Here are a few of my favourite bits from some of London’s best skateparks. I’ve lived in London for almost 4 years and throughout that period I’ve spent a lot of time skating these little obstacles – I’m sure there are rad things I’ve forgotten but that’s only human so don’t hate me. If there’s anything you feel like should have been included then email me: firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll make it right. Peace.
The Taco at Mile End: Its name comes from the fact that it looks like a taco and the first person I heard call it this was Josh Cox (although he probably didn’t invent it). There are loads of things you can do with this but most people lock into feebles and grind around the edge. The back is a steep wallride and Smithy wallie’d over it (I think he’s the only person to do this). Be careful that you don’t sack-yourself as the taco shows no mercy. I haven’t seen anyone noseblunt it but that’s probably been done by some euro-skatepark-killer, the chances of sacking on a noseblunt are pretty high.
Stockwells Egg: This pump-bump is one of my favourite things at Stockwell. It really helps send you towards the deep bowl bit and stops you having to push as much. Whoever painted it like an egg is a genius, there’s another bump that’s painted like a breast but that’s faded and no one gives a shit about it – although it is basically the same obstacle. Ollie’s from flat to nosebonk on the yoke are a great sight to see and once you get the hang of it blasting ollie’s over it makes you feel like Matt Rodriguez.
Mudchute Thing: This little obstacle is real fun and has loads of ways you can skate it; as a whippy, manny pad, ledge to manny, whatever. Personally I like to wallie over the manny pad from the whippy and then skid out on the shitty floor at the edge of the park. The Hold Tight edit a few years ago with Witherup, Tanner and Sivell gave the manny pad a good thrashing, check that out.
Mile End Toblerone: A steep bank, steep hip, ledge set-up and mini-bowl all in one obstacle. The best thing to do here is grind/slide over the mini bowl on the top of the bank; it’s usually waxed like a bastard so don’t worry about sticking. I never really liked the mini-bowl that much but then someone painted it yellow and I was sold, it’s rad to pump around once and then pop out – anymore than once and you’re gonna be on some dizzy shit. Real bad men choose to ollie over the bowl, first person to do this was Smithy but I’ve seen Dan Clarke do it and I’m sure those euro-skatepark-guys have inward heeled it.
Kingston Grass-Gap: A relatively new park and I’ve only been once but it’s a rad park (despite the fact I need to get a train to it). The grass gap bit looks like something you’d build on THPS. The fake grass makes this little kicker to kicker legit. The best thing I’ve seen here is Tom Knox’s gap to bs lipslide down the edge. This spot is basically a rip-off of a famous Chinese street spot (made out of bricks), it’s cool that skatepark makers recognise real street spots. It’s worth the effort so go check it out.
Cantelowes Ledges: I’m gonna come right out and say it; I don’t like Cantelowes that much, the L shape annoys me and I’d rather go Mile End or Stockwell anyday. I don’t like the bowl, I don’t like the chunky flatbar, I don’t like the stupid driveway thing that blocks the rad bank. But I do like a lot of the locals, I love the long bank and the square-ass ledges are amazing. It’s their squareness which makes them so good, it’s pretty refreshing to know that you can definitely lock into your tricks – unlike at SB where that concept is lost. If anyone has seen Ben Cruickshank skate here then you know how good these ledges are, Cantelowes breeds ledge killers – that’s a fact. That’s how these ledges made the list. Because of the people who skate them.
Words and illustration: Sam Taylor