Trucks and Fins is a huge present to the whole skate community - not just for the skating people, but also for shops, builders and schools. Super easy to use and can't believe how complete it is.
Pascal Lieleg aka Official Bowlshit
Patrick Peeters is a Belgian TV camera operator who discovered skateboarding during a "bad moment" in his life. Skateboarding helped him "clear" his mind and chasing skateparks in Europe has been his passion since then. 107 skateparks, in less than 1 year, is one hell of an effort, so we decided to have a chat and find out more.
Hello, I'm Patrick, I'm 46, I live in Belgium where I work as a television cameraman. As a teenager I skated, but can't remember doing anything special. I just liked cruising around and jumping over some self-build quarters. Then I stopped skating for 30 years, but have been back on a board for the last year and half. So yep, I'm back skating again and love it. In the beginning actually my sister wanted to start with inline skating, so I went along at the local pumptrack with her and that's how it all started.
I love to skate at different parks, just so I can find spots I like. Skating different parks helps me get comfortable on different surfaces, shapes, heights of quarters, and carve in different bowls. I was planning to make a Facebook Page or something similar, to collect my pictures of different parks, to get my own sort of database. And then I discovered Trucks and Fins. I knew this was what I was looking for. I believe there are more people that would love to have information and see quality photos of skateparks, before making the decision to go there or not. And that's why I love to help update the website.
When I drive to a skatepark the first reason is to find a spot to skate. The second reason is to get photos of the park because I am there. I'm lucky to be allowed by my chief to make some detours on my way to work abroad, so I can drive some extra km's to check out parks in France and other places. Along the way I have found some great skateparks. Recently I was on vacation in Tenerife and of course couldn't resist to check out all the local parks and put them on the Trucks and Fins website.
I didn't end up skating all the parks. Due to weather or not having a board I didn't skate every single one of the parks. But from the ones I did skate the worst was Grand Marais Skatepark near Amiens in France. It's a concrete bowl with a nice shape, but because it's old, there are pieces of concrete coming off everywhere. I just left after a couple of minutes. It really wasn't possible to skate there. The best? I can't really pick "a" favourite, so here are my top 3: Du Grand Large in Mons, Strombeek Bever near Brussels, and Sint Niklaas skatepark. They all have a nicely shaped bowl and a street section with different obstacles in an interesting setup and quality quarters.
For me there is no ‘standard rider' because of the different disciplines. It's difficult to build a park that's right for all of them. For street you want lots of flat space and obstacles, for transition skating you want a lot of quarters and half pipes in different heights, and for a bowl you want a good closed bowl to carve around. But I guess Blaarmeersen in Gent, Sint Niklaas and Strombeek Bever are all-round good parks.
What could improve is getting more in contact with the local skate community when building a park. I have visited a lot of big expensive parks with a bad surface, bad quarters, or the trend now to paint bowls...
Recently I met a woman who was skating but wanted to skate more and with other people. She was happy to learn about the 'skating for adults’ lesson I was following each week, and she joined our group. When I was on a little holiday in Vienna, Austria, I met some local skaters who invited me to their park, lended me a board, Vans and full protection gear so I could have a go. It was a fantastic moment skating together and being welcomed like that.
Not sure if it qualifies as a trick, but I love to carve and I hear nice comments about my carve skills. I know it's definitely not a standard skill. At the De Kuil bowl in Den Haag one skater said that at the time he first tried skating a bowl, he already skated 10 years but couldn't carve, and was impressed with my carving after 1 year skateboarding. Another skater said he held competitions between his friends to see who was able to carve a curve after a curve, but they couldn't do it. And to see me do it like I do after just 1 year was really great. So, I guess it is a trick!
To be honest I don't follow any specific rider. I prefer to follow adults on their journey to learn to skate than more experienced skaters. But of course, as a kid and still now I know Tony Hawk and really like his style.
I want to go more into what skateboarding has done for me. I started to skate when I was in a bad place in life. Skateboarding gave me a thing to focus on. Something to clear my mind, a reason to go outside and do something, to meet other people, and do some good exercise. It has helped me a lot on a mental and physical level, which I could never have imagined when I started. As I have become fairly active on Instagram with my skate account, I had some people who told me they are inspired by my journey, by my progress, and so I think it's given me an extra boost to share it all, the positive and the negative. And I always like to leave a positive remark or an encouraging note. We all have our own journey, our own progress, don't compare yourself to others. Just have fun and enjoy your own skills.
