A few years ago some people were looking for a new energetic buzz to try out. As an alternative to the older trends of skateboarding or inline skating, the freestyle stunt scooter was born. Scooter riding quickly rose to become the new rage at skate parks and on the streets, with riders performing a new breed of tricks to watch or try out. Not only is scooter riding fun and easy to learn, but the seemingly endless amount of possible tricks also makes it fun for spectators.
The Emergence of Stunt Scooters
The more traditional street-based sport of skateboarding had its nascence in the 1970s. This was a time when the energetic youth of the cities realised that skateboards were not just for little kids, but a serious piece of gear for performing tricks and stunts, as well as weaving through city streets effortlessly. In the ‘80s and ‘90s dedicated skate parks began to be built in our cities, and inline skating also became a trend because of the appeal to learn and master stunts and tricks, and the benefit of mobility.
Since the year 2000, another serious piece of stunt equipment emerged on the scene, as people realised that scooters can be just as much fun, nimble to perform tricks, and are not just reserved for the domain of kids any longer. Newer technology, design, and better-built scooters are helping experienced riders to perform amazing stunts and amaze onlookers, causing more and more people to take up stunt scooter riding. The scooter movement is now taking the world by storm.
These days, mixed in with regular skaters you will find plenty of people working on their latest tricks and stunts on their scooter. When scooters first appeared on the scene, many traditionalists snubbed it off as a passing fad, but as the popularity of freestyle scooter stunt riding has grown over the past two decades, it seems that it is here to stay. We have been witnessing the birth of an extreme sport that will become just as popular as skateboarding, and it is still rising in popularity.
Most of the appeal of the scooter movement has been its simplicity. Taking a very simple piece of kit – the scooter – but with a design using the latest technologies that make it lightweight and versatile, this allows people to learn, perform and create a whole host of tricks. The possibilities seem endless as riders keep on inventing new tricks, encouraging others to learn them. It’s an extreme sport that fits into itself, creating organic growth. The stunt scooter community is growing daily.
You can visit our visit our store to check out our latest lines of scooters. Slick Willies are located at 12 Gloucester Road, London, SW7 4RB, and we’re open Mon to Sat from 10am to 6.30pm, on Sundays 12pm to 5pm. The nearest tube station is Gloucester Road, then walk up the road (north) for about ten minutes (1/2 mile), crossing over the Cromwell Road (A4), going past the post office, then our shop will be on the left. Alternatively, you can give us a call on 020 7225 0004 during our store opening hours if you want to speak with us.
In 2004, two-thirds of the famous skateboarding site at Southbank in London was fenced off and closed without warning. This came as a great shock to the many hordes of skateboarders who had been coming to the area for decades. Ten years later, in 2014, the final third of the area was also threatened with closure and redevelopment but somehow managed to escape it.
Things have now changed, and as of late 2017 the other two-thirds of the Southbank skate site could reopen, and the entire area may return close to its former glory. The local council are requesting £790,000 to pay for the restoration of the original site, and also a new education centre to be built next to it. Despite this hefty sum, it is basically a victory for the skateboarding community.
Where It All Began
In the 1960s a group of mostly avant-garde architects designed the festival wing of the Southbank Arts Centre in London, and with it, they had inadvertently created the UK’s most popular urban skate site. Not that the architects knew this would happen since skating was not introduced to Britain until around ten years after the building was completed.
As part of their design, the architects left several public spaces that had no predetermined purpose. It is rumoured that Southbank was discovered by an American skateboarder called Jim Slater, who was immediately impressed by the terrain and layout of the open space, comprising of flat ground, stairs, railings, and banks – all a perfect combination for people to bring their skateboards along and adopt it as their own space.
Along with its convenient central London location, the design of the Southbank Festival Wing really was a happy coincidence for the urban skateboarding movement. The site was also an open public space that had beenunoccupied, thus making it even more appealing and ripe for skateboarders to move in. It remained that way until 2004, at the time of which the Southbank Centre managers decided to redevelop the area, much to the dismay of the skateboarders who’d called it their home for so long.
Even though the future of Southbank has been in question for so long, the good news for skateboarders is that the legendary site could open again if the £790,000 funds are raised. It is a fair amount of money, but the skateboarding movement remains hopeful this target can be reached through the correct fundraising channels. Even though the site will never be quite the same again, as some of it was already redeveloped, we certainly support the move to reopen Southbank as a skateboard space.
