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Slipstream does Sardinia: Part 1

‘’Slipstream does Sardinia’’ is part of the traces project, an effort to explore new terrain, new to Slipstream and to the viewing public. Sardinia had lots of interesting hills, people and good times in store for us. Long sweeping hills, tight hairpins and an extreme ditch made for fun skating and hard slams.

We met so many friendly Sardinians (don’t you dare call them Italians!) that didn’t speak a word of English like the charming girl at the gas station and the super friendly restaurant owner that went out of his way to get our orders right. We spent a day with the super stoked Longskate Arbus team who showed us their favourite hills, one of which was located above a quarry that looked abandoned. Like the Vikings we are, we plundered the hills, burned thane and ate pizza straight from the box in two minutes flat. We endured pressing heat and heavy rain the following paragraphs are the first of a triology of our adventures on a little Italian island this past autumn.

All the Swedish and Norwegian Slipstream riders, Ming Chan, John Ingolf, Carl Larsson, Tord Tvedten, Elias Kvarekvål, Ali, Sander, Adrian L. Jancey and Henning Philip Patricksson. Everyone except for Marcus Tjernström, who had torn a ligament in his knee and was healing, went to the island to have fun, skate hard and get to know each other. This was the first time some of us met, I shook so many hands and didn’t remember a single name. Airports make for surprisingly good places to learn about each other, e.g nobody knew that Ali could do magic tricks!

We arrived at the airport in Alghero quite late in the evening. Finding anything to eat on a Saturday night was hard, and no communication between the three cars made things even harder. After a long time we found a tiny pizza place that had pizza for two euros! Naturally the best most of us had ever had. Quattro formaggio (four cheeses) was my favourite by far, tomato sauce, mozzarella, gorgonzola, brie and stilton made for a very rich night snack.

The roads to Bosa were narrow and winding, very promising for the skating ahead of us. There were wild boars poking around on the side of the road probably eating garbage and we almost killed one of them, at least we think we bumped one with the car. It might have been more dangerous for us than the pig though, boars are scary huge and strong. We finally arrived in Bosa just past midnight. We found ourselves in a five story building with three bathrooms and kitchens. The kitchens weren’t really big enough for 13 skaters, so meals were gonna be intimate. I was just about ready to fall asleep on the first flight of stairs but most of the others went into overdrive and started gripping their boards, changing their wheels, looking at videos and whatnot. In the wee hours of the night there was finally enough peace and quiet to fall asleep.

Getting breakfast the next “morning” was an adventure. We were in a small Catholic town on a Sunday so nothing was open. We didn’t even know what stores sold groceries. After driving in separate directions to explore, we ended up buying breakfast at a 7Elevenesque shop on the corner of our block. 

We had quite a slow start on the first day since people were a bit jet lagged and had stayed up all night but we were soon off to a great start. We found a really nice freeride bend in 20 minutes which was a blast. The humidity and warm weather was really exhausting, we had barely seen the sun in at least a few weeks. The warm and humid weather made all wheels thane like crazy, leaving big fat white lines. Comparing thane lines could’ve turned into a royal pissing contest but fortunately it didn’t, there was total respect from everyone regardless of skill. Some of the Norwegians have been on the team four or five years and skated even longer and this was mine and Karls first year on the team, we didn’t really know each other, we didn’t really know the Norwegians, we didn’t speak Norwegian, they just sort of knew Swedish. It took some time to ease into it, but we got used to everyone soon enough and managed to have a really good time. Another thing we weren’t really used to was the “Sardinian routine” where you have to drink massive amounts of water, more than feels right, so as not to pass out in the sun. We were exhausted and dehydrated soon enough and decided to split up to look for more hills. A little group of the Norwegians ended up being chased by stray dogs in their car, that 700 euro deposit was hanging by a thin thread as the rear bumper was covered in bite and scratch marks.

The rest of us went to a tiny mountain village we had passed through on our way to that first hill and had some fun trying to early grab some gnarly stairs and other random stuff. Karl and Tord went pushing through the back alleys looking for more hills to spin down. Meanwhile Adrian revealed a secret skill, he had an harmonica and he sure could play it. The cherry on the cake of this quiet Sunday afternoon in the little village was when the recon group came back, not with news of great hills but spoils of war – freshly picked pomegranates, lemons and oranges. These were by far the tastiest fruit I have ever eaten, I don’t even care that they were stolen from some poor innocent Sardinian ladies garden.

By the second day Bosa was threatened by dark skies and heavy rain but we couldn’t very well just wait it out, there was a filming schedule and the Norwegians actually liked skating in the rain so we went spot hunting and were in luck again. The hills on the other side of Bosa were amazing, the kind of mountain roads you would expect to find in the swiss alps or northern California. The skies had opened up and emptied most of its water supplies so we decided to hit a few bends and were thrilled to notice how well the Sardinians build their roads, the asphalt was smooth and every turn was banked so even in the rain you could grip them fairly well.

Even though it looked good on film, the weather was a bit of trouble for Mattias and Ola who were trying to get some good clips and photos so we decided to try and find somewhere dry and eventually we did. It was a gnarly steep straight hill and we got our slajd jam on and had a lot of fun. We didn’t get much more than an hour of skating before the bad weather caught up with us, it was late enough in the afternoon to make another search a total waste of time so we went back to Bosa and tried to enjoy the evening.

What better way to spend it than good food and good company? Someone left me in charge of frying burgers, I mentioned earlier how small the kitchen was and now it was filled with smoke since the kitchen fan didn’t work very well. I had never used a gas stove before and could get it right once every two dozen burgers. The frying oil was sizzling and splatting all over my forearms giving me much worse burns than the sun. Still people were happy with a warm dinner and spirits were high for great weather the next day.

Next time on Vikings in Sardinia: Beautiful weather, warm ocean water and more crazy dogs!

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