So a friend told me I should have more skate content on my blog. So here goes!
Who loves skate content? Hopefully you do!
What's posted on Instagram tends to be lifestyle photos with an overlay of rose-tinted filter (or Mayfair, if you prefer). The reality tends to be a bit harsher - behind the lens lies sleepless nights (too darn cold in the tent), grumpy travel mates (WE HAVEN'T EATEN YET), disappointment (we only got 2 runs in before the road got too busy....at 7am). Sometimes reality is a lot stranger than fiction.
Without further ado I present to you my top 5 weirdest incidents occurring on skate trips, condensed for your reading pleasure.
The one where our stuff got stolen 3 times (and then our friend got arrested)
I flew into Barcelona for my first freeride since I broke my wrist the year before. Of course I looked like a target for pickpockets - small lady, obviously a tourist, dragging around an oversized skate bag, looking lost. I left the airport for the train station to meet a mutual friend who had also landed in the city the same morning. And...my wallet with all my money and bank cards disappeared. Nice.
The pizza was ok, the company was great.
I lived the next few days on a borrowed $15 euros and shared meals (thanks Rob!). We used our collective charm to persuade the car rental company to lease us a car because I had no credit card on me. The only way we could take it was with full insurance (which turned out to be some incredible foresight).
Prior to the Xert Freeride we managed to visit an epic cathedral on a hill, take a free tour of Barcelona and skate at Macba.
But when it came time to pick up our mutual friend, his baggage was lost by the airline, meaning he couldn't attend the freeride that he bought the flight for! Nek minnit, he gets arrested because he threw a fire extinguisher which promptly exploded. Smooth. (Spoiler alert: he was released the next day without issues.)
How photogenic are my friends? Also, they're taller than 6 feet, which meant I really had to pick up the pace while walking with them.
After the Xert freeride we drove back to Barcelona to spent a day with friends. We drove to the beach at the beach to unwind. And then our car got broken into. Camera gear, camping gear, skate gear was taken. Luckily they left our boards which probably cost as much (if not more) than the camera gear.
At least we had wine.
The next day we tried to unwind again (successfully!) and enjoyed food, coffee and hangs. But as we waited for our friend to pack his gear for the airport, we were distracted by a man, which was a total set up. My friend's bag (containing camera gear, passport and wallet) was stolen from the car whilst we sat in it. Jeepers, these were some next level pro thieves.
Upside: No one missed their flight. We all bonded exceptionally well. I got many free pity coffees from friends. Yay, friendship!
Disclaimer: All the events in question happened in Barcelona, but I would in no way discourage anyone from visiting. There is so much culture, art and food to experience. I'd probably advise you to not carry so much luggage and keep your valuables in a fanny pack across your chest, or under your clothes.
The one where our van broke down in the middle of the alps, without brakes
After a day of skating the amazing French Alps, UKDH and I drove to a lake.
Breakfast by the lake was tranquil, poetically overshadowing the chaos to come.
We drove downhill to head to the next mountain pass. And realised that we could hear metal on metal when the brakes were engaged. A pretty big issue when we were right in the middle of the Alps, and not anywhere close to a city.
RIP Bongo van. :(
Upside: we managed to scupper free hotel stays courtesy of the van owner's insurance company...Prior to them trying really hard to decline his insurance claim. During the course of this skate trip we slept in actual beds in a climate controlled environment, with adjoining toilets (read: a room. Heh). Such luxury on a skate trip! We also got to skate a lot more once insurance sorted us out with a hire car. I also bought myself a cool knife during the time we were in Briancon.
The distress of waking up at 4:30am was easily alleviated by amazing mountain roads. Photo by Lionill.
The one where the drivers on the road tried to kill us
This was the year I said I wouldn't drive to the Transylvannia Straja Freeride, given the number of near misses I witnessed, that occurred on our drive last year. But lo and behold, a good friend said "You'll be all good, we'll be driving!" For some reason I thought that was reason enough, despite the fact the route would be EXACTLY the same.
If you've never seen the amount of luggage a skate trip requires, check this out:
This was a short skate trip too, mind you.
And before entering Romania:
We were ready, we were optimistic.
Less than 10 minutes after we pulled onto the long, narrow highway where I witnessed the most sketchy driving of my life, a driver on the other side of the road pulls into our lane, blaring his horn, shining his brights at us, while driving at a good 80 - 100km/h. Why? Turns out that we forgot our brights were on, and in our lack-of-sleep-addled minds we had forgot to switch it off. Cue desperate fumble for the brights (failing to find them), quick swerve to the side of the road to avoid incoming car, and blaring our horn back.
Upside: we survived, and got the best rooms available for the freeride. Because it rained so much we hung out on my balcony and heckled friends from our balcony. It was a pretty sweet gig.
The original Team Heckle: coming soon to your neighbourhood to deliver those burnzz.
The one where I broke my wrist
This should be self explanatory, but I also ended up at a hospital with terrible facilities, lack of pain relief (I only got ONE panadol for my pain, and when I asked for more pain relief I was turned down. I managed to negotiate a sleeping pill though, yay), a doctor who behaved like he was a deity (in reality he was just 100% arsehole), and nurses who treated him like one, and terrible food. The other old lady patients in my room were however very lovely.
Oddly enough, this actually hurt less than a previous injury where I partially dislocated my shoulder.
Upside: I ended watching a lot of Bob's Burgers. I also had a short epiphany that my command of the German language was close to nil. Fast forward to now: I've achieved conversational German and can read newspapers (albeit with some assistance). Yay!
The one where we hitched the mountain and heard the story of a cheater
A friend and I were skating a cool Italian mountain pass, and hitching back up. For background, when you're hitching a ride in a car, the drivers tend to be stoked and will share details of a time when they too, did crazy things. There are always interesting stories to hear!
So when we entered this car we thought it was going to be the same. The guy told us here was here because of his work, and had wanted to hang out with his female colleague who he was "more than just friends" with. Then he dropped the bomb - she ditched him because he was married, and he was sad about it. And now he was going home....... to his wife who was patiently waiting for him.
I'm not sure if you were expecting sympathy, buddy, but no sympathy for you from either of us.
The skating was great though!
Upside: we skated a cool Italian mountain pass. And we got to hitch up sitting on the back of motorcycles! It was super cool, driving fast into corners and leaning, uphill. I also successfully started my first campfire.
- The one where we got locked out of our accommodation in Croatia but we were saved by friendly locals
- The one where where our AirBnB host welcomed us with homemade brandy, crepes with quince and sent us away with homemade fruit jam after giving us a tour of her museum in the backyard (yes, it was pretty epic!)
In case this sounds like doom and gloom, and it's put you off skate trips - don't! The good times far outnumber the bad, which I will be outlining in another post. Happy skating y'all!