The one ‘retro’ inspired lifestyle movement that can honestly claim to speed ever forwards without fear of imploding under its own elitist gate or completist snobbery - is that of the Skateboarding Mods.
Since initial articles in magazines and blogs and the subsequent debates on internet blog-casts, the scene has grown from strength to strength alongside ever evolving extreme sporting technologies with parallelled advances in retro-styling of equipment and clothing. Quality products crafted with the modernist eye for style, super sleek long boards, stable, stream line and quick down hills. And terrifyingly twitchy slalom boards that soar down the same steep inclines whilst swerving through plastic cones, not for the faint hearted.
The original skateboarding- scooter- clubs that emerged at the spearhead of the scene have grown in size and number, some of them merging into hybrid skate-crews who travel around Europe and the UK to attend ‘Free rides’, weekend gathering around specially closed hills and steep graded super smooth tarmac roads, the better for long fast runs. One such ‘fellowship’ of scooterist skaters is The Blackheath Pandas alignment with The Croydon Scooter Club. Big Wave Dave (Croydon) and Dick D’mage (Panda) are both members of the highly exclusive Self-Proclaimed British Skateboarding Association
spBSA website philosophy reads ‘The British Skateboard Association is the first and best officially self proclaimed, non profit making, organisation of skateboarding based activity throughout the United Kingdom. Fuelled by an unbridled passion for the operation and aesthetic of the beautiful be-wheeled objects, the BSA is an unrivalled inspirational driving force within the sport. Experts in their own fields, BSA Team members both inspire and encourage high end skate athleticism as well as nurture and support safe recreational riding. Honed by practical flair, worldly experience and the rigorous entry criteria that team members must satisfy to qualify, physically and philosophically skilled, the pinnacle of incredible honours won and a symbol of excellence and verve, the BSA ride at the forefront of urethane based action’ (spBSA 20012).
The spBSA are proudly sponsoring the only British race this season sanctioned by the IGSA (International Gravity Sports).
Considered one of the most challenging races in Europe, Big Wave Dave is a contender in the men’s downhill category as well as being involved with the events complicated organisation. The need for Speed is urgent.
The world record top speed at ‘stand up’ downhill skateboarding is currently held at a lapel rippling 80.83 mph, a more relaxed 40mph being the norm on the informal and fun Free rides. At competition level however the teams take over, time for the echelon in skate athleticism to shine, fearless and svelte, leather clad in full face helmets, resplendent with team sponsor logos, a blur of corporate business, the bitter sweet consequence of a modern, successful and fast expanding sport.
From scooters to skateboards, skateboarding mod to skating modette, take a tip from the sharp skating in-crowd clique, pad-up, strap-up and look good when your shredding the road.
The skaters featured in the photographs included in this article are experienced athletes riding under strict supervision on closed roads. Always wear a helmet !