Jason Hill has skateboarded since he was 13 years old. Now, four years later, he works at Slide Board Store on Division Street, and is one small part of Sheffield’s skate scene.
“The scene is getting bigger. More parks are being built and shops are being opened. More skaters are coming into Sheffieldnow because there’s more places to skate. Ideally I’d like to see more people come into it but I like it how it is,” he says.
Jason started skateboarding after discovering an old unused skateboard in his garage.
“It was summer a few years ago. I had nothing to do and there was a skateboard sitting in my garage. I think it was from ASDA, it was a shocking twenty quid board.
“Where I lived near Rotherham there wasn’t anyone else who skated. It was just me and my friend. Other people looked as us as though we were a bit weird. But I loved it and I carried on. I didn’t care what anybody else thought,” he says.
Jason said the stereotypical image of skateboarders vandalising public property is changing.
“I don’t think people look at skateboarders so badly nowadays. I think some people used to think we were all just being stupid and getting in everyone’s way. But now it’s not as frowned upon as it used to be,” he says.
Sheffield has outdoor skate parks on Devonshire Green and at Millhouses. Devonshire Green skate park was built in the 1990’s on the former site of a five-a-side football pitch.
“I came to the skate park on Devonshire Green, met a few people and started skating there a lot. Since then on I’ve been skating with people in town, from Hillsborough, everywhere. Everyone knows each other, we’re not all close friends but you them and you can talk to them.
“My favourite place is this spot up near the university with stairs and banks. We get kicked off from there quite often but I love that place. The banks have their sides waxed and you can lip-slide down them,” he says.
Sheffield also has The House indoor skate park on Bardwell Road, where Jason broke his ankle. He didn’t skate again for six weeks.
“I was trying to a flip down the stairs but my friend who was filming missed it. I went to do it again and as I landed my front foot popped under the nose of the board. I didn’t think it was that bad, I thought I had sprained it but when I got to hospital they told me it was broken.
“When I was younger I would just be able to throw myself down stair sets without thinking about it. But now I think ‘do I really want to risk injuring myself for this?’.
“Some days skating can be really annoying where you can’t do anything at all. Everyone has days where nothing goes right, nothing lands right and you want to give up. But when you learn something new it makes it worthwhile and it’s like you’ve achieved something,” he says.
Jason had studied for a BTEC in film production at college but he quit after growing disillusioned with the course.
“It wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. After that I thought I want to do something I actually want to do,” he says.
Now, Jason is four weeks into a year-long apprenticeship at Slide.
“I want a job to be something I enjoy doing. If someone comes in and asks about a skateboard I could have an hour long conversation about it. It’s easy and enjoyable. After I’ve finished here I’m not sure what I’ll do but hopefully something in skateboarding.
“My life would be very boring if I didn’t skate. I would have nothing to do. It’s part of my life. My best memories are the days in summer when everyone’s together. It’s more casual. You just chill out and skate. They’re the best times. If I stopped that’s what I would miss. There’s nothing I do more than skate.”