Flying High at FISE
China is awesome and French photographer Jeremy Condamine just took his first trip to the People’s Republic for the FISE world series finals. For three days he and a mix of blade talent like Adrien Anne, Julien Cudot, and Takeshi(!) mixed it up on the course, around the town, and dealt with weather concerns (and maybe even went to the mall). Read along for a look at three days in China with FISE.
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Here we go — I’m at the 2015 FISE world series final that’s taking place in Chengdu, China. This is my first time traveling to this country and I am very curious to explore it during one of the biggest action sport events!
I flew over from France with some of the best skaters, bladers that were here last year so they know how to prepare your trip to China:
• The first step is to get your visa ready two weeks before the trip, (not like Julien Cudot, who always waits for the last day to get it right before flying.)
• It’s also a good idea to exchange some money before flying, it’s hard to find an international bank that will take your credit card.
With those steps handled I was ready to fly to Asia. My ride to the airport in Nice was Stephan Alfano, and unfortunately we had difficulty at the airport — our flight was delayed and British Airways lost our luggage! And instead of street skating on our first day, we made a stop in Abu Dhabi.
That’s where we randomly met up with with Nicolas Servie, David the DJ of FISE and some pro BMX riders from Russia who were flying with us to Chengdu.
Next stop, China.
My first impression when we land is that the people are very loud and push you around, especially to get their luggage.
On the road, Chinese people are nuts — they honk at every intersection, drive their scooters with no helmet on the wrong side of the freeway, and the trucks are not safe at all!
But when you look around, the scenery is amazing. The skyscrapers, beautiful city lights, and modern architecture are reminders that you are in China.
Our Hotel was enormous — 5 stars, everything included, gourmet food buffet and every activity you can imagine. It’s like Vegas in the countryside of Chengdu.
I spend time online for entertainment but in China the internet is super slow and everything like Google or Facebook or Instagram is blocked. All the social networks are impossible to open, so I gave up. ;-)
For some of my companions this made for a bad time, but I took the opportunity to disconnect and enjoy my trip in a different way — with the people I was around, living the moment with memories and photographs.
The second day included qualifications. We had to take a taxi from the hotel to the event site, and even though we got the address written down from the hotel before leaving — the cab got lost.
This year the FISE area is located in Nan Hu, a beautiful park with a lake, that could be compared to central park in NYC. It’s far from the hotel but it looks perfect for setting up all the action sports: mountain bike, skate, roller, BMX, and even wakeboard, which is new this year.
The qualifications were held place in the massive skatepark, where 12 riders qualified for the finals: Nicolas Servy, Joe Atkinson, Takeshi Yasutoko, Julien Cudot, Oliver Czaja and more.
It’s now the weekend and we are worried about the weather. There is no accurate weather forecast in China. Some people say it’s going to be sunny and some people say it’s going to rain.
And unfortunately, it rains, so it seems like the event is going to be cancelled. Then, finally — a miracle! Stefan and I got our luggage at last!
With our now-delivered luggage we decide to visit Global Center, the biggest shopping mall in the world to play some games and go to the huge water park. We’re there, having a blast when Mr. Party Pooper Jojo, one of the FISE organizers, starts telling us to get ready for the Finals.
By the time we get to the skatepark it looks dry. The sunshine helped the builders and tech crew get it all cleaned up. Everyone is super excited that the blue sky came out for the Finals.
Bladers are getting warmed up. The local riders are there to represent China and show that rollerblading is big in Asia, and we have lot of international riders from France, UK, Sweden with Frederick Anderson, and Thailand with Tassorn Jeerasak.
A good surprise was Takeshi, who normally only skates vert, flying in the park with lots of speed, plus Oliver Czaja and Joe Atkinson being creative with lot of style. If you want to see all their runs, here is the link of the replay on live streaming.
I’ve heard about pollution in China and it seems there is a lot, which made breathing more difficult. But we still got an amazing show, the Chinese crowd got to see huge tricks from all types of sports, and their enthusiasm was on display with every jump or grind, giving motivation to all the riders.
FISE Roller Final Results:
1) Joe Atkinson [UK]
2) Julien Cudot [FR]
3) Nicolas Servy [FR]
4) Tassorn Jeerasak [THA]
5) Yasutoko Takeshi [JPN]
6) Oliver Czaja [AUS]
Now I’m looking forward to next year’s event — and a special Thank You to everyone at FISE that put this amazing event together.
See you next year.
— Jeremy Condamine