I remember signing a petition for a new skatepark at the level in Brighton in 2002. Yesterday, 11 years later, I broke into the new concrete playground at Brighton’s Level to take some pictures of the nearly-complete structure. I didn’t have my skates with me but every skateboarder in the place (of course it’s standard practice to break into skateparks before they open!) was completely juiced. Firstly, you can see that the concrete is really good. In places it looks polished and shiny like a sports-hall floor. The park was obviously built with skateboarding in mind over Rollerblading and BMX, which is fair enough, because it’s the skateboarders who have done most of the work in getting it built. There’s a bunch of floor obstacles which are mainly square (it’s yet to be seen how these edges slide on rollerblades). There’s a couple of grind-boxes with round coping but they also have this miniature transition coming off the edges of them (like a tiny quarter pipe… see pictures) so this, I imagine, makes them much less session-able due to the fact that you have to gap the small transition to reach the grind. They still look super fun though. There’s some other fun-looking weird obstacles too (look at the pictures). The mini-ramp looks like undoubtedly the best concrete mini-ramp ever made and joins into a bowl section. The bowl is then split into a couple of parts and genuinely looks incredible. Another rollerblading highlight looks like the two Hubbas ledges (square) with the round rail going down the middle (see first picture). The rail looks very short in the picture, it’s definitely session-able though. The question everyone has been asking is about opening times. My guess is that they will wait until the WHOLE Level park area has been finished (as the whole park is getting a major makeover)… so it could be a few weeks yet before the fences come down. My guess would be some time this side of July if we are lucky. Feast your eyes on this… [Photos: JE]
We can confirm that The LocoSkates BeachJam will take place this year on the 25th of August at Cyclopark in Gravesend. We’ve been really eager to keep BeachJam moving to different locations each in order to avoid the stagnancy of many annual skate contests. BeachJam took place at Southsea skatepark in 2012 and Eastbourne Sovereign skatepark in 2011. Even more exciting BeachJam will take place as part of The ‘Blitz Festival 2013′ taking it back to an event where we have the opportunity to show off rollerblading to the general public and other extreme sports (just like ‘Eastbourne Extreme’ 2011!). (Check out blitzfestival.co.uk). You may not be familiar with Cyclopark, which is a facility in Gravesend, Kent (South East London) designed to cater for Cyclists, runners and ‘Extreme Sports’. The facility happens to have an amazing street plaza style pay-to-get-in concrete skatepark at the centre of it. We’re also super juiced to be holding the event close to the capital. Much more info on this event to follow, in the meantime have a look at the photos and video below that shows the park in detail, thanks to Adz Naz for those…
Skaters have been making alot of noise about Seba skates for probably the last 7 or 8 years now. They are our best selling slalom / freestyle skates with many people buying them as a regular recreational skate simply for their solid feel, their good looks and their awesome build quality. Seba continue to grow as a brand with the release of their extensive 2013 range of skates arriving at the shop recently. Anyone who wants a solid pair of skates with a maneuverable, short wheelbase should certainly take Seba into consideration. The new range sees improvements to the spec of individual models with new liners, improved buckles, new frames and the new Street Invaders wheels included on the Seba FR1, Seba FR2. Seba FRX and Seba High. We also see a new version of the Seba GTX 84 which is arguably the best looking of the bunch with it’s new hockey style fabric outer. The new quick pully lacing system works a treat and also adds to the sleek look of the skate. The 84mm wheels are such a perfect medium between the stability and maneuverability of an 80 and the speed of a 90. Speaking of which, the Seba GT 90 skates also arrived and they are another great looking model in Seba’s classic, striking black and white. Seba are certainly making waves with the progression of the brand and with their high-profile branch-out into aggressive skates come September  with the release of the Seba CJ Wellsmore skates, the only way is forward! JE
I’m out in the South of France right now filming with Nick Lomax for an upcoming LocoSkates edit. Nick is living and traveling off of contest prize money, entering a contest somewhere in Europe virtually every weekend. Here’s a couple of snaps from our travels… [JE]
Backslide, Square rail, Nice. Photo: Jake Eley
Tree Death. Photo: Jake Eley
I recently received an intriguingly abstract mail-out into my inbox entitled ‘How does it feel to be off the wall?’ The Email was from a certain Jason Greendyk, who, up until this point I knew nothing of. The Email showed a photo of Jason skating the concrete bowl at the ‘House of Vans’ in Brooklyn, NYC accompanied by a paragraph or two of poetic text. The House of Vans is a private skatepark/bowl and gig space which has certainly always been off limits to rollerbladers, so what was this rollerblading vigilante doing there! The Email was mysterious in it’s content so I set about trying to find out some more about possibly the first person ever to ride the notorious skatepark on inline skates. Jason seemed like a free spirited, free thinking type so I was certainly interested to delve a little further… JE
Hey Jason, you sent me an email recently about how you were recently allowed to skate (rollerblade) on the bowl at the House of Vans in New York. Firstly… who are you? A roots New York skater?