I love it! It is exactly what I was looking for. A map with all the skateparks, with some pictures, so I can plan a skate trip to the parks of my interest. I hope every skater will get to know this map, and to use it for their trips.
Scharbeutz is normally known as a place for snobby tourism, sailing and wellness. The little area where the skatepark is located is totally different. A skatepark right on a white sandy beach is something unusual in Germany, plus it’s well built too. The street section is very flowy. The bowl is mellow and well-balanced: not too hard not too easy. After a good skate session you can take a swim and chill at the beach. Once there was a shitty skatepark there but in 2019 Ralf Maier and his Betonlandschaften team redesigned it and gave life to this jewel. There are just a few local skateboarders and a lot of scooter kids (mostly tourist kids I guess) you’re gonna have to teach skatepark rules to. One last advice: if you’re planning on going there you’ll need a broom - you’re next to the beach with sometimes a lot of wind, so the park and the bowl will definitely be sandy. Visit Skatepark Pascal Lieleg on Instagram
Do you know how much a trash truck weighs? Well, it’s almost the equivalent of the trash Skatepark Respect ambassadors and volunteers have removed since this project started. The numbers talk for themselves: 26637 pounds of trash (12.082 kg) collected, almost 3000 hours of cleaning, 130 ambassadors around the world, 130 skateparks with regular interventions and hundreds of anonymous people who just want to have a better place to skate, or to be. Steve Zanco often reminds us of the broken window theory. When a sign of vandalism is there and you do nothing, other windows will be broken, and it will escalate. The president of this non-profitable organization explains us how he and his ambassadors are reversing the cycle. This is much more than just pure love for skateboarding. This is all about community. Who are the dirtiest: riders or non-riders? All the above. Skateparks tend do be a place to hangout and for the most parks the riders do take care of the place, but they are some that don’t. "When skaters really care and step up that’s when real change happens" Steve Zanco (president of Skatepark Respect) VISIT WEBSITE Do the riders have to be the gatekeepers of the skatepark? Skaters and all the folks who enjoy the park are de real champions. The city hall puts all the money, get things built and often contract cleaning parks out, but the real day-to-day maintenance should be done by the people who enjoy it. When riders realize this is an amazing gift, they treat them like that. When skaters really care and step up that’s when real change happens. Let’s think of ten random parks. How many are clean in the morning? Zero (he laughs). The cities take care of the landscaping and other recreational areas… those tend to take priority, not the actual skatepark. Have you ever caught somebody dirtying/vandalizing a park and what did you do? It has happened and things can escalate. When it happens we have a conversation with the folks and explain the reasons why it’s important to keep it clean or the reasons to not tag it up. We really explain that these things can be closed, this can be taken away quick. There are times when folks get all grumpy about it, and we try to fight that message. When they realize that their actions are direct reflectors of what happens at the parks and if it stays, they tend to say ‘I’m sorry, my bad’. Who tends to “trash” most? Younger or older? It tends to be younger, twelve/thirteen to mid-twenties. Tell us about a good cleaning operation that you will remember till the end of your days. There was one in Denver. It snowed until an hour before the event. We were really worried. But we had the support of local groups, city hall, the park rangers and we had over fifty volunteers, plus an extra fifteen from the city hall with blowtorches, shovels... We got rid of well over fifty full bags of trash and we also did some landscaping’s and removed graffiti. It was an all hands and deck operation. The place was spotless and we were able to skate that day. Afterwards our ambassadors became the stewards of that park. What’s the criteria to become a Skatepark Respect’s ambassador? There is a bit of a conversation and we ask them questions. We just want them to clean the park. Of course, we can’t control what happens all over the world but finding individuals who want to support the cause is huge. We encourage them to clean up their parks, we don’t ask them to do anything crazy. Do you have goals regarding ambassadors outside the US? We started in the USA but when Covid hit we weren’t able to do clean-ups, travel, do a lot of things, so we looked for other opportunities to continue the movement, but without us necessarily being there all the time. There were a lot of amazing people around the world that were reaching out and saying ‘hey, how can we be part of this?’; ‘how can I do this in my area, do you have any tips?’ We were creating these relationships and creating the ambassador program. Our goals for the ambassador program are to encourage them to share their information, their stats: how many pounds of trash did you pick up; how many hours do you spend; do you have a bunch of volunteers? Who did you talk to? Do you have good stories? The park was about to be closed but we fought for that; Our goals are to spread the message and encourage people to do something little like pick up a piece of trash. If all people were like Japanese, your organization would not be needed, don’t you agree? I’ve been in Japan a lot and it’s incredible. You don’t see any trash cans and there is no trash. I went on the train there and somebody did a graffiti. At the next stop, with no extra time, a group of folks came on, cleaned it, got rid of the graffiti and the train didn’t miss a beep. It’s their culture of respect. They appreciate what they have. Their culture is unique, they see the things they have as a gift and respect others property. That’s a cool mindset. How much trash have you removed and with how many ambassadors? We have 130 ambassadors and we have removed 26637 pounds of trash (12.082 kg), almost 3000 hours of cleaning and 130 skateparks. It’s growing all the time. We’re shipping out kits constantly to our ambassadors with trash pickers, trash bags, scrapers and gloves, we have also a how to clean a skatepark guide. How do you recommend city halls to keep skateparks clean? City Halls really ask these questions. The primary answer is to partner up with the community. If that means we have ambassadors, great! If not, really have a presence there. Show the skaters that the city cares. The locals must have the same conversations and say ‘hey, this is an amazing gift, if you show that you care the city’s going to partner with you and you get more obstacles, constant maintenance, improvements, upgrades and making an easy and symbiotic relationship. Working with the locals is where the real value comes from.’ Do you go to schools to talk about your project? We do. We have a few educational programs that we currently have running. With after school programs we educate kids how to keep things clean and give basic skate education as well: taking care of your board, how to take care of this place. It's about respect as a whole, respecting your things and others. We are working with the concrete industry too, to increase the awareness of the concrete trade. What do you do when you go to a skatepark and find a broken ledge or a ramp that needs to be fixed? Do you fix it yourself? That depends of the support of the city. I try to reach them saying ‘this needs to be fixed, can we help anyway?’ We recently had one that 75 volunteers repaired every crack in the concrete. We had tons of epoxy, we went there with tubes, scrapers, we had all this high school kids helping, it was really good. But it’s all about working with the city because you can’t do it on your own. Sending a text message or a picture to someone, create collaborators. Give us a word to describe a dirty skatepark. ‘Sad’. Because it’s so easy to clean these things. It just takes a little effort. This is also a way to fight several negative stereotypes regarding skateboarding… The stereotype is still there, but it’s better now. The Olympics are helping, Tony Hawk and the Skatepark Project have been a huge advocate for that too, but it still exists. Some folks in the city and in the community still think skateboarders are just doing drugs all the time, tag things up and want to wreck things… But it’s not like that… Being a better person, perseverance, mental toughness, all these things are skateboarding. It’s an accepting community, it doesn’t matter who you are, your believes, religion, just let’s skate. Those things are changing in people’s minds, but it still exists in the older crowds that are not exposed to skateboarding. We try to show the positive side of it, we’re here to help de community. Visit Skatepark Respect
What started to be a most wanted but affordable seafront concrete skatepark in Mumbles, Swansea, Wales, became a legal battle between the skateboarding community and some minor (but financial empowered) group of objectors, including Bonie Tylers’ husband, who did not want to have a skatepark close do their mansions. Five years later, though, the dream came true. Skateboarding won. Mumbles skatepark in Swansea, Wales, was projected in 2018 with a 199.000-pound budget ($240.000/€224.000), but due to legal costs the final investment went up to double. Throughout this process a large and loudly community stepped up, putting in place many initiatives. But what called the attention of the mass media was the moment when a multimillionaire harassed some kids: the video went viral and helped the cause. We talked to Jason Williams, chairman of Mumbles Skatepark Association, who explained what went wrong, what people did to stand out and how hard was to go against those who have the money to stop, or at least postpone, a dream of so many. «The whole thing became a political hot potato and I’m glad to say we managed to use all this to the advantage of the project», he says. Built by Maverick Skateparks, it was opened last Friday, the 17th of February 2023. What was the trigger that made you stepping forward against those people who wanted to stop building the skatepark? It was all about getting a concrete park. Swansea’s got a rich surf and skate history, and a concrete park was long overdue. We get that not everyone wants a skatepark