In the era of affordable global travel it is now common practice for skaters to fly to an anonymous Beijing training level to log their park-honed NBDs, before stopping off in New York to pop off, onto or over some corrugated metal to be sure to earn their East-Coast-eye credibility and cover all bases.
But there is something about these kaleidoscopic travel brochure video parts that leaves me cold. There is a lot to be said for staying at home – an authenticity that shines through when skaters are clearly local to a spot, chill there with their homies and principally terrorise that particular spot over a concentrated period of time, resulting in video parts in which their adopted stomping grounds features heavily.
According to age, all skaters will have their own eras and documented scenes which appealed to them. As a mid-to-late-90s starter, my early obsessions involved the Pier 7 era in San Francisco and the (admittedly second era) of Love Park in Philadelphia. Nothing makes a section like the confidence and sense of belonging radiated by a skater who clearly knows every chip and crack that their habitat could throw at them, and therefore takes those extra pushes in full comfort, exhausting every possible route that the spot has to offer.
With this in mind, the recent release of the Bobby Worrest: Turf Killer Part, filmed entirely at Pulaski Park in Washington D.C, resonated with me like a foghorn blast in a squash court. It got me thinking about some of my favourite examples of skaters putting in work at their local mecca - not necessarily for the entirety of the part, but just sections in which the skater's go-to spot is undeniably prominent. So without further ado, here is an ode to staying home: ten premium examples of skaters holding down their local.
JB Gillet – “Fireworks" (1995)
Hotel De Ville, Lyon. Long before the The Guillotine took his razor sharp skills to California, he'd already spent his formative years absolutely rinsing the double-tiered ledge plaza Hotel De Ville in his native Lyon. This sterling part from 1995 puts his mayoral status of HDV beyond doubt.
Paul Shier - Blueprint/Panic “Anthems" (1998)
Fairfields, Croydon. This O.G London flowerpot mecca represents the early stomping grounds of former Blueprint Skateboards legend and Isle Skateboards head honcho Paul Shier. It was hard to pick a particular Shier part since he’s torn this spot a new one in virtually every part he’s had, but ‘Anthems’ seemed a decent medium since the part opens and closes there, whilst he deals with almost every possible route available at Fairfields Hall through the course of the part.
Stevie Williams – “The Reason" (1999)
Love Park, Philadelphia. It was hard to pick a specific part to represent the late nineties/early millennium Love Park era when there are so many heavy hitters to choose from. This one swung it in the end for being 99% LOVE Park heavy, and scored bonus points for the guest tricks from fellow Love alumni Josh Kalis and Kevin Taylor.
Marcus McBride - "Manolo's Tapes"
Pier 7, San Francisco. Another tough pick but who better embodies the Pier 7 era than JB Gillet's former Deca teammate Marcus, just for his sheer brutality and exhaustion of the options available at the Pier. Manuals up the pad, long ledge lines, tricks over the pad and even tricks over the huge chunky ledge, McBride did it all. Not strictly a part but rather a career resume, this compilation had to go in if only to bare witness to the entirety of Marcus's barrage of unthinkable tricks over the Manual Pad at the pier all in one place.
Petr Horvat - Puzzle VM - "Focus" ( 2004 )
Stalin Square, Prague. Horvat is without doubt one of the smoothest operators Europe has ever produced, and his 'Focus' part from the long-running video magazine Puzzle shows why he will forever be synonymous with the equally smooth red marble mecca that Prague has to offer.
Ross Norman - "Civilised Skateboards" ( 2010 )
Legislative Plaza, Nashville. This part of underated Nashville local Ross Norman will undoubtedly have you asking why you've never seen anywhere near enough of either him or this premium Tenessee plaza. For more of Mr. Norman, see the excellent 2008 independent Florida-based video 'Last of the Mohicans' by Joe Perrin.
Raul Navarro - Dogway - "Video 5" ( 2004 )
Sants, Barcelona. Much like the Shier-Fairfields selection, choosing a particular Navarro part to embody his connection with this spot was tricky, since he absolutely annhilates the place in all his parts. In the end I went for this lesser seen section, since it opens and closes and the famous Sants benches, which he absolutely goes in on towards the end of the part. Like most of Raul's sections, this could just as easily been an ode to Parallel since he's pretty much closed that down too - but since Kalis himself felt compelled to ask Navarro for permission to skate at Sants, we are going to run with that as his primary natural habitat.
Henry Sanchez - "The Ruler" ( 2001 )
Third and Army, San Francisco. O.G Tech wizard Henry Sanchez killed it harder than most men. Some of his finest work is the sheer amount of ludicrously difficult ledge and manual lines he executed at 3rd and Army, most of which he opted to handle at gale force speed. Sanch also desecrated the holy grounds of Pier 7 on the regular around this same period, but since the honour of King Loc' at that spot has already been awarded to his honourable associate Marcus McBride, and the fact that the first minute and a half of this compilation shows Henry bringing absolute firepower to the rounded edges and kicker-over-horn features of 3rd and Army, I figured it only right to give this one to Mr. Sanchez.
Bobby Worrest - Thrasher - "Home Turf Killer" (2014)
Pulaski Park, Washington D.C. The part that sparked the article. An absolute breath of fresh air, this part captures that local vibe and familiarity that so many parts fail to evoke these days. There's a lot of heart in this one, not to mention some of the finest skateboarding to be collected in one place this year. Worrest hits everything Pulaski has to offer in this masterpiece, putting a huge smile on my face whilst evoking memories of Andy Stone, Pepe Martinez ( R.I.P) and Darren Harper all at once.
Rob Selley - Blueprint/Panic "Anthems" (1998)
Milton Keynes Bus Station. Now I know that listing two parts from the same UK vid makes this list a little Anglo-centric, but you can't mention Shier at Fairfields without giving credit where it's due to British ledge skating pioneer and all round G Rob Selley and his absolute destruction of the MK bus station ledges ( long before it was adapted into a legal skate plaza due to hard work by the man himself ) . I am using the spot definition loosely, also including the very similar ledges that were found just across the street between the bus and train station in Milton Keynes. Before it's time with pioneering European switch stance game and balling switch mongo lines for days, this part is an absolute gem.