SEPT OCT 2018
PAUL HART | THE SPROUT
Paul with a fakie 5-0 in the Sprout. The Sprout features Globe’s Super-V outsole and Nitrolite™ footbed designed and tested for skateboarding.
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THEJOHNSHANAHANCOLLECTION SKATETRACKTOP / SHANAHANWOVEN E.TRIBEKASJS
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Nollie heel flip | PHOTO: KYLE SEIDLER
Cover: Jacopo Carozzi Frontside kickflip Le Havre, France Ph. ClĂŠment Le Gall Contents: Dallas Rockvam Ollie to manual Kouvola, Finland Ph. Sam Clark
18 34 46 60 74 88 Didrik Galasso
The Battle of Normandy
Editor in Chief: Will Harmon Photo Editor: Sam Ashley Associate Editor: Arthur Derrien InDesign: Ben Weaver & Seb Howell En Vacances: James Jarvis Printed in the UK. Free is published six times a year by FSM Publishing Ltd. freeskatemag.com @freeskatemag email@example.com
In this issue we have an interview with Muckmouth’s Alex Dyer (p.60). Since we started Free we’ve never interviewed an editor of another magazine about their mag, website, Insta, etc. We were excited to meet Alex (perhaps even fanning out a bit) plus we were genuinely intrigued to learn more about Muckmouth, its history and Alex’s opinions on various subjects. So we kind of wondered ‘What’s Muckmouth’s opinion of us?’
Embarrassingly, I first heard about @freeskatemag through Instagram, and I have to admit that my initial thoughts were that it was going to be another one of those annoying #hashtag based Insta accounts run by annoying imbeciles that don’t actually skate – but somehow still inexplicably have billions of loyal followers. You know the twats, ‘like, comment, tag’ to be featured, blah, blah, fuck off! Fuck the fucking fuck right off with that shit. I hate YouTube skateboarders, I hate being told to tag people, I hate hashtags... oh man do I hate hashtags. Take fucking #SkateEveryDamnDay for example – not only is that the most pathetic hashtag ever, it is also TERRIBLE fucking advice. I would start using #SkateAFewDaysAWeekAnd ChillTheFuckOutTheRestOfTheTimeThenYouWillNotGet BurntOutOnSkatingHaveYouNotHeardOfBoozeAndGirls, but my fingers are too tired to type it out – from all the drinking and fingering I have been doing between skates. Oh, and don’t get me starting on #SkateboardingIsFun – oh really? I never fucking noticed. Fuck. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, Free Skate Mag. Well, the reason I presumed that Free was part of this disgusting #hashtag cult is because these philistine accounts all seem to squeeze the word ‘mag’ into their names – presumably to try and look legitimate, even though the bellends have most likely never even picked up a fucking skateboard magazine. Just as I was about to block Free, I decided it was only fair to give them a look. . . hold the fucking line, they are actually posting dope shit?! They know the correct names of tricks... What the the fuck?! Their captions don’t instantly make me feel sick?! Oh, and what is this... they are actually an IRL magazine!? Excellent. I also learnt the term Pan-European from their bio, so they taught me something as well. Fuck it, I gave them a follow. An exclusively European-based skate outlet with real skateboarders at the helm was definitely interesting to me. When I was growing up, to ‘make it’ in
skating you had no choice but to be in America, no matter how sick you were. I always remember this dope photo of some kid called ‘Nico from Italy’ from a Münster article in R.a.D Magazine – he had sick World Industries Ron Chatman Experience stickers on his shoes, and was clearly ripping the course. My point – apart from that, I never heard of him again (hopefully he is currently riding a Ducati around Milan with his supermodel girlfriend on the back) as European skaters were largely ignored by the skate world. Of course, there are some exceptions to the rule – Alex Moul front foot impossible-ing his way to an Ed Templeton beating at a world championship comp in Holland in 1991, the odd Euro skater appearing in a New Deal video thanks to Steve Douglas’ English roots, and Carl Shipman frontside halfcab flipping over Dune’s head and on his way onto Stereo etc., but overall – the rest of the world really did not give a fuck about us (on a semi related note - the Lordz video is amazing) for a very long time. Shit, even Penny was shunned during his first foray against the Americans at RadLands. Anyway, even though the advent of the internet has made it entirely possible, and in some ways beneficial, to be a professional skateboarder in Europe, it is sick to have a publication that focuses solely on that, and has the reach and knowledge to do it properly. So yeah, when I was given the opportunity to have a chat with the founders of Free, I jumped at the chance to talk some shit. Plus, with that name, I knew that I wouldn’t be paying for my midday snack or my beers (if you’re asked to do something for these lads, jump at it – turns out there is such a thing as a Free lunch). Cheers to Arthur, Will, Sam, and Walter for the letting me swear, rant, and enthuse over skateboarding for a few hours, and apologies for how long it must have taken to transcribe my screeds of bullshit if you decide to print any of it. Oh, and my name is Alex by the way.
A NEW ELEMENT AUDIOVISUAL PROJECT COMING 2018 #ELEMENTPEACE
ETHAN LOY BY BRIAN GABERMAN
Di dr ik
18 Portrait Marcel Veldman
Interview Louie Barletta
G a l a s s o
Boardslide past the pole. Lisbon. Ph. Marcel Veldman
They say that art is a reflection of the artist’s life. Well I feel your skateboarding is a reflection of your personality. In Didrik’s case, he’s just one big happy ball of untamed energy and his skateboarding mimics that. His skateboarding is an explosion of energy: it isn’t trying tricks he is flowing. He doesn’t care about the dog barking, he’s not caring that he is landing into oncoming traffic, nor bothered by having to weave around the old lady walking down the sidewalk. He is poetry in motion… He has quick
feet and can flip or shove out of almost everything he tries. He has a bag of tricks that spans through every decade of skateboarding. He must have a P.H.D. in skateboard trick knowledge. It really is a treat to watch Deedz skate in person. Whether he is dancing down handrails or at a club in Barcelona, you’re guaranteed to see Deedz with a smile on his face.
What’s up Didrik? How did you get the nickname Deedz? What’s up Louie! The nickname Deedz came about when I was staying in Long Beach. One of my good friends there just started calling me Deedz and made me watch Mr Deeds one night, actually it was a couple days before Halloween and I didn’t have anything to dress up like and I ended up dressing up like a pizza delivery guy (Mr Deeds) and the nickname just stuck. There is still a bunch of other nicknames homies call me: dids, doods, etc.
Bump to 50-50 grind. Barcelona. Ph. Roger Ferrero
You seem to be everywhere these days! Australia, the US… Where in the world are you at now? Yes I’ve been travelling a bunch these days, non-stop pretty much. Just trying to keep on moving and see new places, meet new people and skate different spots, etc. I just got back from Barcelona yesterday, so at the moment I’m back home in Norway. You are kinda the first generation of skaters to come out of the ‘skate school’ in Malmö. Can you explain
what the school is all about? OK so I moved to Sweden when I was about 16 to go to this school called Bryggeriet gymnasium in Malmö. It’s basically a skateboard school that has all the regular courses like Math, English, etc., but you also have skateboarding. It’s kinda hard to explain actually how the school works but there are classrooms, a cafeteria, etc. upstairs and a big skatepark downstairs. It’s set up like you have 1-3 skateboard classes a week mixed in with all the regular courses. When you have skateboard lessons you mostly just
Ollie over to back lip. Lisbon. Ph. Marcel Veldman
Wallride to kickflip out. Barcelona. Ph. Roger Ferrero
skate with all your classmates, but sometimes we had like funny games, we try and learn new tricks, learn about the industry and watch old skate videos. There is a documentary about the school, so if you are interested just search ‘Bryggeriet gymnasium’ on Google. Rad, did you grow up skating at a skatepark? I grew up skating an outdoor wooden park close to my house. It was actually right behind the football field I used to play at before I saw the skatepark in the
back. The park was pretty alright; it had everything we needed for that time just a classic wooden skatepark. I remember that we never really got any help with the park from the city so everything that got built or changed was my homies doing it. I was pretty small at that time so I was mostly just watching and coming with ideas like ‘ay build a kicker to rail’ when they where building or changing plates, ha ha. I loved that park though… So many good memories. I wish it was still there. I’m sure it made the winters a little
Wallie boardslide pull-out. Oslo. Ph. Lars GartĂĽ
easier. How was it surviving the Norwegian winters? Oh harsh, but it was all good. We always had an indoor skatepark in my city so I spent most of the wintertime inside the skatepark. If not I was out snowboarding with my friends or something like that. And now do you just try to plan to be on skate trips and avoid those extra cold winters? Yes I try to do that… I don’t really like the snow or the cold anymore so I try to spend most of my winter out of the country. I just travel to warmer places that I can still skate outside. You seem to have a good balance of footy from all over the world. I know you skate Cali quite a bit. What are your thoughts on the difference in skate culture between Europe and the States? I like both, but it’s definitely a little different. Like when you try
to skate in the States you kinda plan it from day to day: ‘today I’m gonna skate here’, Friday to Sunday you skate schools, etc. Europe is maybe a little bit freer. It’s way easier to skate and go around with no cars… Even from country to country inside Europe it’s so easy to travel. There’s way less police and busts in general too. You have such quick feet and your style is so free flowing, like a leaf blowing in the wind you bounce here jump there and slide around… Do you plan out tricks or lines you wanna film? Ha ha, thanks Lou. Yes when I film a line or a trick I always plan out before what I’m going to do. But I usually take a good look at the spot and try to figure out what will be the best way for me to use it. But if I’m not filming or for example skate a contest I’m never thinking about what I’m going to do; I just skate and hopefully my feet land in a good position for the next trick. How’s sponsored life been treating you? I couldn’t ask for much more; it’s treating me really well. It’s pretty much more than I ever could ever imagine. I’m so thankful for all the help from my sponsors. On every enjoi trip you seem to be the guy getting the most footy. You seem like you are very driven and have a strong work ethic… Where does that come from? I will say my parents are
Backside Smith grind. Barcelona. Ph. Gerard Riera
super structured and they have a strong work ethic. I took mostly everything from them I guess. But also when you travel to spots that are super good or I just like the way it is, I don’t want to sit and look at the spot I want skate it and hopefully get a trick on it. You never know if you’ll be able to skate exactly that spot again! I remember Wieger talking about you years ago and saying ‘there is this flow kid from
Norway; we should put him on’. Talk us through how you got on enjoi. Love you Wieger! OK first of all I have always been a big fan of enjoi. All the videos, ads, team and enjoi in general and yourself have been a big inspiration. All the way back to Bag of Suck and all that, thanks for that! Aw, thanks Deedz, I love the way you ride too!