or feels an area need a skatepark, but there was a massive support for the park, and we had to co-ordinate to ensure the very vocal minority didn’t overshadow what a skatepark brings to a community. Tell us about the process of making your association. Tomsk, Will and Jono were all involved from the beginning, advising the local council, but once initial planning permission for the project was granted, it was clear a more formal group/association was needed. Ironically, I didn’t attend the first meeting, but got voted in as chair and told afterwards! What kind of initiatives did you put in place? We held some meeting etc, but really relied on social media to engage with the communities (skate, bmx etc). We also worked closely with the local council driving the project and lobbied the larger County Council as well. “There was also an incident where the individuals had threatened some kids using the mini ramp on site, which was filmed and went viral. Following that, the amount of support for the project skyrocketed and it all went pretty viral.” Then, it came local opposition… Yes, it got complicated when some local opposition with significant financial backing issued a judicial review in an attempt to stop the project, which really seemed to galvanise those in favour. There was also an incident where the individuals had threatened some kids using the mini ramp on site, which was filmed and went viral. Following that, the amount of support for the project sky rocketed and it all went pretty viral. Hitting local, national and international press and web sites. The whole thing became a political hot potato and I’m glad to say we managed to use all this to the advantage of the project. How did non skater people react to your advocacy? Where they just ignoring or did they join the ‘battle’? Was this more than just a skatepark? Overall, pretty good. Throughout, we’ve focussed on the positives a skatepark brings and the importance of an open, visible, accessible site. Covid and lockdown really shone a light on the need for free, accessible facilities and the whole start of this came from school kids saying they wanted a skate park, so the parents were all in favour. With the issues mentioned above, that support just went off the scale (our online petition went from 4500 signatures to 24000 signatures in a week!). Could you name special episodes that took place that you will remember for ever? So many moments: the ‘incident’ and being contacted by local and national press, including TV interviews with the BBC. Our story appearing in pretty much all the UK press. Being asked to participate in a debate on live national radio (cancelled at the last minute as no-one was prepared to participate from the group that issued the judicial review). A local brewery creating a delicious beer and soda called Damn the Man, to help fundraise. Finally getting everything signed off, the building of the park started. What kind of support did you have across this prolonged period? Legal, mostly? None, really. We did have some well-wishers giving us informal advice, but we pretty much worked it out ourselves. The core of the Association are older, so experience from work, friends etc helped. When it came to the formal legal issues, the Council led and we fed in as much as we could, to ensure the right messaging was coming across. We did have to get involved in formal council stuff, but again, we just worked it out. “Bonnie Tyler’s husband was one of the group who signed the judicial review” How those people who wanted to stop building the skatepark changed their behaviour as your voice got bigger? Is it true that singer Bonnie Tyler was one of those at the frontline? Bonnie Tyler’s husband was one of the group who signed the judicial review. They were all in the background really and thought they could throw money and big-time lawyers at it and get it shut down. We were lucky that the local councils really saw what the skatepark could provide and bought into the project. That meant they worked through the legal challenge, rather than rolling over. It helped that there was so much press about ‘the incident’ and a huge amount of focus and support on the project. Because of this legal battle the skatepark will cost much more. How and who do you think should pay the difference? Yeah, that sucks. Not just legal costs but build costs increased, all because a bunch of millionaires tried to stop it. Luckily, we did get support from lottery funding and the Mumbles Community Council made up the difference. “I’d recommend every project gets a panto villain to bring the community together!” This episode had impact at the media, like you said. Do you think your cause could be an example for other organizations around the world? Absolutely, I’d recommend every project gets a panto villain to bring the community together! In all seriousness, I don’t know if we did the best job, or if we were just lucky. Also, each project has a different context and different challenges. In a nutshell, we tried to remain positive, repeat key messages about community (not just skate, bmx community) and the wider benefits of skateparks, tie in politicians and councillors wherever possible, and just kept pushing. If you had to ‘baptize’ this skatepark on a consequence of this social movement, what would be its name? Loads of people have come up with ideas already, mainly as a big FU to those who were against it. Me, I don’t really care, I’m just over the moon it’s there. Let’s call it ‘one’, as we’re already talking to the local council about a possible 2 or 3 more parks. Visit Mumbles skatepark Find out more about Maverick skateparks
