Ben Cook, Bluntslide over the doorway. | Photo: Adam Todhunter.
Hey Ben, good to see the spot still going strong nearly two years after we last spoke, is the situation with the spot still relatively safe?
Hi mate! As far as we know, yeah. We've really been lucky to have had the spot for so long, especially with it being relatively open unlike most other spots. It ain't been a great year for UK DIY really with the sad news of Needleside, Dustbowl and more recently Nottingham DIY being knocked down - RIP! We did have a scare one day late last year when we were driving up towards the spot and saw a load of building materials and diggers but it turned out there was an Aldi being built over the road. Less of a trek for beers and food now though so happy days. I guess it's ours until the B&Q next door who own the land decide to sell it. They do make a fair bit of cash out of us being there though so hopefully that's keeping them sweet for now.
Early spine build. | Photo: Tom Cruickshanks.
What have you built over the last couple of years?
There's been a fair bit since the last time we spoke really. A couple of little things like the nipple hump, slappy curb and small hip on the side of the funbox. The main projects last year though were the flatbank and doorway quarter. The quarter was started in the dead of winter so naturally took ages, but as I'd just got out of a cast from breaking my leg around the same time it was rad to have something to focus on. It's about 5ft high and 12ft across, it turned out and skates so well. The flatbank was already there but was terrible really as it had a slight bit of tranny to it but in a bad way so that was levelled out and is perfect now. More recently we've been working on a 4-5ft spine that should be finished before the jam next month. Can't wait to skate that!
Flatbank directly after being de-trannied. | Photo: Ben Cook.
The place must have seen some heavy sessions recently, with Red Bull coming up etc, what's the best thing you've seen go down so far?
Aw man there's always rad stuff going down there, especially now the sun has returned. Yeah the Red Bull lads smashed it, Sharkey, Daryl and Korahn putting down endless lines. They seemed super stoked on the place which was good to hear. I'd say recently though, Wakey local turned honorary Mackem, Frank Helder, has been killing it there on a daily basis. I've been filming a lot with him there the past couple months and he's forever coming up with new lines. Barely even get to skate myself when I go there with him these days.
George Redhead transfers quarter to bank. | Photo: Ben Livesey.
With you and the Newcastle DIY within 10 miles of each other, and it being such a tight-knit scene up there, how much crossover between the two crews is there?
Well the two crews have known and skated with each other long before either spot was around so we're all pretty tight. Both crews are happy to lend a hand to the other if asked. I've spoke to Sean Tracey who's involved with the Newcastle spot a few times about trying to organise some kind of joint skate jam at both spots over the space of a weekend but we've never really got round to it. Hopefully that's something we could sort out sometime after The Moon jam next month, maybe at the end of the summer.
You guys are having your second jam next month, can you tell us a little about that?
Yeah it is only our second one, the first being just before we last spoke in 2015. That one was to raise money for the spots building fund but this year's jam will also be to help raise money for the skateboarding charity SkatePAL. For anyone that hasn't heard of them, basically they're a British charity based in Palestine who help and support the lives of the young people there through skateboarding. I'll be volunteering with them for a while at the end of the summer, helping teach skateboarding and maintaining the skatepark they built there in 2015. Hopefully we'll see a good turn out on the day, see some rad skating and raise some decent cash for the charity. Native Skate Store as usual are hooking up all the product for the comps and there'll be a BBQ and beers on sale to keep everyone going.
Richie Mann matches Ben's Blunt Frontside! | Photo: Danny Jones.
What's next on the agenda? Is there more interest from the guys to build street obstacles?
Well our first priority is to get this spine finished. As we speak it only now needs the coping attached and final layer of crete putting on so it's not far off done. There's also a new up ledge/manny pad half done too. As well as the jam we're involved in this year's Red Bull DIY comp again so we'll just be focusing on getting as much rad shit built as we can before end of July when that finishes and hopefullywin some more materials/tools like last year. In terms of what to build there's actually an abundance of street shit so I'd love to see more tranny popping up, it'll really help with the flow of the spot too.
Good chatting mate - hopefully see ya at the jam!