Cyprus is a small Island in the Eastern Mediterranean and the chosen destination for the final proper filming mission for The National Skateboard Co’s impending video release. Unfortunately the trio of Danijel ‘Jugga’ Stankovic, David Mackey and new lad Daniel Grönwall were unable to make it for various reasons and were missed by the whole team as they are smashing lads, but we didn’t let this get us down: plus Whatsapp kept the missing members up to speed on what nonsense was going on anyway so it sort of felt as if they were there.
I was picked up from the airport 24 hours after the rest of the crew, (apart from Evz, who landed a few days later) and we drove straight into the darkness, through a field until we arrived at the only completed villa on what appeared to be a building site. This was where we were staying…the middle of nowhere.
Later in the week it dawned on me that this was probably intentional, in order to keep the boys out of mischief of an evening, but the local area only teased the crew as every day when we drove through the grass to get to the main road, there was an incredibly intense smell of cannabis, which only led everyone’s suspicions that there was a weed farm nearby.
With the radio pumping some serious Jessie Ware tunage and everyone excited to have escaped their respective home-country’s poor climate for the week, the boys jumped into the two-van convoy to scour the island for spots. Captains Ryan Gray and Thomas Harrison took charge of the driving (with Manhead and Smithy on standby); with Cypriot tour guide and ex-Newcastle resident Dave meeting up with us at the classic kicker spot most days to provide local knowledge, and thus, we were just about set.
Everyone jumped out the van for a spot of lunch from the deli near the kicker, and as we were eating, the near silence amongst the crew indicated that Denis had somehow become separated from us. A short while later he reappeared and declared, “I’ve just found us a Denis spot.”
As you can probably tell, this was not your conventional day-to-day skate spot that you would stumble upon in many cities. In fact, to find this thing Denis went on a solo loading bay exploration around the back of some nearby shops.
Ol’ Dirty DLynn forced himself up and along the crusty ledge, ignoring the short run up that made grinding the ledge seem like the easy bit. The landing consisted of a steep and bumpy hill bomb straight into a shutter door that had the words ‘No Entry! African Jungle’ sprayed upon it, but Denis being Denis stuck with it, ignored the warnings and somehow managed to ride the thing out. He obviously had to let everybody know about it afterwards as well.
It has to be done on any skate trip to Cyprus…the obligatory visit to this #classic spot. The boys had already skated this spot before I’d arrived, but everyone was keen to return to it throughout the week, as there was a banging bakery just down the road. On the last day it occurred to us that, despite being probably the most rinsed spot on the island, the kicker would also be right up Evz’ street. After getting out of the van and taking down a locally sourced ‘magic stick’, Evz was just about ready to hack another notch on the spot’s proverbial bedpost.
He landed a nollie heel and nollie bigspin in about two tries a piece – the footage of both was instantly wired to an awaiting Mackey for the Lost Art Instagram – then as soon a CJ had set up, he managed to pull of this insane maneuver in another handful of tries.
No amount of forewarning from the appropriate Liverpool authorities really gets the point across, seeing it in the flesh in a proper eye opener, but yeah – skating comes very naturally to Evz.
Your humble narrator doesn’t wish to discuss this back smith, so I guess I’ll step in for a minute. ‘Big Dave’ as he is affectionately known, arrived in Cyprus late and left the island early, but everyone was stoked that he managed to make the trip if only for a few days. The thing with the team is, aside from possibly Greg, no one is a ‘full time’ skateboarder as it were, which is why it’s near enough impossible to get everyone in the same place at the same time. Most of the riders have careers outside (or inside, in a couple of cases) of skateboarding, or are still in education, and in the case of Dave, he’d literally just enrolled in university in London so had to get back to kick off his course. But before we dropped him at the airport, he found time to bless this previously AVE handled curved number with one of his logic defying locked in back smiths.
A few weeks after coming back from the trip, Dave snapped his ankle something rotten so is on the injury bench for the next few months. Rest up Dave, you’ll be back on the board and dishing out death threats in no time.
