Spiraling: GX1000 in Basque Country Article
Willow Voges Fernandes from Germany joined us a few days into the trip and wasted no time jumping from wall to wall to wall
Wait, so dad isn’t coming? This was our running joke leading up to the GX1000 trip to Spain—our first overseas trip without Ryan Garshell, owner of the brand and technically our boss. Cody Thompson and Otto Ray took his place as filmer and trip planner. We were also down a photographer. Joe Brook was our go-to choice, but he had a conflict and couldn’t make it. We frantically hit up all the lensmen on our list, but nobody was available to join us for two weeks overseas. At the buzzer, our guy Pizzle suggested Gerard Riera from Barcelona. We didn’t personally know him so we had questions: Is this dude legit? Is he gonna be cool hanging with a bunch of animals? We decided to trust Pizzle’s recommendation and hope it worked out. Sometimes the best things in life are unexpected.
The unforgiving banks and picturesque streets from Bilbao to Vigo get the GX treatment. Don't miss it
We were all exhausted by the time we made it to Spain. I was itching to sleep in a bed—or at least someplace more comfortable than an airplane seat, but we still had a little bit of traveling left to get to Bilbao. Most of the gang was in desperate need of Satan’s spinach. Some say a day without a buzz is a day that never was. Or maybe I just made that up. Regardless, snagging some green was a top priority. Our tour guide Pablo Ribera told us not to worry about securing the skunk—he had us covered. We arrived at our Airbnb around midnight and were greeted by an assortment of food prepared by our hosts and, true to his word, Pablo had some grass delivered. “This ought to last you a week,” he said. Apparently he hadn’t met our crew. Regardless, we were really feeling the Spanish hospitality.
The power of one step—Matt Finley no complies up and over
The Lego-tiled ground couldn’t stop Willow from kickflipping this double stack. Check the pot leaf BGP
NO HILLS? NO PROBLEM!
Our initial reason for going to Bilbao was because of the surrounding hillsides. Go figure, right? We did find a few routes and spots along the hills, but nothing worth drooling over. However, the city itself had plenty to offer, like the Guggenheim art museum, which I highly recommend. I spent a rainy day there and it was amazing. If you don’t want to shell out for the entrance fee, at least check out the outside installations and architecture. Shit’s pretty dope. But back to skating—many of the sidewalks in Bilbao had rough, Lego-like surfaces. They looked cool, but the texture made it twice as hard to go half as fast. Where’s all the nice marble everyone always talks about when coming to Spain? Oh right, that’s Barcelona. We made due, though. Andres Montenegro and his crew showed us a good time and pointed out tons of unique spots. “No wax, no problem!” became Pablo’s favorite catchphrase. Listen and learn, kids.
I switch ollied my way into the article, felt like home sweet home
Robby Bootes sneaks in a heelflip 50-50 while the occupant wonders, What the hell is that noise?
ROBBY GETS ROBBED
We stayed in Gijon for a night mid-trip before heading to Vigo. There were a few spots on our list—one was a marble hip with a downhill runway that Dylan Rieder popularized. Massive frontside flip on the cover of the January ’17 mag ring a bell? It’s also alongside the water—a dope spot to swim. Robby became a main attraction for tourists walking by. He battled a trick for hours and came up empty-handed. Unfortunately, that’s part of this game we all play. After a quick swim, we left Gijon for Vigo, where Robby made up for his L, no doubt.
In Vigo, we stumbled upon a cool spot above a mall—a ride-on bank to ledge. For a while, no one was really paying too much attention to us. There’s even a skatepark in the vicinity, so you’d assume it’s skater friendly. While Matt was trying his trick, this bulky bro and his family walked by and tried to stop us. The situation quickly escalated, and we told the guy he should just call the cops because we knew that would give us a few more minutes, which was all Matt needed. Then he started yelling, “I am the police!” Yeah, okay. Whatever, we thought. Unfortunately, it turned out the guy actually was an off-duty police officer and when the cops showed, they threatened to take us all to jail. Luckily, Gerard Riera—the photographer Pizzle vouched for—was able to deescalate the situation and we got off with just a fine and some deleted clips. And to think I was hesitant about Gerard joining the crew. My apologies!
Matt went missing after this 180 to switch bomb. Everyone needs some me time now and then
We celebrated Chris Athans’ 26th birthday on this trip. The crew needed another cooler for drinks, so we were able to kill two birds with one stone and get him a personalized cooler. So not only did Chris have to share his present with everyone on the trip, but we also spelled his last name wrong on his gift. Sorry, Athans! Hey, could be worse—at least your phone doesn’t auto-correct your last name to a shoe brand you don’t even ride for. Unable to find a proper cake, we bought a box of little chocolate ice-cream balls and put lit cigarettes and spliffs in them as candles—right up his alley. Chris was raised outside of Dallas, TX, which is totally landlocked, so he doesn’t have many beach memories from his childhood. We made up for his lost time by hitting the ocean every chance we got, typically at the end of a session. Always a good way to end the chaos.
Happy birthday, Chris Athans. Here’s a hubba for you to wallie. Don’t say we never got you anything nice
No wax? No problem! Josu Gereta boardslides over a mosaic wave
Willow is much younger than the rest of the crew. His skating speaks volumes and so does his maturity. His father is Jose Fernandes, a snowboard pioneer and world champion. That explains Willow’s attraction to hills. The boy is well traveled, rises early and doesn’t know how to complain. I thought he was without fault—until one slip up occurred. We were at dinner and decided to go do some night skating. Unfortunately, Willow couldn’t find his board. “I know I put it in the back of the van!” He insisted. We searched everywhere and couldn’t find it, so we assumed he forgot it at a spot. The next day as I got into an elevator with Cody Thompson, I noticed he didn’t have his usual filmer wheels on his board. “Shit! The kid was right!” Cody exclaimed. He’d accidentally grabbed Willow’s board by mistake on his way to dinner. Sorry for doubting you, Willow. Grown-ups fuck up sometimes, too.
