I do not own the copyright to many of the images and pictures presented in ‘skate pic’s’ and ‘magazines’ sections. They do not have any commercial or financial connection with the ‘Transition Skateboarding Trilogy’. They are not being reproduced and sold for profit. They are the work and property of the skateboard photographers who took them. The images presented here are simply a means to honour and express the history of, and a journey through, skateboarding. Thank you to all those skaters and photographers who created these visual signposts to skateboarding’s history.

Transition and the written material composing this project is copyrighted. No reproduction in any form is allowed without the permission of the author


‘Embracing Adulthood as a Skateboarder’

Chapter 1: Popsicles predominate 1996-99: Skateboarding in the midst of University life: attempting to quell ‘divine unconscious shadows’ into submission, whilst chasing the delusion of a career in the hope of a, brighter future.

Late 1996, University days. The best guide to a new University and city for a skateboarder? A RAD magazine feature on skating in Plymouth! Probably not the best guide! ‘Old Man Window’ deck stares back at me as I close my room door for the last time. Getting my Type 1 ready for the long drive down to Plymouth. A few tunes for the 10hr solo journey: Sugar, Nirvana and Oasis.

Initial positive ‘Embracing Adulthood’ intentions at University soon dissipate under the influence of ‘freshers fortnight’, chosen bands of the day, getting lost in effects laden guitar playing, forming a band, student life in a halls of residence and meeting like-minded Mark. Oh yeah, and skating again: OOPS!  

RIDE tunes dominate mine and Mark’s guitar playing and new songs to learn and band rehearsals. Our wah driven, feedback laden walls of sound annoys the shit out of other students in the Halls however: OOPS! Loss of drum-kit room leads to end of band as well: Mark & I go skating instead.

Mark and I go skating in late ‘96. I get the shock of my life in a skate shop in Bath: as ‘popsicles predominate’. Skateboarding fused into burly and technical as street skaters dominate. Es soon rules in skate shoes and into the 2000’s; Screen and Accel.

Guitars and guitar music play a large part in  my first year of University, particularly after the severe head trauma ‘97. Fender off-sets the main weapons of choice driven through many effects pedals and a Jim Dunlop wah-wah.  

The skate ramp in Victoria Park Bath early 90’s. Now surrounded by a children’s play area and Park Keepers office: mixing skateboarders, skateboards and young children sometimes a source of tension.: bad idea council. A place I frequented and observed from the sidle-lines sometimes whilst at Uni in Bath as a piece of me decidedly clung-on to skating even though my life was moving on. View from the student flat in Bath.

Chapter 2: ‘The Process of Depletion: A skateboarders’ unexpected downward spiral: the collective power and potency of the ‘dark-side’ of the sub-conscious and unconscious: the vice-like grip and devastation of M.E: the continued demise and temporary death, of skateboarding.

‘Embracing Adulthood’. Contradicting days: celebrating graduation at Bug Jam summer ‘99 thereafter bug needs TLC. Then descending into a private hell as I became a ‘slave to the wage’. I loose touch with skating & descend into an unexpected  ‘process of depletion’ that almost leads to death: heavy shit.

Chapter 3: ‘Defying Convention: Skateboarding as an enduring and life-affirming, activity and sub-culture; the exhilaration of skate history, deck collecting, and a private ‘skateboard fantasy land’. The ‘karmic bonfire’ of personal transformation and transition: the resurrection of self and skateboarding.’

Left in complete isolation day-to-day with acute M.E 2004-08, from nowhere, the world of skateboarding again is a lifeline in the midst of much darkness. A selection of the many films on DVD I watched over several years whilst confined to a bed hardly able to even walk, talk or breathe. And yet, my will to live is nourished and grows: somehow I’m gonna get back to skating (exactly how, I had no idea!).

Vert’s dead? Hardly! Vertical ramp riders take their skills to new and mind boggling levels on mega-ramps as vert resurrects itself.

The amazing Tony Hawk, Sean White, Bob Burnquist, Jeff Grosso and Danny Way. Stacey Peralta creates ‘Dogtown & Z Boys’ which helps rejuvenate skateboarding’s fortunes and ‘The Bones Brigade’ revives interest in vert and ‘The Bones Brigade’! Vert’s alive and well by all accounts!  

Books about skateboarding equally act to nourish me and keep me alive. ‘Disposable’ awakens me to the world of ‘skateboard collecting’: a world I’d previously not known about at all. My eyes pop out of my head when seeing many vintage decks in NOS/Mint condition; skate memories stirred.

Skateboard magazines vintage and new alike also help to keep me alive and sustained. I’m completely amazed at the level modern skateboarding is operating at in terms of difficulty and skill. But I still can’t get my head around popsicles and skin-tight-alright jeans: how the hell do peeps skate in ‘em!

The face of modern skateboarding clearly different to the old but many aspects directly derived from the late 80’s/early 90’s transitional era. Like popsicle decks, street domination, small wheels and beautiful ladies in adverts! Plan-B legends, Rick Howard & Sean Sheffy. Skateboarding’s for kids: hardly.

Despite trying to keep a level head skateboarding soon completely dominates my day-to-day housebound with M.E existence. Skate collecting becomes a highly addictive form of soul nourishment and I increase the amount of ‘complementary therapy’ as my desire to go skating increases evermore. Soon, I’ve sold everything else I own to reclaim the boards I rode ‘back in the day’ and to pay for therapy; OOPS!

After a phenomenal amount of therapy and personal work, despite M.E still persisting and the dangers/relapses involved in all forms of exercise, I can no longer resist the urge to go skating again by summer. The hallway & back garden path is my starting point to learn to simply roll again and get used to being on a board after such a long absence. As an old-schooler, I have no qualms about skating vintage decks I’m drawn too: Powell’s solid wood and  flat-caves suit me well: skate, don’t just hoard!  

‘The resurrection of self & skateboarding’: after a while of learning to roll again and getting used to severe relapsing due to M.E, the confines of our back-garden are no longer enough; the perilous lure of a closed and disused MFI store car-park close to home proves impossible to resist. A solo, skate sanctuary for me for almost 3 years as I channel my ‘divine unconscious shadows’ amidst much mayhem alone & unguided with M.E.    

The power of my ‘divine unconscious shadows’: well-used vintage boards: a crime or a life’s testament to glorious skate days?

The conscious reflection of my ‘divine unconscious shadows’ persisting from boyhood driving much of my self-destructive behaviour, finally uncovered during shamanic journeying. RIDE’s ‘Grasshopper’ and Santa Cruz’s Tom Knox ‘Social Discord’ deck as musical/visual reflections of my ‘divine unconscious shadows’ holding old woundings/trauma from boyhood. My final skate at the MFI car-park: very hard to let go of.

click on the Mad Circle deck to return to the top


Transition and all the material composing this project is copyrighted. No reproduction in any form is allowed without the permission of the author.