MIA skateshop owner slams corporate greed in skating

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Ed Selego, the former Habitat pro and co-owner of respected skater owned shop MIA in Florida, has spoken of how the skate industry has changed tenfold since the involvement of sports brands. Speaking in a very open and honest interview, he explains how billion dollar corporations have treated independent skate shops with disrespect since they bulldozed their way into the skate scene.

“Nike was the biggest problem for us. We had many good years selling their product, but at the same time they pushed tons of product on us that didn’t sell. They used shops like ours for years to establish the Nike SB brand. Then they opened up distribution to all the corporate stores and started selling direct to consumer. Being the number one shoe brand wasn’t enough for them. They had to exploit the brand to appease Wall St. and their shareholders. They did this with no plan in place for all the skate shops that struggled over the years. They loaded everyone up with a ton of debt then dumped us. It’s really irresponsible for such a large brand to do this and harm the very industry that they have come to be a part of. There is no better example of corporate greed.”

It’s a conversation that has been brewing amongst skater owned shops for years and finally the cracks are starting appear as capitalism exploits the roots of the core skate scene.

Read the full article here.

2015 And What?

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With the time now upon us to gather in the great mead halls of our forefathers and rowdily toast another year gone by, celebrating 2015 whilst speculating on the fate the Norns weave for skateboarding in 2016, huddled beneath the world-tree Yggdrasil (whilst a grafter busily ‘cretes the other side of its ancient trunk in an attempt to out-Daewon Daewon. That boy don’t need no ‘crete to skate a tree, fool).

It’s tough to drink to 2015 – a good year certainly – without noting that things moved less rapidly than in 2014. ‘Cherry’ came out in spring that year, and almost immediately switched styles of skating and dressing across our younger brethren. Pontus had been urging us to ‘charge’ and, in doing so, add no-complies, wall rides and pole jams to our repertoire for a few years previously. But ‘Cherry’ really cemented that vocabulary in the imagination of the masses whilst encouraging kids to refresh wardrobes to an extent not seen since the Baker rock-star-come-pirate switch-up of the early noughts.

2014 also saw the indie brands square up to the skater-owned giants like plucky dwarven warriors, chopping a few heads off and doing a few things differently, whilst the strangle-hold of the global sportswear mega corps tightened inexorably. 2015 has seen a continuation of these trends. Magenta celebrated 5 years with red wine and screeching urethane, whilst Polar and Palace became legitimately two of the most popular core skate brands on earth – sought after by salon-fresh hipsters and scabrous street rats alike. All done with frequent collaborations with the sportswear giants – demonstrating how Harvard-trained boardroom strategists currently prefer to buy-in their grassroots cool through timeshare rather than take over.

officespaceThis leads us to the other development that has become clearer in 2015 – the schism in skateboarding as a professional career trajectory. From the mid-90s to the noughts, there were just two paths for the talented hopeful: to succeed at skateboarding as a full time job then either have a 20-30 year career or, more likely, move behind-the-scenes, reaping any good will accrued through stunts and video parts; or fail to get a break, live in shitty accommodation on sub-minimum wage through your 20s and maybe 30s, then resign to mundane adult life bereft of marketable skills. Both outcomes rested on the belief that, in order to excel at skating, it must be pursued full time, to the exclusion of all else. This was encouraged by industry heads as well as the natural tendency of young skaters to think of nothing else. Although skating is huge in 2015, the route to the Big Time has puckered tighter than an arsehole.

Quadrants of the internet throughout 2015 have lamented the demise of the ‘middle class’ pro skater, respected style icons but not stadium fillers like many of the OG Chocolate team (Mike York, Richard Mulder, Scott Johnston etc.). Being other skateboarders’ favourite skateboarder don’t pay the bills no mo’. Only a tiny minority of Street League-consistent superstars will emerge from a horde of really, really good kids. Those few, counted in 10s rather than 100s, will have their names embroidered next to Swooshes and will retire to Hollywood condos.

This image went down well…

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“Fuck those guys, I’m not interested” says almost every active skateboarder over 14. Especially if they’ve tried to sit through ‘We Are Blood’. But 2015 sees an alternative to poverty pay and perma-adolescence, which any skateboarder of whatever age or talent level can attain. A route that brings about opportunities to bask in the occasional esteem of our peers through independent videos, photo zines, regional websites and bro companies – as long as one has a creative eye to bring something notable to the right time and place. 2015’s grassroots skateboarder, sponsored or unsponsored, super-talented or regular Joe, is a multi-tasker. They do a regular job that they may or may not hate – from New Jersey, NYC and New England skaters’ stated preference for set building, to Europeans who might be Uber cab drivers, teachers, writers or bin men. Then at night or on their days off, they pitch into the running of a company, contribute to media – printing, blogging, archiving and sharing – and spend time ‘creting some disused local space, campaigning for public facilities, or learning about architecture, urban planning or public action. Left-leaning economists call this the ‘gigging economy’, a phenomena in which human creativity and ingenuity exploits the cracks that splinter across late capitalism, refusing to let meaningless jobs in the service sector define who we are, whilst taking their pay cheques to pay our spiralling living costs.

Gif: Brophy in Obtuse Moments by our Tumblr bud, BetterSkateThanNever.

brophyThe internet enabled the ‘sharing economy’, but 2015’s skateboarders are working out how to turn this into a balanced, life-enhancing portfolio of cool stuff – that sacks off dreams of Street League without resigning one’s self to a damp apartment and a mournful, regret-filled adulthood.

