House of Vans London launch night

Ph: Churchill takes a first bite at his newly designed bowl by Gorm

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It’s taken over a year of hard work to get the new House of Vans venue to become a reality in London’s Waterloo district and it opened with a bang! With various legendary Vans riders in attendence from Wainwright, Alva, Hosoi, Cardiel, Rowley, Caples, AVE and a killer music bill in place, the two bars packed with people served up cocktails and beers fueling an excellent party for 850 invited guests.

Savages, Toddla T and Roots Manuva warmed up one of the loudest Dinosaur Jr shows ever witnessed that was followed by a party packed set from Public Enemy who got the place absolutely rocking! Deafened ears are still being discussed as we write this.

The huge 30,000sqft space consisting of five tunnels that host a gallery area, cafe, bars, office space for upcoming designers and artists, music venue, concrete bowl, mini ramp and street area is a stunning layout and now finally open for everyone to get creative in.

This month there’s also a DIY culture exhibition in the gallery titled ‘Scissors & Glue’, curated by our good friend Gorm who shared these photos below from the night. He is joined by Ben Drury, Trevor Jackson and Louise Grey covering a brief history of the good ol’ Zine and the launch of the very first Vans ‘Zine guest edited by Jeremy Leslie. Go scout it out and make one yourself as that’s how this place started. You can also enjoy French and Gorm’s zine on HOV here.

Well done to all involved to make this happen. Central London has not had an indoor skatepark since the days of Ewer Street in London Bridge back in the early 90s. The fact that this has been put together by a brand with the longest support in skateboarding history just makes it even better.

Believe the hype and most importantly, go online to book your free skate sessions now.

Photos by Gorm

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Photos by Zac

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Southbank Centre respond to questions

Photo: Fos by Dom Marley.

The Southbank Centre have answered questions submitted from the many users wondering what exactly will happen when the redevelopment of the Undercroft takes place in the future. The relocation plan is to move skateboarders (bmx’ers, graffiti people, hangers-on, jugglers etc) under the Hungerford Railway Bridge and to retain and enhance the Southbank Centre as the iconic home for urban arts in an even more diverse cultural setting.

There’s a huge amount of information that should be read today from the document that has been released. The answers bring up some interesting responses. Here’s a few that stood out:

CLOSURE: Firstly they expect to have to close the Festival Wing site from autumn 2014 to spring 2017.

CURRENT LOCATION: They have confirmed that the current and legendary skate spot is the most profitable area due to footfall and the main reason they would like to relocate skateboarders is that “Its prominent location makes it the place that most people will first experience the Festival Wing” and that this location is the “most commercially valuable space, the income from which will support commercial loans to pay for the capital cost of the refurbishment.” It’s somehow fitting that timed with the death of Margeret Thatcher only yesterday that privatisation of space reigns over the public use of space. Social viability is once again undercut for economic gain.

RELOCATION: They have “identified the Undercoft under Hungerford Railway Bridge as a possible new location”. There is certainly no alternative location mentioned at all. There are certainly no plans to keep the current area open for skateboarders in 2017.

RELOCATION SIZE: “The Hungerford Bridge Undercroft is roughly similar in area to the current QEH undercroft at 1,000 m2.” The question here is that the original space before it was taken away and boarded up was at least double this size.

HERITAGE CENTER: The history of the Undercroft will be showcased in the new building. “So as part of the co-commissioning process we would like to discuss with the Undercroft users how they would like to tell their story and what special events they would like to hold in the heritage centre to celebrate their continuing contribution to the
Southbank Centre.” This will be a nice touch.

REPORT: There’s too much information to post here but you can download the full PDF report from this question and answer session here and still have your say at www.southbankundercroft.com

The Southbank Centre have called meetings inviting various people to discuss the future of SB but unfortunately they have not issued these with enough notice so far, (i.e 4 days before the Tuesday of a bank holiday) so we are unable to bring you inside knowledge just yet and have still not met the people involved sadly. Hopefully there will be more sessions with decent notice so we can be more involved moving forwards, especially when it comes to events and structure of the new build.
Various Southbank reunions have come on our radar recently too and are currently being arranged on Facebook, so look out for invites.

Remind yourself of some of the historical skate sessions with Tony Luckhurst, Matt Dawson, Jason Maldini, Curtis McCann, Reuben Goodyear, Ben Wheeler and a few other South Bank locals from this footage filmed from 1991.

New Cirencester Skatepark incoming

Skaters around the edges of the Cotswolds area of Great Britain will be delivered a brand new 890 sq metre plaza this summer. Kingshill Sports Ground in Cirencester has been awarded the facility after securing a grant from the Sport England Inspired Fund. We spoke to park designer Marc Churchill from 1Skateparks last night to give us an insight into how this all came together:

“We’re really stoked to be starting work on the Cirencester project. It’s been a long time coming, we’ve been working with the Cirencester Council and Decimal Skate shop really closely tweaking back and forth the design until it was exactly what everyone wanted.

There were in total 3 consultations and 5 revisions with Gaz and the crew at Decimal, but those guys knew what they wanted – a rad Plaza! Work begins really soon so it should be ready for shredding by the summer.”

For updates and info check out the Decimal and 1skateparks Facebook pages.

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The Level build update with photos from Brighton

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The good folk at Freestyle Skateparks are up to their knees in mud (and snow) this week whilst the concrete is pouring on the all-new Level park in Brighton. No transitions have been sprayed yet so it’s still very much a building site, but here are some images for you to have a look over including the latest update of the visual with the central ‘spine’ of the bowl rolled over and a 30ft half pipe.

I think that you will agree that she is looking mighty fine.

