I like skateboarding as a hobby, not a job

William Montgomery rides particularly good. Or better: Big Chicken shreds, already with a signature. He’s just seven years old but has already visited more than 75 skateparks from coast to coast in the United States of America, during his school holidays.

“It’s fun to roll quietly through airports”, he says, never forgetting the most important thing: skateboarding is for fun. Meet this very special Trucks and Fins’ skatepark hunter.

So, William, first tell us about your nickname: why ‘big chicken’, what’s the story behind it?

My dad got a Big Chicken Beer sticker from henhouse brewery in Santa Rosa, and I put it on my helmet, and we decided it should be the name for my Instagram account.  

Explain a bit more about the drawing on your helmet. Who made it?

It is a Nutcase helmet with a bunch of travel and skate stickers on it that I have collected.

You have visited about seventy-five parks. How did you manage your time with school stuff and other activities?

Exploring the Bay Area on weekends (we have a lot of spots) and taking my board with me on holidays. Fun to roll quietly through airports.

Can you choose the best skatepark from all these seventy-five?

No, but I really liked Vans Huntington Beach, Woodward Tahoe, Fremont, Cookeville and Potrero

In the last couple of months, you have travelled from coast to coast. Was that all planned? How did you program your tour?

I just go wherever my mom plans (we like to travel) and then my dad helps me go to skateparks while there :)

When did you start to skate? Tell us a bit of your personal story, and about your dreams regarding skateboarding.

I started in April 2020. I saw my friend Jack’s skateboard and wanted one, so my parents got a penny board for me, and I used it at Shredders Skate Camp. Big thanks to Chris there for encouraging me.  He said I was good and my dad’s friend Mark gave me a bigger board. Reese Forbes then taught me to go fast and the guys at Potrero help me. I like skateboarding as a hobby, not a job.  

Considering we are a community-focused directory, tell us how important are skatepark hunters like you for the people around the world who like to find new spots to ride and new places to discover. 

My dad likes Trucks and Fins, especially when we travel to new places like Portugal, so we don’t travel to a boring one. I like to see parks to ride before going, so I can imagine what I can do there.

Instagram Big Chicken

By Manu Silva

Nazaré skatepark tour - the Wave

Our mission to skate every skatepark continues. This time we went to Nazaré, a village in the West Portugal coast, known worldwide for its giant waves. To honour that legacy and prestige, the local skatepark features a handmade concrete wave. You don’t find anything like this in the rest of the country. While elderly woman display long stalls of dried fish, waiting for the sun to do its work (the same fish their husbands, brothers and sons caught in the Atlantic Sea); while surfers are keen to surf the famous giant waves in Praia do Norte, an achievement only for the brave; while tourists save moments for eternity by taking pictures in the promontory O Sítio; while locals and outsiders enjoy the seafood, the Trucks and Fins crew proved that Nazaré is a place to skate as well. After leaving the Pousada da Juventude in Alfeizerão with its rural landscape and family of sheep behind, we went straight to Nazaré Skatepark to check out the vibe and a special feature: a concrete wave of 2,20 meters, which makes this small, but fun park, unique. “There’s no other like this in Portugal”, says João Sales, chairman of Wasteland Skateparks, responsible for Nazaré Skatepark’s profound renovation in 2014. “Once we were in Nazaré, we thought it would make sense to invite surfers to skate this park. I was inspired by a park in the Basque Country in Spain, which has this special characteristic. It’s totally handmade, the concrete was placed manually, and it turned out to be something between vertical and inverted. It’s a 2,20-meter wave, something really cool”, he adds. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});   This was one of the first public skateparks built by Wasteland Skateparks. Building is not really the right word; adapting is the one. “There was a previous park here. The actual mayor, Walter Chicharro, who decided to develop sports activities in Nazaré, asked us to renovate the park with a small budget. We did that”, João Sales proudly remembers, explaining why he had to build small ramps on the bottom side of the park: “There’s a wall and a parking lot. We always must adjust to the surroundings.” Nazaré Skatepark was not made for big crowds. It fits about 15 riders at the same time, and you can skate three possible lines by exploring the quarterpipes, the delta, the spine, and other street obstacles. Some improvements are needed, though, João Sales acknowledges this. “It’s more a bureaucracy issue, but because we have a big affection for this park and for the local skaters, sometimes we come here to fill some concrete holes and to fix the rails”, says the Wasteland Skateparks’ chairman. This park has one major plus point: its astonishing location. Going to this village in the Silver Coast of Portugal is a full experience. Even better with a skateboard. Visit Nazare skatepark Find out more about Wasteland skateparks

