This month we are celebrating Go Skateboarding Day. I wanted to feel the pulse of London’s skateboarding scene and find out where cool kids hang out – but wanted to go to the less beaten tracks. This led me to explore South of the River Thames.
Unlike what many North Londoners tend to believe, there’s a lot going on South of the River Thames! A bit more secluded from the herds of tourists, South London is a diamond in the rough. Walking around, you feel that the landscape is a little bit less polished, a bit more urban and edgy. Nobody here is really trying to prove anything. People just do what they’re into. As far as I’m concern this is really cool!
Since this month we are celebrating Go Skateboarding Day I decided to find out where the cool South Londoner skateboarders are meeting up and having their fun. I found two spots that are THE places to see and be seen around these shores.
Brixton Beach (aka. Stockwell Skatepark)
Dunes of concrete are not exactly my idea of a paradisiacal beach, but somehow the name Brixton Beach is quite fitting. Just off the high street you can find this huge skate park. The atmosphere on a sunny Saturday afternoon is absolutely electrifying. Even if you’re not into skateboarding, you can certainly feel the buzz and excitement of the skaters. The Stockwell Skatepark was built 1970s and has been well used ever since. Around here, you can find not only skateboarders, but also practitioners of other extreme sports, such as BMX. Even today the park remains popular and has been skated by the likes of Bam Margera, John Cardiel and Jason Lee and the Stereo Sound Agency.
When I visited it, one of the features I liked the most was seeing all sorts of people using this park, even small kids and whole families. It is definitely a place to relax, hang out and see some skaters trying amazing tricks.
Southbank Skate Park
Located underneath the Southbank Centre, a complex of artistic venues on the South Bank of the River Thames, you will find this small skate park. But don’t underestimate it based on its size. For more than 40 years the Southbank Skate Park has been the beating heart of the London skateboarding scene. Everyone who is anyone in the London skateboarding community has been to Southbank. Coming here you will find not only very experienced skateboarders, but also young kids trying their first tricks. The park is comprised of several ledges, banks and stairs – the perfect place to try out the latest routines. This place is so legendary that it has become a tourist attraction in its own right. In the evenings or weekends, not only you find talented skateboarders practicing their new tricks but also a lot of people checking them out.
What I love the most about this location is the fact that you have this skate park in the heart of one of the most vibrant cultural scenes of the city. Somehow, more well established and accepted forms of art mingle with extreme sports and street art. For me, this conveys the essence of London: free spirit, not caring about labels or conventions.