Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Checking in with Jordan Sharkey

Hey Jordan so you’re from Wales do you get to spend much time at home or do you prefer to stay on the road?
Hey mate. I am indeed, up in the north. I usually spend my time in Wales yeah, in summer I’m not there much and I try to go anywhere I can all year round if possible. But back to my hood usually.

Would you ever relocate to Manchester or London I can imagine you find yourself in those places on a regular basis due to skateboarding commitments?
I’ve thought about it a lot, but never actually went cause it’s so easy to travel from where I’m from. Seems far but the trains are pretty fast, so I don’t mind. However I’ve just moved to Madrid. My girlfriend lives here and it’s way better to skate so I thought fuck it, one day when my flight got delayed home I just left the airport an stayed. About 2 months ago now.

So back in 2016 you won the Element Make it Count contest, how have things change (if at all) since then?
I think so cause now I’m lucky enough to be sponsored by Element and that’s helped me to go on more trips, meet new people and they help me out a lot which is rad! 

Kickflip. Photo Reece Leung

So you ride for Element and Vans Europe do you have aspirations on trying to make it onto the US teams?
That would be nice, but I’m not really thinking about that right now. I like the Europe scene a lot so I wanna get about Europe more. But wouldn’t pass up the opportunity or a trip with the US guys haha.

Getting worldwide recognition is always tough for British skaters but it something that is definitely changing in recent times and I think Harry Lintell proves that. Do you have a plan with where you want to go in skateboarding or are you just winging it so to speak?
Yeah the UK scene is going off! Harry’s definitely proved it! But I’m definitely winging it haha. Just live cheap, travel any chance I get and see how long I can go till I need to get a proper job haha. That’s pretty much my plan.

A couple of months ago you found yourself in Hong Kong with a few others filming the ‘NocturnUP’ edit how did that come about? It must be quite surreal travelling to all these countries on the regular, any faves?
Hong Kong was amazing! We had a sick crew an it came about from the boys Daryl Dominguez an Nick Richards. They did one in Thailand last year that I couldn’t make, but I made it to the second one! It’s incredible getting the chance to skate these places, I think my favs so far are Copenhagen and Hong Kong , they were so good!

Wallie. Photo CJ

What’s your take on video parts as a sponsored skater do you feel you need to focus more on competitions and social media content and if there’s time left over then perhaps try film a part?
I really like to film video parts cause your just out in the streets with the boys having a good time. I want to film them more than insta clips or skate comps but it’s all good fun I think. I don’t mind a comp sometimes, you meet people, party, skate a bit, they can be fun. And insta clips happen quite naturally now I’m in Madrid, skating everyday, someone gets hyped “oh I’ll film it”, cool. People should definitely film more video parts tho!

So how is the rest of the year shaping up any projects in the works?
I got some things in the works for this year, video part very soon! Couple other projects, Nocturnup 3, skate trips here and there, maybe the odd skate comp. Everything always pops up last minute so I’m sure plenty more things to be done! 

Cheers Jordan any last words?
Cheers mate! An yeah, big up Sidewalk, Element, Alex, Vans, Manhead, Blacksheep, Shiner, Alyntheg, Manu and the misses!

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Interview with Forde Brookfield about the upcoming Baghead Kills II video

Hey Forde, Congrats on finishing the video, how long did it take to film and then edit?
This video took just over two years and around two months to edit. The first one was under two years and edited within two weeks, so I certainly tried to pay a little more attention to this video!

What keeps you motivated to film? I always feel bad telling you ‘next try!’ I just love filming skateboarding – all types of it. Apart from demos or park footage, that shit bores me so badly. Next try never bothers me too much; I’ve been filming a trick with people before for hours, maybe even over the course of a few days. I think it’s something we all grow used to. That’s why it’s such an amazing feeling when someone nails a line or trick first go, it’s kind of like “Oh shit, well that’s that then...”

Have you done anything different from the first video? I know it’s going to feature some new people. I’ve made sure that my lens isn’t scratched, that’s the main thing. I’ve also tried to film it all on one camera, but there’s a little VX1-Hi8 footage in there for Jaspers part and a little foreign footage to compensate for a part that was cut short due to unforeseen circumstances.

