Page 1

made in the uk ÂŁ3.75 vol. 04 issue 020 Apr/May 2010 RODNEY MULLEN by Glen E. Friedman





Rodney Mullen

Julian Casablancas

38 Multi-dimensional polymath of skate.

70 The single Stroke steps out alone.

Kassia Meador

Hitchhiking Molokai

48 Surfing siren steps behind the lens.

74 Jamie Brisick sticks out his thumb and catches a ride.

Machotaildrop

Get Decked

50 Skateboarding cinema just got good.

78 Behold the latest skateable works of art.

Yvon Chouinard

Jeremy Jones

54 Patagonia forefather gets big business thinking green.

80 New boards, new movie, same green politics.

Bangladesh Surf

Good Rats

60 The sport of kings comes to the Bay of Bengal.

84 Punk is alive! And it’s killing time on London’s streets.

The Kids of Hate and Love Homemade Style 88 Factories are out. Cottage industries are in.

photography: Niall O’Brien.

64 The ups and downs of a Californian skate shop team.

12 HUCK


Dusty Payne Carissa Moore


18 FRONT

36 FRONT

20 FRONT

100 BACK

22 FRONT

102 BACK

Rider Ventures

Lister vs. Frost

26 FRONT

104 BACK

28 FRONT

106 BACK

30 FRONT

108 BACK

32 FRONT

110 BACK

34 FRONT

112 BACK

Mullen’s Darkslide The Arctic Challenge

Dirty Oil Day19 Dum Dum Girls ED TEMPLETON

Jack Johnson

Salt and Wax Music Movies Games Books

photography: MARK LEARY.

Sebastian Steudtner

Tigers

14 HUCK


8…†bʱbFb†´¡O‰

8…†bÊOŒ¼Y¡Už¤s—ŸssgÀ¸—ÎÎVÈÈÈ¡8…†bÊ¡O‰

,±Á¼|†b´Fb|ŒY¼|bOÁ±¼8Œ¡ 3|8¼,‰‰ÊYb´Œ´Yb¼|bF8±±b†´|´ÈŒFÁ´Œb´´¡n|b È8Œ¼´¼|8Çb8tY†8Át|8ŒYO†ÈŒ8¼¼|bOŒ´b¦ÁbŒOb´ n 8 |b8ÇŒt †œ 8ŒY 8 ´|8††ÈV ±8͐±~´|8±œ ±bbnV ¼|8¼®´ |´ œ±b±t8¼Çb¡ ÇbŒ¼|Át|¼†…´œ±b¼¼Ê|b8ÇÊn±‰¼|bFb8O|V

¼|b¼±Á¼|´V,‰‰Ê´|8ÇŒt8F†8´¼V„Á´¼œ†8ÊŒt8±ÁŒY¡3b ¼8…b ¼|b ´8‰b 8œœ±8O| |b±b¡ φ¼|Át| Èb®±b Yb8Y ´b±Á´ 8FÁ¼ œ±YÁOŒt 8ŒY œ±¼bO¼Œt Á± œ±Ob†b´´ ŒŒÇ8¼Œ´V Èb®±b8††8FÁ¼|8ÇŒt8t±b8¼¼‰bÈ|†bYŒt¼¡

,‰‰Ê3|¼8…b±Œ¼|b ~+¼±b¼O|(±´‰8¼O 8±Y´|±¼


Publisher Vince Medeiros Editor Andrea Kurland Global Editor Jamie Brisick Skate Editor Jay Riggio Snow Editor Zoe Oksanen Music Editor Phil Hebblethwaite Latin America Editor Giuliano Cedroni European Correspondent Melanie Schönthier Online Editor Ed Andrews Staff Writer Shelley Jones

Designer Victoria Talbot Design Assistant Anna Dunn Words Mike Belleme, Kieran Burke, Ruth Carruthers, Shannon Denny, Tim Donnelly, Michael Fordham, Gemma Freeman, Niall O’Keeffe, Dr Neil Messenger, Jay Riggio, Mark Sankey, Cyrus Shahrad, Olly Zanetti Images Erik Aeder, Mike Belleme, Niall O’Brien, Dave Chami, Sam Christmas, Ben Frost, Tom Frost, Devon Howard, Infomen, Tuukka Kaila, Mark Leary, Lozza, Anthony Lister, Guy Martin, Fred Mortagne, Mark Nisbet, Ysanya Perez, Tero Repo, Jiri Rezac, Pasi Salminen, Cyrus Shahrad, Tommy Solstad, Ed Templeton, Hilary Walsh, Jeremy & Claire Weiss

Translations Markus Grahlmann Advertising Director Steph Pomphrey

Published by The Church of London 8-9 Rivington Place London, EC2A 3BA +44 (0) 207-729-3675

Advertising Manager Dean Faulkner

Distributed worldwide by COMAG

Assistant Publisher Anna Hopson

UK distribution enquiries: andy.hounslow@comag.co.uk

Editorial Director Matt Bochenski

Worldwide distribution enquiries: carla.demichiel-smith@comag.co.uk

Website Director Alex Capes

Printed by Buxton Press

Managing Director Danny Miller Subscription Enquiries shop@thechurchoflondon.com Editorial Enquiries editorial@huckmagazine.com Advertising Enquiries ads@huckmagazine.com

The articles appearing within this publication reflect the opinions of their respective authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or editorial team This publication is made with paper from sustainable sources. Huck is published six times a year. © TCOLondon 2010

Marketing Enquiries marketing@huckmagazine.com

photography: MIKE BELLEME.

Editorial Assistant David McNamara

Creative Directors Rob Longworth Paul Willoughby

16 HUCK


Every time a board is pushed, ollied, flipped and spun, a complex equation of physical forces are put into play. In honour of our cover star, Rodney Mullen, a man who has pioneered more than his fair share of these equations, HUCK takes a closer look at the science behind his signature darkslide. Much of the angular momentum required to rotate the board around its long axis is also generated during this final push off from the ground. This trick requires a vertical force of about three times the skater’s bodyweight.

Some of the energy required to do this comes from the elastic recoil of the board and the impact of the tail hitting the ground.

18 HUCK

The horizontal velocity of the darkslide is directly affected by friction and the mass of the skater. (Note: a lighter skater will generate less fiction but a heavier skater will have a higher starting momentum.)


The darkslide is a demonstration of Newton's Second Law of Motion: the rate of change of momentum is directly proportional to the net force causing the change. This can be written as: F = (mv-mu)/t m is the mass of the skater and board. F is the force used to produce the jump (from the spring of the board and the impact with the ground). t is the time over which it acts. u is the vertical velocity before leaving the ground. v is the instantaneous velocity on leaving the ground.

The board is obeying the law of conservation of angular momentum which states that its angular inertia and angular velocity must remain constant unless an external force or torque is acting.

