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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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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Skate Spot Porn

There are no nude, pornographic photos in this post. Yet, the post is pornographic because your indulgence in these images will more than likely be superficial. If you have been above 14th Street in the past month, you probably know that they renovated the Grace Ledge Plaza, and it came out better than every skatepark in New York City combined. You are also probably aware that it is more or less under twenty-four hour security. Just for kicks, we updated the spot page for it so you can drool on your keyboard.

(Click here for a panoramic photo of the entire spot)

Below is the only known footage of the spot. Predictably, it’s at night. If anyone sees these kids around, ask them if they used tranquilizer darts or a cloth with chloroform on it. (Solid clip by the way. Backing the dirty lens and the Houston Park 5050.)