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Short Film Golden Handshake Sheds Light on the Midlands' Dedicated Skateboarding Community

23 June 21 words: George White

From split balls to Sneinton market, Golden Handshake – a new short film from skate organisation Hooked – shines a light on the Midlands’ dedicated and expanding skateboarding community. George White chats to founder Dave Ford about the project, which is now available to watch on YouTube… 

Skateboarding can be a painful sport; something that Dave Ford, founder of local not-for-profit skate brand Hooked, knows all too well. While putting together Golden Handshake, a new film showcasing the insane talent of skateboarders across the East Midlands and beyond, Dave witnessed the extreme lengths people will go to in order to become the best in the game, and the even more extreme impact this can have on their bodies – sensitive areas of their bodies, in particular. 

“We’ve seen someone split his balls open on some railings,” he explains with an almost unnerving sense of calm. “Another guy somehow shouldered himself in the eye. These are quite mellow scenarios overall. Seventy percent of skateboarding is failing, so we see so many brutal moments.” 

The half-hour video does far more than simply showcase the agonising injuries that skateboarding can deliver, though. Instead, it is a joyous celebration of a close-knit, passionate community with an unbreakable dedication to their craft – a community that spans not only this area, but across the world. 

Golden Handshake documents the Midlands’ great skate scene, as well as the rest of the country and some of Europe,” Dave says. “It ties in with what Hooked is about. We try to showcase young skaters’ talent and this film is a great way of doing that. This will be the fourth in our history. Our first was in 2006 and the latest was in 2017.” 

Our great city is a prominent hub for the community and a central focus of the film, with Nottingham providing popular hotspots for kickflips and tricks, as well as a welcoming gang of both new and experienced skaters. “Nottingham is really great, it has a massive skate scene. We have a strong connection with the area, it’s great for both people and spots,” says Dave. “DIY Trentside has been really important for us, we’ve got a lot of clips and captured a lot of skaters there. There’s also Sneinton and other smaller spots.” 

Through Golden Handshake, Dave is hoping to encourage more people to get involved in the scene and take a chance at skateboarding themselves. He encourages people not to worry about being seen as a “noob” and just go for it, admitting everyone is nervous before they first pick up a board. 

“Don’t worry about what everyone else is thinking, just go to a skate park and cruise around. People aren’t watching you thinking, ‘What a noob.’ They’re doing their own thing, so don’t be scared.” 

Whether Hooked, which was first founded in 2006, continues to make more films remains to be seen, with each video taking a lot of time to coordinate and shoot. Yet one thing’s for certain - the organisation will continue to promote the skills of local skateboarders and provide a voice for an ever-growing group of passionate people. 

“We want to do more things like this but it’s a lot of hard work. You need to keep people focused, choose spots and tricks and build hype. It takes a lot of organisation,” Dave admits. 

“But it is incredibly rewarding to know you’re showcasing talent. No matter what, we’ll always try to help young skaters get seen and sponsored.” 

Golden Handshake is now available on the Rollersnakes YouTube channel

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