Channel 4’s economics editor, top dude and keen surfer, Paul Mason, argued in a recent interview about his book ‘Post-capitalism: A guide to our Future’ that late capitalism, in its failure to adapt to technological change or to do away with the inefficient, unjust hegemony of the old elites, has created space for its successor. He advises us to do the jobs we hate, but “take another percentage of yourself and you put it into the emerging post-capitalist world”. This will be a world that trades on skills, knowledge, social connections and the well-being we can get from the things that have genuine meaning to us. Because we cannot, and probably should not, make a living from the ‘true’ version of skateboarding that we love so much, a thing that creates great meaning but little profit, we should do other things on the side – for the time being. In 2015 we have seen that we don’t need to forlornly push back real life, Canute-like against the rising tide. We can embrace it whilst bending it to our will, filling our time with advancing skateboarding as it should be.

So this ‘here’s to 2015’ tribute is themed: My ram’s horn full of mead is tipped frothily to the multi-taskers, the odd-jobbers, the night-time rippers and filmers, the bedroom entrepreneurs. You guys are the future for the kind of skateboarding that I care about. It’s a future that you and I can be part of without handing over $100 to sit in some air conditioned stadium and stare as one tiny, distant Swoosh guy outscore another, in an endless loop or pearly teeth and breathable sports fabric.

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And now, to 2015’s Finest Footage in my personal opinion, feel free to post your own at the end of this article:

The unanticipated breakthrough for 2015 were Budapest’s Rios Crew. These unknown, mainly unsponsored dudes deal out relatable but fucking raw skating across a variety of former Eastern-bloc architecture and their own DIY spot, capturing the imagination of tastemakers like Jenkem and Quartersnacks. Their last video offering, Jönnek – a rough edit set to music put together by their mates – made a great impression at the Vladimir Film Festival. A big, enthusiastic crew, a work ethic and an eye for spots are the only ingredients that matter for skate videos that stoke other skaters out. The Rios boys’ output is unlikely to win new converts in Ty Evans’ current target market of MILFs and pre-teens, but that’s not the point. Thousands of dollars’ worth of RED camera kit and editing suites, airplane tickets and fashion-forward wardrobes be damned: get your buddies out of the skate-park and point a cheap DSLR at them and you too can be the belle of the ball. But don’t expect to make any money out of it. This output is entirely without the endorsement of the Swoosh, the arrow and a star, or three stripes.

Dudes who have taken the Swoosh’s patronage are Quartersnacks, but one cannot begrudge them for this. Big brand attention is the consequence of wide ranging yet locally anchored commentary on the state of skateboarding, with an unashamed appreciation of the fashion, night life and skateboarding’s other extra-curricular perks and sidelines – Paul Mason’s economic and quasi-economic together.

QS celebrated their 10th anniversary in 2015 – with main man Konstantin ‘Kosta’ Satcheck still safely in his 20s, meaning that a crew blog that became a globally respected #trendwatch and #thinktank (and proliferator of entertainingly official sounding hashtags) started in his teens. Think on that, all you who passively complain about your weak local scene whilst lazily scrolling through Instagram. With more frequent collaborations with ‘New York’s Most Productive’ filmer Johnny Wilson, 2015 is a tricky year to pick just one (or in this case a co-joined selection) from the stream of skate trip, themed and scheduled start of/end of summer and best of the year edits that QS churn out. Although the transition-themed series chronicling a trip through New England is a departure from the site’s usual preoccupation with ‘low impact’ street skating, it captures many of this article’s themes: normal dudes, battling adversity, lack of investment and official disinterest to populate their own scenes with good parks and clever re-working of dilapidated street spots.

Another big birthday was celebrated by Magenta over the summer. Although they’ve just released the full length ‘Just Cruise’, the edit of their UK tour, sound-tracked with Aldous Huxley’s prophetic voice-over, stood out as a highlight of the year. Brand owners Vivien and Soy have full-time jobs, Vivien has two kids and Soy recently beat cancer, and Magenta is not making either of them rich. But the spirit of the thing: keeping your local scene lit, supporting your friends, and linking like-minded crews worldwide. Surely this is what skateboarding’s really about – whatever your personal view of powerslides and all flat-land lines. Magenta are the ultimate multi-taskers.

If Thrasher’s Skater of the Year could be bestowed on a truer epitome of the blue-collar, skateboarders’ skateboarder, charging through full-sections switch-stance as much as regular like a burly freight train, I’m unable to think of one. Anthony Van Engelen – the Bruce Springsteen of skateboarding in his earthiness and longevity – is surely a SOTY choice that only the most curmudgeonly below-the-line commentator could complain about. Even his Vans ‘Propeller’ out-takes stand as one of the year’s best edits, without even starting on the A-roll stuff that found their way into the final cut.

If AVE is the grizzled master of grown-up, burl and finesse, Gilbert Crockett is the spiritual successor – vying with AVE for best section in Propeller and cementing his place towards the top of the list of skateboarders’ favourite skateboarders with ‘Salt Life’ for Quasi.

Straight across the Atlantic, but staying within the Vans team, Chris Oliver’s ‘Excursion’ from our pals at Sidewalk adds to pantheon of lifers and grafters who combine incredible talent with a sense of being consistently over-looked. Many of my friends cite Chris Oliver as “the best skater I’ve ever seen in real life”. He continues to place high in competitions (against a majority of competitors ten years his junior), kills all variety of transition, and can put out banging, raw and good-humoured street sections like this one. Incredible board control and seemingly little fear of eating shit, but with a variety of interests including DJing and carpentry that add to the personality that comes through in his skating.

