The Bank of Schianta – Lovenskate in the Valencian Community

14.12.2023 Exclusive, Features

Words: Smith
Photography: Griffiths

A fulfilling and gratifying breath of fresh air
I was recently having a conversation with a close friend about how I would happily scrape by for the foreseeable future, living month to month, if it meant avoiding a nine to five and maximising my free time, doing the things I choose to do. I find the structure of society exhausting sometimes and want to conform to it as little as it lets me get away with. Yet my friend mentioned that to them, the appeal of a nine to five was the income it provided to allow them to travel, explore, meet new people and so on. I realised how extremely lucky I am to be able to receive all this through skateboarding without having to rely on a nine to five. I think in skateboarding travelling is so normalised that we sometimes forget that for non-skateboarders, it is not something that can happen so easily. So I want to say the biggest thank you to people like Stu (Smith), who put in the work and make travelling so fun and effortless for people like me. But yeah, I definitely didn’t appreciate how incredibly lucky we are until very recently.

Jordan Thackeray, hippy jump, Benidorm

Yet when Stu first mentioned going to Spain on a Lovenskate trip, my first thought was how nervous I felt. Of course I soon realised how amazing it was going to be, but I really had to dig past a lot of anxiety to reach that point. This was to be my first skate trip with a bigger group and I hadn’t properly met most of the people going. On top of this, I’d had a breast cancer scare shortly before the trip (luckily everything was fine), which required me to attend an appointment at the breast clinic that clashed with the date I was meant to fly out, so I had to join the trip a couple of days late. This also meant I had to fly by myself – which I had never done before – and of course it was the most turbulent flight I think I’ve been on.

Jackson Davis, hurricane, Castellón

Despite all this, Spain was amazing and the stress of the few weeks prior to the trip was in stark contrast to the trip itself. We skated the most insane spots, saw sunsets we could only dream of in the UK, had barbecues, ate out, had some pretty heated encounters with locals, got to experience above 15C in the winter… pretty much everything you’d expect from a skate trip abroad. We also played dice every night without fail. The game we played was called Tripps or Threes. The premise of the game is to get the lowest possible score. Someone would set the stakes – I think we gambled anywhere between €0.20 and €5 – and then you threw the dice. Each side of the die gives a corresponding score with the exception of three, which gives a score of zero. Whoever gets the lowest score keeps the money, therefore three was the most desirable outcome.   

Lucas Healey, backside tailslide, Gandia

There seems to be this trait with skateboarders to get locked on to anything that provides excitement and a sense of audaciousness and this was definitely the case with us and dice. Each day after we were finished skating and eating, we’d all sit around the table and play. By day three I suggested we put tequila into the mix and the game evolved; Jackson (Davis) was gassed at the idea. The rule was: if you were forced to keep a six, you had to have a shot of tequila. As more tequila became involved, less skating happened the following day and with more drink came higher stakes. It was funny watching the game evolve. I left Spain at least €20 down; I think Schianta (Lepori) probably left with a month’s rent. Each night he had his money laid out in piles. You’d try and go to bed then the Bank of Schianta would lend you another €0.20 to continue playing.

Alice Smith, switch flip, Gandia

Some of my favourite memories of the whole trip happened over dice. I remember Griff (James
Griffiths) and I cuing loads of old emo songs one night, much to everyone’s dismay, which lead to Stu laughing about Evanescence being a Christian rock band. On the last night we had a huge barbecue and the food was insane. Me and Stu cooked pasta a few nights too. It was what happened after the skating that created a really sweet family dynamic between everyone, and staying at Stu’s house near Gandia contributed more to this feeling. We were in the most secluded and peaceful area and I enjoyed everyone’s company so much.

Lucas Healey, gap to ledge ride, Benidorm

Considering this was a skate trip, I feel like I’ve barely talked about the skating. But the most remarkable thing about the trip was watching how everyone functioned as a group, seeing the dynamics between new friends and old. I feel really lucky to have been a part of it, so I want to thank Stu and everyone involved with Lovenskate for making Spain such a fulfilling and gratifying breath of fresh air. 

Alex Hallford, tree bash, Castellón
Ewan Bower, backside noseblunt, Castellón
Jordan Thackeray, stalefish, Benicarló
Alex Hallford, boneless pocket air, Benicarló