Once more getting up than falling – Fuengirola, Costa del Sol, Malaga

Fuengirola is a medium-sized city on the Costa del Sol in colourful Andalusia. Just around the corner from the Miramar shopping centre, the skater fraction of Fuengirola’s youth meets. There they work tirelessly and unceasingly on their art. Over and over again they start into the concrete tubs of the Skate Plaza Ignacio Echeverría with their vehicles. Some use the classic skate board others with scooters or BMX bikes. The eponym is a real program. Ignacio Echeverría is one of Andalusia’s heroes. He saved several lives in the London Bridge attack. He fought off some of the attackers with his skateboard and therefore saved some lives during the horrible attack. Unfortunately, he did not survive the attack and fell victim to the terrorist act. Courage and resilience in the skatepark!


Resilience in Action

On the other hand, the second the front wheels of the vehicle enter the pipe, the exuberance gives way to full concentration on the trick, and everyone and everything outside is forgotten.

One of my favourite authors, Malcom Gladwell , made the expression “10,000 hours rule” famous. In his best seller “Outliers: The Story of Success, he analyses the factors that contribute to outstanding success. In short he mainly referes to the old folk saying “Practice makes perfect”. He makes it clear that the way to the profession and to high levels of success is through diligence, discipline, endurance and flexibility—all of this in no less than 10,000 hours.

Costa del Sol, Andalusia

Fuengirola is a city with a lot of character and soul, located on the Costa del Sol in Andalusia. Neither having the business of Málaga nor the fanciness of Marbella it is located exactly in between them. It borders directly on the Mijas region surrounded by rolling hills and the southern Spanish vibe. Many tourists of this part of Spain know and visited Mijas Pueblo.  A little gem, which I describe in more detail in one of my photo projects.

Although there are tourists in Fuengirola all year round, there are many corners where you can experience and enjoy the tremendous Spanish way of life. All this with 300 sunny days a year. It seems to me that there are many children and young people in the city. Therefore the city radiates a pleasant, dynamic impression. One of the meeting places of the young generation is the skate park. Some say it is the best in Spain and the third-best in Europe.

On a mild winter day, I am sitting on the small wall around the skate park. Meanwhile, I watch the young skate aficionados. Inevitably the 10,000-hour rule shoots through my head. Again and again, they enter the pipe with their vehicles and practice a trick – Resilience in Action. The second they come back from the concrete tub, it is immediately clear from their facial expressions whether it was a “go” or a “fail”. For me, the tricks all look sensationally good. At the end of the efforts, there is often a satisfied smile.


One year before, I was strolling with my wife on an exploratory walk past the skate park and the atmosphere with a mixture of exuberance and concentration captivated me. We stood there for a long time and were both thrilled by the hustle and bustle. Youngsters of all ages rushed into the concrete tubs and performed the most diverse tricks. The friends around gave tips for optimisation, or even support and consolation if necessary. But the boys and girls did not only meet to build perfection. It was soon apparent that this was also about meeting friends, having fun together and getting a new idea by just watching the advanced athletes.


The second the front wheels of the vehicle enter the pipe, the exuberance gives way to full concentration on the trick, and everyone and everything outside is forgotten. 

Again and again. Sometimes with a big grin or a cheer at the end. Another time with a fall where my bones hurt from watching.

After I asked the first aficionado if I could take a picture of his tricks, the invisible ice melted between us. One after the other came to me for a little chat or gave me a few glances and told me that he would like to have some pictures too. We had a lot of fun.

Practised Resilience

I am utterly fascinated by the resilience and endurance of the young athletes. They have a crystal clear idea of what the trick should look like. Body expression, the posture of hands and feet, facial expression and last but not least, the movement of the skateboard, scooter or bike itself are the variables that the athletes have to master.

Youngsters learning Resilience

Another popular wisdom is that if you want to become a master, you have to practice early, and even the youngest children lean down the walls of the pipe with enthusiasm. Full concentration, a clear view and then back to daddy who watches the action on the side. Sometimes he also has to give comfort.

Thank you, Laura, Björn, Mehdi, Lazaro, Sergio, Vicente and Will for a profound lesson in what it means to live flexibility and finally stand up once more than to fall.