Impossible. Oslo. Ph. Lars Gartå
No-comply. Oslo. Ph. Lars Gartå
So I’ve known Thaynan (Costa) for a long time now, we used to go to all the contests in Europe, Tampa Am, etc. together. And so we became really good friends… He’s my brother from another mother! And he was starting to get enjoi boards at one point, so after a bit he put in some good words and introduced me to Scott Howes the TM for enjoi in Europe. So we emailed back and
forth and I showed him my footage and that was pretty much it; he gave me boards for around two years and he gave my footage to you and you started flowing me boards from the US. I went to your house and stayed there for a couple of weeks and after that I went on my first enjoi trip to Budapest and met the rest of the team and it’s been a good time ever since. Love you guys, cheers!
Yeah man, seeing you around the whole team and everyone clicking with you, I remember telling you on that trip you were on the team! It’s funny ‘cause just being really talented isn’t everything, you got to bring good vibes to the session and have fun and in Buda’ it showed you were a perfect fit for enjoi. It is still funny to see you use any excuse to skate with no shirt on, ha ha
Frontside bluntslide transfer. Barcelona. Ph. Roger Ferrero
ha… Are you allergic to shirts? Yes I’m super-allergic to cotton! No I’m just joking. I don’t know, sometimes it’s just so hot that I hate to have a shirt on; it gets all sticky and sweaty so I’d rather wear it on my head and be shirtless. What got you hyped to start riding rails? Do you always skate with rails now? I remember my friend Pekka had some rails on his board once a long time ago and I remember I saw him slide forever and also do weird combinations and so I just had to get myself a pair. So I tried it out
Kickflip wallride. Oslo. Ph. Lars Gartå
and I never stopped using them. It’s been like three straight years now and I’m never going to take ‘em off! I love those things – so much fun! Well that and maybe because enjoi makes the best rails! Ha ha ha. Speaking of rails, what’s up with the Freddy Mercury moustache? I don’t know, sometimes I try to shave it off, but after a couple days it comes back, ha ha. Oh man! OK Deedz thanks for the chat. Any thank yous?
First of all I would like to say thanks to all my family and especially my mom and dad, all my friends around the world I would like to name drop all of you but the list would go on forever so, you all know who you are! Love you guys! Thanks to all my sponsors, everyone at Nike SB especially Colin and Vaughan, everyone over at enjoi, big thanks to you Louie, smoothiexchange, Bones Swiss, Jessup, Spitfire, Independent and everyone that’s been helping me over the years! And to you guys at Free, thanks a lot! Much love!
wrong olympic sport deedz
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Backside tailslide shove-it
Ph. Daniel BernstaĚ&#x160;l
Ph. Guillaume PĂŠrimony
Ph. Kuba Baczkowski
Backside Smith grind
Ph. Keke Lepp채l채
Frontside air transfer
Ph. Leo Sharp
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Frontside wall bash Paris Ph. Thibault Le Nours 46
M a r t i n o Interview Igor Fardin
C at tan eo Portrait Alan Maag
48 Backside ollie Winterhur, Switzerland Ph. Alan Maag
I am not sure how to introduce Martino, what I am sure of is that I am happy I can introduce him. I am glad that I can share with everybody what is probably one of Switzerland’s best-kept secrets. Martino is one of those guys that, despite being a nice mellow guy and being incredible on a board, for one reason or another managed to stay under the radar. I am sure
that anybody reading this can think of a similar example in his or her own town or city. It’s the same old story. You start skating in your town and there is this one kid who is way ahead of everybody else and he’s also a really nice guy so everybody likes him. Then for one reason or another this guy stops skating or things don’t work out for him and he becomes this urban legend, ‘the guy that was better than everybody else but never made it’. You would talk about it with your friends and share his story with the new kids until this guy becomes some kind of myth. Well, Martino was on his way to becoming that guy but I guess thanks to today’s social media and Martino being the amazing skateboarder that he is, things may turn out differently in the end. This interview is definitely a step in the right direction. I am glad that I can talk about him via an interview and that I can share with some more people than the Lugano locals (which are not that many) some insights about this amazing skateboarder and overall nice guy.
Incidentally the fact that he welcomed me to his house to get this interview done with a cast on his foot and crutches is not necessarily a step in the right direction.
What did you do? I just had surgery on my foot. A couple of weeks ago I twisted my foot in a weird way. At first I thought it was nothing serious, but the day after I went to the doctor and anyway and it turned out I’ve got myself a Lisfranc injury. At the beginning I didn’t want to get surgery because they told me there is a possibility to heal it, but I realised it was the best thing to do. So now I just have to wait a couple of months, then do rehab and then I’ll be back 100%. How did you take it? Of course it wasn’t good news at first but I am trying to stay positive and I am sure that getting surgery was the best thing to do. The bright side of it is that the injury got discovered. I could have easily waited some time more, not done anything about it and gone around complaining about the pain in my foot. What about your ‘skate career’?
I was filming for a video part that I was hoping it could come out with this interview so I am kind of bummed that I couldn’t finish that on time and that I have to pause everything for a few months. In the end it’s not that bad. People have been supportive, and I don’t feel any pressure, so it’s all good. When will you be good again? I am not sure yet, probably around November I can start to do some physical stuff but I guess I’ll be back on board 100% around spring. So what will you do until then? I am going to work in a retirement home for a couple of months. I like the job, it’s mellow and it leaves me a lot of free time and
180 to wallride switch 180 out Nuremberg Ph. DVL 49
energy. But after that I am planning to look around and try and do something that I might pursue as a career, something that doesn’t have anything to do with skateboarding. I think I would like to do something that allows me to do some physical work, and to spend a lot of time outside. I have always had the need to be physically active, in school I would easily get restless. If my foot is good enough to endure physical labour I might try to work as a silviculturist, I would take care of woods, trees and mountain paths. It’s something I see myself doing when skating will take less of my time, so I think it would be cool to get an insight of it while I am doing rehab for my foot and I can’t be 100% focused on skating anyway. But we’ll see, I am a bit scared of routines and I don’t want to put pressure on myself. I also considered going to build skateparks. I already did that a few times and it was a really good experience. I really like being a part of the process of building
a skatepark from scratch. It’s physical labour but you also need a bit of imagination to have a full vision of what you are doing. You have to be able to imagine how the little work you are doing at the beginning is going to influence the final result. Skatepark building is also very good because of the crew; I have always worked with skaters and generally cool guys and that makes the job even more likeable. It could also be a good option during rehab time. It will get me close to skateboarding without leaving me the time to
actually do it too much. But we’ll see, for now I am just chilling at home with a cast on my foot and I spend a lot of time cooking. True. You are vegan and you really pay attention to what you buy and eat right? Why did you make this choice? I’d rather say I am ‘plant based’; it’s more accurate. I pay a lot of attention to what I eat but not that much to what I wear, so I am not really vegan. Anyway, I became vegetarian when I was 17, after awhile I stopped
drinking milk and eating milk derivatives. At the beginning I made this choice because of ethical reasons; I didn’t want to support the meat industry in any way. I really believe that the meat industry is consuming a lot of unnecessary energy and is really damaging our ecosystem. But after a while being vegetarian also made me feel better physically and I realised it was good for my body. Since I’ve stopped eating milk derivatives I stopped having pollen allergies and now for me it’s just normal to only eat plants; it became a habit. Let’s talk a bit more about skateboarding. I feel like this last year your ‘career’ kind of boosted a bit. Why do you think that it is happening now and it didn’t happen before? You’ve been around for a while now. I don’t know, frankly I was working and skating and I wasn’t expecting anything to happen so maybe I wasn’t doing anything to really boost my career before, I was just taking things as they come. I guess it happened now, because after working pretty much full-time for two years, I was really over it, so I started to work less, and skate and travel more. Then one thing led to another and this year I ended up going on a couple of Vans trips, and getting a bit more noticed. I think I also owe it to some friends that helped me in many different ways. Anyway I am really glad I got to join these trips; I like to skate big things or things that scare me a bit for one reason or another, and travelling with skaters of a certain level gave me the chance and the motivation to skate this kind of stuff. It’s kind of hard to get some tricks on a huge bowl when you’re on a homie trip and you’re the only one skating it. Don’t get me wrong, those trips are fun but I needed something else. More than just my career I feel like this last year or so boosted my confidence; I believe more in my possibilities and in my skills. You should have confidence; I don’t think that anyone could argue your talent on a board. Did you ever feel underrated? Not really, as I said I was just working and skating, I didn’t think about skateboarding in those terms. Plus I knew I wasn’t really putting myself out there. I didn’t have any part out or coverage in magazines, so I wasn’t really expecting something to happen. Also every time I would leave Lugano for a bowl contest or something I would see these other guys that were way gnarlier than me, especially when I would go skate some big bowls. We don’t have any scary transition around here so it was hard for me to skate big parks, being in Lugano was also making it harder to produce coverage.
Pivot to fakie Paris Ph. Thibault Le Nours 51
52 Switch ceiling bash Paris Ph. Thibault Le Nours
Yeah I guess Lugano didn’t help… Why stay there then? I don’t know, probably I just didn’t have the right excuse to move until now. But now I really feel the need to move somewhere, I’ve always lived here; it’s time to see how life is somewhere else. I am fascinated by some cities of northern Europe, in particular Hamburg and Copenhagen, I might give it a try soon. Lugano is nice, life here is mellow and I am surrounded by a group of cool people that make it an interesting place.
