In the largest city in the world, the Paris Crew was astonished by all that Shanghai had to offer. Pushing through towering skyscrapers, tiny villages and everything in between they explored the Chinese metropolis and welcomed Korean rider, Kim Bum Seok to the Paris Truck Co. team.
Film/Edit: Alex Colorito
One week in Shanghai
Getting a crew together and going on skate trips is one of my favorite things to do. We gathered in Paris to embark on a full action-packed weekend; hosting a special Paris Trucks x DockSession event which would be followed by the third installment of La Grosse Rando. After we spent an awesome weekend full of skate and stoke in Paris, we got ready for our next stop: Shanghai, China. We were traveling across the globe to skate with the Chinese community and take part in the first edition of the, So... You Can Longboard Dance? China event.
Our team of eight--Lotfi Lamaali, Andrei Churakov, Kate Voynova, Timur Totoev, Alex Colorito, team manager Ryan Ricker, founder/owner Joey Pulsifer, and myself, Simon Arsenidis--headed to the Charles de Gaulle airport on a Monday morning. Already, at the beginning of our journey, we encountered our first challenge: the rush hour of France's capital. The trains to the airport were completely packed, but Timur managed to find the right train. However, nobody else could follow him, so already we were one down. The six of us were able to board the next train. Wait, the six of us? Yes, well, Lotfi lives in Paris and arranged a Taxi for himself to the airport because he knew how crazy it is to travel on Monday mornings through Paris.
We arrived at the airport, met Timur, checked in, and got ourselves some breakfast before we boarded the plane for the eleven-hour journey to Shanghai. As we flew through the day, I found it difficult to sleep. So, I started with a movie marathon and ended up talking with Andrei. Apparently, we were talking way too loudly, which caused Ryan to wake up several times. We decided that it would be best if we walked to the back of the plane to chat over a drink. Within minutes the flight attendant asked us kindly to return to our seats. It looked like Ryan had no choice but to endure us.
"F*ck I forgot my backpack upstairs!”
It was 6:00 a.m. when we safely arrived in Shanghai. Although tattered by jetlag, we found relief in the safe arrival of our boards and bags. Also, immigration went super smoothly. Our first task in China, to find train tickets and our way to the hotel was a success. Ryan and Joey had everything under control. Everybody was super relaxed. However, we all were also exhausted and were looking forward to some much-needed sleep, but no trip is complete without complications. As we sat on the train, ready to start our last bit of journey, Lotfi manically jumped out of his seat; I could read naked horror in my good friend’s eyes. He yelled "F***! I forgot my backpack upstairs!” The relaxing moment quickly ended, and everybody jumped out of the train. We couldn’t lose another team member that day. Luckily, we found his backpack, resumed our journey, and made it in one piece to the hotel.
The next two days were filled with skate, fun, and stoke. More than 250 international riders participated at the SYCLD China contest; Dance & Freestyle, Best Trick, Best G-turn and Hippie jump. Another million people from all over China came to watch and be part of one of the most significant international longboard events in China. SYCLD China was a great success and everyone walked away with a smile on their face. After the contest, we moved to a new hotel downtown for more of a central location. However, we were all surprised when the taxi drivers stopped in front of a 50 floor, 5-star hotel; we couldn't really believe it. The previous hotel had not been terrible-- quite the contrary, it had everything a hotel needed--but Ryan and Joey wanted to surprise the team, and there’s no doubt that they did just that.
On Friday we got up early and headed to the central longboard spot in front of the L.B.S longboard shop. After the two event days, it was great to find some time to merely skate with locals, talk to people, make new friends and play numerous games of S.K.A.T.E. The remaining two days of the trip were Paris Team days. From dusk until dawn we scoured the city in search of spots to skate. The weather was great, and the vibe between our little group of explorers was awesome. We rounded downtown and found a great spot by the river. Alex was equipped with his camera and instinctively began filming aero-grabs by Lotfi, creative tricks with Andrei, and insane lines by the newcomer, Kim Bum Seok from Korea.
A much-needed break to stretch our legs. | p: Andrei Churakov
To cross the Shanghai river, we hopped on a ferry. When the door closed, I went straight outside to see this incredible view of Shanghai's skyline from the river. Suddenly, I heard someone skating, or so I thought. Well, when I looked inside the ferry, I saw Lotfi, Timur, and the others skating the boat. They were surrounded by a plethora of scooter drivers who were all laughing and cheering. This is one of the most vivid memories I have from China.
When we arrived on the other side, we skated through the financial district where we almost lost Lotfi because he had fallen in love with his new board; it was as if he had found a model who he couldn’t stop taking pictures of. By the end of the day, we headed to the 50th floor of a revolving restaurant with great food and an even better view. Over good food and drinks, we shared our memories of the last week. We were exhausted but happy.
For me, it was one of the most exceptional experiences in my longboard career. Flying around the globe to skate, connect and spread stoke with the longboard community in China was amazing. But, as I always find when traveling with friends, sharing this experience with the happy and endearing Paris family was as priceless as it gets.