Our shop is located at 12 Gloucester Road, London, SW7 4RB, and you can come and visit us every day of the week. On Mondays to Saturdays we’re open from 10am until 6:30pm, and on Sundays we have reduced opening hours from 12pm until 5pm. Alternatively, you can call us at Slick Willies on 020 7225 0004 (in-store) or 020 7225 0202 (online) and we’d be glad to have a chat with you.
For most of us, the turn of the year also means creating some new year’s resolutions. Among the top preferred lifestyle changes is whipping our bodies into shape. Creating fitness goals for 2018 may seem reasonable and sensible, but it’s not always that easy if we are parents.
There is a good way to help get into shape that can also include your children. You needn’t join a gym and worry about childcare arrangements while you want to work out. Just buy a pair of inline skates for you and your children, and then you can exercise together.
The Birth and Rebirth of Roller Skating
Roller skates seem like they’ve been around forever, but the truth isn’t far off. The first patented design came in 1760 from a Belgian inventor called Joseph Merlin. During the 1860s a new design was developed using four wheels, and roller skating remained massively popular from that time until the 1930s. The decades-long roller skating craze died down a bit from then, and then there was a slight upsurge in popularity during the disco era of the 1970s, but it wasn’t until another redesign that roller skating regained its mass appeal.
During the late 1980s,roller skates were redesigned with the wheels all inline, and they became known as ‘rollerblades’.Prior to this time, they had usually been quad skates, meaning they had two aligned front and rear wheels, much like a car does. The quad design does provide more stability and is easier to learn and master, but never as much speed and agility. If you’re able to be patient and dedicated in order to conquer the skill of inline skating, you’ll find that these kinds of skates provide much more manoeuvrability and are more liberating.
The Appeal of Skating
There are many advantages to roller skating over other kinds of activity. It provides a complete aerobic workout, burning 350 calories per hour if skating 6 miles per hour, or 600 calories if skating 10 miles per hour. On top of this, exercising using inline skates comes with very low impact on knees and joints, unlike jogging.
Furthermore, inline skating targets areas where we may want to lose fat and build muscle, such as lower body and abs. Just think what a great way this is to exercise every morning whilst dropping the kids off at school. It means exercise for you and exercise for them and saves time compared to walking, and saves money compared to other forms of transportwhen doing the daily school run.
If you want to come and have a look at our product range ofinline skates, for adults and children,then please drop by our store at 12 Gloucester Road, London, SW7 4RB.We’re easy to get to, just ten minutes’ walk from Gloucester Road Underground Station, which is on the Circle, District, and the Piccadilly Lines. You can also call Slick Willies on 020 7225 0004 (in-store) or 020 7225 0202 (online) to have a chat with us.
Since the 1970s, skateboarding emerged from the shadows and has become one of the most popular extreme sports. Skateboards appealed to people because they are light and versatile, relatively easy to learn to use, and also the added benefit of being able to get around as a piece of self-propelled transport. Through the ‘80s and ‘90s the sport rose in popularity, and these days it’s firmly planted as a permanent fixture on the extreme sports scene.
Yet, the popularity of skateboarding has waxed and waned over the years. As with all new or emerging trends, skateboarding has seen fluctuations in its popularity in a cyclic fashion. The mid-‘70s, mid-‘80s, and mid-‘90s all saw a boom period in skateboarding, followed by a sudden drop in sales. However, the appeal of skateboarding is very resilient, and the extreme sport keeps bouncing back, often with some variations and a new breed of followers, ensuring that it will remain ever-popular.
Enter the Cruisers
One of the reasons why skateboarding tends to go up and down in popularity is that it can be fairly difficult to learn. The traditional kind of skateboarding, which involves performing tricks and stunts, is a bit complicated to master, and whilst many people have an initial impulse to learn, after a couple of years of commitment they essentially give up trying, more often than not.This is where cruisers enter the scene as a permanent, accessible genre of skateboarding. They don’t require having to learn all the latest tricks to have fun and present a sustainable form of skateboarding that won’t peak and trough in popularity.
