Olympics aside, it’s an interesting time for skateboarding, especially on the UK east coast. To shredder’s delight we’ve witnessed new parks crop up in Loddon and Cobholm to name a couple, and to our dismay old scene relics like the Trowse DIY spot have been levelled. New local projects such as Cigarette skateboards, Barely coping clothing, Girls sk8 east anglia, the shed and Doghead promo have been established to support the scene, whilst Norfolk’s beloved Drug store have had their iconic sign nicked shortly before closing doors and moving into a dreamy new venue.
The EDP have coughed up their annual dig on skateboarders, this time for causing a nuisance to swank riverside settlers. But don’t fear, we’ve also seen the comment sections on social media and the Norwich skate scene is chuffed to have the 2021 president of the UEA skate society working hard to address skateboarders opinions and concerns to the local press. Within a week of the first article being published, an EDP reporter responded to the public backlash with an optimistic report on the city skate scene with some wise words from the chief druggie himself.
Charge indoor skatepark has changed hands and undertaken a huge refurbishment and rebrand, the new Delta Four setup is looking good and the owners are bursting with enthusiasm and rigor. Personally, I’m stoked to see the spot receiving some much needed TLC, I’m sure it will pay off for the scene and new owners in the coming years. There’s a few rough plans among city promoters to throw some indoor skatepark gigs in 2022 so watch this space and tighten your trucks ready. On top of all that, the community east project spearheaded by Drug Store and smash skates is working to create a new indoor city park in a church! They’re hoping to provide skate lessons for locals and of course, they’ll be peddling them sweet rags we all dig.
In many ways the push and pull continues, one spot’s erected as another is reduced to rubble, talks of an inner city ban resurfacing seem likely and next thing you know Archant are publishing our perspective quite positively. But one thing is for certain: the community ties being established by eastern dwellers on a grassroots level now may just revive our beloved scene beyond its previous stature.
As skateboarding becomes more accessible and “mainstream”, it’s probable that we’ll see more influence from sports/fashion brands and less representation for skaters who don’t adapt with or appreciate the changes. However, skateboarding is inherently adaptive and I think most of us would agree that the whole point is to repurpose and elaborate. During lockdown skateboarding has seen another momentous leap in popularity, everyone and their nan is dusting off their o’jays and rubbing their shin bruises as a year of empty car parks nears an end, but the months of gruelling anxiety and precarity may just pay off for us in some way, as many creatives and doers have had time to plan projects and develop ideas ready for the big national discharge.
As skaters, our expression relies on both repurposing environments and reinventing our understanding of them which naturally reflects an anti authoritarian narrative to the outsiders who sustain our love hate status. So as our society and urban environments experience dramatic changes where does that leave us? In the lurch or at the forefront?
Well, only time will tell, but I’m sure I’m not the only one yearning for some community, and skateboarding offers the perfect conditions for both unification and individualism. It brings people from every country, background, circumstance and influence together and offers a new lease of life to inanimate settings and disused artifacts. What was once a tokenistic quirk of subculture is probably now our only hope of preserving our scene, so I’m extremely excited to see what every comes up with in the near future. Whatever happens, if we continue to support each other we’re on the right track.
Featured image by Samantha Rajasingham
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