My name is Jason Greendyk, also known as Jay G in the blading community. My roots are in the shadow of New York. That is, New Jersey. For most of my life I heard the continuous hum of the Big Apple Symphony from a distance. An observer. Now I dwell in the music, also known as the atheist’s prayer. A branded world.
And for those reading this, why is it unusual that you were able to skate the House of Vans bowl?
The Vans bowl is notoriously a sacred space for the skateboarding community. It is a private set of beautiful concrete waves owned by Vans, a brand that endorses skateboarding. Rollerblading is taboo in the resultant community of boarders. To blade in the Vans bowl is to be a free spirit in a branded world.
How did the whole thing come about? How did you get to be there? Was it an open session or were you invited?
The House of Vans held a series of private events this winter that involved a skate session in their bowl and skatepark, as well as drinks and an open mic. I caught wind through a friend and RSVP’ed to the event. I invited a homie who skateboards as well.
Did you get attitude off the people at the store/bowl?
I showed up with my blades in hand and after my ID was checked by security, I was informed upon signing in that I would be permitted to enter but I could not use my blades in the facility. I proceeded to enter and met up with my skateboarding homie at the bowl, where, I discovered, it would be rather difficult for the check-in staff to notice if I threw down some lines. The rest of the skatepark was out of the question, but the bowl is raised off the ground enough to be mostly out of sight from the front door. It was very crowded with boarders, many of whom I recognized from summer sessions at the Chelsea Piers skatepark in Manhattan. As I bladed the bowl I heard someone say, ‘how’d he get in here?!’ This reflects the general vibe. As I got into the flow, the photographer there took note and came through with the great shots you see here, which he followed through on and sent to me. He recognized an adventurous spirit. Thanks, CharleyQ. I wrapped up and as I departed, one boarder stopped me and told me, though not in an antagonistic way, that I had a lot of balls to blade in that bowl, knowing that everyone was hating on me. He explained that he also hated rollerblading and did not condone what I was doing, but that he gave me props for having balls. I smiled and thanked him and called it a night.
I’d also be particularly interested to know your opinions on the whole skateboard/rollerblade segregation thing. Do you think there is discrimination and why?
I do not think that discrimination or segregation is the appropriate term. I think the exclusive behavior is a branding, image and trend issue. A company like Vans has made a formative marketing decision to endorse skateboarding. They have no obligation to acknowledge rollerblading in their corporate activities. As far as individuals adopting and acting in the public sphere as vessels of a corporate philosophy, it is indicative of a much broader and more significant concern of the psychological underpinnings of corporate culture and the cultural politics of branding in general.
What’s your opinion on companies like Vans (core skateboard brands turned successful / mainstream)?
