A book and documentary project by Jose Noro and Dani Santos about how they and their crew came up with the idea for the first DIY skatepark in Barcelona, that existed from 2003-2014 and about its construction, through to the endless sessions and parties. This is the story of how a group of friends got together to change things and ended up creating one of Barcelona’s quintessential spots.
This city, and much of Catalonia and Spain has treated skateboarding more often as a problem rather than another option for sport or leisure for youths (and non-youths alike).
Most of the skateparks in Barcelona were built before 1992 on account of the late 80´s skate boom, which created a need to displace all the people skating in the streets and in public squares so as to give the city a more “clean” image. After the Olympics, these skateparks suffered abandonment by the City Council and were left without any maintenance.
It was about `
93 or `94 when, thanks to one of my friends who started skating in the late 80´s in the Gracia neighborhood (the Yayas), I met Jose Noro. We used to hang out in Turó and Sants and sometimes moved around to other areas too. Later, when the skating downturn happened, and thanks to the in-line boom that underwent, we stopped meeting in Turó, which had become impossible to skate, and started going to La Guineueta.
Later, in 2000, they demolished Turópark and a lot of the locals were displaced, by necessity, to La Guineueta and Mar Bella, the two remaining skateparks in Barcelona with ramps. Gloria´s bowl ended up being a huge flowerpot.
At La Guineueta, just like at La Mar Bella and Turó, the city didn´t assist with maintenance of any kind, which is when the respective locals of both parks stepped in, willing to do everything possible to fix it up.
From that moment on, we started looking at maintenance differently. Dani Feliu, Jose and I started talking about a cement module, and thus began the adventure that was Hell Curving.
First, we asked for all the materials, paid for with money from the association, to build the perimeter wall, edge blocks, and a series of ribs which would act as a few banks, all in the back area of La Curva. Next was to take out all the affected part of coping which would end up being the transition´s extension. Months would pass in between the various stages of the project for numerous reasons. Firstly, the money, because it was paid for by the association, so we had to wait for the members to make deposits. The second reason was, being that we all worked our own day jobs, we could only work on the park a few hours during the day and on weekends.
We worked for the sake of our love for skating, or rather for the people of Guineueta to be able to enjoy something new. And as a result, we were able to update the park, which was starting to become monotonous for the locals. Daniel Santos
The next and hardest step was building the double curved formwork using our intuition alone. We completed it thanks to Rantan, who gave us some materials along with his labor, and Jose Noro, who´s contacts allowed us the use of concrete vat to do it all at once.
The story was a really intense one, to understand it you have to imagine us, a group of ten skaters, directing a truck driver´s maneuvers to enter a Skatepark, backward, located just above the Ronda de Dalt. The guy asked us if we were sure what we were doing and we just said: “No, but…just go. Go!”
After that day, one I´ll remember all my life, the next step was waiting for the half truck of concrete to harden and to strip the framework of the entire transition. We couldn´t resist very long to remove the wood and made a small mistake that formed a bump right in the middle of one of the transition points that we had to repair. The next step was putting in all the pool coping, so Jose Noro and Fosy drove a van to the Basque Country to get it. Finally, a coat of Sika was applied to the whole curve, which had a lof of imperfections due to the formwork.
From there, everything turned towards parties and fun times.
For me, the “Hell Curving” party was the most anticipated day of the year. It was “catharsis” which up until then had only been enjoyed at places like Agroskate in Guernica or the Gexto Pool Party. A day where everything came together on one stage: skate, friends, good music, and barbecue.
There will always be those who approve and those who don´t, but I think the Hell Curving has been a symbol, a hurdle, or whatever you want to call it, that for me represents action, protest, and resilience, and that helped us motivate ourselves to evolve. – Daniel Santos