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São Pedro da Cadeira skatepark tour – the pool bowl

Our mission to skate every skatepark continues. This time we went to São Pedro da Cadeira in Portugal, a parish in the municipality of Torres Vedras, about 55 km from Lisbon. This bowl with pool coping stands out because it's also one of the cleanest parks in Portugal. All that thanks to the local community. Find out why. Skating with the Atlantic wind behind you. The West Portugal coast has something mystique and spreads it out all over its territory. Going to São Pedro da Cadeira skatepark is all about breathing pure air whilst flowing on some super mellow concrete. Built in 2020 by Wasteland Skateparks during the pandemic, this concrete park features a quarterpipe, a ledge, a delta, and a bowl with pool coping and tiles (assuring the unique crack sound. Grrrrrrr!). It is probably one of the cleanest parks in Portugal too thanks to the local community who nurtures and fosters the spot with love, like polishing the stone coping before our arrival!  “It’s really a clean place because the park where the skatepark is located is very well cared for”, says João Sales, from Wasteland Skateparks, praising the local parish council members: “One of them is a skater and he is constantly taking care of the joints and putting the varnish on the coping.” The local love for skateboarding has another chapter that must be told: “This is a small skatepark, for the local neighbourhood, but it was even smaller in the initial design. The chairman of the parish council asked us to enlarge it, we said it was impossible for the available budget, but he helped out by paying the concrete. Thanks to this we were able to extend the skatepark, by building more obstacles with no extra costs.” (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});   São Pedro da Cadeira is a parish with a population of 5217 inhabitants belonging to the municipality of Torres Vedras, about 55 km from Lisbon. To respond to the skate fever the city council has invested in this facility inside of the Parque Verde Nossa Senhora da Nazaré, witch contrasts with the agriculture field and vineyards in the region. The bowl is definitely worth a visit, João Sales says why: “It’s not too deep because the skate scene in Portugal in 2020 was like 95 per cent street and 5 per cent transition. In this bowl the beginners lose their fear and have this pool coping with tiles that looks like we are dropping in on an empty backyard pool in someone’s house.” Extra tip: when you leave the park take a few minutes to enjoy the view from the Assenta Beach cliffs while eating the regional cake with a shape of a horseshoe. It will lift your spirit for riding the next day. Visit São Pedro da Cadeira skatepark Find out more about Wasteland skateparks

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A skateboard is the best thing you can take with you on travel adventures

