Korahn came up with that name for the trip and it was the hashtag for the whole thing.
The crew consisted of Korahn, Jamie Platt, Ty (who had just moved to Paris a couple of weeks earlier), Rich ‘filmer Rich’ Smith, Reece Leung, Phil Parker, (who was supposed to be a filmer as well but who managed to film everything but any of the tricks) and me, (Mike Arnold). We had a lot of fun, drank a lot of red wine, possibly too much red wine – it did get to the point where it almost became a struggle to skate at all without drinking a load of red wine first.
Phil Parker became known as ‘Senior Long’ during this trip because he just spent so long doing everything. He was basically there to help Rich film Korahn’s VX part that came out at Christmas. That was why Phil got flown out there and he got some great footage…of Paris locals, sexy girls in the street: basically anything but second angles of Korahn’s tricks.
What he didn’t get footage-wise he definitely made up for in entertainment value though. He fully submerged himself in the Paris lifestyle, which was contagious and was very enjoyable to be around.
We also had ‘Ice Man’ AKA Reece who was working his magic, throwing out incentives for tricks where necessary and making it happen.
We were almost winging it to an extent, chasing the very last bit of sun before winter kicked in and we managed it. It didn’t actually rain until the day we left and as we flew out the winter moved in. We got very lucky.
This trip went down only two weeks before the Paris attacks too, which is somewhat of a sobering thought looking at it from today’s perspective. Especially given that where we were staying would’ve been right in the centre of that horrible carnage had we gone only two weeks later.
This trip pretty much put Mike on the map too, as insane as it sounds to say that, but that one 4-second clip of the ‘slappy nose 9’ went viral and all of a sudden he was the man. The slappy of all slappies. It wasn’t even an NBD as it happens either as some guy in a pair of crazy shorts had already done it (it’s on Mike’s Instagram if anyone wants to see).
We also saw Kyron McGrath-Davies when we were out there too and we were planning on hanging out and skating until he ate a baguette and had an allergic reaction and started swelling up. That was really frightening and thankfully he ended up being okay but for a while he looked absolutely fucked. He had to get carted off to the hospital with Korahn and pay 50 Euros to get an injection in his arse to sort him out. Korahn has a good photo of that.
There was a lot of Tinder’ing going on too – not mentioning any names – but all the single guys on the trip pretty much completed Tinder in France, so hats off to them. The eternal ‘swipe right’ was in full effect.
Korahn tried really hard to pick up as much French as he could, he took every opportunity presented to him to learn, almost approaching it the way he does with skateboarding. That was inspiring to see but let’s be fair – who wouldn’t want to speak French after spending time in Paris?
Anyway – here are some of our selected memories from our trip out to Paris brought to you by myself (Mike Arnold), and Senior Fish AKA Rich Smith: get out to Paris yourselves – it’s amazing.
Backside smithgrind – Jamie Platt
RS: There he is, elegant back smith.
MA: Ah Jamie Platt, back when he could actually skate…he’s still in recovery mode at the moment but he’ll be back skating again soon. That was such a nice spot actually, ‘Le Dome’, a really peaceful place. You have the little waterfall trickling down in the background; you can see the Eiffel Tower from there…
RS: Yeah it felt ‘well Paris’ there, (laughs).
MA: So Phil Parker, (sorry to talk about Phil on your photo Jamie), used this ledge that Jamie is skating as a workstation. Phil’s VX broke, which isn’t a surprise at all, and he rolled up to this spot and started dismantling his camera on the ledge. I think he only had trousers on, he’d forgotten his boxers and had taken his top off for whatever reason; maybe it helped with taking the camera apart?
RS: Most people would try and sort this kind of an intricate bit of tinkering out at the apartment but Phil felt the need to do it at the spot…
MA: He took out all the different screws and pins from the VX and he’d lay each one down on the ledge, draw a circle around them and write where each bit came from so he’d know how to put the camera back together. So he ended up with this huge abstract diagram that made absolutely no sense to anyone but Phil. It did look pretty cool though…
RS: People were skating, I was filming, Reece was shooting photos and there in the background was a topless Phil Parker surrounded by bits of VX. Fair play to him though – he did somehow manage to get it working again after 20 minutes.
Hand assisted frontside ollie – Phil Parker
MA: So Phil had just started rolling around on a board again after being out for a year and a half because a knee injury where he destroyed his ACL, so initially everybody was pretty nervous about watching him skate. But we managed to find some ‘disabled spots’ for him, (laughs).
