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Skate World: England


[MUSIC PLAYING] WINSTAN WHITTER: Welcome
to London. My name is Winstan Whitter. I’ve been skating in London
for the last 21 years. This city just has so many
things to offer, especially as a skater, because you’ve
got the architecture. You’ve got the night life. More skateboards now, so
there’s places to go. Within the skate world, it’s
a major part of the scene. And there’s a big nucleus. People are always coming
through here. A lot of great skaters have come
from London and are now established in different
parts of the world. I think the thing that drives me
at the moment is the fact a lot of these places are at
risk of being taken away. So what drives me as a filmmaker
is that if I can make a documentary and put
that story together– the fact that this place is so
important to young people and the fact that they want to take
it away and build flats. I think it’s quite a powerful
medium to speak to the people and speak to the councils
and the government. This is Shell Centre. They’ve blocked it off,
man, recently– legendary spot. Way down at the end,
if you can see, there’s white handrails. That’s where Gonzo did the
180 50-50 down it. I was an amazing session. I don’t know if you remember
411, where Simon Evans as a kid flipped front
side blunt side. And the curb is just there. The curb’s kind of gone. But part of the other
curb is there. See those little white ledges? -Yeah. WINSTAN WHITTER: That was at
the end of South Bank. And then through there,
you could go through to the big banks. -Tell us about London. WINSTAN WHITTER: London? -Yeah. What’s the best place
to skate in London? WINSTAN WHITTER:
Here, I guess– South Bank. -What’s the worst? WINSTAN WHITTER: I don’t know. Spitalfields. -Why? WINSTAN WHITTER: Spitalfields on
a hot day, I think, is the worst, like yesterday. DAN MAGEE: I first came to
London, and Winstan was one of the original guys who
skate South Bank. And I was hanging out
with that crew. -Did it five again. -Yeah. [LAUGHING] DAN MAGEE: At the time, South
Bank was still a big scene. It was still all opened up. It wasn’t closed off
like it is now. WINSTAN WHITTER: When a place
like this becomes like a man-made skate park, it hasn’t
got the same soul. It hasn’t got the
same feeling. And it probably isn’t very
good to skate, anyway. Whereas these places, they’ve
got so much history. And they’re perfectly built for
skating, even though they weren’t designed for it. So this is the only free space
that we’ve got left in London, which we’re not sure about. You come down here, generation
after generation, all doing the same things. Come pass through on a Friday
night, and you’d see all the little ones skating here and
then drinking beers, loads of girls hanging out, music. And it’s like, that’s what
we were doing back in those days as well. NICK JENSEN: It was all about
South Bank, really, from a young age. I think it was such a strong,
potent feeling that it was just like this drive that sort
of makes you think, fuck, I just want to be skating there. I want to be like these guys. One of my neighbors was
a South Bank local. He used to skate outside
the house. I’d see him with a couple
of friends. I just loved their style of
clothes, just their attitude or whatever it was. There was just something
about it. And I used to watch him out
the window like, fuck. He was doing trade flips and
backs and ollie flips and skating the curbs. And I was just like, [GASP]. So we paid him to
give us lessons. WINSTAN WHITTER: This is our
little South Bank beach. This is where we used to just
hangout out in the summertime. Oh, Ben Jobe. What’s going on, man? There’s another South Bank
legend right there. That’s Ben Jobe, basically. He got nicknamed after the Ben
Jobe in America, the H-Street videos, because he kind of
looked like him a bit. This is another big legend,
man, Mister Ben Jobe. Everyone still calls
him Ben Jobe. That’s your name, literally. Andrew is his real name. It just doesn’t work for me. [LAUGHING] DAN MAGEE: I filmed Ben Jobe
for the video that came out for “Waiting for the World.”
