Positively Toxic: Sour in Morocco Article

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April 23rd, 2023
This story starts where all stories start, Barcelona—home of the great unwanted skaters clinging to the Peter Pan mantra that’s now nearing its expiration date. I’ve ditched the job for a few days in order to digest the Mediterranean landscape. In a mere four days, I’ll be airborne, headed to Tangier, Morocco in the company of Gustav Tønnesen, Tom Snape, Axel Berggren, Vincent Huhta and Nassim Lachhab.

Less scrolling, more rolling, the Sour team brings an exciting edit packed with jaw-dropping Moroccan spots 

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Sour Morocco Pullquotes Will cuteness be a survival mechanism in the future?

GUSTAV TØNESSEN kickflip shifty Rabat by GERARD RIERA DZ 2000Gustav, shifty flip over the spine of an Atlantic Coast fortress in Rabat. Good strategy

April 28th
It’s Friday, and while back home we have a shitty tradition of eating a very Swedish version of tacos on Fridays, in Morocco it’s the day of couscous. I feel like we’re a little kindergarten class holding hands as we’re walking behind Nassim who has the intellectual capacity equal to the whole group—speaking three different languages in the same sentence and—boom, all of a sudden we’re at a restaurant and our table is filled with couscous and I’ve got an orange juice in my hand. Cats seems to be everywhere around here. I’m not sure if cats can take out rats, but it seems like an A+ example of Darwin’s theory, and I definitely prefer cats over rats. Will cuteness be a survival mechanism in the future? After visiting a plaza that looked like the Garden of Eden, we cruise through the town of Rabat. Our group reaches the harbor where smoking not only feels allowed, it’s encouraged. Small fishing boats made their way into the harbor and we all just stood there for a minute and let the moment happen. Some of the guys were already plotting ways to extend the tour to an undetermined length. And, I mean, with a view like this you forget for a moment how our systems in the world have stopped working, how we constantly confuse creativity with pointless shopping and all suffer from the compulsion of waving around an electronic device as soon as we see something worth remembering.

AXEL BERGGREN fs 50 pop to flat Tangier by GERARD RIERA DZ 2000The ground still remembers Axel Berggren, 50-50 gap out in Tangier



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April 29th
Today something was off. Cops were on every street corner—even though it’s hard to tell because 75% of them are undercover. So a random guy comes up and tells you to stop skating and then you continue, fulfilling your role as a dumb Swede—until Nassim fills you in on the fact that we just got kicked out by a general. Later on we found out that the king is in Rabat and that whenever that happens the cops go into this weird paranoia—they repaint the white lines on the road and remove all the people who don’t fit with their utopian vision (hint hint, nudge nudge).

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VINCENT HUHTA nollie heelflip to fakie Rabat by GERARD RIERA DZ 2000Vincent Huhta knocking on heaven’s door with a nollie heel. Inshallah

The evening arrives and new forces are brought into town. The Swedish/British connection (Björn Holmenäs, Martin Sandberg and Barney Page) made it through and got picked up in a car that looks like it belongs in a museum, but works like a charm. As this evening didn’t deliver much in the way of adventure for the group, one could tell that everyone was suffering from the first signs of withdrawal from the Internet. In Morocco, the roaming fees were astronomical, and since I already planted the seed of trying to use this trip as a reason to detox from alcohol and the Internet, I didn’t get a local SIM card. Björn had other plans—he brought a bottle of whiskey from the airplane since it was his last chance before arriving in the land of tea.

BARNEY PAGE recurso wallride Tangier by GERARD RIERA DZ 2000Threading needles at the entrance of the Tangier Medina, Barney Page crawls some wall 

May 1st
Now, the family is reunited and the morning ritual proceeds—the toilets are occupied and the foot-odor smell fills the rooms in our castle-like residence. Nassim asks if anyone wants a SIM card which is answered by silence. We’ve evolved. Our driver Abdullah (whom we’ve been calling Rachid the whole time) turned out to be a maniac; I’ve never seen anyone accelerate as they see a bump on the road. Oh yeah, he lost his license on the first day because a cop pulled him over for driving too sketchy. He’s nice, though. He seems like one of those guys who can adapt to situations where others would be way more concerned, like us.