This thing – you could go up the bank and onto the wall whilst holding onto the girder above so Phil was able to skate and it was still pretty safe as there wasn’t much pressure being put on his knee.
RS: Somehow he managed to shoot a bunch of photos…
Inside noseslide – Mike Arnold
MA: Oh this thing – these things are everywhere in Paris but they’re actually quite hard to do anything on. This was a bit of a hit-and-hope job really, you just have to go at it and hope that your truck will go into the gap. It gaps out over a kerb too and into traffic, and that part of Paris is really hectic, traffic moves pretty fucking fast there. It’s right next to Republique too.
RS: This is another photo that I didn’t end up filming as well because I was stuck in the vortex at Republique with Korahn.
MA: I just thought those things looked interesting and were begging for something as it’s pretty rare that you get two rails together like that: so I decided to do this, (laughs).
Switch frontside noseslide – Korahn Gayle
RS: Ah we didn’t get long at this spot at all. Security were straight out on this one…
MA: It’s cool how his jacket matches the sky.
RS: Security were on it at this spot. He did it first and got the photo but I didn’t film that try and then we got kicked out. Two minutes later Korahn just ran back and busted it out again without me filming (again), just for his own satisfaction because he didn’t like the first one. So this photo is of the legitimate (in Korahn’s eyes anyway) make.
MA: The switch front nose is a nice trick – I want that one. Especially going into a bank like this spot here; I bet that felt good.
Wallie one-foot tail grab – Jamie Platt
MA: Another trendy trick from Jamie, which isn’t a bad thing.
RS: A wallie, a grab and a one-foot. Ticking all the boxes there, (laughs). Sick photo at a cool spot.
MA: And he’s got white jeans on as well…hmm, not sure what else to say here. Actually, he filmed something pretty sick around this spot but you’ll have to wait for the footage to come out…
Riverside pole jam – Mike Arnold
Mike Arnold: Okay so this is me doing a pole jam. Reece spotted this as we were out having some beers one night looking at another spot. This one’s right next to the river, which is obviously freezing cold so I’ll be honest, I didn’t really want to skate it as there was a very real chance of ending up in the water, but Reece will always try to convince me to do things. Eventually he said he’d give me three bottles of wine if I did it, which was a game-changer and also wisely suggested that we did it on the last night, just in case my board, and/or me, ended up in the river.
The other funny thing is that somebody came up with the idea of tying my board to me so there was less chance of it falling in, so whilst I was doing this I had a shoelace tied around my ankle, which then went around the back of my board and was tied onto the back truck. Kinda like a leash on a surfboard I guess.
So because of that I was forced to mongo-push along this thin run up towards the pole jam, (laughs), with a leash on. Also as you jammed off it, there was a bit of a drop and gap that you had to clear, and the landing was cobbles. So a bit of an ordeal but quite funny because of the mongo push…
Rich Smith: Plus the lace nearly snapped a bunch of times as well…
MA: Yeah it did, but luckily the board didn’t end up going in. But the leash did save my board countless times when it would’ve gone in so…praise the leash!
Nollie heelflip Spanish grind – Korahn Gayle
MA: Republique again – nollie heelflip Spanish grind – that’s a rare one. What happened to the footage of this Rich?
RS: It glitched, like majorly glitched to the point where the footage is unusable unfortunately, but at least he got a sequence of it. He was doing the nollie version of this trick, with no flip, fairly easily, and this one came pretty quickly after that.
MA: He’d tried this on multiple occasions though, right? He tried it once at 5am and that’s when Korahn split his shin open…
RS: Oh yeah, we bumped into Bill Strobeck who was out there in Paris at the time with all the Supreme dudes. We were trying to film this trick in a line at maybe 4 in the morning and in the distance I saw this guy walking over to us. As he got closer I realised that it was Strobeck and he goes, “Yo, let me film one try!”
So obviously I passed him the VX and he grabbed my cruiser: for some reason I had the worst set up with me, some super slow little Penny board kind of thing – I think it was faulty or something which I why I had it in the first place.