Turning it down a notch, one of my personal favourite edits of the year was Long Island’s The Northern Company’s ‘Portland Excursion’. It encapsulated the feeling of a trip with friends in a gentle, nostalgic hue of oranges and browns – lost in time, a blue grass Goonies or Stand by Me (complete with rustbelt imagery of clattering trains and industry reclaimed by nature). No single trick stood out, but it leaves me feeling content and keen to skate every time I’ve watched it – and it’s been one of the few repeat viewings in a stacked year. While you’re at it, read founders Mike Gigante and Steve Fletschinger’s interview for the Palomino for all the right reasons to start a skate company.

As we’ve mentioned in our review of the video premier, Isle’s maiden full-length ‘Vase’ stood out as DVD of the year for all these reasons.

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Finally, it would be a disservice not to mention one of this last year’s most prolific, popping up in edits across Europe and both the East and West Coasts of capitalism’s Promised Land, from QS/Nike and Transworld respectively. Like many skaters the world over, I spent a lump of my summer in Copenhagen and would give my front teeth to repeat that every year. Hjalte Hjalberg personifies all that is best in Denmark – a big, powerful, smiling bastard, annoyingly skilled but coming over as likeably down to earth, taking on the mantle of international power tech forged by fellow Copenhagen export, the late Kristian Bomhalt (RIP). As well as being pro for Polar, he’s a trained teacher and not afraid to jump into a boat and sail into the chill northern reaches of the Atlantic Ocean. 2015’s power combo of grafter, multi-tasker and champion nose-slider.

Words: Chris Lawton.

Guy Mariano leaves the Crailtap family for Nike

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Guy Mariano‘s name was taken down from all Girl Distribution Company websites from sponsors Lakai, Royal, Girl and Fourstar last night fuelling a load of speculation that has just been confirmed on social media. Mariano is now officially a Nike SB team rider.

With over 20 years of friendship in the history pot between both parties, Guy has jumped ship from the warm arms of the Crailtap family into mainstream sports brand territory that has shocked many and excited some. The Nike SB instagram from the announcement is awash with joy and equal disappointment and hatred as seen in the comments below.

A video posted by Nike Skateboarding (@nikesb) on

Total Recall: Crossfire Xmas Jam 10 Year special

10 years have flown by since we threw the first Crossfire Xmas Jam at BaySixty6 skate park. We have seen three different sponsors, many face-lifts, and a plethora of pro skateboarders, locals and visitors leave a legacy in the park with various tricks from demo’s, events and sessions.

Just before the park was shut down for a wonderful renovation by Nike back in September this year, we filmed this Total Recall edit with various UK skaters with the 10th Anniversary in mind, mainly because this should be a celebration about the skate park too, as without their dedication, we could not have reached this milestone.

This park has always been there as a place for London’s skateboarders to meet up and hang out doing what we do best: skate, have a few beers and enjoy life. Press play for a snapshot of memories from various people who have skated the park from scratch and enjoy a feature looking back over a decade of bringing the UK skate scene to London.

HISTORY

The Crossfire Xmas Jam was put together for the UK scene to defy the winter and to get together for one last session of the year. At the time, there were hardly any London events to attend at all. The ones we did have were retarded ‘extreme sports’ events, promoted by people that didn’t even skate, in an era where capitalism and corperate branding were just re-igniting within our scene. Big brands were keen to associate themselves with skateboarding once again due to the emergence of Tony Hawk’s record breaking impact in the gaming market, but what happened at the time was never planned and turned out to be a very happy accident and a total path changer.

Product toss.

THE EARLY YEARS.

The very first skate jam we rolled out was at PlayStation (now known as BaySixty6) in the Easter of 2003. The Crossfire club nights that came before these skate jams were pulling over 500 people per month with bands and DJ’s for skaters to attend and get amongst it. Sessions at PlayStation proceeded these parties next door to the Subterania where the parties were held, so it was only natural that we organised daytime skate jams too.

I remember the Dirty Sanchez guys turning up and stage diving into the mini ramp crowd on that first jam. Over 800 people were in the park. I also remember Terrence Anthony (who worked at the park) flattening the woman from BBC Newsround, by bundling her to the floor in drunken celebration! A very young Benny Fairfax won the honours in the street course that day and Danny Wainwright ruled the mini ramp. In fact, the Bristol (5050) and Welsh (Kill City) crews from this jam onwards became first on the list guests, and still are to this very day.

The classic Crossfire Pound note is part of Xmas Jam history. These notes were devised so that we had time to move quickly from one best trick jam to the next without having to sort out paperwork, so cash is exchanged at the end instead. One of our guest pro riders (who shall not be named) actually tried to pay at the bar with one of these!

Paul Shier and Rayman, Croydon’s finest. Blueprint always supported and will be missed by many. RIP.

THE 10 YEAR COUNTDOWN

2003

With this relationship with 5050 sealed, they asked us to premiere their Jus Foolin’ video and the very first Crossfire Xmas Jam was held at Playstation on Saturday 14th December, 2003 with Heroin, Eastpak, Death and Ortega Skateboard teams in attendance as guests. We were also investors in CIDE skate shop at the time, but nobody really knew that. Slam City Skates were involved from the start too.