Unfortunately it’s not the best place to be a skateboarder in: there are not many people to skate during the week, not to mention the difficulty to find somebody to film a trick with. For this reason and for the sake of discovery I think it might soon be time to move. Before this year you also went on a couple of Witchcraft trips, I guess that also helped you get to skate big parks and get more confident on and off the board… How
was that? It was really good. I got to skate with a very cool crew that had similar tastes to mine concerning spots. Unfortunately it’s a very small brand. At the beginning of the year they told me that it would be better for me to look around and search for something else since the budget was small and they could not afford to send me on trips or support me in the way they would like to. That was really cool and honest of them. Speaking of small brands, you skated for Witchcraft and before that for Warriors, two small European brands, but when you were younger you got an offer from Element and you turned it down. Do you regret it? To be honest sometimes I feel like I threw away a possibility, but I was very young then and I obviously didn’t see things the way I
Wallie Indy Frankfurt Ph. DVL 53
54 Frontside nosegrind tailgrab Ravenna, Italy Ph. Jelle Keppens
see them now. I wouldn’t say I regret my choice though. I am glad I grew up skating for Warriors; it was really nice to travel and be involved in skate projects with my friends, and I believe that, even if on a local scale, we got to do some really cool things. Before you were talking about the confidence you got in skating big parks, but I know you also skate street spots, would you call yourself a transition skater? No, not really, I don’t think that we need to define skateboarding along those lines, but it is true that I am more comfortable skating anything that is inclined whether it is a bank or a transition. Do you think that being a skater that prefers to skate transition and banks has limited your possibilities of having a career in skateboarding in this time and space? No. I believe that in skateboarding there still is space for all kinds of skating, you don’t necessarily have to conform to a certain trend. I do think it’s important to try and not limit yourself though. It’s important not to skate
only one type of spot, no matter how good you can do it. It is always interesting to see somebody bringing his or her skills out of their comfort zone; that is often when the most interesting tricks happen. Also, the new generation of skaters can do it all; I think that is where the future is. What do you think about transition skating today? I feel like bowl skating, aside from the big contests, has been a bit ignored, especially by the media. I agree, I noticed that transition skating has gotten less space in the media lately. I can’t really think of a reason why it is like that, maybe it’s due to the fact that there are way
Ollie BĂźlach, Switzerland Ph. Alan Maag 55
56 Frontside boneless The Moon Ph. DVL
more kids skating the street than there are kids skating transition. Or maybe it’s due to the fact that we have this unwritten rule in skateboarding that ‘skateparks are not cool’ and that makes it hard for transition footage ‘cause you either have to skate some crazy transition spot or skate a pool, which we don’t have in Europe. Do you agree with the rule ‘skateparks are not cool’? Not really. Of course generally street spots are more interesting and good-looking, but there are also some iconic parks that are always enjoyable to see people shred. They allow you to do tricks on things that you’ll never find anywhere else, so you’re able to do some tricks that would not exist if not there. Plus I grew up watching videos where people would skate all kinds of stuff and mix together street and park, and I’ve always liked that; I feel there is always going to be space for that. Speaking of videos. You are an eighties skate fan… You watch a lot of old videos right? Yes, I love to watch vert skating footage from the 80s. They didn’t do that many tricks, but they performed every trick they did so often they got to do it in the best way you could possibly do it. I try to watch everything I can. I am pretty sure I watched all the videos from that period that are available on the Internet. How did you get interested in 80s skateboarding? I wanted to learn a bit about the history of what we do; I wanted to see some sides of
skateboarding that I didn’t know. And at some point I wanted to start skating bigger transition and vert. I was looking for something that would get me hyped on doing that type of skating and I found what I needed in video parts from guys like Mike Frazier. It also fascinates me how much skateboarding was different back then and yet how much it influenced today’s skating. I recently saw somebody doing a stylish powerslide on a bank and it looked really similar to one of those 80s powercarves you would do under the coping. I think we can leave it at that, thank you for your time and get well soon.
57 Switch nosegrind Hanover Ph. DVL
Leighton and Alex, 1987
Intro Will Harmon Interview Will Harmon & Arthur Derrien
11-year-old Alex Dyer started skating with his older brother Leighton in 1987 in Newbury, England. ‘And yeah honestly from there, I’m not being a dick, but apart from injuries I’ve never not skated for a week since then,’ said Alex. Who is Alex Dyer you might be asking yourself? Well perhaps you might know him from his @365flip Instagram account where at age 41 Alex did a 360 flip every day of the year in 2017. Still not ringing a bell? Well OK you might not know the name Alex Dyer but he and his brother are the guys that started Muckmouth: the New Zealand skate mag, turned web forum, turned website with one of the best Instagram accounts out. How did two brothers from Newbury, England end up starting a skate magazine all the way in New Zealand? In an effort to answer this question and more, Arthur and myself arranged to meet Alex one hot July London afternoon for a chat and some lunch. After almost two decades of living in Auckland Alex has just moved back to the UK (the reasons for this we’ll get into later). We arrived at the restaurant first, picked a table outside and waited for Alex. Five minutes later Alex skates up in desert camo shorts, XL tee and Nike trainers on his 7.75 Muckmouth deck, Venture lows and 50mm wheels… ‘Same setup since 1996!’ After a brief discussion about his proclivity for skating in non-skate shoes (‘Jordan 4s are the absolute best’ in his opinion) the lunchtime beers arrive and we dive into the interview…
Will Harmon: Ok Alex why did you decide to move to New Zealand? How did this come about? Alex Dyer: Ok so a quick bit first… So in 1995 my brother Leighton went on an around the world trip and visited my dad who had just moved to New Zealand as our parents had split up. So Leighton went around the world and when he came back he was like, ‘New Zealand is actually sick! It’s warm, there’s hot girls and the skating is pretty cool there.’ And I was like, ‘Oh really? Sweet’, but I didn’t really take it in, I just thought it would be cool to go see my dad one day. So I was going to America all the time at this point. Not trying to ‘make it’ or whatever, but… WH: You just had to be in California at that time in skateboarding’s history… Exactly, so I was going there all the time. You know three months here, three months there… You’d get a visa waiver for 90 days and I had good friends there, so it was a pretty good set-up. But one time I fucked it, I was an idiot… So I went to the travel agent and they said ‘oh yeah three months, blah blah blah, you can go from this date to this date.’ So I booked from the first of the month to the first of the month three months later, but there were two months with 31 days in that, so I went for 92 days. WH: So that was two days over… Yeah unbeknownst to me… I didn’t know I was being a dick. If I had wanted to overstay, I would have overstayed longer. And I was actually skint from two weeks before that so I would have loved to go home. I was living off Dunkin’ Donuts munchkins for a couple of weeks. So I leave the States and there’s no problem, but then the next time I go back they just go ‘oh were you here in 1996?’ And I was like ‘yeah man, Trilogy came out then…’ And then they were like ‘come with us…’ so I get locked in this cell in LAX for 17 hours and I go mental in there, but I knew I wasn’t going to get out at that point so they explained what happened and I explained from my end what happened. I said to them, ‘I’ll sign a piece of paper, and if I don’t leave in 90 days you can kill me. I will sign that.’ And they said ‘well we can’t accept that’ obviously, ha ha. But anyways they didn’t let me in, but after that I was going to visit New Zealand for a little second. The plan was three months in the States, then on to NZ. So they said: ‘Do you want to go back to England or on to New Zealand?’ So I was like, ‘Fuck it, I’m going to NZ.’ So I called my dad and told him I was coming and I’d land at the airport at 6am in a day’s time or whatever. And so I went there and weirdly this weird chain of events happened where five of my good
friends from England all were in Auckland within a month. We all congregated there, it was mental. WH: Wow! Yeah, so the day I got there I said to my dad ‘drop me anywhere you’ve seen a skateboarder’, so he dropped me in Aotea Square, the main square of Auckland. And this was at seven in the morning like ‘what the fuck am I doing?’ He had to go to work; he didn’t give a shit. So I just skated there on my own and eventually I meet these two guys Paul Evans and Rupert Taylor. And because I could do a couple tricks or whatever they came and talked to me. You know that’s just the world of skateboarding. So I made friends with them and they were like ‘what are you doing tonight?’ And I was like ‘I don’t know, I only know you two. You’re my whole world right now!’ And so Rupert said he had a party to go to and I was like ‘aight sweet I’ll go.’ And I had pair of skate shoes on, the Axion Guy Mariano’s, the blue, white and yellows and I swapped them with Paul for these ridiculous basketball shoes, because I just didn’t feel comfortable in skate shoes. WH: You couldn’t go to a party in skate shoes? Nah! So I swapped the shoes and Rupert and I went to that party, got pissed and I woke up there, and I ended up staying at that house for six months. Arthur Derrien: No way! So I didn’t even speak to my dad for three weeks. You know since he picked me up from the airport. WH: Was he stressed? Yeah so I called him and I started talking to him and he’s like, ‘Where the fuck have you been?’ And I was like, ‘Aw I’ve just been staying at Amy’s…’ WH: You didn’t think to call your dad the next day after the party? Nah I didn’t even think about it because I was like ‘this is brilliant!’ WH: So how did everyone react to you? An English guy just coming over to NZ… I was a novelty. I was at this party, and I lost my board or focused it or something and I woke up in between two girls and I just thought: ‘this is amazing. This country’s brilliant!’ Obviously it’s not like that every day you’re there, but if that happens on your first day it does give you a pretty good impression. And there it was good because you could stay for six months instead of the 90 days in the US. WH: So when was this?
This was in ’98. WH: So how did Leighton get there too? Well Leighton was on a trip already and we had planned this… I was going to go to California for three months and then meet him in NZ for a bit. So I think he sped up his trip or something... It’s so loose there: you could just pop over to Australia and get another six months when you came back… We would leave and come back and basically for a long time I went back and forth from England to New Zealand for eight years. Technically you could only stay in NZ for six months of a year, but it would always take me a little while to save back up again. WH: So finally did you just get citizenship? I made up some qualifications, got this lawyer and to make a long story short: I got a work permit then residency. I have New Zealand and British passports now. It took awhile and it was a nightmare… There was a period I couldn’t leave the country for a year. They had taken my passport to do it and I wasn’t allowed to work. So they (NZ government) forced me into crime. What other options do you have to make money? WH: Busking? Yeah obviously I was busking, ha ha. So it was like, ‘I’m not even a good drug dealer, but I just got no choice here.’ WH: And Leighton?
Issue 1 cover, 1999
He went through the motions too with permits and jobs and then got residency. Basically he didn’t need a lawyer due to his actual skills/real job. WH: Ok so let’s cut to the chase: How/why did you guys start Muckmouth? OK so a little micro backstory here… We were really obsessed with World Industries companies. After 1990 I only rode World, 101, Blind, whatever… It got to the point where we had a shop in Newbury where we grew up called Benz, our friend Ben’s dad owned it. And he was really close with New Deal, and I love Steve Douglas, he’s a good friend, but we just wanted World boards. So he (Ben’s dad) got some World boards in and he got the Randy Colvin naked woman board in and he got complaints. So he said ‘I’m never getting them in again!’ So we didn’t go to our local shop and we’d travel 45 minutes to another shop to get World boards. So even though by 1998 World was long gone, as far as being cool goes… WH: …you still wanted something like that. Yeah and I was really into Big Brother and I was into writing so I wanted to do something. Leighton was working at an advertising agency in Auckland doing graphic design stuff and I told him I wanted to make a magazine like Big Brother and do that here, because it doesn’t exist. So I’d go to Leighton’s work, because there was a bar in there so we could nick booze on Saturdays, and I asked him if he knew how to put together a magazine. And he said he did, he didn’t know how to print it, but he could put it together. So I said, ‘OK I can write stuff and come up with ideas and you can put the pictures in and we can put it together right?’ He said, ‘technically yes,’ so we did it. The first issue I think was only 1000 copies. So that’s how Muckmouth started, as a magazine in 1999. I think maybe we had one advert in it from I don’t know who, just the skate shop I think. We did crime to fund it basically. OK so a semi-backstory to that: when Leighton first came over he entered this mini-ramp contest. And there was this kid Matt Hall who was the local mini-ramp champ. Leighton beat him. And it turns out as well as being the local mini-ramp champ he was also a massive gangster. He wanted to kill Leighton at first, but then they became friends. We’re still friends with Matt to this day; he’s like the best, but the most ruthless, ridiculous person. He had the worst criminal record in New Zealand for anyone under 18 ever. So between him and all his friends they were always stealing stuff and doing whatever and we needed money. We weren’t doing proper crime, but we just turned into middlemen for their shitty old laptops and stuff. ‘Oh Leighton works in an advertising agency of course someone wants a shitty new MacBook or whatever…’ And they would be like ‘well we’ve got 18 of them.’ So we’d get 300 dollars just for passing it over. And stupidly… You know how Big Brother would change the format every issue? WH: Yeah. And I wasn’t copying them, but they inspired me. So we changed the name every issue. WH: I saw that on your website!
