The shortage of skateboarding facilities in Newry is once again in the public eye with Marcus Square, virtually the last place available for them to use in the city in the absence of proper facilities, “improved” with new seats there. a few weeks skateboarding impossible.
Isaac Lane-Davies, 20, describes it as something akin to structures put in place to deter homeless people from staying in a certain area.
It is only when you show a non-skater the clever ways authorities use to deter skateboarding with metal stops and uneven surfaces that you see the difficulties encountered. Maybe skateboarders could come to terms with this if there was a local facility for them, but there isn’t, and like the story of Albert Basin Park, there is no sign that this is changing. anytime soon !
Skateboarding is a subculture and, as Lane-Davies explains, there is no local council support despite its popularity. This in itself is probably an understatement of the year. A Skate Park had been promised in Newry since the one in Kilkeel closed thirty years ago to make way for a parking lot. âI feel really disappointed to be honest. There was a park in Kilkeel that was used for skateboarding and as soon as it was demolished we were promised because it was being demolished there are would have one in Newry, and that was 30 years ago! I’m not even 30, so it’s been going on longer than I’m alive! There are guys campaigning for it for years .I just think it’s crazy how people like Carrickfergus, Banbridge and Bangor, are smaller places than Newry, smaller towns at least – Newry is a town and it doesn’t even have a skate park, that is. is crazy. “
Lane-Davies was around six or seven when his mother bought him a skateboard and although it took him a few years to adopt it, it became the passion that changed his life.
In the first year of high school, when students in his class were asked what hobbies they had, he was too afraid to mention it. Lane-Davies explains, âI was so petrified because everyone called themselves. ‘Where are you from’ – ‘I’m Matthew from Bessbrook and I love football’ or whatever and then the guy next – ‘I’m James from Camlough, I play football.’ All the guys said the same thing and so when it came to me I was so petrified that I said football, even though I really meant skateboarding, until one of the last guys, one of the guys. my friends Jamie comes up – ‘What’s my name is Jamie, I’m from Newry, I’m so-and-so and I love skateboarding. My head turned and from there I was like, okay i don’t have to stop this, i don’t have to feel weird or left out like I’m some social norm freak or whatever . “
It was the start of them and a few others skating regularly in Newry, which eventually led him to get involved with Newry Urban Sports, the skateboard group created by Michael Deen that Lane-Davies calls the “Godfather of skate “.
Lane Davies explains âWe have a great scene here now, we have all kinds of ethnicities and ages skating with us. We have Brazilian guys. Polish guys it’s amazing
âThe odd thing about skateboarding is that you, no matter what your interests outside of skateboarding and what type of person you are, everyone seems to click. In all honesty, the other thing is you don’t. don’t really have a choice in this town for that, you just paired up with each other you all have similar interests and you get together, have a good time, you make art, you hang out, you skate and you shoot clips. your mental well-being and your physical well-being too. “
Explaining how the new seating structures made things really tough, Lane-Davies said, âIn fairness the only thing that really pushed me over the edge was the addition of toe stops or skate benches. .
âIt’s been our place of worship or practice for years and that’s where we grew up as people and as skaters, and they took that from us and it’s really hard to see. Without trying. to make a big deal out of it, that’s really a big deal for us! “
In the absence of taller structures for them to skateboard, they have very little left of “Without these benches there are no grounds for creativity, really skate on level ground – that is. crazy.” adds Lane-Davies
âIt’s too inconvenient to put those massive, heavy ramps in vans or cars to bring them down every other night. It’s just not lit, we need something to do with what we have. and we’re not complaining but it’s not really a safe place for skaters. There were about 20 of us tonight. It was summer. He got out of his car, went to the trunk and grabbed a grinder corner and started chasing after us. Luckily when he got into his car he couldn’t start it so we called the cops and the cops got down and arrested him. “
What does the group want? For starters, they would like their benches to go back to how they were about two weeks ago, when they didn’t have those horrible skate stops on them. Lane-Davies concludes “It will be a start, I don’t expect to turn around and have a skatepark here before summer, that won’t happen. Yeah, a skate park is really the situation in whole – Give us a skate park “