Sliding along a concrete edge would generate more friction than on steel or wood. The coefficient of friction between wood and concrete is about three times as great as that between wood and steel (the difference is much greater if the steel is wet).

The skater would have to hit the edge with greater horizontal velocity to get the same slide distance on concrete compared to that achievable on steel.

Compiled by ed Andrews and dr Neil Messenger. illustration by infomen. Special thanks to Dr Neil Messenger, Lecturer in Biomechanics at Centre for Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Leeds. www.leeds.ac.uk

Once airborne, the skater can do little to control the speed of rotation except to stop the rotation before regaining contact with the ground so the success of the trick is almost completely predetermined before the skater leaves the ground.

19


Peetu Piiroinen, winner of the 2010 Arctic Challenge.

BACK TO BASICS The Oakley Arctic Challenge returns to humbler times. Text Andrea Kurland. Photography Tommy Solstad Five days after the Olympic circus rolled out of Vancouver, a very different

says Terje. “But I feel like slopestyle has stagnated, and we can do a lot

breed of contest is rolling into a very different place. Over the following

more. The level is high and we should be pushing it.”

weekend, Oslo will play host to the world’s top snowboarders, who will

Pushing the evolution of snowboarding may be a driving force, but with

take the antagonistic notion of competition and turn it on its head. There

prodigal rider Kevin Pearce still recovering from a brain injury he endured

will be no ill-fitting cling-ons – no hot-dog-peddling, energy drink-swilling

trying to tame the infamous double cork in January, Terje is keen to see

corporate marketeers. Why? Because this is The Oakley Arctic Challenge,

‘progression’ redefined as more than just superhuman spins: “There are so

Terje Haakonsen’s vision of what a snowboarding contest should be.

many technical tricks that never get shown [at the Olympics] as people go

It’s been twelve years since the renegade pioneer refused to be party to snowboarding’s Olympic debut. Within a year, this simple ‘hell no’ became

for glory runs… Shawn [White] may have to do back-to-back 1080s, but sometimes his best trick is a 540 when he goes really big.”

a statement of intent when Terje invited twelve riders to his Norwegian

And it’s not just snowboarding that would benefit from a return to

homeland to experiment with a new generation of event. A decade on from

humbler times. This weekend, much like Terje’s foundation Greener Events, the

the first fully-fledged contest, The Arctic Challenge is still the only event

overriding message is think before you consume – with every morsel of food

backed by a rider on the Ticket To Ride (TTR) circuit.

onsite organic, sugary soft drinks ostensibly banned and recycling workshops

An invitation to ride here is worth its weight in gold. “It means so much,”

where trashy retail tents should be. Terje explains: “I hate when people are,

says American Mark McMorris. “Especially when I got the email from Terje.

like, ‘Oh, you’re eating organic food.’ C’mon! I’m eating normal food and you’re

He’s a legend.”

eating commercial food. It’s pretty silly how that’s flipped upside down – it’s

As a ‘laboratory for snowboarding’, innovation is what The Arctic

really important for riders to be part of that progress, too.”

Challenge is all about. Experimental formats have seen the bar raised

By the time Sunday rolls around, progress and humility are the order of

to all kinds of crazy heights (see: Terje’s record-breaking 9.8-metre air

the day – thanks to an unassuming Finn who modestly takes gold. “I really

out of 2007’s quarterpipe) but this year, it’s slopestyle’s turn under the

didn’t expect to win here,” says Peetu Piiroinen, whose performance will

microscope. Shunning the ‘because I say so’ format that delivers fate with

see him crowned TTR world champ. “Now I can take it easy and maybe

a single score, every obstacle will be rated by a dedicated judge – with two

drink a beer.”

judges looking out for that intangible thing called flow. “It’s a hard thing to be a judge, and I don’t think it can ever be perfect,”

20 HUCK

The Arctic Challenge is sponsored by Protest, www.protest.eu.


59Fifty - MLB Basic with Outline Apparel - Genesse Zip Through Hood - Core Glaze Tee

neweracap.com


Death Beat. Photography: Dave Chami.

22 HUCK

By The Sword. Photography: Mark Nisbet.

Ettala. Photography: Pasi Salminen.

Atreebutes. Photography: Lozza.


Think the life of a travelling pro is all about the ride? Then these enterprising new ventures will make you think again.

www.atreebutes.com You’d think Swiss pro snowboarders Freddie Kalbermatten and Nicolas Müller had enough on their proverbial plate – what with their never-ending mission to log fresh footage with Absinthe Films while spreading the Green 3.0 gospel. Well, apparently not. Having waved farewell to their former clothing brand Arcus, the industrious pair have reincarnated the concept. With a more considered approach – aesthetically and ethically – the fashion-forward, organic-cotton brand Atreebutes was unveiled in February. “The world has changed. We wanted a new approach and philosophy – a new brand and mantra,” explains Müller. “I drive a bio-diesel car, shop in organic stores and think about everything I consume, so I wanted to apply those ethics to our company – which Arcus wasn’t. I wanted to do it right. I can’t put my energy into something I don’t believe in one hundred and ten percent.” So where did the name come from? “I liked the word attributes and its definitions, but not how it looked,” Freddie explains. “So we played around with the letters, and came up with the double ‘e’. Our designer, Christian, created the typography, making the ‘ee’s a mirror image to symbolise myself and Nico working as partners.” The hand-and-fish logo was also carefully created, but are open to interpretation. “My personal favourite is that it symbolises consideration in everything we do,” says Müller. “Via the water cycle, all our waste ends up in the ocean somehow. But if we live a considered life, we’re stoked and the fish are stoked too.” All very worthy, but still – where do they find time for such a virtuous endeavour? “That’s a question I ask myself every day – ‘How does this actually work?’” laughs Müller. “But somehow it does – it’s not always fun and easy, but everything you do in life should be towards building your own vision. So it’s all good.” Gemma Freeman

23


Despite being one of the busiest and most in-demand pro skaters in the biz, Corey Duffel recently launched a clothing brand that’s about as homemade as it gets. After being sidelined with an injury, Corey decided he wanted to attack a project that would allow him to express his creativity and connect with his fans. The result is the DIY T-shirt and hoodie venture Death Beat. “I want to keep this very personal,” explains Corey. “I want to give the fans who might not get a chance to hang out with me a chance to at least get something very personal. With every order I include some stickers and a personal note that I write to them.” Without any silk-screening experience and nothing more than a couple of hand-drawn logos, Corey bought some equipment off eBay, watched a few YouTube tutorials and dove in. With the help of his girlfriend, Rachel, Death Beat was born – with every item lovingly silk-screened, packaged and shipped by Corey, straight from his garage. www.ettala.com

And it’s not just the designs that contain a little piece of Corey – the name does too: “Death is just something I’ve always been mesmerised with,

