is loading
EN DE

Absurd in Sotchi

Advertisement

There are a lot of weird YouTube videos from Russia, there are a lot of oligarchs in Russia, and a lot of great, melancholy books have been released by Russian authors – but you hardly find any skate brands in this huge country. Absurd is one of the few and maybe the most well-known one internationally. Gosha Konyshev in the Moscow winter, the road trip through the country to Siberia, or the visit in Abkhazia – you probably saw at least one of those videos. About a year ago, Absurd team manager Kirill Korobkov invited Belgium photographer Davy van Laere to an exhibition in Moscow, but Moscow was cold at that time, so they decided to go on another one of these absurd Absurd trips to avoid the winter. The destination: Sochi. The city in Russia with a subtropical climate and the same latitude as Nice.

Sochifornia sounds like an absurd combination, but many Russians like to call the city of Sochi exactly that (check out #sochifornia on Insta). Is Sochi the California of Russia? It is and it isn’t. It’s the most southern city of Russia and it has the warmest weather conditions. While 90% of the Russian territories suffer winter and frost for five out of twelve months, the temperature in Sochi stays way above zero all year long, which means Sochi is skateable all winter. The climate is the biggest similarity between Sochi and California, but there are a lot more differences than similarities. We all know that California is the birthplace of skateboarding. For Sochi, it’s still pretty new. There, it only became socially accepted maybe a few years ago. Before that, you could end up getting beaten up just for riding your board in the streets because it wasn’t something local people were used to. And still, there are almost no local skaters. All the wheel and wax marks around the city are from skaters from the rest of the country. Spot-wise it’s alright, but it’s not, like, the next Barcelona. Surprisingly, the 2014 Winter Olympics didn’t add much to the spot list. The most photogenic spots with monumental architecture were already built during the USSR time. Due to the subtropical flora, Sochi has a very special look. The combination of typical Soviet architecture apartment blocks, communist monuments, and palm trees or even bamboo is something you can find only around the Black Sea. As for the fauna, the city is full of street cats and dogs. After the Olympics, Sochi became a big Russian destination for all kinds of big international events and meetings, Formula 1 races, World Cup games, and much more. Also, Vladimir Putin likes the town. Rumors say that during winters, he spends more time in Sochi than in Moscow. He had meetings with the presidents of Iran, Syria, and Turkey while we were there. You can also see a lot of rich people and wealth around Sochi, but normal Russians visit Sochi too. You can spend hundreds of euros for lunch but as well find restaurants with three-euro meals. There are cities that have more spots than Sochi. There are cities where night life is way more fun. There are cities with better local skate scenes. There are cities that are easier to cruise around. But despite all that, Sochi is the best (and only…) place for skateboarding during Russian winter. It’s our Barcelona and it’s our California and the easiest way to escape the cold.

The climate is the biggest similarity between Sochi and California, but there are a lot more differences than similarities. We all know that California is the birthplace of skateboarding. For Sochi, it’s still pretty new. There, it only became socially accepted maybe a few years ago. Before that, you could end up getting beaten up just for riding your board in the streets because it wasn’t something local people were used to. And still, there are almost no local skaters. All the wheel and wax marks around the city are from skaters from the rest of the country. Spot-wise it’s alright, but it’s not, like, the next Barcelona. Surprisingly, the 2014 Winter Olympics didn’t add much to the spot list. The most photogenic spots with monumental architecture were already built during the USSR time.

"Is Sochi the California of Russia? It is and it isn’t."

Due to the subtropical flora, Sochi has a very special look. The combination of typical Soviet architecture apartment blocks, communist monuments, and palm trees or even bamboo is something you can find only around the Black Sea. As for the fauna, the city is full of street cats and dogs. After the Olympics, Sochi became a big Russian destination for all kinds of big international events and meetings, Formula 1 races, World Cup games, and much more. Also, Vladimir Putin likes the town. Rumors say that during winters, he spends more time in Sochi than in Moscow. He had meetings with the presidents of Iran, Syria, and Turkey while we were there. You can also see a lot of rich people and wealth around Sochi, but normal Russians visit Sochi too. You can spend hundreds of euros for lunch but as well find restaurants with three-euro meals. There are cities that have more spots than Sochi. There are cities where night life is way more fun. There are cities with better local skate scenes. There are cities that are easier to cruise around. But despite all that, Sochi is the best (and only…) place for skateboarding during Russian winter. It’s our Barcelona and it’s our California and the easiest way to escape the cold.

As for the fauna, the city is full of street cats and dogs. After the Olympics, Sochi became a big Russian destination for all kinds of big international events and meetings, Formula 1 races, World Cup games, and much more. Also, Vladimir Putin likes the town. Rumors say that during winters, he spends more time in Sochi than in Moscow. He had meetings with the presidents of Iran, Syria, and Turkey while we were there. You can also see a lot of rich people and wealth around Sochi, but normal Russians visit Sochi too. You can spend hundreds of euros for lunch but as well find restaurants with three-euro meals. There are cities that have more spots than Sochi. There are cities where night life is way more fun. There are cities with better local skate scenes. There are cities that are easier to cruise around. But despite all that, Sochi is the best (and only…) place for skateboarding during Russian winter. It’s our Barcelona and it’s our California and the easiest way to escape the cold.

Advertisement
Advertisement