Monday, 23 December 2013

Empire Skatepark Christmas Party

And as the rain falls and the winds whip leaves into soggy piles hiding many an uneven paving slab, it's nearly Christmas and so in the season of giving, I gift you with a selection of shots taken at Empire Skatepark's Christmas Party on Saturday.
This the last public event of 2013 was very well attended by a great number of loyal local customers of the park and friends from the big smoke surprising me on their arrival, as well as the usual traveling support. It was very pleasing to see all users getting along and skating/riding/scooting together.
I will at this point add that this blog is not generally a platform for scooter photos. I have not used any in this post. Please go to the Empire Skatepark Facebook page where you can see all the photos taken.

The proceedings comprised of a constant session on a rammed mini ramp which I joined for a short while late in the evening and the initially mellow park session ended up as a comp on the new flat bank extension with the usual fabric rewards. 
After a short break for MC (Harry), the presents were staked on the driveway and a high jump comp was attempted. Boxes everywhere! 
I'm never sure who wins what during these events, so very well done to all you winners!
Music was provided by Luke and co on the decks and a short set by what I can only describe as a folk duo. To be honest, I wasn't really listening. I did note that there appeared to be an accompanying hoolahooping session going off in front of the stage during the music. Blackwell made his feelings about this quite clear.

On leaving the park around midnight, I said goodbye to numerous fiends and whilst standing chatting to Cerven, I was hit in the shins by a wayward board and when I looked below my socks, I found a small truck axle sized hole approximately 10mm deep in my right shin. These things come with the territory and I hold nothing against the poor apologetic fella who's board I stained. Just another scar for the record.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Empire Skatepark Christmas Poster Photo Shoot With Elliott Simmons

I'm always pleased to be asked to take a photograph, whether it be a mug shot, group or skate photo it's just nice to think someone wants you to take their photo. I'm also happy to help my local indoor park in any way I can, so win - win.
I'd heard they wanted a photo for their Christmas party poster and that they had something in mind and when I got to the park for skate only night on Wednesday, I noticed a message on my phone from Harry asking if I was coming down and would I shoot a pic.
As you'll see in the pictures below, the boys had decorated the entire park in Christmas attire including a giant Christmas tree over the door gap. I'd worked out pretty much what they were after walking into the back room to find a pair of wings, a tinsel halo and a wand.
It was Elliot Simmons taking one for the team on this occasion with a f/s blunt slide to top the tree.

Support skater owned and get yourself down to Empire for the Christmas Party.
You can see Empire's video Countdown to Christmas on their Facebook page

Monday, 9 December 2013

Return to Zombieland

Zombieland started life as a small park in a warehouse in Romford/Harold Hill. It's still a small park in a warehouse in Romford/Harold Hill, but with a cash injection earlier this year, both the bowl and the shop have received a facelift.
The park comprises of a small wooden bowl with a vert corner extension with Red Stripe beer can coping at one end, a flatbank extension with a quarter pipe onto the platform at the other, a mellow hip next to the vert pocket and most of the bowl is furnished with custom poured concrete coping. On refurbishment, the bowl was shortened a little so a very small, 2 foot high micro mini has been slotted in between the park entrance and the bowl. Personally, I don't get on with this very very mellow micro, but the kids seem to love learning stuff on it and the bowl works much better now.
With Harley Miller and Aaron Clapham in on the deal, we met at Krazy Horse Custom Motorcycles in Bury St. Edmunds for breakfast. They do a mean English breakfast at the cafe on a mezzanine overlooking a very spacious showroom and workshop filled with various choppers and custom machines. Another draw is the well stocked Dickies clothing rails with the new Anti Hero x Dickies range in stock. The bird design with the eagle replaced with a pigeon is a personal favourite.
The shop and cafe staff were hanging heavily due to the work Christmas do the night before so breakfast was a little slow to arrive, and George got it in the neck for serving me burnt toast! Poorly people. After chatting with various staff, we left for Romford.
I have made an observation. Over the last few car journeys to spots it has become apparent that the subject matter of conversations on such trips is usually quite dark especially with a certain couple of individuals present. This trip however, little time was spent on the usual themes. This leads me to the conclusion that the older you get, the worse it gets! Age does not dictate social maturity. It's overrated anyways!

Before we hit Zombieland, we took a trip over to the new concrete skatepark under construction in Harold Hill Central Park. The park was muddy, the fences were high and there were men at work, so we looked from afar. It looks like a fun park with a multi level pool style bowl. 
Harley - bean plant

Harley - f/s tail jam grab
Back in the car and off to Zombieland in high spirits.
Rolling around it became evident that the concrete coping is experiencing some issues in places. The beer can coping is holding up well and got a good beating from Harley but a small uneven join in the pocket corner took a bite out of yours truly early in the session! 
It became a fairly mellow and playful session once we'd all had enough of trying to make the 'crete grind and things started to evolve into lip tricks on the small section of metal coping and hip tricks for me & Ron and a bean plant, smith grinds and such on the vert extension and a tail jam frontside air on the wall above the Red Stripes. With these monsters in the bag I thought my camera was bound for its case. But no, Harley had a little more.

