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Created by T. Gentsch | News

Dickies X Titus | Concrete Dreams Tour 2019


New spots at the french riviera

Photos: Dennis Scholz

Skateboarding is so much more than just the act of skating. In addition to all the obvious cultural and artistic aspects, skateboarding is a worldwide community that’s not limited by any place it’s performed. Some skaters love skateparks, others prefer the city streets, and others feel most comfortable on a mini ramp. However, there’s one terrain that’s capable of combining all of these elements: DIY spots. As the name suggests, "Do it yourself" spots are not subject to any regulations. With a little concrete and creativity, it’s up to you and the skaters in your community to create your own dream spot. The ‘Concrete Dreams’ construction team built several spots last year including some in Lyon, France. In 2019, we returned to the south of France to the home of Titus Skateboards flow rider Ben Botta, Antibes. This August, the Dickies X Titus Concrete Dreams Tour was again able to turn our skate dreams into reality.

Dickies X Titus Concrete Dreams 2019 | A documentary by Pat Schwarz

Antibes is located on the French Riviera just between Cannes and Nice. The city is better known for its tourism than for having a big skate scene. Therefore, we found it was best to do a little "scene development” work in the region. Our team consisted of Tom Kleinschmidt and filmmaker Pat Winter from Dresden, Thomas Prochaska, Julius Dittmann and Dennis Scholz. If you’ve followed last year's tour, the names should sound familiar. It’s hard to bring together a DIY-team with more expertise than these guys. While the task of building skate spots may seem relatively simple, a DIY project requires quite a lot more planning and effort than just pouring concrete.

After last year's ‘marathon tour’ driving through 3 countries and finally down to Lyon, this year’s crew decided to fly. Flying saved a lot of valuable time, but they still had to get all the tools and materials to the spot. So, parallel to the boys flying 8 packages with trowels, cordless screwdrivers, gloves and everything else necessary left Münster via mail whilst a rental car was waiting at the airport. Originally, we booked a Toyota, but the rental company had to upgrade us to a Mercedes V-class, an upgrade the rental company surely regrets to this day. The rental deposit wasn’t returned for weeks after because the van looked like a construction transporter rather than a family van when it was returned. Anyone who has ever transported concrete bags knows how dusty these things are.

The guys stayed in an Air BNB right in the vicinity of an old Antibes DIY site. Previously, skaters had built some wooden ramps there long ago. The location was a former boat repair warehouse, giving it a unique setting that was prime for some fresh new concrete to add to the current obstacles. In addition, the plan was also to build a bank with a channel in an old skatepark and to make an old bunker spot more skate-able. The picturesque locations made the spots just that much better, but bad news was on the horizon.

The DIY crew proceeded according to their tried-and-true "build-skate" principle. On the first day, you build an obstacle. On the second day, you build the next obstacle. And on the third day, you get to skate the first obstacle after it has hardened, and so on. Since one of the spots was in an old skatepark, Ben Botta and the locals had clarified with the city that they wanted to add an obstacle there. It would have been the only "legal" skate spot being bulit in the area. But, when the guys returned after 48 hours to skate their newly constructed bank, it had been demolished!

There were signs everywhere stating that it was forbidden to build DIY obstacles here. This was definitely a shame, especially since adding new obstacles to this park would make a big difference for local skaters. It remains to be unknown whether the old men at the nearby soccer field had informed the authorities about what we were doing out of their ‘civic duty’ or if they just prefer to keep kids from having fun on skateboards. We’ll probably never know.

 

Nevertheless, we were on to the next location and ready to face more challenges. The spot was located at something like an old anti-aircraft bunker from the 2nd World War with an overlooking view. Situated between Antibes and Nice on the slope of a mountain, we repaired an existing transition and added a new one to make the unique spot even more special. The locals were hyped on the results.

Even though France is regarded as one of the most popular skate destinations today, the centralized structure of the country is still felt in 2019. Paris, Lyon and Bordeaux enjoy thriving skate scenes, but there are still many smaller towns and cities that lack deep skate communities or places to skate. Nice and its surroundings are a good example of this, as according to Ben, there is not really a proper skatepark in the area.

So, there remains "development work" to be done, but the Dickies X Titus Concrete Dreams Tour 2019 has laid a foundation for continuing work. Even though the potential of the warehouse spot is far from complete, the locals now have the insight and incentive to further the indoor spot with their own creative design. We hope that they seize the opportunity to strengthen their local scene and grow it to prosperity – the potential is all there. Thanks to the entire DIY crew, Ben Botta, the locals, Dickies, and Titus for making the French Riviera even more skate-able!

Dickies at Titus: