Locality: Leigh-on-Sea by Isaac Gale

Intro and interview by Robert Delaney.

Leigh-on-Sea is a quaint seaside town in Essex. The town, situated just west of Southend, holds an unsuspecting virtue. Leigh-on-Sea has thriving skate and music scenes. This week’s Locality will delve deeper into what life is like in Leigh and who better to tell us about it than Leigh local Isaac Gale? Isaac is one of many talented up and coming skaters to have grown up on the Essex coast; read on to partake in a channelled amble around the town of Leigh, exploring the ins and outs of the town’s skate scene, old-English architecture and much more.

Isaac at Leigh-on-Sea skatepark. Photo: Isaac Lamb.

Best skate spot - back in the day:

I’m originally from the seaside town of Leigh. The town doesn’t really have ‘main city architecture’, so there’s no marble ledges, none of that! The first spot I really grew up with was down in Old Leigh. I can’t explain it; Old Leigh is like a cobbled sub-town where they sell fish and chips and all that old English stuff by the seaside. There used to be a couple of ledges we’d go to down there, and the skatepark was only a short walk away from the spot too. I guess that’s why we found ourselves there so much.

Best skate spot - present day:

The best skate spot at the moment are the marble ledges behind the Odeon, but there’s really not much around spot-wise!

On the hunt for some street terrain, Isaac finds himself ten miles away in nearby Basildon, 360 flipping the infamous hip. Photo: Joe Hawkes.

Best skate shop:

The best skate shop? The June Store of course! It’s the only skate shop we had when I was growing up in Leigh. Unless you went Southend ways, there were no other skate shops in the area.

A young Isaac and crew outside the original June Store. Photo: Joe Hawkes.

Best local video:

The best local video was The Lik Vol.2 that came out around 2016. It features all my older mates, and there might even be a The Lik Vol.3 in the works too, so look out for that!

Best local skatepark:

That has to be Leigh-on-Sea skatepark. It recently got an extension so it’s all sorted now. Before the extension it was a little crusty, so perhaps the next best was Rayleigh skatepark on the other side of town; but aside from there, Leigh doesn’t have many skateparks.

Assorted Isaac clips from Leigh-on-Sea skatepark, 2020.

Best local:

Definitely my boy Kai (Etheridge). He’s killing it, he’s got so much style and consistency now. He just flows when you watch him skate – its lovely.

Kai at Delside DIY, filmed by Wenttt and Charlie Nelson.

Best pub:

I’d like to say my local Weatherspoon’s at The Elms, that’s where it used to be. With everything going on now and I guess with the increased tensions between our group and the bouncers, The Elms has probably being downgraded on my list (laughs)!

Best local band:

I have to shout out my boys Spencer (Crowhurst), Fé (Foilleret) and Archie (Briggs). They’re hitting the right vibes with the skate-surf, Australian, down the beach type music. Their music hits the vibe of Leigh for sure.

Isaac frontside nosegrind at The Moon DIY. Photo: Dave Watson.

Best local celebrity:

I don’t want to bait her out, but Maisie Smith who plays Tiffany on EastEnders. I don’t really think of her as celebrity like that because I grew up with her, so I see her in a completely different way, but she still gets asked for photos and all of that, so it’s quite crazy!

Best thing about living in Leigh?

That’s a good question. Probably the sense of community, especially at the skatepark. I feel like I’ve been really lucky to find a group of mates who have been inspired to do anything they want really; I feel like there are a lot of creatives around Leigh. There’s just good vibes all round.