It features a whole new crew of people mixed with some of the OG’s like Ryan Wright, Jazz Wade, and Jim Spencer. There’s a ton of new faces in it like Jozef Szklaruk, Jasper Clough, Cameron Linford, Dominic Dulin (from the U.S) and a few more. It also includes a few youngers that are smashing it in the Leicester scene.

Bs Boneless photo. Mike Simons

Did anyone surprise you whilst filming the video? Jazz Wade. Pure dedication.

It is a little off topic but you worked at Ledge (R.I.P) for many years and pretty much where I met all the Baghead guys, do you think independent skate shop are losing their importance? Certainly! It’s always the same scenario, lurkers want discount which is STILL taking money away from the store as they’re obviously not taking as much as they should be, but then skateboarders still complain that they can find it online from some bullshit factory, eBay or find a similar shitter pair in a store that has them at half price because they’re dead stock. Our scene has taken a major hit from the loss of such a central skate store.

Thankfully, Paul Cartwright has opened up his own store in Leicester under the simplistic name “Cartwrights” We’ve just had it’s opening day which is great – hopefully it pulls together the scene and people within our scene finally open their eyes and see that we have to support what we have because once it’s gone, that’s it, your central meeting point for you to hang out and meet all your friends has gone. Fucking support man, fuck chain stores that run family owned and skater owned business into the ground.

Tree wallride photo. Mike Simons
Both Baghead videos are filmed with a VX do you think you’ll ever make the switch to HD? The third instalment is set to be in HD, but I truly do love the feel and aesthetic of the Sony VX series. I’d love a VX1000 with an MK1, but I think the VX1000 picture is a little dog shit, so I might have to find an MK1 intermediate and put it on a new VX2100, because my VX21 is on its last legs. As soon as she goes, that’ll be my third broken VX, haha. R.I.P to the pre-fallen VX soldiers that got smashed through filming the Baghead Crew.

For anyone that hasn’t heard of Baghead what would you say to get them to come to the premier? It’s gonna be fucking sick, it features every type of skateboarding you could want all mixed into one. It’s not like some G shit video where everything is baggy and handrails and it’s not a full mosher video with very and grabs, it’s a complete mix of every type of skateboarding. Not only that, it’s got some fucking good graphics throughout, the soundtrack is banging and we’ve put in a lot of effort for it.

Plus the list of people are in it are fucking sick.

Good place to leave it, anyone you would like to thank? Timothy Hines, Sidewalk Magazine, Ledge Skate Shop (RIP), Caught in the Crossfire, Pixels, Cartwrights Skate Store, Joe Vozza, Callun Loomes, Samuel North, Chris Straw, Broom Skatepark, Myself, Jazz Wade for sitting with me for two months making sure I didn’t hang myself whilst editing the video and everyone else along the way who provided transport, food, drinks and floors to sleep on.

Thankyou everyone!

Come and watch BAGHEAD KIILLS II for free at The Boardroom Skatepark on Saturday 4th of February, 2017 at 8:30pm for free.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Catching up with Get Lesta's Callun Loomes

Photo Matt Clarke
Get Lesta seems to have really taken off in the last year or so, did you have any aspirations or goals for it when it started?
How do i answer that? Haha I'm not stopping till I'm on billboards Tim. Nope no goals I just enjoy doing it so I've carried on, take it as it comes. Stoked on the support, I don't like the question

For those who might be unsure how would you describe Get Lesta, you put out a lot of product but essentially it is just a crew right?
Just a crew yeah, get as many people out at the weekend and have a good time (in the least weirdest way possible). That way the video can involve anyone it's not treading on anyone toes, it benefits all companies involved if anything.

Your fourth full length ‘Get420’ comes out in October how do you stay motivated to film all these projects?
Smoke endless weed apparently. Nah I don't find it difficult to stay motivated I'm hyped on everyone's skating. There's like 15 or so people on the poster so always someone to be meeting up with. I have lists of tricks, spots and cities for each person so never stuck for something to go try. Everyone lives so far apart that we can't just meet up and 'see how it goes' unfortunately we need a rough plan of where to go and what to try. Every week I do a little private link to what got filmed that week so the group can see. Realistically the full thing is 104 week edits into one big video!

