The Hulumale Skatepark build with Pasty and Rob Jones
Photographs by Mohamed Ahsan
Edit by Poulet Leo
A couple of week’s ago, I started spotting a few images on social media of a large scale DIY build in a tropical looking location with what appeared to be a large, skateable killer whale as a centrepiece. Doing some digging via Confusion’s website soon had the location narrowed down to The Maldives, with Hulumale Skatepark being worked on by a large crew of international volunteers who all had an input into the final design. When the build edit appeared it was too much of an intriguing project to garnish with only my sketchy knowledge, gleaned from an office in London at a distance of, according to a quick Google search, 5,288 miles away.
Luckily, Cornish nomad Rob Jones was involved in the build and, when I hit him up, it turned out he was working on the park and sharing living quarters with Justin ‘Pasty’ Ashby. A couple of Facebook messages later and I had a sketchy idea of how the two UK members of the 40-odd crew of concrete craftsman had been enjoying living island life, alongside a bevy of build photos courtesy of Mohamed Ahsan. I say sketchy, because my questions definitely weren’t answered straight after a morning coffee. I’ve no idea what adult beverage is de rigeur in the Maldives, but I’ve reigned in my normally compulsive grammar fixing in order to give you a better sense of where this interview is coming from – which is a fair way into consumption of whatever that drink might be…
Cheers to Rob and Pasty for sorting out these answers, Mohamed for the photos and mad props to everyone who went out and got involved in building such a rad looking slice of concrete for the locals!
How did two skaters from Brighton and Cornwall originally end up as part of a crew building a skatepark in The Maldives?
Pasty: I was busy doing Formula 1 work and got notified about a project in the Maldives so I said yeah, put me forward. Albert and josh got this thing moving and I was quite happy to leave work to go to the island.
Rob: Josh from Wonder Concrete messaged me about a trip to the Maldives and I had no money and no job so it seemed like an offer I could not say no to…
The island's aren't somewhere particularly known for their skate scene - how has it been living out there while working on the build?
Pasty: Rice and peas, maybe an ice cream now and then if you’re lucky…
Me: Everyone lives pretty slowly so a lot of waiting around for supplies and, like Pasty said, plain rice and tinned veg every day!
How many other people were there and how long has the build taken to come together? The park opens this weekend doesn't it?
Pasty: There are about 40 international people from all over the world.
Rob: And a heavy crew of Bangladeshi guys on the mix, with Pasty on various different mixes on site and local guys Ammi and Ali getting shit done.
This is the Maldive's second DIY build - how was it skating the 2013 build on the island of Male?
Pasty: Raw but still good, and we made extra coping to replace the problems.
Me: The bowl Hambe and crew have built is fucking sick but the coping has been eaten away by the sea. I got so stoked seeing Pasty’s rusty old legs frontside grinding the deep end!
Each person involved in the build had their personal input on a specific obstacle right? What were the two of yours input with regards to that?
Me: Like Pasty said, we made all the coping and helped with some other shit but Pasty was responsible for lots of mixes on site and captain of the safety meetings.
When did the idea for the killer whale shaped centre piece come about?
Pasty: I don’t know, I thought it was a humpback whale.
Rob: Actually a shark. I’m not really sure.
Pasty: But the parks big so it’s a killer whale.
You've both been involved with Alis during builds before right? Which has been your favourite to work on so far?
Pasty: This one because it was totally unexpected - put yourself forward and the action happens, you get to meet a lot of gooooooooooood people.
Rob: I’ve helped out a bit in Copenhagen and Morocco and I agree with Pasty, this one has been the best as it was the most unexpected month of island life.
Where's next, DIY project wise?
Pasty: Top secret, otherwise all of you will be jumping on the bandwagon.
Rob: Job done, hope it’s alright Jono we're pretty wasted hahahahahahahahaha.
Pasty: P.S. there will be more development in this Maldives region - watch this spliff. Oil up the joints.
Rob: Also mention a local skater who kills it hard and helped so fucking hard with the park; Ali Shaahil, he is one to watch out for!