Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Let Us Practise Here, London, We Are Not Hurting Anyone; Skateboarding Star Helena's Anger at the 'No' Signs Plastered All over 'Sterile' Capital

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Let Us Practise Here, London, We Are Not Hurting Anyone; Skateboarding Star Helena's Anger at the 'No' Signs Plastered All over 'Sterile' Capital

Article excerpt

Byline: skateboarding Matt Majendie

Caption kicker: This is a swathe of dummy text that can be used to indicate how many words fit a particular space. The text contains SOMERSET HOUSE succinctly sums up the disparity of Helena Long's dual life.

By day, she acts as a gallery supervisor for some of the capital's artistic treasures but its iconic 18th-Century exterior could not be less befitting for her other 'job'.

"It's a bit too cobbly," says Long, instead hopping across to South Bank -- a sort of spiritual home for the London stakeboard scene -- before or after work. But as the city prepares to open its doors for a second time to the Street League Skateboarding World Tour Series in May, which acts as a qualifier for next year's Olympics when the sport makes its Games debut, there is a frustration to her sporting life in the city. "You see a lot of 'no' signs now and more and more it feels like London's in shutdown to skateboarding," said the 27-year-old (right). "More and more places are getting skate stopped. I just want London to chill out a bit more, be a bit more welcome and stop cutting itself off.

"We're not doing any harm -- maybe skating damages a marble edge a bit but it makes it more interesting. For a city that is such a great hub for multi-culturism, it's becoming sterile. Why can't it embrace skateboarding?" While her former favourite haunts of Canary Wharf and Canada Water have become increasingly hard locations at which to skate, skate parks are popping up around the centre.

And although Long likes such venues --Stockwell is a favourite -- she prefers having the freedom to explore out of such confines, and finds London with the most closed-door policy of any major city, listing Paris, Barcelona and Copenhagen as those that allow her and her peers to practise freely "as they realise we're not hurting anyone". …

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