BLAST SKATES IS A DREAM COME TRUE

This is the story of Blast Skates, the London skate company that sees skateboards as toys more than as sports equipment.

It’s probably every skateboarder's dream to own their own skate shop, skate company, or lead their own skateboarding art collective. It’s not, however, something embarked upon so often, perhaps because skateboarding is inherently a communal cultural recreation. Skateboarding spawns its own crews and collectives, officially or unofficially. It’s a surprisingly sociable action sport for one that is not in any way team-focussed – instead, the only competing happens against yourself.

Blast Skates is a London-based skate company that Matthew Bromley had the sense to kick(flip)start when he felt his work as an illustrator had a place in a niche in the skateboarding scene – one that just hadn’t been created yet. With beginnings as a freelance illustrator, Matthew moved to London to pursue his career which involved a variety of design jobs. But his passion always lay with how he spent most of his spare time – skateboards. He knew that there had to be a way to combine both passions, but with his illustrative work focused mostly on children’s storybooks and the narrative behind them, there were few preexisting skateboard brands that could cater to his skills. His current work didn’t lend itself to a brand that already existed, which led to Matthew creating hhis own opportunity, Blast Skates.


Founded by Bromley three years ago, Blast Skates combines all of his own personal interests, and no doubt the personal interests of many others too. The collective began with what was Bromley’s driving force behind starting the brand, and possibly the crowning achievement for plenty of fellow skateboarders; designing his own board. This evolved into his “Chronological Board Series,” project, in which Bromley picked an important point in history which was then to be brought to life through illustration by some of his favorite artists. The theme, “Dinosaurs,” was picked up by Jon Boam, Marcus Oakley and James Jarvis on three respective board shapes, 8” rig, 8.5” rig and a 9” rig in order, if you’re interested. The series was launched alongside a specially created zine by Kyle Platts and some other Jurassic-themed memorabilia for a multimedia experience. This playful approach is one that’s fully endorsed by Matthew himself; he sees skateboards more as toys than as sports equipment, and certainly not to be taken seriously.

The skateboarding culture is one that has always been operated as a platform for generating various other art scenes and cultures off of it. Artists, illustrators, graphic designers, photographers, videographers – and even fashion designers – all feed off this skateboarding culture whilst operating inside of it, and in turn keeping things exclusive. The result is a school of skateboarding, where skateboarders who have lived with and grown up in the culture move onto a new profession inside its own remits, focusing solely on skateboarding. Skateboarding will always have its veterans; the likes of Tony Hawk and Chad Muska, but room will always be made for the younger skaters because youth is so intrinsic to the culture.




Matthew Bromley is particularly enamoured with the evolution and personalisation of skateboards. It started out as just a bit of wood that kids added the wheels from rollerblades onto. Then that piece of wood evolved into a more suitable, specially designed shape, with different ones for different skating purpose. Then you can add a level of personalisation and DIY to the design process and you’re able to make if your own by choosing your own deck, picking the graphic, the wheels, the bearings, the grip tape, the wax, not to mention adding your own stickers on top. It’s not just a bit of wood with wheels any more. The board has been on a journey with you and evolved as you have until you no longer use it; either as a toy or a piece of sports equipment. Perhaps because now it’s your time to move onto something else too.

www.blastskates.com