James and Derek's trip to the Z&G Skatehouse

Note: Skip to the end for tl;dr and skate video.

Our exciting few days started early on Monday at my house. Derek arrived, bags packed and ready to get my stuff together with his, but I wasn't quite as ready, I hadn't been up long and nothing of mine was even half sorted out. Knowing we had plenty of time, we took it easy packing our stuff up, taking boards apart, deciding which wheels to take, fitting everything into our bags being careful not to exceed the weight limit, although perhaps too careful as I later realised halfway through our flight, I had forgotten my slide gloves!!!!DSC_0044_1
So we finished packing and made our way to Spain, which included a few train delays, making us think we were gonna miss the plane, to getting on the plane with plenty of time, sleeping for a bit, then waking up and for the rest of the flight realising and thinking how stupid I was for forgetting something as important as my gloves, but after all this, we made it okay.

As we stepped out of the airport onto Spanish ground, we were greeted by the pleasant faces of Joe and Robyn, ready and waiting with a trolley to carry our stuff, and the best vegan chilli I've eaten yet! We loaded the skate car, conspicuous as it stood out in the carpark covered in skate stickers and camera mounts on the bonnet, and made our way to the skatehouse. The journey was filled with skate chat, plans for skating over the next few days and me scoffing down a large portion of chilli. By the time we got there, it was late and the day of travelling had taken its toll, so after more skate chat and some in depth rundowns on some old hog hill races, it was time to sleep, and prepare for the next few days of skating!

Derek and I woke up eager to skate the next day, we got straight to building our boards up again, whilst Robyn and Joe were getting breakfast and the days worth of meals, snacks and gallons of iced water ready for us, as we were going to be out all day.
As we only had three days of skating, Joe thought it was a good idea to throw us straight into the deep end and take us to the longer, faster hills, but of course we didn't mind, that's the reason we went out there! The first hill we went to, called Rubite, was basically just hill porn, it was this long, winding, perfectly paved, no cars, self spotable road that you could see pretty much all the way down when standing at the top. It was definitely a test of our skill and endurance, having to push everything we knew, just a lot faster, and with the run being around 2-3 mins, very tiring too.
The system they had for skating the hill was great, Robyn would drive ahead, making sure the road was clear, and we would follow Joe skating as he was linked with Robyn via walkie-talkie so he could signal us if there were any cars, then we would all jump in for the ride back to the top. On the way down, Joe would also signal us letting us know what the course is like, as he knows the roads he'd tell us to speed up, or slow down for certain corners etc, which was extremely helpful having never skated anything like this before.
Riding this hill was so much fun, we must have had about 5 runs, and each run felt new every time, it was so long we couldn't remember the course. There was a couple of expected tumbles, we were pushing ourselves hard and on new terrain too. Derek managed to nearly fall off a cliff, I looked back after a pretty quick lefty and saw him slide out and roll off the edge, luckily he was caught in a bramble hammock just a couple of metres down, so Joe and I ran back up and found him laying helpless with all four limbs in the air, a thousand spikes in him, still laughing and stoked. We pulled him out, missing a puck and some skin, but still ready to skate the rest of the hill.
I really enjoyed skating this place, the speed and variety of corners gave me a good chance to progress and build up my confidence, even in a few runs I could feel myself getting much more comfortable with higher speeds and speed checking whilst going faster too.
After a few runs it was time to move on, as much as we were enjoying this hill, we were promised that the next hill was similar, but better, and by this point we were feeling ready to skate anything!

 

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The next spot was called Popo, and with no exaggeration, it was life changing! It was like the last hill, but bigger, faster and harder to skate, and that's what was great about it, it really challenged us, even more so than the previous hill.
We used the same method as before, with Robyn driving ahead, then we followed Joe and his directions, and it was so fun, skating a road we hardly knew, having to learn it as we go. This was my favourite hill of the trip, there was a couple of big swooping rights that were so rad to hit (when I hit them right), just getting real low on the way round and then it spat you out so fast. I was having trouble getting round a few left corners, not being able to control my speed through them properly and coming out slow, or just coming off haha, but after a couple of runs I was slowly getting better.

Derek took his second tumble of the day, and it was possibly the worst crash I've seen in real life. We must have been going around 25mph heading towards a big left hand corner, Derek was in front of me, and I saw him setup to do a pendy, just to kill some speed, so I pushed out a speedcheck, and as I looked back up he had come out of the pendy at a sketchy angle and was heading towards a lay-by just off the road, I'm guessing he thought it would join back onto the road like a normal one would, so he rolled onto it, not knowing that where it would normally join back to the road, there was a 4 foot gap that dropped about a foot down and was filled with rocks, he hit it at full pelt and flew through the air, smashing into the ground. It felt like I was watching in slow motion, as I saw him crash into the floor, bounce and roll twice over! We all raced over to Derek, luckily he was mostly okay, nothing was broken, just some skin lost on his knees. His G-forms had slipped down on impact and he slid on his knees, grazing down to the white fleshy part which looked darn painful, and from the look on Dezza's face, it was, although he handled the fall well, considering how bad it looked.