Yeah it was so dumb, but it was also cool ‘cause it was always A5 size. So we did that and after about issue four we started to get a few ads and we were making a bit of cash, no sorry we didn’t ever make any cash, but we didn’t have to steal as much. (Everyone laughs) But we always gave it away; you never had to pay for the magazine. We gave it to coffee shops, cool bars, skate shops… AD: Way ahead of the game with that. I’m not gonna say it, but we invented Vice, ha ha. And honestly it was sick; it was pretty fucking popular. Kids would write in letters… So we ended up doing ten issues… It was quite a struggle you know. AD: So was it just you and your brother? At the start it was me, Leighton and Darren. Darren Howman was another one from Reading as well. He was another one of the five that came over back then. WH: So what did the NZ skaters think about these three English guys coming over and starting a magazine? There was varying feedback. I don’t really know, well I do… People liked us, but some were like, ‘What the fuck are these guys doing?’ WH: Well I’m sure you guys did shake things up. I mean your mag was
no holds barred, say what the hell you want… So I can’t really speak on what people thought, but people didn’t hate it. But then we had that same problem that a lot of people have where distributors would be like ‘oh we’d love to advertise, but we want you to tone it down.’ And I’m like ‘well the only reason people liked it, is because we toned it up! So no, I’m not going to do that.’ And I’ve never been that person you know. ‘Last issue you had a pair of tits in it!’ And I’m like ‘of course it did! We love tits!’ And we’d swear in there and do drugs reviews and booze reviews… It’s good; it’s funny. WH: It’s a snapshot of that time in your life as well. Absolutely. And also if you want to advertise in it, you obviously like what you’re seeing, you’re just scared that you don’t want to put your brand next to it. So we had that battle for a long time. We went for 2-3 years making the mag I think. And then by issue 10 it was like… It was a struggle. We got to ten and then the Internet started coming in. AD: It’s kinda good to end it on a high note as well… Exactly. WH: OK so what is behind the name? OK so Ben, who had the skate shop Benz, he was two years younger than me. I was 11 and he was nine.
Issue 3 cover, 2000
Issue 7 cover, 2001
But when he got a little bit older he got a porno mag and he brought it out and it brought the word ‘muck’ into the equation and it just meant spunk. ‘Ah you know I mucked all over her face’ or something and we just found it so funny. So we’d just run with it for ages. Long story short: when I was about 12, early doors in life, I had a wank in the bath and the spunk landed in my mouth. So we called it ‘muckmouth’. (Everyone breaks out laughing) I was like ‘oh my god, oh my god, this is terrible!’ So then we’d say it ‘muck mouth, muckmouth’ and it sort of made sense because the mag had a lot of swearing in it, like a mucky mouth. So I could explain to a granny or something like ‘it is just guys with a dirty mouth’, but the true story is the wank in the bath. WH: Ha ha! OK I wanted to ask about some of the articles you had in the mag… There was one where it was a competition about you and your brother getting dates? AD: The BA coming out one... WH. There’s a Stephen Merchant interview and one with the Lo-Lifes… Those interviews were all real as well… Well the BA one wasn’t, ha ha. WH: So you just called up Stephen Merchant? We had a friend who worked as a producer on The Office and so we were obsessed with it so we did a little interview with him, but he wasn’t that interesting. WH: And what about the Lo-Lifes? So you know how we said we were friends with the gangsters? So Matt’s best friend Luke was living in New York at the time, and he’s got a better Polo collection than Rack Lo, and so he had made friends with them over there obviously - so he did the interview with those guys. We just had an outlet that not many others had, this was before the Internet was what it is now, so people would be like, ‘Can we put this in here?’ – ‘Fuck yeah of course you can! This is what I want.’ Obviously we turned down some shit, but we were in a world where people were doing shit so shit just came. We interviewed that porn star Kyla Cole… AD: Did people see it in America and stuff? At our peak we’d make about 8000 copies. We’d send some over to some places in America. We sent them to shops we knew and whatever, but I’m not really sure… Sometimes we’d get a letter from someone or an email, so people saw it. In New Zealand definitely it was big. WH: And then after you ended the mag (around 2003 sometime) I heard you guys had a pretty popular web forum… A friend of mine that was a real nerd had a drum and bass forum where they all talked about beats or whatever, so he was like ‘all these people are into your magazine, you should put this on the Internet!’ I was on some Super Hans shit: ‘ah I dunno, the Internet’s never gonna catch on…’ ha ha. But I was like ‘put it together if you want.’ So he put this forum together and it just
fucking popped off… Mainly within New Zealand, but there were thousands and thousands of users, it was before Facebook and stuff so it was a place people would go every day. I think there are 100,000 posts on it still. AD: Is it still going? No, but it’s still there and you can still look at it. There was a skate element to it, but it was mainly just all types of people. There were girls… Lots of people got their first fuck on the forum. There was a graffiti thread on there, and I didn’t know anything about graffiti, but it was a world famous graffiti hangout. And then also parties started coming from it. So there were so many events that we did through it: we had two bikini contests, skate comps, we did ‘Santarchy’ - look that up. It was 130 people dressed as Santa running around Auckland getting pissed. WH: Oh yeah they do it here: SantaCon. Yeah we did it there and it was nuts… David Letterman even talked about it because ours really popped off. You can look it up… That’s the only thing, if you look up my name on Google it comes up as that (Santarchy). And it says I’m against the commercialisation of Christmas, but that’s not true. I fucking love Christmas! The forum was really big for a few years. WH: And then the website came after? I can’t remember the year, but forums were dying out and Facebook became a thing, so I said to Leighton: ‘How can we make it so we can do interviews with people and do that sort of shit?’ And everything happens through drinking or whatever, but I met this guy Squid, who was this cool pissed-up, drugged-up lad, but it turns out he was a fucking genius at designing shit and creating websites. So he kind of made our site the way it is now. So now I could interview someone and have a place for it to go as there was no more magazine or forum. So I started to do some interviews and articles or
whatever and was mainly all old World skaters and nineties dudes, guys that I’m interested in. I’ve got more in the pipeline too… I’m actually interviewing Chris Branagh; remember him? WH: Yeah! The youngest pro skater. That leads me into the ‘back in the spotlight’ interviews. A) How did you contact all these dudes? And B) Who was the hardest to track down? Yeah so I wanted to talk to people that were famous at some point and then they weren’t anymore. And I thought they’d actually love it as they were in the spotlight, but now they’re not. So I just stalked them out; Facebook was good for that and also there was Instagram and other ways. So it got to like 118 people I think it was, with those same three questions each time. And since that was four years ago I think it’s time now to do more because some people will have fallen off within that time. But yeah those back in the spotlights went down really well. WH: And then some of them turned into longer interviews as well right? Like Jed Walters, Dan Peterka? Some of the people I did back in the spotlight interviews with I thought ‘fuck I could do a real interview…’, but I just wanted to keep that going for that period and it was easy because it was just: send them the three questions and get it back. And sometimes it’s funny when they say just ‘no’ and ‘yes’, like Lavar (McBride). He gave one-word answers to each. Josh Beagle, of Foundation just said ‘fuck off’. So before that I had done proper interviews with Shiloh (Greathouse) and Kareem (Campbell) talking about his pager line. But Jed Walters was fucking hard. There was nothing about him online. So Mackenzie Eisenhour did an article about Jed in about 2002, but just about how he existed. So I had this job working for a casino company and weirdly they were paying me through the nose to do literally nothing. So I had to just sit in front of a computer with fast Internet and look busy. So I decided to try and find this guy. I’m searching and searching and then I find something, because I knew he was from North Dakota or South Dakota or something… And then there’s one Jed Walters on a gardening forum. So there was a guy on there from South Dakota called Jed Walters and he was talking about being an alcoholic, blah blah blah… I thought ‘this is depressing’ but I looked at his picture and it was tiny, but I zoomed in and thought ‘it could be?’ So I joined the gardening forum… WH: No way! Ha ha… Yeah I joined it and I had to make three posts before I could private message someone so I had to make some posts like ‘Eh how big is your lawnmower?’ I dunno, and then I send him this message: ‘Are you Jed Walters that was on World Industries?’ And he was just like ‘uh, fuck… yes, why?’ I was like ‘Jesus… I got him!’ WH: That is incredible! And then it took so long building it up. What is it called when paedos train little kids? WH: Groom them… Yeah, I had to really groom him. (Everyone laughs)
Yeah but I got him in the end and he was real nervous like, ‘Why would anyone care about me?’ I told him his name gets brought up all the time, on Instagram. ‘I don’t know what Instagram is,’ he said. ‘Just look on the internet mate!’ Anyway so I got him and he wrote nice answers and it was a good interview. He was real happy and stoked on it and I reconnected him with a lot of his old homies. WH: Well it was sick that you got Kareem, Shiloh and Daewon to say something about Jed… And then a lot of them were like ‘ah you found him! What’s his number?’ So asked Jed if he minded that I gave out is number and he was fine with it. So now he’s back friends with them again. AD: That’s sick… You helped the dude out. Yeah he’s in South Dakota doing gardening or whatever but now he’s talking to Shiloh again. So I actually felt good about that. WH: So was anyone else that hard to get a hold of? Well Kareem wasn’t hard to track down, but like just getting a few things out of him that no one else had got like him talking about what was on his pager when he checked it during that line and the hundred bucks when he does the kicky fakie in New World Order. I said, ‘Did you get the $100?’ and he said, ‘Yes sir and I bought a bag of
weed!’ It’s cool, it’s not going to change the world but I was psyched on it and I’m sure some other nerds liked it. That guy can skate man. His Instagram persona now though… WH: I don’t like to follow some of my childhood heroes on Insta because it takes away the mystique. I don’t follow anyone on my personal account that I don’t know right… So in my normal life when I’m scrolling though I’m like ‘everything’s fine’. And then on the @muckmouth account I do follow pros and that and I’m like ‘oh god this is fucking crazy!’ because it’s so horrible. They say never meet your heroes and it’s fucking true: they’re all fucked. You do meet the odd person that’s good… And on that note, I did meet (Steve) Rocco, who is my genuine hero. We are in the very long midst of interviewing him. We’re text buddies, which is cool. I’m more psyched on that than anything. He came to Auckland weirdly where I was at the time, and so he texted me: ‘Are you in Auckland?’ And I thought ‘you’re in Auckland… What the fuck!’ So when he emailed me before he gave me his number and I saved it instantly. So I get this text and honestly… Imagine if a fit girl texts you for the first time, I was so nervous! ‘I’m not even gonna open it; what’s it gonna be?’ And so he was like, ‘Are you in Auckland? I’m at the Hilton. Do you wanna do something today?’ Yes! I dropped everything. I told my misses at the