He’s one of those guys that’s super hard to get stuff
from film with. But if you do, it’s amazing. You get one trick with that guy,
and it’s like gold dust. DAVE READING: He was a
bit of a legend, to be perfectly honest. He’s a good guy and an amazing
skateboarder– unbelievable. I think he did things barefoot
that you wouldn’t even think about doing normally. BEN JOBE: As long as you keep
your feet kind of still, it don’t hurt, does it? Quite still, but still moving. DAN MAGEE: I’ve seen him playing
harmonica or something like that, skating along, doing
tricks, not looking at his board, just crazy stuff. I think he 360 hip hopped the
bar at South Bank from a flat into the bank, which is
pretty crazy to do. WINSTAN WHITTER: You
remember what the sessions were like here? BEN JOBE: Yeah, the sessions
were amazing, man. So many people, but yeah. It used to be a big
space, didn’t it? Lots of area, lots of space, and
now it’s all going to be taken down for shops and
stuff like that. Do you know what I mean? WINSTAN WHITTER: They’re going
to continue with this crap. BEN JOBE: It’s kind of like you
can look at skateboarding as a culture, isn’t it? Like indigenous cultures get all
kinds of stuff taken away from them and sold back
to them, and whatever. All kinds of crap’s going
on in the world. And skateboarding’s
something people have been doing, creative. And they get it taken away from
them even though they deserve it just as much as
anybody else does, if not more so for what they’ve been doing
here and how much energy’s been put into it. You know what I mean? WINSTAN WHITTER: We’re on our
way to Harrow and Wealdstone Station, Harrow Skate Park. We’re going to go see what’s
left of it, because I heard that they’re going
to knock it down. This is a trip down
memory lane. I’ve haven’t been here for– I can’t even remember
how long. It could be seven,
eight years. So here we are. We’re at Harrow and Wealdstone
Station. This is the old route, man,
where the old boys go to the skate park, usually about
20 of us deep. We would leave South Bank and
go to Harrow and spend days here and pester Ray and
Gary for products and stuff in the store. Oh, let me have those wheels. Oh, let me have that board. Let me get some grip tape. It would be interesting to see
what the skate park looks like now, because basically there was
a fight to try to save it. And I think the fight
was lost. The battle was lost. And they might have even started
to take it apart. So we’ll see what happens
when we get there. So this is it. That’s what we call the
bollocks, right there. I remember watching Ian Gunner
pump around that thing, every corner, taking the
air just nonstop. These are the old New
Deal bunkers. The actual skate shop
used to be in here. So you walk in, the candle
would be on the right. And it would form an
L shape at the end. So it would go around. And that was an open space. All the boards would
be hanging on this side of the wall. They were good, sunny
days, man. You spent all the time
hanging out– loads of people coming in and
out, loads of demos, loads of pros coming in. Going back to when I first
started out– yeah, you were just view it as a waster
or some sort of mutant or something. Being a skater back in the day,
it was almost like you were skating naked with your
body painted purple. It was just like people saw you
as an outcast, the same way they saw the punk rockers
as an outcast, the same way they saw the reggae
scene as outcasts. When you’re not the football
kid and you’re the skater, then everyone is just going to
dis you and go, what are you doing, skateboarding? You’re wasting your time. That was how people got more
closer together, because we were all feeling the same
pressures from everyone, our parents, people at school,
our friends. It was so great to meet
another skater. Ah, there’s another skater. Where are you from? Because there was a time when
there wasn’t many skaters. So basically, you wouldn’t
really come across them as you do nowadays. You see skaters everywhere. You don’t even say hello to them
because there’s so many. But back then, it was like
you knew everyone. Everybody knew everyone. And that was a great thing. When you look at it, there’s
a gate going around the whole park. So it’s like you’re in here to
skate, or why are you here sort of thing. And so yeah, it was
pretty much a safe haven skating here. Plus, the shop was there. And Ray and Gary were a
couple of builders. So they were quite big guys. So they were quite respected
because they were big men. The amount of times people would
be coming down from, I don’t know, Sheffield
or something just for the weekend– get to London. And it’d be raining
all weekend. And they want to
skate concrete. They used to get petrol and just
pour it all over and set fire to it. And then that would burn out. And then that would dry
up really quickly. And then you could skate it. It’s amazing what you
do for a skate. They haven’t done any
resurfacing or anything like that. And they built this
back in the ’70s. That’s pretty good condition for
30 odd years of nothing. Imagine a front blunt– bam. -And what happens? What did somebody do? WINSTAN WHITTER: Oh, yeah. Mike Frazier, man, just flew
out here, front blunt, straight in. I think that was a front
cover or something of– was it “Transworld”
or something? -Yeah. WINSTAN WHITTER: I
think it was a “Transworld” front cover. Basically, it’s like
they built Romford. They built Harrow. And they built Stockwell. And it’s the same people
which built all three. And Stockwell’s the only one
that they’ve done any work to. But Harrow and Romford
have just been left. Stockwell– this place has been here
since the ’70s. And it’s the same people who
built Harrow Skate Park– the same builders. So you can kind of see the same
kind of style when you see the big bowl and stuff like
that– a big version of the snake one that they
built in Harrow. And you remember what
this place was like back in the day, man? DAVE READING: I do, actually. It was very rough. So if you fell over, you tended
to lose half your leg– a nice rashie or roastie,
whatever you call it. And it was also empty. That was a major difference
between now and then. There was hardly anybody
skating here. OLLY TODD: I think it’s school
holidays or something, because there’s kids here when they’re
normally at school. If you come early afternoon,
there’s just a few skaters here and no little kids. Not my first try, man. WINSTAN WHITTER: There’s been
some good sessions here, man, and more amazing sessions
going on nowadays– amazing. This skate park’s staying. It ain’t going anywhere. They just spent hundreds
of thousands on it. But they’re done a good job. BEN NORDBERG: I live in Bath. It’s a super, super old city– really nice, mellow
place to live. There’s a lot of old
architecture, so there’s not too many street sports
and stuff like that. I really enjoy living here. It’s a super nice place come
home to when you’ve been away for a while. [BARKING] BEN NORDBERG: He looks and acts
like he’s aggressive. KRIS VILE: Ah, you pussy. BEN NORDBERG: It’s a good
little place to grow up skating and learn stuff. I started off the first couple
years just skating. And then just started skating
the ledge a little bit, then just flat land all the time and
skate in the park a lot. It’s taught me to skate
most stuff, really. KRIS VILE: An event in Leeds,
I think, was the first time that we met. Whenever I’m in the country and
Ben’s not away, we skate a lot of events in the UK and
stuff, just go on little filming missions, because
I’ve got my own camera. My home town’s in Birmingham. I’ve always just skated
the street. And this a small, tight knit
crew that never gave up. Then they built the skate park,
and a lot of people just skated at the skate park. And they always used to
charge loads of money to get in and stuff. When you’re a little kid, you
ain’t got a good job. I ain’t going to go get a paper
route for the sake of not riding our skateboard. So we took to the streets
way more. And then I got way more
into transition. And now I just have a general
love for it all. -How’d you guys get hooked up? KRIS VILE: Me, just skating in
Birmingham, I’ve got a company in Birmingham that’s a
local board company. And they’re the only company
that make their boards, Actually produce
them in the UK. And that was based
in my hometown. So my first sponsor was
that, obviously. I’d been skating for about
a year and a half. And the guy at the shop
just gave me a board. He was like, oh, we’re going
to give you some stuff. And I was like, what do you mean
you’re going to give me free stuff? You know what I mean? Just a little kid, just didn’t
really know what was going on. JEROME LOUGHRAN: That’s your
seven, eight, that one. KRIS VILE: He phoned me the
other day and said we’re just sending it out now. So I reckon it’s going
to be another couple of weeks for it. JEROME LOUGHRAN: Screaming on? KRIS VILE: Yeah, I only rode
a couple of those. They’re called Monstrous. JEROME LOUGHRAN: They’re
too big, are they? KRIS VILE: That one’s
good as well. JEROME LOUGHRAN: It’d
be that one there. You ever had that one before? KRIS VILE: No, but I did look
at one that was that graphic on the tour. And I think it was
the same thing. It was the– JEROME LOUGHRAN: Yeah. Well, we’ll do you
a couple of them. KRIS VILE: All right. Sweet. JEROME LOUGHRAN: Shiner’s been
going for over 30 years now. We’re one of the oldest
distributors in Europe, I think. Have a deep history of