Trucks and Fins welcomes Bros Around The Globe who will share with us their inspiring travel adventures. In their first blog you will get a comprehensive perspective on how traveling and skateboarding share the same ‘mantra’: freedom and connecting people. So simple. So pure. So healthy. If you’ve stumped upon this, chances are you’re thinking about bringing your skateboard with you on your next trip. And if you haven’t thought about packing it, you should, because you’ll probably regret it if you don’t. As a skater, a skateboard is the best thing you can take with you on a travel adventure, besides well, your skate shoes, of course. Whether you’re heading out to the next town over or abroad to a new country when you take your board with you, the possibilities are endless, and Trucks and Fins can navigate the skate along the way or even help find a place to stay.  Though it may feel awkward to carry and seem like extra weight at first, the benefits of bringing your skateboard will soon reveal themselves in more ways than one. Between waiting for buses, taxis, trains, and all the downtime that travel provides, your board is sure to keep you occupied when you're not seeking out new skate spots or exploring a new city on four wheels. With a board in tow, you have the ability to get from point A to point B, all while expressing the creative outlet we call skateboarding. As you hit the streets to take in the new sights, sounds, and smells, the pure joy from kicking, pushing, and rolling in a foreign place is a feeling second to none.  “Skaters respect other skaters no matter where they may find themselves in the world and there’s a special connection in a shared passion and lifestyle” Besides skating legendary spots, parks, and plazas, you’ll quickly learn your skate doubles as a universal language for making new friends. Not to mention it helps you navigate language barriers and tap into skating’s tight-knit subculture. Skaters respect other skaters no matter where they may find themselves in the world and there’s a special connection in a shared passion and lifestyle. Skating knows no boundaries, no borders, nor skin colour because every skater knows how much, blood, sweat, tears, and time goes into the learning process. When you meet other skaters, there’s an unspoken bond that brings high fives and high vibes in whatever corner of the globe you may find yourself in.  Skating can be a tool to clear one’s mind, let off steam, challenge yourself, be present, and rediscover the learning process. Besides helping you get around, it’s a useful tool to have when traveling long-term and can be all the above and more. You may even inspire others to get on a board or help a groom cruise for the first time. Each skate mission will give you a glimpse into the local skate culture and diversity of skaters worldwide. You’ll meet new friends, skate legendary spots you can only dream of, and make memories to last you a lifetime. All made possible by a wooden toy and the desire to ride.  “Becoming friends with locals is always a powerful travel experience, leaving you with the feeling that you were fully immersed and a part of the city” When you arrive at a new destination, just show up at the local, and you’ll be in the neighbourhood crew before you know it. Young or old, beginner or professional, skateparks serve as places for people of different backgrounds to interact with each other. When you’re on the road, stopping by the skatepark or DIY spot is one of the best ways to take in the vibe of a unique place and meet new people. No matter where you are in the world, skaters are gonna skate. Becoming friends with locals is always a powerful travel experience, leaving you with the feeling that you were fully immersed and a part of the city, town, or village you were visiting. On your journey, you can’t forget to make a stop to support the local skate shop. Around the world, skate shops serve as a catalyst for developing and sustaining the local skate community. It's a place to gather and chop it up to gain some insight into what you should really see and do in a new place. When traveling, the best advice is always from people who actually live there. A skate shop is the root of a city’s skate culture, and it brings people together. Skate shops are much more than a storefront, they support real people and put their money back into the local skate scene. Skate shops around the world always have a welcoming atmosphere that illustrates just how vibrant the skate community is. “Travel and skating are all about freedom, creativity, and thinking outside the box. When you combine the two, you’ll experience the best of both worlds” Traveling with a board taught me how skateboarding and traveling are similar in many ways. Through both, you must be present and only concentrate on the now. Skateboarding, like traveling, has always taught me about patience, persistence, never giving up, and mental toughness. Both prepare you to adjust when a mistake arises and to keep trying when something doesn't go your way. They teach you to adapt when things don't go correctly and push you out of your comfort zone to try new things. On the road or on your board, there’s a humbling feeling when you fail or fall down, leaving you to get back up and do it again through sheer determination.  Freedom, creativity, and individuality are values of skateboard culture. There is no question that skaters are unrelentingly dedicated to the progress of the sport and welcome anyone who has the courage to get on board. The skate community is built on mutual respect. Instead of one-upping each other, skaters continually encourage each other and embrace their differences, something ever so prevalent when you travel the world with your board. Travel and skating are all about freedom, creativity, and thinking outside the box. When you combine the two, you’ll experience the best of both worlds.  So when it comes to packing for that next trip, make sure you leave enough room to bring your board. Your skateboard will take you to places you could only dream of and give you memorable experiences that will stay with you long after your adventure is concluded. With 85 million skaters around the world, you’ll be sure to find your tribe when you travel, and all you’ll need is your board.  Website Bros around the Globe Instagram Bros around the globe

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Mumbles skatepark, a skateboarding community triumph against the odds