time ‘I’m going out. It’s this a 50-year-old man I’m going to meet.’ And she’s like, ‘Why do you care about this?’ I said: ‘I’ll explain later on.’ It was amazing… It was almost like I was on World in ’94; he took me to the casino and gave me $2000. AD: No way! Yeah and he had about eight grand he’s like ‘just bet on whatever you want.’ ‘Of course I will’ I was thinking, but at the same time this is a month and half’s rent! Oh god, put that on black! AD: Did you lose all of it? All of it. I had to! I was steaming the whole time and I got up to four grand and he’d lost all of his, so I was like ‘here you go Steve, here’s two Gs!’ WH: Oh so you gave him his money back… Yeah and then I lost mine and he lost his; it was all just sick. I was like ‘fuck it’, I’m not gonna be tight in front of this fellow. This is what I wanted to be in ‘94 and I’m just doing it now. WH: So sick. And the whole time I was just probing him like ‘tell me about the car in Video Days…’ He was so psyched on being in the casino. WH: I guess he’s still loaded then. He’s a millionaire; he’s so rich. So we saw him in LA, he lives in Malibu obviously and I asked him what he does. ‘I drop my daughter off at school, surf every day and then pick my daughter up from school.’ So I asked him who he hung out with… Of course his best mate is Kelly Slater, the best surfer in the world. And also he hangs out with Damon Way. They are like the three best mates. WH: OK, I’m gonna change the convo up and ask about how on your guys’ Instagram you put up a trick and describe the trick name in great detail. And this creates all these arguments from the younger skaters… Why did you guys decide to this? What were some of the biggest arguments, etc.? This is my favourite question so far! I didn’t decide to do this; I’ve never changed from when I learnt in ’87 right and so I’m stubborn and probably also a pedantic prick when it comes to this stuff. There’s one thing I know: I fucking know about skateboarding tricks and even if I can’t do them I know what they are. I could commentate any contest, apart from vert, because I’m a little sketchy on some of the handplants, but every other transition trick, I’ve got it covered, every street trick, whatever. My brother and I both know and of course we do, everyone does… But it turns out not everyone does. I actually have an article in the pipeline, but the reason I’ve held it off is because I felt a bit too preachy about it. It’s about frontside and backside, because you know how people are like: ‘Well if that’s a backside nollie flip and that’s a frontside halfcab flip, why do they look the same?’ Fuck me! Do I have to break down everything?! WH: This is like the whole argument about Austyn Gillette’s
halfcab flip on the LA High bank. That’s the one that made me laugh the most, because to me there’s no question about that. And people are like ‘well he’s carving up…’ Ok well it’s a shit halfcab flip because he’s carving. If it’s a fakie flip, you’re going up fakie you do a fakie kickflip and you come down forwards. That’s just a fakie flip. And I hate being preachy… AD: Well you do kinda enjoy it... Yeah well I don’t wanna come across as an old… Well I am old, but I don’t wanna be that old man going ‘you kids don’t know!’ because I’m not that, but, at the same time ‘you kids don’t know.’ (Everyone laughs) Leighton and me never talk about what we post right, because we both have known each other for so long. The only thing I’ve had to tell him ever is don’t respond to people. Because in my mind when you look at Thrasher or Transworld or whatever mag as a little kid, and you read it at home like: ‘fuck off that’s not a Madonna!’ The editor doesn’t hear me say it and so he doesn’t get to respond. If I put it out, I’m not going to respond, unless someone says something really nice like ‘aw fuck I really love this place, I wanna go there…’ I might respond to that. WH: So the Gillette one you guys never responded? Leighton would respond from his other account, I said ‘if you have to, but don’t respond from us.’ I’ll respond by doing another post kind of mocking those thousand people who disagreed. That one actually made me feel like I had a head injury. To the point like, ‘What is it you don’t understand about this?’ AD: What you’ve described from the whole experience of Muckmouth it seems like it’s always been completely independent, you guys do whatever you
want, say whatever you want and on all these articles no one is stopping you… But then there’s the (Josh) Swindell interview that’s not on the website anymore. What happened there? OK so we did that interview and it fucking popped off. I was very happy with that interview. I knew people would give a fuck, because I gave a fuck and I’ve never missed a beat, I’ve read all the skate media from ’87 on, well maybe the last five years it’s impossible, but I knew about Josh Swindell and his interviews in Big Brother, blah blah blah, and so I decided to stalk him out, same thing. And I found him and I knew he’d just gotten out (from jail) and I had to groom him as well. He’s a very nice, chilled man, but he didn’t want to tell his story to anyone, but shit snowballs, as you know… If you’ve got a Kareem interview, a Shiloh interview and shit like that people are like: ‘oh, they’re a thing’. Once you have those couple interviews people start to trust you a bit more. So after a bit of back and forth I get it going and I tell him: ‘Look, I’m gonna prepare you, I’ll ask you about being on Think and skating and stuff, but the main thing I’m gonna ask you about is killing someone, because that’s a big fucking deal.’ And he was well sound and when I got it, I remember the morning when I woke up and got the reply, because that one I sent him the question and he took his time over a week or something and just responded. So when it came in I was like ‘fucking hell!’ and then he sent footage of himself skating again and this and that. OK then I put it out, it pops off and then he’s messaging me about it… He said I had to change one thing and I did, publicly. Because he said something about Danny Way having a fight with someone, and he said ‘Danny pissed his pants and then we had to beat the guy up.’ And then there were all these comments like ‘ah Danny Way pissed himself ohhh!’ And then he messaged me and clarified
Muckmouth started making boards regularly in 2013. Muck Vallely ad, 2014.
that he didn’t mean ‘pissed his pants’, but he was scared. So I changed it. And then there was a three page thing on Slap (forum) about ‘ah I can’t believe you… Your journalistic integrity!’ No! My journalistic integrity is safe because I did change it, because he didn’t actually piss himself… WH: Yeah of course. So that all happened and it was up for about three years and everyone had seen it and that, then we did a shoe with DC. And that shoe had come out already (a Muckmouth collaboration with the Josh Kalis shoe) and one morning I woke up, I had just lost my job at the casino, and I get a phone call from some 001 number. And it was someone big at DC, and he was nice, but he said, ‘Danny’s son has just read the interview and he’s really sad about it, blah blah blah…’ And I said: ‘What do you want me to do?’ Then he said, ‘We’d prefer if you didn’t have it up.’ The interview doesn’t implicate him (Danny Way) in anything it just says Danny hadn’t been very nice to him afterwards - that’s just two friends having beef, whatever. So I said, ‘Leave it with me, but I’m not going to say anything right now.’ So I had dramas with my job (losing it) at the time and I called ten people that I trusted the most and just said: ‘What would you do in this situation?’ And the shoe we did had just come out and don’t get me wrong I’m not a sell-out in any way, I’ll just tell people to fuck off. But it had already been up for three years and nine out of the ten people said to me take the path of least resistance,
because you might do something else with them and there’s so many people on there… WH: Everyone’s read it anyways and screenshots can very easily still be found on the Internet. So my first reaction was ‘no, I’m not taking it down. No way!’ But after talking to all those ten friends, four of whom didn’t skate, I reluctantly put it on private. So that’s where it is, but I still hate myself for it. It niggles me. WH: Tough decision. I’m friends with Josh Kalis now; I don’t want to fuck these people off. I don’t want to fuck the company up. AD: And you don’t know what the future will bring and you don’t want to burn bridges… Yeah but at the same time… I don’t want to burn bridges, but I do want to tell the truth. I want to say what the fuck I want. AD: Well you guys are probably the best example of the free press in skateboarding. Well like I said that’s the one time we had to pull something and I’m still not happy about it. I just want to reiterate that it killed me. AD: Obviously you don’t really have advertisers, but do you have any other brands that message you saying ‘what the fuck are you saying here?’ WH: Like that line about Tom Penny on your website: ‘Tom was expelled from school after stealing some canoes from Oxford University, as he went on to become the greatest skater in the world and fantastically wealthy (despite never really filming a proper part) this wasn’t much of a punishment. Years later however, he was suitably punished by the universe by becoming sponsored by Supra and is now forced to wear canoes on his feet.’ (Everyone laughs) AD: So basically do you ever get emails or blowback from stuff like that? Um, no not really. AD: So this model can work. It definitely can work. But like I said we never made money from Muckmouth, and don’t get me wrong, I’d love to do what I do anyway and make some money, but I’ve always never given a fuck about what people are gonna think about what I write or do. Ever since when we started in ’99 I’ve never ever thought ‘oh I better not write this because of so and so’ whatever, which most people probably have that in their mind. When I do my actual job, writing adverts and that for clients, if I write about baked beans I can’t just go ‘fucking beans are delicious. Put them on toast it’s brilliant’ you know? So that’s what makes it (Muckmouth) fun for me to do. AD: That’s what makes it so
valuable for our culture. Yeah. WH: Well it elevates it from message boards and just social media comments, it’s like these guys are saying it and they’re big, they have a big following and people know you… AD: …they’re respected. They did the Swindell interview and interviewed Kareem you know? They can call out what they want. Thanks. AD: You guys aren’t making money, but also your ass isn’t on the line. We need more Muckmouths. Yeah that’s exactly right if you don’t have that and you’re not doing that then skateboarding as a whole is covering up racists and homophobes and shit. AD: That leads me to something else: At what point do you draw the line? At what point do you stop being accountable for stuff you did/said decades ago? Like some of the stuff in your printed magazine I’m sure could be seen as misogynistic. Of course it is; it’s not something I would do now. AD: So should you be crucified for that thing you did when you were younger? I guess the thing with shaming on the Internet is that it never stops.
