#TRENDWATCH2019 in the Form of a QS Travelogue — Athens, Greece

No, where are not above using an iPhone pic of a sunset for a headline image ;)

Truth be told, 80% of skate trips go to the same dozen places. When there’s an uptick in coverage from a new one, it’s no different than noticing a trick return to fashion, or everyone’s pants cuffs starting to homogenize. And lately, a lot of crews have been going to Greece. Not to say that skaters visiting Greece is some new phenomenon — just that this past year has felt like it produced a new “Trip to Athens!” clip each month.

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Skate Spot Porn: Prague’s Stalin Plaza

Fall 2018 marks ten years since Billy Rohan rescued those slabs of marble from Albany’s defunct Shelter Skatepark, with which he would go on to create the best iteration of 12th & A that there ever was. Through the spring of 2013, 12th Street became a rare place to skate straight, stone ledges in lower Manhattan without having to worry about a kick-out. I remember Billy being in awe of how he and Curtis Rapp pulled off this marble heist and installation without a hitch: “This spot is perfect — it feels like Stalin Plaza, except instead of marble ground, I have to settle for a basketball court.”

I also remember that when we were doing the interview for this old segment about the Chapman Skateboards archive, Gregg mentioned how Billy equated their patented technology for a “performance tip” (a piece of special plastic at the nose and tail of a board that kept your pop crisper for longer) to be like skating on Stalin Plaza ground at all times.

Apart from Billy’s anecdotal obsession with Stalin Plaza, I have wanted to go there since Harsh Euro Barge came out. It looked the right amount of different from any other European holy grail spot; something stood out about those arbitrary pieces of marble stacked on flawless ground, with a precision applied to the spacing between each one. How were these piles of beautifully sliced rocks left alone in a building-less abyss?

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Skate Spot Porn: Pietrasanta Skate Plaza

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In tune with the QS tradition of taking off to Europe for the first weeks of June, office related tasks have been taking place in Italy for the past half week. The first day brought us to Pisa, from where we drove 45 minutes to the Pietrasanta Skate Plaza, a skatepark where every obstacle is made out of the world’s best marble.

The marble mined in the Apennine Mountains along the Tuscan coast of Italy is the marble they used for The Pantheon, Michelangelo’s David, and what your favorite rapper’s floors are provided that he’s not a liar (i.e. they’re probably from Home Depot.) The city of Pietrasanta, located at the bottom of the Apuan Alps, is half covered with marble studios, each of which have several acres of gated land displaying gigantic cubes of potential ledges.

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Pietrasanta is a town of just over 20,000 people, so we’re talking like a regular day at Tompkins when there’s a box. In 2012, they had a measly 50,000 Euros (~$55,000) to build a skatepark, except instead of constructing the 11th worst park ever built, they came up with a creative solution. Through cooperation with the local government and the main staple of the local economy, Marco Morigi, a beacon of hope for forward-thinking skatepark designers, mulled through the marble yards in Pietrasanta, collecting donatable scraps of rock that could yield skateable obstacles. The 50,000 Euros would then only be spent on pouring the concrete for the floor, and for foundations under the marble.

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Probably The Chillest D.I.Y. Spot in the World — Yume Farm in Narita, Japan

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Japanese culture is well known for its attention to detail. They seem to master everything they pursue, sometimes even surpassing original versions of things indigenous to other places. Why else do Americans fly to Japan, convert dollars to yen, and spend money on superior Japanese versions of traditionally American products? So in hindsight, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to learn that the most impressive D.I.Y. spot I’ve ever seen — save Burnside, FDR and places that have been around for twenty-plus years — was in Japan.

There is minimal English information about Yume Farm on the internet. It is an actual farm and campsite, serving as a hour-away escape from Tokyo life for anyone willing to make the drive. The skatepark though — …doesn’t make a lot of sense. It’s a smooth island of concrete in the middle of the woods. It sits on a mellow slope and there is no sign that it was ever a building foundation. The only story behind how it came to exist was “three years ago, the park gave it to the skaters and said they could build whatever they want on it.” The people who brought us here had last skated it three months prior, and in that time, the entire tall transition section got built.

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Still Trending: Puerto Rican Winters

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Photos by Zach Baker

With winter coming back around tomorrow, now may be a good time to vicariously live through the week we spent in Puerto Rico at the start of 2015. The island’s status as skateboarding’s premier tropical getaway for ~$300 RT has been well-documented on the internet this winter: Lakai spent some time there, all the dudes from Richmond who are heavy on Vine were just there, and the Most Productive Crew™ in New York skateboarding has still yet to release all documented material from their February trip.

Our time spent two months ago was not very “productive” in the traditional sense, as the purpose of the trip was leisure rather than business and/or skateboarding. Most of the footage came via winter Puerto Rican resident, Alexander Mosley, who just put together a clip for his website, Watermelonism.com.

We covered the San Juanese skateboard getaway phenomenon on the site last year, but we did get to travel a bit around the east side island this time around. That means dipping into towns with a couple beachside skate spots, and higher amounts of chickens and stray dogs running around than in the more Americanized San Juan. One of the highlights was a day trip to Vieques, which can be seen throughout the final minute of the above clip, in addition to the opening Al Davis line / Jake Johnson ollie up the stage, 5050 the hubba in the GX1000 “PM Puerto Rico” clip.

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