Words and photos by Clint Vancliff
Some good news in 2020, finally! Just when everyone thought Rom was going to be filled in with sand and made into a car park, sold off for housing or left open as a public park, it emerged that there were a few loyal riders and skaters working behind the scenes to secure a future for our beloved, and iconic, skatepark.
“I think I saw someone kiss the floor like they had finally arrived home”
More than two years since the fire, a year since closing the doors and a few volunteer clean up days, the park is rid of the charcoaled remains of an indoor mini-ramp, the perimeters of the park de-weeded, years of grime and skin washed away and a bigger car park added at the back (after the ghastly sight of a scaffold firm finally left). Last Sunday we finally got to welcome the public back for a ride, a skate or just a catch up over a beer. But the most important and promising factor in the park’s survival is seeing the older generation bring their own kids down and introducing them to the park for the first time. It is this new wave of riders returning over and over that will keep the park open for years to come.
The car park filled up pretty quickly, a queue formed (for distancing) at the door and people flooded into the park after filling out a free membership/track&trace form. I think I saw someone kiss the floor like they had finally arrived home.
Rom veterans, like Tom Milham, and Rom virgins, like Tom Russell, soon had a session in Performance Bowl underway, showing the old schoolers and spectating parents how it’s done. The session moved on to the Moguls, that some might say are basically ‘concrete trails’, which saw Matt Harris breeze through the mogul-to-mogul gap like a set of doubles. As I mentioned, Tom Russell finally made it down for a ride here. He was drawn straight to the Bullet (concrete halfpipe) and with absolute ease, in a ramp that doesn’t show any forgiveness if you get it wrong, was casually tyre sliding back AND front wheels on what is probably the smallest deck going. Kids these days!