Eero Ettala, the not-so-old ‘old guy’ standing on top of the Winter X

and beat is the soul of music – the rhythm I feel inside. I thought combining

Games slopestyle podium in January, has hit the mainstream. Thanks to

the two things I care about would represent who I am.” Jay Riggio

his latest venture, the twenty-five-year-old has added a new string to his pro snowboarding bow – that of reality TV star. In his reality TV series Tracking Eero on Fuel TV, the Finn goes globetrotting with the likes of Nicolas Müller, Terje Haakonsen and Danny Kass – hitting rails in Russia or the Hokkaido backcountry in Japan. Unlike the usual five-minute film section, the show follows him around all winter, capturing every aspect of pro snowboarding life – including the good, the bad and the gross. “My worst memory is when I flew from New York to Japan,” says Eero. “We went partying the night before and it was an early morning flight. I got wasted and slept for only two hours before heading to the airport. It was a thirteen-hour flight and I had to puke four times!” Gross antics aside, the best part of the project for Eero is getting “non-snowboarding people to understand there is more to snowboarding than the X Games and the Olympics.” So what’s it really like having a cameraman follow you around 24/7? “Well, it was kind of weird at first,” laughs Eero, “but I got used to it fast,

www.myspace.com/mikevallely

and I could tell the guys when to leave me alone.” Zoe Oksanen “I think what’s really cool now is a lot of skaters are taking ownership of skateboarding again,” says East Coast skateboarding pioneer Mike Vallely. “We’ve kind of ventured out into the corporate world and that will continue, but now there’s a little bit of reclaiming going on.” And Mike V is one enterprising dude who is flying the flag for DIY projects everywhere. Despite hitting forty this year, the father-of-two has just launched another self-made project, a new band called By The Sword, comprised of his old Revolution Mother bandmates and Throwdown bass guitarist Mark Choiniere. But despite exclusively playing Black Flag tribute sets, Mike V insists they are not a cover band. “I feel such an affinity to that music I feel like I can be a good conduit for it,” says the all-American crooner. “I’m not an actor playing the role of something, I live and breathe the music… I feel connected to it… And in 2003 when they did their reunion I was invited to be guest vocalist.” That reunion may have ‘missed the mark’ but By The Sword, in comparison, are spearheading a hardcore revival. Mike explains: “A lot

of people have contacted me from all over the world saying ‘we want this too’. So I’m trying to find a way to get it out there to more people.” And with his self-proclaimed ‘soldier spirit’, there is no doubt he will www.deathbeatsite.com

24 HUCK

succeed. Shelley Jones


SURF TILL YOU CAN’T KEEP YOUR E YES OPEN. DREA M OF SURFING. THEN SURF SOME MORE. ISLAND PROTEST MAKES TRIPS TO THE SHORE OBSOLETE. PROTEST TO GET THERE. PROTEST.EU

RIDER: LARS MUSSCHOOT


The dirty truth

Our addiction to oil is killing the planet – and Alberta’s tar sands are dying proof.Text Olly Zanetti. Photography Rezac/Greenpeace Canada has played a shrewd green game. During the Bush years, the

literally washed out of the sand, using enormous quantities of water

United States became the world's environmental whipping boy because

heated to very high temperatures. In its extraction alone, oil from tar

of its obstinate refusal to engage with the eco debate. With rolling

sands creates between three and five times more greenhouse gases

landscapes of pristine wilderness, Canada was the good guy. But that

than conventional oil production.

image, it seems, was little more than a veneer. In north-eastern Alberta,

The landscape is left scarred – but that’s only the start. Waste water

something of a “horror story”, in the words of campaigner for Greenpeace

full of chemicals from the extraction process is stored in enormous toxic

Canada Mike Hudema, is quietly unfolding. Thanks to the largest industrial

lakes called tailings ponds. Although both government and industry

project on the face of the planet, over one-million acres of land have

refuse to collect statistics, evidence suggests that toxins are leaking

already been cleared, causing devastation that could potentially reach an

from these ponds into the river system. Of course, animals and fish are

area the size of England. The Athabasca tar sands are, as Mike puts it, “the

harmed, but so are people. But as we see in Leslie Iwerks's documentary

ugliest face of our global oil addiction”.

Dirty Oil, a local doctor's attempts to draw attention to the pollution's

The extraction of oil from this area of Canada is nothing new. The tar sands have been exploited since the late 1970s, but the scale of

effect on human health sees the authorities doing everything they can to silence him.

extraction has multiplied exponentially in recent years. The reason?

A big issue, contends Greenpeace's Mike Hudema, is that the Canadian

As oil stocks dwindle elsewhere, and the price of oil reaches over

government has strong ties to the industry. “Our prime minister, Stephen

$100 a barrel, the huge cost of getting oil from tar sands has become

Harper, is the son of an oil executive. He's from Calgary – the epicentre of

economically viable.

the tar sands companies’ headquarters.” But Mike sees hope. Communities

Unlike conventional drilling, where a pipe pumps oil from reserves

worldwide have been united in opposition to tar sands development. “If

deep below the surface, oil from tar sands is dissolved in sand that lies

we say no to this project, it will be a clear signal of the direction the

just beneath the soil. To get at it, the earth covering is cleared and the

people of this planet want to take.”

sand, which is in layers up to sixty metres deep, is extracted by diggers the size of houses and moved off site on a conveyer belt. The oil is

26 HUCK

Stop the tar sands by visiting www.greenpeace.org.


28 HUCK


This is it

Los Angeles’ hottest new gallery is more than just a space - it’s a skateboarding love story in full bloom. Text Shelley Jones. Photography Jeremy & Claire Weiss

“I was pretty lost after high school,” says Jeremy Weiss, one half of husband-

skate,” she says. “We found this world that made sense and felt inspiring.

and-wife photography duo Day19. “All I wanted to do was skateboard, go

It had been just the two of us forever and now we had this family that kept

to punk shows and snowboard in the winter, and photography gave me

growing. I consider myself very fortunate to have met so many amazing

a way to connect those things and make it seem like I actually had some

people that have shaped my life and continue to do so.”

kind of career path.”

