Smoking Coping – the making of the Sk8 80’s book

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The 1980s skate scene in the UK was a blast, fueled by countless comps, parties and shredding going down weekly all over the country. These raucous gatherings formed lifelong friendships and pushed skateboarding forwards from each session, all leaving a trail of destruction, smeared graphics on the coping, and many memories in their wake that paved the way for what we have today.

The influx of American riders throughout those times played a big influence in how quickly the scene progressed, which has been covered extensively in the new Sk8 80’s book just released. It’s been a long time coming but Trawler and Paul Duffy, the duo behind the 212 page coffee table must-have, have delved into the archives to bring us what makes up this rad new book looking back on the entire era with unseen photos and plenty of stories from their travels. It would have been rude of us not to find out how it all came together and who made the cut, so we asked Mark ‘Trawler’ Lawer to fill us in.

Easy Trawler, it looks like you’ve been busy mate, care to tell us about how this book came to fruition?

Well it was an idea we had back in 2005, but we sat on it for another ten years while the photos matured. Between 1987 to 1991 I worked with Paul Duffy on articles for Skateboard! Magazine, (the exclamation mark in the title is important!) together we covered mainly Southern England and sometimes further afield, driving everywhere together in my Vauxhall Nova to cover mad weekends at contests and doing interviews and scene reports for the mag.

How did you and Paul meet originally?

Paul came to Plymouth to study photography at our art college. We’d met a few times earlier when I’d visited Liverpool and Warrington to skate but he was a bit of a fish out of water at first in Plymouth, a scally in a strange town. So I helped him out and we became good friends and travel companions. I reckoned I could write for a publication if asked and the magazine was looking for skate correspondents at the time. I jumped at the chance and soon we were off on many a wild ride.

Ph: Bod Boyle gets straight legged in a Morfa sesh.

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Tell us about the 1980’s skate scene and your memories of Southsea, as that park was definitely a mecca in that era.

I don’t remember too much, it was a bit like our version of what they say about the sixties. If you remember it, you weren’t there! There was a lot of pot smoking about and most of the skaters I knew were burning through tons of the stuff. The skatehouse in Southsea was owned by Mr Tracy Weller, it was a small terrace in Liss Road and every weekend there would be skaters turning up from all over the UK, and then Europe, and then the world. It was carnage most of the time, stumbling back from the countless drinking sessions in Southsea’s pubs. Some of us went on to Peggy Sues, a sticky dive nightclub on the seafront for more debauchery, then it was usually all back to Liss Road for more drinking and smoking. People lying around in all corners. Parties, skate videos on loop, skaters being sick in the sink and on the dishes, carpet skating, stair diving contests, Butthole Surfers blaring out at 2am, huffing on poppers just for a laugh: “here try this!” Generally we all acted the asshole! Tracy’s neighbours must of hated him. Looking back it surprises me how anybody rode skateboards the next day, especially the Sunday afternoon sessions at the skatepark, they were hard going!

There were a few other hotspots with vert ramps and parks that were just as popular for a roadtrip back then too, right?

Yeah. When we travelled to other places it was just as bad. Morfa in Wales with the big red vert ramp and the other ramps they had before the huge one, was always an epic trip too. Getting drunk in Langland and Mumbles – I barely recollect getting on the helter skelter ride on the seafront late at night and going up and back down about twenty times!

Brighton and the Pig City Level ramp was just as mental, we would always get invited back to someone’s flat for a pow-wow. One time we shared the room with a massive cage and a huge python. I remember some random Brighton skater sat in the pen with it, blowing smoke in the snakes face! Throughout these times we had to try and come away with some rad, non-blurry skate photos and enough memories to write a clean story on the events of the weekend!

Ph: Danny Webster’s crail slides traveled round the world.

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There are quite a few pages of American visitors in the book from that period…

Yeah, we have about 80 pages of American riders in there, mostly anyone who was anyone came through the Southsea park because it was the place to skate back then. They all loved Harrow and Rom too, those parks have that quaint old English feel about them, even more so now. To an American skater, I guess Rom is like a cobbled street or Stonehenge or something!