There’s never an “oh yes!” too far away when hanging out with Gregoire – or ‘Bloby Greg’ if you prefer – The National Skateboard Co.’s Parisian representative and all round nice guy, who can usually be seen doing some fucked up skateboard moves on Instagram.
If I had to pick four things that Greg loves, they would be Drake, Skepta, coffee and cigarettes. And not necessarily in that order, either.
It was a Saturday when we arrived at this school in the hills above Limassol, in the blazing midday sun. This spot makes regular appearances in photos and videos from Cyprus, and all the boys played around on its various stair sets, rails and ledge configurations for a while, so Greg could do his two-wheeled thing and the sun could turn itself down a notch.
If there’s a balancing job to be done, it’s safe to say Greg is the man for job. He tested the water with a few ridiculous combinations but brought it back home with this absolute beaut.
“Check ‘im out!”
Andy ‘Evz’ Evans managed to escape his full time chef duties back in Liverpool and joined the trip halfway through the week, but it was clear after only the first day’s skate that he was on a mission.
Evz found this extremely long double set in glorious Ayia Napa whilst in search of a shop, and he was definitely the man for the job, making throwing himself down it look easy to anyone watching, even though getting to the double set looked like sloping trouble.
This was Evz’ first trip with The National Skateboard Co, which meant it was the first time he really got hang out with the boys, but everyone realised straight away that’s he’s an incredibly nice Scouser who is fucking gnarly on a skateboard. Plus, the shared feelings between Evz and many of the other teammates about that fabled green stuff meant that he was always going to fit in just fine.
Ryan Gray spent 100% of his time behind the wheel of the van or behind the lens of his VX on this trip, and was rewarded for his efforts one night by fainting whilst filming a line of Harrison. He still managed to save the camera from destruction and film himself passing out in the process, which was obviously very scary for anyone observing, but after some rest, food and a bit of water he was back on form. Just in time to film this backside noseblunt, actually.
To anyone visiting Cyprus, a word of warning for you – stay well away from Ayia Napa:
The place serves as some kind of haven for overweight ex-pats on mobility scooters, the lager louts they once probably were, and dodgy ‘fusion’ restaurants such as ‘Japchinese’. Our visit was out of season so it was abit more tolerable, but the foul smell of ‘Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents’ still lingered in the November air.
This was definitely not the most fun spot to skate, and I can say that from first hand experience. As ever, the run up was narrow, the hip itself was rough and the awkward 90 degree carve in the ride out caught most people off guard. Apart from Evz, obviously.
Many tricks went down at this spot, but this was one of the most stylish and floaty. That head of his obviously doesn’t weigh him down too much. He put no less than fifteen of these frontside flips down but still couldn’t switch navigate his way around the carve in the ride out.
I’ve also got to give a shout out to Josh for cooking up a storm in the kitchen every night, until Evz arrived and some next level culinary collaborations took place.
It had been a while since anyone on the team had really seen Denis, as he is very good at disappearing when he wants to. It must have been April when he vacated London after a 14-month stay and sent himself back to his native Belfast, which is where he’s been ever since. Without a phone: Or an email address.
Anyway, it’s hard to know where to start with this loud, charismatic Irishman; you know you’re in for some laughs if you’re on a trip with DLynn, and he is definitely the man to keep you going when trying a trick.
From seeing footage of this spot it looked like a lot of fun to skate, but that was definitely not the case. On arriving there was a car parked right in the way, but before everyone got too bummed out, the owner moved the obstructing vehicle and the session was on. Well, for Denis and Vaughan at least.
The run up started across the road where there was a bunch of old Cypriot men at at bar who seemed happy to watch what was happening, though get to the crook itself was a bit of a mission that involved a pop up a kerb then another ollie to make it onto the slippery marble bank.
After a long day of skating everyone seemed exhausted, but Denis conjured up enough energy to deal with all the obstacles in his way, and before long both him and his Irish Army camo pants were riding off into the distance victorious.
‘UK LEGEND’ is the phrase you commonly hear Neil referring to himself as. It is true though, he is a legend, which is why he made it to the pro ranks. Three times.
And in regular Smiffy style, he reminded us all of his Blueprint ‘Lost & Found’ part daily, ‘for the bants’ of course. I bloody love that Skinnyman track.