How has the Rayssa Leal phenomenon changed the image of skateboarding in Brazilian society? Well, let's start off with this... In 2022 there are more girls than boys in skateboarding schools in Brazil. Don't miss the second part of this conversation with Marcos Hiroshi, former Brazilian professional rider, where we tried to understand how Brazil turned into a massive player in the world of skateboarding. How do you explain the evolution of skateboarding in Brazil? We had ups and downs, but at one time skateboarding started to appear frequently on TV and city halls all around Brazil started investing in skateparks. We had this mayor in São Paulo who started building a skatepark in each community youth Centre (places with schools, specialized courses and sports equipment, including, of course, skateparks). In São Paulo around thirty skateparks were build and the city became a reference in skateboarding. Most of these skateparks were built in the city’s outskirts, in poorer neighborhoods and many good riders came out of those initial skateparks. Mainstream media helped, too… Indeed. It was when the X-Games appeared. Suddenly, skateboarding was on TV all the time and we had our ace, Bob Burnquist, who became a true ambassador. Many others came afterwards: Sandro Dias, Rodrigo TX, Tiago Lemos, Luan Oliveira and the most recent of all, Rayssa Leal, who at the age of thirteen years old won the silver medal in the Olympics. Photos credit: Julio Detefon / CBSk What was the impact caused by Rayssa Leal in Brazil? A tremendous impact. Every child wants to ride now. Parents are being pressured by their kids to put them in skateboarding schools. The Olympics showed that a little girl can ride and have fun like if she was in a playground. I can even tell you more. In Brazil now, we have more girls than boys in skateboarding schools! Photos credit: Julio Detefon / CBSk You have accumulated a lot of experience in skateboarding events in Brazil… Yes, we acquired a lot knowledge in the last two decades. The CBSK (Brazilian Skate Confederation) exists for twenty years and has many skillful people. We have associations, federations, statutes, projects connected to schools, you name it. They are also many social associations that take kids from streets through skateboarding. All this know-how resulted in big events and we have created a whole group of specialized people along the way. The image of skateboarding in Brazil has changed… For sure. It became mainstream and less marginalized. Several years ago, parents didn't want their kids to skate. And a girl? Never! But now that all changed overnight. The general public now understands something about skateboarding because the Olympics and all the Brazilian "skateboarding" idols. Now we have public money allocated to skateboarding, to prepare the Olympics, because skateboarding is an official sport. This money is also used to build more skateparks. The CBSK has an agreement with local and central government to act like an official advisor with skatepark builders to prevent bad constructions. Photos credit: Julio Detefon / CBSk How many skateboarders do you have in Brazil? A search made in 2015 by Data Folha (data platform from newspaper Folha de São Paulo) concluded they were about 8,5 million skateboarders in Brazil, but I can say for sure that we have now more than ten million, after the Olympics in Tokyo. Instagram Marcos Hiroshi See all skateparks in Brazil
How a multi-storey skatepark in Folkestone is transforming the skateboarding scene in the Southeast of England and why so many people around the world want to visit it. The design of Folkestone51 could be a metaphor about life: the higher you go, the wider and greater your range of action. But it’s just a mind trick to take the visual weight off the building. The man who reveals this is Guy Hollaway, the architect responsible for this disruptive, comprehensive, and catchy building in Kent, in the Southeast of England. A 17 million pounds project that opened in 2022. We had a talk with Guy Hollaway, the proud architect of F51, the result of a long and sometimes painful process. 'I was F51's first blood injury', he says with a smile. What drove you to make this multi-storey skatepark in Folkestone, the F51? It's all due to a man called Sir Roger de Haan, who ran the Saga group, which employeed around 2.500 people, literally almost the whole population of Folkestone. 15 years ago he sold the company for 1,6 billion pounds and decided that his legacy would be philanthropic. He invested 15 million in the town, in arts, sports, education, in regeneration. He's also currently building around 1000 units on the sea front. It´s a one-man regeneration. I've been very fortunate to be on this journey with him and have been his main architect for this regeneration of Folkestone. About seven years ago he phoned me up and said ‘Guy, I’m thinking about buying a peace of Folkestone’ and I said ‘don't you own it all anyway?’ and he answered ‘yeah for sure but there's this piece of land’, located on the edge of one of the most deprived parts of Folkestone, if not in the Southeast of England. Kids there have no money and are very deprived. It's a desperate area. He said 'look, if we are going to put a thousand units there we need places for people to be’. It’s when the multi-storey building comes to your mind, but… I said ‘what about a multi-storey car park?’ He said ‘yeah, OK, good idea, go away and design that’. I designed it and showed it to him. He said ‘Guy, this is a bit boring’ and I said, ‘It’s a car park, what do you want?’. Then he told me that there was an old skatepark at the sea front and asked me to think about a way to integrate skate in this car park, put it on the roof, something like that.’ When I showed the design to him he said ‘this car park is boring, but the skatepark is amazing’. And then he asked me to think about this idea. That’s when I designed this multi-storey skatepark with multiple levels. I got pretty excited; we worked on this about six months and we came up with this idea of creating a building which was about adrenaline sports. It has climbing and a boxing club too. There are all sports which are about yourself and your own journey. What happened next? This got buzzy around the world and we suddenly thought ‘s*** maybe we got an idea here’. Even Tony Hawk called me, saying ‘I’ve seen this skatepark, are you going to build this thing?’ And I said ‘yeah!’ We did, we built it, it took a long time, but that happens when you try to reinvent something… What we wanted to do was to create a skatepark great for the beginners and for the local kids with an international standard. And now people come from America, Australia, Asia to skate here. We have put the town on the map. We are going to create a whole new generation of kids who skate. We have this programme where if your local and under sixteen you can skate there for one pound a month, which is pretty nuts, so suddenly skate becomes incredibly accessible. Accessible because they can get there very easily, too… Yeah. When I wake up in the morning my thought is ‘where are my car keys’ but this generation wakes up in the morning and thinks ‘where’s my bike, where’s my skateboard’, their mobility gives them a sense of independence. This skatepark becomes a training ground. What we wanted to do was to create something they could really belong to and how can we rethink the perception of skateboarding in the world. I had some people calling me from America, fascinated with the fact that we were putting the skatepark in the town centre, when they say ‘we build this skatepark out of the town’. Sometimes it gets territorial and doesn’t become so accessible. What we found is that we have these different levels, and we can have an all-girl evening or a rad dad’s night, we have school parties, birthday parties… it’s a very interesting concept. This building is literally a gift, isn’t it? Yes, a gift from Sir Roger. A 17 million gift. The business plan in a nutshell is this: the building makes money with the climbing wall, boxing club, through people out of town who come and pay to skate or roll, the Cafe, events… and the idea is that the money it generates is to pay the costs. I spent a lot of time making this business plan and it’s working so far. The only way that it works is that you have a building that is efficient to run. It’s a cold building so there's no heating in there, it has minimal electricity demands. Is it a private management? Yes. What Sir Roger does with all his projects is he creates a trust for the building with people who seat on the board and make all the decisions about the management of the building. As part of the trust there’s a network regarding other sports buildings, schools programs, we have all these connections with the town to get these kids into the building. “I also wanted to make something very urban and cool. If the skate community don’t like what you’ve done they will reject it” Tell us about the design of the building. Why did you choose that shape? I wanted to do a smaller building on the ground floor, where there is a café. Very visible and welcoming on the ground floor and a building that gets bigger as it goes up because we needed more space. But then I created some real architectural trickery: if you look at the buildings next to it it’s a three-storey building that looks bloody tiny but this is the equivalent of an eight-storey building, but it doesn't feel like that. It’s because the windows are two storeys high and there are big panels, so it plays tricks on your mind. The building looks and feels a lot smaller because you take the weight out off it. You don’t have angles into the ground, it curves away from you, so you never see the end of the building. I also wanted to make something very urban and cool. If the skate community doesn't like what you’ve done they will reject it. So it's a very big challenge to create something that is cool and is going to be accepted. Normally if you give that to the council or local authority of the government, they will kill it in seconds! Did you work with the skate community? We did things like we invited the skate community to submit designs for the