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Over Ply Wood exhibition

2 Jul

The exhibition went off in Mumbles last week…..I spent the Monday (16th June) with Jamie and Jon Jones setting up in the gallery. Jamie painted the Over Ply Wood text up onto one of the gallery walls and I hung the rest of the show….plenty of framed photographs and magazines which were easy to put up, a couple of Ramprockers and pre 70’s boards lent by Simon Main….Furr skateboards lent a couple of their excellent new boards and Dan lent his Welsh Tommy Crayon board so the boards pretty much covered the entire history of skateboarding with a local flavour of course…..Tomsk lent a snapped Steve Caballero that appeared on the cover of Edge Magazine in the late 80’s…snapped by Twiss down at Langland in fact. Jack Kirtley did an awesome drawing comic book style of the Rotherslade ramp story from the film. I had 2 display cases made, one of which contained a good stack of 70’s artefacts….a Dave Friar elbow pad kindly lent be Phil Rees, a sew on patch from Skate City in London and a pile of books and magazines from the craze days…..hopefully the pictures show most of the material on show. Thanks for all the loans, time spent and amazing help from everyone…..Tomsk, Greg, Frenchy, Jamie, Simon Main, Jon Jones, Jack Kirtley, Exist skatepark, Phil Rees, Sean who made the cases, Kerry Evans for the framing and advice, Ceri Roberts, Oriel Bach, Zac at Crossfire for some great publicity. Everyone who came down to see the exhibition…..more soon!!

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Over Ply Wood Premiere

6 Nov

It’s taken a couple of years but I have finally finished the film. There will always be tweaks and things I can do to make it smoother and more polished but as far as content it is done. Sunday was the first screening in front of an audience and it was a special audience as it was made up of many of the subjects of the film….this made it all the more nerve wracking in the run up to the premiere. Tomsk, Jason, Greg, Howard, Evs, Dan, Ric, Kate, Ty, Simon….all in the film and all in the room. I had been worried all week about the technicalities; will the projector work? will the sound work? will anyone show up? No need to worry….it was awesome, the room was full, the film showed pretty much smoothly, the sound worked fine thanks to Greg Fabb who raced home to get his p.a. when it turned out my cable didn’t reach the amp in the cafe.

Poster for Kitchen Table screening

Poster for Kitchen Table screening

There was an amazing response to the film and everyone got into it with plenty of cheering for the skating.
So there were representatives from all the decades of Swansea skating in the audience…couldn’t have been a better night! Thanks everyone for turning up on a soaking wet night, thanks for everyone who travelled and I hope this coming Sunday at Exist will be half as good which will make it amazing too!
Thanks to Adam and Anna and everyone at The Kitchen Table cafe who gave up their cafe and their time for the evening, the perfect venue for the premiere.

The audience is building for the premiere. #overplywood

On to the next screening which is at Exist Skatepark in Swansea on Sunday 10th November at 5.30pm….it’s a benefit for the skatepark so all money from the £2 entry price goes to the current skatepark refurb. The skatepark is currently closed for renovation and doesn’t open until mid November but the miniramp will be open on the night of the screening and it will be a good chance to checkout the new layout of the park and contribute to the woodfund. See you there and thanks for all the support!!!

Main’s skateboard collection and the Paul Conibear Ramprocker.

28 Feb

After being in contact with Con and hearing the stories of the fabled Paul Conibear Ramprocker I made it my mission to track one down. It proved to be a very simple mission; I asked Tomsk if he had one and he said no but Main has one in his collection! I texted Main and within a couple of days I had the legendary board in my possession. The advert for Con’s Ramprocker is on the bottom right of this page from Skateboard! Magazine.Skateboard! magazine 1970's Ramprocker ad 2

Not only that but a large pile of even older skateboards…the standout being the Roller Derby board with composite wheels which I have done a kind of photo shoot with below. I didn’t dare to give it a roll for fear of damaging the clay wheels which I don’t know how fragile they are. It’s a bit board porn but I can’t say how many of these things are still around. It was first made in 1959 and was the first ever mass produced skateboard. (Pictures are all clickable for a better and larger view)

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So I took the Ramprocker down to it’s ancestral home at Langland carpark a couple of months ago and had a roll around and took these pictures. Thanks Main for loaning me your valuable collection. It’s been rad to get a feel for the old boards and made me appreciate Con’s achievements on a skateboard even more as it’s a bitch to ride compared with how easy we have it these days.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMain shows off his Ramprocker

con at gorseinon bowlCon grinding the kinked Gorseinon bowl on his Ramprocker

More of Ron’s cine film…South Africa 1978.