It is this “family” that the Weisses have chosen to photograph for

It is a good time for Jeremy and Claire, his partner in life and work,

their ongoing Polaroid project, one of many personal ventures, including

to reflect on the milestones in their lives, because they, along with four

’zines and books, that they continue to create alongside commercial work

friends, have just established another rather monumental one. It’s called

for the likes of Converse, Smirnoff and Nokia. And although the project

THIS and it’s a new gallery-cum-community space that they set up in

features reels of recognisable faces – Alicia Silverstone, Slash and Britain’s

February to showcase the work of creative friends like Geoff McFetridge,

own Cat Deeley to name but a few – the snap-happy duo didn’t set out to

Aaron Rose and Andy Jenkins. Simply put by the Weisses, “It’s a big

be marketable. Jeremy explains: “I don’t really see a difference between

empty box to do cool shit in.”

our personal projects and everything else… we go about it all the same

“We got thinking about how we got to where we are today, at the

way… [The Polaroid project] came down to wanting to get portraits of

Semi-Permanent convention in Australia last Fall,” says the super team,

people we think are doing cool shit in the world. It’s almost like collecting

now in their early thirties. “And it’s always been about friendships, the

baseball cards. It’s a great way to meet people you look up to.”

people we meet who introduce us to this or that and we get a job or a

They may spend a lot of time looking up, and forward – to more

great photo or whatever, it always comes back to our friends. So as soon

exhibitions, Polaroids, ’zines and perhaps teaching in later years – but

as we got back to LA we started talking with some friends – Dan Monick,

Jeremy and Claire are never more proud than when they’re looking down

Aaron Farley, Luis Felipe Farfan and Justin Van Hoy – about opening a

at their two-year-old son, Eli. “He makes the world seem magical,” says

place of our own and that’s what THIS is: a place where we will have art

Claire. “I already know he’s a kind, opinionated kid so there is no doubt in

shows, movie screenings, talks and lectures, and whatever else we want

my mind he’ll achieve many amazing endeavors.”

to do at the time.”

And perhaps Eli will follow in the footsteps of his community-conscious

It hasn’t been an easy journey to get to where they are – Claire only

parents, who have dedicated their lives to photographing together –

stopped waiting tables two years ago – but it’s a path littered with

refusing jobs that don’t take them as a two – after falling in love over

friendship. “I can trace everything that has ever happened in my life back

a skate shop counter. “I think I was attracted to Claire because of her

to skateboarding,” says Jeremy passionately. “I have met so many people

oversized Girl Skateboards tee,” says Jeremy as if it was yesterday, not

because of it, I was turned on to all this music, I met my wife because of

fourteen years ago. He remembers, “Heather grey, with a blue logo.”

skateboarding, seriously, everything.” And although Claire doesn’t skate herself, it was the culture that inspired her too. “My friend Kimmy and I

www.day19.com

would sit on curbs for hours, smoking cigarettes and watching our friends

www.thislosangeles.com

Top row left to right: Geoff McFetridge, Artist/Director. Audio Science Clayton, Kid. Jason Lee, Actor/Photographer. Second row left to right: Natasha Khan, Musician (Bat For Lashes). Anthony Pappalardo, Skateboarder. Shannyn Sossamon, Actor. Third row left to right: Jack Black, Actor/Comedian. Aaron Rose, Curator/Editor (ANP). David Lynch, Filmmaker.

29


Left to right: Dee Dee, Jules, Frankie Rose and Bambi.

FUZZ AND STUFF HUCK talks gigs, records and style with the Dum Dum Girls.Text Shelley Jones. Photography Sam Christmas The great writer and feminist icon Sylvia Plath once said: “Everything

Dee’s self-proclaimed ‘girl gang’. And their shared passions don’t just

in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it and the

end there.

imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” For centuries women have fought for a voice in which to express

Records

themselves but, now that voice has been established, do all women have

The girls all love vinyl. “Amoeba record store is huge,” gushes Dee Dee. “You

the confidence to use it? And are there people willing to hear it?

can sell records there and trade. My parents are very musical, and I started

Standing in the grimy basement of Dalston’s Bardens Boudoir, in

listening to records at a really young age but [playing music] wasn’t really

London, I’d say that support for girls, in the punk scene at least, has

anything I did until my late twenties, because I was very shy. It took me a

never been better. Boys, girls, losers and cool kids are all gathered,

while to get over my fear and figure out how to be in a band.” But as soon

hushed, with their gazes entwined towards the stage. And at the centre

as she stopped doubting herself, the vision came together seamlessly.

of it all a raven-haired girl in Pippi Longstocking tights sings through lo-fi distortion. She is Dee Dee and, when she founded Sub Pop’s latest

Style

signing Dum Dum Girls, who are currently in London as part of a UK tour,

“It’s our right to look however we want,” says Dee Dee at criticism for their

she found not only a voice, but a vibrant underground community.

coordinated garb. “We all have similar styles and we all revere a lot of the

In their own words, Dee Dee and her band – a drummer, guitarist

sixties girl groups like Shangri-Las… it’s fun to pay homage to that sort of

and bassist from Brooklyn, San Diego and Austin, respectively – take us

look.” But the vintage outfits from stores like Red Light in Seattle are more

through some of the places and things that brought them together.

than just aesthetic. Dee Dee explains: “It just helps us feel [united], and to have some confidence. I’m not terribly confident, so if I get dressed up and

Gigs

in the mindset that this is our girl gang, then it’s a lot easier for me to play

“The Smell. Or Spaceland. Or Kasbah in San Diego,” says Dee Dee of

the songs.” And anyway, they’re proud to assert their femininity in a once

her favourite venues. “My house,” adds Frankie Rose from behind dark

male-dominated scene. “I wish I’d had that,” says Dee Dee looking more than

glasses. The two met over the Internet because they liked each other’s

comfortable in her own skin. “It didn’t seem possible when I was younger.”

music – Frankie was in The Vivian Girls back then – and after a brief stint as the drummer of Crystal Stilts she jumped at the chance to join Dee

30 HUCK

Dum Dum Girls’ I Will Be is out now on Sub Pop.


2010

We A cti v i s t M E R C E D E S HE L N W E I N S HO T B Y C HE RY L D U N N www. we s c. co m


Ed Templeton’s life reads like a How To guide to being cool. I mean, just look at the facts. Pro skateboarder: check. Seminal skate company owner: check. Respected artist: check, check, check. Not bad for a self-confessed “white trash kid” who never finished high school. Right now, the Toy Machine founder is busier than ever, thanks to a string of prestigious art shows about to be unleashed on European soil. With at least three books already pencilled in for a 2010 release and countless more creative endeavours stashed up his paint-splattered sleeve, can life get any cooler for Ed Templeton? Apparently so. Says Templeton: “The best way to make something happen is the first step. I started doing

Interview: David McNamara. Artwork: Ed Templeton.

the things I wanted to do and participating in the community. After ten or

32 HUCK

twenty years pass of you being a part of your community – art or skate, whatever – you are one hundred percent part of it. Time and sticking to your guns is what makes people. So I encourage skateboarders or anyone to reach for whatever it is they want to do. It may not be good, but there is no way of knowing unless you stick your foot in the water.” Ed’s new exhibition ‘Drinking the Kool-Aid’ will run at The Elms Lesters Painting Rooms, London, April 6-18. The book is available now from www.morelbooks.com. A mid-career survey of Ed’s work ‘The Cemetery of Reason’ will run at S.M.A.K in Ghent, Belgium, April 3 - June 16. Ed also has another new photobook, The Seconds Pass, available from April 1 on www.seemsbooks.com. For the full interview check out the HUCK spring mini-mag out now everywhere.


