Upon our arrival in Malaga's main airport, our first task was to meet up with everyone, as we'd all flown in from separate airports. As expected, there was one face missing from the lineup. Nathan Williams had once again managed to miss his flight from Nashville, a trademark move of his that I first experienced a few years ago and that he's been pulling ever since. I could tell many stories of Nathan's struggle with timekeeping, alarm clocks and public transport, but I'll leave that for another day. Eventually, 48 hours later, Nathan arrived at our hostel, the team was complete and the trip began for real.
Our tour guide for the duration of our stay was none other than Mr. Ruben Alcantara. Unfortunately, Ruben, along with etnies teammate Sergio Layos, was injured; they spent their time with us behind the wheel of a car, taking us to their favorite spots then watching what the rest of the team would come up with. It was clear that the pair of them was pretty disappointed, but spirits remained high and both Ruben and Sergio battled through the pain to produce a clip each for the edit. Without Sergio and Ruben, this trip would never have turned out as amazing as it did.
Una Vida Español
Having Ruben as our “trip dad” meant that we had the privilege of seeing Malaga from a very Spanish perspective. I didn't eat one McDonalds cheeseburger the whole time we were there. Ruben made sure we ate in the right places, ordered the right food and didn't have to slum it for one moment of the trip. He took us to a variety of amazing traditional Spanish eateries and bars, which we’d never have stumbled across without his local knowledge and enthusiasm to show us the best that Malaga had to offer. One morning he drove us into the mountains to eat breakfast in a small traditional Spanish cafe. Their specialty was home-baked bread with tomato, cheese and herbs.
We sat amongst the locals in this 500-year-old place, eating breakfast and drinking coffee like true locals. It's great when riding trips take you off the beaten path to experience a country's secrets. Afterwards we took a stroll around the village and the team took in the view, whilst I filmed a few interviews. Ruben showed us a church that had been carved into a cave and an awesome panoramic viewpoint over the peak of the mountain where we could see the city of Malaga glittering on the horizon. However, the crew only seemed genuinely excited when someone (and by someone I mean probably Tony Hamlin) spotted a donkey with a huge erection on the side of the road. All the sights were suddenly ignored in favor of the huge donkey dick as everyone huddled round it, giggling like schoolboys, daring each other to touch it and scrabbling around to find their cameras as Ruben watched, looking slightly bemused by the situation. Sorry, Ruben, at least you tried.
I’ve filmed with Ashley Charles, Ben Lewis and Nathan Williams many times before but this was my first time meeting and really hanging out with Fabian, Tony, Ruben and Sergio. The first thing I noticed was that the team just worked instantly—everyone gets on so well, and if I didn't know better, it would be easy to believe that these guys all ride together all the time. It was Fabian's first trip with English and American riders, and although there was a bit of a language barrier, he knew just enough to get him by and have a good time with everyone. To me, as videographer, Fabian was a wildcard to begin with. Without warning, I'd look behind me to see him hurtling down a handrail. I tried telling him that it was best to give us a heads up before doing anything footage-worthy, but he didn't seem able to control himself. I settled for his rather bizarre compromise of hitting the rail over and over again whilst I was setting up, until I was ready. So, for the most part, everything we filmed he'd probably done about five or six times beforehand, whilst waiting for Ricky Adam and myself to set up our equipment. Whatever works I suppose?
At the other end of the spectrum, you have Ben Lewis, who'd quietly sit at a spot, letting the cogs turn and watching everyone ride for as long as it took before calmly deciding to film something himself—and by something, I mean usually "re-inventing street riding," as Tony put it. Keep an eye on where Ben's feet are and which way he's rotating; it'll give you a whole new appreciation for his ambidextrous riding style. As for Tony, what can I say? Every trick seems to be his forte. It's absolutely insane to watch someone tearing a spot to pieces the way he does—in between his artillery of wisecracks, constant Twitter updates and ridiculous statements. So, as you're probably starting to realize, this team is awesome as a whole but is made up of a very eclectic mix of personalities, which by chance work perfectly when combined.
A Spot a day
Usually, on a BMX filming trip such as this, the aim of the game is to hit as many spots as possible, riding around the city exploring every avenue in search of new obstacles to film on. This trip was completely different. The ever-reliable pairing of our legendary Spanish tour guides, Ruben and Sergio, would arrive at our hostel in the morning, we'd all pile in the van and take a drive to a usually out of town spot. On arrival at the spot, we'd set up camp, begin filming, but then rather than rush out of there ASAP, we'd hang out, maybe get some food, ride a little more, and before you knew it, the camera would be back out again as new lines were discovered. Just as there was a crazy mix of personalities on the trip, the mix of riding styles was just as varied. It was cool to see how people all look at a spot so differently, and can produce such a variety of different clips all in the same place. This routine was repeated every day, and it was great to see everyone film so much then have a whole second wave of ideas to film. I guess sometimes you need to put in more time at a spot than you'd think to get absolutely everything you can out of it. This new spot-a-day technique of filming and riding resulted in a really laid-back feel.
This trip may have been in a familiar location, but the trip itself was far from familiar. New faces, some spots we'd never seen and a new filming routine—everything had been switched up and it resulted in a not only super-productive, but a thoroughly-enjoyable trip for everyone involved. We all headed home with some new friends, some new stories (and for the riders, some new bruises) and a feeling that our first etnies Europe trip had been nothing but a success. Even my flight's 24-hour delay in returning me back to sunny Great Britain couldn't put a damper on the fun we'd had, and I hope you enjoy watching our video as much as we enjoyed making it!
- Share on Facebook
- Tweet it
- Share on StumbleUpon