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Gustav gave in and got a 4G SIM card, but I’m a purist and not even touching the Wi-Fi anymore. He showed me the road between Rabat and Chefchaouen, and it looks like we’re going on the same journey that Gandalf and his guild took to Mordor. Abdullah is blasting through the mountain on a road pretending to be asphalt but definitely feeling more like a DIY path. After a while of bumping here and there, I started hearing a noise I recognized—the screeching sound of brake pads being completely worn down to the metal. As I’m trying to look out the windows (after I don’t know how many joints) I detect that, yes:

1. We’re on a serpentine road.
2. There’s a drop of about 200 meters to the right.
3. The brake pads are gone.
4. We’re going 100km/h on a 60 km/h road.

Since it was the middle of the night, there weren’t many cars passing by. Unfortunately, Abdullah’s confidence grew because of the lack of traffic. He started crossing the left lane during left turns because it’s more efficient. Doing it with a clear view is one thing, but a true optimist does it even when there are blind left turns that you encounter in Gandalf’s mountains. I turn to Vincent to pass him the joint, and suddenly his face is illuminated by headlights and his eyes widen. The joint flies out of my hand as Abdullah makes a hard right turn to avoid the oncoming car and probably a frontal death of Sour—the eternal Sour Solution. As if it’s a sign from above, the radio starts playing Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven,” and we all look at each other, saying some standard confirmations that I guess friends say when they feel like they are about to die. I must have passed out after that because when I opened my eyes the car had stopped and we had arrived somewhere. I can’t give you a better explanation because there were absolutely no lights in the village where we stopped.

AXEL BERGGREN varial heelflip into the bank Rabat by GERARD RIERA DZ 2000Axel takes a broken-toe varial heel into the oldest bank known to man

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Sour Morocco Pullquotes we all ordered one of the best-tasting beers we’d had in a while

NASSIM LAMCHHAB bs 360 over the Tangier by GERARD RIERA DZ 2000This was the most hectic street in Tangier. Nassim twists a backside 360 into evening traffic

May 2nd
Today is apparently a tourist day, and Nassim takes us to Akchour—a little town nearby where he hasn’t taken anyone before because, in his words, Usually the teams are more focused on skateboarding. Björn gets himself a hat and blanket to avoid burning up in the sun which makes him look like a cult leader. After hours of swimming, eating and smoking, Abdullah asks, “Aren’t you guys supposed to do anything, like work or whatever?” And I guess that’s the cue for us to move on. Our next stop is Chefchaouen. In the evening, we go to a nearby restaurant. As we sit down, Nassim’s brother Zack informs us that they actually sell beer. I’ve been sober for seven days now, and adjusted to a non-drinking trip, but it didn’t take long before we all ordered one of the best-tasting beers we’d had in a while. Zack had another trick up his sleeve—he was going to try hypnosis on us. I was doubtful at first, but as he started doing small stuff, instructing us to put our hands out, fingers close to each other and then “glued” our fingertips together, I thought maybe it was actually working. Then Zack said he was going to put Björn to sleep. So Björn stands up and looks like Jesus about to get crucified and Zack starts saying stuff in a very mantra-like way. Then he snaps his fingers and Björn’s eyes, which are wide-open, just turn completely empty, like his brain disconnected and he falls onto the floor. He wakes up completely in shock and happy that he didn’t pee or shat himself. Zack is one of a kind.

VINCENT HUHTA gap to fs 5 0 fountain Tangier by GERARD RIERA DZ 2000Vincent, gap to 5-0. This spot was gold

May 5th
We’re in Tétouan. A rooster is waking everybody up and we realize that there’s no toilet paper and a lot of shit about to come out of our asses. So after the team had been trying out the ass washer and fingering themselves in the butt for a while, we left the house. Now, it might feel very much like I’m going to turn this article into a #vanlife blog of me growing out a beard and telling people how off grid I am, but fucking hell—day nine without any sort of Internet connection was simply amazing, at least for now. But knowing that you’ll get a clusterfuck of messages regarding your “real job” as soon as your phone gets a sniff of a connection makes you want to rejoin the world even less.