They are a material and real representation of the philosophical problem of authenticity. Vans, in branding its own authenticity in the style of copy and image of that which resembles in generalization the in-authenticity of capitalist marketing, forces the question: what is authenticity? What is the value of authenticity? A free spirit in a branded world has no price. It is worth nothing unless it chooses to sell itself and sacrifice the open plain. This is, pure and simple, the existential reality of human being in a capitalist lifeworld.
Jason Greendyk is a writer and blader in Brooklyn, New York. You may see more of his work at www.jasongreendyk.com.
Loco-team wise, Dan Collins is the underdog. His name thwarted ‘neath the likes of Richie and Lomax… or maybe you just haven’t got to know him yet. Dan comes with an uncompromisable confidence, bafflingly blasé in the face of deterrents or stop-lights. It’s this kind of, nothings-gonna-stop-me delusion that I think can sometimes make a skater so good. Think the-arrogance-in-Feinbergs-stance as he rolls away from the hammer and you might come closer to understanding what I’m getting at. Dan is certainly one of my favourite skaters to watch. He’s got that low-profile thing going on, reminiscent of a young Oli Short maybe. Like Oli, Dan is from South London and is a street skater. He’s just turned 24. You might have seen some snippets of Dan in our recent ‘Holiday Snaps’ video (see post below this) and he certainly has a ton more street clips saved up for forthcoming video sections. In the meantime, don’t make your own mind up about Dan Collins; read the bloody interview… [Jake]
Some Wizard of Oz s**t. Photo: Jake Eley
You come across as a bit of a rude-boy but then at the same time you are really educated, articulate and pleasant. What's your background?
I grew up in South-West London as a bit of a scallywag. I guess some of the dialect and mannerisms I picked up along my journey have stuck with me. It's just another book/cover cliche I'm afraid, I have certainly never had a problem expressing myself and am happy to chat to anyone and anyone about pretty much anything, it's getting me to shut up that can be the problem!
What's your general approach to skating, how do you think it should look? Do you have a skate-ethic?
Personally i try to find a balance between pushing myself, improving on every aspect of what I do on skates and just enjoying myself, being inspired and appreciating what others are doing around me. One of the best things about what we do is that there are no rules as to how it should look. There are infinite ways any one trick can be performed. These limitless possibilities are what allows fresh and unique styles to emerge and for the things we do to continue evolving. I like any skating that is fresh and progressive.
True Makio, Barcelona docks. Photo: Jake Eley.
What are the best aggressive skates? Go into technical detail about why.
Valo skates, for me they have a much more responsive and connected feel than any other skate. They give you enough flex while still being rock solid on landings and always offer that reassuring thud when you land a drop. The soul kits slide on pretty much anything and there is a lot of room to wear in deep grooves without damaging any of the soul area like on some other skates. All the hardware is super tough and lasts. The newer liners are definitely the most comfortable I have tried and on top of all that the skin/colourway combinations make them by far the best looking skates in my opinion.
I've noticed that you are a bit of a narcoleptic. You will just fall asleep in weird places. Is that just alcohol related or does that happen in your day to day life? Tell us a story about a weird place you've fallen asleep.
Its definitely not just alcohol related! Ever since I was really young I have fallen asleep in strange places, it was normal for me to not sleep for long periods then just fall asleep at random no matter where I was. My parents have told me I would sleep walk sometimes and they would find me in cupboards or on the floor somewhere! I remember sleeping through an entire concert at a packed Wembley stadium once!
Thin roll in, London. Photo: Stig
You strike me as someone who believes they can do anything in skating (even if they maybe can't). How much difference does positive psychology make to your performance?
Positive psychology is essential for good performance. I firmly believe that our only limitation as human beings is our own self belief. The real skill lies in removing all the doubts. In an infinite universe nothing is truly impossible.
