Hot Spots: Southbank and the Undercroft

Features, History, Hot Spots, Landmarks, London, Skate Videos, Skateboarding

Welcome to Hot Spots, our new feature that aims to celebrate, archive, and remember some of the biggest, baddest and coolest spots in the Skateboarding world. We’re gonna try to bring you a healthy mixture of immediately recognisable classics, some solid and current spots, as well as hidden gems and up and coming sites – but all of the places we ‘visit’ will hold some rich skateboarding history.
Any list of famous skateboarding spots would simply be incomplete without mention of the Southbank Centre and the Undercroft. It is undoubtedly one of the most recognisable Skateboarding spots in the UK, if not the world, and it’s a bastion of the community spirit and and creativity that resides at the heart of Skateboarding culture.
SB7 SAM ASHLEY

Photo: Sam Ashley

Thanks to the efforts of the skateboarding community – including shops and brands both local and international, as well as regular skaters who give a shit about the scene – we’re able to talk about Soutbank in the present tense. A particularly callous redevelopment scheme threatened to relegate Southbank’s legacy and influence to the pages of history, but the public, galvanised by skaters,shops, and passionate members of the local community, fought long and hard to keep the spot in operation.

SB UNDERCROFT

Southbank has effectively been the epicentre of the London skateboarding scene for the better part of four decades, and although various redevelopments and construction projects have, regrettably, reduced the size and space of the undercroft, this has only served to condense and concentrate the sheer passion people feel for the space as well as the extraordinary influence that it exerts.

The sheer volume of tricks that have gone down at Southbank, and the countless sessions, contests and jams, makes the selection of just 6 tricks, a near impossible task. We’re not trying to bring you ‘the best’, ‘the biggest’, or the ‘most important’ tricks, because we feel that doing so would contradict what Southbank is all about – it’s not about competition or one-upping fellow skateboarders, it’s about being part of a community, having somewhere to hang out in a city that’s increasingly under threat from pernicious redevelopment schemes, and just being able to skate – pure and simple. LLSB6HOTSPOTS
On top of this, four decades of history provide people with their own favourite memories and their stories of legendary tricks and sessions. A spot that has housed multiple generations of skateboarders will undoubtedly encourage a vast array of strong and passionate opinions – so think of this list instead as the expression of our opinion. Our aim is to bring you a list that attempts to reflect  Southbank’s history as well as it’s promising present, and perhaps it’s exciting future. Check out the clips below:

Ben Jobe and Co

Blueprints ‘First Broadcast’ edit featured some hefty tricks from some serious rippers, and we definitely recommend watching the whole thing – not just for all of the sick tricks thrown down at Southbank, but because the entire video itself is amazing. Not only is it a edit that captures a particular era of Skateboarding, but it’s also filled with rad tricks that are easily on par with what’s produced today.

Casper Brooker  Absolutely Killing It 

Isle and Slam City Rider Casper Brooker absoloutely destroys SB in this cool little edit. It’s easy to tell that Brooker has been shredding the undercroft for years – the speed, nonchalance and finesse of his outrageous lines prove that he is well at home at the legendary spot.

(Long Live Southbank – Casper Brooker from Daniel Kreitem on Vimeo).

Chewy Cannon and Benny Fairfax 

You can just tell by the way that Chewy and Benny Skate Southbank that they are well versed in the art of London street skating. There is a grittiness and ruggedness to be found in both the spots around London, and the style of the skaters that crush said spots. This is a fact that is somewhat reflected by Palace’s sketchy, VHS style of filming – a style that simultaneously pays tribute to the skateboarding of bygone eras, but brings the tradition and soul of skateboarding (something which Southbank embodies) into current times. All this theory aside though, It’s just sick to see Benny and Chewy rip.

Curtis McCann  

You can catch some brief glimpses of the older, more expansive Southbank in McCann’s classic ‘Skypager’ part. McCann was Southbank legend who was throwing dow tricks all over SB – including a mammoth switch flip down the 7 in 93′- way before skating reached the popular heights it inhabits today.

Andrew Brophy – Front 180 Up the Seven 

A lot of tricks have been thrown down the seven, but far fewer have been thrown up it. Brophy’s insane amount of pop is well documented, but we still cant wrap our heads around this gargantuan front 180. Madnesss

Willy Santos – Nollie Late Front Foot Flip

Willy Santos threw down this crazy late fip in his classic part for the Birdhouse ‘Ravers’ video.

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