murals in the skateparks. We had 120 young people put in designs and we put all those designs on the skateboards in the cafe, but we selected ten that went into the park, on these huge murals. It gave them a sense of ownership even before we opened. We did a lot of work with them in terms of consultation. Look: I'm not cool or I’m not what they think is cool, so they dictate what is cooler and everything else. The building was really well received by the skate community. “I don’t think it’s ever been attempted before to put a concrete bowl up in the air” What about the engineering: how challenging was building a suspended bowl? A nightmare! It’s one of those moments when you think ‘why the f*** I did that’ [he laughs]. I don’t think it’s ever been attempted before to put a concrete bowl up in the air. It was built by Maverick, they are extraordinary. We put decks and colour styling moulds like a jigsaw puzzle and late we reinforced it with concrete into the mould and took the moulds away and that formed the bowl. But that bowl is a beam as well, so it’s hard to tie the whole thing together, it’s pretty crazy. It’s quite a thing when you walk in, and you feel the bowl above your head. It’s heavy, it’s nuts! It’s a roof with architecture, engineering and skate coming together. I really don’t think anybody tried to do that. We invested in skate in such a way to celebrate the architecture, the engineering, and the culture of skate. It elevated the skate, you say ‘you have changed lives, you give young people an identity and you’re worthy to become an Olympic sport’. Maybe we will have the next Olympic skater from Folkestone, who knows? What kind of concrete did you use? We used a replacement of cement. It’s a bio product from steel manufacturing. It’s something more sustainable, i’s a low carbon concrete. Beyond the bowl, which is 2,8 meters deep, you got a street flow and a flow park, those are timber floors so that in 10 years’ time we can take timber floors out and replace it. The structure of the building goes into steel frame above the concrete so that just made the building a lot lighter as we went up through a little bit more cost effective as well. How many people can you host in the building at the same time? Up to 170 people on each floor, over 600 in the building. What tends to happen is we have a competition on just one floor, so it's like if you’re in a street exhibition you are not in the bowl. It’s pretty rare to have many people across all the floors. The climbing wall is more commercial. We have the tallest climbing wall on the Southeast of England Midlands and we have bouldering. I think if I had more time, I probably would have made the climbing centre bigger because it’s so popular. “When as I was growing up here all you could think about was leaving the town as quickly as you could. We wanted to upgrade their lives by education sports, to access to an adrenaline building like this. Maybe we can reverse brain drain” You have mentioned the commercial spots like the climbing wall. Is that what makes the difference? Because indoors around the world struggle by just doing business with skateboarding… Skaters are free spirited. I’m generalising, but they don't think ‘I’m going to skate in two weeks’ time so let’s book it’. It doesn’t work like that. They just look at the weather and make a decision. The building needs to understand the culture, but you can make money through climbing centres, bouldering and the boxing club. This is a club where people come to train, and we saw the membership triple. In the beginning we had two girls and now there are 43 girls. It’s pretty insane. All those sports coming in interactive, it’s about their own journey but what we wanted to do was a larger regeneration story, we wanted to upgrade their lives by education sports, access to an adrenaline building like this. This means that the memory of their upbringing might be positive and we can reverse brain drain. You had your own experience in the past… Basically when as I was growing up here all you could think about was leaving the town as quickly as you could, but now if you can create a memory which is supposed to be warm to your community and your family and everything… OK we are going to lose a lot but if we could capture maybe 30 per cent of those kids that will pay by 10/20 times over there because you're keeping the best brains, you’re keeping people in the town. How long do you skate? I'm not a great skater at all. I started skating when I was a kid and had a big injury, my tooth went through my bottom lip, it put me off a little… Lately if prefer to surf to be honest. I was the firs blood injury at F51. I injured myself quite seriously and had to go to the medic room on the opening day, actually [he laughs]. I love skating and I love what it gives. To be a good skater you need coordination, but you have to have discipline, the process of training and mental training and having dimensional awareness… Besides that... It’s often you find the Skateworld opens itself up to the creative industry... if you just look at fashion, trainers, if you think about the music industry, if you think about design and arts… it’s so accessible to the creative industry and creative industry is the largest growing industry now… if we