When We Was Rad:
Skateboard History from UK Vintage Magazine

Don Brider — Desert Island Skateboarder

Don Brider mini-interview from 1991 Rad Skateboard Magazine
Don Brider was already a legendary part of the British skate scene when this was published. And still is, I believe. I’m really pleased to see this and to be reminded of him. A few days ago I had to visit Farnborough. So much seemed to have changed. I couldn’t even really be sure I had worked out where the ramp had been. And, sure enough, there’s even a new council ramp-park-thingy nearby. I wonder if they appreciate the part their town played in keeping skateboarding in the UK alive. Don was very much part of that world, even though he’s from Southampton.
This makes me smile.

Skate Legends don’t come much bigger than Don Brider, sardonic wit and ruler of Southampton’s streets. Don’s all-pervasive influence has helped make British skateboarding what it is today, giving it that distinct slant which is the very antithesis of the mellow Californian style foisted on us in the seventies. We also have Don to thank for keeping the spirit of British deck manufacture alive in between Benji Boards and Death Box — any surviving examples of the “Softcore” boards he made with Mark Abbott must surely be worth serious money by now.
Don still lives in Southampton, where he divides his time between running Wear and Tear clothing, house-training Greg Nowak, and providing a stream of firm but fair constructive criticism on the skate scene. If anyone deserves an island all to themself, it must be Don — but what would he take with him?

The Board: I don’t know if you can just say a name like “Davross Model” or something like that for the deck. At the moment it would be the tramline six inch nose with fourteen wheel-base and six and three-quarter tail with a roundish tail, nice un-log-like nose tapering towards the back, with an H Street concave.
Or I could get the jig-saw out… Ooops: desert island — no jig-saw. OK: a Goff street or a Chris Miller. Trucks: just Indys. Wheels: 97, has to be — with a nice slide. It’s hard to name a brand, they’re all made in the same place anyway. Round ones.
The Skate Spot: That’s so difficult because there are things about everything I like. There’s Hastings mini-ramp, which is so rad — just like the first Farnborough vert ramp. Then there’s Dead Rabbit’s Ramp, which I had a big hand (cue joke) in. Then bits of streets everywhere. This is so hard (ooh, er). OK: I’d have Dead Rabbit’s ramp because it’s my baby and I know it would last — but probably kill me.
The Video or Film: You’ll not let me have home videos, will you?* Maybe “Some Like it Hot” because it’s just an all-round nice picture and because ‘being over 25 makes a girl think, you know’. Films are really such a throw away thing once you’ve seen them two or three times… But, yeah: “Some Like it Hot”. I don’t know what that says about me as a person… you decide.
The Person to Session With: It seems now that a lot of the time we all skate alone, even when we’re in a group. That may not make sense to some — but older skaters may understand the glimmer of a thought there.
Is this where I put in the Rob Able “who’s nicked my sarnies” quote? No. Well, I’d go skating with Greg Nowak then, but he trams so much I’d probably go into a coma. You get stoked on everyone really: not just one person. Oh, except GAZZA!!! Wow, foota!
The Record: A record is just that: a record of a live performance, or that’s what it should be. I’m glad you said ‘record’ anyway instead of ‘CD’ because, as usual, money kills everything and now profit hungry people kill the record in favour of the beer mat. Cure, Smiths, Cocteau Twins… oh, so many to choose from. OK: ‘Waterloo’ by Abba, because I haven’t played frisbee for so long.
The Book: Of the film? Well, it has to be my Garfield collection because his character is so rad. The cartoons on tv are crap because of the voice they used. OK, I admit I only read skate mags and the junk mail Sean Goff sends me, so I’m really uncultured, mate! Want a fight?
The Luxury: A girl Friday? No, you said no people….. Um…. A cardboard cut-out of Alex Moul to pray to? “Alexi Moul, Alexi Moul, he’s got a sphincter like a volcano hole…” No, for real: a telephone which I never have to pay for, so I can talk to people I care for and not have to panic about some profiteering bastards ripping me off, and my cat “Robert Smith” because everybody wants to be a cat.

* You can take what you want, as long as it’s printable.


6 responses to “Don Brider — Desert Island Skateboarder”

  1. Coming from Farnham originally I can tell you that a lot of the skaters in Farnbro are well aware of the roll that the area played in the history of British skateboarding. They used to have a website which included a great history section.
    That ramp was where I first tried dropping in (albeit on the low section) and some of the guys still skating there were around then too.

  2. don b and RAD were a huge influence on my friend and i, i remember he had spiral griptape in a photo of a no handed airwalk taken at night way back when and we copied that on some of our first pro boards.

    total ruler of the navigator banks in southsea too

  3. Chas One (or anyone): I tried Googling for the Farnborough site you mention, but didn’t come up with one. But I admit I was in a rush. Does anyone know where it is? I’d like to add a link to it.

  4. The mighty Don! The worrying thing is even he looks young in these pictures!!

    I remember skating that ramp! It was on an old disused train line under a bridge somewhere.

    Ahh the memories… Going to have to go skating this weekend, looks like I’m going to be bruised and aching over xmas!

  5. Don brider . I remember him spitting on me at dead rabbits cos he took exception to the fact I couldn’t pay £20 for the wood . !!!
    We didnt actually fight . If we did I suspect I would have been pasted .
    Dead rabbits was the best ramp ever and it was built mainly by soton possy and ridden by them also . The small mini on top of the main ramp was one of the first of it’s kind . Ollie blunt to fake ollie in . One of scariest tricks ever . Grey knowic fuck that guy was good and had natural ability . I remember doing ollie blunt sessions on the redbridge ramp one night . Obj these were the days .
    Nuffield respect to don birder . Some 25 years on I respect his keeping it real and staying true to the spirit . Which is what he is and promotes and what peOplenshoild value . Fair play . Sorry again for the £20 I was a twat . What can isay . But you still owe me petrol money !!!!

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