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2nd Screening-Exist skatepark, Swansea, Sunday 10th November 2013.

5 Dec


Exist skatepark was the second venue for screening the film….the great thing about this was that the skatepark was closed for a major refurbishment so no one had been in there for a good 4 weeks…it was amazing to get back in and see what Ric and everyone had been up to for the last few weeks. The mammoth task of fitting a soundproof ceiling above the whole park had taken up most of the time. We decided to do the screening as a fundraiser for the park as the ceiling alone cost thousands…an expense the council planning department had forced upon the park in order for it to stay open. An expense no one will even notice as they skate in the park after it reopens but thanks to Ric and Kate and their determination to keep the park going in the face of the constant hurdles placed before them the park has lived on to fight another day. The screening happened amidst the chaos of the refit and under the shadow of the sword of Damacles the council were wielding. The un skinned frames of the new skatepark were a fitting backdrop for the film. A great crowd turned out on another Sunday evening and many of the faces from the first showing came along for a second viewing which was a great endorsement of the film, thanks to everyone who came along, it wasn’t the warmest of evenings so sitting in an empty warehouse for a couple of hours was a bit of a trial! No one left so that must say something, cheers!

I made a small programme for the premiere and had a few left to give out at ExistDownload one here if you missed out on the night
Tommy, Billy and Pedro came down.

Stars of the show…Tomsk, Jason, Ric and Greg

Tomsk, Arwyn and Kate who have all shaped and influenced the Swansea skate scene

Twiss interviewed in the film and projected up larger than life on the skatepark wall,
literally Over Ply Wood.

Tomsk, Bevan and Dan…the builders of ramps over the decades.

More screenings and a dvd very soon. Thanks for all the interest in the film and especially to everyone who has made it to see the film so far.


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!!!

Support your local indoor skatepark….Exist!

1 Mar

A skateboarding scene is built around the spots that are available. This can be the streets and architecture used creatively by skateboarders. This can be d.i.y. spots built by skateboarders using their own resources and ingenuity. This can also be council funded skateparks and ramps. Finally and currently most important in my eyes it can be a privately funded indoor park built at the owners cost both financially and in time spent. Initially the cost of building the park is squarely on the shoulders of anyone brave enough to attempt such a mammoth undertaking. The park then relies on paying customers to keep it afloat. Simple facts that I thought everyone grasped.

A privately funded indoor skatepark is largely a labour of love, as businesses go it is never going to make a fortune. I know from co-owning The Edge in Leicester that we rarely managed to make enough to pay ourselves even a basic wage. The money that came in through the door from paying customers went to paying off loans for materials, rent for the building, insurance, electricity bills, council tax and rates and this is all before any repairs and general upkeep.

For a large city like Swansea the council has never been forthcoming in providing a skatepark or facility of any quality. Not since Morfa stadium has there been a council funded facility that can be considered state of the art or reflecting the needs of skaters at the time. Morfa itself was the result of tireless work by local skaters and the culmination of years of attempting to work with the council to provide even the most basic facility. Swansea skaters have been forced to build their own ramps and facilities over the years and this has made the scene what it is today. Exist skatepark is the result of this attitude. It has been years in the making and is totally the result of hard work, dedication and passion. Ric and Kate have put everything on the line to make the skatepark happen.
support indoor parks

If someone goes out of their way to do this their effort needs to be reciprocated. The easiest way to do this is to go to the park, to pay for the privilege of having an indoor park in our city. A park that hasn’t just materialised out of nowhere but has taken years of planning, thousands of pounds of investment and hours of hard work. Every penny really does count to ensuring that the park survives, every entry fee, every cup of tea, every bag of crisps and pot noodle goes towards the next bill or sheet of plywood.

Working at the skatepark as I now do I have come across all kinds of amazing moments…young kids learning to drop in for the first time, people who could barely stand on a board when the park opened 18 months ago who now shred the place, skaters from the past who have dug out their boards again and hit the ramp…..friendships made. Conversely as with any gathering of young people I have seen some of the more unsavoury sides to youth….this is all good though. It’s always a learning process wether it be learning new tricks, sharing a space with others and generally getting on or respecting the environment that has been provided for you. The skatepark in it’s first 18 months has been all this and more.

This post is inspired by an incident at the skatepark where my belief that all skaters would share the same values was dented. I’m not going into any details suffice to say that trying to get away without paying isn’t cool for all the reasons laid out here. For the sake of a couple of quid is it really worth the hassle? It shows a lack of understanding of the sacrifices many have made, it shows a lack of respect for the efforts of others and worst of all it denies the skatepark the lifeline it needs to Exist. As Ric says in the interview below his goal for this year is to stay open. Buy that extra coffee, pay for your time in the park, get a sandwich in the park and not at Tesco round the corner…it is everyone’s park and everyone is responsible for it’s survival.