could inspire some of these young kids through skate to see opportunities, to entering into work or into business and start monetize in some sort of way… If you look Netflix documentary ‘Dogtown’ all those guys came from some sort of former creative industry. So, we think these things create an opportunity and access to people. A building like this would be the same success in the centre of London, where you have more options around? Yes. Because of the weather, the convenience, the set up for challenges, because of the size and the scale of it. There’s a huge section of skaters, those who are the independent thinkers, they are people who skate anywhere, they are just obsessed. Historically there is this perception that skating is anti-behaviour or something else. And what this building does is to fuse these things together and opens up to another generation which has more girls getting involved and the rad dads who started skating again with their kids, or scooters or bikers… so if it becomes far more accessible it opens it up and then you can start to make financial models to work. That business model is a bit different at F51… This project is unfortunately unmeasurable. If you’re under the age of 16 and you’re a local you pay a pound a month. But that’s just Roger’s gift. We’ve looked to the model of F51 and started applying that on The Wave Project and other projects. We are starting to work out how we can make it accessible and revivable. You need these philanthropic projects. It took us a few years to build this, because we didn’t want to create a white elephant. “Through mobility that you become fitter and healthier, then I think skate will transform how we live” How do you think skateboarding will be in the next 10 years? I think one of the most interesting things by watching the Olympics was… if you watch the athletics or other sports if you come second it’s like their world ends, like they've failed, but in skate there are no winners or losers. You fall over and you get up, you learn from your mistakes and from falling, and life is a bit like that. I loved watching skateboarding during the Olympics because if you became 6th or 8th they were celebrating. Because when you skate everything's going to connect it once. Any multiple things could go wrong in any second, it’s like when you’re catching a wave, and you try to put a combination of something together. Skating is about yourself and about limits and that’s why it has so much potential in the future. Just as a sport or like something more? We will become more mobile in a different way, and we think about our cities, how we move around our cities, the 15 minute cities, and if we can create a generation of cyclists and skaters and scooters, these very contractions in the same way… If we can start to think about mobility in a different way we could start to think about fitness, wellness, well-being… Through mobility that you become fitter and healthier, then I think skate will transform how we live. It’s a really strong message. And that’s why we need these kinds of projects to nurture the next generation but also to educate the generations that exists. Guy Holloway Folkestone skatepark
Want to test your skatepark knowledge and win some prizes along the way? Then this is for you! Time for our next game (challenge) on Trucks and Fins! The Rules On our instagram STORY we are going to show a drawing of a skatepark on our map. instagram STORY Search for the skatepark on our site and answer in the question box on our STORY! Only one answer permited on each story! Follow the sponsors of the event: Samuel Lucas Rewind Trucks and Fins Every Thursday at 6pm (GMT) we will post a new game on our Story. The Prizes - 2 Games in one The first 5 people who answer correctly win a prize. For every correct answer we will add your name on a paper in our magic box. In the end we will organize a kind of lottery and give away more prizes! So in case you weren't fast enough, no worries...we still have more to give away in the end of the 4 challenges!! Let the fun and games begin!
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Trucks and Fins is a huge present to the whole skate community - not just for the skating people, but also for shops, builders and schools. Super easy to use and can't believe how complete it is.
Pascal Lieleg aka Official Bowlshit
Trucks and Fins is a great resource for checking on local spots if you are traveling or planning a road trip! A one stop resource that is constantly updated with the newest projects as well as those bucket list locations worldwide. The intuitive UI features gps coordinates as well as useful information about shops nearby.
Trucks and Fins provide a great service. Its quick and easy to use and has such a vast amount of parks included, not just in the UK but worldwide. CANVAS Spaces support the cause and fully back what they are doing.
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A big part of skateboarding is about finding Animal Chin - your spirit animal, or in other words: whatever gets you stoked. Could be the right people to roll with, or that special dream terrain. Trucks and Fins has all the best skate destinations in one place; a map of stoke in your hands.
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