When Freestyle BMX started to get real: Greg Guillotte and Tim Ruck’s Invert Series

Greg Guillotte, Jason Ellis, Tim Ruck - Chingford 1988Everything here looks the same as before when you study the details in that overview picture. But I have a feeling things were beginning to change. Skateboarding was taking off again and BMX was about to undergo another transformation. This was the start of something different. In retrospect, I wish we had found more space for this over the years.

Nick Philip provided the words.

What do you want to know about the Chingford bike jam? Think: think of a question, and, using my inter-rider-related powers of ESP, I’ll answer it before your very eyes…

The answer to your question is… Yes, yes he did.

Amazing, hey! — You don’t seem too impressed. Well, let me expand. Bikes are many things to many people. I sometimes think that riding is one of the best things in the world because, like art, it is an expression not just defined by what you do but just as much by what you don’t do. The method, the means and the medium. You create an action and by doing this, by making it yours, you state that at this precise second in your life this is what you want to do. SO DO IT.

The riders at the Chingford Jam wanted to ride, so they rode. The jam was the second rider organised half-pipe jam in the UK and the first in the ‘INVERT’ series organised by Tim Ruck and Greg Guillotte. Sponsorship came from M-Zone, Swatch, Stussy, and Gordon & Smith: these guys put money into it so that’s cool. Paul Wright had resurfaced the whole ramp and added a low section with the same transition as the rest of the ramp, but with about a foot and a half cut off. Faze 7 funded that, which is cool too.

The low section was killer for lip tricks of course and surprisingly good for airs. The locals were jamming 5 – 6 feet airs with rad variations from transitions which were way under-vert. Some even making 540s.

The turnout was good: about 300 people, most with their bikes. When that kind of quantity are gathered together by one ramp it’s a LOT of bikes. The platforms had to be cleared as lip tricks were to be expected. Talking of lips, the stickers were out in force. There are some happening zine stickers these days. So much so that five minutes after the jam the lip was completely stripped of all but one type of sticker.

Issue 67 September 1988 timlb 10 Oct 2009 2 Comments

Ride if You Want to How You Want To

Graham Marfleet, Greg Guillotte, Jason Ellis from BMX Comp at ChingfordNick Philip wrote this article of the “First Invert Series Bike Ramp Jam” at Chingford.

Something’s Happening, Bro’. It started at Crawley and it’s building up speed. The bike riders of this country are getting clued in. They’ve stopped expecting somebody else to organise their lives and they’ve started doing something for themselves. The Invert Series of half-pipe jams run by Tim Ruck and Greg Guillotte are already off the ground and there are more in the pipeline. Nick Philip went down to the Faze 7 ramp at Chingford to see what was going down. And so did a LOT of other people.

And away we go. To see what Nick’s up to now, take a look at these magical T shirts at the Imaginary Foundation.

Issue 67 September 1988 timlb 02 Oct 2009 No Comments

UK Skateboard Shop Adverts 1988 style

Skateboard Shop Adverts UKThere are some unfamiliar names in here. Which of these is still in existence? Add a comment if you know.

  • Surf Ski, Coventry
  • Gridiron, Nottingham
  • Stamyps Skates, Birmingham
  • Cheshire Skateboard Centre, Northwich
  • Skate Zone, Torquay
  • Mycyles, Malvern
  • TnB, Tiverton
  • Scotby Cycles, Carlisle
  • Round Ocean, Doncaster
  • Tombstone, Bristol

There’s also Matchrite, selling their jokes and someone advertising wholesale supplier of “Totally Radical Surf’n'Skate ‘T’ shirts now available!! Does anyone know who that was? Could it have been one of the great industry titans of the current boom starting business life in their back room?

Issue 67 September 1988 timlb 26 Sep 2009 4 Comments

Justin Ashby Intro — Livingston Skatepark

Justin Ashby at Livingston Skatepark 1988Justin Ashby was a key figure in UK skateboarding throughout the period of R.a.d Magazine (and long before and since too, of course).

I was really pleased when I turned the page and saw this. Strangely enough I was talking to someone last night about the history of Livingston and explaining how it nearly didn’t have a flat bottom in that original bowl.

Places to skate feature prominently in this Intro, which must have been done just before the big ramp at The Level was built, or maybe just after: Justin says they’re “going to put another foot of vert on it”. He also cites the ramp at Bourges “10′ transitions, a foot of vert and about 50′ wide. It’s got 20′ of basic ramp, then there’s a 4′ channel, then there are escalators down on both sides for another 8′, then back up again. And on one end there’s an extra 2′ extension so it’s about 13 or 14′ high.

And the skaters Justin rates in this Intro match that kind of terrain: Jason Jessess, the Godoys, Steve Claar, Craig Johnson, Jeff Phillips, Lucian, Jamie Blair and Davie Philip. So does his raddest thing seen: “Jason Jessee’s Christ Air to Fakie”.

