“So, hum, we basically need 17 plane tickets to Portugal, two filmers, two photographers, two houses, two vans, a tour guide and some cash money for everyone. For 15 days…”

by Phil Lajeunesse

[o] Dan Mathieu
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.

Kyle McDonald, kickflip [o] Ryan Lebel

[o] Ryan Lebel
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.

Charles Deschamps might looks like the mellowest dude, but lord knows he loves when things get kinky. Nose slide. [o] Dan Mathieu

Alexis Lacroix can do normal tricks, they’re just a little less exciting for him. Boring tre flip nose slide into steep bank with nothing special related to it. [o] Ryan Lebel
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.

Pedro, tour guide extraordinaire and great human [o] Dan Mathieu

Phil Dulude [o] Dan Mathieu
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.

JS Lapierre on a skate trip is like Mel Gibson in his prime. Braveheart at the spot and What Women Want in the van. Gap to lipslide. [o] Dan Mathieu

I’m pretty sure Zander Mitchell’s got no dental insurance to cover the cost of eating stairs for breakfast. Switch Flip. [o] Ryan Lebel

Since he stopped drinking, PIF stopped to intimidate people at the bar and started to intimidate spots in the streets instead. Shoulder high 5-0. [o] Ryan Lebel

If style was a currency, Drew McGraw would no longer owe me 30 bucks. Switch crooked grind. [o] Ryan Lebel

[o] Ryan Lebel
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.

[o] Dan Mathieu
Man down [o] Dan Mathieu
Jake Cormier [o] Dan Mathieu
Jake Cormier really came up on this trip. He took the heaviest slam we’ve ever seen, grinded this trippy wall rail and became the official online marketing director for Ali Grelha, the local Portuguese chicken spot. Congrats on the new job Jake!  [o] Dan Mathieu
Prior to this trip, Phil Dulude never skated a street handrail. This 15 stairs flat down boardslide seems like good start… [o] Dan Mathieu

[o] Dan Mathieu
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.

[o] Ryan Lebel
[o] Ryan Lebel
A good amount of hucking, bong rips and Burger King are the only things Cody Cormier needs to thrive. Here he is fulfilling one of his basic needs with a massive tre bomb.    [o] Ryan Lebel

[o] Dan Mathieu

JS Lapierre [o] Dan Mathieu

[o] Dan Mathieu

Zander Mitchell, nollie heel flip [o] Dan Mathieu

JS Lapierre, kickflip backside tailslide [o] Dan Mathieu

Cody Cormier [o] Dan Mathieu
[o] Dan Mathieu
Charles Deschamp [o] Dan Mathieu
Drugs are decriminalized in Portugal so Fred Lanteigne could safely hit this blunt first thing in the morning, the frontside way.  [o] Dan Mathieu
Alexis Lacroix [o] Dan Mathieu
Is it ok for the TM to ask for a raise if he gets a photo in the mag? 
Me – Fs boardslide. [o] Dan Mathieu

[o] Dan Mathieu

Portugal all star, Adilson Pedro [o] Dan Mathieu

Drew McGraw, Switch tre [o] Dan Mathieu

Like a true MVP, Lil’ Man Savage aka Phil Dulude got tricks every single day so we could feel better about ourselves being piles half of the time. Curved Lipslide. [o] Dan Mathieu

Phil Lajeunesse, kickflip 50-50 JS Lapierre on a skate trip is like Mel Gibson in his prime. Braveheart at the spot and What Women Want in the van. Gap to lipslide. [o] Dan Mathieu

Pif [o] Dan Mathieu

Pif [o] Dan Mathieu

A lot of people from all around the world claimed this 25 strairs hubba, but no one ever stepped up to it. PIF Daddy did it.  [o] Dan Mathieu