Four One Four Skateparks interview

Four One Four Skateparks are based in Corby and connected to Adrenaline Alley, a park we have visited many times over the last few year’s whether it’s been for a general bowl shred with the crew or for various comps including the British Champs that dropped there for the last 2 years. The Alley itself has always been upgraded since it opened courtesy of the designers and builders of Four One Four, a collective of grafters who skate and ride BMX who have one thing on their minds every morning when their eyes open and that is to build stuff for us to skate.

This month, the park unleashed a new ‘Skate Only‘ room to the public that has had some serious care and attention uniquely crafted by Trevor Johnson and Rew Cooke so we decided to get the lowdown from Trevor first hand on how this all came together and also drop the first ever video edit from this spot so you can see how much fun this new room is to shred…

So how long have Four One Four been building and where are you based?

Four One Four has been making ramps from around 2003, organising comps and demos since 2001. We just moved from Norfolk into a new workshop which is in Corby, so we are a bit more central… (Big thanks to Adrenaline Alley for that hook up).

How did it all start?

Well 2003 is the official year but Shaun Scarfe was making stuff way before that, I think he made some wondrous folding ramp trailer that towed behind a car in 1983 and just kept making stuff after that. Shaun and Zach Shaw used those ramps for doing demos and circus, way back in the day and that’s pretty much where Four One Four came from. It’s expanded a bit now with Shaun taking on skaters and riders for more input and a better company feel.

Who is on board building/designing?

There’s Rew Cooke, Shaun and myself right now, then on the bigger stuff or contest builds we always get the ‘A Team’ together to build the best park possible! We try to get good build guys from all over Europe so the input is massive. Shaun does all the drawing work and CAD etc but it’s a real team effort when it comes to designing the ramps and park layouts, It’s nice to get all opinions in so we can make stuff good!

Does everyone skate who is involved or do you have BMXers etc involved too?

Shaun is a BMXican so he knows all about what they need which leaves me and Rew to get all the important bits right!

So, you guys build ramps for parks and events but also hire out ramps too yeah?

Yep, everything is portable. It’s possible to move whole parks around if you do it right. We have a sick new portable mini ramp this year and we do a lot of work alongside King Ramps who have got their Vert and other stuff. It works out really well working with those guys, it means we have most things covered.

With more events coming up annually how do you see the solution to the skate street course vs BMX course debate that always seems to arise in the UK scene, what makes the perfect integration of both at these big events other than large sums of cash and more room for both?

It’s harder than you might think trying to build the best of both worlds, especially when your on a budget and have time and space constraints etc! BMXers want to go big on quarters and jump boxes and skaters want banks and ledges. This year’s NASS course is definitely leaning a bit more toward the tech skate side of things, but we still got have the big stuff for the bikes which on an overview always appears to over shadow the course, So we have a few secret ideas for this year. In an ideal world we would have big budgets, loads of time and just build separate courses, for now you need the skills to skate it all and try mix it up as much as possible!

Corby has emerged as a fantastic indoor park for the country over the years, were you guys behind the build of that monstrous vert ramp?

Yep that’s our handy work!

How long does it take to build such a beast?

That ramp too around 6 weeks from scratch with mostly 3 of us working. The Resi took a portion of that, but generally it’s all in the planning, you can build stuff very fast if you have it planned & prepped to do so. The Mount Hawke vert ramp took just under 3 weeks to build it, and something like NASS course we get just 3 days. So anything is possible.

Is the resin surface for learning tricks on that ramp the only of its kind in the UK?

Definitely it was the first and only one of it’s kind in Europe! It was a pleasure to build the Resi stuff after years of guys asking for it, the standard of vert skating and BMX in the UK is definitely better for it.

What success stories from our UK vert crew have come from learning on that set up?

Yeah, young Beckett plucked the FIRST EVER 720′ performed by an Englishman out of the sky in there last year, that was a treat to witness!!

The brand new, skate only room in Adrenaline Alley looks really fun to skate, did you set out from the start to build each obstacle with a different theme or did the artistic license come naturally after the park was built?

Well, I really wanted to do something different in the new room seeings as Corby has been my local indoor park since the fall of Y2SK8 in Peterborough (R.I.P). I think we all decided we wanted to make a ‘manual magnet’ and paint it up and make a grass gap with some real brick, so after those we started getting a bit arty with all the other bits.

How long has it all taken to complete?

Ahhhh, too long…. we ‘all’ put in some hours for the love in this park. We just wanted to see some good ideas come to life, with a theme.

Not too many indoor parks out there to date with granite ledges and brickwork, let alone pool coping and grass banks to boot, in terms of financing a project like this, are these fun additions much more expensive than your typical wooden skatepark with coping?

Yeah they are more expensive. I mean steel coping and wood is quick, it’s practical and it works, the hours involved with pool coping and tiles, or hand painting some graphic on the ramps is 5 to 10 times that, so that’s why these things need a bit of love.

You even managed to get some bling in there with a gold rail?!

It’s kinda cool, we all got our own little stamp on the obstacles in there. The gold rail was one of Shaun’s additions…

We love the Powell Ripper, was that hand painted?

Yeah Rew went to town on that thing, he’s a tattooist so he’s a pretty good drawer to say the least! I wanted to put some steps to go round there originally then we ended up making it into a ‘Death Hole’. It took him like 3 days to draw up and paint it all. It’s freaky, it watches you when you walk past!

What’s the deal with the temperature for putting in pool coping?

That was the only reason it’s taken a bit longer to get it all finished in there because it’s been so cold these last few of months we had to wait until it was warmer than 5’C to cure. Not an ideal job in the winter

What parks will you guys be building in the future for us to look forward to?

Well there are plenty on the cards, it’s a long process for most parks to come to fruition and some never do. But look out for parks in Wales, Ireland, Southampton, Basingstoke, also some bits in Scotland, then there’s HUB & NASS contests plus more updates on Corby and Skegness.

Crossfire regulars will be able to identify you from your Scooby Doo outfit at the last Halloween Massacre, do you practice your mini ramp skills in full attire before you turn up to those jams?!

Yeah there’s quite a strict training regime involved! Scooby Doo suit, 20 Bonios a day and a few hurdles round the Crufts circuit!

And finally how do explain playing with grown men with big balls in a caravan with the lights out?

Hahaha! What goes on in the caravan stays in the caravan!! What Caravan??

Any shout outs?

Big thanks to Adrenaline Alley, Rew Cooke, Shaun Scarfe, Mandy Young, Eggs, Kieran Tracey and Will Wood at Empire, King Ramps, Matt Clarke, Ant Smith, Ryan Cotton, Zach Shaw and the Portugays!!

Find Four One Four over at their Facebook page for updates. Enjoy this edit thanks to Callun Loomes and Matt Clarke at Get Lesta featuring Joe Marks, Rew Cooke, Mark Simons, Ant Smith and Dan Leech.