Earlier this week we shared Raspa’s tour video “Eazy Lover” which highlighted a rocky skate tour around Europe with Levi’s before the world turned to shit. But like any good trip, he also had more stories and weird details from the road that didn’t fit inside a short web edit. So Raspa wrote them down, travel diary style, and with some slight editing we decided to share them below.
If you’ve never met Raspa before, this first person account should give you a good idea of how his spontaneity takes him both to extremely fun and extremely hairy situations. Read on for some of the best inadvisable advice around.
As you get older, your dreams get questioned by people in a dad like fashion. Inquiries like, “Have you done this job before?” and, “Can we execute it as a unit?” Meaning, can eight dudes in a van riding through French wine country blaring “I Want To Be Your Lady Baby” make a Levi’s edit, and can they do it on $20 a day per diem, sleeping under tarps and in tents, showering in strangers’ backyards?
The chances were stacked pretty high against us.
At the Jenkem office, Ian [Michna] kept asking, “You sure about this, Raspa? You back these dudes? It’s gonna be a lot of work.”
“Of course!” I’d chirp back. Although if you looked closely you’d see the trickle of sweat running down my face from the stress and nervousness weighing me down. But fuck it. Let’s dig onward and push that budget. Otherwise I’d probably just be at home thinking about some girl I missed my shot with. C’est la vie.
I had some friends in London who have been riding for Levi’s but haven’t really gotten much attention. We would talk over and over about this idea of going to the south of France and working our way down to Spain.
Justin [Biddle] had just left his job and bought a motorcycle, so freedom was calling. His lad Shaun [Witherup] was peeling around London on a Yahama 250, ready to do the trip with or without us.
Do you have any idea the kind of mentality you have to have to do thousands of miles on a fucking Yahama 250? My man was ready. Shaun also needed to leave his yard because some relationships need space and sometimes you really have to go to outer space to get your head cleared. I had just broken up with a girl and these other two were in the same boat, so we were already looking for an out.
So we formed a little paperwork, Levi’s liked the idea and everything looked good. We out.
I talked Cons into sending me a box of shoes for these dudes. I hate traveling with mad weight on me (I’d rather buy all my clothes as I’m moving from town to town) so by the time I showed up with a busted bag full of shoes, I was not the happiest. But we got to stay on the river of Bordeaux at some oke’s* flat, Hubert3000. We didn’t have the dough from Levi’s yet so we were sleeping anywhere we could and Hubert3000 came through with an ill pad and lots of wine and cheese.
Bordeaux is such a small city that within four days we’d met most of the local skaters. Some said Bordeaux was the place Tom Penny and Ali Boulala came to hide out 15 years back while filming for Sorry.
Bordeaux is also known for its high ratio of women to men, so it was one of the hardest places to leave. We’d post up at a Spanish bar and I’d watch every single one of these mates fall in love with a French girl.
*(NOTE: ‘oke’ is South African for friend)
We headed farther south into France: Basque Country. We took no highways, figuring that way we would run into the most epic spots possible. Dilly dallying like little hunters searching for untouched spots.
We had no place to crash the first night, so we’d aim toward beaches, parking illegally on someone’s yard and taking all our stuff with us. Making a nice fire and cooking all kinds of fresh foods we gathered in markets onto makeshift grills. This is how you bring a human back into being part of the earth again. Brotherhood was peaking its head out of that fire yelling, “Eat that sandy burger, you big dummy!”
We all woke up early the next morning. I was buzzing with energy when I saw the clearest, bluest waves breaking on the shore. By the time I had the idea, Alè [Cesario] was already naked running toward those waves. I was up next. That’s how I want to wake up every day.
Per diem in France goes fast but in the north of Spain we could make it last. You see the Frenchies lining up for their tobacco to take home, half price on everything.
That’s where we landed. We could get a campsite for some nights, one place even had a sauna. Naked Dave decided to dive into the pool while still brushing his teeth. The pool was packed and they all looked at us like we were from outer space. We got exiled from ever going back there again, but what’s a trip with out some hijinks?
At night we rocked head lamps and gave out stick and poke tattoos. We all fell in love with this logo on a restaurant receipt and at least three of the mates got that tat.
It was rainy season toward the end of summer in Basque, but we had two locals taking us around. People would see our Instagram and chime in like, “You’re in my town, come meet up.” One dude was party boy, the other was spot boy, and who doesn’t like mixing business with pleasure?
We kept the party to a minimum due to Naked Dave and me doing the math on what we had to get accomplished. I’m sure at times I came across as militant. We needed five spots a day to make an edit. Spot boy came through with a place for us to crash, he knew a guy with a backyard skatepark. I mean like 3,000 sq feet of a park tucked away from society, deep in San Sebastián.
We stayed two nights there, drinking enough wine to pass out on the hard concrete.
In the morning we kept moving southeast into Spain, coming across these towns filled with old people. Apparently there’s some kind of generational age gap happening where the old get a lot of incentives for moving into Spain.
Our last stop was in Zarautz. Oh, the cheap food and ocean waves. This skater out in Zarautz housed us one night. She ordered us pizza, gave us a place to shower, and it was at her house that the name for this video came to fruition.
“Easy Lover” is a famous Phil Collins song that Charlie [Munro] already had tattooed on himself, but Alè wanted the tattoo as well. As soon as he got it he sent a photo to his girl in Italy, then that phone rang and you just heard Italian bad words coming out the other end.
Sometimes during the trip I would peek out my tent to find Justin passed out in the bush with a bottle of wine in his hand and rain pouring down on him. He would do what I called the “open wound” of living. Wherever you stand, that is your home. You must open wound it.
By the time the trip was over, we were all down to open wound it. Tourists would stop and try to help but no, we like the open wound. We like this soil. And that is pretty much how you get over anyone who tries to break your heart or anything that comes close to breaking you down. Just go toward the dirt, toward the sand, and the ocean. Get down and open wound it. You’ll thank me later.
August 12, 2020 12:21 pm
An ode to life
August 18, 2020 3:14 pm
They just ripped covid a new one . Jenkem !!
September 16, 2020 11:55 pm
Damn this was great. Good stuff Raspa!