Skateboarding's chameleon quality, that sees it change with the times and the fashions, often setting them, makes it feel forever fresh and modern. But skateboarding has a long, rich history in Sheffield. The city boasts an impressive roll call of pro and skate industry sponsored skaters, and punches above its weight on the UK scene with a solid skateboarding community. Sheffield has given the wider skating world pro skaters like Mark Baines who runs skate clothing company Story, and Jerome Campbell, whose international reputation continues to grown. While some sports organise themselves around clubs, though, the skateboard scene is more fluid. Parks, shops, interest groups and skate lesson providers make up aspects of this fascinating community. Here's a run down on how and where to meet fellow skaters, hang out, and improve your skills.
First up is where to get your kit. Slugger Skate Store in shopping emporium The Forum on Sheffield's Devonshire Street opened in 2012. Run by skaters Martin Kennelly and Louis Slater, Slugger's distinctive, anarchic approach to skating is matched by its wide range of skateboard hardware, shoes and clothing. Shops are a traditional meet-up place for skaters, so you're bound to meet fellow riders, while staff are happy to offer advice.
Next, where to ride. While a by-law means skating is barred from the city centre streets there's plenty of places to skate in and around Sheffield. When the weather's grim, skaters can use one of two indoor parks. The House Skatepark in Neepsend is Sheffield's longest established indoor venue which opened in 1998. With 10,500 square feet of wood ramps plus an indoor concrete bowl and skate shop, the park has a real community vibe. Its annual comp attracts riders from around the country and The House supports the scene with parties, video premiers and demos from big-name teams. A more recent addition is the smaller Onboard Skatepark on the south side of the city. This community interest project is involved in a range of recognised charitable youth-development activities, tutoring and outreach, and has a cafe on site.
In warm weather, there's a variety of council-built facilities to choose from. On the south side there are skateparks in Greenhill Park in Lowedges, and in Millhouses Park, and a bowl in Meersbrook Park. The town centre has a large skatepark on Devonshire Green, and Cookson Park at Shirecliffe is the biggest outdoor park in town. Further out of town is Stocksbridge skatepark.
If you're looking to start skating or build on what you know, Sheffield is home to the Skateboard School, the UK's first fully accredited skate teaching programme. Group or one – to one lessons are delivered by professional coaches currently run at The House, and at other venues round the city including local schools, with all equipment provided for the sessions. Sheffield is also the headquarters of Girl Skate UK. Run by Danielle Gallacher, it connects and supports girl riders from new starters to professionals through its website, social media and girl-oriented hook-ups.