It takes a lot of time and effort invested to keep a skateboard company above water, especially when new companies seem to be appearing weekly; surfacing for a few months, churning out an edit then disappearing just as fast. However underneath all of this, some companies are quietly getting on with the important business of putting out high quality products, sponsoring the people who deserve it and generally giving people like me faith in skateboarding. Lovenskate have been around since 2001, doing all of this and at the same time screen printing their own boards and t-shirts in what can only be described as a labour of love. This level of dedication shows in the end result of high quality boards, and is also visible in their first full length video simply entitled ‘The Lovenskate Video’.
Centered around the South East, the video is more a showcase of the area’s vibrant scene than a standard team video; in fact in many ways it reminds me of the video magazine format which seems to have disappeared in recent years, focusing more on the stoke which surrounds the act of skateboarding – the missions, the people, the spots – than on just the team.
The massive tea fetish which underpins the company’s ethos is laid out in the short intro section, which also includes some evocative shots of their base of operations, before wasting no time in launching into a hefty friends section. Heavy on the London footage, it’s enough to make you wonder why you don’t live in the capital as a variety of legendary skateparks and spots are given a proper seeing too by a cross section of local rippers. A break from the skating then leaves time for a skit, and a short clip of the making of the zine which accompanies the DVD (along with stickers, what’s not to like?) Brief shots of cut and paste intersperse the rest of the video, giving a sense of the DIY ethos which infuses the whole project.
Then we’re back into the skating, as a hallucinogenic montage shows the shredding that went down at the recent ‘Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Jam’, where a bowl shaped like a giant teacup was the only obstacle. Judging from the footage the thing was impossible to skate, and by extension also incredibly fun, costumes and slams abound! This is followed by footage from a trip to the recently excavated skatepark at Arenys de Munt, near Barcelona. This was Spain’s first ever skatepark and there’s undoubtedly a buzz to seeing a piece of European skate history being restored and used again.
Another friend’s section see’s the action taken around Europe (whilst still including some footage of Brixton Beach, giving me another pang for London), before the team members’ sections are kicked off by recent addition to the team Matt Ransom. As befits a section from the South East the street spots are crustier than a single dreadlock in a shaved head, which doesn’t stop an array of technical tricks and wallies going down. There is also plenty of footage from Uckfield, one of the most underrated skateparks in that part of the country. This is something which really jumped out at me on first watch – the fact that most of the team seem to have footage at their local parks, giving the impression of a series of sessions and making you wonder why this seems so frowned upon in many videos.
Watch Matt Ransom’s full part:
Lucy Adams follows this with a section ripping up a host of skateparks and rough looking banks, throwing down ledge tricks, footplants, and a gnarly final trick. Next up is Barcelona resident Liam Sproat, who cruises round various spots in said city, throws down some obscure manual variations at Paral-lel and generally helps to remind why the city became such a skate tourism hotspot. Skating to Sam Barrett’s ‘Lay a White Rose’ is the icing on the cake for this rad section. Alex Barton brings some lanky steezing to the table, making hard tricks look simple (including a BS blunt in the aforementioned teacup bowl) and skating some punishing looking handrails.
The well-deserved final section goes to Ewen Bower. If you were at last winter’s Crossfire Xmas Jam then you’ll know some of the madness to be expected (although unfortunately not a Benihana in sight.) ATV ripping, big pop and some footage at Crowhurst bowl, one of East Sussex’s best hidden gems. The final trick is gnarly, but by no means the end of the video.
In a tradition which will make anyone old enough to have bought skate videos on VHS nostalgic, the credits are followed straight away by the extras. First up is an old staple of said VHS, the lesser seen ‘slams section’. As someone who weirdly misses these – possibly because as a youth they showed me that I wasn’t the only skater constantly breaking myself – I was pretty stoked to see this. Then, bringing the video to a close is some definite travel hype in the form of a short documentary film showcasing owner Stu Smith and former team rider Craig Questions travelling to Ecuador in order to check out the ‘Parque la Carolina’, skate with the locals and generally get a sense of what skateboarding is like over there. Cutting the skating with interviews with both the locals and the travellers, this is worth having alone, and is the best extra I have seen on a skate video in a while.
A long time in the making, as a first full length the Lovenskate Video is hard to beat. If you want to see what is bubbling away in the South East underground right now, you need look no further.
Pick it up online with free stickers and more goodness for a fiver here.