Anyway, Smithy’s on a mission to find the never been seen spots nowadays, and once again he succeeded by scoping this roadside treat from the back of the van. Neil must be able to cut some shapes on the dance floor if this quick-footed action was anything to go by. The ollie up before the flip itself was a tricky one for Neil to get his head around, but after a solid session he came through, sitting himself down for a quick post-battle beer with his photo firmly in the bag.
As if the excitement of getting this photo wasn’t enough, later that night Neil was up to his old tricks at the villa. Following a skin-full of last day beers, Neil donned his finest Hawaiian shirt and dived from the first floor balcony into the pool. Thankfully we were the only inhabited house for miles around so no one else saw.
You know, it’s true what they say – you can take the boy out of Essex but you can’t take Essex out of the boy.
This was another schoolyard spot outside of Limassol but it seemed a bit more difficult to get into compared to the others, primarily due to a meathead coming out of the gym and assuring us that he had seen all of our faces before, even after tour guide Dave explained that we were here on a skate trip and no one there (aside from himself and CJ) had ever been to the school. The situation quickly escalated into a heated argument, which ended with the no-neck meathead pulling his phone out and apparently phoning the police, but presumably the Cypriot boys in blue had some actual important shit to be dealing with as they never appeared.
Like many of the perfect looking spots in Cyprus, this one also was harder to skate than it looked, due to its extremely slippery marble floor. Or it might have been due to me drinking too many beers the night before and throwing up several times during the session: One or the other.
The floor didn’t stop the boys from landing their tricks, and even tour guide Dave threw a fakie biggerspin over the gap first try.
Team handsome member Thomas H. Harrison quickly ticked a number of maneuvers off his list, and decided this fakie heel would be the one to work at, landing it several times to make sure it was done in true dashing style.
I’ve never known Vaughan to slam as much as he did on this trip. He’s usually pretty sturdy on his board though I think over the course of the week he battered every available body part every which way.
If he wasn’t sliding down stairs on his ribs he was compressing his knees or twatting his elbows. For instance, he took two bad slams trying this back smith on the first day, which obviously wasn’t the ideal way to kick off the trip. Unfazed, VMFJ dusted himself off and stomped this back smith with his trademark Wirral authority.
It’s so easy to follow the rules and go to all the most well known spots on any skate trip, but it seemed that Evz had the art of laying his eyes on some on Cyprus’ less seen ones. This was another spot we stumbled upon on the way to get some dinner one evening. Again, in classic Evz style, he managed to land numerous tricks in very little tries, and he was riding away from this shifty nollie before he even broke a sweat in the humid Cyprus evening.
Originally we turned up for a spot across the road that Neil wanted to check out, but daylight wasn’t on our side. Big Poppa TH and his keen eye quickly fixated on this interesting little number though, and it wasn’t long before Thomas was up to his usual antics on this crusty, above waist high ledge.
Whilst skating this spot, a drunk, stumbling old Cypriot geeza made his way up the street, pursued closely by a lady-friend. They started yelling at each other, the situation became more heated and the lady ended up getting a slap right across the face. At this point Manhead and a few others intervened to split the domestic up. The woman was sent on her way by Manhead though the fella stuck about, joining a crew outside a nearby shop facing where the boys were sitting. A strange Mexican stand off quickly developed between us and the drunks outside the shop; no words were really exchanged but the vibe was evidently sketchy.
Fuck knows what that was about.
This is definitely one of the gnarlier spots we came across in Limassol, and not only because of the handrail itself, but because of the horrendously busy main road that constitutes the run up, oh, and the lovely drain in the landing.
Naturally, Tom firing himself at this rail grabbed some local attentions, but barely anyone bothered to pass comment. Tom got close to the feeble several times, but after taking a hard slam his enthusiasm was running a bit low. Good job he had his lucky new pink shoes and the support from the boys to keep him going.
With a bit of persistence and a load of beer/Prosecco-for-trick deals on offer, Tom saw the feeble through to the end, right as the afternoon offered up the last bit of natural light.