Issue 9 Rob Selley spread
Yeah so my take on that is yeah, some of the things we said in the early Muckmouth mags we were ruthless and we weren’t thinking, but also there was no malice in anything I ever said. I never ever, since I’ve been born, been racist or anything, because my mum is a cool bitch. I can call my mum a bitch, because that’s how cool she is, she would get that. She brought us up to be cool as fuck. I’ve said some awful things, but my take on it is if you say things in jest and you obviously have no malice in what you’re saying and it’s a joke, then it’s not a big thing. I don’t have a malicious bone in my body; well I do towards people who skate with bad style, ha ha… But I don’t give a fuck who you fuck or who you turn into – none of that means anything. Having a laugh is the most important thing to me. If shit’s funny and you can entertain people… And not everything I do entertains people, it doesn’t – sometimes shit gets boring or whatever… WH: Well kids get pretty angry when you call a trick the right name! That entertains me, but fucking hell! Kids get really wound up about that. WH: Ok so last question: Why did you decide to move back to the UK? So it was three-prong attack. I had this weird chain of events where I broke up with my misses, lost my job and… Wait, the bad thing happened in the middle. OK So I woke up one morning, and I live right in Auckland city, as central as you can get and I live right off the street so you could always hear people doing shit outside. So I was having a shower one morning and I heard this shit going on outside so I popped my head out, and even though I couldn’t see anything, it was so loud. And I don’t know
Peppa the pig ad, 2015
Shoe boards, 2016
why I looked out, but as I did I saw a bloke standing there in my bedroom just looking at me. And I’m like ‘alright, alright…’ I’m obviously naked as I’m in the shower. And I’m like, ‘Who the fuck are you?’ and he put his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘calm down’. WH: ‘Don’t tell me to calm down!’ That’s what I’d usually think in a normal situation, but when you’re naked on a Monday morning… I’m like ‘you’ve won this!’ He’d taken all the power from me; I didn’t know what to do. ‘You’re there, just some gangster dude, and I’m naked and you’ve just went “calm down”’. If I was robbing a house, I’d be scared if someone caught me, but not this guy. And I went to grab the towel, but it was too far back and I didn’t want to turn my back on this cunt. And he’s just like, ‘Where the fuck is Callum?’ And I’m like ‘I don’t know Callum. Who the fuck is Callum? I’m Alex, there’s my bed. There’s one bed here, is Callum gay?’ And he was like ‘no!’ ‘Well then he doesn’t sleep in the bed with me does he? I’m not gay, Callum’s not gay, where the fuck does Callum sleep?’ He’s like ‘I dunno. Callum lives here.’ ‘He doesn’t! I live here on my own I’m a single dude.’ And he’s just like, ‘Where’s Callum?’ And I’m like ‘stop saying “Where’s Callum” because I don’t know. It’s 7am on a Monday morning. I don’t know!’ So my bedroom is downstairs and my lounge room is upstairs on ground level, so I say ‘let’s go upstairs, we’ll talk about it’ and I’m still naked and I don’t know why I do this, but when we are walking up the stairs I push him on his back just to start to speed him up. And he turns around and says, ‘Don’t fucking touch me!’ WH: You pushed him whilst you were naked!? I know, I know but I just wanted him out and to speed things up. So I say to him ‘I don’t know what you’re saying… It’s clear I don’t know Callum.’ I could tell he was in a biker gang from his patches, so I’m already scared and naked and he says, ‘I’m just trying to find Callum. He’s been doing some shit on our turf.’ And I’m like, ‘Well as you know, I don’t know Callum’. I’m actually calm at this point, I’d had a big weekend with lots of booze, there’s a gangster in my house and I’m naked. I mean I’ll have a fight with someone in a pub, but this is the weakest I’ve ever been. WH: I can imagine. And so I was like, ‘You have to leave, I have to get ready for work.’ ‘Just tell me where Callum is!’ ‘I fucking don’t know who Callum is’ and then we are walking towards the door and he goes ‘oh, do you skate?’ because I got all these old nineties boards on my wall – Menace boards and shit. And I was like ‘yes’, but what’s that got to do with the price of beef? ‘Ah yeah pretty cool boards you got there…’ So I asked him, ‘How the fuck did you get in anyway?’ ‘Oh the door was open.’ Bollocks. And as he was walking out he goes ‘ah I did give it a helping hand’:
Alex didn’t have any high-res skate pics, so here’s his brother Leighton, frontside melon in 2003.
he had a crowbar. So he leaves and whatever adrenaline I had just went out of me. So I went to work, and I came back at lunchtime and everything was fine. I went back after work and the cunt had been back, because I’d called the landlord like ‘yo, fix the door!’ but he hadn’t been there so the cunt had been back and robbed my entire house. He took all the boards, all this Muckmouth shit, these unreleased DC Muckmouth jackets that didn’t even exist yet, so there’s gangsters wearing these, laptops, phones, everything… And I’m not being a pussy but I just didn’t feel safe in that house anymore. So I left the house that day and went to my brother’s house. I came back the next morning with my gangster friends that I mentioned before, because I thought he might still be there and I realised he’d taken a shower… WH: How did you know that? So I had gone to work, but when I came home from work my towel was soaking wet, on the ground and the shower was still running. Well whatever, he did something and left the shower on. The only thing he couldn’t get was my TV. I had a 65 inch TV: too big to nick. Fuck him. He took everything else though; it cost me about 20,000 dollars this whole thing. So I just took my TV, went to my brother’s house and then I lost my job two days afterwards. AD: Fucking hell… Misses, home invasion, job… So I was like ‘Fuck it. I’m gonna go back to England for a bit.’ WH: So this was just last year? Yeah first week of August last year. WH: So it was all some sort of mistaken identity?
Oh yeah sorry, so there’s a little bit more to the story. I was in 2B, in 3B there was this famous DJ named Roger Perry. He’s a famous house DJ in New Zealand and he lived above me. I knew him because his shit leaked into my house a few times, but anyways I go away on holiday and I get a message from my friend who knew him saying ‘Roger’s just been put in the boot and taken off into the forest.’ ‘What?!’ And he’s like a 48-year-old man and they thought he was Callum. So he gets taken off into the woods, bashed around a bit, but then he gets taken home because they realised he’s not Callum. I think he showed them ID or whatever then he moved out, because he’s scared as well. Then when I get back to New Zealand, I’m looking for a new place and I realise that 2B, 3B and 3A were all empty. And I’m like, ‘What the fuck’s 3A?’ Then I find out from another gangster that 3A is where Callum actually lived. What a fucking mix up! From 2B to 3A! They had an error in the paperwork big time. So they just went through the whole building until they found him and no one knows where Callum is. He’s dead. WH: Fuck… So they broke into my house, took Roger to the woods… WH: Jeez… So how does it feel to be back in England after all these years? It’s been sick and to be fair I was kind of missing it anyways. I had been back for holidays but only for a week or two, but I haven’t lived here for a long time. I was missing the pubs and I felt like I needed to top up my accent, ha ha.
“THE PAPPALARDO BURGER!” BOIL THE OCEAN
“8:12 RIGHT THERE. THAT’S WHERE I NUTTED.” @BEAGLETRASH
“GREATEST SKATE VIDEO IN A DECADE.” 90’S PRO
“ARE YOU MAKING PHYSICAL COPIES?” THESECRETTAPE
Thi er ry Portrait Gerard Riera
Interview Arthur Derrien and Fred Plocque-Santos
It’s quite rare that skaters start having ‘careers’ in the second half of their twenties. In Europe at least usually you get a shoe deal in your late teens, smash it for ten, fifteen years, then move on to something else. It sucks but that’s just the way it
tends to go. So when I found out Thierry Gormit (Titi) was quitting his job, getting paid by adidas, going on trips to China, Japan and the States I kind of couldn’t believe it. What the fuck took them so long? He’s one of the hungriest (the end of the interview’s a pretty good illustration of this) most talented Frenchmen to set foot on a skateboard since Lucas Puig, only until recently it seemed like nobody cared. I guess this is our attempt at finding out why…
Go r m i t
Kickflip Barcelona Ph. Gerard Riera
Backside nosegrind Malaga Ph. Alex Pires
Ollie Barcelona Ph. Kurt Haubenstein
Arthur: How old are you and when did you make the move from the suburbs of Paris to Barcelona? I’m 27 and I arrived in Barcelona about eight years ago. Fred: Can you describe your living conditions when you first got here? I mean I sort of decided to move out here on a whim… It was off the back of Feria festival in the South of France (Bayonne) so for the first week it was a mix between sleeping at the port then ‘camping’ at Fondo or Molins del Rey in front of the spot.
After that I got my first flat in Poble-Sec. I think it was about two square metres big with no windows. There was basically just enough room for a bed and that’s it. I had nothing to put in the room though so I didn’t mind, ha ha. Just two candles! There was no electricity; the dude who I was subletting it from wasn’t paying the bills. This was before iPhones and I also I didn’t have a computer. No hot water either… It was basically like squatting, ha ha. The dude from the flat did give me a little book to learn Spanish though. It was from the eighties and called something like Cooking And It’s Associated Vocabulary. That’s actually how I
learnt Spanish as well! Candlelit exercise sessions every night before going to sleep, ha ha. Arthur: So it’s not like you showed up with savings and eased your way in gently. Oh no I was completely broke. I just did that call centre job everyone does when I got there. Arthur: And after that it was the online casino job right? Can you tell us a little bit about that? It was basically a just a huge online casino. Most players
would play the slot machine or the roulette but they had everything from fake horse races to stuff like War, the card game. And yeah I guess you’d just see people gamble every penny they own on there, it was gnarly. Anyway I became a manager there so amongst other things I’d be in charge of the big players, the ones that would spend the most and any kind of contentious or seemingly dodgy situations. Arthur: Any good examples? There’s the story of that woman I told you about ages ago… She played her last 50 euros on the
Smith grind Barcelona Ph. Mike O’Meally
Hardflip Barcelona Ph. Roger Ferrero
slot machine and won a jackpot that got her up to 90,000 euros. She asked to take that money out but what’s really vicious with these things is that there’s a 48 hour period before you can actually get the money, and during that period if you cancel it to play again you have to wait another 48 hours to take it out. So if you’re addicted, not playing with the money you just won for that long is torture… Most people are unable to resist the temptation. Anyway so this woman won 90,000 out of nowhere, asked to withdraw her money, cancels it the next morning, then goes up to 130,000, asks to withdraw, cancels, goes up to 150,000, then 200,000… After six days she’d gone up to 400,000. And we’re just watching this like, ‘What the fuck is going on here?’, checking if there’s been any kind of fraud or anything suspicious but there definitely hadn’t. She was betting 400 euros at a time on the slot machine and winning out of pure luck, it was fucked. She’d completely stopped sleeping; she was hypnotised. And on the night of the sixth day she lost it all. Right back to zero. Actually no not everything, she managed to take 30k out at some point, but yeah she lost most of it. And a lot of that 30k got played and lost slowly after that anyway…. What was interesting about all this is that when people start winning crazy amounts like that (which is rare) we call them up and find out a little bit about them, see what their deal is… And this woman was from the hood somewhere around Paris, literally gambled the last 50 euros she had, owed ten grand to some dude who fronted for her brother’s funeral… She was desperate. And she wasn’t even like a proper gambling addict; it’s winning big that one time that made her go crazy.
