Skate ramp in Portishead proves big hit so far with town’s teenagers

PUBLISHED: 16:00 13 January 2019

Sk8 or Die volunteers completing the new skate ramp they have built at Merlin Park.    

Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Sk8 or Die volunteers completing the new skate ramp they have built at Merlin Park. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

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A new skateboarding ramp in Portishead has proved a ‘great success’, and it is just the beginning according to the business which paid for it.

Owners Matt Staines and Stuart Walsh at Sk8 or Die.      Picture: MARK ATHERTONOwners Matt Staines and Stuart Walsh at Sk8 or Die. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

A half-pipe was installed in Merlin Park just before Christmas, and over the festive period youngsters were queuing up to have a go on their skateboards, scooters and BMXs.

The ramp was paid for and installed by fledgling skate shop Sk8 Or Die, in The Triangle, which was opened in October by pals Stuart Walsh and Matt Staines.

The duo forked out almost £5,000 to pay for the ramp, and Mr Walsh told the Times it has proved very popular.

He said: “It’s been hard to get a go on it for some kids as so many were queuing up to drop in on it over the Christmas holidays.

“It cost us almost £5,000, but it’s been worth every penny.

“Hopefully it plugs a gap and gives kids something to do, and hopefully it continues to exhibit the demand for a skatepark in Portishead.

“It shows how popular skating is in the town. The half-pipe is probably not enough and for us it’s just the start.”

The notion of a skatepark has proved divisive in Portishead over the years, with campaigners’ hopes to build one at the Lake Grounds rebuffed by North Somerset Council – but Mr Walsh believes there is a suitable alternative.

He said: “The next step for us is to add to it.

“We’re very supportive of a concrete skatepark.

“My first choice would be Kilkenny Fields. There is too much opposition for it to be at the Lake Grounds, and Kilkenny Fields would be a great compromise.”

A small amount of vandalism has occurred since the ramp was installed, but Mr Walsh believes only a small number of ‘destructive’ people are responsible.

He said: “It’s no different to anywhere else and the vast majority of kids have respected it.

“Apart from a bit of litter and graffiti it’s been great. It’s theirs to use and they have a chance to show the elders of the town skating is not an antisocial sport. It binds the community.”

Sk8 Or Die has enjoyed a positive start to trading, and Mr Walsh believe its popularity encapsulates the growing calls for skating facilities in Portishead.

He added: “It’s been a great start for the business. We have sold more than £10,000 worth of skateboards and scooters, which again shows the demand in the town.”

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