13 April 2015

Over Ply Wood: A Skateboarding History Written in South Wales

Even though, I've lived outside of Swansea longer now than I actually lived there in the past, I still consider it home. People still look at me funny when I tell them Langland Bay, Mumbles was once one of the epicenters of Surf/ Skate culture in the UK. Ever since I was about seven years old all I wanted to do was surf and skate because I'd see all the older lads on their way to Langland as they went past my house on Overland Road. It was such a captivating and all-encompassing subculture. I'd spend many an hour staring into the window display of Dave Friar's Surf Shop, dreaming of my first skateboard before I eventually got it thirty-odd years ago. 

Anyway, Jonno Atkinson who isn't actually from Swansea but moved there a few years ago, quickly saw the historical significance in the scene and began collecting archived zines, video footage and conducting interviews with some of the key players and put it all together in documentary format, entitled Over Ply Wood (a play on Dylan Thomas' 'Under Milk Wood,' which you should also read). It traces the trajectory from surfers making crude wooden quarter pipes down Langland in the 1960s to the legendary Morfa vert ramp to the late 90s street scene to the current scene centered around Exist Skatepark/ shop. Local scenes may not seem as much of a big deal in this day and age but pre-internet and during skateboarding's intermittent dark ages, they were everything. Needless to say, I'm stoked to have been apart of it. Without it, I'm not sure what the fuck I'd be doing with my spare time...

The above scans are from the accompanying zine which you can order, along with the DVD here: