Having being presumed lost in the East Anglian wilderness for a whole quarter century, during the first lockdown of 2020, the master tape of the mythical Ipswich scene video Tough Guys re-emerged – reportedly covered in mould and mildew - thanks to Ben Rodriguez.
The standard of the skating in the video, only ever released in small quantities, helped gain national attention and early sponsorship for the likes of Frank Stephens, Channon King, and Ben Rodriguez, all of whom quickly went on to make solid names for themselves in UK skateboarding.
Channon King, backside tailslide, Suffolk College. Photo: Andy Horsley
To coincide with the release of his in depth Slam City Skates interview, conducted by Ben Powell, Adam Mondon has kindly uploaded Tough Guys in full, giving the video it’s first public outing in over 25 years.
Here’s a brief excerpt from Adam’s Slam City interview, to tell you more about the legendary scene production:
Can you give us a bit of background context on ‘Tough Guys’?
I can yes, mainly thanks to Carl Vance’s insanely detailed memory. It came out 25 years ago in 1995. It premiered on Saturday 15th July (laughing) at Ben Marr’s house in Ipswich. Interestingly enough, they’d made the precursor Ipswich video Kaboom only 8 months before this one and had gone straight into filming for Tough Guys. Again, looked at it historical context, it wasn’t really that common for skate scenes in the UK to be committed to filming on that level back in the 1990s…
I remember getting a copy of it in the post to Rollersnakes when I worked there and us immediately making the decision to send Ben Rodriguez and Frank boards off the back of seeing their sections. I’m not over hyping the level of skating in it am I? I haven’t seen it for 20 years + either…
No I don’t think you are. Obviously there is a lot of nostalgia involved for me but it is genuinely really progressive, high level skating, even looked at from today’s perspective. Frank and Ben made the effort to send VHS copies out to different shops and to Horse and Wig as Sidewalk was just starting out. It definitely made waves even back then when the scene was tiny. If nothing else it started Rodriguez and Frank off on the whole sponsorship journey, closely followed by Carl Vance and Channon King.
People will have to decide for themselves when they watch the upload but I think it’s undeniable how much that whole Ipswich scene was on a mission at that point. Skating big rails, hitting up famous London spots, etc. It coincided with Dan Wolfe’s Eastern Exposure videos, early Toy Machine stuff, the beginnings of Sidewalk and something approaching a domestic sponsorship scene again.
Set aside 30 minutes of your day now to venture back to the Ipswich of old, then be sure to read Adam Mondon’s full Slam City interview if you have yet to do so!