Friday the 4th of may Alex and me head off to Varazze, Italy for the Vans Off the Wall Spring Classic. I had to go straight from my nightshift to the airport to meet up with Alex and Casper who was flying with us to judge the contest. we had been looking at the weather forecast so we were a bit pessimistic about what was in store for us, but also stoked to get out of the country again and the chance to see some gnarly ripping going on. Our flight was like most flights, uneventfull and my plan to take a nap to catch up with some of the sleep i'd allready been missing didn't quite work out. At the airport of Milan Malpenza our shuttle to Varazze had allready been waiting. 

On the road.

That's where the real traveling begun. It's safe to say that Julio our driver had a rather "exiting" way of driving moving from left to right on the freeway when he wasn't overtaking anybody or nobody was overtaking him. Alex first thought that the car was real sensitive but we soon came to realize that it was not the car, when people started overtaking us on the right side staring into our car with angry faces. That was on the straight and flat land around Milan though, once we got to the mountains near the coast we raced with 130 km/h past the fences keeping us from plunging 150 meters down. Anyway in the end we got to our hotel safely and ther first exitement was over. During the ride though the first 1 3/4 hours were in the sun just the last 20- 30 minutes the sky turned grey and we were hoping it just would stay dry.

Living up tot the contest.

Once we got to the hotel we were nicely surprised by the rooms Vans had put us in. It was all well taken care of , we had good beds, our own showers, and a view on the Mediterranean Sea. The sun even broke through when we settled in. At that point it also became clear Casper was not in our hotel but in a hotel closer to the site of the event. 

The view from our hotel rooms

That evening we went to the miniramp and streetcourse to check it out and we came across a lot familiar faces. First we ran into Daan (van der Linden), Tim (Jacobs), Phil (Zwijsen) and Dominique (Vans Benelux team manager). Not much later we ran into Edo Maule, and Alessandro "Chef" Anzalone from El Santo Skateboards who we had met for the first time in Amsterdam last summer. We got a chance to Say hi to Simone Verona from Dumb not much later who had just qualified himself to enter the qualifications on Saturday.

I took some pictures on sthe streetcourse and after that we went off to do some groceries just before we had to go to the pressmeeting. Which we had to attend to otherwise one of use wouldn't have gotten the red bracelet  allowing us on the ramp (supposedly, there were scores of people on the ramp without the red labels, but hell,.... you want to make sure you're up there, right?) So the three of us , Casper, Alex , and me,  went to the hotel to chill a bit and drink some beers, until we had to go to the meeting. The girl who pointed out the direction just waved a bit carelesly into the street behind her so that's where we started looking, which resulted in us being a half hour late for the meeting.  Luckily it had not started yet. Anyway the meeting was just a summary of how busy it was going to be and we had to watch ourselves and the riders, etc, etc. They had some food standing there for us and we got some beers, so all was well.

After the meeting there was the premiere of the Bones Brigade, which I didn't see because my body could not withhold the sleep, and i pretty much crashed after being awake for 30 hours. Probably it was the beers but no point in wondering what it was.

From what I've heard though the film was pretty decent, with a lot of old footage and people reminising about back in the days. I'll withhold judgment on what I have not seen though (It was pretty awsome, except for all the crying Americans in it - Alex).

The Qualifiers.

Next morning, seeing I was in bed at 21:30, I woke up freakin' early. Which meant I was bored for a couple of hours until I woke up Alex to go get a decent breakfast, and by decent I mean not the single bowl of cornflakes they left for us in the hotel, but a good Italian sandwich we got downtown near the event area. They know how to make good sandwiches that's for sure. We went to the miniramp to get set upand start shooting the contest. 

Best food you can get in Varraze - Alex

The contest was just straight off the hook, it was a bit windy but still the riderswere dropping hammers everywhere. Kevin Kowalski was ripping the place up, Rob Smith was going frantic doing bangers back to back, Andy Scott was insane as allways, but pretty much all riders had their game on and were destroying the ramp. For a couple of hours long the crowd was going wild over the twelve heats with skaters doing what they do best. It was also nice to see our Italian friend Simone Verona skate again who made good use of the gap. Daan was smooth as ever, and we were in for an epic afternoon of skating.

spring classic 2012

After the heats there was a best line contest at the street course, but after the third heat, I just needed to get fed and a shower so I returned to the hotel.

spring classic 2012

The whut?.... evening?

Yes,... the evening.... what can I say? Not much apparently because it's one big fucking black hole. I can remember taking a shower, some glasses of Wodka, and returning to the contest which had just ended. There was some food at the Monster tent and some cans of Monster to keep us awake. We chilled there with Chef and Edo from El Santo until they decided they had to leave and got in the car cruising back home. We ran into Chicco from dumb after that and hung out for a while , sipping on my bottle of wodka (I think). And some sambucca he gave us. I can remember standing in the road in front of the stage at some point talking with him and Giovanni (also from dumb), and from there things are blank. Alex has some compromising footage of me swimming on my bed and tumbling off it,  but we are in agreement he can't show it to anyone. I don't know how I made it to the Hotel, I don't know at what time I did, I just woke up the next morning and we had to go shoot the finals heavilly hung over.

I guess 30 minutes before Eddie went all Korsakoff on me.. - Alex

Backstage with the Dutchies and Flemish. - Alex

Tha Finalzzz!

I forgot to turn of my camera so both my batteries were on their last legs. Luckily for me the finals didn't take that long and I still got some decent shots. But what a night, boy oh boy, must've been epic. Anyway the finals were off the hook. Maybe it was due to less wind but everybody was flying higher and skating faster even then the day before. I am not going to bore you with the results because they are in another report allready, but the skating was epic. I would've probably enjoyed it even more if the night before wasn't equally epic in a different way but a man at night , a man in the morning.

All in all it was an epic weekend. Vans, Monster and the city of Varazze really made it work , with a little mercy from the weathergods who saved the rain for the last 10 seconds of the finals. The only point of critisism, and I am gonna say it yes.. give the ramp a fresh paintjob next time guys!!! 

Our final meal in Varraze, it was fucking good! - Alex

The trip back was even a littel more exiting then  getting there. Julio was still our driver and manged to hit a car even before we got in. so,.. there we stuffed in 6 people, which include Alex, Fatir, Daan, Tim, Dominique, and me. Apparently Julio thought we weren't fas enough on the way over to Varazze so he started driving liek a madman. He started out forgetting his sunglasses on the hood of the car, and then went up and down the mountains with 130 overtaking, overtaking lorries , .. (yes thats'right) without taking his foot of the gass. We wer quite happy to reach the flatlands again where we felt he couldn't do so much damage. Finally we got to the airport and chilled there in the sun which, go figure, had been shining all day. The flight home was uneventfull, but we were glad we survived yet another rollercoaster weekend.