When we first took Craig Johnson out for a beer in Southsea he had just got off the plane from Texas. We handed him his first English pint and he thought it was a pitcher of beer to share! By the end of the night the six foot four, dreadlocked Texan was slurring and stumbling back to the skatehouse shouting AGUA -AQUA! at the top of his voice, I guess he needed some water to dilute it down! I Interviewed him for the magazine and he was cool and had a lot to say.

I interviewed Rob Mertz too, he was cool but different to most I met back then. Mertz is a straightedge East coast punk with a ‘sober till I die” outlook with X’s drawn on the back of his hands. I had never heard of the straightedge lifestyle before and I was in awe of the guy and his skating was off the hook, he is still amazing now. I also sat down with Allen Losi for an interview, he won the Shut Up and Skate vert contest here and he did the same at the same contest in Houston. He could go for trick filled rides of about 25 walls, a minute and a half of sick skateboarding per ride, so much stamina and so underrated before he got here.

Southsea always reminds me of the late Steve Schneer (RIP) from a comp I went down there to watch once, his stamina was next levs..

He said he surprised himself at how well he skated over here. He was such an entertainer with the Ho-Ho plant and he dropped in a big makeshift plywood extension twenty feet off the ground at that Southsea contest that went down in history. He became legend and folklore that day! Sadly Steve is no longer with us and our book ends with a RIP section to the ‘fallen heroes’ if you like – those skaters who we met and photographed and got to know but are sadly now gone.

Ph: Steve Douglas’ lip tricks were far classier than his choice of football team.

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It must have been a trip going through so much nostalgia, remembering so many stories on the road and discovering old photos…

Yes it was a pleasure for me to do and rekindle my friendship with Duffy over last winter. We went through boxes of slides, hundreds of them. We both shared constant neck ache from holding them up to the light. Some had aged and were damaged, some had caught damp and were irretrievable. Luckily our local photo lab had a process called ICE which cleaned the back spots and mould off the final J-Pegs so we went from super anxious to super stoked when we saw the discs full of our 220 cleaned up shots. When it came to writing the captions I was just honest and matter-of-fact about the skaters on the page, to try to give the reader an insight into what the subject is up to now in their lives. I seem to be in touch with everyone who was a British “Pro” through social media, so that helped a lot. There are some pretty cool people in skateboarding then and now, most of us go on to have great lives with lots of achievement despite being the mad idiots we were back then.

Ph: Scott Stanton brings hench Zorlac plant steez to Southsea’s infamous blue vert.

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How many books did you get printed?

We are on our second print run of the book now this year, the first 330 sold out in two weeks so we have another 20 dozen made for now up until Christmas. A bunch of those are on pre-order and sold now too.

It must be a buzz knowing that people have supported it after all the hard work.

It has been an amazing experience and the feedback we get is very gratifying. People send us photos of themselves reading it and holding it up from all over the world.

Would you do it all again?

Hell yes! We are already planning a follow up book called REBATE! – The black and whites and more. That one should be out by mid 2016 if all goes well.

Sk8-80’s Book is available now whilst stocks last from sk880s.bigcartel.com.

Jeff Hedges – 360 Varial Handplant.

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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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Sidewalk video ‘In Progress’ premiere info announced

We are stoked to hear today that the hard working guys at Sidewalk Magazine have completed their full length video this week and have also announced UK premieres. The video itself will have sections from all of the UK’s upcoming talent including Ben Raemers, Harry Lintell, Conhuir Lynn, Nicky Howells, Barney Page, Tom Harrison and Sean Smith, alongside Mark Baines, Nick Remon, Ben Nordberg, Chris Jones, Denis Lynn and appearances from many, many more.

Get your tickets for these sorted as soon as possible as these first viewings are only 2 weeks away.

Saturday 17th September – CUC, Liverpool. 7pm. Pre-premiere session at New Bird from 4pm. Contact www.lostartshop.co.uk for further info

Thursday 22nd September – Prince Charles, London. 6pm. Limited tickets available from www.slamcity.com soon.

Saturday 1st October – T13 Skatepark, Belfast. Pre-premiere jam TBC – keep an eye on the www.bogginzine.com forum for updates.

There will be many more around the UK, so stay tuned to Sidewalk for details. Share these details on your facebook page from the link above.

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