Lisa Looser’s Razzle Dazzle Skate Bowl is One for the Books

The Swiss artist painted her secret DIY skate bowl using wartime camouflage techniques. Woah.

bowl | Skateboarding

Words: Jason Horton
Photos: Philip Liljenberg

‘Razzle Dazzle’ is a camouflage painting style used extensively by the Royal Navy in World War I. Credited to artist Norman Wilkinson, it consists of complex patterns of geometric shapes in contrasting colours, interrupting and intersecting each other.


Unlike some other forms of camouflage, dazzle worked not by concealment but by confusion: making it difficult to estimate a target’s range, speed and heading. Norman Wilkinson explained in 1919 that dazzle was intended more to mislead the enemy as to the correct position to take up than actually to miss his shot when firing.


Lisa is a regular visitor to France’s south west coast, where a trail of creative projects remain after she returns to Zürich and her day job as an architect: “My roots are in graffiti, so I like to create something then leave it behind – a way of saying “I was there” in a creative way.”

So, what’s the connection between WW1 warships and skateboarding?

Lisa: “Like all good DIY spots, the bowl is a little rough and tricky to skate at first, so they named it “le Petit Désolé” (the Little Sorry). Razzle Dazzle is all about making a ship’s lines imprecise and tricky to see, so I thought it would be fun to add another level of complexity for the skaters. But once you’re in there skating, it’s not confusing at all… damn!”

Located in the garden of a Swiss-owned surf camp called Element Called Water, the bowl is the creation of Zurich-based skate crew September Wheels, and was built in just two weeks last June. As well as the bowl, the camp has a metal midi ramp and an indoor micro ramp, with more DIY concrete on the way – Lisa will be busy on her next visit.


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