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Exposed: David ‘Styley’ Steel

styley crailtap pic si trueLondon’s skateboard scene is vast but also has many hotspots that are far from being under rocks. If you look West to the likes of Harrow, you will find a multitude of talent on display and some wonderful characters behind the action there too.

This suburban area and London Borough is the home of Death Skateboards, the hosts of the original H-Boyz and the birthplace of many skate industry players that grew up carving the bollocks of one of London’s most historic skateparks. To this very day Harrow comes rich in history and has also spawned one of our favourite sons in David ‘Styley’ Steel.

It’s been seven years since we have featured Styley’s photography. In that time, he moved to Japan and then returned to work with Form Distribution, the dudes who bring the UK Girl and Chocolate Skateboards. As the year turned, David and his missus flew back to Yokohama-shi in Japan for another spell out there so we decided to Expose what’s been in his lens over the years and discuss the tales behind ten of his favourite photos. His work is beautiful, his face is probably smiling as he reads this very text and it’s a pleasure to know such a great fella. With that in mind enjoy his top ten.

Left: Styley crailtap’s some rough ‘crete. Photo by Si True.

Nick Zorlac, FS wallride grab off. Southbank, London.

Unsocial hours are always a part of photographing skateboarding. This was no exception. Nick Zorlac gave me a call with a mission to get a shot on the old section of South Bank. It had a massive wooden builders wall around it as they were demolishing it so the only way to get a shot on it was about one in the morning. Once in though we were able to use the builders wood to create a bridge over a massive hole they had dug which lay in Nick’s line and I found a massive ladder to climb up to get the shot.

Nick Zorlac, FS wallride grab off. Southbank.

John Tanner, Switch tweaked ollie to fakie, Sardinia.

Trips are always the advantage of working for a magazine. This spot was sick even though surrounded by used needles. No one really had anything for it though but just as we were about to leave John started playing about with switch ollies. The trip was amazing, just hanging out and skating sick spots with good friends and to come away with this shot made lying on syringe infested pavements worth it.

John Tanner, Switch tweaked ollie to fakie, Sardinia.

Junichi Arahata, Switch BS Tailslide, Tokyo. Japan.

When I first moved to Japan I didn’t really know anyone but word got around that a foreigner (me!) was in town that took photos. Koji who owned Lesque Skateboards called me up and asked me to come take some shots with them. So the next day I turn up at his house. He greeted me then advised me to lay on the sofa to get some sleep. It was only 6pm. He told me that we’d be skating through the night as there was less security. He was right and we hit a tonne of spots. This was shot at about 4am just as dawn was breaking and the cops were waking up. One even turned up to bust us just as we were packing up! Five hours later I was in my school teaching English to kids with the worst red eye ever.

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Horsey. Wallie Japan Grab, London.

So, posting this on my instagram is how Zac invited me to be a part of this article. I do remember we went to this spot to shoot a different trick with a different skater but Horsey started playing around with this wallie grab. I usually have an idea of how I want to shoot a shot but I always get more and more stoked the closer I get and start twisting to the camera to come up with a sick angle. The fish eye then changes it into something else that I hadn’t thought of.

Kevin McKeon. Bs Crail slide, Harrow, London.

FILM SUCKS! Seriously, digital made taking photos so much easier and enjoyable. Here is Kevin probably doing this trick for the 20th time. Not because he was bailing, no he was sticking every try- but due to my paranoia that I hadn’t got the shot as I was shooting on shitty film and couldn’t check it. I shot a whole roll of this (that’s 36 shots to those who don’t know what a roll of film is!) and most of them were useable with pretty much identical shots on each. Sorry Kev for making you do it repeatedly.

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John Lindsay, thread the needle to Mayday, Yokohama, Japan.

One of my favourite things of being a photographer is just stoking friends who would not normally get a photo taken. John skated sick and he knew of this crazy spot with these blue bars around it with gaps that were just about wide enough to get through. I showed him a couple of shots of the angle I liked thanks to digital, and this just really motivated him to get the trick in the bag.

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Lee. Wallie, Barcelona.

Lee just happened to be staying in the same shit hostel as us and came and tagged along with us one day. He knew of this spot pictured that he had found once during a massive skate through the city suburbs so to find it we literally had to follow his previous routes footsteps. This was back in the day when I didn’t have a roller camera bag so pushing through the streets with a 50lb bag on a hot evening was killer, but to end it with this wallie was worth it. If you’re starting photography now, invest in a roller bag and save your back!

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Zarosh, fs noseblunt slide, Shirahata. Japan.

I grew up reading Transworld and R.A.D mags during the late 80’s to 90’s getting brainwashed by how skateboard photos should look. One rule always seemed to apply- green wheels really close to the fish eye. Stoked on the opportunity to keep the tradition going. Thanks Zarosh.

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Santa Cates, fs grind, Harrow pool.

Dan is always full of ideas and somehow I got roped into this one! We headed to the park at about 11pm and started to paint through the night. We had to allow the paint to dry before skating it. So during the day Horsey and Steak kept an eye on it so no one entered the pool. Then that night I met back up with Dan to shoot the long-boarded fs grind. Once shot, Dan insisted on then painting over the snowman bits in white so that no one could shoot the same shot. This was the most amount of work for a photo I’ve ever done but definitely one of my favourites and I’ll never get over the buzz of seeing my photos as covers up in the magazine racks in skate shops.

Vivien Feil, BS 180 over fence, Japan.

Vivien came and visited Japan a few times just as he was setting up Magenta Skateboards. In between discussions of why the French are the superior race and explaining why spending his life savings at the arcade playing Street Fighter he would bust out the sickest tricks with the best style. If you look carefully in the bottom right corner of the photo you can see mount Fuji’s silhouette.

If you liked this, follow your nose to Rich West‘s Exposed feature.