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Greenskate Cologne 2017 recap by Ross Baradoy

Greenskate Cologne 2017 group photo by Florian Witte
Photo by Florian Witte

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Greenskate Cologne 2017 recap by Ross Baradoy

2017 marked the 10th milestone of Greenskate, and over 230 events over the last ten years later, I had the pleasure to celebrate this occasion in Köln Germany…here is my story.

Crossing my fingers over my expired passport, shockingly worked! I picked up my new passport in Bern 8 hrs before my departure from Zurich Switzerland to Köln Germany (thanks Nina).

I arrived safely, checked into “Die Königshof Hotel” and promptly went out for an evening cruise. It wasn’t long untill I heard the beating sound of music and, in the distance, saw a group of people smoking outside a bar. All I can say is, if you want to have a good time with the locals, stop by Wiener Steffie for cheap beer and fun times.

Greenskate Cologne 2017 group photo by Florian Witte

Greenskate Cologne 2017 group photo by Florian Witte

The biggest Greenskate gathering

Beep, Beep, Beep… or GreenSKATE! went my phone. Hitting the street and the fresh smell of morning air. This was not my first time in Köln, in 2006 I took a picture of the Köln Cathedral on my way to the IGSA European Championships.

The Cathedral is over 750 years old and is a must see if you ever get a chance to visit Germany. Köln is a skate friendly city, but bring a map or something because you can get turned around. It took me asking a few people just to find the Rhein River.

I arrived on time at Kölner Jugendpark with a 12″ subway sandwich in my tummy and tired legs. The Greenskate Köln starting point is perfectly located on a large open surface with a skatewave at one end and a Crépe Van at the other. To be honest I was hanging out a lot at the Crèpe Van.

While I was filming skate hockey and the many sick longboard dancing sessions in the afternoon, I managed to sneak some Sion Kölsch beers. Time flew by and hundreds of people started to slowly trickle into the park.

Heiko grabbed the bullhorn and everyone gathered around him as he said:

Today is the day that will be recorded on the Facebook and Twitter walls of history. It is the greenest day of the year…Welcome to Greenskate, Köln!

I might have mistranslated his speech a little, but I am sure he said something like that.

Greenskate Cologne 2017 opening speech. Photo by Florian Witte.

Greenskate Cologne 2017 opening speech. Photo by Florian Witte.

Without warning, Heiko introduced me as the founder of Greenskate and asked me to come forward. I made some quick remarks correcting the record and with that, we were off.

I saw hundreds of riders pushing, pumping and dancing their little longboard hearts away. Many of them came up to me and expressed how much they loved the Greenskate event and that they had no idea it was 10 years old. I saw a father and his young son on a longboard passing by…I thought to myself “SHIT” this kid was probably not even born when we had our first event in Calgary.

The pushing part of the event must have lasted for over an hour. I was having so much fun skating and chatting to all the people in the Skate Parade, I really lost track of time. We ended up in front of the Köln Cathedral where boards were held high and many pictures were taken….See you next year Köln!

A special thanks goes out to Concrete Wave Skateshop Cologne for making this event possible. Köln is the longest consecutive running Greenskate event and celebrates its 7th year.

I invite all readers to start your own Greenskate event. It can be small like the one in San Pancho, Nayarit, Mexico or huge like the one this year in Köln. Greenskate is a simple idea, which is why it will continue to work for many years to come.

More info about Greenskate can be found here.

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