Chris Pulman graced the first flyer, shot by Richie Hopson. Rich at Bulletclip designed a lot of these flyers and layouts, Gorm helped us loads too. I could not have done it without them. I think this particular photo was taken on a Death trip to Brussels with Matt Pritchard’s arse mooning the background whilst Cates and Zorlac looked on. The jam itself was amazing. Over 850 people turned up. It was followed by 5050’s video with a room full of 600 skaters. The Xmas Jam was born.

Custom pre-doors shot.

Danny Wainwright destroying the mini ramp. Honorary member.

Dan Wileman was always first on the list and still is. Honorary member.

2004

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Globe got involved in the 2004 jam. As a result, the event welcomed its first European sponsored riders and also Toy Machine pro’s from the US. The session went off with a show from the most insane vert skills from Jocke Olson and various vert friends. Ben Grove took dough with a front blunt, Johnny Layton smashed the rail with feebles and more, Josh Harmony, Neil Smith and Vaughan Baker killed it. Others won Crossfire pounds but all I can really remember from that day was that it was absolutely freezing cold, but the session was incredibly warm.

Is that a very young Ewen Bower?!

Josh Harmony nosegrinds.

The Crossfire tee stall run by the lovely Dani, who froze annually to bring you stickers and tees! Thanks Dani!

The after party was held in Kings Cross with Kerrang! Magazine. Karaoke was the order of the night. Massive hangovers followed. A clan of honorary members in this photo.

“Highway to Hell!”

Highway to the Bar!

Calow and Grove in the house.

2005

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I have no idea how we managed to actually fill the skatepark from this bloody awful flyer but it would have been my fault it looked like this and nobody elses! Circa Shoes flew Peter Ramondetta into London for this one and he ripped! We decided to build two kickers in the street course and it turned out to be one of the best ideas ever. Ben Raemers (seen below thanks to Leo Sharpe) killed it across the park and made his presence known big time. Wainwright nose picked the motorway roof off the mini ramp and sent everyone into chaos. Flynn Trottman and Rodney Clarke also took the honours at this jam and spent their hard earned dough at the after party held upstairs in a pub called the Mother Black Cap.

The Size Matters lads and Phil Procter fueled the decks on the night with hip hop sets. We all got mash up and another Xmas Jam ended on a high. Watch the video from this event here and the full article is online here.

BaySixty6 crew – honorary members

We could not have done any of this without James Sherry and Alan Christensen.

Or Ralph…all of these 3 are super-honorary members

Pete King and Dave Chesson always repped. Honorary members.

Snowy and Joey have seen a few jams too. Honorary members.

2006

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The 2006 flyer is one of our favourites, designed by French. Globe were back as sponsors and the big focus was on the Koston block in the street course and the Heroin Whale that was designed by Fos. His whale design was inspired by an obstacle he had skated in Japan and he came down to paint it one cold December night once Mike in the park had knocked it up. Jak Tonge and Kyron Davis took unsponsored honours, Ben Raemer’s went one higher than Danny Wainwright with a frontside air into the ceiling. Chroliver, Rob Smith, James Gardner, Nowik, Boots and many more took best trick prizes on the day.

Read the full skate feature here and the party photos from Mau Mau’s here.

Fos works on the Heroin Whale. Legendary Xmas Jam obstacle. Honorary member.

Carl Wilson never misses this event. Honorary member.

Cates came as Santa. Honorary member.

Or maybe it was Scrooge.

2007

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This Osiris sponsored jam at the park brought more guest pros. John Rattray, Garret Hill, Corey Duffel and Diego Bucchieri all arrived as guests and got stuck into the freezing temperatures alongside a full house of UK pros. Stuart Kolakovic designed this awesome flyer. Chris Ault, Danny Brady, Nowik, Potter and many more took the honours on the day.

Read the full article here and the gallery of party pics from the ‘Feed the Need’ video premiere here. The party was closed down early at the Truman Brewery over East due to people dancing on the bar to a Madness tune. Bog rolls were thrown, the lights went on and we were all told to leave.

Fun times.

Sidewalk filmed this jam:


More Skateboarding Videos

Our footage is here on YouTube but now without sound:

Churchill is a ruler. Honorary member of course.

Crew deep.

2008

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Emerica and Altamont were involved in 2008. We spent most of their sponsorship money on the Altamont block, another Fos inspired design, this time built by Rodney Clarke, Pete King and Willis. I had flu on the week the jam was scheduled for. It rained all night long and all morning, so the mini ramp was absolutely soaked and the street course was also wet along the train line side. I remember getting into the park and wondering how we were going to pull it off at all. Everything was damp and slippery but once everyone turned up, the session lifted spirits.

The amount of slams on the mini ramp were ridiculous,as a result, we had to move the vert wall onto the mini ramp which made for a fun sesh. Ben Raemers took the wallride pounds, Nowik took them on the mini ramp, Brady took the Altamont block dough with a frontside 180 fakie nosegrind to revert. Eniz Fazliov and Ricardo Fonseca were European guests and really impressed. Mike Wright took the rail, Dominguez tre-flip fakie’d the wall. Full story here.

Check out little Jake Collins. Aw. Now an honorary member.

Mike Wright shut down the rail. An honorary member who returns this year with Steak.

Daryl Dominguez gets stuck into his local park. Honorary. Of course.

Ben Reamers footplants to fakie on the wall. Honorary Thrasher cover star member.

