Edwin Brockman 1962 – 2018

Ed at Southbank back in the day.
Photo: Dobie Campbell

On October 6th 2018 the UK skate scene lost another legendary character when Edwin Brockman passed away after a courageous 11 year battle with cancer.

I first met Ed at Southbank in early 1980 along with his very good friend Martin Sweeney and we remained firm friends ever since. Back then, in what has become known as the “dark days” of skateboarding, Southbank was the hub, the focal point of the London scene and home of the LSD Crew (London Skates Dominate – not the drug!). The crew were hardcore, made up of slalomers, freestylers and park riders which made for a great melting pot of talent and Ed was very much at the centre of it all. He would crack funnies at the drop of a hat and have you in stitches as he skated silently behind an unsuspecting pedestrian while pulling faces at them and gesturing. People will probably have their own memory or favourite Ed story. The one it seems that many remember was at one of the legendary post Southbank “food fights” in McDonalds in The Strand. In mid-attack, while bits of gherkin and fries were flying through the air he looked up and shouted, “Oi! I wanna eat my burger not wear it”.  Ed was also the instigator behind the pyjama skates around London not to mention the infamous “dress as an Arab” skate! You’d be locked up for doing that now! He enjoyed travelling to the various competitions around the country with the Southbank crew; always making sure to pick up any stickers and memorabilia wherever he went.      

Following the resurgence of slalom in 2002, Ed travelled to a number of races in Europe to compete with his fellow Brits. Through these European sojourns he not only met new skate friends and fellow collectors but added many more stories to his already extensive repertoire of skate related anecdotes; many of them retold in the café on wet Hog Hill days when he could often be seen holding court and entertaining soggy bedraggled skaters. He loved being at Hog Hill and was always ready and willing to help other riders out be it giving advice based on his wealth of experience or passing on tips to newbies.   

Grüningen, Switzerland, 2005. Pro Tight Slalom – Ed vs YoYo Schulz
Photo: YoYo Schulz

When the UKSSA held their first race at Hog Hill back in 2008 Ed and Martin were there. Ed raced and Martin assisted with cone marshalling duties. In the years that followed, both friends were a common sight trackside at Hog Hill. When Ed was no longer able to race he still came along to help cone marshal, His booming voice became a feature at races and he obviously injected his usual humour to the proceedings, shouting things like “Two of the Queen’s cones on the white lane and f*ck all on the red” on being asked to confirm a cone count. When not marshalling he would take photos of the racing while at the same time shouting words of encouragement to the riders as they passed.

Anyone that knew Ed will know his reputation for being something of a collector, in particular when it came to stickers! “All of the stickers in all of the colourways” springs to mind. They were meticulously stored in albums and plastic storage boxes, each sticker in it’s own individual ziplock bag. If anyone was going to a competition no matter where they always had strict instructions to “Pick up any stickers for me”.   Ed would bring his swaps and duplicates to Hog Hill, setting up his “Little Shop of Treasures” in the cafe selling all things vintage. It wasn’t just stickers though, there were trucks, wheels, bushings, risers as well as various badges and promo items – but always a bargain to be had. 

Even when his health began to deteriorate further it was his wish to come to as many Hog Hill events as he could so he could be with his friends. Paul Coupe would pick Ed and his boxes up from his home in Bermondsey and on arrival at Hog Hill we would get him set up in the café. We are eternally grateful to the very lovely Sylvia from the café who helped keep an eye on Ed and made sure he had his meds on time when we weren’t around.  He still had time for everyone and would sit sharing his memories about being a skater in London during the 70’s and chatting about past races or events. It was always entertaining looking through old skate books with Ed, he would normally have a story about something or someone in it. A few years back we were looking at an article about Skate City in one of my books when he shouted out “F*ck me!” and pointed to the page “See that grem in the white Cooper helmet on the lip, that’s me!” and it was!

Racing at Hog Hill.
Photo: Andy Turner

I will always remember the opening day of The House of Vans in London. Tony Alva, Christian Hosoi, John Cardiel and Steve Van Doren were in town for the official opening. Whilst talking to TA at the signing Ed said “I need to confess something to you Tony” He went on to explain how he and Bricky had ridden his board around at Mad Dog Bowl in the 70’s. It happened when TA and Mark Baker went off to get food before they did their demo later that day. “That’s right” TA said, “That’s right I had a bowl named after me, Ha Ha! So you rode my board huh?” He then proceeded to sign a vans poster, personalising for Ed and referring to Mad Dog Bowl. He was so stoked! About a fortnight later he called me up to ask if I had seen a particular Alva interview? In the interview TA had mentioned talking to some English skater at House of Vans about Mad Dog Bowl and riding his board around when he wasn’t there. “That’s me!” Ed exclaimed.

Ed with TA, the smile says it all.
Photo: Rob Ashby

Ed’s funeral took place at Honor Oak Crematorium in South London on Monday October 22nd. It was standing room only in the chapel as his family, friends and fellow skaters gathered to pay tribute and say their last goodbyes. Ed’s wishes had specified “Vans are optional but compulsory for skaters” and in accordance with this there were Vans of all colours and styles on show. 
Friends in the skate industry donated skate stickers and I made up sticker bags with them which were given out to skaters in exchange for a donation to the family’s chosen charity Dimbleby Cancer Care, who had supported them throughout the duration of Ed’s illness.

Ed’s board and a pair of his  favorite Vans with floral tribute.
Photo: Alec Brown

TheUK skate scene has lost a truly unique and much loved character and I think I speak for all of us when I say that we are all better people for having known him and that he will be sadly missed by us all.

Our most sincere condolences and thoughts go out to Jill, Jack, Annie-Mae and the whole Brockman family.

Skaters, family and friends remembering Ed after the service.
Photo: Michael Stride

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