A Weekend in Breda

  Words & photos by Robin Pailler

Words & photos by Robin Pailler

Last week saw Vans host the final chapter of this years’ Shop Riot Finals. 15 shop teams battling it out in the freezing temperatures of Breda, Holland, in a bid to be crowned champions of 2017.

It would be easy for one to dismiss this event, seeing as for the most part it consist of skaters you’re probably not following on Instagram, but you’d be an absolute fool to do so. Some of the skating on display left us rubbing our eyes, questioning what we just witnessed. 

P1530215.JPG
P1520812.JPG

We flew in fresh faced to Amsterdam with sadly no time to descend into the capital’s debauchery as we immediately headed south to Pier 15 skatepark. Probably for the best really. Pier 15 itself is a really fun indoor park and should you ever find yourself in Breda you absolutely must check it out.

11790014.JPG
11790013.JPG

Breda as a whole is a fairly quaint little Dutch town with cobbled paths, and a flux of canals and public parks. What you should know however is that Breda’s coffeeshop laws are a little different to Amsterdam. In fact they only sell to Dutch nationals so unless you can blag speaking Dutch or have a fake I.D. purchasing some lemon haze can be quite tricky. Lucky for us Place Mag had sent their young Dutch correspondent Peter to document the event and after a vain attempt to purchase ourselves, resulting in a somewhat friendly dismissal of our UK citizenship, we sent in Peter and his local I.D. to retrieve the goods. 

11790035 (3).jpg
11790029.JPG

With the indica fired up alongside a flat white to counterbalance we headed back just in time for Friday’s best trick contest on the park’s A-Frame. Pedro Roseiro’s huge nollie BS 180 fakie 5-0 on the hubba was more than worthy of the €500 reward, although Alex Decunha’s nimble feet produced a fs boardslide, body varial, flip out which came pretty fucking close to taking the prize.

Day two saw the finals take place and from the early heats it was clear every shop was going for it. Burnside unsurprisingly had the full support of the locals and Rob Maatman in particular drew huge applause for his gnarly nollie BS 270 lipslide to fakie. Israel’s Gili’s skate team impressed, notably Dor Hershkovitz & Itamar Kessler who consistently powered through with smiles on their faces. 

11790022.JPG

In the end Skate Warehouse (UK) took on Skate Boutique (Belgium) in the final and despite the best efforts of Decunha (beni shuv!! back feeble front biggie!!), it was the Belgians who took it. Simon Deprez most notably with a ridiculously technical display despite having snapped his board just before the finals commenced. His trademark hardflip, late flip to flat on the A Frame was pretty much the icing on the cake.

11790036.JPG

Regardless of the winners, the weekend proved how far the European scene has evolved in the last decade and how pivotal local skate shops are to their respective local skateboard community. It’s easy to dismiss the importance of skate competitions such is the level of skating we mindlessly consume through our smartphones on a daily basis. However there’s nothing quite like watching the the joy everyone shares live, in witnessing the skill expressed on a piece of wood with four wheels. It’s why we fell in love with skateboarding in the first place and Vans deserve a huge amount of credit for investing so much into the underdogs of the European skate scene. 

Watch the highlights below!