I remember the party being a total clanger. We had booked the Portuguese Sporting Club of London on Elkstone Rd opposite Meanwhile Gardens but they had triple booked it with a bunch of other Xmas party’s and had an entertainer on a keyboard booked in! Rob Smith was ejected after a huge fight at the door with the security guys. Absolute disaster of a night!

2009

To be honest, the 2009 event was lucky to happen. I had broken a disc in my back and the recession had fully kicked in. Luckily, a Mutate Britain Art Exhibition had been set up underneath the Westway. One of the very best street art gatherings London has ever seen. We approached Garfield on the site who was running it and asked them to build us a skate-able car in return for sending people down there on jam day as part of the ticket. They loved the idea and Alex Wreckage delivered something special. Every part of the car was grindable. Jess Young’s hippy jump through the windows was mental. Neil Smith went switch lipslide on the roof, Casper Brooker kickflipped the entire vehicle. Nowik took the mini ramp jam (again) and the car got wrecked. Read the feature here.

The after party at the Metropolitan Pub ended with a 6ft Xmas tree being thrown down the stairs fully dressed.

Nowik, picking up his annual Xmas bonus. Super honorary member.

Casper Brooker flipping one. Honorary member.

2010

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This jam will always be remembered by a pigs head. Lee Dainton had brought one down from Wales in the van and needed to get rid of it, so instead we decided to plonk the pork on the wallride and that’s where it stayed. The primary objective for this was to make sure everyone knew that the skate park was at risk of being closed down. The skating shut the park down on the day though.

Jason Cloete took the honours in the unsponsored amongst others, Daryl Dominguez wrecked the wall and Jake Collins had an all round display. neil Smith, Dan Wileman and Sam Beckett annihilated alongside Chroliver. Jed Cullen, Nowik and Chris Coombs took the mini ramp sesh. Amazing day out! Alan Christensen’s finest video edit too. Feature here.

The Kill City crew represent every year.

Jake grew rapidly and now Carve’s Wicked.

Sam Pulley front blunts. Honorary member.

Party time then…

2011

I remember looking at the skate park as this jam kicked off and thinking this park is on its last legs and looks to be closing but on the postive side, everyone turned up to make it a day we will never forget once again. Throughout the years, the sponsorship money has always gone into building something to put back into the park, but on this occasion, we had none, and regardless of that, we had a blast due to the skating that went down. It’s a reminder that no skate jam needs thousands of corperate pounds to have a great day out, it’s the skateboarding that makes it work every time.

Manny Lopez clashed heads with Tim Prozorov. The Estonian was fine, but Manny had an egg on his face for a couple of weeks, poor bloke. Thankfully his constant amazing skating at every xmas jam helped him get the attention needed for Fabric to hook him up. Chris Oliver’s BS lipslide/FS bluntslide/5050 down the super long hubba won the Superdead comp outright. Chroliver, Nowik, Cullen, Raemers, Zwijsen and Jake Collins took the honours. The entire Kill City team ripped too, even though they had just flown in from Barcelona and brought their DVD for us to premiere at Mau Mau’s. We are now banned from there too. Full feature here. Video here.

Chroliver after the backside disaster hubba treatment. One of the best tricks ever. In fact, what is the best trick ever over the ten years?

Jed Cullen. Honorary member.

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2012

So here we are awaiting the video, photos and highlights to put in here from the 10th Anniversary Xmas Jam. Get down to this event and make it the best we have ever witnessed, as without you lot, this event is nothing.

I would like to thank everyone at BaySixty6 skatepark over the years for having us. All the photographers (i’m sure that Tom Halliday, Dom Marley, SMAY, Matt Clarke, Jerome Loughran, Styley and others may have photos on this page), and filmers Alan Christensen, Andy Evans, Moose and so many more. There are actually too many to mention here, but you know who you are. Thank you so much for helping. Honorary members.

I also want to thank everyone who has sponsored the event, Mark Brewster for mic duties over the years, every distribution company and skate shop that help us reach skaters with flyers. All pro teams, skaters and UK skate companies that have traveled miles and donated product annually. All at Sidewalk who covered the event throughout the years, and of course, you, for being there to make it happen. Here’s to another decade.

Zac

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Sean Malto interview

With 10 days to go before Pretty Sweet drops onto premiere screens across the planet, Kansas born, Girl Skateboards pro, Sean Malto spills some beans on his trips to the UK, what’s coming from Pretty Sweet and a little bit more.

How different has this year been, knowing you started 2012 wearing a pair of Nike‘s?

Man, it’s so crazy. I’m just starting a different chapter in my skate life. I’m just grateful for the opportunity that I have to skate for some of the best companies in the world. With that though, it creates much more traveling for me.

This was your second trip to London in 2 months, what’s your take on the terrain we have here to skate?

It’s tough, but I love the way footage looks in London. I’m a big fan of all of the Blueprint videos.

Have you found how rough our streets are a hindrance or a challenge?

It’s definitely a challenge. Getting stuff in London does not come easy! It’s a lot of walking and skating just to get to the spot. Then you have to deal with the weathered ground. I have a lot of fun in London though so I try and go there when I can.

Have you managed to film any footage for Pretty Sweet in London’s streets?

I got a few things in London that are in my part. Feds (Girl Filmer) and myself came out and skated around for 10 days and filmed kinda everything from skating spots to taking the tube. I’m not sure how they ended up editing my part but I’m sure some of that footage is in there.

Any particular UK spots that you enjoyed most?

The bench that turns into a flatbar is amazing. I’ve never skated anything like that in my life.