SOLDIER XXL Germany’s first big-wave charger heads out into no man’s land. Interview Melanie Schönthier. Photography ERIK AEDER Doubt can kill you, if it kills your self-belief. When winter storms cross the

fly to Hawaii, helicopters are circling above the lineup – it’s chaos. It’s no

North Pacific and unleash their full power on Hawaiian shores, if you’re in

longer about fun – it’s about catching a wave and surviving. The reward is a

the water, there’s no time for second thoughts. You either take on waves

happiness that you keep for weeks, sometimes even months.

that are seven-storeys high – or you lose your bottle and risk your life. One man in the lineup never has a doubt, despite hailing from a country that’s

During the winter you live in Hawaii, but you spend your summer in Germany

land-locked on three sides. Meet Germany’s Sebastian Steudtner, a big-

despite the lack of waves… The distance helps me focus even more on surfing.

wave charger from a swell-deprived land.

During this time I live in a kind of tunnel and work out like a maniac, six hours every day – cycling, running, strength and training camps with the Croatian

You moved from Germany to Hawaii as a sixteen-year-old windsurf pro. How

ski team… I want to challenge myself every day. This overwhelming will keeps

did you make the leap to big-wave charger? I qualified for my first world

me motivated. So does not having any big waves for six months.

cup after ten months but soon realised that contests are not my cup of tea… Then I met Nelson Armitage, who was a well-known big-wave surfer

Have you experienced any localism in Hawaii? I had to earn the Hawaiians’

in the seventies. He showed me tow-in surfing.

respect with actions, which is normal there. The one who surfs the biggest wave or jumps from the highest cliff, and doesn’t put up with everything

Why do you prefer tow-in surfing, using jet skis, to paddling into big waves?

but still acts with respect, will be accepted.

I want to experience the biggest force in the world, water, in its most extreme form. I never feel more alive than when I let go of the jet ski rope...

How does it feel to wake up in the morning knowing that you will surf

It’s a great feeling to master an extreme situation with the best strategy

waves as tall as buildings? I think going to war must feel similar – you don’t

– to cover the shortest distance with the jet ski, to rescue someone in the

know what to expect or if you will survive, but you know you will give your

fastest way and to surf the most extreme but safest line on the wave. It’s a

best and accept the consequences. Either you will be killed or experience

bit like being in the military – it’s about discipline and efficiency.

some of the best moments of your life.

Sounds more like work than fun... When the waves are fifteen metres, it

A documentary about Sebastian Steudtner is due out this summer.

becomes hectic at big-wave spots like Jaws. Surfers from all over the world

www.sebastiansteudtner.de

34 HUCK


Š 2010 adidas AG. adidas, the Trefoil, and the 3-Stripes mark are registered trademarks of the adidas Group. Silhouette Int. Schmied AG, adidas Global Licensee.


I AM TIGER Hear me roar. Before it’s too late, that is. Text Ruth Carruthers. Illustration Paul Willoughby Here’s something to think about next time you are tucking into a bowl of Frosties

is used in the production of thousands of everyday foods and cosmetics.

and Tony the Tiger is grinning back at you from the cereal box: according to

In Indonesia, the tiger’s native habitat is cleared and replaced by palm

WWF, there are only an estimated 3,200 wild tigers left in the world. That’s five

plantations and road networks, forcing tigers into fragmented pockets of

percent of what their population would have been one hundred years ago.

isolation, making it difficult for them to find food or a mate.

Since time immemorial, tigers have been a regular fixture in folklore

“Tigers are being persecuted across the globe. They are being poisoned,

and a firm favourite with marketeers selling everything from cars to beer.

trapped, snared, shot and squeezed out of their homes, but there is now

In a poll conducted by Animal Planet among 50,000 viewers from seventy-

real hope that this trend can be reversed,” says Diane Walkington, head of

three countries, the tiger was voted the world's favourite animal – beating

species at WWF.

even man’s best friend, the pooch.

With 2010 being the Chinese year of the tiger, WWF have taken the

But it seems mankind doesn’t love the tiger as much as he says he does.

opportunity to launch their Year of the Tiger campaign, and are confident that

Or maybe we love them too much? People covet their skins for decoration,

they will be able to help governments of the tiger range countries double tiger

lust after their bones for medicine and cage them for entertainment value.

numbers by the time the next year of the tiger rolls around, in 2022.

In fact, there are more captive tigers in Texas than there are in the wild.

"They have set the bar high, and we will do everything possible to

Out of nine subspecies of tiger, three are already extinct, one hasn’t been

help them reach it,” says Diane. Plus, in September 2010 there will be a

seen in the wild for twenty-five years and the remaining five occupy only

global tiger summit in Vladivostok, Russia, to agree tiger recovery plans,

seven percent of their historic range across thirteen countries, including

international policy and trade control methods.

China and Russia. The Asian medicine market is a tiger’s biggest threat, with poaching of both them and their prey, forest clearing and climate change falling close

In China, the tiger is the sign that keeps away a household’s three main tragedies: fire, thieves and ghosts. Let’s hope these efforts can keep tragedy away from the tiger.

behind. Tigers may be under direct threat from poachers and loggers in the East, but this activity is driven by demand from the West for palm oil, which

36 HUCK

www.wwf.org.uk


38 HUCK


39


Disposable heroes are made every day, but true pioneers come along once a generation. In the world of modern skateboarding, that man is Rodney Mullen - a self-confessed maths geek who changed the course of history with the tricks he invented in the dead of night. In an exclusive interview, the standalone intellect opens up about his troubled childhood, battles with anorexia and boundless fascination with the physics of our universe. Interview Ed Andrews Photography Tuukka Kaila

was switching in and out there a bit,” says Rodney Mullen,

huge fear of having to give it up.” It was this fear of getting hurt and

eyes watering and bloodshot with dark half-moons draped

losing the sport he loved that pushed Rodney to obsessively practise

below. The guy’s tired. And he looks it. But still, he musters

tricks alone in the parking lot of his local haunt, Inland Surf Shop.

on – shaking hands, posing for photos, signing his print-

After owning a skateboard for just over a year, he was taken to a

perfect signature onto shoes and skateboard decks in Urban Chaos

contest by Inland, his first sponsor, who had entered him without him

in London’s Covent Garden.

knowing. Waiting in the wings, little Rodney was unexpectedly called

At forty-three, Rodney Mullen isn’t just another veteran pro on

on to perform. Not wanting “to look like an idiot”, he did his routine

another skate shop tour. In a world dominated by one-dimensional poster boys, this pioneering innovator is about as multi-dimensional as it gets. He’s a prodigal skateboarder who single-handedly invented the staple tricks in every pro’s arsenal (something he claims makes him “feel connected to others somehow”); a businessman behind such seminal companies as World Industries; a self-confessed socially awkward maths geek who chose the life of a pro skateboarder over a maths and bioengineering degree; and a former-anorexic prone to bouts of suicidal depression who grew up in a Florida farmhouse under his father’s strict hand. He may well be one, or some, or all of these people. But right now, amid his duties for long-time sponsor Globe, he’s just a guy in need of caffeine after a long transatlantic flight.