sponsoring people and passing people onto American companies
like Wainwright being one of them and being on Powell. A number of guys have made the
leap from Shiner and then over to the main companies. The only time it’s kind of been
the opposite is in terms of Kris Vile, Alex Moul, we’ll
find him and put him onto us in that respect. We knew he was good, but he was
riding for another company at the time. But Vile was sure in for
riding for Santa Cruz. Distribution in the whole of
the UK– distribution in general– starts off from
a shop sponsor. We deal with the shops. We sell to the shops. So we’ve got their back
and they’ve got our back in that respect. KRIS VILE: Cheers, Jerome. JEROME LOUGHRAN: They’re keeping
an eye out locally for raw talent and good
skateboarders in general. And then we want to help those
shops supporting up and coming skaters in their time. KRIS VILE: It’s a good
shape, that one. JEROME LOUGHRAN: Yeah. So there’s a couple of random
shapes there, but different. KRIS VILE: That one
was a good shape. I remembered it. -OK, yeah. KRIS VILE: Yeah, two of those. JEROME LOUGHRAN: Well, you
ride them backwards anyway, don’t you? KRIS VILE: Yeah. JEROME LOUGHRAN: We deal with
most of the American brands. We deal with just everything
from NHS to Alien Workshop, right through. Every shop has got their local
sponsored kids feeling above and beyond every other
shop rider. So they’re the ones that
need to be looked after and hooked up. The guys will move on. They’re get magazine articles. They’re get coverage, video
coverage, whatever it is. A few of them will step up
into being hooked up as a direct flow, but still through
ourselves, because we get the product in, we pass it on. All right, there, pro. KRIS VILE: All right. I’ll see you in a bit, Jerome. JEROME LOUGHRAN: See ya, boy. KRIS VILE: Safe, mate. It’s kind of weird sometimes,
because you actually realize that you’ve literally been on
tour for two months and it’s just been separate companies–
just like the tours meet. It’s kind of cool when you can
put it together like that and actually make the stuff
meet together. And then when you can’t, maybe
if you go to a place and you’ve got to be somewhere else
a week later, you can spend a little week in that
place just chilling out, having some more time to skate
the sweats and stuff. So it’s cool having the
opportunity where people will pay for you and your travel. It’s an amazing, amazing
thing about what we do. BEN NORDBERG: It’s fun. I need to sell this
afterwards– Roy Lichtenstein thing, my final
exam piece in school– 15, 16. That was my telephone at the
time, Pringles guy, gun, fish. When you finish college, you
normally have a year off, and then you go to university. so that’s what I’d
be doing now. But I just started traveling
so much that I didn’t have time for it at all. There’s no possible
way I could go to uni, I don’t think. It would just collide
too much with it. So yeah, it’s not happening. And I don’t want to, anyway. I’ve been too many
good places. And now I don’t want to go
back into education. [CROWD CHEERING] BEN NORDBERG: Yeah, and just
keep skating, traveling– just keep riding it for
as long as I can. It’s different in
English skating. Everyone’s a bit more– just pisses, messes
around more. It’s more laid back. You’ve got a bad attitude or
a big ego, people will just be like, nah. Give it a rest. I like that. I really like that, because
it’s not about having a bad attitude. KRIS VILE: Yeah, for sure. Have someone to steer you
in the right direction. We treat each other
like family. You look after your brothers. We’re going into Bristol
on the train. Be in Bristol soon enough. Whenever I come to Bristol,
I always come through with different crews. And we always end up going to
different spots, skating in little bits you haven’t
skated before. So there’s a lot of quirky
little bits. It’s one of those spots that if
you haven’t skated so much, it’s quite difficult to skate. The ledges are really, really
worn in– really round. So you need to have done some
stuff there to understand how to skate them. I always find it a pain in the
ass to try and film anything there, because it
just takes ages. But it’s a really,
really good spot. It’s just legendary
in its own right. It’s been there forever, and
everybody who skates it, kills it, loves it. BEN NORDBERG: As far as spots
go, the English spots are a bit more rugged– not harder to skate. [MOANING] BEN NORDBERG: You take the
rough with the smooth. It’s all old stone and
stuff like that. Germany and the Czech Republic
and Spain have got a lot of marble going about, so it’s
nice to have that kind of surface to skate on. -Who was the first pro
that you guys saw? BEN NORDBERG: Probably Danny– Danny Wainwright, because