What about the culture, the people and the food. Some Americans hate our food…

I’m the least pickiest eater. I like all types of food, so that doesn’t bother me at all. The people are always nice and I definitely enjoy a good pub every once in a while!

Growing up in Kansas, did you have any knowledge about the UK skate scene at all?

I didn’t know a lot about it, other than the Blueprint videos. When I started hanging out with people that have visited the UK, everyone always mentioned that Nick Jensen was killing it.

Which UK skaters do you rate the most?

There’s so many talented people. Neil Smith, Nick Jensen, Danny Brady, Jerome Campbell, Paul Shier…..they’re all so awesome to watch skate.

Is your Pretty Sweet part finished yet?

Last day of filming was October 15th, so I’m all done!

Where was the majority of your footage for this production filmed?

Kinda a little bit of everywhere. Over the past few years I’ve spent time all over Europe, China, and the US, so it’s just a collection of everything I’ve filmed.

Which trick was the biggest pain in the ass to get down and where?

I filmed one of my last tricks a week before the deadline of the video. It was one of the scariest tricks I’ve every put myself through. It sucked so bad. When I landed it, I was more happy that I didn’t have to try it again than I was about landing it!

Did you have to go back to any spots to re-shoot tricks you didn’t particularly like?

There were a few things I had to go back to. Towards the end, it was more about trying to do tricks I’d been putting off until the deadline.

Did you manage to get any NBD’s down in this section?

Haha! I’m not sure. I’m not the best at skate history. I’m sure there’s a couple tricks that seem to be NBD’s, but someone probably did it at EMB 20 years ago.

We always discuss the skateboarders, but the filmers are equally important to mention when it comes to film productions. Out of Ty Evans, Federico, Ryan Lovell, Sam Newman and Roger Bagley, which one person gets the very best out of the team for their parts on the day, which filmers do you like working with mostly, and who filmed the majority of your part?

I love all those guys. Ty Evans, Ryan Lovell, and Feds filmed the majority. To be able to work with all those guys has been an amazing experience. I did work with Ty Evans a lot for Pretty Sweet. He’s so motivated, and knows what it takes to get a video done. I’ve never been on more productive trips than Ty Evans’ trips.

Sean hits up a bs nose blunt at the Ladbroke Grove rail, poached by Matt Anderson’s phone cam.

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Do you know what other names came up first before they chose the title Pretty Sweet?

There was one other name that I really liked, inspired by Keenan Milton. I don’t know if I should say it, because I think it could be used for another video somewhere down the road!

Brandon Biebel mentioned in a recent interview that Guy Mariano’s part is going to blow minds. Have you been on any filming missions with him for this production?

I’ve seen a few things on trips, but Guy is a very talented and motivated person. His part is going to exceed any expectations. To me, his part is going to be one of the best parts ever in skateboarding.

Who is everyone hyped on for this video from the Chocolate camp?

Obviously MJ is the man. All the new guys on the team killed it as well though! Stevie Perez, Elijah, Raven, and Vincent took this video to a whole new level!

Any words on Gino, Koston and Howard?

Watching Gino is, and always will be amazing. No one makes it look better than him. Rick Howard is a big reason why Girl is so awesome, and why this video is even happening. I have so much respect for Rick and always have such a great time hanging out with him. Koston’s the best skater in the world! But you guys already knew that right?

For all the new skaters out there who may not have seen classic Girl Skateboards videos, Mouse or Goldfish. If you had to choose a section from each film, which ones would you choose

Koston in Mouse and Jeron’s section in Goldfish.

Tell us something about Pretty Sweet that we don’t know?

Trunk Boyz are always fun and funny to hang out with. If anyone from London wants a dose of the Trunk Boyz, I would suggest going to the premiere in the UK! They’ll be there, and in full force!

Last words….

Don’t piss into the wind.

Pretty Sweet premiere’s in the UK at the Richmix Cinema, London on Monday November 19th. Girl and Chocolate team riders Raven Tershy, Elijah Berle, Rick Howard, Cory Kennedy, Vincent Alvarez and Stevie Perez will be in attendance on the night. Pre-order the deluxe DVD boxset from your local skate shop this week.

Watch Sean’s latest footage for Kansas City skate shop Escapist, whose latest video ‘Red and Yellow’ just dropped this weekend. This part also features footage of Tyshaun Johnson.

Watch this clip of how Sean was sponsored by Girl too.

Watch footage of the new Gap at Bay Sixty 6 Skatepark

The carpenters have been finishing off the main body of work in the street course over the last week with the ‘spectator gap’ being the stand out design addition that has been built in front of the new spectator cabin. Check out the new video and photos in the updated feature and feel free to share them as the park really takes shape.

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New footage of ongoing work at Bay Sixty 6 Skatepark

freshcrete_baysixty6This week’s delivery of wood from Amsterdam revealed that bowled corners will play a part in the new design at Bay Sixty 6 Skatepark. Watch video here of the structure and the start of the new build to transform this spot into a brand new skatepark.

For more photos and updates, click here to keep an eye on the ongoing, updated feature.

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Bay Sixty 6 skatepark goes under the hammer

THIS FEATURE IS ONGOING. SCROLL DOWN FOR FRESH PHOTO AND INFO UPDATES.