and won. Freestyle contests were very much the norm for young skaters at the time and, with his mastery of flatland tricks, Rodney was no exception. By 1980, he was winning contests throughout Florida and had caught the eye of local Powell Peralta Bones Brigade member Tim Scroggs. Later that year, team manager Stacy Peralta called up the Mullen household requesting that young Rodney fly out to California to compete. After another victory, he was signed on as a fully-fledged member of the legendary team. The rest of Rodney’s high school days were spent studying hard during the week, and touring as a child skate celebrity at demos at the weekends – doing something he calls “a little dog show for me, running around and doing my routine”. As Rodney’s skating developed, he didn’t just learn new tricks – he invented his own. In 1981, he took the basic mechanics of a halfpipe

40 HUCK

ohn Rodney Mullen was born in Gainesville, Florida, in

ollie and transferred the trick to flat ground, inventing a manoeuvre

1966 but the real birth of the man that Rodney is today

that would change the course of skateboarding history. As veteran

can be traced back to New Year’s Day, 1977. In the spirit of

pro and former Bones Brigade teammate Mike Vallely says, “The

the season, his father agreed to let him have a skateboard,

birth of modern skating starts with Rodney Mullen. The flatland

but added a caveat: Rodney had to promise to wear a helmet and

ollie is the beginning of everything.” Over the following years, more

pads, and would have to stop when he finished high school or if he

tricks went from being a figment of Rodney’s imagination and a spin

got seriously injured.

of his homemade fingerboard to staples of every skater’s repertoire:

“If there’s anything that would characterise my skating, aside

the kickflip, heelflip, 360 flip, fingerflips, underflips – even switch-

from being low orbit and wimpy, it would be that I would always

stance skateboarding was all Rodney’s doing. Mark Gonzales, a street

have to fight to hold on to it,” says Rodney of this cast-iron mould

skating pioneer in his own right, goes so far as to describe Mullen’s

placed on his character. “So I still hold skating so close to me with a

influence as “probably one of the biggest on street skating”.


After finishing high school with excellent grades and

through every subtly refined movement. He spins, manuals and flips

dominating the freestyle scene, Rodney moved away from home

the board with gentle grace and flair as if his bodyweight were near

to study biomedical engineering and maths at the University of

zero. It’s a precision as technical as it is creative – a product of three

Florida. But in his fourth year, the pressure of family relations,

decades of fear of failure and commitment to perfection.

studying and touring began to take its toll. After being pestered

This impromptu session doesn’t last long. The gates are flung

by his “only friend” Steve Rocco to move to California and invest

open and the fans swarm in. Within minutes, Rodney is consumed

in his fledgling skate company, World Industries, Rodney finally

in a hive of bodies yet still exudes a gentle warmth and an almost

took up the offer, wrote Rocco a cheque and left Florida behind.

presidential ability to interact with the public, sharing tips on

Following some hostility at his involvement in this trouble-making

heelflips with enthusiastic groms less than half his size.

new company, he left Powell Peralta to fully commit to World.

“It trips me out that people are so good to me,” Rodney

With Steve as the anarchic visionary and Marc McKee churning

tells me later, as we seek shelter in a grubby games room housed

out antagonistic board graphics, the company picked fights with

beneath the quarterpipe. Despite his apparent enthusiasm for the

the establishment and pissed off many in the skate industry. It also

meet-and-greets, he appears relieved to be away from the throng.

became a powerhouse: a symbol of youth, rebellion and core skate

Overhead, the crack of urethane on wood cuts through Rodney’s

culture, boasting an impressive roster of skaters including Mark

soft and obliging voice. I can feel my mind racing with all the things

Gonzales, Jason Lee and Mike Vallely. Ever loyal to Rocco, Rodney

I’ve heard. “Peculiar” and “super-intelligent” are some of the words

simply describes his role as the “glue that held things together” and

thrown my way in the past hour in reference to Rodney – alongside

that he “stopped a lot of bad things from happening”.

mutterings of his straight-laced nature and detailed knowledge of

But by the late eighties, the skate world was changing. Lawsuits

the Russian alphabet, too.

were shutting down skate parks and freestyle was going out of fashion.

It seems difficult to match the Rodney sat before me to the

Many at Powell and even Rocco himself tried and failed to persuade

character painted in his autobiography, The Mutt: an awkward

Rodney to abandon this dying flatland art. But never one to follow

outsider riddled with self-doubt and occasional bouts of suicidal

the crowd, Rodney refused, dismissing the general consensus as “too

depression. Perhaps maturity, marriage or money in the bank has

concocted, too manipulated” by the desire for more board sales. Then,

been a mellowing force. But hints of an inner discomfort – the

by way of a one-dollar bet with Steve Rocco, Plan B Skateboards

burden of deep thinking – still surface now and then: when he picks

founder Mike Ternasky took it upon himself to get Rodney into street.

up his skateboard and lays it across his lap, gripping the wheels

By tapping into Rodney’s complex psyche, Mike helped Rodney film

with an adolescent unease; or when his voice seems to break at any

his part for the 1992 video Questionable. After a resounding cheer at

mention of the past.

its premiere – and having won thirty-four out of thirty-five freestyle contests over his career – Rodney was now a street skater. In the years that followed, Rodney applied his business acumen to a string of new ventures – the A-Team, Enjoi, Almost to name a

But if there’s one thing about Rodney that already rings true, it’s his sheer intelligence and untainted humility: his ability to contextualise and critically assess his place in skateboarding and the wider world – and a reluctance to claim what is rightfully his.

few – and used his engineering know-how to develop new products

It may seem hyperbolic to call him a hero, but in the eyes of so

like Tensor Trucks and Uber Light Technology skate decks. As

many, that’s exactly what he is. In a world saturated by false deities,

well as pushing the evolution of performance hard goods, he also

Rodney’s earned his place in history because of the things he’s said

made a few bucks along the way, selling World Industries in the

and done. Regular guy or legend, one thing’s for sure: few people

late nineties, with the final share changing hands in 2003. But this

have had as big an influence on modern skateboarding as the man

cautious multi-millionaire shuns the “bling culture” of modern

they call The King.

skateboarding, feeling more at home in a parking lot alone at 1am – his green Toyota parked a few blocks away so as to “blend in” with

A kid outside just called you his hero. How do you deal with

the homeless locals in his hometown of Hermosa Beach.

being placed on such a pedestal? I just skate, nothing more than that. So when people say I’m their hero, I think if only they knew

he day after the signing, a refreshed-looking Rodney

that I’m nothing more than just a bit more skating than them. I

arrives at London’s Bay Sixty6 skate park in Ladbroke

go through phases where I feel like a fraud but in the end you just

Grove. He’s already signed a stack of autographs

accept it at face value. They are just really glad to meet me, the

on the way in, and appears to be benefiting from a

best I can do is show them that I’m normal. I always appreciate

good night’s sleep. “I think I’m just going to chill now,” he says in

it because I used to think it was going to end any day soon. What

his Floridian drawl, rounding off each sentence with a slightly

bums me out is when I see guys who carry themselves like they’re

nervous lilt. As his Globe teammates charge off to skate transitions,

better than everyone else. I think, ‘Dude, you’re a fraud like me.’

