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Leo Valls is quite possibly the most articulate and intelligent individuals we’ve had the pleasure of meeting within the skateboarding sphere.

About a month ago, Leo came down to our beloved home of Biarritz to do a talk, part of a little gathering organized with our friends at Vero under the name of the “Disruptor’s Evening” about the incredible work he had been doing in his home-city of Bordeaux. We’ll be rolling this out again next year, and opening it to the public so stay tuned…

Following the ban & measures of repression the city of Bordeaux had developed against street skateboarding, Leo, a highly respected figure in the local community decided to take action and proposed a mediation plan to the city council. After months of meetings with officials and slowly educating some of the less persuadable city residents, Leo managed to make them understand that skateboarding was an undeniable part of the city’s life and that instead of treating the problem in an agressive manner, there was a way for skateboarders and other users of the public space to cohabit.

After working on timetables with local residents & skateboarders, historic public plazas such as Pey Berland & Grand Theatre — where daily chases between kids and policemen used to take place — became skateable again delighting all of the city’s marble amateurs along the way.

Leo is a smart chap, and on top of demonstrating that skateboarders and residents could indeed walk hand in hand, he managed to convince the city major and its team that it could also be beneficial to the local economy & social life. Taking inspiration from cities like Copenhagen and Malmö, they decided to work with Leo to take skateboard into account when rebuilding its public infrastructure. Although the above being a long term operation, aiming to design fully skateable public plazas all around town, they decided to partner on a series of cultural events this summer to celebrate the new sacred union.

Enter “PLAY!”, the first chapter of the saga happening this Friday. Partnering with longtime friend/designer Nicolas Malinowsky, Leo and his team created a series of structures that are currently being installed all over the city, and guess what….. they want you to come and skate them! Have a look at Leo’s IG for a live behind the scenes of the project, and see you on Friday, 2:30pm at Riot Skateshop. The global DC Shoes team including the likes of Evan Smith, T-Funk and Wes Kremer will be in town, the sun will be out longer than any other day of the year (hello summer solstice…) and with the Fête de la Musique following right after, it should make for a glorious afternoon…

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