When it comes to editing do you involve the skater or do you make all the decisions?
I'm usually mad stressed trying to edit two years worth of footage in two weeks so if anyone contacts me within that time good luck to them haha. I ask each person towards the deadline to send me ten songs they would be happy with for their section song. I then go through them all and see which works and is the best fitting. They don't get to know which I've chosen as like I said I'm buzzing my tits off in a cave drinking energy drinks for a month. It'll be one of the songs from their list so they won't have anything to complain about when it comes to the premiere. Obviously some people are useless and want me to just choose for them. I wish this was the case for Golding, his music selection is horrific. As far as involve them when editing nah no one see's their section and no one ever watches any of the video before the premiere I keep it completely secret. The only time I might ask them is if they did a trick say like 3 times and it's hard to call which one was the best, which they would prefer me to use.

Charlie Munro - double rail ollie photo Matt Clarke 

How do you usually decide on who has first and last part I guess those are the parts everyone wants?
Most of the time it's pretty easy to tell. People can see who's been going in the most, last time think everyone knew who was going to be first and last. At the minute it's close call between two for openers and two for enders, have to see how the next couple of months go. The other two can go in the extra's or something haha. It's only on the DVD it matters anyway i guess, because once the parts go online the order means nothing.

Do you feel pressure now because people expect the new Get Lesta videos to always be better than the last?
Everyone knows it's ten times harder to out do your previous section. Once people know your trick bag and you've been to the same spots it's going to be more difficult, you have to get a bit more creative (Mike's going for ten sections). Each video there has been a few new names involved which helps a lot as that means new spots and motivation. But I wouldn't say there's any pressure, we film anything and everything then I'd say the best 75% of the footage is the finished product. The only pressure I'd say is to get a last trick. Some people aren't bothered about enders or last trick, I'm not one of them haha. I don't wanna see a part/video end on a line, I want to see someone go all out at the end. Obviously the last thing you try is something that is a push for you, and the only way your going to do it is because of the pressure. (or £20 ten beers and a trip to hooters) Each to their own.

Backside heel - Mark Stern, photo Matt Clarke
I think what a lot of people like about your edits is that the majority is filmed in England is that a conscious decision?
Not allowed to leave the country.

Do you plan to venture around more of  Europe and more?
Nah to be honest I just much prefer UK footage. I'd enjoy trips and going to different countries but just feel footage in England is worth a lot more. I'm sure I could go Berlin and film a section in a week of stuff people have done a hundred times before. But instead I like going to Derby barrier and sitting there for 8 hours till someone can fluke a nbd over it, strange.

Is it too early to talk about the up coming ********  collab?
Depends when you upload this? Haha for the time being yes! Hyped on it though and will be out mid July.

Do you want to explain a little more about it?
Yeah but I'm not allowed so we'll have to talk about my breathing or something.

Cheers Cal any last words?
How about you tell us about your ********?  Your gonna cut that bit out aren't you.

You Bet!!

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Catching up with Manuel Lopez

Kicker backside smith. Photo Reece Leung
Hey Manny what have you been up to lately?
Hey Tim I've been good, just working a little bit and skating as much as I can. I'm on the coach at the moment, to Sheffield to stay with Mark Baines to film for Fabric.

You’ve moved around quite a bit but currently residing in London, does it feel like home?
Yeah I've lived in a few places, but London is really starting to feel like home. I really want to continue living here as long as I'm travelling.

London can be pretty expensive at times do you have a job on the side or are you able to support yourself through skating?
Yeah I'm a freelance runner and I help out on sets of photo shoots and commercials. I also get some shifts at the Volcom office to sort out the show room and do whatever needs to be done. I only work a couple times a week the running is pretty good money sometimes. I share a room with my girlfriend so rent is good. I've been getting into cooking at home a lot too so that helps haha.