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Sour Morocco Pullquotes completely losing a tape filled with clips, that’s unacceptable

TOM SNAPE switch kickflip Rabat by GERARD RIERA DZ 2000Snape switch flips in and out of the dark in Rabat

As I was logging footage I realized that I was missing a tape. This is the worst feeling of filming. Filming shitty is one thing (and I do it most of the time), but completely losing a tape filled with clips, that’s unacceptable. I keep on searching through Gustav’s bags in hopes of finding it while everybody is waiting in the vehicle, wondering why I’m all stressed out. I get back in the van, still trying to figure out where it could be. I’ll worry about confessing my crime later. Now isn’t the time to contaminate the others with my BS.

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Gustav Tonnesen Noseslide Popover 270 750Gus, noseslide 360 transfer delicacy in Tétouan

By the end of the day, Snape is pretty much looking like shit, so I ask him how he feels and he says he has the shivers and is about to shit himself. His face was so pale I could probably white balance my camera with it. Luckily, he didn’t shit himself, but I think he was only a fraction of a second away, as he ran to the toilet as soon as the car stopped at the house. I had my own troubles to sort out, though—the fucking tape. That’s when I remembered: We’ve got two VX cameras! There never was a lost tape; it was just in the other camera. Braincells!

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Sour Morocco Pullquotes Imagine a school field trip, but everyone was walking around like a junkie

MARTIN SANDBERG fs bluntslide to fakie into the bank Tangier by GERARD RIERA DZ 2000Martin Sandberg front blunts to fakie through glue, shit and glass

May 6th
Today is the last day in Tangier and those who haven’t gotten a photo yet for the article ingest the rest of the painkillers and pour Voltaren gel all over their bodies like it’s sunblock. Speaking of which, it’s so bright outside I almost want to complain, but then I remember Snape’s shivers from last night and decide that I’m better off with sunstroke than whatever he had. We end up at a plaza filled with a group of 20 ten-year-old kids sniffing glue. Imagine a school field trip, but everyone was walking around like a junkie. Martin was trying a frontside bluntslide while I swept away all the orange glue packages and plastic bags littering the run up. Time passes until the VX batteries are about to die and only a few minutes remain on the tapes we brought. Then Martin has one of those moments where you try something for ages without getting close and then all of a sudden it just happens. I verify that I recorded the phenomena and run out of the picture making sure Gerard can edit my dorky face out of the photo.

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NASSIM LACHHAB fs flip tile street gap Tetuán by GERARD RIERA DZ 2000Nassim Lachhab’s board hit Gerard’s head on one frontside flip attempt, adding some extra red to these tiles in Tétouan

Later on at the beach we celebrate the end of another trip with questionable goals in terms of skating, but at least we got to experience a new place with old friends. Björn wondered if we had anything we could add to the company’s Instagram, which was answered by silence. I looked at him and his face was so red by now that I thought a selfie would be enough to go viral. Now we would return. I would come back to my grown-up life, the email inbox of misery, the dread of social media and all the other stuff that occupies people these days. I took a mental image of the group, trying to extract whatever feelings I could, secretly wishing we would miss the flight back.

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As I’m sitting here, one day before the deadline for this piece, I’ve just got the news about the earthquake that took place in Morocco. Skateboarding articles usually have a preset of being strictly entertainment, but this is real. According to the WHO, 2,100 individuals have been reported dead so far and over 300,000 have been affected throughout the country. You can donate to different organizations, including the IFRC. Help out if you can. Thank you, Morocco and your amazing people, for showing us a hella good time.

BARNEY PAGE back smith out ledge Tangier by GERARD RIERA DZ 2000Barney back Smiths his way through the never-ending Truman Page show. This episode was filmed in Tangier. Ma’a salama, Morocco
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