Anyway it was so shit, so he filmed one attempt with Korahn after giving it, “I guarantee this will be the one where he makes it” and half way through the line you can hear him complaining about the board, like, “this cruiser sucks dude” or something. That kinda threw Korahn a bit and put him off, (not to say it was Strobeck’s fault but it definitely put him off), and he bailed and somehow managed to land on the corner of the ledge and slice his shin open. It was disgusting man, really deep. You could see his bone and everything. Everyone was shocked at how gnarly it was and I naturally assumed it’d be a ‘go straight to hospital’ job but because of the intoxication it maybe took the edge off it for Korahn. He said, “fuck it, I’ll keep going” – he tied it up to stop the bleeding, with a sock, and just carried on. That was crazy. Strobeck stayed until he got the trick as well.
Switch crook at Republique – Tyrone O’Hanrahan
MA: Yes Ty! Switch crook at Republique. That is fucking high!
RS: Yeah, that shit’s really high and he made it look so easy because he’s got so much pop.
MA: We spent a lot of time at Republique on this trip because it’s so good for skating. – so many different obstacles, the surface is really smooth…
RS: It was our local too, right by where we were staying – probably like a 5 minutes skate away. It did become a bit of a vortex because of that though, we ended up there at 5 in the morning skating more than once. As a filmer it didn’t really bother me but I could tell it was pissing Reece off that we wouldn’t go anywhere else but hey look, he ended up shooting this photo here so it worked out okay…
Tyrone O’Hanrahan – Front nose nollie biggy
MA: That’s a really hard trick…
RS: It didn’t take him long at all either. He just kind of did it whilst everyone else was messing about in the background. I didn’t even know he’d done it until we looked at Reece’s photos later that night…
MA: It’s quite a rare one actually, especially when it’s a mid-ledge one like this, rather than off the end. Fair play to him – Ty smashed it. He’d only just moved over to Paris a couple of weeks before this trip.
RS: This was the first time I’d met Ty properly, definitely a good dude to have around – he brings a lot of hype with him. A few times when Korahn was really struggling with a trick, getting stressed and what have you, Ty was always the first person to go over, pick him up and try to get him sparked to keep going. He came up with this little saying that he kept coming out with, “black man in a white box”. Like when you’re mentally struggling with a trick it’s good to put your mind into a safe space, like a padded room or something, (laughs). Ty was really good at doing that for Korahn.
Backtail pop out – Korahn Gayle
MA: This is a really good photo – I like the colours, the blue and the brown and the yellow.
RS: And that Paris romance going on in the background too. That looks a lot easier than it was – that ledge is so rounded off
MA: Yeah he battled this. That thing is more rounded off that Lloyds’ ledges and that’s saying something….
RS: Yeah getting a pop out of that to clear those stairs afterwards is no joke, Korahn had to really work for it. Whilst Reece was shooting a photo Korahn did a perfect one but then when I went to film it with him afterwards, that’s when the battle began. He ended up getting one but he kind of ghosted it, the board left his feet and at the time we all thought it looked pretty sick but after I’d logged it we realised that it wasn’t really useable, which is a shame but never mind. He was going Mach-10 at this, he had to really because that was the only way to clear the stairs because you can’t really lock in enough to ‘pop’ out. Fair play to him: wish I’d filmed the banger one though…
Ollie – Mike Arnold
MA: Oops, looks like I got one-upped by Korahn here as he backside 180’d this too but I guess I got the photo…
RS: Those are such authentic-looking French people in this shot, (laughs).
MA: I did this in a line, so there were a few tricks before this. I don’t really normally jump over stuff that high, I’m not comfortable with falling from a height. What else can I say about this? “I’m not a Christian”? (Laughing).
RS: It’s in quite a nice area that spot – there’s a nice bar right by it.
MA: Yeah there’s that – we rolled down to the pub after I got this and had a couple of drinks with Phil and everyone – that was nice. This trip was a constantly balance between drinking, then trying to skate, then drinking again because you were hung over from the night before. Bit of a vicious cycle really but we managed to balance it out in the end. We did indulge prettily heavily on this trip.
Wallride nollie out – Jamie Platt
RS: Now this trick has definitely been done before but not as high as this one and without the sign at the bottom, which is a more recent addition to this spot. It’s really sketchy getting past that thing…
MA: I think initially it was just the disc thing that was put on the bank to try and stop people skating it, but people started treating it like a new spot, so they then added the sign to it to skate-stop it as well.