To differentiate between types of skateboards, they are generally categorised into three styles: ‘skateboard’, ‘longboard’, and ‘cruiser’. Skateboards are the traditional kind, geared towards performing tricks and stunts. They come in many variations but are all designed to do the same thing. Longboards are generally a minimum of 36 inches and really are built for speed over versatility. For this reason, downhill racing is popular using longboards.
The final kind is a cruiser, which is smaller in length than a longboard, but bigger than a regular skateboard. They aren’t really designed for performing tricks and are easier to learn how to use than a regular skateboard. Cruisers also come in a lot of variations, such as different wheel or deck sizes, but they are still small and light enough to be able to carry around. These cruisers are firmly planted on the skateboard scene and are very popular with long-term users. Cruisers remain a growth category in the skateboard market.
We have a wide range of skateboards, longboards and cruisers available at our London store. To get here, walk for ten minutes from Gloucester Road underground station. Exit the station and head north for about ten minutes, and you’ll find Slick Willies on the left. Our shop is open from 10am to 6:30pm on Mondays to Saturdays and 12pm to 5pm on Sundays. If you’re coming by car, you can approach Gloucester Road from the east or west on the Cromwell Road (A4) or High Street Kensington (A315). Feel free to give us a call on 020 7225 0004 during our store opening hours if you want to speak to us.
We recently got in touch with the good people over at Extreme – officially London’s largest indoor skate park and a state-of-the-art climbing zone! With 900 square metres of skate ramp terrain, Better Extreme is the new must-visit place on the London skating scene. Based in Mayesbrook Park between Dagenham and Barking, Extreme has been designed and built by experts for enthusiasts of all abilities – including amazing features such as London’s very first key-hole Birchwood bowl.
As expected, the facility is fully kitted out with; a half-pipe, spine transfer, pyramids, stair sets and banked ramps and more. One of the best things about the Better Extreme Skatepark is that you do not have to be a professional to enjoy your time there! The aforementioned offerings are spread across three different zones to accommodate beginners, professionals, street skaters and ramp riders alike.
The Park opened its doors earlier this summer. On the 6th – 7th of June, the Extreme team welcomed amateur skateboarders and BMXers from across the city to celebrate the launch, inviting them to put the park through its paces and compete in an Am Jam. The weekend also saw live music, great DJs and evening socials for everyone who took part.
We caught up with Jamie Ross, head of the Extreme brand to discuss the new space.
- How do you feel about the new space?
I couldn’t be happier with the work that Dave and guys at Carve Skate Park Designs have produced. They have captured everything that I asked them to and some!
What I love about the park is that there is something for everyone and you can quite literally skate around the whole place without having to push! One of the big areas of focus for us is that there is progression, people can start from the front where it’s nice and flat and progress steadily into the bowl when they are ready and take in a bit of street too of course!
- From when you were growing up, to now, what are your thoughts on skate culture in London? And how much has it changed?
I grew up in the north east and it was a very different scene all together I pretty much had to skate on my own. It was great watching video tapes of the scene in London and it was what got me into street skating (and a lack of transition where I lived).
There is a real edginess in London which is so good, it really draws out creativity in people. It has become really raw and less like our counterparts over the pond. I think this is something great and unique within UK skating and gives us a distinct global identity.
The skating today is just crazy. I can’t even imagine doing half of what people are doing today, without dislocating a hip anyway!
The thing that amazes me is that the culture and supportiveness in skating still remains and I’m continuing to meet some amazing people young and old and I love that.
- What impact do you think a space like yours will have on the skate scene in London and in the Borough of Barking and Dagenham specifically?
We’re hoping that we can give people a place to skate, BMX, Scooter, Inline that people don’t have to sweep (as we do this) and a place for people to hang out.
It’s also really important that we have a safe environment where parents can feel secure that their kids are going to be well supervised by friendly and supportive staff.
We hope that we can start to develop opportunities for many more people to get into these activities and start to help grow and develop ‘extreme sports’ further.
We’re also hoping to get into schools and to be able to give something different for kids to do rather than the usual school sports offering. We just want kids to give it a go and we want to help them with every step of the way.
Because Better Extreme is part of a charitable social enterprise, it is really important to us that everything we do is for the benefit of the local community. Any financial surpluses are reinvested back into our facilities and services. It’s a really exciting time for us and a real opportunity to help increase the status and quality of skate parks and hopefully we’ll be able to roll out this model to other locations around the UK.
- What advice do you offer to new skaters coming up?
