SKETCHES of SPAIN WORDS AND PHOTOS: JOSE MARÍA DE LA CIERVA
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pain, my country, is located in southern Europe between France and Portugal, separated from Morocco by the Strait of Gibraltar. Here in Spain we have a great historical heritage, for here have passed the Celts, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Muslims and many others. All of them have contributed to our history and to our great architectural heritage, which is really worth seeing and very well preserved. With more than 300 sunny days per year and 95% of
the territory ready to skate, the great climate makes our country one of the best places to longboard in the occidental world. As well, Spainâ€™s longboard community is growing exponentially every year. Longboarding is what we call here at its boom, with new clubs, crews, meetings, races and longboard events happening every weekend all over the country. YouTube, social networks, brands and Internet forums do the rest,
keeping the riders informed of all news small and big. No wonder why the top brands in the world are coming here to shot videos and sponsor riders. In order to make these photos for Concrete Wave, I made two trips by car: one to the north and other to the south. As in many countries, north and south in Spain are two different worlds, and you can feel that in the people, the climate, languages, and as well in every detail big or small that you could think about in two different worlds.
Manchu checks out the surf.
Diego Guerrero from Seville has been riding longboards since the '70s.
“I’M FROM BARCELONA” Barcelona is a must when you go on a skate trip to Spain. This city is just the best city in the world for longboarding. I can’t explain it in a few words; you just have to see it. Go ahead and check out all the videos you find on the Internet about longboarding in Barcelona; you will be amazed. Longboarders take advantage of the fact that the city is very well prepared for bicycles and small-wheel urban transport. I consider it a giant skatepark. You owe it to yourself to visit this magical city at least once. The Forum is the greatest local longboard spot there – the Barcelona longboard community meets there almost every day – and Numancia Street is great for sliding.
GREAT PAVEMENT – NO BULL! ona, lona, Pampl ncia, Barce le Va , do. le do le To oute: To la y León, Northern R alicia, Castil G s, ia ur st A tabria, s. Euskadi, Can or 1200 mile summer y 2,000 kms el at h of Spain in rt no e Approxim th to go to d mmen more days. I would reco le to skate ab be d there, an avoid rain ted my trip in order to h but I star rt no e really th is not in os. This city Valencia is os and vide ot ph horice lly ni some e it is a tota where I took uising sinc cr r fo y the t tr u ea t. It’s gr ake sure yo worth a visi ver ends. M ne ng ting. pi ea m r here pu e Paella fo zontal city w king and th in dr r fo s d Farton Horchata an
Pamplona is famous for the San Fermines, where lots of crazy guys run in front of the bulls, but is really a city great for skating any other time of the year. Incredible views everywhere and great pavement ready for your urethane, regardless of the duro of your ruedas (wheels). Euskadi (Basque Country) is one of the best places in the world for several reasons: the people, the food, the geographical situation – all are great. The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is a must for cultural visits, but really Euskadi is full of great places, all of them ready to skate and to enjoy the environment. Euskadi’s people are famous for their great hospitality and courage, and the riders I met there confirmed that to me! Cantabria is next to Euskadi and is famous for its surfing beaches. In Cantabria you can snowboard, surf and longboard in the same day without traveling too far. Who needs anything else in order to have a complete board day? Asturias is next to Cantabria and is another natural paradise. The difference between Cantabria and Asturias is sometimes hard to find, for both lands are great and their people are full of hospitality.
ELVES+ BAGPIPES+OCTOPUS = GALICIA Galicia is a magical land where people live in harmony with elves, witches and other supernatural heritages of the Celts that stayed there for a long time. You can enjoy Celtic villages, eat octopus, and listen to the bagpipes when you skate around the old center of towns like Santiago de Compostela. You will just be amazed if you are able to see Santiago’s Cathedral. This city is a pilgrimage goal for Catholics, who journey there from all parts of Europe since the Middle Ages to have their sins forgiven. So if you made some sins before you were a longboarder, you
Southern Route: Toledo, Extremadu ra, Andalucía, Murcia, Castilla la Mancha, Toledo. Ap pro ximately 2000 kms or 1200 miles .