What are your usual hotspots for skating? Are you a ‘street rat’ or do you try and throw some parks into the mix? Street skating in London can get pretty hectic and stressful.
I don't really have a certain hotspot. I'm down to skate wherever anyone wants to go. It's always nice to find a new spot. I try to stay away from skate parks, but sometimes I'm just having too much fun or stuck on learning a new trick. I try and stay as productive as possible. London is pretty hectic, but I love it. I hate being comfortable for too long I like to move around and explore. The spots are amazing and I'm glad that they're hard to skate because it pushes you to do something challenging. 

Boardslide through the kink. Photo Reece Leung

You’ve been a part of Fabric Skateboards for quite a while now, it must be sick to see how far it’s come. Any talk of a full-length?
Yeah they're my family. David and Bish have had my back this whole time. The promo was good, I'm glad people liked the skating. As a company it's going through some positive changes. Mark Baines has gotten more involved and is like our team manager and has great plans for the future of the company. Mark and Douwe have full parts right now and I think they're going to be released soon along with some tricks from the rest of the team. I think right now we are just trying go get more product out and do more boards and clothing launches through out the year. The whole media and feel of the company is going to change so that we stand out as team and company. We discuss everything as a team and contributions and new ideas are always welcome. I've got a lot of respect for Mark and what he's is doing along with putting it down in skateboarding. He just keeps getting better and better. Everyone on the team kills it. A full length will be in the works once all that falls into place. 

How’s filming for Will Miles’ Tallboy going? Are you working towards a full part?
Yeah it's been going great, I've got a full part and for the first time ever I feel happy about it for the most part haha. To be honest I haven't really been out with Will Miles that much in the past year , but the deadline is coming up and we went to Lyon a couple of weeks ago so I'm out skating with him and the rest of the boys as much as I can. Wait for Matt Hay to blow people's minds because he's got a full part and that dude has so much style. Daryl's part is going to be really gnarly and different to his other parts so I'm really excited to see it. Josh Cox is amazing and it's going to be his 3rd video part in the space of a couple of months. His love for skateboarding.is awesome even though he hates everything haha. Let's just say everyone smashes it and it's a video not to be missed. Look out for the official premiere date because the premiere is going to be wild!

Have you been travelling quite a bit for it?
I've been travelling quite a bit for several things, but the Tallboy trips are always the best. I will never forget that trip to Athens in 2014 . It was more of a holiday because there was about 15 of us and only 4 of us were working towards video parts so the rest of the guys were boozing and enjoying the sun. It was a fun group of people and we actually managed to get shit done. We went to Portugal last winter and that was sick too, the spots there are amazing. It was a tight crew so it was more productive, but with Will Miles in the group you know there's going to be some shenanigans. I love travelling so much and it's even better when you've got that piece of wood and wheels under your feet. 

Fakie Nosegrind 180. Photo Reece Leung

Shooting photos, filming and travelling can be pretty overwhelming, do you get up to much outside of skating to kind of balance it all out?
I try to do other things and I'm starting university soon to do sports science so that will keep me grounded for a bit. I try to be healthy and educate myself with what's going on around the world. My girlfriend is my balance and we have a home together so if anything that makes me more productive because I know I have somewhat of a schedule and she believes in me so much. I like being productive because it stops my mind from racing and thinking too much about bullshit and the mistakes I've made in the past. I started surrounding myself with positive and well rounded people. I've experienced a lot of shady people in my life, some were best friends and now I know better and that lesson itself has been pretty rewarding. I just can't be around people who just take and take then fuck you over in times of need. It drives me crazy because I'm a happy person that believes there's always more room for growth. 

How’s the rest of 2016 looking any comps or trip etc lined up?
So far it's looking good and I'm going to be travelling quite a bit. Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen and hopefully Geneva and Lyon again if I can. That might all change, but I'm pretty set on those locations to film for this Fabric part I just started working on. 

Cheers Manny, any last words?
Trust me when I say it's better to get toxic people out of your life while you're young. Don't waste your time on 'friends' that don't value you and hold you back and get the fuck out of there and surround yourself with people who make help you grow. Be true and forget about the mistakes you've made in the past and learn from them and become a better person. When you're feeling good, good things come to you.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Quick chat with Daniel Espinoza

Hey Daniel what have you been up to lately?
I've just been trying to skate and film as much as possible lately.

