Not really sure how it's happened, but 2021 is almost over and it's safe to say it was a bit less shit than 2020. While we spent the first part of the year in some form of lockdown, we still managed to have a pretty wild year here at CSC, so we thought we'd round up all the best happenings of the year for you to fondly reminisce over.
2021 has been a big year for a lot of people as the world's started to get back to something resembling normality (even if it looks like we're about to go into another lockdown), but it's been pretty massive for us at CSC. From finally moving into our new shop, to getting back into hosting our legendary events, we thought we'd take the time to look back on what went down this year and say a big thank you to all you lovely lot who've supported us along the way and helped us keep doing what we love.
Thanks For Your Support!
First up, we want to thank each and every one of you who came by the shop - whether you splashed out on a custom complete or just came to chat shit about the latest video - we wouldn't be able to do what we do without your support. By supporting us, you're helping us to run events, sponsor skaters, make videos, run adverts in mags, and countless other things we do behind-the-scenes to help try to make the Cardiff scene the best it can be. We've loved seeing the scene here grow over the last few years, so let's keep it going.
I know we harp on about it a lot, but we really do believe that supporting local independent businesses is the best thing you can do for your community -whether it's a local coffee shop (like our good homies over at Hard Lines) or a humble independent skate shop like ourselves or any of the other incredible independent skate shops we have here in the UK - supporting local businesses helps keep that money in your local community and ultimately comes back to benefit you.
It's safe to say skateboarding wouldn't be what it is today without all the blood, sweat, and tears put in by the hardworking people behind skater-owned shops and brands, and it's important to remember this going forward, particularly as skateboarding is being dragged into the mainstream. Where you splash your cash makes a big difference, so thanks again to everyone who's shopped with us this year and helped support independent, skater-owned businesses.
What We've Been Up To
Now we've got the soppy bit out the way, we can start talking about the fun stuff we've been doing. One of the first big events of the year was the release of the highly-anticipated first video offering from Fountain, imaginatively named 'The Fountain Video', which featured a large serving of everyone's favourite Cardiff characters, including Don Irfan, Sean Barnes, Oscar Evans, Lloyd Houston, Leo Comanescu, and Paul fackin' Jenkins. Released in April, the video was the perfect start to the summer, getting everyone hyped to go out and stack clips after spending so long in lockdown and marking the start of the Year Of The Don - in which Don rose to glory, culminating in him taking CSC Skater Of The Year at our Christmas Party, but we'll get to that later.
We've also been making some exciting new moves behind the scenes, aiming towards improving Cardiff's skate facilities alongside Cardiff Youth Services and Cardiff Council. The seed has now been planted for a potential new skatepark in Cardiff, after holding meetings with members of Cardiff Council to convince them that we're in dire need of a serious facelift when it comes to the city's skateparks. Although it’s been radio silence from the council for a little while now, we’re hopeful that they haven’t forgotten about us and that we’ll soon be starting the next stage of planning. Cardiff Council; what you saying? Give the people what they want.
Alongside our work pushing for a new skatepark, Cardiff Council commissioned the good homies Nick and Marcus, from the production company Redbrck, to make a short documentary about the skate scene here in Cardiff. The video was intended to help provide an insight into what it means to be a skateboarder, as well as some of the history of skateboarding in Cardiff, and what the future may hold. It was an absolute pleasure working with Nick and Marcus and we were all so stoked seeing the finished video in all its glory. If you still haven't seen it yet, you can check it out below.
We've already harped on about how we always try to help build and support the local scene, but this year we took it one step further from our usual antics and set up a new charitable initiative alongside some of the good homies at Spit and Sawdust. CSC's top surfer and Cardiff's nicest man, Guto Williams, teamed up with Spit and Sawdust's Irn Stu and Pirate Man to start On Board Cardiff, an initiative aimed at helping some of Cardiff's less fortunate youngsters get... on board. The boys have been collecting used skateboard parts - either from bits and pieces people leave in the shop when they get new gear, or parts people have kindly donated - and repurposing them into completes which they then give out to local youngsters with help from the legends over at Cardiff Youth Services.
So far, On Board has done three round of giveaways, in St Mellons and Llanrumney, helping to get loads of new skate rats charging round the streets of Cardiff. We've been blown away by the generosity everyone has shown with countless donations of decks, wheels, trucks, and even completes since the project started, so a massive thank you to everyone who's helped out. The boys are still accepting donations, with the two collection points being the CSC Store and Spit and Sawdust, so if you end up getting a Christmas complete and you're not sure what to do with your old one, bring it down to one of the collection points and help spread the love of skating!
Obviously, one of the biggest events of the year for us was moving into our new home at 13 Church Street. We left our former gaff in the Castle Emporium - just in time as well with the place sadly closing not long after we moved, fuckin' developers - and moved to our brand-spanking new home on Church Street, complete with heating and air-conditioning so now we don’t have to huddle round a tiny electric heater all winter. While we miss our old neighbours from the Emporium, our new neighbours, Bacareto, can provide us with coffee, food, and beer, so it's worked out alright for us.
