“It’s very cool for us to have politicians who understand a subject like skateboarding,” says Leo. “It’s not only sport—it’s cultural, it’s sport, it’s mobility, it’s security, it’s social cohesion, it touches a bunch of different topics that all make city life today.”
They are even planning a skate festival to launch in 2023. Mathieu Hazouard, the deputy mayor in charge of sport, is on board too. “Skateboarding is fantastic because it makes it possible to cross cultural boundaries within the sphere of urban planning,” he says. “It’s something that takes place in a public setting, so we need to be mindful of supporting both skateboarders and the non-skateboarding public, but it’s all about finding balance between practice and peace.”
Visiting Bordeaux is also all the things travel should be; surprising, exciting, fun. Skatewatching aside, there’s the immersive wine experience, La Cité de Vin museum, and Bassins des Lumières, a digital art center set in a gargantuan ex-submarine base. But skatewatching and skateboarding added a new dimension. My son came back with new skills and role models and I returned enlightened about skateboarding culture and its intimate relationship with a city.
As Leo says, to be a skateboarder is to love the city: “The whole game is about exploring the city. I’m always looking for a spot that no-one’s skated and trying to find the right trick to do on the right spot.”
“I love the freedom skateboarding gives you,” he adds. “It’s just a plank of wood with four wheels, but it allows you to find interest in many other things like architecture, photographs, video making, design and so much more.”