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24 September 2014
Inside Out: Surprising Stories, Familiar Places

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  Inside Out - West: Monday September 8, 2003


Inside Out meets Bristol's premier skateboarding team

If you thought 'ollie' was a boy's name and 'grinding' was one of your best moves on the dance floor then read on as Inside Out takes you inside the world of skateboarding.

Meet 50:50, they are Bristol's premier skateboarding team as well as one of the South West's few specialist skate shops.

Danny Wainwright is one of the founding members and has been skateboarding for over 16 years

He and his co-founder Syd ploughed their competition winnings into the business which they insist is as much about socialising as it is about selling.

Exclusive web footage
Danny Wainwright
Danny's passion is skateboarding and luckily for him, it's his job too!
Watch Bristol in Bloom - skateboarding video part one
Copyright Louis Gane
Watch Bristol in Bloom - skateboarding video part two
Copyright: Louis Gane

"It's just somewhere for the skaters to come and hang out," explains Syd. "Watch videos and find out what's going on in the skateboarding world."

The shop even boasts its own skating ramp in the back yard!

Mean streets

But specially built ramps aren't the only place that skateboarders can be found.

Public libraries, civic centres and town squares are all popular skateboarding haunts - anywhere with a flat concreted area, steps and railings to practice tricks.

And this is where the conflict arises.

Many local residents view skateboarding as a public nuisance, both dangerous and noisy. But public opinion does little to deter our diehard fanatics of 50:50.

Back to the beginning

It is largely believed that skateboarding originated from surfing after a lack of good waves and initially surf board and skateboard designs were similar.

Skaters were known as 'sidewalk surfers'.

In time the design changed and in 1965, the first skateboards were manufactured.


Danny Wainwright has honed his ollie to a record-breaking height of 44.5 inches.

But for the less skilful of you, here's a very simple explanation of how it works:

- back foot kicks down and provides the force which makes the tail hit the ground

- that provided the pop which lifts the board into the air

- the front foot then slides forward and levels the board out

- all that's left to do is land it

Although skateparks do exist, in the UK these tend to be few and far between and many skaters are forced to return to the sport's roots and hone their skills on the streets.

Treading the board

Luckily for the skaters of Bristol however, Danny and Syd made it their mission to design and build a skatepark and can often be found talent spotting there.

"They were instrumental in its design," says co-designer John. "We worked with a specialist skatepark company and between them and 50:50 they were able to build the park."

But it's a big jump (no pun intended) from the ramps of the skatepark to the competition ramps and not all of 50:50 qualify in the National Adventure Sports Show competition.

For those who didn't quite make it, it's a great excuse for a weekend away and a chance to support their friends. For those who did, the pressure's really on.

Danny in competition
"I got £300 pounds which is all right. Pretty good for three minutes' work."
Danny Wainwright

Danny qualifies in first place, but the competition is by no means over. A kick flip down the bank doesn't quite go according to plan and Danny finishes third overall, but is not too disappointed.

Flynn scores sixth place, whilst Little Dan comes in eighth.

Whilst the group return to ramps, John hopes that increasing exposure will heighten skateboarding's profile and lead to a better understanding of this complex and skilful sport.

"Skateboarders are demonised," says John.

"I think if someone really saw what they were doing in stead of being prejudice towards the noise, they would be really surprised as to how great a skill and how dedicated these people are."

See also ...

BBC: Radio One - Tony Hawk's interview

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Transworld Skateboarding
World Cup Skateboarding 03

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Readers' Comments

We are not adding any new comments to this page but you can still read some of the comments previously submitted by readers.

It was great to see skateboarding (my chosen pastime for the last 14 years) depicted in such a fair manner, hopefully the report despelled peoples misconseptions of the sport and of the people who partake in it.

In general I would say that skateboarders tend to try thier best not to annoy the general public, but as with most things, there is a small minority who believe that, because skateboarding is considered anti-establishment, they have to act in a way that aggravates people, this attitude ruins our whole scene and tars all skateboraders as ingnorant and thuggish.

To most skaters the sport allows freedom of expression, exercise and a real community centered around pushing ones own personal boundries and more importantly having fun.

Well done to inside out for delving a little deeper to find oout skateboarding is really about.

Fifty Fifty is the what bristol skateboarding is about.

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