Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Long Lost spots-Chi Banks

Marc Bell, abubaca on the bottom step.
Chi banks was an awesome spot in south shields that got knocked down around 1999. The seafront based skatepark has always been the main meeting point for riders and skaters in South Shields but back in the day it wasn't floodlit to late at night like it is now. The skatepark on a winter night was a no go because It was pitch black down there. The pictured spot here was located 5 minutes from my front door and was reasonably well lit all night. Between the months of October and march this was the main spot we sessioned after school. Chi Banks was part of a medical facility car park, I never once in all the years I spent riding there got asked to leave or even confronted by anything like security or the police, even when we were scratching past brand new cars in the car park to get a run up.

sketchy as fuck can can nose pick by me.
The set up at Chi banks was complex and allowed for a lot of stuff to be done there. The two banks were separated by a walled set of stairs which could be stalled on pegs or fufanued perpendicularly (HMAN). above the banks was a bigger set of stairs, which could be manualled or jumped off into the bank. squarely atop the main banks was a bar height wall and it took A few 44t chainring bending attempts by Micky Moore AKA Mr Pants to prove it was a viable sub box. Once this was proved a slew of sub box stuff was sessioned on that back wall. In the car park there was an awesome selection of flat rails, curb cuts paving stone banking and buttered ledges (I don't have pictures of those). Reaction pro skater Neil Urwin also favoured a gap in the carpark over a grass verge where he scored a couple of video clips and a few pictures in magazine clearing it in various stances. Chi banks was basically awesome.

On one random day the gates to the banks were locked, dumfounded we decided we would climb over but as we were doing a bloke came out of his yard adjacent shouting "out the way".
Here we go I thought Mr kick off is going to tell us to do one, but to my utter surprise and disbelief he produced a hammer barged past us and brayed the lock off the gates just so we could ride. aall tigithor like the folks of Shields eh?

Geoff Burns second step tyre jam fufanu thingy
Due to the lack of security of any kind Chi Banks was one of the first places where I used to get drunk and try and hit on radgee girls who hung about there of an evening. Many dodgy youth based drinking cruelness went down at Chi Banks, Marc Bell pissed in a bottle of cider and Skud drank it, I removed Adam Ahmed's pedal and threw it on a roof when he was at the shop and many fights and disagreements were handled in the bear pit. The bear pit was a 6 foot by 6 foot walled enclosure with 6 foot high walls, it had no door way or entrance and you had to climb in. Once in you would have to climb out. I saw a good few nasty fights take place in the bear pit. I saw two girls pull hand fulls of hair from each others heads and scratch at each other's eyes, I saw Michael Grundy and Brigsy spar each other till they had bloody noses and teary eyes all while spectators lined the perimeter of the bear pit looking down and cheering. How Medieval. I doubt the engineers who accidentally built a walled open topped cube in brick realised the sort of gladiatorial style barbarism that would go down within. Chi Banks was a good spot and I was sad to see it go, but the sea front is lit now anyway so It doesn't make a huge difference to the scene.

More Skate Videos

The above Neil Urwin section is from Mischief's 'Ignite' video. The first clip is of Neil clearing the gap at Chi banks. There's also a night shot from the wasteland when the original buttery piece was there-try and spot it.

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