Ben Weir was one of five international Dwindle flow riders to be sent to Cali to hang with the Dwindle crew. They skated Thrasher Double Rock, The Berrics and street spots with special guest Gary Rogers. Featuring Ben Weir, Keyaki Ike, Dale Starkie, Jonathan Seiberling and Robbin DeWit.
BEN WEIR INTERVIEW
The Perth expat, now Melbourne resident, recounts his Skatecation to Cali, hanging with Louie Barletta, and run-ins with Spanish police on his extended holiday in Europe.
Switch heel. [All photos featured were shot in one day out of the 10-day trip].
So what’s the concept of Skatecation and how did the trip to Cali come about?
The idea with Skatecation is to get Dwindle flow riders from all over the globe, fly them out to California and show them what it's like to go on a trip. When I found out that I was going I was so stoked, I couldn’t believe it. I don’t even think I went back to work that day. I bailed work and went for a skate [laughs].
You were the only Aussie on the trip, right?
Yeah, I was the only guy from Oz. That was chill though because I like meeting new people and all the other dudes were super friendly and really good at skating. The other skaters were from Japan, England, Netherlands, and Cali, so dudes from everywhere.
You skated some iconic spots and famous indoor parks like Double Rock and The Berrics, how was that?
Dude yeah, the spots out there are insane, but a lot of them are so sketchy, so when you look at what's been done over the years it’s pretty gnarly. I had pretty bad jetlag the first day, so I just chilled, but the boys were killing it. It was hard to think of something different to skate, or spots that haven't been destroyed, so we just ended up putting a park bench down a nine-stair and seshing that.
We skated The Berrics, which was cool. It’s insanely slippery, and it’s a full on training facility; it's not like any other park I've been to. We ended up filming a Skate Or Dice clip there, which was fun. I never thought I’d do anything like that. Then Double Rock is one of the most fun parks I've ever skated. It's so small and so dusty and dirty. I loved it. We slept there two nights, and I don’t think I showered for two or three nights. I was stinking. I wanted that skate trip experience [laughs].
And you met Louie Barletta. Was he as fun to skate with as we all imagine him to be?
Louie is the man. We spent two days with him, and he was so nice and so keen to show us around. He shreds hard too. I was tripping having him in the van. He was telling us stories about Marc Johnson and his obsession with the yellow sticky notes, saying Marc would go around putting notes on beers bottles and rubbish around the house, saying, “Put me in the fridge, I'm too hot” or “I belong in the bin, please take me,” instead of just cleaning which would have been easier. Apparently, he would do this with everything.
After the US, you went home for five days and then straight to Europe for another skate trip?
Oh, dude that was the worst having to go back to work for a few days after being in the US and being excited for Europe. I'm so over airports. I had to sleep in the airport in Paris as well because I missed my flight being an idiot. I've been in Europe a while now, and I've just been drinking heavily and skating heavily. My body is broken, I need to detox, but I'm having the best time and have met some rad people, so it's worth it.
50-50 back 180 out.
And you were in Portugal with your girlfriend, Kirby Clark. What was the situation there with the farm she was managing?
Yeah, I flew to Portugal and spent 10 days on the CO Project farm, which my girlfriend is managing. She’s training to teach people how to redesign the world, so it works better for all of us.
In Kirby's words: “The CO Project is a 150-year-old regenerated olive mill in central Portugal that was founded by UN Champion of the Earth, Dr. Leyla Acaroglu and is a place for creative rebels to come and learn how to effect positive change at a systematic level. But to me, basically, it’s a rad sustainable farm with all these people who want to change the world for the better. It’s got a natural pool, goats, sheep, and an endangered Portuguese donkey called Tiny Dancer.”
Is it rad to have a girlfriend who skates?
[Laughs] It's so good having a girlfriend who skates because she understands the passion and why we put our bodies through hell to get a clip.
Do you go on skate dates?
Yeah, we skate together a lot, but it's chill, nothing cringe.
You went up to the north of Spain for a skate trip. How was it?
Yeah, we just finished up a trip from Bilbao to San Sebastian to Biarritz – all in the Basque country. I went with Pat Roberts, T-Bags [Tony Woodward], Sam O’Bridge and PP [Thomas Paturzo] from Oz, plus eight other guys from Switzerland and New York. The trip was really good; there are heaps of insane spots, but the cops make it hard. They hate skateboarders and they're so aggressive. I've never seen anything like it. We had the batons pulled on us, and they were fully prepared to belt us. It's like they're scared of skateboarders. We still managed to film enough to get a little montage out of it though, so that was good.
Bird's eye crooks.
So what’s next? Are you ever coming back to Aus?
Yeah, I’m coming back, but I don’t know how long I'll be back for. I honestly have no idea what's next. I've been working on some stuff, but nothing is set in stone just yet. I think skate more and try to be more productive with skating. This trip has re-ignited that flame.
Photos by Luis Ferrá.