Rodney simply rolls into the middle of a wide, shallow ramp. Arms delicately poised right down to his fingertips, he immediately falls

Has your attitude to meeting fans changed over the years? When

into a natural rhythm – an unmistakable flow and focus that seeps

I was young and coming out of a dysfunctional family, all I had was

41


42 HUCK


skateboarding. Suddenly I’m being flown around the world and people

freestyle, you aren’t skating any obstacles so you never look up and

are asking me for my autograph and I had no idea what to make of

you barely roll. When I started street skating, it was ridiculous.

that. I was always grateful for it but more so terrified, it was so foreign.

There was a huge learning curve. I would be constantly ploughing

I was twelve years old but in my mind, I was more like an eight-year-

into things like I was blind. I wasn’t used to judging timing and speed.

old. I remember physically throwing the pen saying, ‘I’m no different

I was already known for being a pro, so people thought I would be

than any of you, I just want to skate with you’ and running away.

really great. I sucked at street. It was so hard because I was terrified to even practise in public, but Mike Ternasky tapped into the fact

Did the attention make you feel validated? No, it just made me

that skateboarding defined me. Filming with Mike for Questionable

crazy. I was just a messed-up kid. Things around the house were

– he took it seriously, feeding you protein powder in the morning,

pretty weird sometimes. So when I flew to California, I was just

like Rocky. When I got into it, I knew I was committed so I knew I

some little hick kid. I didn’t really relate to anybody; I didn’t talk

couldn’t look stupid when the video came out. On the night of the

to anybody. I just didn’t want to fail; I was afraid to lose. That’s what

premiere, I sat next to him. The crowd cheered at my casper slide

it boiled down to. I was so in my own world. I didn’t feel connected

and he put his arm around me and said, ‘This is where it starts. This

to any part of skateboarding. I just thought, ‘When you get back on

is the beginning.’ That was like a starter pistol to me.

that plane to come home, don’t let him think you are a loser.’ Do you regret the demise of freestyle? No, not at all. I regret I understand you suffered from depression around that time…

that I was too stuck in my ways to leave freestyle when Powell

Well, it was how I grew up, household circumstances. I was just

asked me to. It felt too corporate, too money-motivated. I didn’t

disorientated because skating was the only thing that kind of gave

look at [street skating] like it was just a natural evolution of where

me a voice and I felt connected to – something that was part of me.

freestyle was going. Jake Phelps from Thrasher asked me how it

I had a way to express myself that was unique. Everyone’s got to

felt to be the founder of modern street skating, that’s as legit as it

have their thing, right? And I found it in skateboarding. As I got

gets. It makes me uncomfortable, but at the same time I think that

older, I started to mature and got a better picture that other people

just means that everything I was doing in freestyle – that I made

and families aren’t like this. People make fame and being popular

up – evolved into street skating. It was just the groundwork. It was

into a big thing and you realise there’s nothing there. That it doesn’t

a natural progression of where it was meant to go.

answer any questions. It’s sort of a letdown. Your loneliest day is getting everything you thought you wanted and realising that it

Watching you skate just then, you seem to have this natural

didn’t make any difference at all. There were a lot of issues at the

rhythm and focus. Where does that come from? There is rhythm

time and I’ve always had pretty heavy existential struggles.

everywhere and I’m not conscious of it – I’m just doing it... I think a lot and skate in isolation so that it doesn’t break my internal

Was anorexia a part of that? My sister went through it, from the

rhythm. When people skate in social circumstances, there is broken

nature of how the family was. I can’t explain it after seeing what

rhythm. At skate parks you can skate more, but the flipside is, when

happened to my sister. She was legit, the real thing, she was wasting

everyone else is at skate parks, you feel self-conscious and just do

away to nothing to the point that they were afraid she was going to

the same things over and over. It’s less intuitive – you’re just training

die. I didn’t carry it as far as she did but I definitely carried it. In

robotically. It’s not such an interior reflection of you.

a way, it’s some form of getting control over your life. It’s the only thing you could control. It was a manifestation of what was going

I understand you used to time your skate sessions with a

on inside our house.

stopwatch for exactly two hours. What was the idea behind such self-discipline? It’s not because I’m so structured that I have to be

After your days of freestyle and touring, you went into street

this way or that way, or that I’ve got to be better. That’s a huge part of

skating. Did you feel like you had to consciously change your

it but the whole time thing, it’s more representative of ‘don’t be weak’.

style when you made the transition? That was embarrassing,

That’s how I look at it. It may be overstated but that’s a lot of who I

man. I changed the way I approached my tricks, but you can’t really

am and what I expect from myself. Like, on a rainy day, or when you

change your style. You can just evolve into what you are doing. With

feel tired or a little bit sick, the guys I respect are the ones who go

“I get joy when I’m doing what other people aren’t doing – Expressing myself the way other people don’t.”

43


“Your loneliest day is getting everything you thought you wanted and realising that it didn’t make any difference at all.” out and do it anyway. Not because I think I will get better – it’s just a

what it was all about. I’ve always been drawn to the system of it – how

commitment to what’s made me. Skateboarding helped me discover

coherent it is, how much it intertwines. It is an edifice. It’s woven

who I was and become who I always wanted to be. Just free. The time

like a beautiful language – and it’s eternal. It sounds corny, but I’ve

stuff is just a commitment to that.

always had a profound sense that there is a God out there who made everything. I can understand it better, and it helps me see the beauty

Were the tricks you invented the product of a conscious

in things. As with skateboarding, we are creating a language, an art

decision to be innovative – or were they happy accidents that

form out of nothing. We get booted out of places – I was told not to

just happened as you skated? I tell the story of the kickflip all the

skateboard because I would turn into a bum – but what we are doing

time because I feel uncomfortable with people saying I’m so creative.

is harder, and gnarlier, and more real than what we see on most sports

It’s not that. With the kickflip, I just learned flatland ollies and was

channels with guys making millions of dollars. Ultimately, that makes

getting them pretty high. I spazzed out on one and kicked it away

us rich. This has always resonated with me; this is why we are alive.

from me; it flipped perfectly and landed on its wheels. That was a total

I want to look around and have that sense of marvel; to understand

accident, but it was a cornerstone of skateboarding. But the truth is:

that things are a little bit more complicated than they told me in high

I think about it all the time; what I want to do, what I want to do to

school. The fact that there is rhyme and reason to the universe gives

make it different. The thrill is in the chase. Just doing what I know

me significance as a person. Even if I die with nothing, I’m richer

how to do, that’s not really fun. I think about it constantly, you know?

than most people around because I’ve paid attention to that stuff.