Arthur: Did you ever get into it? I mean I gave it a shot once, came up quite a bit, then lost everything and never played again. But I feel like working for an online casino and being exposed to how bleak it all is might be the best possible deterrent to playing. Arthur: I guess it’s like working at
Backside 180 kickflip Barcelona Ph. Sam Ashley
McDonald’s or something, once you see what goes on behind the scenes you never eat there again. So then what? You managed to save quite a bit of money from working there and decided to quit and give skating a proper shot, go on as many trips as
possible, that sort of thing? Yeah basically. Adidas have started giving me a little bit of money but I’m still very much living off my savings… Arthur: What happened in your head to make you want to give that a try though? It’s a mix of different
50-50 grind Barcelona Ph. Sam Ashley
Boardslide Malaga Ph. Alex Pires
things… Max Géronzi and Fred being in Barca really changed a lot for me in terms of motivation. I suddenly got really hyped to go on missions again, to explore, look for spots and adapt my tricks to them. I’d try stuff I would have otherwise never bothered with… And just generally work on projects with people I like being around. And then I guess it was also always at the back of my head. I just got sick of doing 40-hour weeks at work, sick of the frustration of not being out there trying to get stuff. And Steph (Khou) from Hélas really helped me take that decision. Making me feel at home at the office every time I want to go to Paris, pushing me to film this part with him for the video, etc. Fred: Do you feel more nomadic than sedentary in this new stage of your life? I don’t know… Even if I’ve been going on a lot of trips I think I still feel more sedentary. I’ve definitely been on a lot of amazing trips though, like Tokyo, LA or
Shanghai with the Hélas guys to film for the new video … Each time we’d stay a while as well so I’d really get a chance to immerse myself and get a proper feel for the city by skating it. Arthur: I heard going to Shanghai with Steph is pretty mad. Honestly he’s the prince of Shanghai: it’s nuts. He’s VIP everywhere he goes. He used to work in this luxury nightclub that’s on the 25th floor of this mental tower. The place had shark tanks between the restaurants and the club and the vibrations from the music were so strong that the sharks would die and have to be replaced every month. Basically it was a ridiculous place and his job was essentially hanging with the extremely rich people that would frequent it. All he had to do was chat to them and make sure they’d have a good time. Arthur: Do you think spending more time in Paris also played a part in things coming together for you?
Yeah I mean Barcelona and Spain in general are just a bit fucked. It’s like there’s no money to be made here, especially if you’re not Spanish. So many skaters here are absolutely insane at skating but it’s almost like it’s too much, for the most part (obviously there’s exceptions) people don’t really care. There’s like a million Brazilians here destroying it all year around… So yeah being in Paris more and Hadzouz (Hadrien Buhannic, the Blobys filmer) becoming the French adidas TM definitely helped a lot. And I guess when I was living there as a kid I didn’t really understand how
Frontside boardslide Barcelona Ph. Gerard Riera
much the city had to offer spot-wise. I’d go either to Le Dôme, Bercy or Créteil basically. And I thought ‘Barca, that’s where all the famous plazas are, that’s the best city to skate’. Now that I’m a bit older I can appreciate that Paris footage looks better, and so much of it hasn’t been properly hit. And that’s even without having to venture out too far into the suburbs. Arthur: What’s the deal with this adidas part you’ve been going to Paris loads for? The idea is for the part is for it to only be lines… Arthur: Fucking hell… What a mission. Yeah tell me about it, ha ha. But I guess I’m allowing myself to have like a single on a spot if I’ve already done a line. And I’m trying to get some of my mates in there too - get them to use up some seconds with their lines! I think it’s coming along OK though. Or at least I hope so ‘cause adidas have booked some crazy venue to premiere it during the Paris Das Days, so it better! Arthur: Fred, have you got any more questions? Fred: There’s definitely an animalistic side to you… You’re quite feline. Which of your senses would you say is the most developed? I’d say my smell! Yep… Or my taste actually. I’d love to open a crêperie or a bar one day. It would be sick to see something like that come to life and grow… Fred: Gronze Island skate trip or fancy AirBnB with your lady in the French Riviera? Gronze Island! (He looks over his should to check that she isn’t listening). Ha ha, yeah definitely. Arthur: What are you going to do with the rest of your afternoon in Barca? I’m going to try to shoot this hardflip over this gap Max skated in Barceloneta (Editor’s note: the hardflip that’s in here). I need to be a little bit careful though…
Arthur: How come? And if it’s the spot I’m thinking, jumping down that thing is pretty much the opposite of being careful. Basically I’ve got this arteriovenous malformation that created a huge lump in my head. And on a recent Gronze Island trip to Las Palmas I fell and landed on it super hard… The swelling on my head became enormous and I had to go to hospital and stuff. They’re going to have to operate on my head… I’m going to go back to Paris soon to get a cerebral angiography. But basically what happened when I hit my head is that the cerebral artery popped out. There’s a lot of blood going through there so if I fall on that bit of my head it could be pretty bad… Arthur: What the fuck are you doing?! Please don’t go and try that trick. Surely they must have said you shouldn’t be skating?! It’s OK I’m being careful. The main thing I’ve got on my mind right now is how it’s going to look after the operation because it’s a gnarly one… They have to fully open up my head and I don’t know if they’re going to cut out a square or if it’ll be just an incision… Arthur: Seriously though, we don’t want you dying on us for this stupid interview. Just leave it… Or if that’s really not an option for you at least get the last pics with a helmet. I guess I could get Hélas to make me a special pro model helmet… Some kind of hockey style helmet could be quite steez!
The Battle of Normandy
In mid-June a bunch of riders from Palace, Sour, Antiz, Magenta and Element Europe spent five days in a huge villa hidden somewhere between Rouen, Caen and Le Havre in the French countryside. Its location was as remote as it was beautiful which I can safely say is quite unusual for a skate trip. Here at ‘La Cascade de Gertrude’, the closest form of civilisation (read ‘a village big enough to sell beer’) was almost an hour away by foot and WiFi/ phone signal was virtually non-existent. Instead we had a lovely little stream that trickled through the garden from the overlooking mountains and we were surrounded by cows (and one very confused llama): it was surreal. It felt like we’d all been sent on a work retreat by the management of our IT company to focus on team building and bonding exercises. And boy was there a lot of bonding… I was expecting to wake up to focused boards and unplugged camera batteries every morning, not people from different teams playing football or showing each other cute stretches. By the end of it, as if all the bro-ing down that was taking place at the house wasn’t enough, two teams went as far as spending a whole day skating the same city together, turning the session into some kind of weird Go Skateboarding Day with a mic and shitloads of communal beverages. It’s called The Battle of Normandy for fucks sake! You’re not supposed to be mates! I’m obviously joking… For there to be any kind of competition there would have had to be winners and as knowledgeable as we like to pretend we are on the topic, fuck having to decide if Lucas Puig’s crew did better skateboarding that week than Tyler Surrey’s or Jacopo Carozzi’s. What we can do on the other hand is give you an idea of what it was like to be immersed in all this mess and look how each crew managed to make the most what there was to skate in the North of France. Because let’s face it, some of these spots may look quite good in the photos, a lot of the time: they weren’t. It was The Battle of Normandy, not The Battle of Catalonia: on some days shit got desperate (see Madars’ photo). Before getting into the specifics though, we’d like to give the floor to the only other person who shared
the house with us that week: Marcos, our beloved cook. On top of putting up with our nonsense, this man prepared gargantuan amounts of delicious food, blasted tunes every morning so we’d pull our heads out of our asses and tried to steal Chico Brenes’ special coffee maker. He was unpredictable, hilarious and had some gnarly keepy uppy skills. How did you find yourself cooking dinners for 40 skateboarders during the week of The Battle of Normandy? Marcos Ramos Marin: I arrived in Rouen eight years ago with my skateboard and have been quite involved in the scene here. Alongside this I’ve also been working for various associations, catering for large groups… I became close to Bud Skateshop, who organise a big contest in the region every year called: ‘The Firing Line’. They decided to get me involved in that, which then led to me doing this. Was cooking for skaters any different to cooking for other large groups? Not really, it was just a group that liked eating well without it having to be too fancy. You try to make sure it’s tasty, filling and that there’s a lot of protein in there. And obviously you cook way more than you think you should and treat them to a cake every now and then, that sort of thing… That chocolate cake you made was gnarly. I bet it weighed like two kilos. Ha ha yeah you’re definitely working with very large quantities of food, like kilos and kilos of pasta, which makes organising your time a little trickier… But you prepare stuff that can last a few days so it doesn’t go to waste. What ingredient do you think you used the most of? I’m from a Mediterranean background so we went through quite a few litres of olive oil. A ton of tomatoes and garlic… But I also lived in the UK where I learnt to enjoy making curries and some African dishes
like Maafe… I’m not sure it’s hard to say. Was it strange for you at all living and cooking for some people you recognised from skate videos? Were you star-struck at all? Not really, I mean I hadn’t met any of them before and obviously a lot of them are quite famous within skating, but they all seemed very happy to be there and I could tell they appreciated the food so it was nice. I got along really well with the Palace guys… I don’t know if it has to do with British culture or what but they were just very easy and helpful. Especially Danny Brady who’d get up early to go get stuff for the breakfasts with me. I also really enjoyed jamming and playing the guitar with Madars, kicking a football about with everyone in the mornings… Tyler Surrey lives in Barcelona and speaks really good Spanish so we chatted a fair bit as well… You’re not from Barcelona yourself though right? No I’m from Cadiz, in the south. It’s another rhythm down there, another quality of life, with a slower pace. Skaters always seem to think Barcelona is Spain but it’s definitely not; where I’m from things are very different, you’d love it. Was the amount of people in one house something that was ever difficult to deal with? I can imagine sharing a place with 40 skaters you’ve never met getting a bit much at times, especially if you don’t drink… It’s actually really nice that you asked me that because yeah it was great most of the time but that doesn’t mean it was always easy. It was a communal space we were all sharing and I was just hired to cook, not to wash people’s dishes, pick up people’s cigarettes and beer cans, etc., which I found myself doing quite a lot. I skate but I’m not as involved in it as you guys and from where I stand I feel like there’s a kind of a ‘thug life, everyone for themselves’ mentality that kind of tarnishes the idealistic image a lot people have of the skate world. People sort of need to take their responsibilities, life isn’t just hotel rooms, fancy cars and swimming pools. That being said as I mentioned earlier individually so many of the guys were super helpful and amazing so it’s not the
Words Arthur Derrien
main thing I’ll take away from the week. It’s more of a general comment… You were speaking very fondly of your hometown earlier, what would you say is keeping you in this part of France then? It’s hard so say, there’s so much I love about the North of France: the people, the architecture, the local products… I’m a huge fan of French ‘patisserie’; it’s something I’ve done an apprenticeship in. And I guess all the Norman deserts that use apples, the Tarte Tatin’s… The cheeses like the Camembert and the Neufchâtel… It’s also very green and cities are surrounded by all this incredible countryside, but you’re close to the sea, so there’s a lot of good seafood. And the rocky beaches of the North are amazing. The water is a bit cold but they’re really worth checking out… They’re also obviously very historically significant in the context of the Second World War and the Normandy landings. One of the things I like the most about this region, is that it’s very clearly routed in the past, with loads of old gothic churches but at the same time, especially in cities like Rouen you can see that they’re developing rapidly, with all sorts of cultural events and really vibrant music scenes… Yeah I noticed! Briefly walking through Rouen on the evening of the Fête de La Musique (Music Day), it looked nuts. Yeah it’s the one/day night where people can really do whatever they want: free concerts everywhere, it’s great. It’s maybe not very representative of the general feeling of freedom you have in France at the moment though. Obviously it’s nothing like in the States, but you can still really feel the effect of the recent terror attacks, especially when working with local authorities to organise events and stuff. Ask the guys from Bud how hard it was for them to organise their Firing Line comp outside… Which is stupid because although these are very tragic events, they’re also isolated ones. Festivals, art shows, skate events… These things are essential! They are what get people through troubled times! Thanks Marcos! Hopefully see you next year.
