Pompey ‘Til I Die?

Trying to assemble and shoot a local crew to skate the mean streets of Portsmouth, is hard work. Period. I don’t fully understand the reasons why – I do know that we had to do this piece at very short notice, so it was hard to work around peoples personal plans and work routines, but I also get the impression that there’s a ‘Theres no decent street spots in Pompey, and it’s all been done before” feeling which is, perhaps, a reason why the area may get a little overlooked on the UK scene. Dunno. In the end it comes down to just a handful of plucky homeboys prepared to represent and take care of bid’ness.

Portsmouth is the second largest city in Hampshire – the biggest being it’s arch-nemesis, Southampton. However, it does have the distinction of being the UK’s only island-based city. ‘Pompey’, as it’s affectionately known (or ‘scum town’, if you’re from Southampton) covers a huge area and takes in many outlying districts and towns under it’s salt encrusted umbrella – the entire urban sprawl providing home to nearly half a million residents.

Portsmouth has many claims to fame: it’s the original home of the British Navy and Nelsons warship the infamous HMS Victory; it’s where the D-Day invasion of 1944 was planned, staged and executed; literary favourites Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, and Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle were all born there, as was Victorian engineer supremo Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Interestingly Arnie Schwarzenegger even called it home for a while – apparently though, his “I’ll be back” promise didn’t apply to Pompey. End of the history lesson, on with the story…

…well almost. Southsea Skatepark claims to be one of the oldest skateparks in the world! Originally a rollerskate rink, near the sea front, dating back to the 1950’s that was remodeled and reworked for skateboards in the mid-70’s. The old snake-run and bowls are ghostly and gnarly reminders from the golden age, and have been visited by many of the worlds elite, including the original Bones Brigade (Mountain, Cab, Hawk, etc) way back in the day. The rink area (complete with Grandstand) is still there too, but has since had boxes, rails, ledges, banks and quarters added. Latest additions include a new miniramp, a burly spined mini, and a revamped vert ramp.


Cover-Boy Noddy Rands

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