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should longboard to that city in order to reach Paradise. After I passed by Galicia I went back to Toledo to try to get some rest for the second part of my trip.
Downhilling in Fuengirola. Look for the Rubio Roller Crew when you get there!
X-TREME? NO, IT’S EXTREMADURA! Extremadura is located in the west and gets its name from the Latin language of the Roman Empire, the same as many other cities and territories in Spain. This land is famous for its great nature and its great historical heritage. If you come to Mérida and you will be able to longboard around real Roman villages and a very famous Roman theatre, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The longboarding scene is starting to take off in Extremadura, and my visit to Cáceres was great for many purposes, including finding out who is who in the longboard scene there. There is a small but growing scene. I had the chance to meet all the riders. It is obvious they are pushing hard in every aspect they can. They are always riding and organizing themselves. So save a little time for Extremadura, for it’s our own forgotten California in the west side of the country.
STAR WARS Andalucía is a huge part of Spain located in the south. Its name comes from the Muslim Empire name for Spain, “Al–Andalus.” (That era ended around 1489, and Muslims had been here from eight centuries before … quite a while.) Andalucía is great for longboarding any time of the year, and is especially hot in summer. If you come in summer, be ready to skate at night, as it is the only way unless you are in the mountains. The other nine months of the year, every spot of Andalucía is really ready to longboard. You will find a lot of riders in most of the cities. As in the rest of the country, longboarding is getting bigger and bigger in Andalucía every day. In Seville you can see the Plaza de España, where George Lucas shot some of the scenes of the last chapters of Star Wars. It’s a really great place to relax while you longboard the green bicycle lines that are all around the city and make Seville one of the best places
Mario hits the wet streets of Santiago.
The crew from Fuengirola.
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Enjoying the ride in Cantabria.
in the world for cultural cruising on a longboard. Is also recommended to visit the neighborhood of Triana – and of course la Giralda, the bell tower of the Cathedral of Seville.
THE CARVER OF SEVILLE In Seville I had the luck to meet Diego Guerrero. He has been longboarding since the ’70s and is the soul of oldschool longboarding in Seville. I was amazed when he showed me his board collection, and I had an incredible time there with this longboard maniac. I salute you, Diego! I also met the younger longboard community there in the Place of Saint Telmo, a great spot for sliding, pumping, slalom and carving. All these guys and girls really made me feel great, and I am looking forward to going back there as soon as possible! After Seville my trip was almost finished; I just needed some action, so I went to Fuengirola, a town on the Costa del Sol, where I met the most crazy-fordownhill-skateboarding guys and girls I had ever met. It was difficult to shoot them because they were going down the hill really fast, but the experience was worth it, and I would repeat it if I could – again, another Spanish place to which I already want to go back.
RUBIO ROLLER CREW
The local skatepark at Pamplona.
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If you ever are in the area of Fuengirola and are a speedboard addict, don’t hesitate to contact the Rubio Roller Crew (search for Downhill Málaga on the Internet). You will find yourself riding downhill in one of the most beautiful and secure places ever, and the people there are just so hospitable. These guys showed again me that all downhill sports are brothers, and that best downhill riders in Spain are from many countries, including Argentina. After I finished in Fuengirola I had to go to Murcia before heading to my house, but that was just a technical stop in order to get few hours of rest before heading to Toledo again. When I arrived to Toledo I couldn’t believe it; I had lost weight, and I had found new friends and I already wanted to go back to every single place I had just visited. I wish I had more time to do this trip and stay more time with every person I met. I also wish I could have gone to all the places I couldn’t get to. I will do my best to eventually reach everyone in my country, skate with them and take my camera. I want to invite every rider in the world to visit Spain and meet the Spanish longboard community. We are easy to find on the Internet, so be sure you contact someone before you come here; you will be welcome, and we will show you the best of our country. CW
The article I wrote for Concrete Wave Magazine about longboarding in Spain.