Return of CSC Events
As 2021 saw COVID restrictions starting to ease, we could finally start doing what we do best and putting on fun-filled events for all you lovely lot. In July, we headed to the centre of the universe, Bute Square, to celebrate Go Skate Day with our first event since 2019. We turned Bute into a makeshift skatepark, came up with some stupid games and challenges - like the kicker gap challenge and the return of box car racing - and loaded up the potato cannon for a day filled with lager and laughs. We were super hyped to see such a massive turnout for this, with loads of new faces among the usual rabble, so big up everyone who came down! If you missed out, you can check the video below or read our recap on the blog.
Shortly after our Go Skate Day event, we headed down the Bay for the physical return of our Plaza Comp, after having to host it virtually in 2020. After a misty start to the day, the sun eventually came out and the skating kicked off. As the weather brightened up, big crowds started to gather to watch the skating and enjoy a cheeky can or three in the sun with by far our biggest turnout for a Plaza Comp to date - it was crazy to see the amount of people who came down, especially compared to our earlier times hosting the event, so big up everyone who turned up! This year we had some special guests make an appearance, with our good mates Cardiff Youth Services coming down with their party bus, as well as the legends over at New Balance making the trip down. The NB boys helped out with judging, supplied prizes, and, of course, gave the plaza a good seeing to - safe for coming down boys! Extra props to Josh Cox for livestreaming his run - turbo legend right there.
The Under 16's category saw some intense competition from the next generation of Welsh talent, while the Ladies category saw our biggest turnout ever with loads of female rippers reppin' it for the fairer sex - big respect to all the girls who skated, it gets us proper hyped seeing the female scene in Cardiff growing the way it is. Obviously everyone killed it in the Over 16s and Sponsored categories, but Don stole the show with his textbook switch frontside flip over the China Gap in Best Trick - now that's how you get CSC SOTY. As always we wanna say a big thank you to all the sponsors who hooked us up with prizes, and everyone who came down to skate, watch, or shout encouragement (or abuse) - we couldn't have done it without you. If you missed it, or your memory ain't what it used to be, you can check the video below, or read our full recap on the blog if you're old-fashioned like that.
Last but not least, last weekend saw the return of our legendary Christmas parties as we teamed up with the legends over at Vague Skate Mag to celebrate the release of Issue 24, alongside the premiere of our new Fountain x CSC video, and a screening of CHPO and Make Life Skate Life's new documentary about the Snoubar skatepark in Beirut. Although COVID's kinda tarnished the party's legacy (fuckin' COVID), it was still a bangin' night, even if two people fell asleep in their chairs. Shoutout to Vague, CHPO, Baglady, and everyone else who helped out, as well as Kong's for hosting, and of course, each and everyone who came down and made it a sick night. It was Make sure to check out our full recap on the blog to find out what you missed, and keep an eye out for the Fountain x CSC video which will be out soon. Oh, and treat yourself to one of our bangin' new Fountain x CSC tees.
Of course, our Christmas Party also saw the results of the hottest event of the year, our CSC Skater of the Year poll. With an impressive lineup of legends including PJ, Dylan Hughes, Don Irfan, Pirate Man, Dykie, Hemmy, and Dai Sharp, it was difficult to say who would win with so many deserving picks. Despite this, you, the people, voted on entry to the event so The Gaffa got busy counting out the scores on the doors and, unlike Thrasher, we actually based the results off of your votes. It was a close call between dark horse, Hemmingford Arthur Baldock, and the people's champ, Don Irfan, but unsurprisingly Don took the win.
Print Isn't Dead
This year's been a big year for us in terms of media representation, with not one but two of our beloved shop dragons scoring interviews in the hottest new skate mag around, Skateboarder's Companion. Both Don and PJ were interviewed for Companion's Push series - where they highlight the best up-and-coming skaters in the UK - so you can get an insight into the minds of two of our fiercest dragons. Pirate Man, Spit and Sawdust's very own Christian Hart, also graced the (virtual) pages of Companion with a Locality feature, where he takes us through his favourite Cardiff spots, skaters, and boozers so you can learn a little bit about Cardiff's history from the man himself.
We also did our bit to support the tradition of print skate mags (pretty old-fashioned I know) and ran a range of ads in a number of different skate mags, including Thrasher, Vague, Grey, and Companion. From putting Lloyd Houston and Lee 'Beef' Bennett's artwork in Thrasher - which definitely led to some confused Americans - to letting the rest of the UK witness the spectacle of Paul Jenkins in his Companion and Thrasher ads; it always brings a smile to our faces when we surprise the boys with their picture or artwork in a mag, and we couldn't do any of this without all your support, so thanks!
The Year Of The Don
Unless you've been living under a rock, you're probably aware that 2021 has been The Year of the Don, with shop dragon, Don Irfan, absolutely killin' it all year long. Since blowing everyone's minds with his Wavey NBDs and Bute backside noseblunt back in the first Fountain video, Don has been on a strong upwards trajectory, landing himself a highly-coveted spot on the CSC team before getting himself an interview in Companion and eventually getting hooked up by The National Skateboard Co. It's been an absolute pleasure skating with Don and getting to know him better over the last few years, and we can't wait to see what he's gonna get up to next. Long live the Don.
That's enough chit-chat though. Thanks again to everyone who's supported us this year. Fingers crossed 2022 will be even better. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and all that bollocks. Safe.