In the last week I’ve gone from um-ing and ah-ing over what skateboard to buy, to taking the plunge and diving right in.
I’ve taken my new skateboard to two skateparks in London, local parks in Epsom, Leatherhead and Ashstead, acquired my first skateboarding bruises, practiced kick turns and rolling in (off the smaller ramps!) and had a go, albeit unsuccessfully, at rock n rolls.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
I’d had my eye on a Santa Cruz ‘screaming hand’ design, but it won’t surprise readers that after stumbling on the website for Manchester’s Black Sheep Store I had to get their limited edition Descendants deck.
Husker Du may be may absolute favourite band from that era, but the design of the single skateboard deck available from their new online store doesn’t exactly inspire. A Black Flag deck, name-checked in NoFx’s book The Hepatitis Bathtub, might have been nice, but – like hardcore punk pioneers’ albums – it’s not widely available these days.
So, Descendants it was, and time to blow the dust off the MP3s of Milo Goes To College.
Twenty fours after placing the order, with a couple of quid extra for next day delivery, and the skateboard arrived with a handful of sticks and a Descendants flexidisk.
Now, kids, a flexidisk is like a record, but it’s so thin you need to place a penny on it to keep it steady. And a record is one of those black, round disks of vinyl that sell for £20 nowadays 😉
Despite a copy of SST’s Blasting Concept and records by Minor Threat, Fugazi and Grant Hart up in the loft, its been years since I had a record player to listen to them on. Still; free stuff!
All set with a skateboard, Son1 and I had a school holiday day out in London the next day, starting with a visit to Southbank’s undercroft skatepark. Arriving at 10am we had the place pretty much to ourselves for a bit, which was a relief.
After that it was over Waterloo Bridge to Covent Garden and shopping in Slam City Skates and Element for new trucks, wheels and hardware for Son1’s new deck. Staff in both shops were really helpful – he eventually chose to spend his savings at Element, and the woman there kindly assembled his board for him (making an infinitely better job of the grip tape than I usually do for him).
From there we headed south of the river again to Brixton and a short walk from the tube station to Stockwell skatepark.
Sunday saw a 7am visit to the local skatepark for an hour’s skateboarding with the whole place to myself (handily, as it meant nobody saw me fall twice on the same elbow, but also meant that I could try bigger ramps than I might with anyone else around).
The next day – a bank holiday – Son2 insisted on accompanying me with his scooter, which actually meant I stayed for longer. He is, however, a bad influence – ‘go on daddy, why don’t you go down that [much bigger] one’.
And that was my first seven days with a skateboard…