This thread was started on June 26th 2012

The demolition of Bay Sixty 6 Skatepark here in West London started this weekend. Walking through the front doors this morning was a bit overwheming when confronted with the speedy work of the team employed to take it apart. There’s a very eery and slightly sickening feeling that arises in your stomach seeing your local spot be destroyed. The hammers were pounding into the legendary mini ramp, the saws were screeching and the crackle of broken wood as it was ripped apart went through me like nails down a blackboard.

It’s a very overwhelming feeling. Standing there, taking it all in whilst breathing in the dust that fills the air. You can almost hear the sound of the coping being slashed. The memories of sessions flick past your eyes as you blink. The sound of people tapping tails become ghostly echoes. You probably know these sounds very well as they are part and parcel of all skate sessions. They are unique to our scene and will always remain in our memories forever. So instead of keeping all of this in today, I thought it would be best that we go through this process together. Sharing the shock and the sadness of an end of an era, as together, maybe it won’t hurt quite as much.

The saddest news of all and one of the reasons we have pieced this feature together is that there are many skaters turning up to skate the park this week after finishing their exams to find it in this state first hand. After all the speculation about saving the park, these skaters who have not picked up word about what’s happening from the internet are confused, shocked and angry, so please spread the message that the park has a new 2 year lease and that a refit is underway.

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You will see from these photos taken this morning that the the midi ramp is next to be chopped into pieces. The same classic transitions that have hosted so many amazing Crossfire jams will be dust tomorrow. The Vert ramp has also been completely ripped out. The make-shift cinema that Mike built underneath the platforms is now just a pile of broken wood. What’s intriguing to see is the huge hole left in the earth where the Vert ramp used to be. We wonder how that deep hole will be filled moving forwards in the new design plans. 15 years ago or so, it took ages to be dug out. Tonnes of earth was carted away to make way for what was once, London’s most famous Vert ramp, second to the beast that was laid to rest at Latimer Road all those years ago. The sessions that went down on this ramp were legendary. Who did the last tricks tricks on it? Was Aaron ‘Jaws’ Homoki the last skater to huck a McTwist on these walls? Was Tom Murray the very last skater to actually drop in on it and grind the coping? Discuss.

We will bring you another feature soon with various talking heads reminiscing on what went down in this park over the years but for now, we have to just take in the changes that have been put in place so quickly. It’s very heart wrenching to see Bay 66 like this, but I guess we will all have forgotten about it in 8 weeks when the new park is built and re-opened with fresh obstacles from Nike. Until then, a boneyard of the old park is currently being dug and the men involved are working as fast as they can to fill the graves.

Share these scenes today, reminisce your memories of the sessions that went down here and remember – never take a spot of granted, as one day, it may be gone in a flash.

Bay Sixty 6 as we knew it, R.I.P.

THIS THREAD WILL BE UPDATED BELOW WITH ALL UPDATES WHEN WE HAVE NEW PHOTOS AND VIDEO.

PHOTOS AND VIDEO FROM THE FIRST 3 DAYS POSTED ON JUNE 26TH:

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WATCH VIDEO HERE: If you want to share it on facebook, embed it on your wall from this link http://bcove.me/7dhhovir

Updated 27th June 2012

The park is almost all chopped into small pieces now, no more ramps as of today, not a tranny in site – well, other than Paul and Rory of course :) The main bulk of work right now is loading the broken pieces of wood into vans to clear the area.

The toilet was being knocked out as I got there as you can see in this video clip below, but aside from the huge space that is now evident, the main surprise was finding old graffiti that would have been sprayed on the walls 17 years ago. I wonder if any of the graf artists have gone on to do wonderful things?

Anyway, it’s looking likely that the next update we bring you will reveal an empty skate park. Crazy to think that this has moved so quickly in just 6 days.

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Updated 3rd July 2012

Two lorries arrived today with the first wooden sections that have apparently been pre-built in Amsterdam for use in the park. These look like bowled corners and are currently making their way into the park on fork lift trucks.

Diggers are carving out various trails along the sides of the park where the toilets and seated areas used to be. These are for the new drainage system and cables. New lights are being installed today too, plus the big news is that the hole that the vert ramp used to sit in has been completely filled with earth and concrete.

WATCH VIDEO:

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Updated Friday 6th July

The bowled corners have been stitched together to confirm that a wooden bowl will be the first skate-able structure in the park and it is situated in the area where the midi and vert ramp used to be. The transitions look like it will be a fun bowl to skate sitting about 6ft from first viewing. One piece of the jigsaw has been revealed this week. Hyped?

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Updated Tuesday 17th July

These photos were shot last Tuesday before we flew out of the country for a break, and as you can see, the bowl is coming along nicely. Our friends from Amsterdam arrived to construct the wood work and have now applied its first surface, ready for the coping and final layer to be nailed on this week. More updates on our return but things are moving fast down at the Bay. Any bets on what will be built next?

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NEW VIDEO CLIP HERE.

Update 23rd July 2012

We went away for a week and returned to see all of this action at the Bay today. Pretty swift work huh? The bowl is now full equipt with coping and platforms are pretty much there meaning that the staff will most likely be rolling here this week testing out their newly constructed curves.

The amount of new lighting that has been installed dwarfs the old lamps that were hanging from the ceiling. This will make for amazing sessions in the winter. Think about that for one second. It will also make for much better filming conditions for comps etc.

The biggest addition in the last week comes from the street section. It has suddenly appeared with a new vert wall, Wembley gap, manny pad, hips, ledges and much more. At the very end of the street section where the old bowl complex used to be now has some very plush containers. What will be hosted in these will be announced in good time but these are permanent structures.

