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Skateboarding News

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Prado skatepark, AKA the Bowl by the Escale Borely by the sea

Max VEROHANITRA. Photo JM. Favre
The Orange Cup at Marseille
On June 23rd, 24th and 25th, the Annual Orange Cup Freestyle Skateboarding Contest will be held at Marseille, France. Skateboarders will be competing for WCS points and a chance to win a prestigious World Cup Skateboarding title. The skateboarding portion of the event will include both professionals and amateurs alike.

This year's event also marks the introduction of a Masters Division, which is expected to have fans talking highlights for weeks. Legendary skateboarders expected to be at Marseille for this year's event include Andy MacDonald and Rune Glifberg. Participating in the X Games since its inception sets MacDonald and Glifberg squarely among an elite group of skateboarders. McDonald's near flawless 19 X Games career wins and Glifberg's 10 only adds to their incredible resumes. MacDonald is also known for regularly competing in the Dew Tour and the Maloof Money Cup. In 2010 he placed 3rd in the vertical division at the AST Dew Tour in Boston, Massachusetts. Glifberg also had an outstanding 2010 year, winning 1st place in the vertical division at the Copenhagen Pro in Demark, landing at the 2nd place at the Pro Tec Pool Party in Orange County, 4th at the Oakley Bowl-a-Rama in New Zealand and 5th at the Vans Bowl-a-Rama in Australia.

The Orange Skateboard Cup competition is part of the critically acclaimed, International Bowl Series and will take place at the Prado Skate Park which is entering its 20th anniversary next July 13th. isTia is covering the event with interviews of the participants and a small history of France and Marseille skateboard contests and skaters. Several of Marseille's skate bowls and ramps have been designed by French skater Jean-Pierre Collinet to meet the needs of skaters of all ages and abilities.

That's why, since its opening in 1991, the Prado Skate park has attracted both international and young local skateboarders. Here is a history of the Marseille bowl located on the beaches of Prado, near the “Escale Borely” written by Pat Lozano, one of the initiator of the project and a great skater.

The story beyond the Prado Bowl, by Patrick Lozano

The Prado Bowl at Marseilles during construction in 1991. During the Powell-Peralta trip, the Bones Bigade came to the Prado Bowl. Cab was aghast. He was saying:
This is rad, why don’t we have this in the states? Why don’t we have this in San Francisco?”. Picture from the website
Julien Benoliel
Located right on the beach in the Prado seaside area, Marseille Skatepark is considered as a "must skate" and have been rated 9/10 by Trasher Skateboard Magazine. It has also been rated the best bowl by the beach by together with Bondi Bowl and Venice Skatepark. For the Prado bowl, everything started right before the 90’s during the second wave of "skate". In Marseille there was no ramp... However there were some good skaters and there were all in search of good of curves. We skated in small pipes placed there at the edge of beach facilities. Then the mayor of Marseilles made a sort of rectangular park, plus a wooden mini ramp. Unfortunately, most of the skaters from Marseilles and elsewhere preferred to go and skate to a legendary ditch called “la ditch du Roy d'Espagne”. But, even if the ditch had rounded curves, that was not sufficient. Jean Pierre Collinet, a skater and an architecture student in Marseille, decided with his buddies, members of the local skate club les "Street Bombs", to strike a major blow by having the Town Hall realize a Bowl. That’s how the The Valmante Bowl was born. To this date, it is still skated and has even experienced the passage of the greatest teams in the 80’s with the Bones Brigade, Team Santa Cruz and others.

But when The Valmante Bowl was not completely successful, Jean Pierre asked the mayor of Marseille to make a real Skatepark at the seashore. In consultation with members of the Street Bombs: Jean Pierre Collinet, Stephane Andre Gorox, Max, Jules, myself, and other skaters whose name I forget, we decided to make a skate park with two large kidney beans separated by a spine, themselves connected to three different heights bowl shaped like the Delmar treble (the legendary park).
The Prado Bowl. Photo Marion Zetta
It was all juxtaposed with a street area a little small for my taste. We supervised the daily progress of work, to make sure it was perfect in terms of curves, proportions and quality of concrete. Eventually, the Prado Skatepark skatepark opened July 13th 1991. According to the Marseille Skatepark website, Jean Pierre Collinet, the architect of the bowl dragged his feet skateboarding in a few countries… He pledged to create the bowl in six months: "I wanted it to be unifying, open to everyone, from three to sixty, and accessible to all levels. I did not want it imposes a high level to have fun, " recalls Jean-Pierre Collinet, its architect, now, since, oddly, the absence of other orders, insurance adjuster.

The Bowl du Prado at Marseilles: already 20 years old... Picture from the website

Luc DeLa Basserue. Photo Unknown
“I did not want that this universe have a limit. I wanted people to be found inside the box like Pandora where you can stay longer without getting tired. At the time, I was still a student at Marseille. And I 'I hit upon a idea I had in 1983 on one of my sketches. I went on the idea of a boat hull.” And, finally, each shell represents a wave without end, the largest being 2.70 m deep. This is one of the first modern skateboard parks in Europe. It is still today taken as an example because it is not exceeded. It’s a skate park open to all free, floodlit at night, surrounded by huge lawns, an idyllic setting just 100 meters from the sea has been a worldwide recognition thanks to the video game Tony Hawk Pro Skater. Skaters from around the world came to skate here over the years. It has undergone numerous competitions including the Bowlrider pro. It was renovated in 2010. And will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year with the Orange Cup.

The Prado Bowl in Marseilles is home to some of the greatest transition skating that ever went down. Everyone knows all about the legendary skating bowl from Wade Speyer, Phil Shao, John Cardiel. The biggest stars came to skate the Prado Bowl: Andy McDonald, Tony Alva, Tom Penny, Jone Cardiel, Omar Hassan, Rune Glifberg, brothers Fletchers, Bam Marguera etc ...
Some of the locals include Max Verohanitra and Mehdi Salah, who, beside his involvement in contests at Le Prado, had also headed up his crew to build the extremely hard-to-skate DIY spot “La Caverne”.

Story by Patrick Lozano
The Prado Bowl. Created by Jean-Pierre Collinet after seeing the Delmar Bowl, the Skate Park represents several
boat hulls and each shell represents an endless wave. Photo Marion Zetta
Afterword: On many accounts, the Bowl du Prado is an amazing feat by itself thanks to visionary people like : Jean Pierre Collinet, Stephane Andre, Gorox, Max, Jules and Patrick Lozano. You can be proud of what you have done guys: what was created 20 years ago by a small group of skaters has withstood the passage of time. It has been a model for many skateparks that are being created right now, even in the motherland of skateboarding: the USA. On a recent interview with Jim Fitzpatrick published on isTia last January, he told us that “I can remember being at the Marseille skatepark with Cab and Guerrero on that 1989 trip. Close to the beach, perfect transitions into and out of the fanfare, just this place to skateboard. The day was stormy and we only spent a short while there, but Cab said, “This is rad, why don’t we have this in the states? Why don’t we have this in San Francisco?”. The Skatepark du Prado is often cited by Jim Fitzpatrick as an example of what the cities can do to challenge the vision that skateboarding is dangerous and that a skatepark is a huge liability. Thanks to the example of the Prado Bowl, Jim Fitzpatrick helped categorized skateboarding into the “Hazardous Recreational Activity” that led to the explosion of skateparks in the US for the past 10 years.
Thanks for Patrick Lozano for the story, thanks for being part of that amazing journey and see you at the Orange Skateboarding Cup at the Bowl du Prado at Marseilles next June 23, 24, 25, 2011.

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posted by Xavier Lannes @ Wednesday, June 15, 2011 


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