Greetings From Brighton

Coastal carnage from the UK's hidden scene.
By Niall Neeson

Brighton is a place unlike any other. Found on the South coast of England right underneath London, Brighton is famous for its cosmopolitan nature, laidback lifestyle, and has one of the oldest skateboarding scenes in Britain.

Danny Emmerson tailslide © Rich West

From Pig City skateboards in the 1980’s right through to the soon to be completed new Level skatepark, the town has produced influential figures such as Flip Skateboards’ top dog Ian Deacon and Soletech’s Don Brown, who is a product of Brighton’s small but dogged freestyle scene which continues to this day in the form of heads like the mighty Darran Nolan.

Isaac Miller- switch ollie © Rich West

In the early 1990’s Churchill Square was also sessioned by skaters from outlying towns like Worthing as well, and people like Neil Fry, Colin Pope, Luke McKirdy and Adam Entwistle could be seen here of an evening. A few skaters got badly beaten up here however, and alongside police efforts the town centre became less of a fun skate.

Stevie Thompson, feeble. © Rich West

Brighton has had many great skate shops serving the scene down the years: Re- Al Sports in Dukes Lane , GMSC and its awesome Dope clothing brand, Stevie Thompson’s great little basement operation Another skateshop at the top of The Lanes (a bohemian walking area which runs from the train station to the seaside), and, more recently, Push skateshop near The Level.

Jake Snelling- frontside air © Rich West

What makes Brighton unique is its grooviness. Sub- cultures thrive here, and it is one of the best places in the world to be young, single, a little money in your pocket and no work in the morning. This is reflected in the skate scene, which runs from freestylers to many longboarders and probably the most cruisers outside of San Francisco. Vans also sell really well here as you might imagine. It’s also the reason why there is very little seriousness in the skate scene in Brighton. Almost no-one is sponsored, stressing looks silly when nobody cares, and the lack of straight spots makes everything a bit more flowing and spontaneous than, say, a session at the Dusseldorf 9- stair.

Mitch Wheeler, nosegrind. © Rich West

There is nowhere in the world quite like Brighton: it is alive with a sense of possibility and excitement that I felt when I bought my first board here 22 years ago, and I feel again every time I step off the train and head down through life to the sea.

Rooftops © Rich West
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