What’s a regular day for you at home in California like?
Go skate, get home, go hang out and do car stuffs with friends.

The rumours of a new Lakai video appear to be true, do you feel there’s a lot of pressure for it to live up to Fully Flared?
It wont be anything like Fully Flared.

Does the video have a deadline yet, can imagine that only adds to the pressure.I suspect you’re working towards a full part. Do you have a process for filming like making a list or do you prefer to take a more spontaneous route?
Yes we have a deadline it's sometime in August or September I can't remember the exact date. I just wing it, I don't make a list of tricks I want to do, I don't work that way unfortunately.

Have you been or plan to travel much for the video?
I haven't really traveled anywhere to be honest. We did a few trips last year but I was suffering from an ankle injury that kept me from enjoying, or going on most the trips.

A lot of skaters have been using snapchat to showcase their lives and skating do you think social media is becoming an essential part of skateboarding?
Yeah as much as most of us would hate to say it. It's probably the only thing that can keep us relevant these days.

Switch Backside Flip. Photo Yoon Sul

You ride for Cliche skateboards, so I’m guessing you've spent a fair bit of time in Europe, how do places like France or Spain compare to America?
Just different vibes, mostly because I never know if i'll ever go back so I try to just take it all in. If that makes sense.

Aside from the Lakai video are you working on anything else?
Not much I can speak about at the moment.

What are your plans for the future?
As in after skating? I'd like to settle down and be a pro race car driver, Haha Hey, I dreamed of being a pro skater and that came true so why stop there?
There is a lot of things I plan on doing in the future I just hope it works in my favor.

Any last words?

Sunday, 11 October 2015

An interview with Daryl Dominguez

Photo Kelly Van Vugt

So you’ve grown up skating in London, do you feel the place and people have molded your skating?
Yeah, naturally its going to I think. The London scene is massive and always has been since I started skating. More so now than ever probably. I'm quite fortunate in that sense because there's never a shortage of people to go skating with and new faces to meet. London has definitely made me appreciate good weather when it comes around and in terms of skating I would say it has as well. Nick Jensen and Tom Knox are the most creative utilisers of London architecture and have definitely opened my eyes to what is possible on these grey London streets.

Couldn't agree more. Conversely, you're quite well traveled could you see yourself living anywhere other than London?
Definitely, I'm sort of in a position where I'm trying to figure that one out. I've been based here basically my whole life. I'm actually going away in 2 weeks for about 5-6 months so maybe somewhere along the way will reach out to me. I like constantly being on the move but I haven't really been able to live that kind of lifestyle until recently. I love it, each day is simply just more vibrant. I don't earn a wedge so I don't see myself living in London, the housing scheme in London is the worst its ever been and you have to literally work your nut off just to get by. I've always liked Bristol though, amazing house parties, good, tight knit scene both musically and skating. People in general give you much more time of day and its also miles cheaper.

You recently graduated from university did you struggle to maintain a balance between travelling ( both for personal and skating reasons) and studying?
Haha yeah I honestly think I did! I really enjoyed the course that I studied which was actually surprising cause at the start I really didn't think I would. But I got really into it. What I've come to realise now is that you can appreciate skating a hell of a lot more when you have other priorities, every time I went skating I was loving it because I wasn't sitting in a library. I could surrender to it much easily. I studied drama and loads of times I would bullshit my tutors so I could go on trips, I remember one time there was a 9 day trip to Gran Canaria with Almost and I told my tutors that I discovered my biological father and I had to go and seek him out. It worked too! I was even reading and writing essays in hotel rooms on trips and stuff.

Aha yeah I can definitely relate to that those library sessions are just as good as watching a skate video because you just get hyped and sidetracked and want to just go skate! Was staying on to go to university a personal choice? It’s pretty common for skaters to drop out of education if there’s a chance of pursuing skateboarding as a career.
Ultimately it was my choice, yes. But kind of did it for the wrong reasons really: All my friends did, it would give me 3 years of financial security, I wanted to keep the parents happy etc so I just applied for drama cause that is what I got the highest grades in college. I deferred for a year and that's when I started travelling and skating all the time and things started picking up. I wasn't in a position where I could live off it though so when the time came I decided to go anyway.