Don’t give up, keep trying and the rewards are like nothing else. Listen to those who have been skating for a while it will help you a lot. Definitely learn the basics before trying to tre-flip off the bat.
Most importantly just enjoy, there’s nothing else like it.
- Wish you much success, what are the future plans?
We have another couple of parks in the pipeline, one in Greenwich and one in Waltham Forrest. We are also starting to look into developing a Foundation whereby we can offer financial and training grants to talented young sportsmen and women.
Here we take you through what you need to consider when buying a skateboard or skateboard parts. We sell complete skateboards for kids and then we sell individual components, that make up a complete. These consist of the deck, trucks, wheels, bearings, grip-tape, risers and bolts.
Check out our buying advice videos below to help you when making a skateboard purchase:
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This is our skateboard trick tip guide where we take you through the various skateboard basics, helping you progress along the way. If you’re new to skateboarding this will be perfect to help you understand and then learn the basics.
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Blunt Scooters, also known as Envy Scooters in Australia and the US is one of the original high-end stunt scooter brands. Team pro Max Peters shows us exactly what these scooters can handle and the spec of their completes is more than worth the price featuring popular, light and strong bars, IHC compression and custom components, all making them one of the highest spec brands on the stunt scooters market! You can catch their European guys on regular filming trips through the UK, usually hitting street spots with the their European team including street shredder Charles Padel. This guide takes you step by step through their current stunt scooter range and will help you decide what scooter is right for you.
COLT / £140: The Colt is an awesome beginner to intermediate level scooter, perfect if you’ve been riding skateparks a bit and want something that can take harder riding. It comes with stylish and wide high tensile 550mm x 490mm (HxW) dipped bars, welded 6 series alu deck (482mm x 113mm), IHC compression system with fully sealed headset, 2 bolt clamp, welded 4130 heat treated two piece fork, reduced weight alloy core 100mm / 88A PU wheels and TPR grips with nylon bar ends. Available in black/red and black/green.
PRODIGY / £150 – £170: The Prodigy is a great update from the Colt scooter, ideal for experienced riders with super high quality components. Upgrades from the Colt are all about catering for the more experienced and serious rider and they include 110mm Y spoke wheels for speed and strength, a longer 495mm Prodigy deck for the bigger street rider, flex brake for real stunt riding, 6 series forged CNC alu forks for super strength on landing tricks and light weight but strong 4130 chromo bars. This popular scooter is available in 7 cool colours.
KING OF SPADES V2 / £220: Unsurprisingly the King of Spades V2 lives up to it’s name! This scooter is designed for those riders who live in the skatepark and can’t get enough of the sport. Spec additions above the Prodigy include bigger and softer wheels for even harder riding (120mm / 86A), extended deck length at 505mm on the new KOS deck. It also comes with the SOB v2 forks and 4 bolt H clamp, both in place to withstand real punishment through your riding. Finally it has bigger and wide Max Peters sig bars (580mm x 560mm), perfect for keeping control while going big. Available in 3 high end colour ways.
KING OF SPAES V1 / £250: Packing the biggest punch at the top of the Blunt range is the daddy of the models. It’s designed for riders who are sending huge tricks and we know it can handle them as the Blunt pro team all ride this model. Spec is similar to the V2 King Of Spades but comes with harder wheels designed for street (110mm / 88A), 6061-T6 aluminium KOS deck with one piece cold forged head tube, designed to withstand really hard riding and lighter 550mm shorter bars shaving off a little weight. The V1 is available in one colour option.
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Grit Scooters have totally stormed the UK in the past few years. Their current range includes 6 different specs and price points covering everything from the absolute beginner all the way up to their pro team riders, who you will see relentlessly touring Europe. Grit are based in Australia, the birthplace of stunt scooter riding. With their roots firmly in scootering they have been able to develop a solid and impressive range of scooters catering for beginners, intermediates and the more advanced scooter riders. The Grit Atom and Extremist are both suitable for riders that have mastered the basics in the skatepark and need a scooter that is more suitable to their level. The Grit Elite and Tremor are ridden by their pro team so you can be sure that they’re designed to withstand hard riding. The Grit Invader is their high end scooter that comes with BMX style bars, alloy core wheels, superb strength forged headtube and features some of their unique paint finishes including a cracked paint effect. In this guide we will take you through the different models in the current Grit Scooters range.