he lives about 20 minutes away from me. KRIS VILE: I’d say Danny, too–
yeah, for sure, because it was the first person that was
actually pro at the time. American skaters– you watch a video and you’re
just completely in awe. But English skaters, you could
go down the skate park and see them there. You know what I mean? BEN NORDBERG: Yeah. KRIS VILE: So it’s a lot
more interactive. BEN NORDBERG: Say if you went to
a skate bowl when you were younger and saw a UK pro or
something that you see in a magazine, like Cyborg
or something. You’d be really hyped. KRIS VILE: And then you
see an American pro. And he won’t even talk to you. You’re a little kid, yeah. You’re hassling him and
yeah, it’s going to annoy the person. And you’re not thinking about
that at the time. But all you want to do
is like, oh, my god. And they’re just like– DANNY WAINWRIGHT: When some kids
used to come through from other places, it would be like
I’d hide out the back, especially after that
ollie thing. It’s like, I’m not working. Fuck it. I’m going to stay away. -Since you brought that up– [LAUGHING] -What was your career
after that? DANNY WAINWRIGHT: Things
kind of changed a bit. Obviously, people know you more
and they think that’s all you’ve got. Other pros probably wouldn’t
even piss on you if you were on fire. Or other people would be like,
hey, Danny, what’s up? Blah, bah. It’s just kind of strange. I think I stopped going to
the States after that. I just wanted to chill out. Powell are always talking
about you should do it. You should do a Danny Wainwright high ollie challenge. And I’m just like, dude,
that’s the worst idea. I don’t want it. If someone beats it,
they beat it. I’ll be stoked. I’ve had my five minutes. Let someone else do it. But it was good. A lot of things happened. I managed to do a shoe and
managed to do some color ways and get more involved in product
development or shoe design and stuff like that. That’s what I want
to do, really. We started the shop in 1997– October of ’97. And we just started it because
there was such a good scene in the city and we were
both living here. But there wasn’t a good hub
where people could go. JUSTIN SYDENHAM: I’ve been
running it 11 years now. I just moved in to this new
shop three weeks ago. And yeah, here it is– the
new Fifty Fifty store. DANNY WAINWRIGHT: Neither
of us had a clue what we were doing. We were into skateboarding. I was on tour and Syd did
a business course. You know what I mean? So I got away with easy part. I went skating. And he kind of had to
learn the ropes. Syd had a job. He was working, saving money. And then one summer, I was like,
I’m just going to try and do well– a few contests
and just win some money. And that summer– it was ’97– I got third in a big contest
in London, got the money, threw it at the shop. We had a small, small
shop up the road. We didn’t know what we were
doing and we just went for it. We just wanted to have
a good spot. And we’re skaters and we know
everyone and everyone would come to us. And then we just slowly grew and
just ended up down here. There’s so many good skaters
coming out now out of Bristol, too, because of all the
spots and because of the scene, I think. JUSTIN SYDENHAM: I wouldn’t say
it’s blown up completely, but it’s pretty big. But it’s still kind of
underground as well. There’s a few different cliques
and groups, really. Obviously, Lloyd’s has produced
the ledge skaters, the stair skaters– Korahn, for instance, who can
do any trick down Lloyd’s at our request. And then there’s all the
skate park crews. There’s a lot of other parks
cropping up now. Each park has its own
group of kids. And then they all come into the
city every now and then. The kids who have got really
good nowadays, like in this era, have just seen all the
people who have been pro. Living here, the standard of
skating’s really high. There’s people, like me and
Danny from the start, Paul Carter, Flynn Trotman. They’re sort of next
generation. It’s like Matt Kehoe, Zach
Betum, and Will Aneau. DANNY WAINWRIGHT: In the last
three years, and still, the whole city’s really regenerating
itself. So all the time, there’s
new spots popping up. -Does Everyone know there’s
a million spots here? DANNY WAINWRIGHT: It’s the
best part of England. You know what I mean? This is the best, other than– London’s good. But to me, here– it’s smaller,
it’s easier to get around, there’s just
as many spots. There’s not quite millions
of freaks. It’s just so much better
for me here. I love it. And it’s southwest. The sun sets here– perfect. -Triple whip. [LAUGHING] -After you. -Triple. -It’s the reason you
fight for it. -Oh, the triple. -First man that trips, first
to be able land on. -Oh, the bag three tail whip. OK, boys. -Ender.

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