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After this we decided it was lunchtime, so Joe and I skated down the rest of the hill and Robyn drove Derek to the bottom where we camped in some shade to eat. We had a fantastic pasta and nut salad to eat, prepared by Robyn, which went down a treat along with some iced water as it was so hot. After food, we patched Derek up with toilet tissue and tape, then took a couple more runs down the hill. With the weather so hot and having skated most of the day, we were getting tired and it was time to head back to the skatehouse.

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We rested for a few hours, eating snacks and watching skate videos before deciding we hadn't had enough skating for the day and headed out to the skatepark for some transition riding. It was a nicely laid out concrete park with a ramp section and street section. Joe and I sessioned the park for a couple of hours whilst Derek rested his wounds and Robyn took some photos. Joe was busting out some huge early grabs off the camel hump and I was getting some cool lip tricks on the mini ramp, so we both got our fix from the park, but this really did tire us out for the day, after a good session we headed back for a well earned sleep to ready ourselves for the next full day of skating.

 

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We got up late the next morning, we needed the extrarest after the previous day, and we were expecting a good skate later with some local skaters. We were greeted with some fresh watermelon and a separate bowl of porridge for breakfast to get us started for the day and ready to hit the first hill of the day, Perro Loco.

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This hill was smaller than the previous hills, but still a gnarly 2 minutes. Robyn stayed at home whilst we skated this hill, and as it was short and self spotable, we could take it easy and lead the runs ourselves. This run had an awesome double right hand corner which was definitely my favourite section of the hill, was good fun drifting into the first half then getting spat out through into the next corner drifting through that too. Fortunately there were no falls on this hill, and as we were getting comfortable with it, Joe filmed a few runs, which was hectic, but fun at the same time, we had him butt boarding down the hill, weaving between Derek and I, trying not to get wobbles or get run down by either of us haha.We got a few good runs filmed but it was getting hot out so we decided it was time to head home for a rest before meeting with the locals to skate a new hill later.

 

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Back at the skatehouse we had some lunch, chilled out for a while and checked out themornings footage, but soon enough we had to head out to the next hill, Archi, for more skate fun. On the way there we picked up Carlos, the first of the rad locals we met that day, he was a cool guy stoked on skateboarding down hills so we all got on great as expected! We got to the hill first, so we parked and set up a shady shelter, then got ready to skate. Shortly after, Victor and Adan arrived, another couple of rad guys and even radder skaters.

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Quickly, we all got to skating the hill, it was a steep, hairpin after hairpin kinda track going down the side of a castle mount, so we were just freeriding it. Walking back up the hill in this heat really took it out of me, and Derek was feeling sore from his injuries, so our runs were few and far between, but watching Joe and the guys rip the hill hard was good fun while we rested. Once we'd had enough and our legs couldn't handle any more, we headed back to the apartment for a nice chilled evening in, which comprised of some cold showers to cool us down, some more glorious homemade food, some sweet kendama skills from us all, and finally a good night's sleep!

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We woke up ready for our last day in Spain, our flight was at the end of the day, so we packed our bags, making sure to remember everything this time around, only leaving our boards out ready to go, filled up on porridge, and headed out to skate!! The first hill of the day, Otura, was a simple straight run, leading out of an abandoned town, it was a long medium gradient with a long run off, and the aim was to go as fast as possible. With a few board tweaks and some wedging tips from Joe I was feeling confident to hit some high speeds! We hit a couple of runs to get comfortable then really started pushing ourselves, working on tighter tucks and keeping aero, we topped 47mph on our quickest run. Again Joe got the camera out and filmed a few runs for us, giving us a chance to watch back and check our awkward tucks and speed wobbles, which has actually been very helpful to me for evaluating and improving my tuck.

As we didn't have a lot of time, we left after a few runs to have a quick session at the last hill of our skate adventure, Beverly Hills! It was a short, curvy run at the top of a wealthy looking estate, with minimal traffic, another perfect hill for us to skate. It was a shorter run than the other hills we'd been riding, but equally as fun, again with a couple of challenging, fast corners, both Derek and I pushed our boundaries and used what we had learned over the past few days to make the most of the hill. We got on pretty well with it, apart from one left corner that seemed to catch us both out a bit, which was sketchy as it was the only one that had a huge drop the other side of it, but we managed to get to grips after a couple of runs. Before we left this hill Joe managed to get a few more runs filmed for us, so we'd have enough footage to put together.

It was unfortunately time to head home, so we packed up our boards, and made our way to the airport. We said goodbye to Spain and it's perfect skate spots, and farewell to our perfect hosts Robyn and Joe, and boarded the plane homeward bound. The journey home was a sad one, knowing we couldn't skate hills like these at home, but we promised we'll go back soon, and stay for longer next time too. So until that time, so long, and thanks for reading!

 

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tl;dr
Thanks to the Zanahoria Y Gambon skatehouse for having us. We had a rad time skating some amazing hills. The accommodation and food was excellent, alongside great hosting and company from Joe and Robyn, we had a perfect time, in the short amount of time we had!

editor's note: you can reach the Z&G Skatehouse via this link
Z&G Skatehouse Downhill Longboard

Now enjoy some footage we got.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdHGT9mkt-s[/embed]
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