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The TR7 Interview + Photo Gallery

Shay Stone - Backside disaster.


Having been forced to relocate from their original Newquay home last year, Martina Biquard and Chaz Merryweather at TR7 opened the doors on their hugely anticipated revamped facility back in April, in their new permanent home of Roche, St Austell.


The updated park is open Tuesday to Sunday every week, with a stacked schedule of events, workshops, sessions and more. Follow @tr7skatepark on Instagram, explore www.tr7skatepark.co.uk, or better yet, pay them a visit in person at:


TR7 Skatepark, Unit 1 Station Approach, Victoria, Roche, St Austell, PL26 8LG


To celebrate the opening of the brand new TR7, we spent a couple of evenings at the park alongside a strong selection of locals, and also caught up with Martina and Chaz to discuss the road that led them to Roche. Scroll below now to find out - and see - more!


All photos: Leo Sharp.


Chaz, Martina and Sol.


Hey Chaz, Martina, thanks for taking the time to chat to us! First things first, I guess we should start by getting a bit of background on you both. Can you quickly introduce yourselves and tell us how you came to find yourselves embedded in the Cornish skate scene?

Martina: Thank you for having us! My name is Martina, I am from Argentina but have been living in Cornwall for nine years, and have been with Chaz for around 10 years.

Chaz: My name is Chaz and I am the skateboard addict. I was fortunate enough to grow up in Mallorca, where skateboarding became my life from an early age due to one of the best skate scenes I have ever seen. I came to Newquay when I was 16 to do a surf instructor course, and after one session at Wooden Waves, I instantly fell in love with the town and decided to make it my home.


Kaycee Ann - Kickflip.

Jak Foster - 360 flip.


When and how did the idea for the original TR7 skate shop then skatepark in Newquay raise its head? Was it always the intention to have both a shop and a park? And from having that first discussion regarding TR7, how long was the process before you first opened your doors?

Chaz: We started the brand from our home about seven years ago, back when I used to film edits of the local scene at Wooden Waves as I felt that the world needed to witness how good our crew was. After a couple of years of doing that, Martina got some hoodies and decks printed that we sold out of our bedroom, and it has been quite a journey ever since!

Within a couple of months we expanded into a small shop (which was basically a garage). At this point we were more focused on just running a shop, but after doing that for about two years, we started to get more and more people asking about lessons, and we all know how important indoor skateparks are in the UK when it comes to rainy days! The transition from having a small shop to an indoor skatepark felt like it happened overnight, but it was about two years from starting the brand to opening the first skatepark.

 


Lewis Bell - Sadplant.

Eddie Belvedere - Upwards crook.


Obviously establishing any business is stressful, but for you, what are some of the best memories from that initial first incarnation of TR7? Are there any projects or events that you’re particularly proud of?

Martina: Totally, it was not an easy one to start with as we had no experience in the field of indoor skateparks… but we always had our community behind us, helping us push. Also, our team is family to us and we always tried to get out and travel and film, so the earlier edits of the squad will always be special to us. We have done trips to Mallorca, Barcelona, California, and around the UK.

Chaz: A big highlight was surprising Harry (While) with his first pro deck; he had no idea it was coming and we managed to give him the proper surprise that he deserved, to go with his pro video part which he had worked on for a couple of years.

The thing that I personally am most proud of so far is the amount of lessons that we have taught. Harry and I managed to teach over 2,000 lessons within the first couple of years of having the skatepark, and it’s been amazing, not only to have helped people improve, but to have introduced people to the world of skateboarding and share our passion with others.

 



And what factors led to you having to vacate your original unit, and set about trying to find a new permanent base for TR7?

Martina: Our lease unfortunately came to an end and the landlord decided to not renew it after saying he would, which was a total shock and frustrating, but we had already started to feel that we needed a bigger space anyway as the first skatepark was much smaller than the current one. We were left with no choice but to relocate or call it a day, so we worked as hard as we could for over a year to reopen in a much bigger and better unit.

 

Harry While - Frontside smith.

Shay Stone - Frontside noseblunt.


You ran a very successful Crowdfunding campaign in order to help push the relocation forwards. Can you tell us a bit about the support you received after first departing Newquay, and what sort of impact this had on your mission to find a new home?

Martina: The support from our community is and has always been the number one thing that keeps us going. From helping us dismantle and store the previous skatepark, chipping in to our Crowdfunder, or helping us in one way or another to reopen the new place, there is no chance that any of this would have been possible without the love and support from Cornwall’s incredible community of skateboard enthusiasts.

Chaz: I would also like to mention that Martina has been the driving force of every single part of this business since day one, and her skills and experience are truly irreplaceable.

 

Ben Grove - Backside flip.

Lewis Bell - Backside boneless.


Talk us through the process of finding the new location, in Victoria. Was it difficult to find a space that suited the needs of an indoor skatepark? Were there many other locations in the running, and if so, what made you go with Victoria?