Fs Lipslide. Photo CJ
But now you're graduated that must be a great relief. You’ve been a part of Vans for numerous years it must be pretty rad to see a company willing to back you and involve you in projects, especially in a time where sponsor changes are so popular.
Of course and I'm stoked! Even though I'm not physically using the degree per say, I've learnt and grown so much in those years and that's much more important than material things. Vans have given me a lot of love over the years and Powley has backed everything that I've done 100% and I'm super grateful. I feel as though the past year has been really quiet in terms of team/video projects the past year or so - hopefully that picks back up...

 You’ve had quite a few notable parts, full lengths and solo (Excursions, Albion etc), does your filming method change depending on who you’re filming with or what it’s for?
Yeah depending on the type of project it will work differently, but fundamentally I try and keep it the same. A good balance of just simply going out skating and getting specifics. Each filmer works differently as well. I'm working on two things at the moment and their both very different things

Can you shed any light on these new projects aha? Do you develop any OCD’s or rituals when you’re out filming?
Yeah, I've got a part in Will Miles' 'Tallboy' - that's all the homies in London. We've gone on trips to Lisbon, Athens and Paris for it too. Me and Austin Bristow are working on a little something too but I'm gonna keep that one at that for now. No OCD's as far I'm aware, just got to go with the moment. I'm known for having battles and a lot goes through my mind during that. As the years go on I've come to enjoy that situation.

Fs 5050. Photo CJ
Would you say you have a preference between say going on tour, demos, comps or filming for a part?
Honestly I just try and see them as all the same thing. Its easier to enjoy them that way. Tours are my favourite though, I've been on some amazing tours this year. I went to Vietnam via Redbull and that was the best trip I've ever been on cause it was more than just skating, you know?

Yeah I get that, I'm guessing you were able to actually take the city in on and off your board. That kind of leads onto the next question of whether you're satisfied with where you are with skating at the moment, do you have set goals you would like to achieve? Or like you rightly said to just enjoy it as it comes your way.
I just wanna be mindful of the present so I just wanna enjoy it as it comes my way. With skating I just wanna push my own mental and physical boundaries, working on projects are good for that. Then theres a whole other side of just enjoying it, having a laugh with good company...that should always be at the forefront of everything else otherwise you'll turn something you love into something insufferable. The goals for me will always be the same man - sure I'd love to make more money and reach a point where I can really just do this for a living but I'd rather get there naturally than make it the object of my obsession.

Sounds like a good place to leave it cheers Daryl any last words?
Thank you to everyone for the support - Nic Powley and everyone at Vans, Scott Howes at Dwindle, Daz at Rollersnakes and all my friends and family. Everyone whose crossed my path even if briefly! Shout out to Chrissie Gomez and Sunny Evans for truly blessing ones existence.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

The Nic Powley Interview

Nic Powley. Photo Mark Heaton
Hey Nic just to get a little background you’re the Vans UK TM and proud owner of Skate Pharmacy how is it juggling the two?
Ummm it’s not too bad, I’d say juggling home and family life with a new business that requires a lot of my time probably causes me more stress. I pretty much work 7 days a week so some days I’ll be doing whatever Vans stuff I have to deal with the rest of the time it’s Skate Pharmacy business. It kind of blends into one most of the time, I just have a long list of jobs and I work through it. 5 days a week in my office and 2 days in the actual shop. I much prefer my shop days because that feels more ‘real’ to me.

So Skate Pharmacy is relatively new, was opening a shop a long term goal of yours?
No absolutely not, I never even wanted to work in skateboarding at all. For me skateboarding was always about having a laugh with my mates, it was a hobby.  A lot changes when it becomes your job and you can never go back, I guess I knew it would be a bit like that so I avoided it for as long as I could but eventually I fell into it at around 30 after skating for 15 years at that point.

