What’s It Like To Live In Britain’s Biggest Indoor Skate Park? We Ask BMX Superstar Kriss Kyle…

He’s Been Living There For Years!

Kriss Kyle pens an autograph at the Red Bull Local Hero Tour. All photos by Oliver

It’s safe to say that BMX superstar Kriss Kyle is living the dream. He’s 22 years old, one of the top pros on the scene, and he lives in a skate park.

Surely there has to be a downside to all this madness? Well… no. Not really.

The Scottish rider has been absolutely killing it on camera over the past couple of years, and his sponsors now include Red Bull, Nike and Unit 23 – the park which he also now calls home.

We caught up with Kriss when he rolled into town for the Red Bull Local Hero Tour to find out how exactly he ended up living in the largest indoor skate park in the United Kingdom.

“Well it’s quite a long story,” he laughs. “But I’ll cut it short. I’ve been riding for about 12 years now, and where I’m from, Stranraer, is a tiny little town in the middle of nowhere. They have a skate park but it’s not very much – there are four ramps and they’re pretty tiny.

“So, me and my friends would get a train through to Unit 23 in Dumbarton. It was a three and a half hour train ride, and it got to the point where all my friends had quit riding, so I’d be making the train journey by myself at 14 or 15 years old.

“It’s every kids dream waking up in the UK’s largest indoor skate park and honestly I’ve had the best childhood ever growing up there.”

“Being from such a small town and going to the big city and getting all these trains was kind of intimidating, but my love for BMX meant nothing could stop me from going to ride.”

It’s cool to hear that even at such a young age Kriss was dedicated enough to make a three and a half hour commute on his own – and it’s clear to see in his riding and his manner that his love for the bike has only grown since.

Without that kind of passion and personal drive, the steps that followed wouldn’t have been possible. And he definitely wouldn’t be living in Unit 23.

The rider continued: “I started making friends at Unit and staying with them, and so I’d go up for a weekend and my mum would give me a couple of days off school. When she’d say ‘right you need to come home’ though, I’d be like ‘nah, I’m not coming home’.

“There’s always something happening. We have a tattoo gun and some of my friends are covered in them… They are just the worst tattoos as well!”

“I just wanted to stay and ride, so, I would stay up there with my friends and I ended up staying longer and longer until the guy that owned the skate park, Chick Mailey, said ‘look man, if you want to live in the skate park, you can.’”

It goes without saying that Kriss didn’t need a second invitation to move in, and the homely operation has somewhat grown since he first set up camp there as well…

“At first it was just me,” he recalls. “But now there are twelve of my best friends living there as well, and it’s like a hotel inside. It’s crazy!

“The best part of it is that there’s always something happening. Every night. We have a tattoo gun – probably three of mine were done there, but some of my friends are covered in them. They are just the worst tattoos as well…

“My friends are all kind of crazy as well; always doing mad stuff. There’s always a party and you can just ride whenever you want.

“It’s every kids dream waking up in the UK’s largest indoor skate park and honestly I’ve had the best childhood ever growing up there.”

“I’ll be bleeding from everywhere, sweating hard and running on nothing, but when you land a new trick, there’s nothing that can beat it.”

Having such a sick set up has undoubtedly helped develop Kriss into the rider he is today; known for his creative lines and sick style in the park.

This is clear to see as he shreds at House of Vans in front of the kids that have come along to meet him on the Local Hero Tour, and it’s even more apparent when you watch the insane edits he’s released in recent years.

“I love filming,” he admits. “It’s my favourite thing to do. I’ll seriously end up trying something for about four and a half hours until I get it, because when I do get it, it’s the most rewarding feeling ever.

“I’ll be bleeding from everywhere, sweating hard and running on nothing, but when you land that, nothing can beat it.

“After each trip I go on I come back thinking it was the best trip ever. It’s crazy the places your BMX can take you.”

It has certainly taken Kriss a lot of places so far, and it’s sure to take him on many more insane adventures in the not so distant future.

This is one young rider who will doing his thing at the top of the pro scene for some time to come.

The Red Bull Local Hero tour gives young BMX enthusiasts a once in a lifetime opportunity to ride local skate parks with top riders Bruno Hoffman, Simone Barraco, Anthony Perrin and Kriss Kyle.

Click here to check out the tour dates.

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