TONY HAWK VERT SHOW
November 20-21, 2009 @ Grand Palais, Paris, France
Words and Photos by Fred Ferand
Imagine one of the most beautiful building in Paris, built at the turn of the century for the international exposition at the same time the Eiffel tower was built. Now visualize a big poster with Tony Hawk hanging in front of it. That’s the kind of shock I had when I made it to Paris for the Tony Hawk show. Quicksilver organized an incredible event, Music, arts, skateboarding. At 10am, thousands of people entered the Grand Palais for free. The big skateboarding street course was opened for everyone to skate it until the street contest qualifications was on. The press conference was the place to be with (ceo of Quiksilver) Bob McKnight, Tony Hawk, Kelly Slater, Tom Caroll, Tom Curren, and all the top performers in surf, snowboard skateboarding sporting the Quiksilver brand… the questions went from Russian TV, German TV to French news channels… Even Tony Hawk said he was under pressure in front of such scrutiny. At 6 o’clock, everyone was asked to leave only to come back two hours later after leaving 50 bucks at the gate. Now that’s interesting. The street contest was free while the vert demo was charged. Anyway, the crowd agreed on the deal and when the light when on again showing Tony Hawk waving on the platform everyone went crazy. For an hour, the audience went mad for the vert guys, Sandro Dias was flying all over the place, Mac Donald, Postec, Ventura, Fritch, Staab and Lyn-Z seemed to have a lot of fun riding that big ramp and the crowd pushing everyone was influencing to say the least. After the skateboarding show, some euro DJ took the last forces of the audience, and everyone went to bed to get ready for day 2. Day 2 was pretty much the same, with even more people, with a street finals going through the roof, Salabanzi, Pfanner and Antila making huge tricks over huge tricks. Double D was on the mike keeping every one focused. I bet all of the kids attending will remember this for a long time! After the dollar break, people gathered in front of the vert ramp to check on the fashion show featuring all Quiksilver’s stars. Paris wouldn’t be Paris without fashion at some point… Back to skating, the vert show went on, and again it was a blast, Tony Hawk stinged by the crowd went 900 for the eleventh time of his career and Lyn-Z did the first female McTwist of all time, coached and pep-talked by Sergie Ventura. She was poured by champagne and everyone really felt they had been blessed to have witnessed a part of skateboarding history. You could tell by watching the little star in the eyes of the people leaving the place that skateboarding was alive.