Nottingham's Sunday Circuit Retrospective

  • Nottingham's Sunday Circuit Retrospective

    The Sunday Circuit is a series of summer comps organised by Forty Two skateshop, that happen on the first or last Sunday of each month, each time at a different skatepark around Nottinghamshire. After its 5th successful year, Tom Quigley caught up with Rob Johnson & Scott Underdown to chat about the Circuit's origins, Nottingham's skate history, and competition skating.

    The Sunday Circuit is ingrained in the Notts scene, every year we look forward to it as the sign that summer is here again. How did it all begin?

    We talked about comps all the time before the shop opened, and about having a series of comps that would involve different things, battling one another. It was because we were so excited about how many parks there were in Nottingham, and they were all cropping up still, and we wanted to get people to check them all out and travel to the new ones. And get people from different areas such as Arnold skating with people from Clifton, for example. The Sunday Circuit itself can be attributed to Holly [the new Mrs Underdown] though, it was her idea.

    Mario Fleet Kickflips during the 2015 Standhill comp. | Photo: Tom Quigley.

    There was a time in Nottingham where the Old Market Square was this central hub, and it didn't require prior session arrangement (at a time with no internet or mobile phones) - you just knew that if you went, skaters were there. That would mean that you could go into town on your own and not arrange anything with anyone, and still have a good, social, busy session. But I think when the square closed [redeveloped in 2005], it seemed that all of a sudden everyone in Nottingham became these smaller crews and didn't necessarily mix. You had LBC, Bowldem; all these little crews that would skate their local park but wouldn't necessarily travel to all the other parks that were around, so pockets became isolated. Scenes are definitely better when there's more intermingling and everyone mixes more. 

    The Old Market Square was so good wasn't it? You'd get people from all over Notts. Sunday would be dead in town, y'know, it was yours, and there'd be a crew of us skate in - you'd get to the square and there'd be the dudes from Worksop, like Bainsy, Shipman and all those guys would have come over for the day...guys from Sheffield, crews from all over - it was really nice. So much of the setting up of the Sunday Circuit was to bring that mix in, and we think it has.

    Conor Andrews Frontside Noseblunts from this year's Long Eaton leg. Photo: Tom Quigley.

    On skate competitions...

    Rob: There are also some other bizarre side effects, and that is how confident everyone is skating comps. Because when I was young, that was terrifying - I never did it. Duffs would send Scott off to enter comps, so he had to.

    Scott: They were gnarly comps! They were terrifying at times - it was cool, but there were times when you could really feel the eyes on you, and it is a lot of pressure! I remember entering Chilwell under-16s, that was a super cool comp, with your friends, that was kinda fun - but I remember going to one in London where it was just in an arena and there were all these people watching from the stands, it's a different vibe. 

    Rob: You can see how, now that all these kids and young skaters have been doing the Sunday Circuit, comps don't freak them out - and that's an amazing thing. That'll do stuff later on in life as well - it opens the door for your ability to skate in all sorts of comp environments. Years ago, comps just didn't really happen locally, there was nowhere to have them - we're really fortunate now with all these parks that have made it so much easier.

    Luke Humphries Frontside Cruntslide, Standhill, 2015. Photo: Tom Quigley.

    Which are your favourite parks in Nottingham that the Sunday Circuit has been to over the last 5 years?

    Rob: Favourite park for me is a no-brainer, Standhill - I really love the place, it really means a lot to me. 

    Scott: Maples Street is always a good one. We have people come into the shop from the Maples Street area asking us if we're doing it - they love it. Not even skaters, just the people who live on the street - it's just a nice thing to see going on. Keyworth was quite a good one in 2015 - it was something different - I was stoked at how many people made the effort to cycle out there and such.

    Maple Street, 2013. Photo: Tom Quigley

    We want to say a massive thanks to Form Distribution. Loads of different people have sponsored the Sunday Circuit over the years, but for the past few comps, Form have really been keen to support it all the way - they've been an incredible help for us. They're big on legit, grassroots comps like that. Where it's just pure skate - no nonsense, run by the skater-owned shop, and they see how it's beneficial, and it is - you can see how it's really benefited the scene.

    Nic Hanson over Romello at Clifton back in 2013. | Photo: Tom Quigley.

    Below are a select number of clips from this years / previous comps, have a watch and get ready for next year!