Harley - wall ride b/s disaster revert
Wall ride b/s Disaster Revert to be exact, boosting way out above the platform.
I took this from the doorway into the park, over the micro mini. With 3 flashes placed closer to Harley than I was, I managed to shoot in a style I've wanted to replicate for ages. Looking in on a lit scene, not shooting from within the lit area. I managed a similar thing in Euston last week in the dark, but the focus on this is better. I like it.
And so, after a good session with Jay we said our fair-wells and loaded the car. I hope Jay found the deck Aaron left against the wall. Your collection is getting serious now Jay man!

Support your local, and not so local. Go skate Zombieland. 

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

London - Euston and Russell Square with Milk Skateboards

This post is brought to you with the assistance of an assortment of various cold remedies and Cough Mixtures. Winter has his hands firmly agrip.

Yet after the apologetic warning of a possible abundance of indoor shots in my last post, this latest collection of shots were taken in London on Sunday, and they were all taken outside.
Saturday was spent frantically trying to lift the cough from my chest so as to be fit for Sunday's mission and at around 10pm on Saturday, I wasn't hopeful. I hit the sack around midnight after a prolonged fit of coughing.
The morning gave me hope. This was the first time in over a week that I hadn't woken myself coughing profusely.
By 1pm I was in the Milk wagon along with Dan, Fuller and Jasper (yep, Mr. Pegg was in attendance).
It quickly becomes apparent to all who travel on these skate missions in this particular vehicle that the conversation subject matter is not of the highest intellectual level, and often spirals into long periods of regularly sickening, fantastically debouched and unrepeatable material concerning each other, pedestrians outside the car, fellow drivers alike, with no discrimination. By this I mean we are horribly judgemental to all inside and outside the vehicle. Jasper, who has not travelled with us for some time, appeared to find all of this a little disturbing. Sorry mate, great to see you!
On passing Highbury (Arsenal FC's old ground) the traffic ground to a halt and after a slow, steady crawl for a number of miles (and a close call between Fuller and the driver of a police lorry full of horses which I won't go into any further) we found a fluke of a parking spot 5 minutes from the agreed meeting place.
Sam, Radman, Charlie, Luke, Harley and Nathen were already at the spot when we arrived. Radman was filming Sam & Harley.
I am unreliably informed that Euston is the sixth busiest train station in London. We found this statement to be pretty precise. The streets were awash with wheelie suit case dragging lost souls.
I recognised the spot from an old Death Skateboards video in which Horsey tail drops the sign into a tiny bank in front of a bunch of yoofs and slams straight to his face. 
The spot has been skate stopped at the top of the marble bank, but Harley, Sam and Charlie proved quite adequately that stops won't stop us. Even the two Metropolitan coppers who were presumably scrambled from the train station were more worried about how an ambulance was going to get to us 'when you hurt yourselves' than stopping us from skating. They stopped and watch from a sensible position for some time, which was novel.
As I set up my lights, I watched the crew trying things and worked out a position to shoot from for Sam's trick.
As I sat myself on the corner of the road, leaning against a traffic light post with streams of people passing and crossing in front of me, I thought for a moment that I had chosen the worst position possible, but then a gap in the crowds and a well timed run from Sam made a pretty cool shot.
In all honesty, I should have got Sam to repeat it as the initial photo, which looked mint on the camera screen but doesn't look as hot focus wise now I've seen it on a bigger screen. I learn quickly from my mistakes and I hope I won't be so hasty in the future. Sorry Sam.

Sam Hayter - b/s kickflip

Harley eventually rolled away from a crazy b/s crook sess-slide down the bank to fakie after numerous attempts and we moved on. The look of surprise on his face as he rolled away was a classic. This was shot for video not stills so no photos.
During our skate to the next spot, Fuller and I found ourselves lagging behind and lost the group for a while. but with Google Maps action and a very helpful passerby who told me where everyone was without me even asking him we were reunited with the crew. Thanks blue kagool man!
It was now getting quite dark and as we arrived we could see Charlie trying a flip manual pad combo dropping down five feet into the street. Jasper had somehow lost his kingpin nut and top cap on the skate over, so with little hope of finding them Jasper, Fuller and Nate left to retrace their route. After a few attempts, Charlie also got a switch flip manual on tape.
The three searching for the missing parts meanwhile, returned with both bits in hand. Nate noticed them just as they were giving up. After a skate tool was located we left for a bank spot at SOAS, University of London just off Russell Square. 
I discovered on my again late arrival (my bag is quite heavy with camera and all the lights etc. I'm sticking to that one for a bit!), I was met by a beautiful 60's (??) concrete structure which deserved some special treatment in the dark!
This spot turned into a great session with some bangers going down from Sam, Charlie, Jasper and Harley.

Charlie Munro - b/s tail slide
Jasper Pegg - f/s 5-0
Harley Miller - no comply f/s 5-0
This spot became a bust after about an hour of spanking boards onto a "fragile roof" when bailing, which didn't seem unreasonable and we headed off to a spot we noticed on the drive in. 
Smooth granite blocks and banks with great potential nestled in a Santander bank building complex. Just as Sam was getting a line with a nollie tre and a wally into the road we were ejected politely. 

End of Mission....