It didn’t take longer than a week of living in Manchester to realise how much of a cracking scene there is over this side of the Pennines. A big difference from sunny ol’ Wakefield, mainly due to the fact that the floors here are actually smooth and not full of child-sized potholes. A casual afternoon skate at Urbis can consist of up to 20 guys on a good day, which is pretty rad to be around. No matter what day it is there’ll always be someone out and about the city. Be it filming for the various video projects that seem to constantly fly out every year or simply cruising about, you’ll no doubt find someone to roll about with.
When the rain hits (being Manchester, this is pretty often) most run to the Pumpcage for an undercover shralp in either the OG wooden side, or the flowy concrete section. Both sides are pretty entertaining, especially when you’ve got the concrete side to yourself! However the sessions also go off in the wooden park on a weekly basis with a lot of the Black Sheep heads putting in some serious manoeuvres – Stannerz & Grampa Stu treat the cage as a pre-pub warmup and definitely deserve a beer after some of the stuff I’ve seen them put down on a Thursday eve.
Keanu Robson Frontside Wallrides amid his studio setup.
If it is sunny however, and you fancy giving your legs a rest from jumping onto ledges all day, a good vibe can always be found down at Plattfields Skatepark. Outdoor wood designed in a very ‘Ode-to-the-90’s’ style with a good whippy mini-ramp and plenty of space to light up a BBQ, there’s nothing better than a summer days down there.
The scene here is probably the most productive one I’ve ever experienced too, thanks to guys like Keanu Robson, Jim Craven, Joe Gavin, Sean Lomax, little Max & the big bear Isaac Wilkinson always about with a camera in-hand.
As far as DIY goes in Manchester, there haven’t been too many successful attempts, at least since my arrival in the city. Myself, Lewis Threadgold & Vic McMahon, along with various intermissive heads started working on something under Mancunian Way in late 2014/15 as an alternative to the Cage. We would whack a bag of cement on our boards after work & push further down the underpass to this rad little cobbled bank set up. The end result after attempting to build in mid-winter was two quarters onto the bridge wall, an angled block & a pretty shoddy bank. Good fun as long as you didn’t stand in any human shit left by the dudes who sleep under the bridge or anything.
Stockport on the other hand, has really smashed it with their D.I.Y re-incarnation of Bones (Boneside) under the Viaduct that runs through the town. Not a day went by in the months of last summer without being bombarded by a deluge of Instagram videos and posts of the crew building down there. It seemed every day something new was added to the layout, and to say the boys were learning as they went, they’ve really nailed it for the space they had. A decent 4ft bowl corner that backs onto the underside of the bridge, a Massive boob-like hump and a hip crafted to whippy perfection by John Bell, Gez Curran, Chris Barrett & co, to name just a few features, leave you with a fully enjoyable day of getting filthy and probably pissed due to the close-quarters Polish shop and its cheap beer. FOOTBALL!
Zach Riley Wallrides to Fakie at Bones DIY
Having two shops in the same city was at first a pretty confusing matter, being so used to the crusty little wonder that is Division 24 in Wakefield. However, after a while I adjusted to lurking twice in an afternoon, either at Note being entertained by Jed’s usual comedy antics, or annoying Sexual Stu down at The Black Sheep. Both great shops & great guys all round keeping the scene alive!
Transition-wise, Manchester is lacking really. Apart from Beast Ramps – an indoor park 15 minutes from the centre which houses one of the best mini-ramps in the north & also Reiss Johnson & Andy Scott’s local vert ramp, there isn’t really anything bowl-like within the city centre, which I took a while to adjust to. There is a fun little bowl out in Lostock & another in Poynton, and Preston’s Moor park is worth the mission if you’ve ever keen to jump on a train to skate some Frosty-designed crete. Surprisingly however, even though the tranny isn’t too prominent over this way, the all-terrain skateboarding that comes out of this city still amazes me. Guys like Zachariah Riley, Rikk Fields & our own Aussie Import Ricky Davidson hold it down on ramps and off ‘em, and I think that’s what makes this such a great city to be in.
Keep it up Fellas!