If you didn’t expect the rainiest city in the United Kingdom to have a thriving skate community, than you’re not alone. The weather in Swansea isn’t exactly the most conducive to skateboarding or many other outdoor activities. All over Britain, however, Wales is known for its excellent surf spots centered around Swansea and the nearby Gower Peninsula. The surf scene in Mumbles and Llangenith inevitably lends itself to an appreciation for skateboarding, as well.
Ric Cartwright is one of these skaters. Having already started his own skate-inspired company, EXIST Clothing, Cartwright took the next step and built an indoor skatepark for the kids—and for himself— to escape the rain. “It was an idea I had, and I thought it would be cool to do— my partner said yeah let’s do it. Two years after saying that, we got it open.” That can-do attitude is what makes Exist skate park special. Everything from construction to maintaining the park is done by the skaters of Swansea. “There were some skaters here that happened to be carpenters, so I got them to run construction,” Cartwright says.
The park works in tandem with Cartwright’s EXIST skate shop across town. “We keep some emergency hardgoods up here like bearings and decks, but most of it goes through the store.” Skaters can buy their skate goods and apparel there, then come up to the park to shred it. Ric has put all he has into the park, and as a result created the unofficial hub for skating and other action sports. “There’s a good community feel about the place, friends will meet here even if they are skating elsewhere.” The shop and park lend to keep the sports we love going, and Ric has got South Wales covered.