RS: Yeah that’s right – it was originally just the bank, then there were two different attempts to kill the spot, both of which just ended up turning it into a new spot, (laughing). On this one Jamie nollied of out the wallride, onto the bank, then ollied up onto the circle and dodged past the sign. He was going so fast as he rode off from this. It was a bust too, there were security lurking and we did get kicked out eventually but he managed to do it first. This is pretty gnarly.
MA: Yep – a perilous manoeuvre.
Phil Parker – layback wallride fakie
MA: Now this one isn’t girder-assisted but it’s still a ‘disabled spot’. I think Phil actually went as far as to ask Bloby Greg who was hanging out with us to take him to some ‘disabled spots’, (laughing). Not your average request to a Parisian skate guide is it?
Phil didn’t want to leave, he was having such a good time that he wanted to go on a Euro bender, so he booked a ticket from Paris to go visit a girl in Berlin. Thing was, when he got to the train station, the ticket was for the day before so he had to pay like £300 that he wasn’t expecting. Then as we were all leaving to get our flight home, we found Phil’s passport in the apartment, meaning that he disappeared to Berlin with no passport meaning that we had to post it out to him so he could get back to the UK. He loved it though – Senior Long being long as ever, (laughing).
“The 900” – Mike Arnold
MA: Old dirty noseslide…
RS: (Laughing), the 900! This very nearly didn’t happen.
MA: I’d already tried this quite a few times before, (not in Paris), but when we got to this ledge it was just perfect for this kind of trick so I thought I’d give it a go. I knew full well how fucking hard it was, and that it was likely to drive me nuts. This session turned into a bit of a saga. Just trying to get your body around the whole way is really hard, but as I say this ledge was perfect for it so I gave it a few goes and then 5 minutes later – BOOM – camera is out – Reece and Rich were both shooting so I stuck with it. I did this one you’re looking at here, which to be honest I wasn’t all that happy with it. I wanted a version of it that was totally proper with the full rotation where it felt fluid, to me at least.
After I did this one I was actually really pissed off and so I just skated away on my own. I’d got so worked up had a bit of a meltdown so I told myself that I was never gonna try it again after this. Like, ‘it’s done – the end’.
We were supposed to leave Paris and on that day as we were pretty knackered after 10 days of drinking we decided to all have a little snooze. So we did, and then woke up and set about cleaning up the apartment until somebody pointed out that we only had 2 hours before the flight. Panic sort of set in, we packed up and left to get the Metro, at rush hour, in Paris, to get to the airport on time. Not a good idea really.
We just physically couldn’t fit on the Metro with all our bags and shit, so it got to the point where it was clear that we weren’t going to get the plane, so we ended up coming back into town and back to the apartment.
RS: That was one of my favourite evenings actually – a blessing in disguise. We went back and had cheese, grapes and red wine in a nicely tidy flat that actually looked like an apartment again, rather than a skateboarder’s slum, (laughs).
MA: That was a real nice evening, followed by red wine for breakfast. I was slightly over confident in the morning so I said I was going to try this trick again. Korhan was filming on a phone, Rich was filming on a phone…
RS: Yeah I didn’t even take the proper camera out with me – it just seemed like that trick was better suited for Instagram really, (laughing).
MA: Yeah, (laughs), I wasn’t actually speaking to you guys during that session either as I was fully ‘in the zone’.
RS: We had to go to a quieter bit of Republique to get it too as it was really busy with people at the ones where people normally skate, these ones barely had any run up either.
MA: Yeah there were loads of people camping out at the ledge I was trying it on, some kind of protest I guess, so as I was setting off, I was almost standing inside their little tent area. I took probably two hours to do the second one of these, not the one in the sequence but the one that went ever so slightly ‘viral’ on Insta, (laughs).
RS: That was funny. You did it – we posted it up on Insta and then went to the pub. Then we all had to just put our phones in the middle of the table because they kept buzzing and beeping and whatnot as people were @ing us into reposts and shit…
MA: (Laughing), I think the first repost that I got tagged into was from Manny Santiago, which was just hilarious as I’d never associate him with either me, or with this kind of skating.
RS: The whole thing was funny, how do people find this shit? Your shit iPhone couldn’t even handle it, (laughing).
MA: I had this pretty shit iPhone 4 and it wouldn’t even register it, there was a point where I was getting like 100 new followers every minute, (laughing). I had to get up the next day at 4am with the most hideous hang over to fly home but it was worth it.