Bummer  |  Birdman

Wish You Were Here?

Words & Pics: Millsy

Smack in the middle of the UK’s south coast is ‘sunny’ Bournemouth – a place where old people used to go to live out their twilight years before going to that big bed-bath in the sky.

For an English seaside town, Bournemouth is pretty big, and it’s gained a hip new feel over the last decade or so. It used to be independent from it’s neighbours, Poole, Boscombe and Christchurch, but they all seem to have merged into a sprawling and vibrant mass of activity.

It’s got a couple piers, miles of golden sands, ornamental gardens and enough going on at night to keep even the most hyper-active types amused.

I always think that to have a true ‘skate scene’, a town must have certain ingredients which are symbiotic, depending on each other to thrive and survive: a decent skate park, established independent skate stores, enthusiastic skate crews, and influential characters who drive the stoke and keep things progressing. Bournemouth is a rare gem that has all of these things in abundance.

When I set out to try and document the Bournemouth scene, I hooked-up with one of the local skate crews who have been around for the best part of 10 years – NPNG (which stands for ‘No Pain No Gain’ if you haven’t worked it out for yourselves). Whilst, by no means, the only team in the area, it is probably the best established.

Over the course of a couple of days, we hit a couple of local parks, numerous street spots around the area, and generally hung out with NPNG and some of their long-time friends and collaborators who joined us for a shred.

If you’ve ever tried to make plans with a group of skaters to meet you at a certain time and place, and factoring in the weather, sundry injuries, irritating work schedules, the lure of the ‘erb, ‘Call Of Duty’, and devastatingly short attention spans, you’ll know that it’s a faaarking nightmare. Even when you’ve got a few rainless hours, gathering skaters to shoot is like trying to herd kittens. Standard. But, you’ve got a accept this as part of the challenge, and when / if it comes off, it’s all the more satisfying. To overcome problems like these, it’s usually best to recruit the services of one of the local guys to act as coordinator. Their role is predominantly to make sure that everyone is in the right place at the right time, have got their spots picked out, and have decided what they want to get down. Step forward Danny ‘Bummer’ Bulmer, a long-serving member of NPNG, who appears to have adopted a supervisory role as well as that of skater, stoker, and film-maker.

[Opposite: Bummer the birdman - Inset: Tuck-knee to bank over Louis]

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