Our 2016 Photographers Stories series continues with this selection from Midlands-based lensman and Get Lesta affiliate Matt Clarke. Swampy ditch spots, shitty shoes, abandoned mines, kebab shop drops and DIY shed ramps all paint a microcosmic picture of the trials, tribulations and successes of UK skateboarding.
1) Callum McRobbie - Crailslide, Kettering
This spot is amazing! Found by Joel Peck and friends, it's the usual story of a drainage ditch with transitions and bank to ledges but is next to a rad skater’s bungalow that overlooks a reservoir. The guy Sean gave us some homemade mead and honey, let us use some tools to clean up the spot and even let us go out on his canoe!
Callum got this long fast crailslide after getting rid of the slime at the bottom with some cat litter, but not without his board going in the swamp right behind me in the photo.
2) Charlie Munro - Nollie Backside 180, Cambridge
Getting hundreds of pounds worth of equipment out that you can't afford to replace in a dodgy area of Cambridge (yes that exists) isn't any photographers favourite but it was worth it to to shoot this trick!
The spot is in a tight square surrounded by flats where Charlie's board made for plenty of loud noise, making dogs bark and bringing angry students out asking us to leave. After seeing the way Charlie pulled this over the rail there was no way we were leaving without the land and he got it in under ten tries because Charlie's a beeeeeeeast!
3) Div Adams - Backside Ollie Kettering
It's not very often you hear Div, one of your favourite UK skaters from Scotland ,is skating your mates ramp in his barn near your house, so when I heard I grabbed my camera and board to come see the session at the Crud Skate Co.'s ramp hoping to blag a photo too! On the way there I stood in dog shit and spent the first half hour crying inside, scraping it off and sweating that I was missing everything.
I think I barely talked to the Div, he made pretty it clear that he likes to keep it spontaneous but there was no way I was leaving without a sick photo! Of course after I screwed it up twice, Div blasted this backside ollie and other ridiculous tricks out of the thinnest, tallest part of the ramp and I went home with a a grin from ear to ear. Thank you to Charlie Henson and Div!
4) Lucas Healey - Ollie, Northampton
The first time Lucas tried this was with about 50 other people watching after a Mountain Dew competition at the nearby skate park, standard. The owners of the kebab shop in front were hyped seeing him jump down this gap at first - even moving the cars and bins for him - but after a few tries they switched, probably after thinking of potential insurance risk and moved it all back whilst demanding we left!
This time we were back early in the hope they weren't open yet, but typically they were. All the time being heckled by the kebab and charity shop owners, he snapped his board jumping down it a few times and grabbed my board instead with dodgy wheels and trucks. I made him wax under the wheels Jaws style and he somehow rolled away, jumped straight into his car and had a finished section!
5) Mike Simons Ollie Nuneaton
Trying to meet your mates at a spot that was a supposed abandoned mine in a town you've never been to before with no post code and no data on your phone isn't the best. But I spotted Callun's car passing by near where I thought the spot was, I even thought I saw them wave in the car window in front as I followed them round the most ridiculously tight foggy and wet country roads looking for this spot.
After a while the car in front pulls over, some guy gets out looking freaked out wondering why I was following him! I had no idea what happened so I got in my car and drove off, somehow coming across the actual car I wanted and meeting Mike and the rest at this abandoned mine.
Mike and Will were skating off the top of this banked entrance of the mine. There was soft asphalt that felt like quicksand at the bottom and the ground was super rough with rocks everywhere. Mike ollied in to it to make this sick photo and we got out of there before more rain fell and the police came!