Made by Monolith: George Eccleston on The Asylum | Ride UK BMX

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Made by Monolith: George Eccleston on The Asylum

We find out more behind the latest additions at The Asylum Skatepark

Unless you’ve been living under a rock it’s highly unlikely you have missed some sort of riding coming out of The Asylum skatepark. Whether it’s a world first triple flair going down, the Backyard Jams or one of the very capable locals, this park really does it and does it proper. And not long ago it became clear it was only going to get better. We touched base with Monoliths head guy, George Eccleston, to find out a bit more about one of their latest builds.

“Being able to get some larger ramps built for BMXers
who want to go high and fast is the main draw for me!”

Photos: Adam Lievesley

For people that don’t know, can you just explain what is ‘Monolith’, who are the crew you work with?

George: Monolith is a UK based ramp building company which is run by yours truly. I mainly work with the main man Jake Walters plus anyone else that can take our terrible banter. We like to think we mainly do skatepark builds but these days we seem to end up building setups for riders to film on. Some of my favourites are probably Kriss Kyle Out of Season and the the famous balloon project Don’t Look Down.

And that’s two jobs that have had a lot of eyes on them! Now let’s get into Asylum, you and your crew have just finished a very well received refresh to Asylum… did you guys build the first incarnation of the asylum? If so, after seeing people ride it did you notice there was ways you might want to improve/add to the set up?

G: We have built and been involved from the very beginning of Asylum, right back in the old location. When we built the new location there was the usual arguments about the set up and design where Jake thought he was best so I let it lie and now 5 years later I’ve finally been listened to and it’s going to be good now haha!

Haha, how long has this revamp been in the works before you started the physical work? Was this something you pitched to Jack (The Asylums owner) or did this come from Jack wanting to update the park?

G: Between Jake and myself we’ve been talking about this change for a couple of years now and recently Jack approached us saying he wanted a change for this year and he had some funding to do so. That’s where our brains really kicked in and figured out what we could do with the time and budget we had.

Tom Justice cranking a Turndown over the new corner in The Asylum Skatepark. Photo: Adam Lievesley

Is there a simple breakdown as to what changes you and your crew have made at the park? 

G: I guess an easy breakdown is that we took the five foot side and made it six foot apart from where we added a large vert wall and ten foot quarter to completely change the feel of the park on that side and add some extra speed.

As well as the above we also took the steep six foot hip in the back corner and made it a Wheelmill (legendary park in Pittsburgh, PA, that just unfortunately shut down) inspired hipped jump box thing…hard to explain yet easy to ride!

Yeah that new back corner looks like a true work of art, what was the thinking behind this?

G: First of all thanks very much! It seemed like an easy thing to do but once we got started we realised it was going to be more complicated than we thought; lots of stress and a few heated discussions were involved in that one. I guess the basic idea was to add more flow and try something that hasn’t been done in the UK before. As mentioned before what Burley Matt and the Potoczny brothers did at the Wheel Mill was a massive inspiration.

Tom Russell way up there on the new 10ft. Photo: Adam Lievesley
Tom Russell styling out over the now 6ft volcano at The Asylum Skatepark. Photo: Adam Lievesley

What is the process of a job like this from getting the first call to completion? I can only assume it’s a fairly long process with lots of back and forth.

G: Every job is different and I would like to say that we have plenty of time to plan and think about what we are going to do but sometimes we just end up going with the flow like we did on this one. For example we didn’t actually commit to doing the new hip section until we were sure that Ryan and Paul could come and help lay some sheets on the six foot side to allow us to take the hip challenge on.

Who came up with the ideas for these additions/updates? Joint effort/collaboration?

G: The ideas for the changes on the five foot side of the park came from the funders requirements but were arranged into a design by myself and Jake. The idea in the hip corner came from a desire to change what was there and was a fully collaborative effort between myself, Jake and anyone else who we asked for advice or opinions.

Who was the main crew/ who helped out?

G: Myself
Jake Walters
Ryan Alcock from Opus Skateparks
Rob Andrews
Paul Chapman
Jack Plowman
Big John Atherton
Tom Justice
Dec Hume
Joe Sev on the giant paint brush!
Courtney WorthingtonThen the last couple days we had all kinds of folk coming down to help tidy up and get the new stuff broken in; who knew dry guys existed in the park world as well? HAHA

How long was the physical build start to finish?

G: We did four weeks worth of ten to twelve hour days between the entire crew. Yet again by the end we were going mental and screaming and shouting for no reason. It seems the only way to get through the hard and stressful times when sleep deprived at the end of a big build. Other ramp/park builders will understand.

With the majority of parks popping up in the UK being concrete these days, what draws you to wooden creations? What do you think the advantages to a wooden park are?

G: Every concrete park getting built out there is three foot tall and mainly aimed at skaters or street heads so being able to get some larger ramps built for BMXers who want to go high and fast is the main draw for me!

Keep up to date with Monolith on Instagram here


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