Chaz: I think that we must have checked out about 25 different units before settling on this one. We did find it surprisingly difficult to find somewhere with a high enough roof, plenty of space and no neighbours to annoy with the noise, but this unit ticked all the boxes.

Martina: Being out of Newquay definitely wasn’t the plan, but having said that, we are right in the middle of Cornwall now, next to Roche train station, making it way more accessible to more people, so we are glad that we went ahead with this location.

 

Harry While - Frontside crook.

Chaz Meryweather - Hardflip.


How long was the wait between first signing the lease, and the opening jam in April? Who were the main people who made the new TR7 skatepark a physical reality?

Chaz: It is really hard to believe but from having a completely empty unit, to having the skatepark, cafe and shop set up took about five weeks total! Harry and I designed the original skatepark on Skate 3 and Trev Johnson made it realistic.

Martina: Trev was the main man behind the build; having spent a lot of time planning it leading up to his visit, he and his crew were able to smash it out in record time.

Chaz: Big shouts out to Cleggy, Pete, Chris, Rob Ayton, Manfred Kutz and everybody else who helped create our dream park!

We also had help from locals DC Drywall and Carpentry with the shop build and a load of volunteers that helped us with jobs such as painting, transporting materials etc.. so shout out to everybody who got involved. The list of names is too long for this interview!

 

Tell us some memorable stories that occurred during the build please! I’m sure a lot happened in the unit over those no doubt hectic few months…

Chaz: We will never forget the feeling of excitement whilst sweeping the entire skatepark for the first time, knowing that we were about to have our first session with our team…

Spending a week with Harry painting our giant cornish flag roof was definitely a special moment too.

Getting the slappy curb cut in place and seeing the copings being installed… so much happened within those couple of months, but to be honest, every second of it is memorable; it is hard to pick specific stories!

 

Jak Foster - Backside smith.

Kaycee Ann - Fakie smith to fakie.


How was the opening day for you guys? After the journey you had from closing the doors in Newquay, what sort of feelings did you have as you were watching the new park being sessioned by skaters from literally all over the country?

Martina: It was such a special day and we want to start by saying thanks to everyone who came along!!

Chaz: It was an emotional journey to get to that point, but the opening day marked the moment that it all started to feel real and a new chapter had begun. To be able to share that with the locals and some big names like Lola Tambling, Jordan Thackeray, Beth Howells, Sox, Vaughn Baker, Eddie Belvedere and a whole load of others was so good!

It was the moment we had been constantly dreaming of since the closure of our first park. To have such a high level of skateboarding going on and such a mixed bag of people spectating was so special.

 

Harry While - Hip alley-oop frontside ollie.


You have a stacked calendar with classes, events, special nights… talk us through some of the more community focused sessions you currently run please. How have these sessions and evenings been going down with the locals?

Chaz: We do try to offer as many different sessions/lessons/events as possible, because we are strictly skateboarding. My personal favourite sessions are the Under 8s and the After School Club because we get the same kids coming on a weekly basis (some from the age of four) and we get to be there for them every step of the way, from learning the basics to watching them fly around the park and pushing themselves to learn new tricks. Nothing beats being able to share our passion for skateboarding with the next generation of rippers!

We also try to make a point of offering specific sessions such as Girls night, Queer night, DJ night, as well as putting on skate jams to make everybody feel welcome, regardless of skill level or background.

The sessions have been going down well with the locals but being in a totally new place has meant our “locals” are coming from all over the place! It has been awesome connecting with so many new faces from Devon and other areas and we hope to see all of our sessions grow in popularity as the business continues to.

 

Give us the top three standout tricks you’ve seen go down in the all new TR7:

Harry - Fs Smith the vert wall

Jak Foster - Treflip the hip to flat

Joss Bellamy - Nosepick yank in the vert wall

Anything that happens on our vert wall is a standout trick.

 


Here’s one for the parents - if they’re dropping their kids off for a skate at TR7, what would you recommend doing locally to pass a couple of hours?

Chaz: Firstly, we do recommend that the parents get involved and have a skate too, as skateboarding is for everyone and a great way to connect with your kids. If you would rather drop them off and do something else, we are a 15-minute drive from Eden Project and there are a handful of trails and lakes to explore nearby too. There are also plenty of shopping centres in the area to get the weekly shop sorted!

 

Shay Stone - Frontside ollie.


Lastly, now you’re more than up and running, what are your plans for the future?

Chaz: To continue to grow and nurture our community, put on events and sessions for all to enjoy, and keep sharing the stoke with anybody who comes through our doors or supports us in any way!

We are currently working on different programmes such as a Surfskate programme, Adaptive programme and Youth Mentorship programme.

We hope to also get our rope system installed soon too as it really helped us introduce a wider audience to skateboarding in the previous skatepark.

We still want to find time to get out of Cornwall too, especially with our team to carry on exploring street spots and working on video projects as that is where this whole business originated.


Harry While - Backside lipslide.

 

 

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