14 Feb

This film was taken by Ron ‘Milk’ Williams in 1978 in South Africa. I first got in contact with Ron through Paul Conibear. Con plays a major role in the story of skateboarding in Swansea. Through conversations with Con i discovered there were several chances to get some actual film of skateboarding in the 70’s, I had already found some photographs through Con and Frenchy and located some good material in Skateboard! Magazine. Film though was a different matter but i had been lucky with video from the early 80’s so anything was possible. Con remembered going on filming trips with legendary surfer and film maker Rod Sumpter but that avenue closed as the films of Con hadn’t survived the years.
Another friend of Con’s was Ron Williams who now lives in Australia, originally from Porthcawl Ron had filmed the local surf scene in the 70’s but had also filmed Con’s skating too. Best of all the films had survived and Ron was more than willing to send them over to be used in Over Ply Wood. I couldn’t believe my luck, film of 70’s skating in Swansea and as it turns out in London, Cornwall and Europe too!! The films arrived and i went over to Porthcawl to collect them from a friend of Ron’s.
Not only was there plenty of 70’s skateboarding on the 4 400ft reels of film there was a ton of surfing too. The film below is the South Africa trip. Loads of the actual surfing but also beach shots of the U.K. team members, a parade through town of all the competing teams, evidence of apartheid with signs on the beach for whites only….this was before everyone really started to take notice of the crimes taking place in South Africa and the international boycotts started to gain mainstream acceptance. So a historic piece on many levels.
Thanks again to Ron Williams for his films and Mark Knights for a great job on digitising them. More clips to follow soon.

Over Ply Wood film archive….surfing at Llangennith in the 70’s.

31 Jan

The cine film from Ron over in Australia was not only skateboarding in the 1970’s. In fact the majority of it is surfing, this next clip was filmed down at Llangennith at the end of the Gower Peninsula. One of the things that makes it special is that Ron filmed in the water, not sure how easy it was to come by waterproof housing for the camera in the 70’s but it can’t have been cheap. I got the films from Ron for the skateboarding but the added bonus of all the amazing surf footage has made it a real pleasure and a privilege to watch. Thanks again Ron and Mark for making it all look so good.

Surfing at Llangennith in the 70’s from Jono on Vimeo.

Cine film, Skate City and the 1970’s.

29 Jan

Skateboard! magazine 1970's Skate City article...banner title
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This being the first real post i thought i would make it a big one.

Contributions for the project have been almost continuous and very generous. I have had a wealth of photographs sent to me covering all eras of skateboarding and a similar story with video. As technology has changed over the years and formats have come and gone then I have been given every imaginable form of video and in this case cine film.
Through the facebook page and Paul Conibear I heard that one of his friends had some cine film of skateboarding in the 70’s. I never dreamed there would be so much and of such good quality. Ron Williams was originally from Porthcawl but now lives in Australia, a surfer and documenter of his travels, surfing and skating. His films include a lot of surfing filmed in Wales and around the world captured from both the beach and in the water. Rare items, seen by few and i can’t imagine many others at the time having cameras, underwater housing, access to boats and planes from which to film, all of which are included in Ron’s reels. To cut a long story short Ron sent me the reels over from Australia!! Thanks Ron for your trust and generosity, unlike the video files of today there is only one copy of cine film, a fragile, sellotaped together thin reel of celluloid so these things are hard to come by and keep safe.
I thought it would be easy to simply set up a projector and use a camcorder to film it off the wall. Experimenting with this it never really worked, the film jumps around as it is projected, the colours don’t look as vivid as they do on the film and the brightness of the image tapers off at the edges…getting a proper digital transfer seemed the only way to get the film looking as good as it deserves to.
Again the facebook page came to the rescue. I was contacted by Mark Knights who has skated for years and also happens to work at a film archive, when he heard about the prospect of cine film arriving with some unseen skate footage from the 70’s he leapt at the chance to get involved. Mark has gone on to convert most of the cine film and has just started converting some of the Vhs tapes too. I figured if this is worth doing then it’s worth doing well so getting all the conversions done professionally seemed the right way to go.
So the films are being done and the results are arriving and much of it isn’t specifically relevant to the story in Over Ply Wood. It is however super interesting and unseen so it needs an outlet somewhere. I plan to regularly post clips here that can’t be used in the film. This first one has links to the story however. Skate City on the banks of the Thames right in the shadow of Tower Bridge in London is the subject of the first clip. Alongside the film I was also lent a stack of old Skateboard! magazines at the weekend which have a ton of coverage of the building, opening and use of Skate City in 1977. So thanks to Mike Pearson for loaning your treasured collection!
The article below is taken from Skateboard! issue 2 which came out in October 1977. This would set the time of the opening of Skate City as the summer of 1977…Andy Vost told me one of his friends was skating at Skate City as the Sex Pistols boat party sailed by so it was up and running on 7th June 1977….remind me who that was Andy?!
Skateboard! magazine 1970's Skate City article

Skateboard! magazine issue 2. October 1977.

Skateboard! magazine issue 2. October 1977.

Skateboard! magazine 1970's Skate City article 2

Con was skating at Skate City as he talks about in the interviews I have done with him and here is a picture Vince sent me of Con blazing the ‘black bowl’ but i’m not sure of the details of where this is from or when it was taken..in a magazine i think?
Con at Skate CitySkateboard! magazine 1970's Si Napper interview 1
I have included this Simon Napper interview as some of the photographs are down at Skate City and also Si mentions Con on the last page as being the “only skater outside of London or Brighton to measure up”!! High praise indeed. Click on the images to get a large size that makes it more readable.
Skateboard! magazine 1970's Si Napper interview 2Skateboard! magazine 1970's Si Napper interview 3

Below is the first in a series of unedited film clips taken from Ron’s cine film. Skate City ‘Black Bowl’…the film has only seen by a handful of people and not for a while i think. Let me know any names and i can add some details about the skaters to the clip.

Skate City from Jono on Vimeo.