Saturday, 22 May 2010

What is so good about Don Brider?

Regular blog readers may have noticed it looks slightly better now, videos actually fit in! For some reason I hadn't bothered fiddling with the code before and they would get cut off, but a bit of HTML scouring and its all good! This has made me wanna get back on the blogging again, and I think once a week i'm gonna take an in depth look at a legendary skater, and there is none more legendary in Southampton than Don Brider!

Fifty Fifty grind, or as the caption says, double axle scrape.

In 1990 I got a book called "Skateboarding Is Not A Book" it basically told you all about skateboarding at the time, and in amongst all the photos of vert skaters in tiny shorts and Rob Roskopp puking there was a photo of a group of guys skating along by a fountain in France, I thought it was kinda crap at the time, they were just going along?! Then when I read the book it kinda explained that the journey and travelling with your friends, and discovering new places, is half the fun of Skateboarding. Kinda wierd to be reading this when you're ten and Kickflips are the only thing people seem to care about, but not as wierd that years later I found out this was Don Brider.

Don at legendary Southampton spot Monks Ditch.

Don started skating before you could buy skateboards, he was one of the people that bought a commercial skateboard the first time they were available, and after the first boom and bust of skating product was really hard to get hold of, he used to mail order Vans, which would take about six weeks to arrive and you would buy based on a black and white line drawing.

Ah the old back board!

Don got good at skating, very good for the time, most people I have spoken to from that era say that Dons Bonelesses were something of legend, and with skateboarding having such a small following Don found cult status pretty quickly, mainly because he wasn't a vert skater, he was a street skater, and pioneering one at that! All the photos in mags were of vert ramps and comps, but photos of Don were of Wallrides and Bonelesses on the streets, or street sections of parks. I guess people could relate to this a bit more and with british skateboard videos and companies being close to non existent Don started to make his own stuff. Funnily enough when Don did skate vert he did his frontside grinds differently to everyone else, with the board scraping along the coping, this was then claimed by Mike Smith as a Smith grind, even though Don had been doing grinds like this before. So yeah, Don invented Smith Grinds!

From RAD isssue 44, frontside grind.

Don once showed me the first thing he ever screen printed, it was a stupidly complex picture of a moped thing on a tee shirt, he still has it hung up, Don never makes things easy on himself. Don got sponsored by a company called Brand X, but rather than just riding for them he helped them with a lot of the company. He also started Wear and Tear clothing and also made Victim Street Wear tees, a comment on the commercial, some would say sell out, nature of Vision street wear at the time, the original sell your soul to MTV type of brand. Vision was pretty hated on by core skaters but Don was perhaps the first to attack them, with Mark Gonzales following closely behind (I think) starting Blind skateboards, the opposite of Vision.

Beanplant down stairs, steez!

At one point Don skated through a schoolyard in Southampton and did a Wallride, a young BMXer saw this and instantly wanted to start skating, the BMXer was Greg Nowik.
Greg quickly become Dons protoge and Don helped in getting Greg Sponsored early on, by BASH skateboards - the sister company of Deathbox. Deathbox was started by Ian Deacon and Jeremy Fox and had a famous logo of a teapot, Don printed the first stickers for the company and still has the die cutter for the teapot shape at home. In the early to mid nineties skateboarding was on the decline after another boom and the guys at Deathbox realised that for them to survive they may have to move to the heart of the skateboard industry, California.

Stalefish Boneless!

Both Greg and Don had the opportunity to move to America with Deathbox, which upon the move changed its name to Flip skateboards, but both of them chose to stay with their families, and Don continued to print stickers and boards for shops and small companies. Don started Blackmarket skateboards, and sponsored Greg, Blackmarket was a cheaper alternative to buying a U.S. board and loads of guys you speak to in Southampton now would tell you that Blackmarket was their first proper deck.

From RAD issue 61, Wallride

When Death started Don printed some of their boards, and has printed stickers for most of the core skate shops in the country, along with tee shirts and decks, he always undercharges too, making very little off of any printing jobs he does, in order to keep things cheap for the shops and companies.
He still speaks to the owners of Flip and will always be flowed some boards and stuff by them, so thats why he is always rocking Flip gear.

Classic Boneless

I wish there were video parts of Don, but you'll have to make do with these photos, I remember when I learnt wallrides I was looking for a set of stairs to wallride down and Don mentioned there was a 5 set at a cinema in Andover, I thought it was a bit random that he knew this and asked why, and he said because he had done it in the eighties! That is still a pretty legit trick now so you could say his skating was ahead of its time, or tricks are just regressing to what looks good, but Don was amazing at Wallrides, any no Comply variation and the Boneless! I still don't really understand his Stalefish Bonelesses, maybe try one next time you go skating, it makes no sense.


Someone once said to me Don was the best street skater in the country, then the ollie came in and he was f****d, whether this is true or not Don was still progressing with modern street skating into the 90s and could do a few flip tricks, there aren't many people that can kickflip into their forties!
Skating with Don a few years ago he was still doing Noseslide to K grinds, and I was witness to a Frontside Noseslide, back noseblunt pop over on a rail, a legit trick for now!

Hurricane on the Navigator banks.

A lot of these photos are from RAD magazine, an old UK skate mag, Don was in it regularly and also wrote articles for it, the first skate magazine I ever bought had an article from Don about searching out spots, and had a young Alex Moul doing a boardslide down a ledge at Asda in Southampton! Don has inspired so many people with his skating that he is a true unsung legend, Greg would perhaps not even have skated without Don!

Frontside boardslide.

Don also built spots and ramps, the most well known being Dead Rabbits, a mini ramp with additional quarters on the platforms, a pretty cool design which opened up a whole lot of possibilities. Unfortunately I can't embed this video, but you should definitely click HERE and check out some footage of Greg skating Dead Rabbits!

Wallride at the legendary Wandsworth Roundabout spot, this is where the opening of Clockwork Orange is filmed, where Alex and friends beat up the old man, if you have no idea what i'm on about then you should watch that too!

And just for poops and giggles here is some footage of Greg and some others back in 92! good stuff!

1 comment:

don brider said...

i'm not as good as that you know


About Me

Reskue Skate Shop is an independent skater owned shop in Southampton, England.