Our Secret and Rad skateboard pool in South of France
This is the Real Thing
Alex Sorgente , Vince Matheron , Keegan Palmer and Chris Russell at home / @RedBullskate
On a huge and remote property lies a bowl which is unique, even if experienced riders probably have their share of stories describing bigger and maybe better concrete holes.However, here are the reasons why this spot is and will remain legendary:
*It was one of the first places in France built specifically for real vert skating, not just another asphalt bank. For its time, it was the only place designed by a skater in this country, unlike any of the more known parks where some touring U.S. pros had to demo.In one of his old interviews, Stacy Peralta said that he had to skate parks that were like “mine fields out of war”, and I’m sure he was talking about the parisian parks.But this one has stood the test of time and we’re celebrating its 40 years of existence.
*It is a spot which is as private as can be.Most people who have heard about it have no idea where it is, so when you pass the gates, consider yourself lucky.
*Very deep, almost 4 feet of solid vert and the roughest coping ever seen.
The shape is typically 70’s, before flat bottom had been heard of : round circle, period.If you can’t carve , time to learn.You don’t really have the choice anyway.
*Unlike lots of legendary spots like the Nude, Gonzales’, etc., there are very few pictures available because the owner has been very protective, and he was too busy skating anyway.There’s about 5 known (to us) pictures and the best one is probably one of Monty Nolder hovering backside in 1990.
*Dozens of the greatest pros have paid their dues here, and were quite happy to forget for a while about the rock-star bullshit going on at that time.
*Jeff Phillips skated here.R.I.P.
Special Guest ……..
This place could be called “Animal bowl” or “Trap bowl” just because of the amount of interesting creatures you end up finding on the flat bottom.Imagine this : you show up for a session, head across the field with Dominique to the bowl and hear him go:”looks like we have a visitor”.
You look down and you’re like to see snakes, rabbits, birds and the occasional dog or cat.In the summer, any animal who stupidly slides down the roll-in channel is done because the heat kills him within a few hours.
It is a good place to study behavioural science.It seems like the bowl brings out the beast in anyone, including white rabbits.Just like a gnarly skater using some anger on the coping, the little things go nuts in there.
You come to rescue them and they try to attack you ! No joke, even if most of you are probably laughing at the thought of some furry little animal trying to bite you. You have to be careful, the owner knows.Ask him about his last encounter with the vert rabbits from hell.
The snakes “dry” very quickly in the sun, so there’s not much to fear .But the most interesting discovery we ever made was a huge eagle-like type of bird.The poor bastard decided to land at the bottom because he had found a rat to chomp on. By the time he was done , he didn’t have enough space to spread his wings.
That tells you about how tight the place is.Let’s just say that the firemen freed him, and seriously thought the bowl was designed to be a trap.The horses were smarter, luckily for us. But imagine what it feels like to come up on a frontside grind and meet up with a horsehead.Even if they are gone now, the more-known visitors who came thirteen years ago still remember.
At night, the boars come out and do a lot of damage to the surroundings.If one of them ever gets too curious, you’re in for one of the best french cuisine dinners in your life…
The place to be …….
“There’s karma in this place”, said legend Steve Alba once about his long gone home spot, Pipeline Skatepark in Upland, aptly nicknamed “The Badlands”.
If I understood him right, having never been there myself,it was an attempt at describing a place that is not just another skate spot, and is almost impossible to describe just because of that.A place where you have to pay your dues, spiritually as well as physically, and which gives the lucky few able to experience it-and in the best case ,dominate it – something to remember for the rest of their lives. Poolriders know when a place is special.
Ask the Z-boys what made the Dogbowl special and they’ll probably tell you that its surroundings and history was as important as its size and shape.
Most skaters have places that mean a lot to them, but in this case, we’re big-headed enough to tell you that we have more than that.
This is the real thing.