities. Also not true. Sidewalks in Barcelona are not marble. Sidewalks in New York, outside of midtown, are not marble. Sidewalks in Shenzhen are marble. And when they’re not marble, they’re made from something equally smooth.

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Filming Clips, Straight Off the iPhone

Contrary to what Rick Ross may insist, the iPhone probably isn’t well suited for “selling dope.” However, it’s great for second angles and quick clips when you’re sitting around lurking at skate spots, as many have learned. (It’s not ironic that a former law enforcement official encourages impressionable youths to perform illegal activities on a highly traceable piece of technology, but perhaps he’s just trying to make his colleagues’ jobs easier.)

If Universitat is Barcelona’s (vastly superior) version of Union, then MACBA is the city’s (vastly superior) version of Tompkins and 12th & A. People kind of just get stuck lurking there, and avoiding it is a badge you can proudly wear, just like “I haven’t been to Tompkins in weeks” is a controversial conversation piece for any New York skater. Further similarities exist in that it’s too dark to skate MACBA at night (doesn’t stop people from trying), and it is a premier location for “homie cam” clips. If Diamond Days clips were based in Barcelona, they’d undoubtedly have their 3:1 duration ratio of 12th & A to non-12th & A footage replaced with MACBA footage. As a result, here is an iPhone clip, largely composed of footage filmed while sitting bored at MACBA, and other joyful moments.

Features Ishod Wair, some lil’ homie (who also appears in a recent Clint Peterson Transworld clip), Tyler Tufty, Vladamir Kirilenko, [poached footage of] Omar Salazar, Andre Page, Ty Lyons, Doug Brown, Andy Henrie, Marcel Veldman, and E.J.

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Skate Spot Porn: Barcelona Edition

If you skateboard, you don’t exactly need anyone to recommend a visit to Barcelona. Some people with more extensive experiences of going there claim that “It isn’t the same,” as say, five years ago, due to spots getting blown out, knobbed (yes, that happens out there), or whatever else. But compared to America, or more specifically to the northeast, you could take Boston, New York, Philly, Baltimore, and D.C., (even throw in the B-list cities like Providence, Hartford, Stamford, Newark, Jersey City, etc.), combine them into one city skate-spot-wise, and you still wouldn’t even come close to the “remaining” terrain it has to offer. No, that’s not being hyperbolic.

This fact goes well beyond the more design-attuned nature of the city (basically, if any New York spot was designed in Spain, it would be made infinitely better, not just in terms of unintentional pro-skateboard terms, but quality, and aesthetic-wise too.) Culturally, the public approach to skating is much different than in the U.S. You get the feeling that people in Spain don’t experience surges in dopamine whenever they get a chance to scream out “No skateboarding!” the way that Americans do, a place that has a fetish for prohibiting pretty much everything except sitting and walking in 90% of its public spaces. We were kicked out of three spots while we were there, and all three were in neighborhoods where the demographics lean heavily above sixty-years-old. If MACBA, Universitat, Forum and Parallel were in any American city, they would have been knobbed six times over. American culture loves to find things to complain about, and you don’t necessarily get the same feeling from the Spanish. (All of these conclusions were drawn in a matter of two weeks, so take them with a grain of salt. America sucks for skateboarding though, that’s a fact.)

During our time in Barcelona, we utilized an oft-recommended, yet could-be-better spot resource for Europe called SkHateYou. It didn’t have any information by way of directions or descriptions, just clickable subway stops and photos of what’s around there. (You’re welcome.) And some of those photos were crooked, out of date, depicting insane spots that no human being could/would skate, etc.

The internet didn’t offer much by way of decent Barcelona spot photographs, so in turn, here are some photos we took while out there, encompassing maybe 50% of the spots we had a chance to skate. If you haven’t done it — save some money, go to Barcelona, forget that you have ten minutes to skate something before security comes rushing out or some dumb person with nothing better to do than worry about architecture they never cared about in the first place starts complaining (“DON’T YOU REALIZE YOU’RE RUINING EXPENSIVE ART?!”), and have fun. Do it while you’re still young, motivated, and healthy.

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Barcelona Update 2 of ?: Damm Estrella Edition

Beyond the enticing “legality” of street beers in Barcelona, which allows American tourists to maintain a mild state of intoxication at all hours, another perk is the availability of the beers themselves. New York, unlike most of the U.S., has a 24/7 window for beer purchases (barring Sundays after 4 A.M. if your local bodega happens to abide by that regulation.) However, it doesn’t have an army of immigrants from the Middle East walking the streets and around skate spots delivering cold Damm Estrellas in exchange for 1 Euro (equivalent to $1.43 by today’s conversion rate.)

Universitat, the spot best known to the rest of the world as the three long black marble ledges on perfect ground, is sort of like Barcelona’s Union Square. The similarities are in the mixed crowd of late-teen to early-twenties tweakers blended with tourists and junkies, plus the centralized location that becomes more spacious for skateboarding as the night progresses. The comparison starts to fall apart once you account for fact that the three ledges would invariably be the best ones in all of New York, not to mention the reliably of the green-bag-carrying Estrella vendors that could be summoned by yelling out “AMIGO!”

Below is a clip featuring Josh Velez, a drunk homie at Universitat, Ty Lyons, and Andre Page. It was filmed under the discretion of street-bought Damm Estrellas. We have been trying to bolster our rap to non-rap soundtrack ratio, and it should come as no surprise that Quartersnacks has a soft spot for songs from the 1950s when it comes to video clips filmed entirely at night.

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Barcelona Update 1 of ?: Damm Lemon Edition

“I used to skate” on the way up to MACBA

Apparently, New York just had the hottest day since 1977. (No blackouts, right?) It’s gone above 80 degrees in Barcelona twice in the past week, so diverting your party money to a summer 2012 refuge fund might be a wise idea.

Below is a brief clip featuring Andre Page, Josh Velez, and Daniel Lebron. For those who may not know, one of the key perks of Barcelona for Americans is the legal “grey area” that exists for beer consumed on the street. Damm Lemon is one of the three key beverages (the others being Damm Estrella and water) for American travelers in the city. (Visible here along with other consumer goods unavailable to the American market, like marijuana flavored beer and Lays cheeseburger potato chips.)

We’ve only hit maybe 25% of the spots on the list, and have three days left, so hopefully there will be another quick Damm Estrella edit up in the next couple of days, in addition to a more extensive one later in the summer. Shout out to all the locals, and everyone over at Nike for looking out for us.

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A handful of readers from Norway have gotten in touch with us in the past, our condolences go out to you guys and your country. Keep your heads up.