What started to be a most wanted but affordable seafront concrete skatepark in Mumbles, Swansea, Wales, became a legal battle between the skateboarding community and some minor (but financial empowered) group of objectors, including Bonie Tylers’ husband, who did not want to have a skatepark close do their mansions. Five years later, though, the dream came true. Skateboarding won. Mumbles skatepark in Swansea, Wales, was projected in 2018 with a 199.000-pound budget ($240.000/€224.000), but due to legal costs the final investment went up to double. Throughout this process a large and loudly community stepped up, putting in place many initiatives. But what called the attention of the mass media was the moment when a multimillionaire harassed some kids: the video went viral and helped the cause. We talked to Jason Williams, chairman of Mumbles Skatepark Association, who explained what went wrong, what people did to stand out and how hard was to go against those who have the money to stop, or at least postpone, a dream of so many. «The whole thing became a political hot potato and I’m glad to say we managed to use all this to the advantage of the project», he says. Built by Maverick Skateparks, it was opened last Friday, the 17th of February 2023. What was the trigger that made you stepping forward against those people who wanted to stop building the skatepark? It was all about getting a concrete park. Swansea’s got a rich surf and skate history, and a concrete park was long overdue. We get that not everyone wants a skatepark or feels an area need a skatepark, but there was a massive support for the park, and we had to co-ordinate to ensure the very vocal minority didn’t overshadow what a skatepark brings to a community.  Tell us about the process of making your association. Tomsk, Will and Jono were all involved from the beginning, advising the local council, but once initial planning permission for the project was granted, it was clear a more formal group/association was needed. Ironically, I didn’t attend the first meeting, but got voted in as chair and told afterwards! What kind of initiatives did you put in place? We held some meeting etc, but really relied on social media to engage with the communities (skate, bmx etc). We also worked closely with the local council driving the project and lobbied the larger County Council as well.  “There was also an incident where the individuals had threatened some kids using the mini ramp on site, which was filmed and went viral. Following that, the amount of support for the project skyrocketed and it all went pretty viral.” Then, it came local opposition… Yes, it got complicated when some local opposition with significant financial backing issued a judicial review in an attempt to stop the project, which really seemed to galvanise those in favour. There was also an incident where the individuals had threatened some kids using the mini ramp on site, which was filmed and went viral. Following that, the amount of support for the project sky rocketed and it all went pretty viral. Hitting local, national and international press and web sites. The whole thing became a political hot potato and I’m glad to say we managed to use all this to the advantage of the project.  (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});   How did non skater people react to your advocacy? Where they just ignoring or did they join the ‘battle’? Was this more than just a skatepark? Overall, pretty good. Throughout, we’ve focussed on the positives a skatepark brings and the importance of an open, visible, accessible site. Covid and lockdown really shone a light on the need for free, accessible facilities and the whole start of this came from school kids saying they wanted a skate park, so the parents were all in favour. With the issues mentioned above, that support just went off the scale (our online petition went from 4500 signatures to 24000 signatures in a week!). Could you name special episodes that took place that you will remember for ever? So many moments: the ‘incident’ and being contacted by local and national press, including TV interviews with the BBC. Our story appearing in pretty much all the UK press. Being asked to participate in a debate on live national radio (cancelled at the last minute as no-one was prepared to participate from the group that issued the judicial review). A local brewery creating a delicious beer and soda called Damn the Man, to help fundraise. Finally getting everything signed off, the building of the park started.  What kind of support did you have across this prolonged period? Legal, mostly? None, really. We did have some well-wishers giving us informal advice, but we pretty much worked it out ourselves. The core of the Association are older, so experience from work, friends etc helped. When it came to the formal legal issues, the Council led and we fed in as much as we could, to ensure the right messaging was coming across. We did have to get involved in formal council stuff, but again, we just worked it out. “Bonnie Tyler’s husband was one of the group who signed the judicial review” How those people who wanted to stop building the skatepark changed their behaviour as your voice got bigger? Is it true that singer Bonnie Tyler was one of those at the frontline? Bonnie Tyler’s husband was one of the group who signed the judicial review. They were all in the background really and thought they could throw money and big-time lawyers at it and get it shut down. We were lucky that the local councils really saw what the skatepark could provide and bought into the project. That meant they worked through the legal challenge, rather than rolling over. It helped that there was so much press about ‘the incident’ and a huge amount of focus and support on the project.  Because of this legal battle the skatepark will cost much more. How and who do you think should pay the difference? Yeah, that sucks. Not just legal costs but build costs increased, all because a bunch of millionaires tried to stop it. Luckily, we did get support from lottery funding and the Mumbles Community Council made up the difference.  “I’d recommend every project gets a panto villain to bring the community together!”  This episode had impact at the media, like you said. Do you think your cause could be an example for other organizations around the world? Absolutely, I’d recommend every project gets a panto villain to bring the community together! In all seriousness, I don’t know if we did the best job, or if we were just lucky. Also, each project has a different context and different challenges. In a nutshell, we tried to remain positive, repeat key messages about community (not just skate, bmx community) and the wider benefits of skateparks, tie in politicians and councillors wherever possible, and just kept pushing.  If you had to ‘baptize’ this skatepark on a consequence of this social movement, what would be its name? Loads of people have come up with ideas already, mainly as a big FU to those who were against it. Me, I don’t really care, I’m just over the moon it’s there. Let’s call it ‘one’, as we’re already talking to the local council about a possible 2 or 3 more parks. Visit Mumbles skatepark Find out more about Maverick skateparks

