Ben Powell, former editor of Sidewalk, looks back on how it all began.
It’s fairly difficult to accurately date the memory of my first time riding a skateboard. It was an object that was always there, a relic of the original 1970’s craze that predated my birth, gathering dust in a corner of our coal house.
I’m not even sure who that first board actually belonged to if I’m honest, as it’s definitely hard to imagine my parents having been enthralled by the Californian based craze of ‘Sidewalk Surfing’ in the grim context of 1970’s West Yorkshire but, it was there, and myself and my brother found it.
“The skateboard, like the space it lived in, was something of an anomaly”
Looked at from today’s perspective, it was an inauspicious introduction to the thing that would go on to direct my life for the next three decades but everything has to start somewhere. We stumbled across this plastic banana board one summer holiday after growing tired of cricket bats, footballs and the other detritus that filled the space once reserved for deliveries of coal.
The skateboard, like the space it lived in, was something of an anomaly.
As far I remember it was unbranded. Simply a molded plastic skateboard, complete with a rudimentary kicktail, screwed on (no truck bolts yet!) roller-skate trucks, wobbly plastic wheels, and, perhaps most anomalously of all, emblazoned with the US flag and the word ‘Skate’.