There are spots where you skate either occasionally or just to do some tricks, and there are spots where you could spend the rest of your life. One of such spots is the EMB in Bilbao.
The whole place is a natural skatespot consisting of a statue surrounded by irregular shaped blocks with a perfect flat and a long wavy amphitheater steps on the side. The surrounding greenish park creates a chilly and secluded atmosphere which is just the perfect stimulator for getting your whole body and mind into skateboarding.
But the key to the awesomeness of this spot are the local skaters. Serious, respecting and very nice people, a lot of them in the age of 30-40’s and skateboarding as always. Nowadays I should write: “still skateboarding”, but I won’t, because I believe they will skate “as always” forever.
One of the great things about EMB in Bilbao is that it is not overwhelmed with DIY skate-obstacles, and thanks to that the vibe of a natural skatespot has been maintained – which was a wise move. For the user it means he has to get more creative with his skateboard in this certain surrounding, instead of adapting the surrounding to his skateboarding. Maybe this is why it feels like the Golden Era of skateboarding is back in this place.
In the past skating there hasn’t been always heavenly idyll due to the city making problems to the skaters, but luckily the scene fought hard enough to claim this place for themselves. Mad respect for that! As a tribute to their victory over the bureaucrats, each year the skaters organize the EMB4EVER event, to commemorate the moment in which the spot has been saved from demolition by the city. This year the 10th edition of this event took place.
On a daily basis, EMB in Bilbao is a very good example of great skate-management of urban space, where the locals take care of the spot and do the needed maintenance. As one of the locals told me: “We just take care of our living room”. Golden words!
It is impossible to write about EMB without mentioning the skater-owned Fvck Skateboarding skateshop in downtown Bilbao, which is a very important and an integral part of this skatescene and which is so core that it literally gives goose bumps. Definitely one of the sickest skateshops on the planet.
So, if you happen to visit Bilbao, there are two must-visit places: EMB and Fvck Skateboarding skateshop. Then the Guggenheim stuff.