The Emerica Europe team's trip to Portugal was a complete success! We had a full schedule and a lot of kilometers to burn, but everyone came through and did their best. The official line-up of riders included Ricardo Fonseca, Jo Lorenz, Helder Lima, Pontus Alv, Foppa Forsberg, Stefan Sperka and Julian Dykmans. The Trooper of the Tour award went to Ricardo, who joined us straight off the Cliché Gypsy Tour, which consisted of two weeks of sleeping outdoors and skating every day.
The first demo was in Lisboa at the Praca de Figueira, which is one of the most central skate spots in town. The demo was mellow and everybody had fun on the long manual pad. After that, we checked out some of the other spots Lisboa has to offer and film. The next day, we headed north to Porto, where we quickly checked the Casa da Musica, the spot of the demo. Everybody skated for a while to get used to it. This turned into a full session, and before you know it, we were running late for the demo in Braga, the third biggest city in Portugal.
Tons of kids were waiting for us at Skills Shop in Braga, and followed us to the town’s main plaza, where the demo was going to happen. After a bit of skating and some poster signing, the cops noticed all the commotion. It turns out that the shop had a permit for the demo, but it was for the wrong day. To avoid getting arrested, we moved on to another spot, where Stefan and Helder skated a handrail with a sketchy landing. After a little session at the Braga skatepark, we got some dinner and headed back to our hotel in Porto.
The Casa da Musica demo was on, but first, we had some time to kill so we went street skating. Porto doesn’t have tons of spots to offer, and we even got kicked out of a few, so in the end we skated a tight but nice bank spot by the river. Of course, we were running late, then Ricardo almost crashed his car on the way to the demo, but we got there safe and in time to show the kids some killer skating.
The next destination turned out to be the favorite stop for everybody. Leiria is a small town North of Lisboa with a healthy skate scene. Our host Steve was probably one of the main reasons for that. He runs the Tribos Urbanas skate shop and also works on different skate projects in Leiria. We did a demo / skate session with the locals at the main plaza and then moved on to a big set of stairs, where only Helder stepped up and pulled a crazy trick. You'll have to wait for the Kingpin article to come out to see it.
On the next day, we got to skate the Jersey barrier spot that Steve and the locals built on an unfinished piece of highway. Pontus instantly felt at home on the concrete beast. Everybody took some time to get used to it, but in the end, we got some good tricks on it.
The main Lisboa demo went down at the Montsanto skatepark in the middle of the woods up on the hill. It didn’t feel as if we were in a city at all. Since it was a weekday, not too many people showed up, but everybody had a good time skating. After some food, we drove three hours through the night to get to the Southern coast of Portugal, the Algarve. Unfortunately, the shop was being remodeled, so the appearance got canceled and street skating didn’t really work out because we couldn’t get a hold of our local contact.
Then we drove back to Lisboa for the last day of skating and the last shop appearance. The first stop was the Setubal Plaza, which is one of the nicest spots I have ever seen. We skated for a few hours and everybody got something done there. The next stop was a double set in Lisboa, where Stefan once again showed us why he’s called the beast and Jo casually nollied over the rail. After a quick stop at the Tribos Urbanas shop to sign some posters, we hit the last spot of the trip, a nice roof gap, where Helder, Ricardo and Foppa got their last tricks of the trip.
Everybody was quite beat after lots of skating, driving and lack of sleep. Doing demos and signing posters was quite new for most of the riders, but they were stoked on the contact with the kids and to pass on their love for skating.–Oli Buergin
Skate photos by Eric Antoine.