A few weekends back we hopped in a MINI and ventured to Cardiff to check out 2 recently opened indoor skateparks. Of course we all got back on our boards (we’re pretty rusty) as well as exploring some epic waterfalls in the Brecon Beacons to relax afterwards. This is how it went down …
After a very early start we fired up the MINI Paceman JCW that MINI had kindly given us for the trip and made our way out of London to the West. After hours of motorway we found ourselves being welcomed into Wales by the iconic Severn Bridge and it’s Tiffany Green facade before heading straight to our first stop – Spit & Sawdust. Owner Christian gave us a warm welcome that came with a round of much needed coffees before we warmed up the legs and preceded to get to grips with his creation. The park is great, full of lines and pretty heavily street inspired, but it’s the vibe and aesthetic that really makes this place unique and fills it with character. Whether it’s the hanging piece of natural art made from a tree in the middle of the park, the cafe-in-a-shed or the general DIY aesthetic throughout, the park is steeped in character and charm. It becomes pretty obvious where this has come from after a short discussion with Christian. He puts huge emphasis on the community side of skateboarding, explaining how the idea of the park originally began as a simple space to teach kids to skate and has blossomed into what we see today. Ask any skater and they will confirm that skating is much more than simply skating, it’s a culture and always has been and Christian’s Spit & Sawdust couldn’t better embody it.
After sufficiently depleting any energy we had left, we called it a day and headed to the hotel to check in and chill out. For some reason, we found ourselves hungry to skate again after dinner and so we ventured to Cardiff Bay to hit an outdoor skate plaza for a cheeky evening session at dusk (thanks to Phil from Astroid Boys for the suggestion). It’s a strange little park, with whippy quarters made out of brick, but well worth a visit if you’re in the area.
After a much deserved night of rest we got up bright and early once more to head to our second and final skate destination – Rampworld Cardiff. The contrast between Rampworld and Spit & Sawdust is pretty vast and that’s why we wanted to hit them both. As owner Jason explained, the inspiration behind Rampworld is one of the UK’s most legendary parks – Radlands. Having skated Radlands as a kid, I can definitely say that Rampworld has a similar feeling of awe as you enter the warehouse, welcomed by huge wooden structures looming over you, creating a maze of ramps and bowls that instantly fill the mind with possible lines and a hunger to jump on your board. One of the highlights had to be the foam pit with it’s huge roll-in. We spent a good few hours on this thing learning grabs, spins, and generally fooling around. Surprisingly, it was probably the most tiring thing we did all weekend … swimming your way out of a large pit of foam is no easy task! After learning a few new tricks, gaining a few extra bruises and thoroughly enjoying ourselves it was time to refuel over lunch and head into the Brecon Beacons for a calming adventure.
Our camera guru Boyce had visited a place called Waterfall Country (no lie) a little while back and suggested we headed there. Having seen a few photos we were more than keen, but even those couldn’t have prepared us for what we found. We walked past endless waterfalls and caves on our trek upwards to the big one before being confronted with a 10m waterfall of epic beauty. There couldn’t have been a better place to relax and contemplate the great weekend we’d had. A quick dip in the freezing water to wake us up and we were back in the MINI with tired legs and smiles on our faces, heading home to London.
Until the next adventure …
Special thanks to Christian at Spit & Sawdust, Jason at Rampworld, Vicky at Novotel and all those at MINI and Iris for the support.