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.
1. 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!
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
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