Wouldn't it be rad if...? I'm sure that's how the best ideas start. Our’s was simple. We hadn't been on a road trip in a while, and never with a crew of representatives from five corners of the North East. It seemed a daunting task, but we knew it would be worth it.
Anyone who's tried to organise skaters for any kind of trip will agree that it’s pretty similar to herding cats. The bigger the group, the more impossible the task. We had found this out the hard way a few times before so we decided to start small.
Over the course of about 3 months, we mentioned the possibility of a road trip to a few skate heads dotted around the North East. Over time, we got a social media group set up and started to make plans. Luckily, pretty much everyone was down from the get go, which helped massively. After a rough itinerary was released, and accommodation details were passed around, the crew started getting booked up like clockwork. In the end, we managed to get 5 cars worth of rippers from Northumberland, Newcastle, Sunderland, Hartlepool and Darlington, to journey through Sheffield, Derby and Nottingham (briefly) over the last weekend in March 2018.
We're stoked we managed to pull this off with minimal planning effort and maximum road-trip-hype. Here's how it went down.
The trip down was uneventful but fun. I had the pleasure of escorting the Newcastle/Sunderland contingent which consisted of Johnny Haynes, Jordan Brown, Ben Cook and Blinky (who was only joining us for the initial leg of the trip). After assembling at my place after work, we hit the road. Blinky had done quite a bit of travelling beforehand so it was good to catch up with him and Ben about their stint in Palestine with Skatepal and Blinky's trip down under. After putting the skate world to rites for two and a half hours, we arrived at our hotel in Sheffield. All the other crews were there and waiting except for the Northumberland connection (Seaghan and Alfie) who had actually journeyed down much earlier in the day, got a skate in at Dev Green, and had bunkered down for the night like the good boys that they were. The rest of us were hyped that the plan had actually got that far so we ventured into town for a pint or 2 before returning to the hotel.
Ronny Calow Frontside Ollies at The Dome, Sheffield.
The Dome DIY
On the Saturday morning, we all congregated outside the hotel and made plans to either meet at Dev Green or head through to The Dome DIY. As some of us were a bit tender from the night before, we went our separate ways to score some breakfast before converging on The Dome. And what a sick spot it is.
Due to the size of our party, skating the Dome was pretty hectic as it's quite a concentrated spot (at least for now. Hopefully the skate gods will allow the locals to expand this sick setup). It was, however, pretty interesting seeing another scene's DIY efforts and how they contrasted with our local DIY spot (The Moon DIY). Even though builds were concentrated in one area, it was great use of the available space with a lot of scope for growth. Pretty rough and ready, just how we like it.
As soon as we got there it was clear the favourite feature for the crew was the tranny to wallride where a few shots were bagged. A bump next to the wall was also sessioned hard as well as a gap in the middle of the space. All in all, it was a fun build which we're gutted we couldn’t spend some more time at to suss out more lines. Standard when you go to any new DIY I guess.
After about an hour or so at the dome, we headed into Sheffield (vowing to return one day). The destination was Dev Green, which I had never skated but had seen tonnes of footage of this place over time.
Dev Green initially looks unassuming when you first see it. It’s an expanse of open space flanked by head high banks and trannies with a not too shabby pyramid in the middle. It also boasts a sweet round rail, a wooden waist-high wallie pyramid and its legendary three block platform. The good thing about rolling with a heavy crew is there's always something that grabs someone's attention and it is great to watch the homies picking off different obstacles to hit. Mike and Paul from Hartlepool got busy ollieing the 3 step block pretty much as soon as we landed while also filming some lines over the wallie pyramid and the rail.
Our man with the eye, Blind Johnny (AKA Big Johnny) blessed us with some magic on the banks, Seaghan (aka Scotch) got stuck into some tranny action and all terrain machine Connor Stokes had a combo of slides on the bottom ledge and then some. Stoke levels were high as everywhere you looked, there was someone attempting a smile inducing stunt. The highlight for me being Ronny Callow's pop-shuv of the wallie block. This didn't make sense as it was steep as hell to begin with and it pretty much shot you 6ft straight up. Kudos on the make. It was a bonkers trick.
Seaghan Crawley Nosepicks at Dev Green.
Shout out to the locals who turned up too. It was great to see others blazing new trails of radness through a space we thought we had figured out in terms of possible lines. Especially in a park which appears limited for paths of travel. It may be their well-worn routes of destruction, but it was new to us which stoked us out. (Sending you guys a cosmic fist bump for that. It was great to see)
After spending a little time at Dev Green, the crew split off to go street skating (mainly the Darlington lot) while the rest of us headed to The House Skatepark. Scotch and Alfie were keen to go as they'd never been, and I was just happy not to have to go pushing round a city and wonder which curb would have me kissing the concrete as I eventually got too tired to Ollie properly (I'd say something about getting old here but we know it’s just down to not pushing around a city for a few good years, and I wasn't about to start with waning energy levels).
The House Skatepark
The last time I had been to the house was on a previous road trip about seven years prior. Before that, it was a weekly mission to get there from Derby, where I used to live in a past life. It's always been good times there, whether rolling solo or with a crew (always better with a crew though) so it was good to bring new faces and fresher legs to the park. It had been threatening to rain all day so we thought it was going to be infested with scooters but much to our delight, it was pretty much empty. I just wish I had as much energy as I did at the beginning of the day. A fact brought to light after a rather tasty slam in the street section. I called it a day and headed through to the bowl room with Seaghan. I wish I filmed his reaction as he walked through the little doorway to the concrete beauty on the other side. It was like watching a kid rip open that one Christmas present they'd waited for all year.
After a few warm up runs to explore the bowls curves and coping, Seaghan got to work trying to get some stunts captured for Johnny's lens. I left them to it and wandered back into the main park, where Paul and Mike were busy laying out some killer lines and also taking their fair share of slams. It was obvious that the third spot of the day was starting to take its toll, but still we pressed on.
Alfie Wright Smiths in the bowl.
Words: Dave Apomah.
Photos: Johnny Haynes.
Part two coming next week!
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