Five Skate Spots

In the era of affordable global travel it is now common practice for skaters to fly to an anonymous Beijing training level to log their park-honed NBDs, before stopping off in New York to pop off, onto or over some corrugated metal to be sure to earn their East-Coast-eye credibility and cover all bases. But there is something about these kaleidoscopic travel brochure video parts that leaves me cold.

There is a lot to be said for staying at home – an authenticity that shines through when skaters are clearly local to a spot, chill there with their homies and principally terrorise that particular spot over a concentrated period of time, resulting in video parts in which their adopted stomping grounds features heavily. According to age, all skaters will have their own eras and documented scenes which appealed to them.

Nothing makes a section like the confidence and sense of belonging radiated by a skater who clearly knows every chip and crack that their habitat could throw at them, and therefore takes those extra pushes in full comfort, exhausting every possible route that the spot has to offer.

Some of my favourite examples of skaters putting in work at their local mecca – not necessarily for the entirety of the part, but just sections in which the skater’s go-to spot is undeniably prominent. So without further ado, here is an ode to a few of the stand out spots.

Hotel De Ville, Lyon. Long before the The Guillotine took his razor sharp skills to California, he’d already spent his formative years absolutely rinsing the double-tiered ledge plaza Hotel De Ville in his native Lyon. This sterling part from 1995 puts his mayorial status of HDV beyond doubt.

Fairfields, Croydon. This O.G London flowerpot mecca represents the early stomping grounds of former Blueprint Skateboards legend and Isle Skateboards head honcho Paul Shier. It was hard to pick a particular Shier part since he’s torn this spot a new one in virtually every part he’s had, but ‘Anthems’ seemed a decent medium since the part opens and closes there, whilst he deals with almost every possible route available at Fairfields Hall through the course of the part.

Stalin Square, Prague. Horvat is without doubt one of the smoothest operators Europe has ever produced, and his ‘Focus’ part from the long-running video magazine Puzzle shows why he will forever be synonymous with the equally smooth red marble mecca that Prague has to offer.

Third and Army, San Francisco. O.G Tech wizard Henry Sanchez killed it harder than most men. Some of his finest work is the sheer amount of ludicrously difficult ledge and manual lines he executed at 3rd and Army, most of which he opted to handle at gale force speed. Sanch also desecrated the holy grounds of Pier 7 on the regular around this same period, but since the honour of King Loc’ at that spot has already been awarded to his honourable associate Marcus McBride, and the fact that the first minute and a half of this compilation shows Henry bringing absolute firepower to the rounded edges and kicker-over-horn features of 3rd and Army.

Pulaski Park, Washington D.C. The part that sparked the article. An absolute breath of fresh air, this part captures that local vibe and familiarity that so many parts fail to evoke these days. There’s a lot of heart in this one, not to mention some of the finest skateboarding to be collected in one place this year. Worrest hits everything Pulaski has to offer in this masterpiece, putting a huge smile on my face whilst evoking memories of Andy Stone, Pepe Martinez ( R.I.P) and Darren Harper all at once.

Milton Keynes Bus Station. Now I know that listing two parts from the same UK vid makes this list a little Anglo-centric, but you can’t mention Shier at Fairfields without giving credit where it’s due to British ledge skating pioneer and all round G Rob Selley and his absolute destruction of the MK bus station ledges ( long before it was adapted into a legal skate plaza due to hard work by the man himself ) . I am using the spot definition loosely, also including the very similar ledges that were found just across the street between the bus and train station in Milton Keynes. Before it’s time with pioneering European switch stance game and balling switch mongo lines for days, this part is an absolute gem.

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