Written By Nick Zorlac
So what started of as a mellow one, myself and a couple of Death skateboards teamriders ended up being the trip of a lifetime, with a crew of 8 skateheads making the pilgrimage.
Before I forget I’d like to thank the following sponsors for helping get riders out there: DUFFS, EASTPAK, FREERANGEUK.COM, HOWIES and SPORTS VISION.
The crew comprised of Ronny Calow, Ben Cundall, Lee Blackwell, Munson, Potter, Damian Walsh, Dave Chesson and Percy from Document mag.
The first I heard of sk8goa was when Toby Shuall and Badger from Cide came back from helping to build the place. They told stories of a brand new concrete bowl and bowled out mini under construction in India!. I was intrigued to say the least. But it drifted to the back of my mind with all the things going on in the run up to Xmas. Until I had a call from a guy called Martin ‘cos his mate Nick wanted to buy some decks from me to take back to, guess where.. his brand new skatepark in India. So they come over to my office (The Crown Cafe) and eat fry ups, buy some decks and Nick invites me and my crew to skate his brand new bowl. What better place to go to escape a dismal Febuary in the U.K I think, and a plan is formed.
After I work what seems like 20 hrs a day for a couple of weeks to get everything done the day finally arrives and we’re off. Check out some of our pale faces at Gatwick Airport. The flight was via Bahrain (where you can buy 200 cigs for a fiver) and went pretty good ‘cos everyone was hyped about the trip. I had visions of Ronny attacking a hostess or punching a pilot and us getting arrested on touchdown but he was quite mild mannered and we made it through ok!
We got picked up by mini van taxis which were cheap, and enjoyed the hour drive in the hot sunshine to the skatepark. Driving in Goa is fun! When you see a lorry coming the other way down the road toward you, instead of staying behind the car in front of you, you pull over on to the wrong side of the road right in to its path to overtake. Also there are no stop signs or anything like that. You just have to honk your horn and barge through. Anyway we took in the sights on the journey, grimaced and laughed at the driving and my arm got sunburned in the hour it took us getting from the airport to the park.
This is India Nick welcoming us to Sk8goa. As soon as we got there everyone got straight into skating the pool, leaving all their belongings like wallets, money and passports scattered around on the floor next to the taxis! Its ok though. Not only is everyone who hangs about at the park super cool, we had the Tibetan monks looking out for us. These guys help out at the park and are actually getting in to skating the pool. Gumbo in particular was well up for schralping, and also did a good job of construction, (new spine micro ramp next to the pool and now it has an over vert concrete pocket!) security and anything else you needed a hand with. Nice one fellas.
We didn’t know what to expect, but the park is sick. The mini ramp is super wide and fast with a bowled out corner and a hip. A bit like a version of the old Harlow ramp on steroids. (I miss that Harlow ramp!). And there are a some street bits and bobs like painted blocks and steps. (Here’s Cundall kickflipping down them onto the flat of the new micro spine ramp).
But the pool is what we were really there for. And we were definitely happy with what we found. It has a mellow shallow end, a hip, and a deep end of around 7 foot,with slidey pool coping, and a smooth, freshly painted surface. It was a quite difficult to skate because its not a mini ramp, you need to find lines in order to hit the lip with the right speed/angle for whatever trick you wanted to do. And there’s not really any flat bottom to get yourself together, its pretty much all transition. So quite a challenge to skate, which was great – all part of the fun, you had to get to know her curves.
Not that you could tell from the way Munson, Potter and Blackwell were ripping right off the bat, or indeed straight off the plane. Munson was doing all kinds of inverts and liptricks, like this smith grind on the flatwall. And Potter and Blackwell were flying round doing all kinds of ollies and airs.
The taxi’s were waiting round so India Nick and his mate Biff (don’t mess) helped me get everyone’s stuff together and take it to our hotel, the ‘Eldourado‘ (which is a great place). It was great to get rid of all the bags. It was here also that we picked up all the scooters(!) for the group too. ‘Oh s*it‘ I thought.. later on tonight, there is going to be 8 drunk, jetlagged, disorientated skateboarders riding scooters around dark, potholed and lawless Indian roads! Well any misgivings were unfounded because after a couple of minor mishaps (Cundall) everyone was fine and got the hang of dealing with the randomness of driving in Goa. It is actually really fun.
That night when we finally managed to tear ourselves away from the skatepark we all went out to eat with some of the sk8goa crew at an amazing restaurant in Mapsa (a 10 min ride away).
We ate and drank like kings but paid under £2 a head. Everyone was all ‘I can’t believe we made it here, this place rules.’ When we got back to the Hotel, Gwen who runs the place made the mistake of saying ‘Feel free to wake me up any time when you get in if you want beer or food‘. Although even after being woken up at 4am numerous times throughout the week for 20 beers and 40 slices of cheese on toast she never seemed put out or annoyed, and was always friendly and helpful.
I woke up at dawn the next day. I was so tired but my body thought it was time to get up so I did. Percy was milling about downstairs as he couldn’t sleep either, so we went out on the bikes exploring. We found loads of cool stuff. Beautiful beaches, temples, crazy looking houses, fishing ports etc. It felt great being in this the hot sun riding round this mad place on motorbikes. Especially in Febuary.
We soon realized that it is too hot to skate for too long in the day time. So everyone settled in to a comfortable routine over the next few days of mellowing out/recovering during the daytime. Doing stuff like going to the beach, or riding to different areas and checking stuff out. (There is shaded cafes on the beaches where you can drink beer or eat pancakes or whatever). Basically saving our energy for the evening and night time.
