Hamid Bahri was an awesome guy. Sadly he took his life almost 20 years ago and the world has never really been the same since.
I knew Hamid and became his friend through skateboarding. During the mid-Nineties I was hanging around the Ainay Board Shop (ABS) a lot. Hamid was sponsored by ABS and busy stacking clips with Fred (Mortagne) for videos they were working on together.
Normally a skate nerd like myself wouldn’t get invited to tag along on filming sessions or hang with the sponsored guys. Luckily Hamid had a heart of gold and no problem with me being there.
I really liked Hamid’s skating because whilst most skaters were focused on doing ledge tricks and manuals, Hamid actually went big. He could skate everything but he also chose to push himself at spots that most other people shied away from. You can see this in his video parts.
I had to pull a couple of clips out of the vaults (in chronological order) to highlight Hamid’s skills on a board.
First, there is the endless line Hamid filmed for the ‘Magical Mystery Video’ (1994) from Place de la République all the way to Hotel Dieu Chapel (Lyon) [Timestamp 3m50s]. In 1995 Place de la République got a major facelift and became a new skate spot with banks and steps. Take a minute to consider this line Hamid filmed: Frontside shove-it down the steps / Kickflip a bollard / Backside nollie 180 / Switch heelflip / Switch backside 180 another bollard / 360 flip / Backside flip / Switch frontside flip / Kickflip up a curb / Frontside 180 down the curb / Switch frontside heeflip / Backside 180 up a curb / Switch drop off the curb to quick switch ollie up the curb…
Hamid probably would have carried on if he hadn’t reached a dead-end. His smile and arms in the air are a genuine display of happiness. It’s such a shame we can’t share that happiness with Hamid now.
To note, that line was probably only supposed to last a few tricks, ending with the switch backside 180 over the second bollard. More than half of those tricks were spontaneous. Hamid knew how to skate flatground.
Second, Hamid is the only person I know to get a trick over the grass gap between the Rollerskate statue and the walkway of Place Tolozan [Timestamp 1m20s]. Seriously, this spot is not a spot. To do anything, you need to place your board on a barely 2 meter wide plinth, take your run up in the grass, jump onto your board and narrowly avoid scalping yourself on the metal statue before clearing a 2 meter drop. How Hamid managed to kickflip this gap in ‘Fireworks’ (1996) is a true testament to his skills. I repeat, no-one has attempted this gap before or after this fact.
Third, these are a few clips Hamid filmed for a short video that was produced by ABS in 1997 (?). ABS catered to skateboarders and snowboarders so the video was a double feature. I think it was titled ‘Kill ’em all’ but I’m probably wrong. Ask Fred, he filmed it.
Anyway, in this video Hamid got a clip frontside nose-grinding the handrail at Croix Paquet, a small public square/tram stop above the infamous Hotel De Ville [Timestamp 4m06s]. Again, in 1997, no-one was stepping to this spot. This handrail is short but high. It also had a short downhill run-up. The imperfect dimensions most skaters hate. Hamid didn’t care. He did a frontside nose-grind on it.
It was during the Easter holidays of 2002 that I heard the bad news about Hamid’s passing. I was in Lyon on holiday with some friends from the UK who had come to session the city with me as their guide. The news put a sudden damper on the day but being resourceful skateboarders everyone got together and had an awesome impromptu session at Hotel De Ville in Hamid’s memory. It was a one of those bizarre situations where the local spot was filled with faces from far and near coming together to celebrate and grieve. Whilst some were cheering, others were crying. However we felt, everyone was skating as hard as possible.
Hamid was a gifted skater and a great friend. He is missed by everyone who knew him.