Here’s a story for vintage skateboard lovers about the 1970s Brighton South Coast Skateboard Association.
As skateboarding became increasingly recognised as a genuine sport in the UK in the mid 1970s, more and more clubs started springing up all over the country.
One of the first skateboarding clubs in the UK and probably the biggest and best organised club at the time in Britain was the South Coast Skateboard Association.
From small beginnings in 1976, when the skateboard craze first hit the Brighton area, the S.C.S.A. mushroomed and had more than 1,200 active members. They ranged from Nationwide Skateboard Champion, Jock Paterson, to mere beginners in the sport — like three year-old Nicky Taylor.
Here’s how BBC TV’s Nationwide Skateboarding Spring Special magazine of 1978 used the story of setting up the club to inspire other skateboarders in the late 1970s to do the same in their area:
Brighton South Coast Skateboard Association
“The way South Coast skaters got organised is a lesson to other prospective groups around the country — and, in fact, the S.C.S.A. is getting appeals for advice on how to set up a club all the time.
“STAGE ONE Local skaters appealed for help at first from councils and later made a more general plea to the local people. Leaflets were posted through doors — and a meeting organised.
“STAGE TWO The meeting attracted interested adults as well as skateboarders and skateboard traders. There was a general discussion about the new sport – its popularity and its problems.
“STAGE THREE The open meeting agreed to elect a steering committee of thirteen members — people who were nominated by others, agreed to accept and received the most votes.”
“STAGE FOUR The steering committee organised a full executive committee with representatives from each area to be covered by one association. Rules and regulations – a constitution – were hammered out and committed to paper.
“STAGE FIVE The S.C.S.A. decided to have its own newsletter, ‘Off the Wall’, which would keep all of its members informed about what was going on in the local skateboard world.
“STAGE SIX The S.C.S.A. began to consolidate what it had. Three sub-committees were formed –one for fund-raising, one for organising competitions and one for liaison with local councils.
“Members of the South Coast Association pay £1 a year subscription, on which the S.C.S.A. makes a loss. For their money the skaters get free copies of the newsletter posted to them and reduced entry into any Competitions or training sessions the club organises. Like all skateboard organisations, the S.C.S.A. is short of facilities. At first, its members skated on an existing ramp near Brighton’s famous West Pier. They subsequently moved indoors to a Y.M.C.A. Community Hall, where three homemade ramps were attracting three and four hundred riders every Sunday at 20p for a two-hour session.
“Things are looking up, though, with both commercial and council skating facilities opening up. In fact, Brighton Council involved the S.C.S.A. fully in consultations on plans for a new park.
Said John Scholefield, S.C.S.A. Chairman: I don’t think any of us realised how much work the Association would demand from us. It’salmost a full-time job sometimes. “But it’s all worth it and very refreshing for those of us involved. Kids who would normally be out on the street aren’t — they come skateboarding with us instead. We get some of the young hoods with us but they never cause trouble. All they want to do is skateboard — and that’s why it’s so rewarding. “Skateboarding is a great sport and since the Association was formed, vandalism has dropped.”
“It seemed that the members of the South Coast Skateboard Association get real value for money — both in terms of enjoyment and support. But John Scholefield and the others who run the S.C.S.A. have their eyes set on greater things still. “Eventually we want to get sponsorship or some other means of financial support.” said John. “So we can give the kids everything — and charge them nothing.”
Some of the 1,200 members of the South Coast Skateboard Association.
Steven Kellner, Nationwide junior champion and another Brighton star, taking part in one of the club’s indoor events.
John Scholefield, champion and one of the founder-members of the South Coast Skateboard Association.
Behind every successful club is a hard-working editor of the club newspaper. Keeping members up-to-date with news is Melanie Lyons.
Three-year-old Nicky Taylor, youngest member of the club and already a star turn.
Credits: a rewording of an article from BBC TV’s Nationwide Skateboarding Spring Special 1978. Thanks to http://vintageskateboardmagazines.com for scanning, preserving and sharing their archive.