Lockdown Stories #2

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Once again, we thank all of you who kindly contributed your skate stories for this episode of Lockdown Stories.

Chris Eccleston

Chris and the company he works for – Wrekin Products – made great efforts to raise money for our NHS.

“After the first strange week of lockdown passed, as things started to feel like the ‘new normal’, we began discussing ways we could enthuse our staff at Wrekin Products to get out and exercise and, hopefully, raise some money for a good cause at the same time.

We came across the Run for Heroes campaign on Twitter. A simple idea; pay £5 to the virgin money page and run 5km in your best time. A bonus offered by our Sales Director was that for anyone who beat his personal best he would donate a further £5!

Only one problem… there’s no way I’m going running!

So, I stuck my GoPro on my helmet, put my skate shoes on, loaded Strava and set off on my lunch break from working at the kitchen table to skate 5km around Lichfield as quickly as possible!

I rode my popsicle with a set of turned-down longboard wheels. It was raining mildly, as we come to expect here in the UK but manageable really and I only bailed twice due to loosing traction, thankfully only a wet arse to note!

Total time was 20.21 which I was happy with considering it was the first time I’ve ever done 5km whilst timing myself! I enjoyed the experience so, after completing the challenge, I set about looking for the next thing we could all do.”

We hope to hear from Chris again about his next challenge!

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Mathilde Gerbaut

Mathilde, originally from Nancy in France, moved to Manchester last September having spent some time on the Isle of Man and in Belfast.

She humbly opens her email to us with “my experience is nothing extraordinary nor high skills related as I’m a beginner but I thought it was still worth sharing” and we are so pleased you did! Big respect to anyone who has a go at making their own skate deck!

“For years and years I’d been repeating that I wanted to learn skating and, just like lots of other things, never did it – I was too busy and didn’t know anyone who was skating. In February, I met my boyfriend Nick, who has a skateboard and a longboard and in March the lockdown began so I had no excuses not to jump on a skateboard.

At first, I tried a few times with Nick’s skateboard and really enjoyed it. As he had some tools at his house we decided that instead of buying me my own deck, we’d make one.

He guided me at the start to help me in the first steps and lent me trucks and wheels, then I started drawing some sketches, cutting out the shape of the board, sanding and painting. In a few hours my first longboard was born!

I’m not very skilled in terms of working with wood so it’s not perfect but good enough to begin with and I cruised around the city and used it instead of walking each time I had to go somewhere.

Now it’s been 2 months and I am trying to learn some tricks with Longboard Manchester; a small group of people of all ages (not only students) who gather once a week to skate together.

I’ve only been to two meetings but usually we are about 10 and we have a cruise around the city before finding somewhere, like a car park, where the ground is quite smooth to practice tricks and talk to each other (some are downhill skaters too). It’s a beginner-friendly group, which is great because it’s not easy to start!

I really like my homemade longboard but realise now that the shape isn’t really convenient so I’m thinking about the next one, which will probably also be homemade! Nick and I have never made a board before but we both like homemade things and always try to make instead of buying.”

Great inspiration to us all, especially is these crazy consumer-driven times.

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Vita Zorge

We came across Vita on Instagram when Hop Kingdom shared a clip of her first drop-in. Here’s Vita’s story:

“My name is Vita Zorge and I am a mother of three from London and, quite frankly, discovered skateboarding about 3 months ago while in lockdown.

At the very start, I used an old skateboard that we had in garage for years. I won’t lie – I thought just for a joke I will try this! About 3 days on the board, with my 31st birthday coming soon, I decided to buy my first complete set.

Here I would love to say thank you to Slam City skate shop for answering all my questions and suggesting which one to buy. I ended up with pretty Birdhouse complete and, I guess, that is where my journey started for real.

I started with streets and took my little ones with me to the skate park and still remember the first time I went down the bank. That is the moment which excites me. Some say I am crazy. I would say adventurous. And I love crazy!

As I progressed, I have also learned how to drop the ramps which I thought I would never do – huge shout out to Hop Kingdom for support and the amazing public. Love that place so much!

For me, skateboarding takes me out to places I have never been before. I have met many new people and, I must say, the skateboarding community is by far the best! Skateboarding has taught me to fall, stand up and try again.

I can’t believe I was scared of it at the very start and now I am totally obsessed. I cannot wait and see where skateboarding takes me further.”

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Sabina Edwards

Yep, thought I’d add a little about what I’ve been up to in the lockdown and as we come out of it. Lockdown was a great opportunity to get back into the skatepark and refresh my skatey ability.

Budds Lane Skatepark in Bordon, Hants is only a few years old and a great all round park for everyone of all abilities. I’ve met some great young people here who positively encourage each other, myself included. My lovely friend Natasha came up a few weeks back and we larked about with a variety of boards. This edit cracks me up every time!

Natasha is an awesome skater and this video doesn’t do her any favours (sorry!) but she is certainly an inspiration and am looking forward to our next sesh together.

Last week I met these lads who had travelled down from Church Cookham as well as Digby and Freya, who I believe are locals so I hope to meet them again too.

I even went out a bought a new skateboard to add to the quiver.

Local Ink & Skate shop : Shrunken Head Inc

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Still looking for inspirational stories from every area of skateboarding so do send them in to info@thrillmagazine.com. So, until next time, skate safe!

All words and images belong to individual contributors.