RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — An upcoming documentary entitled “Greetings From Richmond” is looking to give viewers the opportunity to see the local skate scene like never before.

The film is part of the “Greetings From” series from Red Bull Skateboarding, taking viewers into the heart of local skating communities across the globe. Previously featured skate scenes include Johannesburg, London and Philadelphia.

The director of the film, Jonathan Mehring, is an acclaimed skate photographer as well as a Richmond local and VCU alumnus. In 2021, Mehring released a short documentary called “Walls Cannot Keep Us from Flying,” about two young Palestinians skateboarding and growing up under occupation in the West Bank.

“Greetings From Richmond” premiered with a sold-out showing at Grace Street Theatre on Tuesday, April 4, but will be available to everyone on Monday, April 10, via Red Bull TV and Red Bull’s website.

Travis Pulley — who attended the premiere and was featured in the documentary — says he’s been skating in Richmond since 1984. Although the landscape has changed, with old skate spots disappearing and new ones emerging, Pulley says the scene is more alive than ever.

“There used to be no skate parks here back then,” Pulley recalled. “Skateboarding is in the streets.”

Credit: Red Bull Content Pool/Jonathan Mehring

Over the last few years, the local skate scene has exploded with enthusiasm from a new generation. Pulley says the city should embrace it for the attention it could bring in tourism and local business.

“Skating is social,” Pulley said. “We don’t have a lot of social spaces anymore.”

Mehring said he had been in talks with Red Bull about making a documentary in Richmond for years. He said he had a strong work relationship with the company dating back to around 2004 when he first started as a freelance photographer for them.

“I felt like I was a good person to do [the film] because, not only did I have history here, but I’d also been gone for 20 years,” Mehring said of the film. “So, in a way, I was rediscovering the city, too. I had stuff to learn, but I also knew a lot of information.”

Mehring said his favorite local skate spot is “River Bowl,” a small DIY concrete shallow pool built in a space between train tracks and the James River.

“Who’s crazy idea was that?” Mehring joked.

Credit: Red Bull Content Pool/Jonathan Mehring

In the documentary, Tyler Brady says he got the idea to build the bowl when he found a slab of concrete over a pipeline by the riverbank. He got some of his friends together and they carried bags of concrete down to the waterfront from a distant parking spot. In Mehring’s documentary, at least one skater can be seen losing their board over the ramp and watching it fall into the river below.

“That just goes to show, these people are freaking dedicated man,” Mehring said. “It’s awesome. I love it.”

Credit: Red Bull Content Pool/Jonathan Mehring

What sets the Richmond skate scene apart from others, according to Mehring, is the rough terrain and difficult infrastructure.

“They’ll skate anything, you know, however bad it is, the more they like it,” Pulley says in the documentary. “Just give us something garbage and we’ll skate it.”

Locals say that these poor skating conditions are also what inspires Richmond’s unique emphasis on DIY skateparks such as Texas Beach — which began as a small concrete project with only a handful of boxes and wedges.

Credit: Red Bull Content Pool/Jonathan Mehring

“It’s gone through, like, six iterations since then,” says Chris Burke in the documentary. “Last tear down, the City went ahead and committed to giving it to us and just letting us build what we want.”

Other skate spots featured in the documentary include the SunTrust Ledges, White Walls, TF, Midlo Ditch, Lost Bowl, 28th Street Skate Park, Bike Lot and Southside Skate Park.

“Street spots in Richmond are, like, really crusty,” says local skater Jonquil Moore in the documentary. A sentiment affectionately echoed by almost all of the interviewees throughout.

The documentary also features local businesses like the almost-20-year-old Venue skate shop owned and operated by Maury Blankinship in Carytown.

“I’ve noticed the scene change over the last few years,” said Payton Saltz. “With the amount of girls that are out there. There’s definitely more than there used to be.”

One thing that everyone in the documentary seems to agree on; the future looks bright for Richmond skating.

“Young kids are super into it,” said local skating icon, Gilbert Crockett. “I feel like skating is in good hands here.”

The full documentary is available to watch here.