– A skate tour’s no walk in the park –


– A skate tour’s no walk in the park –

Photography & Text / Thomas Gentsch

Even if at first sight there is hardly anything more beautiful than organising a tour to an island with skateboarders who happen to be your friends, it’s anything but easy. First of all, the destination should be well chosen. Flights, accommodation and vehicles should be affordable, the island should be located in a region where the weather is consistently nice and warm, and last but not least, there need to be spots. Additionally, it’s a big bonus if you know a local and can pay with euros. Spoiled by our Cyprus tour in 2021, we obviously wanted to make no compromises, and so, we chose to fly out to Tenerife. 


Señor Alonso was anything but talkative. The landlord of our accommodation, booked via a well-known travel platform, did not respond at all to any sorts of inquiries and not even to my „just saying hello and introducing myself“ – neither via email, nor via the contact details provided by the booking platform. The house, which was supposed to offer enough space for ten people, had been the only affordable one of its kind. A quick look on Google Street View did not bode well. The pictures on Street View may have been from a few years ago, but all I could see was some dilapidated shed, right where the house should be. Thoughts of the Irregular tour to Vancouver popped into my mind, on which the crew had fallen victim to an “internet scam”. No, we didn’t need anything similar on this tour.


Kind of stressed already, I sent out a WhatsApp message and I was positively surprised when someone got back to me a week later – in Spanish. Enthusiastically, I replied in English again, pointing out that I didn’t speak any Spanish. Señor Alonso did not care and answered in his native language again. Thanks to some translation program, however, I could figure out the meaning behind his messages. My biggest concerns faded, at least a little bit, and finally disappeared completely when two hours after arrival on Tenerife, we got handed our keys.



Planning a tour with ten people from six different countries is anything but easy; especially when it comes to booking flights. Of course, you always look for the cheapest connections, but very often, those turn out to be not that cheap when it comes to luggage. It’s no secret that that’s how airlines make money these days, and as skateboarders, it’s fairly easy to make money of us and all our luggage – especially when it comes to hardware. Tom Belot, our new team rider from France, wanted to avoid all this and checked in his board as carry-on-luggage. It worked for his flight from Paris to Barcelona. His connecting flight was delayed, though, and so he had to spend the night at Barcelona airport until he could get a replacement flight to Tenerife. Some more bad luck on this one, though. The staff would not let him check in his board, not because he could use it as a weapon, but because it simply did not fit into this little box you can check the size of your carry-on-luggage with. The only way to take it on board, he told me later on, was to break it. And so, Tom stood at the boarding gate and tried to focus a brand-new setup. But he couldn’t do it – not even when he tried to cannonball it. Eventually, he had no other choice but to leave his full setup behind. It probably would have been cheaper to pay for the check in luggage than buying a completely new setup on Tenerife. You’re always smarter after the fact, I guess.


The crew

As mentioned before, our crew was pretty damn big; if not TOO big. Triggered by memories of „Thrasher Vacations“, I had thought that one could never have enough skaters on a tour. Unfortunately, financial reasons made it impossible to book a van for such a big crew, so we had to get two mid-sized cars instead. Yet, due/ “thanks” to some unforeseen circumstances, we managed to get everyone from A to B – most of the time at least. Not only Tom Belot arrived one day late, Bart Buikman even arrived three days late due to the cancellation of a connecting flight, and Deniel Cramer got hurt on the second evening. Not nice, but unfortunately, that’s how it goes sometimes. But Deniel got well taken care of by a skate girl from the island. He might not have been able to skate for most of the tour, but he got some cuddles at least. Tim Otto had to cuddle alone in his bed, though. He had a food intoxication on the third day – something you really don’t need on tour. „Team Austria“ was represented by Patricc Wolf, Santino Exenberger and Loco Papi. With Loco, good vibes are guaranteed. Plus, whenever there was any sort of tensions within our pretty diverse crew, it was him who got everyone’s mood back up.


Flo Marfaing

Flo Marfaing probably needs no introduction. Anyone who doesn’t know who he is, probably has no idea about skateboarding. Taking Flo with us was essential, not only because of his skateboarding, but also because of his personality. Flo doesn’t only speak German, French, Spanish, Italian, English and Norwegian, but he also has the gift to establish connections with literally anyone. He’ll get into nice conversations with locals of all ages and he’ll be spreading good vibes at all times. No matter if it’s the one and only local skater at Punta del Hidalgo skatepark, some 65-year-old lady at a handrail in the housing projects of Santa Cruz or a plantation farmer in some mountain village on the way to the volcano, Flo will make friends with anyone. We met said plantation farmer at “the” handrail, the one almost everyone wanted to skate and that we had finally found after quite some searching. While setting up my flashes, a bulb fell to the ground and its contact broke. No such thing as spare bulbs for my flashes would be found on the island, that was for damn sure. I saw Flo talking to this older gentleman, though, and an idea popped into my head: If anyone knew how to solder around here, it would certainly be this orange plantation farmer. I explained my idea to Flo, he had a quick talk with the farmer and was like: “Yo, Gentsch, I’ll go with him and we’ll figure it out”. Half an hour later, Flo returned with a big bag of fresh oranges, a bag of homegrown weed and a bulb that was actually working again. Flo’s the man, and on top of that, he has a driver’s license and doesn’t drink!



It felt pretty weird when we were just chilling at the skatepark on the last day, and all of a sudden, it got surrounded by police officers. At first, we thought that the Guardia Urbana was looking for someone, until we realised that this someone was all of us. The skatepark was their target. In next to no time, 20 cops were standing in front of us and asked everyone to line up in a semicircle. The smoke clouds had probably risen a bit too high, and now, almost 80 skaters had to stand in line while a German shepherd made its rounds. Of course, out of the six people who were pulled out, three belonged to us. But eventually, after some discussion and a control of everyone’s ID… nothing happened.


So, the trip ended in good fun with a session at the Cort Angles till late into the evening. But the next morning, I had to drive twice around the entire island. One way to the airport with Patricc, Tom and way too much luggage, then back to our place and back to the airport once again with the rest of the crew. Ambitious, but as already mentioned, a skate tour’s no walk in the park!







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