It was about time for some Concrete Flow again! After we had built a sweet kidney pool in the lovely seaside resort of Mers les Bains on the northern french Atlantic coast last year we were invited to come back this year for more. The plan was to extend the street area with some kind of pump track around the whole park and mixing some street obstacles in there and just try to open up as many lines as possible. Since we worked with Julien from Sports des Villes as the architect it was easy to improve the existing plans as much as we liked to. Only limitations were, of course, the budget and the already existing ground work the general constructors had in old french tradition pretty much fucked up once again. This all took place during five weeks in September/October.
You could call this a decent skatepark extension
The street area itself already was actually way better than it looked, because you really had some lines for technical tricks, especially with the bank that we added last year as a connection to the pool platform. Anyway, with the first pours we all got pretty excited because it became clear that this would be a really fun park once we were finished. We literally speed bumped the hell out of it and added little gimmicks here and there with not that much effort, just for the fun of doing it and knowing it would be so much better afterwards. We all know that that`s the way it should be when it comes to building skateparks. The skaters who naturally build them should decide on site whatever they want to change with the plans to get as much out of the project as possible, if there`s any plans at all.
Brodie Sellars from Brisbane on the road in Europe floats a big Stalefish over the little hip.
I guess, we did a pretty good job with that in Mers les Bains and even poured the flat in the existing centerpiece triangle for free when the city decided they were kinda sick of our solo missions and didn`t want to spend the money for it. Whatever, I never got the details since I don`t speak French, but, of course, afterwards everybody was super happy and you could see with the kids, that we did pretty well in providing some unique and super fun skateable terrain. Speaking of that, it`s sad to say that the park is used 80% by scooter kids. It`s pretty much the only hang-out spot in the whole town for kids and young people, so we got used to them using the park as if we weren`t even building there. They respected our work and didn`t harm us in any way, it was just weird like that, but as long as the city didn’t care we didn’t care either. Let kids be kids and let them play outside rather that sitting in front of whatever screens there are.
Mikey slappies one of those obstacles that`s skateable from both sides now.
All in all the vibes couldn’t have been better, we were super lucky with the weather, and jumping into the ocean after work just two blocks next to the construction site is definitely one of the best things ever. We had the same cabin on the camp ground as last year and things were just running smoothly most of the time. Well, there’s always problems, but we just dealt with them in the most leisure style we could and didn`t bother too much. It`s perfect when you have an already existing park to skate after or even in between work and, of course, sooner or later we shredded the new stuff as well. That turned out so much fun that even the transition guys seemed to completely forget that there is also this delicious pool to skate. But everybody was just having too many kicks cruising the new park as fast as possible and maybe get some first ever tricks and transfers in there.
Everybody instantly loved this obstacle and Fred dorked a nice Crivot To Fakie on it.
Damn it, I almost forgot Gypsy! With the vibes being hardly too irie to handle we even adopted a baby dog, well, at least Conny did, but it became part of the whole crew as well, of course. There was this tiny little ugly shaved baby dog on our camp ground running and barking around when we showed up after an exciting weekend in the city of Amiens. The dog didn`t look too good and it was clear that it was lost if not abandoned. So we took care of it for the night and next morning it was even clearer that if Conny gave some food to our new friend he would become his new master. That was that, Conny still being a padawan himself now has a young padawan to take care of, too. That`s actually against the rules, but fuck rules! And they’re both doing great so far. Gypsy as he was named by his new master got smarter and smarter everyday. Soon the local kids started to name him “Le Guardian”, because he took quite good care of us and his new territory. Pretty much non-stop entertainment for sure, especially Gypsy chasing Conny skating through the park, he is a good dog, and sooooo cute…
Conny getting chased by Gypsy, maxi intense!
What else is there to say? Ohh, there was this Monday for the big flat pour. Bruno from Concrete Dreams showed up with some fellow Belgian friends and family to help us pour most of the flat in one day. Of course, you can’t really cancel something like that last minute. Anyway, it looked good until 2 pm when the occasional slight rain showers that were supposed to happen showed up as a three hour heavy rain storm that led into an extended visit at the bar next to the site. Someone seemed to have mercy, though, and the rains finally stopped and gave us a chance to save everything as much as possible. Just don’t wonder if you ever go there, we had a hard long day that day…
Brand new skatepark invention: The Hate Seat. Slouri deflowers this one in the missionary position.
Maybe to wrap this up I can (just a year later) once again recommend even more to everyone to make this place a skate spot on the want-to-go list. Whether it’s for a tour stop, a family vacation, a camping trip, I can guarantee that you will have a really good time skating this skatepark. Because with the new added square meters it’s not only massive, but features so many possibilities, lines and transfers, that you won’t be able to get dialed in the first few sessions. There’s endless carving and flowing and if you feel like it and have the abilities to do so you can get all technical in there as well. For me it’s just a perfect mixture and you could see on everybody’s faces that this is just a really fun place to skate. I mean, I’ve skated a lot of skateparks in the last 25 years all over the world, and, I think, I would put this one on my Alltime Top 10 list for sure. The park itself is super nice, but then there’s the location, the setting, the town and the surrounding scenery. Fuck, even go and get some on the interesting but crusty street spots after work just as we did. Really, go to Mers les Bains in summer time and you will have a good shred. And the good times just depend on your inner self…
Local Pierre`s first session in the new park involved this massive 360° Flip Transfer over the ledge, way to go!
There was even a grand opening on the last weekend of October and Mikey got some shredders like Jarne Verbruggen, Daan van der Linden and Yeelen Moens over to tear that park a new one. As usual we need to thank some people who made all this happen. First of all there`s the city of Mers les Bains who is willing enough to spend some hard earned money for their kids and youth on a decent skatepark, which is the best way to spend it, right!? Thanks to the people in Mers les Bains for making us feel welcome. With that being said it was a smart decision to once more trust in Concrete Flow to get what they deserve for literally nothing. Big thanks to the team which this time mainly consisted of Alex, Slouri, Conny, Benoit, Camille and of, course, Mr. Concrete Flow himself Mucho Mikey. Special thumbs up go to Aussie mate Brodie for a week of super decent volunteer work and Fred from Amiens for helping out a couple of days as well. Good vibes, good times, brothers for life! Same goes out to them bros from Concrete Dreams for that 24 hours of dirty warzone. Cheers Bruno, Boob, Koekie, Thierry and Dieter! Always good to have some friends in combat to count on, thank you, skateboarding, for making all this reality…
Words and photos by Arne Fiehl
David “Conny” Conrads styles the shit out of this Wallride on the bank we built last year.
Two really old friends, Mike and the timeless Bs Boneless.
Brusk legend Benoit with a Layback Rollout after fixing damaged spots on the old section.
Best spot is the leftöver kicker, Fred`s first Ollie Transfers screamed for more to come.
Gypsy ‘Le Guardian’ watching out for his new master.
Arne and the first Tailslide over the new love seat, no wax, just dust. Photo: Sloeri
Like a true Lugano Warrior Alex fought and finally pulled his Bluntslide Frontside Revert.
The main crew, thanks for the jolly good times!
Mucho Mikey hard at work after work.
For part one of the MERS LES BAINS report on the Kidney Pool, clickety clack here: www.confuzine.com/2013/07/18/kidney-bowl-mers-les-bains-france/