There's always people saying superficial, unkind things about other people on skate forums, news websites and comments threads. I noticed that you didn't manage to slip the net when you've featured on one of these websites. Do you read any of that sh*t? If you do, does it irritate you? Do you think there's any constructive criticism to be taken, even from hateful comments? …or is it just arbitrary trolling?
Although everyone is entitled to an opinion I believe certain people intentionally deliver that opinion in a hateful way to try and provoke a reaction or just to project some kind of badass attitude they wish they could adopt in the real world from the safety of their bedroom. I pity these people to be honest and I don't let it irritate me. I think only the people that care about you have opinions that are genuinely worth valuing.
Cab rocket 360 Brighton. Photo: Adam Kola
Your top 3 UK skaters, in order? (…none of this 'I can't decide' nonsense please). Go...
1. Nick Lomax
2. Joe Atkinson
3. Alex Burston.
Top 3 UK skaters of all time? (same applies)
1. Oli Short
2. Fraser Watson
3. Albert Hooi
Top 3 current international skaters?
1. Alex Broskow
2. John Bolino
3. David Sizemore
Top 3 international skaters of all time?
1. Dustin Latimer
2. Aaron Feinberg
3. Chris Haffey
I've seen this Europe vs USA skaters debate floating about on forums. Talk about that...
To be honest I don't know much about it. I tend to stay out of the forums etc. The whole concept of a Europe vs USA debate baffles me. We are all skaters, to me it doesn't matter where in the world your from. We all share a passion for the same thing and the worldwide blading community/industry would definitely be better off without people trying to segregate it.
It was recently speculated on a reliable rollerblading forum that you "persuaded a girl at Rampworx to give you her last £10" so that you could buy a "fake Pandora(?) Bracelet" and that as a result she had no way of getting home. Certainly a specific accusation there. Was this just another day in the life of Dan Collins? Would you care to pass comment?
Hahaha sorry to disappoint but this was not another day in my life, a creative comment from someone with a spectacular amount of wasted imagination seems more likely.
'1 day with Dan Collins' Edit by Tom Sharman.
I was recently out in Barcelona for 10 days but ended up screwing up my knee on the second day. All was not lost, I had my camera with me so it was a perfect excuse to try and film a lifestyle video; something I’ve always wanted to have a go at. I ended up getting enough skate footage (in between Ryan Gillett filming for Cidy Life) to make almost a full skate section, plus Loco riders Joe Atkinson and Dan Collins happened to be in town for a few days while we were there. I’m blessed enough to have a ton of friends who are extremely proficient in video editing (thanks Sim Warren and Ed Inglis for showing me the ropes) so I was able to learn the basic function of Final Cut Pro within an evening. The software is easy to use and I’d encourage anyone to learn. The real challenge is the vision required to produce a sequence of video clips that appears to be relevant for the viewer in some way! I guess this is why dudes like Dom, Sim and Ed are so good at what they do; because they have a vision in their mind about how they would like a video edit to look before they even start (rather than their technical knowledge of the software). Regardless, here’s my attempt at a Holiday/skate vid, Enjoy! (or don’t). Jake Eley.
My favourite part of being in Barcelona is stepping out of the Metro. Regardless of the stop, you almost always arise to find SOME kind of skate spot. God knows why they built the city the way they did. If you’ve never been to Barcelona you are probably sick and tired of hearing people bang on about it. If you have been, you know why. It so easy to get stuck filming skatepark edits in England with the lack of street spots we have, Barcelona is the antidote. There’s something euphoric about skating an obstacle that wasn’t meant to be skated and Ryan Gillett managed to film probably around 5-10 clips a day for the Cidy LIfe video (or edits) while we were just out there. I also managed to bend my knee in a direction it’s not designed to be bent in on the second day so spent most of my time playing around with my camera. Joe Atkinson and Dan Collins managed to meet us out there for a few days so I was able to film with them a little without butting in on too many of Ryans clips. I’ll throw an edit together soon. In the meantime here’s a few shots I took…
Dan Stirling – Back Farv