WORDS: Stuart Gomez
PHOTOS: Mike Blabac
If you’ve spent any time driving on the I-10 around Palm Springs, you’ve likely spotted the San Gorgonio Pass wind farm. Row after row of wind turbines spinning their blades is a mesmerizing sight. The Red Bull team—Ryan Sheckler, Alex Sorgente, Danny León, and Zion Wright—recently visited two factories in Spain to see how this type of massive wind turbine is manufactured, from start to finish.
Spain’s Danny León regularly catches glimpses of these perfectly round turbine pipes on his trips to Principado de Asturias. Like any other skater, Danny can’t help but fantasize about a centrifugal sesh in one of these bad boys, and he got his wish in the form of a two-day shoot in the towns of Avilés and Gijón—the factories Dacero and Windar Renovables, respectively—in Asturias. Dacero is responsible for manufacturing the steel sheets; Windar Renovables adds the curves and other finishing touches that make these pipes so appealing to skaters.
Measuring up to 26 feet wide in diameter, each tube should have enough circumference to keep the Red Bull dudes busy. But the skaters essentially had their run of both places, utilizing any number of industrial machinery and enlisting the help of the workers to situate each tube before it’s eventually shipped off to one of many global wind farms (the world’s largest wind farm, in Tehachapi, California, has an astonishing 586 turbines in various sizes).
Skateboarding isn’t exactly the most eco-friendly activity; producing any one of the components in a typical complete setup takes a toll on the environment. This doesn’t mean that skaters don’t care about Mother Earth. To the contrary, many skaters have an enormous connection with their environments (after all, we need somewhere to skate).
And modern advances in renewable energy are changing the face of industry in general: the factories that press the planks, the machines that squeeze out the urethane, and the foundries that molt the metal are increasingly powered by wind and the sun. Thanks to the workers at these Asturias factories, using renewable energy and reducing our carbon footprint today is no longer a pipe dream.
Ryan Sheckler, crooked grind.