Every evening as the sun started to go down a sick skate session would start. There was a sound system to connect ipods or cd players to. So we would get the tunes cranking, drink a few brews and start schralping.
As people got more used to the pool the skating got better and better. Everone was pushing each other and some pretty insane skating got done. You could see the progress each night.Like a few days in, Blackwell got the hip dialed and then proceeded to do stuff like this flowing frontside ollie over it. Or something would click in Potter and he would suddenly figure out how to lock his styled backside smith grinds or crailslides in to the concrete coping. Every now and then someone would do a beer run. i.e. Go and wake up the guy at the local corner shop to buy all the beers he has got in his fridge. Or India Nick would bring us a big box of goodies to eat. Or something random would happen like the local chicks would start juggling fire or some bangers would be let off.
When you thought you were completely knackered and done skating for the night, the levels of energy and fun in the atmosphere would get you repeatedly back in the pool for ‘one more carve’, which ends up being ‘i’m gonna skate until I collapse‘.
Speaking of carving, skateboarding’s answer to Hurricane Higgins, Ronny Calow was happy because growing up on the streets of Darlington you don’t get many pools, but he finally got a chance to get his carve on. Massive flips and gaps are great, but 10 beers down and with a sunburnt and shredded body big Ron found solace in nice double axle grinds in the deep. Cundall was also finding his feet in an enviroment that was new to him. He was knocking out f/s smith reverts in the deep end whilst wearing a sarong, getting well in to it!
Percy was also happy I think as he got some good photos and was loving grinding the hell out of the place. Dave Chesson was injured pretty bad. His knee was fucked. So he couldn’t skate as much as he wanted. At least it was hot there though. Better than sitting round injured in the cold! I think he had a laugh anyway though, here he is coaxing his knees in to letting him do a sweet frontside ollie. Towards the end of the week Blackwell, straight after getting a new tattoo (FREE HEDDINGS) did the sickest transfer from mini to bowl and an egg plant on the makeshift vert extension on the mini; Potter did a frontside crail on the extension and Munson did a Backside D and a pivot fakie on it. All of this stuff was gnarly as fuck and footage is now on the most recent Death DVD, ‘Escape from Boredom‘.
Also Matty (aka Steak) from Crawley who was already staying at Sk8Goa when we got there was thriving on the energized sessions learned miller flips on the last night. He is now on Death flow…
Some nights we would literally skate the whole way through until 3am or whatever. Other nights, especially if we’d had a mega skate session the night before we would skate for a bit, and then go out looking for a little action/trouble/wind Cundall up and watch him go.
Getting to a club on the motorbikes is a laugh in itself in a convoy of 8 plus. Its lucky our mobiles worked because that allowed us to regroup would after getting split due to being stuck behind a bus or a slow moving (sacred) cow or something half way to where we were going.
Whether we were out eating strange food, getting cutthroat shaves or down the boozer watching the Essex version of Trisha..’Munson+Potter vs. Blackwell‘ the nightlife was always funny, cheap and good. I laughed so hard that week.
The highlight was the Cubana club. £7 to get in which is very expensive for Goa, BUT you can drink all you want all night. And then chuck people in to the swimming pool which is next to the bar! Here is Damian holding court with some Argentinian chicks. (There are tourists from all of the world in Goa). Damn I just remembered that I missed the weekly bikini competition night that they have there. Next time..Cundall enjoyed himself so much in Goa that he stayed there. (Click here to read his interview whilst on this trip).
As for the rest of us, everyone was gutted to be going home, and pretty much everyone is planning a return trip. In fact it was a bit of a lifechanging experience for some of the group. I can highly recommend Sk8goa to anybody. You would be hard pushed not to have a good time.
Thanks to Nick and everyone else there for the hospitality. And thanks to Gwen at the Eldourado.
Go to www.sk8goa.com if you fancy a trip there. They can hook you up with good cheap accommodation and the best deals on flights. (pretty reasonable if you time it right)
Some Misconceptions I held before the trip:
No street to skate at all?
Not true. There is some street terrain to skate. No where near much as in Europe and not the smoothest! but it does exist. Its kind of fun riding round on the motor bikes finding it too. (It’s way too rough to skate from spot to spot).
Riding motorbikes there is dangerous?
Well to an extent it is how dangerous you want to make it. We had no major problems, in fact it made the trip really fun having the bikes. Where the skatepark is located there is a very low volume of traffic anyway. But ask Zac how he got on in Thailand in a hospital for 3 solid weeks with his girl losing her kneecap. These bikes can be hell. Be careful.
You’ll catch Malaria?
I saw no evidence of it where we were staying and most people there don’t take malaria tablets. As long as you put on spray in the evenings you should be fine. I only got bitten by mosquitoes when I was too lazy to put the spray on. If you go to your doctors they can arrange jabs for typhoid etc. Although a lot of tourists that I spoke to don’t bother. Probably best to get jabs though to be on the safe side I think.
Nope. We only had good and cheap food. From Samosas as a snack, to French restaurants, to fry ups! to local dishes. Damian felt a bit rough after getting a fruit salad from a street vendor, and a few people had mild stomach upsets, but nothing to worry about. ‘I can fart with confidence’ Chesson proclaimed towards the end of the trip.
That’s it, now book your trip with friends, get out there and shred and enjoy this footage of Zoresh and a few others who passed by there at the top of this page on the right hand side.
Do yourself and Crossfire a favour and right click and download it to save their bandwidth for radio shows.