CLICK FOR NEW VIDEO: If you want to embed this on your Facebook wall or Twitter, use this link http://bcove.me/a3ell2re

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Update Friday 3rd August

The carpenters have been finishing off the main body of work in the street course over the last week with the ‘spectator gap’ being the stand out design addition that has been built in front of the new cabin window. 6ft Quarter pipes and a driveway have also been installed over the last week forming a sizeable gap over the new entrance to the park which has now moved from the original gates down to the far end towards the bridge.

A new square set of ledges have been made this week too, with what looks to be a flowerpot arrangement so expect something spectacular to appear in the middle of this. I’m calling it the Fairfield ledges for now.

Coping has now been added to the mammoth hubba making it look incredible and the rail in now up and running. The bowl has had more tweaks and looks smooth as a peach and a fresh lick of black and white paint to the metal fences and walls have started to make the place feel clean and new. Work on the beginners area where the old mini ramp used to be is also well underway. Work on the floor starts this week too, so expect more of that from next week’s update.

NEW VIDEO: Embed on facebook with http://bcove.me/hd1qbb3y

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Monday 20th August

Over the last two weeks, Sergio, Mike and Ralph have been working hard on laying the new floor so you get a smooth ride. The new street course flooring is almost done, leaving the beginnners area by the new bowl. The bowl is now 100% finished and looks so good now that it’s actually now pretty heartbreaking to stand on the platforms knowing it’s not open. Salivate on the photo’s below and see why. The best news is that finally, for the first time ever, the wind and rain will be given a barrier. There are sheets of plastic now hanging from the motorway so that the bowl doesn’t get wet. Dry sessions all year round are here on the bowl. Amazing winter sessions incoming.

There’s a new walkway above the new entry point to the park. You will now walk through the turnstiles at the back of the park to get in, then turn right into the street course. The walkway above your head as you walk in was installed last week for your safety. The view from the window inside the spectator box will have wire across it to stop decks shattering the glass from the spectator gap. The wings from the gap have been fortified this week with steel rods and now have a transition below them meaning you can now fly out of it onto the flat bank to the left.

There’s a new rail and bank combo set up now so you can get more speed on the road side of the park and a new ledge too. This side of the park is built for flatground and has plenty of space there for you to push, grind the ledges and set up for more ahead. The other side of the park (train line side) is laid out for more technical skating but at a higher speed.

We saw the hydraulic ledge in action this week. You will be surprised how high it gets! It will be managed in the cabin when it opens so that it’s not played with by kids.

Speaking to Croyde who designed the park on Friday, the original design had an 11 metre full pipe drawn up to sit where the old cabin and mini ramp used to be situated. Imagine if that had been signed off! The park is very close to being completed, so expect an announcement of a soft launch to skate it this week.

Photos by Guy Longbottom.

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Video update 5th September

Have a look at where the park is at from our filming session last week. Croyde Mirandon explained to us why the bowl was so fast alongside a bunch of other angles from the ongoing work at what will be London’s most sought after skate park to ride once the doors are open this month.

Update 10th September

The brand new Bay Sixty 6 Skatepark is opening this Saturday with what looks to be a memorable event that will see the Nike SB team in attendance to open her with a bang.

Justin Brock, Wieger Van Wageningen, Theotis Beasley, Sean Malto, Fernando Bramsmark, Korahn Gayle, Neil Smith, Chris Jones, Jak Pietryga, Joey Pressey, Daniel Kinloch are all confirmed for this Saturday’s opening event.

Kyron Davis who learnt to skate at BaySixty6 after school is now on Nike SB. Check out Wieger Van Wageningen in this clip filmed last week at the park and look forward to this weekend.

Opening times:

Mon: 12.00pm-4.00pm – 4.00pm-9.00pm
Tue 12.00pm-4.00pm – 4.00pm-6.00pm – 5.00pm-10.00pm (BMX only)
Wed 12.00pm-4.00pm – 4.00pm-10.00pm
Thu 12.00pm-4.00pm – 4.00pm-9.00pm
Fri 12.00pm-4.00pm – 4.00pm-9.00pm
Sat 10.00am-12.00pm (beginners only) – 12.00pm-4.00pm – 5.00pm-9.00pm
Sun 10.00am-12.00pm (beginners only) – 12.00pm-4.00pm – 5.00pm-9.00pm (BMX welcome)

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Bay 66 to close next Friday for redevelopment from Nike

Bay Sixty Skatepark tops the news for a second week running. Why? Well, after much planning and secrecy round these parts, the skatepark has scored a 2 year lease after fighting the system for the last couple of years and have allowed Nike to come in and redevelop the place over the next 8 weeks. So the Go Skateboarding Day jam next Thursday will officially be the last before it is completely bulldozed and rebuilt over the summer with a state of the art refit.

The plans for what they have in mind down here are pretty mindblowing but these will be rolled out soon. In the meantime get hyped on a FREE day of skating with their team riders skating the final session with others from 6.45pm. Details here.

Don’t be fooled though into thinking that the skatepark is safe forever just because a brand has announced its involvement in developing the park. Bay 66 still needs your support and needs it right now. The park needs to have a long term future and not just 2 years, so please sign the petition that is online here and do your bit. It takes 3 minutes of your life. Even if you are viewing this from another part of the country or outside of the country, London’s skateboarders need your help.

Watch the 2010 Xmas Jam to reminisce some of the good times we have had at the park next door to Crossfire and look forward to what is to come in the future.