Southerndown is my favourite beach, always has been. It’s a short drive from Bridgend and is a chill place if you want to go in the sea, as it’s usually quiet. It has incredible views and loads of different spots so you don’t have to be around people if the weather’s good. There are ways of skating it, I once stripped the bark off a fallen tree at the woods nearby and skated that. A resident drove past as I was stripping it down getting it ready for next time with a machete and it was raining. The look on her face was something that I’ll never forget, (laughing). This was after I watched Bobby Worrest nose blunt that log in Krooked3D, so sick.
Bridgend recently got an indoor skatepark that’s run by skateboarders – local legends Dai Moore and Morph to be exact. I skate here a lot during the week after work, as we all know how the great British weather can be. The block and flatbar are amazing and it brings what’s left of a ‘scene’ together. If I’m not skating I usually chill here or whatever as I don’t really like the pub. It used to be all about the Rec Park when I grew up, which got me and a few others hooked on skating like Dylan, Caradog, CJ, and Tweek. When that closed everyone just kinda started doing their own thing. Parks eventually did pop up such as Exist in Swansea and Spit and Sawdust in Cardiff. If you’re in Wales I highly recommend any of these parks.
My grandparents have lived in Porthcawl for a long time after relocating from Bath. The only thing that makes me Welsh is being born here. When I visit Porthcawl I ditch the car at my nan’s and skate the coastline. It is relatively flat and smooth and I always find something random to skate. The fair there is pretty cool too and reminds me of The Lost Boys: it always works out well for a cheap date too.
I work full time screen-printing t-shirts and the like. I work at a company between Cardiff and Bridgend called Merch Asylum, I actually like the people I work with and enjoy the whole process of what we do. It’s extremely busy and has a fast paced working environment so time goes fast. I never really knew what I wanted to do throughout school except skate so I’m pretty stoked with where I’m at right now.
It’s handy to have so many neighbouring towns around Bridgend as there are things to skate that nobody knows about. One of these things is arguably the best slept-on ditch in the UK. It can be found next to the steelworks in Port Talbot and I can’t explain how good it is in words, so you need to go see it for yourself. Right now I skate here with Welsh Tommy and Billy No Tricks a lot and wander around the mountains a fair bit. I like how the contrast between the landscape in Port Talbot and the sea front is so quirky: there are some dark spots up this way so hit me up if you’re coming through.
Are you Bridgend born and bred Jess?
Yeah, 100%: I was born in the Princess of Wales Hospital, Bridgend.
How deep do your Bridgend roots go then?
My family is originally from Bath. They moved to Wales as I was born and I grew up in Maesteg. A few years afterwards my mum and dad split up so my mum and I started again in Bridgend; that’s where I started school.
Which particular part of Bridgend would you say is your ‘home’? And in how many different parts of Bridgend have you lived over the years?
Bridgend is kind of like a small city but I’ve always lived in the middle of it.
It doesn’t matter where I live really though because I can drive.
What’s the nearest skate spot to your present house, and what is the best trick you’ve seen happen there?
The train station: the best trick I’ve seen go down there is anyone with any sense getting on a train and going somewhere else.
Which one spot in Bridgend do you think you’ve personally spent the most time at?
The Rec. I hate the place now.
If you had to choose, what would you say is the single best trick to ever go down within the confines of Bridgend?
Dan Wood at the BT gap, (which appeared as a sequence in Sidewalk many years ago). Dan leapt from a high and very skinny wall, over a massive gap and onto another high skinny wall. Untouchable.
Who are your favourite Bridgend ‘celebrities’ – either local legends or certified famous folk…
There was a guy two years above me in school who was on a TV show for being morbidly obese. I watched the whole thing and he lost weight, which makes him a celebrity in my eyes. Anthony Hopkins and Catherine Zeta Jones are from Port Talbot…
What’s the most memorable Bridgend related news headline or story?
I guess everyone heard about the suicide spree in Bridgend…yeah…it’s that good.
What five things can you get in Bridgend that you can’t find anywhere else in the UK?
If you had to sell Bridgend to an outside by way of a brief tour of the town, where would you take them, what would you see and why?
The beach. There are some really nice beaches around Bridgend.
Using all of your years experience as a Bridgend local, what friendly warnings would you give to an outsider visiting the town for the first time?
Don’t get too carried away on a night out because chances are someone will smash you up.
Can you see yourself ever living anywhere other than Bridgend?
Yes. I spend a lot of time in Bristol but I’m still undecided.
Any final words?
If you’re in Bridgend you ought to visit Ashmore Skatepark.