Willow tests his luck threefold with this ollie into a crusty mountain. The car parked below left him just enough space to mash through. He is his father’s son
The turquoise gate is to make this spot impossible to skate—so Chris does the impossible
Another Dylan Rieder spot; we’re clearly fans. Matt takes a new approach with this gap to tailslide, like butta
THIS IS THE BEST _____ I’VE EVER HAD
When Cody is having a great time or a good meal, you’ll know because he has a tendency to announce it very formulaically: This is the best vacation I’ve ever had! This is the best water I’ve ever had! You get the gist. But I was caught off guard when we were in Vigo, Spain and I heard him exclaim, “This is the best Mexican food I’ve ever had!” Seriously? Now, we did have bomb Mexican food there, I’m not dismissing it, but you’re from SF, dawg! Have some pride in your city. But I understand getting swept up in the excitement of the moment, and this was definitely a trip for the books. I’d like to thank the Thrasher family, GX1000 and the locals of Bilbao, Gijon and Vigo for creating some of the best times I’ve ever had. Seriously.
Robby stage dives nose first as the bricks turn to stone
Let’s start by giving me your full name.
So we finally got a name for: The guy with the beard. You grew up in So-Cal, right?
I am originally from Costa Mesa, California, over in Orange County.
And what brought you to San Francisco?
I’d been coming to SF for years on skate trips since I was like 18. I had some friends going to school out there so I’d come to stay with them and just adventure around the city. That went on for a few years and I just eventually thought, Why not just move here? And here we are nearly eight years later.
Jeff kickflips into smooth marble humps, only to have his speed throttled by the textured tile below—a bittersweet moment
How did GX1000 come into the picture?
I’d been friends with Taylor Nida and Zack Krull for a few years before I moved to San Francisco. The first GX full length had already come out and they were skating with Ryan Garshell a bunch. I was introduced to Ryan and then Matt Finley, Sean Greene and everyone else. This was around the time I was planning to move up here. Once I did, it took off from there.
Let’s talk about the Spain trip. This was your second time in Spain, right?
I’ve been to Barcelona before, but it was on a homie trip and we just chilled and looked at all the iconic spots. Barcelona is different than the places we went to on this trip. A big difference between the two is Basque Country has a lot more random spots that not everyone has skated as much.
Agreed. A favorite memory of mine is the reggae festival in Bilbao we went to. How’d that all come about?
Dude, that was so sick. Shout out to the homie Pablo. It was all his idea. I remember we had a sick day skating the night of the festival. Pablo suggested to the crew that we check out this all-night reggae festival out on the beach. There was also a skatepark in the shape of a boat there! To me, it was a no-brainer, like, We have to go. I won’t say names, but some people weren’t immediately down. We all ended up going and had a really great time. Pablo introduced us to kalimotxo, a mix of wine and Coca-Cola and we drank that all night. Shit was epic.
The man with the beard floats a backside 180 between the trees
I was definitely the one who was reluctant to go, but I’m glad we did. That hill bomb to it and the kalimotxos alone were pretty amazing.
Yeah, there was no parking near it so we parked pretty far up the road. I remember Willow was the only one who got the skitch back up after the festival. He said the car took him all the way up. It was at least a half-hour walk back for us.
Of the three cities we visited—Bilbao, Gijon and Vigo, which did you enjoy the most?
That’s a hard one. Maybe Bilbao? We met a lot of sick homies there, like Andres, Camilo and Josu to name a few. And there were just so many skate spots. But Gijon—I’d go there on vacation, for sure. We spent the least amount of time there, but that Dylan Rieder hip spot by the water—man, that was the sickest beach I ever swam at. It was very good. We even got you and Chris to jump in. Chris was in there in his boxers with a cig in hand, untouched by the water. I don’t think he even brought shorts on the trip. Vigo was cool, too, with good spots and some sandy beaches.
Slappy grind in the countryside. You can always find a metal hill
Yeah, we were all in the water while Robby was battling that hip for hours, only to get the boot from the police. Speaking of Vigo, let’s talk about that crazy lipslide you did there. ’Cause we all partied hard the night before and I know for me that shit was rough the next day.
Oh yeah, rough morning all around. But Willow got it fired up first thing with that insane ollie into the triple banks and I was just stoked after that. We went to the curved rail and it worked out, luckily.
Yeah, that day was fucked. Oh, and we can’t forget about the celebratory puking right after the lipslide. I’ve had another homie do that from adrenaline, but this time I’m sure the night prior played a bigger part in that.
Yeah, that’ll happen after a long night.
Chest-high lipslide anyone? Jeffrey is down for the ride. When the boss is away, the GX crew still slays
This was our first trip without the boss. You think we did alright?
Yeah, for sure. We were tripping a bit leading up to it, but a few hours into meeting Pablo, I knew we were in good hands. Pablo and Gerard both had our backs as well as doing anything we needed to make shit happen. That Airbnb out in the countryside was cool. We pulled up to the best gift package ever, super proper.
I know you just got back from Japan, but where do you think we should go next?
The winter is here so maybe Puerto Rico or Hawaii. There’s a bunch of homies out there we should go and visit. I say Hawaii.
To the crusty spots and endless beaches, we go!
Comin' home with a cover is the ultimate pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Jeff Carlyle switch jams his way to the front of our February '24 issue. Well done, boys
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