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The story behind the iconic Nude Bowl

July 21 2022. A jewel in skateboarding history - a "secret pool" built by a gangster, maintained by naturists and decades of cat-and-mouse play between cops and skaters. Is this all an urban myth or true? Time to find out. The story goes that the grounds were initially built as a secret getaway for the infamous Al Capone, but unfortunately that seems to be an urban myth, because Al Capone was way dead when this property was developed. In February 1963 a pair of nudists bought the place and transformed a cactus garden into the Desert Gardens Ranch. Secreted away in the San Jacinto Mountains, just outside Desert Hot Springs, it offered people a secluded and year-round sunny haven to run around naked. The ranch was active until the late 70s and was shuttered down around 1980. Image Nudist Newsfront Magazine archives Jeff Bowman - former President of the Desert Hot Springs Historical Society, nudist and pre-Dogtown skater In 1984 a group of skaters discovered the spot that consisted of an abandoned kidney-shaped pool, thanks to a local who had found the bowl and talked to a neighbor who skated and told him to go check it out. Back in those days skaters had to jump fences to skate abandoned and dry pools. So it didn't take long before the word spread there was a bowl you could skate and party without being afraid of getting chased away. Visitors had to travel through the desert to reach the spot and it was a bit of mission to get there. Basically it was a place where you could skate, camp, party, shoot beer cans, get drunk and do whatever you want. The only thing you had to worry about were snakes, scorpions and tarantulas . (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});   "Wheels of Fire" with Tony Alva and Rick Spidey turned the Nude Bowl into a pilgrimage of skate. The Nude bowl was a "secret" spot until Santa Cruz released "Wheels of Fire" with Tony Alva and Rick Spidey in 1987 ripping up the bowl. That's when the scene blew up and the nude bowl turned into a Mecca for skaters. Throughout the next years the nude bowl started appearing in magazines and videos, and unfortunately by the 90s, large parties and violence became pretty "normal" here. The nude bowl had turned into the perfect setting for out of control parties, drugs, nude skating, fighting, biker hangouts, you name it. Basically it was one massive fight club in the desert. After numerous complaints about guns, fires and fights, the police filled the bowl with dirt to avoid further problems. A couple of years later two skaters Jeremiah Risk and Rodney Rodrigues spent nights digging up the dirt with bulldozers and repaired the bowl. After a few months, the police broke up the concrete and buried the remains of the bowl again. Photo Courtesy of Josh Baish (2022) Then around 2014 Nude bowl images started surfacing again on the internet. The pool has been dug up again, repaired and is now intact. You are all going to have to look for the location of this pool yourselves, because we decided to keep this one "secret". So happy hunting, shred it whilst you can and behave.  Famous skaters having a go at the Nude Bowl Pooling Around: IN THE NUDE FIRE UP The Nude Bowl w/ Pedro Delfino, John Worthington & Cedric Pabich For Indy X Slayer Chris Russell at The Nude Bowl

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