P ac Photography Sam Ashley
al e The Palace guys definitely came in with a few advantages. For one, like Magenta and Element Europe, they’d already taken part in this thing the first time around, so Chewy at least had a vague idea of what cities were good. Then they had Lucas Puig (I don’t think that needs any further explanation). And finally their team manager was like Jamie Thomas on speed (minus the bandanas and crosses). Danny Brady would be the first one up every day and would be back with croissants/ pain au chocolats for his boys before 95% of the house had stepped out of bed. Then he’d be the first one to hit the road and he got more photos than the rest of his team put together. It was gnarly. Luckily to balance things out they had one thing holding them back: both the French and the English boys on their team love football (and pints), and our little adventure was taking place during the World Cup. This meant that on quite a few days their schedule revolved around where they’d be able to find a pub to watch the games that would usually take place late afternoon, which is of course the best time for skating in the middle of summer. At least they’re good at skating even when they’re a bit steaming so it didn’t always mean that the day was written off after that (see Chewy’s switch pole jam). Another thing that’s worth mentioning is that they had Chico fucking Brenes as a guest! I hadn’t fanned out on a pro skater like that in a very long time and I could tell I
Juan Saavedra Kickflip Rouen
wasn’t the only one. To the point where at times I almost felt bad for him… By the end of the trip everyone in the house (okay I was probably the main offender) had his song from Mouse stuck in their heads and would randomly start whistling it regardless of if he was in the room, van or sitting at the table with them. At the same time rarely do you see skateboarding that ages so well. Three flatground tricks and you were instantly teleported to Lockwood during Chocolate’s heyday, it was pretty magical. Chico is still the skateboarder that looks the most like he’s dancing when he steps on his board.
P ac Danny Brady Crooks to fakie Rouen
al e Chewy Cannon Switch pole-jam Rouen
P ac Chewy Cannon Frontside noseslide Rouen
al e Chico Brenes Nollie backside heelflip Le Havre
P ac Danny Brady Pupecki grind Caen
al e Lucas Puig Backside noesbluntslide pop into the bank Le Havre
Photography Fabien Ponsero
nt iz Quentin Boillon Frontside 360 one-foot Fécamp
Although I didn’t actually get a chance to spend a proper day on the road with the Antiz crew, in a weird way it felt like they were with me the whole time. At the house the loudness of Quentin Boillon’s outfits (and boombox dangling from his neck) made it feel like he was constantly somewhere in your peripheral vision. Outside of the house no matter what team I was with that day, we’d always come across at least one stupidly gnarly spot (usually some sort of drop in made out of gravel) that would jokingly get categorised as ‘one for Antiz’. What’s funny is that judging by their photos I bet they actually hit quite few of the spots we pisstakingly claimed for them (thinking that obviously nobody would ever bother). Triple kink rail with grass run up and sandpaper landing anyone? ‘Sure! Looks fun!’ Another thing I feel like mentioning is the message we received from Fabien Ponsero (their photographer) when we asked him to send over his shots. It went
something like this: ‘THANKS A LOT for this “tour”, “meeting”, “thing”! It was so nice to be there in this house, surrounded by nature with so many friends and new people! Plus the luxury of having a cook and real beds (which doesn’t happen very often to us!), it was lovely!!’ By the end of this week in Normandy I was myself completely obliterated and I didn’t even have to skate, drive or do anything really. Just five days of looking for spots in cities I didn’t know and piling into one big house with 40 skaters did me in. For these guys it was like a week at The Ritz in comparison to how they’ve been travelling for the past 15+ years. Not sure where I’m going with this but yeah, just thought that was quite gnarly. You kind of have to admire the passion.
Mickael Germond Pole-jam Le Havre
A Quentin Boillon Tail drop Rouen
Mickael Germond Caveman boardslide Caen
nt iz Quentin Boillon Ollie in Le Havre
A Yeelen Moens Backside no-comply wallie Le Havre
Whatever you do, keep the camera dry
Mickael Germond Tail drop Indy Le Havre
A Yeelen Moens 180 no-comply Le Havre
S ur Photography Nikwen
The house we were staying in had 48 beds, yet on most nights at least one of the 40 guests would (for reasons that still confuse me) sleep on the floor. Nisse was one of those people. After a few glasses of red wine he decided that Oscar Candon’s bed looked quite inviting but instead of sliding in discretely, he tried to lie down directly on top of him. Given it was pitch black and Oscar was fast asleep with earplugs in, the poor guy very quickly went from being terrified to extremely pissed off, brutally ejecting Nisse who decided to crawl into the bathroom where he spent a lovely night, curled up by a toilet. What went through Nisse’s head that evening we’ll never know, but one thing is certain, had it escalated just a little bit more, delicate Swedish sloth vs. angry French rock-climber is not a fight that would have ended well… Despite probably being the team that got the least amount of sleep that week they were by far the most impressive to see skate in person. The session I witnessed at that quarter in Le Havre was an absolute joke. The ground just before it is awful, the quarter itself super whippy and the wood coping properly sticks out from the already vertical transition. Basically I couldn’t rock fakie the damn thing and these guys were rolling away from 180 fakie 5-0 grinds half an hour into the session. It was fucked.
Albert Nyberg Wallie Deauville
Adrien Bulard, who recently tick tacked his way to a back tail down El Toro, is Rouen’s local hero. What’s interesting is that unlike in America, here in Europe he’s not admired for this brave handrail move edited to Russian trap music. We celebrate him for his four seconds of fame in Palace’s Très Trill video from the previous edition of the Battle. Some stairs are hopped up two by two, a few timid glances made over his shoulder, some kind words and a friendly handshake exchanged with Chewy, then a quick thumbs up and he’s on his way as swiftly as he came. Timeless stuff. Then Chewy backfifties a kinked hubba, does a banging nollie frontside flip and the rest is history. The clip is so iconic that the Sour boys (probably out of desperation from not having bumped into the enigmatic character) decided to recreate the magic for themselves. These photos of Albert and Tyler (on the next page) show their devotion to this cause.
o Albert Nyberg channeling Chewy Backside 50-50 Rouen
S ur Nisse Ingemarsson Kickflip to fakie Deauville
o Josef Scott Jatta Frontside crooked grind to fakie Le Havre
Tyler Surrey Alley-oop fakie 5-0 Le Havre
o Tyler Surrey Blindside kickflip to fakie Le Havre
S ur Albert Nyberg Ollie Secret spot on the way to Normandy
M nt Photography Richard Hart
Glen Fox Blindside kickflip to fakie Le Havre
a ge a Seeing Jersey duo Luka Pinto and Glen Fox on a hype, bouncing around Caen was probably one of the highlights of my trip. I’m sure Glen fires out ten flatground tricks a minute even when his buddy’s not chasing him around with a VX, but for some reason seeing them together made that energy extra contagious. If they’re flying around a spot, just sitting down makes you feel like such a waste of space that you often find yourself getting back on it even when there’s clearly nothing left in the tank. What cracks me up is that Luka has somehow transferred this weird hyper-activeness from skating into filming. I’ll always remember the day I saw him walk in and out of an off licence, then skate up the road to where Eleventh Hour was being premiered, then slowly say ‘hi’ to all these guys he hadn’t seen in ages, camera in hand the whole time with its fisheye firmly screwed on. As if there was still a chance he might get a clip between the shop run and taking a seat to watch the vid?! One of the reasons Luka’s been filming a lot recently is that he’s been instructed to lay off the skating for a bit by his doctor. So, in an attempt to further prevent himself from popping his tail too much, he’s also started wearing these massive North Face hiking boots. Problem is, he’s so addicted that apart from sprinkling a bit of Tom Penny into his Quim Cardonna-esque style, it doesn’t appear to have changed very much. He still goes Mach 10 at everything he sees and he’s still way better than most of us will ever be. Only now he’s wearing shoes we probably wouldn’t be able to kickflip in.
I think a lot of people were half-expecting a little bit of tension between the Magenta and Palace crews given all the highly entertaining Instagram beef we’ve been subjected to over the years but there was none of that. When questioned about it, it seems like the Frenchies are quite happy to be called out by Lev as it gives their sales a considerable boost every time (a million followers tends to do that…) and I guess everyone else loves it because the level of boyment is pretty hilarious. By the end of the trip Rory was even telling us how sick it would be to do a trip to Jersey to visit Glen and Luka! We really shouldn’t have bothered calling it a ‘Battle’…
M nt Leo Valls Backside Smith slash Rouen
a ge a Santiago Sasson Ollie to frontside wallride Caen
M nt Masaki Ui Philly cheese grind Caen
a ge a Glen Fox Ollie on to kickflip off Caen
E m en Going into the day I spent with Element Europe my thoughts were ‘okay, it’s Element Europe: these guys are going to go H.A.M.!’ It turns out I couldn’t have been more wrong… By the second spot they were all lying in the grass singing songs about Micky Papa (‘What’s going on instagraaaaaaaaaaam?’) and by the middle of the afternoon we were having a fully blown sit down meal with piles of sushi and cervezas. The ones I was expecting to see win the demo at every spot were treating it like a holiday! They even had a portable karaoke set-up with a sparkling mic and all sorts of sound effects. Judging by their photos though I think I can safely say that day probably wasn’t very representative of their productivity. Jacopo in particular probably got the best stuff out of anyone that week and that frontside flip we used as the cover is something I really didn’t think was possible. To my knowledge the
closest anyone else on The Battle got to skating it that week was a 5-minute discussion at the top of the stairs about if it would be possible for a human to just carve the bank down them. And the general consensus was that no, it probably wasn’t.
le t Photography ClĂŠment Le Gall
Phil Zwijsen Wallie out to flat Le Havre
E m en
le t Madars Apse Roll-in Le Havre
E m en Jacopo Carozzi Switch ollie Le Havre
le t Jaakko Ojanen Backside noseblunt Le Havre
E m en Jacopo Carozzi Backside ollie over the hip Le Havre
le t Special thanks to Bud Skateshop for helping organise The Battle, the Firing Line contest it lead up to and for everything else that they do for the scene in Normandy.
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