I’m sitting at Empire’s meeting table with the Skateshop’s founder Phil Grisé, trying to convince him that sending his 20 dudes deep skate team on a trip to Europe would be a great investment. Lol. We agreed on the project when I first started to handle the Team Managing duties for the store about a year ago, but when time came to break down the actual facts to the boss, I started to realize the Empire Skate Team trip idea was unrealistic.
Billion dollar international companies might send twenty of their riders on all-inclusive skate trips overseas, but a store located in the French part of Canada… Never heard of it before. Thankfully, Phil’s a knower and is down to support his troops more than anyone I know.
The proof: a couple weeks later, Zander Mitchell, Kyle McDonald, Fred Lanteigne, Phil Dulude, Andrew McGraw, Charles Deschamps, Alexis Lacroix, Jake Cormier, Cody Cormier, Pierre-Yves Frappier, Gabriel Galipeau, JS Lapierre, Dan Mathieu, Eric Lebeau, Ryan Lebel, Brian Shannon and myself were outside the Lisbon airport, waiting for our tour guide to pick us up.
The smell of new fabric was reeking out of the six extra suitcases of product we had to bring with us to create social media content. Luckily, we all made it through the European borders without being mistaken for illegal clothing resellers or even worse, influencers. Thanks to our good friends at RVCA, Vans, Brixton, DC, USG and Timebomb for hooking up a proper budget and an insane amount of gear for us. We got to the promised land with more clothing than the 17 of us could wear in a year and no one had to spend a dime yet.
The energy we had going was very interesting. Some of us are still in their teens, some in their twenties and thirties and some are even in their forties. Four generations deep of dudes who crossed the Atlantic Ocean for the same reason: to perform skateboarding maneuvers on a foreign city’s urban furniture. A simple concept, yet hard to understand for your usual pedestrian.
It’s true! Most people don’t get the point of traveling to some of the most beautiful places in the world for skateboarding. Even less why teens, young adults and grown up men hang out together, but whatever. 19 or 40, I’m happy to call these guys my friends and I’m proud of what they did while we were in Portugal. Thanks to Empire and all the sponsors, to Pedro Raimundo, the best tour guide in the world and thanks to the city of Lisbon for being one of the most welcoming place I’ve been to.