ATOM / £60: This scooter is ideal for the total beginner. It’s the most basic stunt scooter available from Grit and has a worthy spec for £60 with dipped one piece hi tensile steel riser welded bars (500mm high x 460mm wide), soft feel grips with bar ends, alloy double clamp, threaded headset, hi tensile steel threaded fork, welded diamond shaped fixed head tube and a basic stunt 6061 heat treated triple channel alloy deck. The ideal scooter for someone who is just about to enter the skatepark and it’s available in six hot colours.
EXTREMIST / £80: Next up we have a staple in the Grit range, the Extremist. This has come down in price to £80 over the past couple of years so you are getting a great spec for the money. It’s designed for the rider who has learnt the basics but needs the performance and capability updates that come with this model. It features the same core basic spec as the ATOM but with taller 530mm bars for the taller rider and to give more control. It also comes with harder wheels at 88A that are alloy core 5 spoke. These can take harder, bigger and street riding, unlike the ATOM. The final upgrade is the flex fender brake, perfect for real stunt riding. Available in 6 vibrant colours.
FLUXX / £100: If you’re getting more serious about your riding then the Fluxx is likely to be for you. The deck and bars are a total upgrade from the Extremist. As well as the basics on the Extremist the Fluxx deck is 4″ wide, with a 3 degree concave and integrated grind rails. The concave gives you more control when catching and sending whips and the grind rails will help speed your grinding as it has a reduced contact surface area than a standard deck. The bars come with a strengthened gusset, as well as being wider and taller than on the Extremist, as they’re 540mm (high) x 500mm (wide).
The fork and headset has been upgraded to a HIC compression system giving you a dialled set up that will last longer and perform better than a threaded system. The final modification is the wheels. They come two-tone PU with alloy slots. The Fluxx is available is four cool colourways.
ELITE / £130: The Elite is for the rider who has been riding scooters for a while and needs parts that can withstand their shredding. The Elite for 2015 comes with a whole bunch of features that deservedly price it above the Fluxx. The new alloy bars are taller and narrower at 540mm (high) x 500mm (wide), ideal for older riders.
Grit have stylishly skeletonised their downtube and the Fluxx comes with a slimline version of the HIC compression along with a sealed headset. The grips are ridged two colour for better comfort and grip, and come with robust bar plugs. This model is available in 4 classy colourways.
TREMOR / £140-£150: The Tremor is for the intermediate riders, maybe they enter contests or maybe they seem to permanently live on their scooter! The Tremor comes with a few spec plus points that that put it above the Elite including a wider fully integrated 4.34″ deck ideal for bigger feet and adult sized riders, light and strong chromo bars, slightly softer grips than the Elite, a contoured triple clamp and bigger 110mm wheels to give you more speed and to be harder wearing. This strong mid-high scooter is available in 3 colours.
INVADER / £200: The Invader is the top of the Grit range as they’ve thrown all their super high end spec ideas at it. It’s what their pro team ride so we don’t have to say much more than that! Upgrades from the Tremor are all about strengthened components and lighter weight with a fully integrated deck with cut outs, a forged alloy fork and wider bars. It’s available in four colour options.
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Sacrifice Scooters are a high end stunt scooter brand formed in Australia, the birth place of stunt scootering, back in 2010. They’re owned by BMX experts who have brought that knowledge into the scoot game. Sacrifice have had some of the best in the world on their team over the years including Ben Thomas (ISA World No.2 in 2012) and Dylan Scholes.
Sacrifice are true industry supporters and you will see them at all the major events globally with their riders going hard and getting involved. You can regularly catch their team touring around the world and you can get hold of their products in the UK through us.
We stock both the AK and Flyte series scooters from Sacrifice. The Flyte series 115 comes in a all over stealth and subtle black or a classy chrome finish. It’s incredibly light weight at just 2.95 kgs.
FLYTE: It’s designed for the experienced rider who wants the lightest scooter possible, without losing any strength or support. Sacrifice have used only the best parts on the Flyte 115, maximising both quality, performance and keeping it light weight. The scooter has a 115mm deck, Cyborg forks, Nutron Clamp, 110mm Delta Core alloy wheels, Hyper bearings, S Grips and IHC Compression. At £225 you are paying for total class and quality.
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