Saying that I’ve worked in skating now for about 13 years or so, on the whole it’s been a pretty amazing time, I’ve had a lot of opportunities and I’ve done a lot more with my life than I would have predicted. Most of the people I deal with I’ve know for 15-20 years so it’s kind of easy to get stuff done on a semi formal basis like if I’m doing something with Sidewalk it’s just a call to Ben, CJ or Horse to talk some shit and it’s all sorted. You don’t really have to deal with the dickheads in the real world that much which is pretty nice.

I was 42 when I opened the shop so I’d left it pretty late but it was a natural progression and I felt like I was ready for it, to do something for myself.

Running a shop is definitely one of skateboardings hardest ventures, what do you think the secret to a successful skate shop is?
I wouldn’t be the guy to ask that, we haven’t been round long enough to be classed as successful yet! Maybe come back to me in 5-10 years time if the doors are still open and I’ll be qualified to answer. If you want a guess I’d say it’s just down to being passionate and committed balanced with knowing your stuff and not being afraid to work hard, really hard. I try not to pay attention to what anyone else is doing, just do things how I feel they should be done, hopefully that’s an approach that will come to fruition at some point, or not.

Traditionally shop teams are quite local based however your riders are quite spread, how did you go about picking the roster?
I knew I wanted to set the standard to get on the team quite high, so it actually meant something to ride for the shop. Obviously I’ve been running events and doing the Vans stuff for years so I know people all over the place, I just wanted people that I got on with and were cool guys and mostly that were down for what we’re doing. I’ve known Ross McGouran for close to 15 years I think, we were just talking and I mentioned the shop and he was down to ride for us before we even opened. I think next on was Cates, he said he liked the hoodie I was wearing and I said he could have it if he rode for the shop so he said yeah because there’s no way he’s paying for anything ever, plus he just moved here too so it makes sense. Carl ‘Potter’ Wilson rides for us too and he’s looking for a house down this way too, so in a way we’ve imported our team! I didn’t know Charlie Munro too well at all but I was a fan of his skating so I just messaged him on FB and he was keen. I remember Kris Vile got in touch and asked to ride for the shop, obviously he’s one of the best guys around so I was really stoked on that one, it made sense too as we’d spent a lot of time together through Vans anyway. After that the other guys got asked or expressed an interest, there was no master plan to it, we ended up with a better team than anyone could hope for. 

So yeah getting back to the question the team just came together really but despite the fact everyone’s all over the place they’re all down here a lot filming for our first video, filming in the Surgery, events etc plus I see them out and about all the time so it’s not like they’re disconnected from the shop by not living round here. It’s worked out well, we have a good crew, we all get on well and they are all really supportive of the shop and proud to be a part of it. We support a handful of local guys too on the flow team and nothing would make me happier than to add some homegrown talent to the full team and for them to end up getting properly hooked up and turning pro one day.

James Bush, Back Heel (in the surgery). Photo Ben Wilks
So we’ve recently seen little snippets of ‘The Surgery’ can you tell us a bit more about what it is?
Our landlord sort of came up with the idea in a way, he had a space behind our unit that was hard to access because of the way the rest of the building is divided so he offered us a good price to use it for a ‘skatepark’.  It wasn’t big enough for that anyway and that wasn’t something I really need to be getting into, there’s already a perfectly good local indoor park. But it got me thinking it could be really useful and a fun thing to have, I spoke to Alexis at Vans and he was down to help us out with it, they’ve been really cool about the whole thing. So the idea is just to build bits as we go along, skate them, film, change them, build new stuff. We’re going to use it for film premieres and we used it for Go Skateboarding day so all the locals got to skate. It’s just a space to use for whatever comes along really, we’ve got no fixed plans. We’d like to get some teams/brands in to build their own bits and make their own edits etc too. If anyone’s got an idea for something they want to do in there they’re more than welcome to get in touch, it’s there to be used. I guess you’ll see it as it develops, we have a few clips backed up already.