By the way: if you’re reading this and know the history of Pig City you might be interested in a comment posted in July 2009 about trying to get the Pig City Shop going again.

Issue 67 September 1988 timlb 07 Aug 2009 No Comments

Intro: Mark Findlay

Mark Findlay at Bowes Lyon House StevenageInteresting to notice that Fids nominated Stevenage as his favourite ramp even though he came from Ramsgate. That’s a sign of the times: he had to travel into London and out the other side to skate it.

His answer to the question “What would make skating better?” — “Better weather or more indoor ramps” touches on the same subject. We got the “more indoor ramps”, though never enough of them. The weather did not get better. Quite the reverse. This has been one of the wettest winters in a while.

And the thought I like best? “Carter doing McTwists” it makes me smile even now.

More about Bowes Lyon Skatepark in Stevenage.

Issue 67 September 1988 timlb 04 Mar 2009 2 Comments

Don Brider, Dirty Ditches and a 1988 email address

Skateboard letters September 1988In this selection of letters we have

  • Mad Snoz and his cohorts writing about Dirty Ditches, but where?
  • Livi Skates thanking everyone who came for Pure Fun
  • Partying on the Isle of Wight
  • Vallely on vert (lots of it) at Latimer
  • A Picture of Don B
  • and our email address from 1988 = Telecom Gold 72:MAG90459

I’d forgotten that we kept that old address going. I thought it had died out with BMX Action Bike.

Issue 67 September 1988 timlb 17 Feb 2009 No Comments

Back in the Day: vintage skateboard shop adverts from 1988

Skateboard Shops in Southampton, Manchester, Lewisham and Weston-super-Mare from 1988Off Beat Sportz take the prize this time for their “We Like Cats and Dogs Price List” tag line. What was that all about, then?
Action Ramps deserve some other kind of prize for breaking down the humble jump-ramp into a whole series of components.
Meanwhile Youngs favoured the “long copy” approach, Split went for the big claim (but it was certainly true the time I went there) and Weston BMX and Leisure turned sideways to fit it all in.
Each of the shops had a distinctive style and a crew of locals to match in the days before chain stores sold skateboards!

Issue 67 September 1988 timlb 11 Feb 2009 3 Comments

Free skateboard classified adverts from 1988

Free Skateboard Classified Adverts from 1988At some point I knew I would run out of interesting things to say about “The Wall”. That moment has come.
It was intended as the Craigslist for UK skateboarding of its time and delighted me when it turned into Myspace. But I’m stretching things too far again. Time to shut up!

Issue 67 September 1988 timlb 03 Feb 2009 No Comments

Street Contest from Munster 1988

Overviews of Munster Street Competition course, 1988Interesting bits in here…

  • The overview of what we described as ‘the streetstyle device‘: state of the art at the time was: ‘Bank, quarter-pipe and mini-handrail all in one unit.” Now you see things like that all over the place. They’ve become a standard item in public and commercial parks. In 1988 this seemed like a first to us: “You could do three moves in one hit.”
  • Quote of the street-style event: “Oh well, I guess I’ll make up for that in my second run…” Mike Vallely after his ‘first’ qualifier. They had one run each.
  • Stuart Dryden, from Southsea, who came over from Southsea and entered in the days when travelling to competitions like this was beyond the reach of most people.

These were the killer things which lodged in Shane [O'Brien's] memory. Gonzales’ Ollie Stalefish Method 180 and Railslide regular footed [we were amazed by switch-stance then]. Cab’s Backside 180 Ollies off the jump ramp. Vallely’s 360 Frontside Hand-plant on the double-sided jump ramp. And Hosoi’s Frontside Wall-ride when his back foot slipped leaving him hanging off the top of the wall with his front foot keeping hold of the board. After a few sweaty moments, he shuffled the board back up and rode out. Delirium

Issue 67 September 1988 timlb 20 Jan 2009 No Comments

Eric Dressen, Tommy Guerrero, Jeff Hedges: Munster 1988

Jeff Hedges, Tommy Guerrero, Eric Dressen: Munster 1988Oh dear. Back in the days before desktop publishing you did not know what things would look like until you got the magazines back from the printers. Unless you could afford proofs, which we could not. So the yellow tint behind some of this worked OK, but the magenta one makes it impossible to read the text. Such was life back then.

The sidebar at the bottom is about an incident I had long forgotten. On the day of the finals neither Christian Hosoi nor Eric Dressen showed up. Both were still asleep. Somehow someone woke up Hosoi and got him to the hall. Eric Dressen slept on. There were murmurs that this was because Hosoi was considered the bigger ‘star’ by the organisers and the feelings came to head with a bit of a fight at the post-contest party.

Issue 67 September 1988 timlb 08 Jan 2009 No Comments

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