Sabina fills us in on the Paris Dock Session.
Every time I look down on this timeless town
Whether blue or grey be her skies
Whether loud be her cheers or whether soft be her tears
More and more do I realize that
I love Paris in the springtime
I love Paris in the fall ….
We are staying an hour’s drive outside of Paris in the Fôret de Fontainebleau as HisNibs and I are on a climbing holiday with friends and family. There was no way I could be this close to Paris and not go in, especially as attending a DockSession has been on my bucket list for a couple of years now. The fact that an event was being held on the very weekend we are here – and it involves a surf organisation – couldn’t have been better planned.
The original event was a joint meet between Docksessions and the Surfrider Foundation as part of the foundation’s Ocean Initiatives 2016. The weather, however, was forecast to be atrocious so the planned activities like longboard, paddle, artistic activities, were not going to be possible and the event duly postponed.
As it happened, and we know this feeling well over here in Blighty, the outcome wasn’t so bad and, although we did end up with moments of all seasons; sun, wind, rain – it didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the longboarding community who rallied to the call put out on Docksessions facebook page – and I quote Google translate here: “But for the most "Warriors" of you the weekly session is maintained …”
Set up in 2014, DockSessions is a weekly gathering launched by Lotfi Lamaali (www.lotfiwoodwalker.com) and Collectif P.L.U.G. It has fast become a community movement with DockSessions happening across France and further afield with sessions occurring in Spain, Morocco and Japan.
The ethos behind the meetings is to provide a regular opportunity to meet, learn new board skills together, share fun times and good music with friends and promote up and coming new talent.
The location, down on the Voie Georges Pompidou, below Quai des Célesins, is a beautifully smooth stretch of pedestrianised road outside a small bar called Les Nautes. Here, on the banks of the Siene one can see the Île Saint-Louis opposite, one of two natural islands in the river and right bang in the centre of the city. Its neighbour is the Île de la Cité and home to the Cathédral Notre Dame de Paris.
At first the sun is shining and it’s warm enough to be down to a T-shirt. I introduced myself to those already there and I waffled on a bit trying to make conversation. I asked permission to shoot some pictures for the magazine, which they were aware of, with an “ah, Sam Holding, qui?” I mentioned my involvement with Brighton Longboard Ladies, explaining that, in homage of this visit, I’ve named our next meet ‘PromSessions’ … I think it may have got lost in translation.
An awesome bluetooth speaker by Sessions partner Ultimate Ears pumped out the tunes which made for a really super-chilled afternoon. These guys are seriously laid back. There was a lot of chatting and laughing, obligatory banter, a little boogie now and then and occasionally some longboarding. Two girls had turned up for their first ever meet with the hope of having a go but didn’t have their own boards. I was happy to loan them ours and gave them a few tips to get going. I was happy to mingle and take pictures.
Then the skies darkened and it lashed it down!
We all took what cover the odd perforated shelter, next to the bar, could offer but instead of giving up on board antics they continued by sharing flatland tricks and enjoying the music.
Once the rain stopped I asked them all to gather for a group shot before we had to say our Au Revoirs and make our way vanward. It had been well worth the visit, regardless of the unstable weather and the fact that we rocked up quite late. Seeing the differing styles and techniques makes for an inspiring experience, for sure.
Words & Pictures – Sabina Edwards