Being in the skate industry for so long you’ve developed a good relationship with both Sidewalk and Kingpin magazine did it come as a surprise when they announced that they were becoming an online outlet?
Yes and no. I posted what I had to say about that on Facebook really, I felt sad, it seemed as though Sidewalk was a form of ‘quality control’ on UK skateboarding rather than kids watching any old shit on YouTube and thinking it was the business. Do you know what I mean?  Like if  someone had a cover of Sidewalk you know they’re a ripper. I don’t know, I’m just old, I realise times change and things move on but I don’t think the death of print mags will do anything hugely positive for skateboarding. I’m stoked that all the Sidewalk guys kept their jobs and that Will and Sam went straight out and started Free, I wish them the best of luck. So yeah hopefully it’s not all bad but a sad day nonetheless.

In the credits of Vans propeller a few Vans UK names were mentioned, it would have been insane to have seen them with a clip or two in the video. Do you think the gap between the US and British scene will ever shorten?
If your talking about on an ability level I think it’s already really short. When I was young we were learning tricks off imported VHS tapes that were probably already 6 months old, now you can see what Daewon did on Insta the day he learned it, stuff like that’s done a lot to change the whole face of skateboarding and also push the standards really high worldwide. I think British skateboarders are highly regarded, maybe more so than ever before. I mean we’ve really done a pretty good job with exports in the past but it does seem to be that more UK guys are getting recognised by the US now. I don’t think the talent level is significantly higher in the States these days, just the industry is there, guys can earn a living and get better support out there, obviously the weather is better in a lot of places but mainly its just down to numbers, there’s more people skating so obviously there’s going to be more amazing skaters coming out of that particular country. I think head for head we more than hold our own. It’s traditional for British people to knock themselves, it’s part of our culture but really we have the sickest skate scene, plus we know how to take the piss out of each other way better than any other country.

Specifically going back to Propeller, it seemed like there was an effort to keep it ‘tight’, it was the US pro team and a few clips from the legends guys and that was it. If you’d put in clips of UK guys you would have had to put in clips from guys from every country and it would have got so diluted. Yeah it would have been good to see some UK guys in there (other than just Rowley of course) but it made perfect sense for them not to be in from Vans point of view. I was expecting it to maybe have some ‘skits’ and stuff like that, I think it’s rad they just put out a pure skate video, they could have tried to do something way more commercial and it probably would have sucked!

Kris Vile ollieing up and over. Photo Ben Wilks
What are you most excited about in skateboarding right now?
I think skateboarding is in an amazing place in terms of how diverse it is these days, like literally anything goes trick wise and terrain wise. Having skated through the 90’s when you had to dress and skate a certain way or you weren’t cool or whatever it’s been good to see personality and quirkiness come back into it (and I don’t just mean doing a no-comply and wearing some jazzy socks!). I like that skateboarding is more creative again rather than just kickflipping down the biggest stairs you can find, I wasn’t really into that phase of skateboarding, it got boring really quickly. Also I’m stoked on the rise of girls skateboarding, they have a rad scene and the standard is getting ridiculous.

Going back to Insta me and Ben Powell were talking the other day about how rad it is that kids can converse with their favourite pros so easily via Insta or Twitter etc these days, that’s pretty insane, especially the guys that a super active on there. How stoked kids are when some pro likes their pic or comments on their clip will keep them hyped on skating for days or weeks. It’s so sick when you think about it from a kids point of view, makes the world such a smaller place and all these guys so much more accessible and real.

But by far the best thing about skateboarding for me today is the same as when I started - no one gives a fuck. I think that the best thing we have is that skaters on the whole don’t care about race, age, religion, sexual orientation etc, basically if you skate we’re already friends before we even meet, everywhere I’ve been lucky enough to go through skateboarding this has been the case.  That is pretty unique really and something I’m proud to be a part of, it’s an open welcoming worldwide family and I hope that it never gets so big and corporate that that dies. Excuse me while I wipe this sentimental tear from my cheek after such an emotional outburst!

Cheers Nic, seems like a good place to leave, any last words?
No infinite wisdom springs to mind really, just thanks to everyone that’s supported Skate Pharmacy in some shape or form, it means a lot. Thanks to Vans for their help with the Surgery of course.

To everyone reading this thanks for your time and I hope skateboarding is as kind to you as it has been to me.