The third stop in our series of great locations for action and adventure sports photography: Barcelona.
Barcelona isn’t just a city full of historic landmarks, amazing architecture and Spanish joie de vivre, since the skating boom of 2002 it has also become the ‘unofficial’ capital of skateboarding. Smooth pavements, beachfront promenades and graded banks have earned the city a reputation as the hottest skateboarding destination in Europe.
And “hot” can be taken quite literally, with Spain’s mild climate making it possible to skate all year round. At any time of year, the city is packed with local and visiting skaters taking advantage of the dozens of inner-city skate spots and suburban playgrounds. Essentially, the whole of Barcelona is full of skate spots, jump out at any Metro stop and take your pick.
With a lively hip-hop and street culture scene adding inspiration, and international skaters such as Raul Navarro, Jesus Fernandez or Rico Lorenzo, who made their name in the Catalonian city, it has become a buzzing hub of action sports photographers and cinematographers. One of the first tricks filmed in Barcelona and featured in a major skateboard movie was Jamie Thomas' kickflip down the famous steps of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona –known in the skate world as the ‘MACBA four’ - in 1997’s “Thrill of it All”.
The city offers many outstanding locations to shoot, most of them easy to reach by public transport. With backdrops ranging from impressive historic architecture to beaches and big-city landmarks, Barcelona is a living picture book for skateboard photography. Popular hangouts for skateboarders include Port Olímpic, Plaça Universitat, El Fòrum, Parallel and Sants-Estació.
In addition, Barcelona hosts many skateboarding events throughout the year, with one of the top events being the DC King of Barcelona, an amateur skateboarding event held every September that makes use of the city's many great skateboarding venues.
Another advantage of shooting in Barcelona is that authorities can be quite lenient. Police often turn a blind eye to skateboarders riding over street furniture in the squares of the old town, which is technically illegal and can lead to fines or boards being confiscated.
However, Barcelona has longed ceased to be an insider’s tip. With images of Barcelona appearing in almost every skate movie and image, the city’s spots have become overcrowded and arguably a bit passé. With ever more skaters making the journey, more spots are becoming unskateable, locals are starting to complain and the city is gradually losing its edgy and cool touch for many of the sport’s major players.
Even though Barcelona’s perfect preconditions for riding are no longer a secret, the city remains one of Europe’s skating paradises and will surely be a crucial backdrop for skateboarding images and movies for some time to come.
Barcelona is one of the most popular travel destinations in Spain. You can find affordable airline tickets through a number of airlines such as Iberia, Continental Airlines and Delta Airlines from just about any country in the world. All flights arrive at El Prat de Llobregat Airport.