Habitat: Searching through Europe
Words & photos by Dan Zaslavsky
Back in May, I met up with Suciu and Dela in Barcelona for a Euro adventure to round up some photos. We hit ten countries in 30 days, and most of the photos in their interviews (in our January mag) were taken on that trip. Brennan Conroy was there as T.M. and Jonathan "Toga" Ettman was the token flow bro who ripped it up as well. We all shared driving duties, steering the strange six-passenger box truck towards the next skate destination. We slept at hostels or on friends' floors. It was one of those epic Euro trips that I recommend everyone venture out on one day, and luckily, I was rolling with two of my favorite rippers. Here's a behind the scenes look at our journey.
Posted: December 26, 2013
Started in the skateboarding mecca of Europe and pretty much took it from there without a set plan.
Three rippers start it off in Barcelona: Brian Delatorre, Al Davis, and Jonathan “Toga” Ettman. Brennan is Habitat's renaissance man: TM, filmer, and social media coordinator.
It ain’t Barcelona unless you spend some QT at Macba.
And right around the corner from Macba, this thing that Al switch ollied into, as featured in our January issue.
Classic Spot, classic trick. Toga, backside 360; Not really sure it can get much better.
Finding a new spot in Barcelona is only a little less easy than it used to be. Came across this thing and Toga christened it with a beautiful kickflip.
And then, Dela got some. Look at that, that’s like a four foot tall nollie.
Toga topped it off with a risky backside fifty, with a train passing in the background to boot.
Next new spot, Al pulled some escapist shit.
On our final day in Barci, this spot took us hours to find. Pretty far outside the city but boy are the benches buttery. Toga, bs 180 fakie 5-0
Suciu flew into Marseilles to meet us. This was the crew for the next 25 days.
Best bowl over? Coincidence?
Quick catalog shoot and we out
Got real streety
Met up with French Fred so Mark could get a few photo technique pointers. Only the best for Suciu.
This was right around the time the new Habitat catalog that included Dela and Mark’s pro boards was being released to shops. Technically they weren't pro yet, but the cat was out of the bag and this photo was sorta commemorates that.
This asshole wouldn’t move. Sometimes stereotypes are true.
Perfect spot for Mark to get tricky, and worn out
Dela shows his true colors
If I remember its history correctly, this rail was originally built by the Cliche guys and after a solid 10-year stint it (and a handful of epic tricks) it pretty much rusted apart. This is the version that some local rollerbladers replaced it with and not as good.
Ed Selego had 5-0 the shit out of this rail back in the Adio days. The gap to flat and down still awaits for that brave soul to conquer.
You can take the boy out of the Philly but you can’t take the Philly out of boy. Or something like that.
Would someone please help me settle this bet: Did the Adio team skate this rail in 411 or not? Pretty sure the video part was to a cover of "99 Ballons,”
We spent a solid four days staying at the Cliche office. Thanks for the hospitality, dudes!
We hit the road. Long drive, big gas bill.
We had one destination in mind and it was this majestic hubba.
We got to it. Al setting it off with a cool nosegrind.
Mark nollie crooks, just past that warming up stage, only to get the boot.
Quick Italian breakfast the next morning.
And we out. Hi-yaaa!
Off to Austria.
Sorta felt like we time traveled.
Got some good looking spots too!
Mark fit right in
If you happen to be Innsburk, check out the City Hall. Pretty cool, accidentally built skatepark.
Just in case they produce any music together, we got the album art on hand.
He skates like a vermin and drinks like a…aaaah just kidding!
We heard there was some shit to skate in Bratislava, but honestly I don’t think any of us thought we’d find ourself in Slovakia.
We found this ledge and Mark got a sweet bs nosegrind pop-out. Later we realized that over a decade ago Kenny Reed had a cover of another mag at this same spot.
This War Memorial was the spot we heard about.
And a massive double set (not pictured) right after this ledge Dela is about to hit. We left; didn’t get shit.
Everyone was itching to skate one of the best ledge spots in the world - Stalin Square in Prague, Czech Republic. After a seriously wild goose case, we found it but much to Brennan’s dismay, it wasn’t very good for his bs tail bs flip out.
The view from Stalin Square during the day. Beautiful city but unfortunately, little to my knowledge, my board was being stolen while I shot this photo.
Mark put in some serious work, but still wasn’t happy with the outcome, so you won’t be seeing any clips of him from here.
Good times, non-the-less.
Off to Berlin, just in time for breakfast.
How you warm up is really up to you.
When in Rome…
Possibly one of the most amazing things I’ve ever shot but I’m not sure if I really translates.
Who the fuck made this spot?!
Biemer was our awesome tour guide and a great photographer. Thanks, bud!
Yours truly, on a christmas complete (I hate christmas completes). Can I get some Habitat Shoes and Mystery wheels web photo incentive?
Toga had slowed down a bit, but only temporarily and got back into the swing of things in Berlin. Fakie nosegrind revert.
Here’s one that really didn’t translate, but then again the hubba is only about 16” tall. Mark, 50-50 ollie over bar.
The Kulture Forum spot has a lot this offer, like this never been skated over rail into bank.
And the OG ledge on hubba. Pretty, ain't it?
One quick tourist photo at the remains of the Berlin wall, and on to the next.
Right smack in the middle of downtown Rotterdam is this all-metal skatepark. Suciu warms up on the vert ramp.
Goddamn bikes everywhere. Pudwill would love this one.
That one rail Gerwer tried in the rail. Even in ideal conditions, this thing is gnarly!
Show me a mailbox spot that doesn’t look cool.
This one was tough to shoot, but had a picturesque backyard as well as a nice flick/catch by Toga to compensate for my shortcomings.
Tim Zom showed us around. Spots to die for.
Some more Hi-yaa, of the boarding kind.
Zom took us to the local hang-outs too.
Plenty of options for whatever your preference may be.
Crazy-ass Zom. Thanks for letting us crash!
Off to Antwerp. Cool scene.
That one hubba Appleyeard skated in Brussels.
More art, this time influenced by man.
Dela broke it off with a proper lipslide.
Al, getting lofty. That flatbar on the right is the one Suciu is feeble grinding to fakie in his interview.
Weird shit happens when you spend a lot of time on the road. This was at a rest stop on the way to Paris.
This was the first skater we saw.
La Defense is one big business district (read, skatepark).
McCrank is a forefather, does make Nyjah one of his disciples?
We left Paris pretty quickly. Can’t remember where this is exactly, but Louis the 13th lived here at some point.
We were heading back to Barcelona to handle some unfinished business but half way there, we looked at the weather forecast and it called for guaranteed rain. So we took a detour and found this rainbow rail upon arriving in Bordeaux.
Al displays his spidey-skills.
And his grasshopper skills.
We stumbled across this hubba and took the connected handrail off for Mark to skate it.
Almost got something to write home about, but instead he got serviced.
Still worth the experience.
As the rain was letting up down south, we headed back on track, but not before stopping in Andorra. No, it’s not in Africa - look it up.
This was the unfinished business aforementioned. And it was well worth it. Good work, Brian.
As we were leaving the over rail into bank, we found this just a couple blocks away. Pretty cool but those gridded sidewalks are a PITA!
Macba, no comment
Thomas Winkle, our hard working Barcelona tour guide and filmmaker, respectively, says peace out and enjoy the new Habitat video. Thanks everyone!