My wife often says, ‘What are you doing with the fork, honey?’ Do you see yourself as a creative person or a logical thinker? Do you think your interest in science and maths has helped

Split-brain theory suggests we’re either dominated by the

you master the physics of skateboarding? Well, you definitely

left side of the brain or the right – right-brain thinkers being

don’t need to know any science to do what I’m doing. For example,

lovers of logic, physics and maths, while left-brainers are more

Daewon [Song] has a fantastic sense of physics – the subtleties of

creative, emotional types. What do you make of all that? Well,

pressure and stuff. He is a master but he’s not going to sit down and

that sort of segmented thinking is detrimental to us all. That’s just

talk any physics with you. It’s mechanical, but some people just do

part of the natural balance of the corpus callosum between the two

it intuitively. Ronnie Creager, he does textbook nollie hardflips but

hemispheres of the brain. Without the other side, you are nothing.

I don’t think he knows what he’s doing. It just happens somehow.

I remember being in maths and people used to poke fun at girls

I’m not like that. I think it through. Yeah, I’m analytical about it but

because girls for the most part aren’t that good at maths. All guys

everyone has different approaches and that’s just my process.

have jokes about the logic of women. But talk to a woman – get a wife and you’ll think, ‘Oh my gosh, how come she is always so right

Is that one of the reasons why you like to skate alone – so that

about stuff and I’m not? Yet I’m ten times more analytical than she

you can focus in on that analytical approach? It’s a lot of things

is.’ Obviously these things take more than being analytical and,

with me. I think it’s the way I grew up. My time alone – it’s been my

likewise, anyone who has done proofs in mathematics and can read

voice. I talk to myself like crazy so firstly it’s embarrassing for me to

those things – there is a majesty of creativity in these proofs that

skate with other people. But mostly, it’s always been that time when

is stunning, that only mathematicians are privy to. I’ve devoted

I felt most like me. I love skating with other people but that’s not

thousands of hours to being able to read some of these proofs so I

something I’m going to do all the time. It’s just a treat when I do it.

have the same appreciation of the beauty in some of these equations. There is a synergy between the two sides of the brain. That’s how

What is it about maths that you find so fascinating? There are a

and why we are built – unity of diversity, bringing many into one.

lot of things. I don’t want to sound pompous but it’s a language that

44 HUCK

we use to describe nature. The greatest minds in the world do their

So do you approach your skating in a very non-linear way? It’s a

best to articulate what nature does using this language. Even at an

good word to describe it but holistic is better, and synergistic even

early age, I couldn’t understand exactly what that all meant but I got

better. The totality of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.


45


In your autobiography, you thank Jesus. What role does religion

in engineering? Rather than frame it from engineering, even though

play in your life? My wife says people don’t know you until they know

I used a lot of that understanding and background, the origin was this:

all your thoughts about God. The term religion bums me out. I can’t

in terms of Tensor, the company grew and we realised that everyone

go to church, I’ve got issues. I’ve got issues of non-conformity built

could make trucks, not just Indy. They wanted to do trucks so they

into me. Suddenly, when I’m in a group, I feel uncomfortable. Period.

said, ‘Rod, you’re an engineering guy, you can talk to those guys. Make

I get terrified of talking about it because suddenly I’m the kook

up a truck!’ Indy’s are the most amazing trucks – I rode them for eight

telling people they’re going to hell. I hate that crap. It’s a personal

years – and I didn’t feel I deserved to make a contribution. If you

thing and I get so scared about talking about it in public. This guy

don’t have anything good to say then shut up, right? I didn’t feel it was

at HBO once said to me, ‘Your skating is like a prayer.’ That was the

legitimate to just build another truck like an Indy. I thought, ‘How can

coolest thing anyone’s ever said to me. That’s what it is for me.

I do it differently?’ The way I skate was flip tricks – setting up your feet and landing. Things like nollie hardflips are pretty awkward set-ups.

You say you have issues of non-conformity… I’m not sitting here

You don’t see people go really fast on bumpy street spots doing those.

with a Mohawk claiming to be some crazy non-conformist punk guy.

I wanted to build a truck that would help you do those kind of things

But yes, I am to fault. I have problems fitting in. I’m a complete owl.

better. I wanted to build a truck that doesn’t turn that well because

I go to sleep when the sun comes up. I’m out of step even if I try not

that’s going to help me. If you want that other truck, it’s already there.

to be. That’s detriment to me, that’s detriment to my wife. It hurts

I don’t feel I deserve a place by copying someone else. That is the value

me in my social interactions. But it’s a blessing. I’m not trying to say

I’ve always got from skateboarding – to be part of something bigger

that makes me better – saying that just makes me sound like a kook. I’m not comfortable doing what other people are doing because

I understand that you recently had problems with your hip that

that’s taking away part of my identity. That has always been my case

threatened your skating. Could you tell me more about that? It

with skateboarding. I look at magazines where other pros reel out

was the most dramatic thing. Some scar tissue wrapped around my

their favourite pros and I’m not there because, really, I don’t fit into

femur and pelvis and clasped together, pulling my femur into the hip

skateboarding. How do you think I feel to give my life to something

socket. It was calcifying and was going to be the end of me walking

when I’m not really part of it? It doesn’t feel good. But what do I

normally. I don’t want to be that guy that milks it so I was planning to

expect? I skate like a goofball. I could do the things people do on

disappear. Doctors told me they couldn’t give me surgery and the only

videos, but the moment I try, I can’t get into it because it’s not me.

way to fix it was to break it, and that’s a very violent process. The bones

There’s no point. I get joy when I’m doing what other people aren’t

had already started to fuse together so I had to physically put enough

doing, expressing myself the way other people don’t.

pressure on myself to break my own bone. I did that for an enormous number of hours. I stuck my leg in the wheel well of a car and grabbed

You’ve seen skateboarding go through so many changes. What

the bottom of the frame and tweaked and tore as much as I could. My

do you make of the current state of skateboarding? Skating is one

wife couldn’t be around me. After two and a half years, I broke the

of the greatest blessings I could have. It’s been with me longer than

scar tissue and some of the bone. When I did break it, it scared me to

any friend I’ve had and I hold onto that. It’s the most precious thing

death. I heard it break and after the nausea and the adrenaline, I was

to me, so when I look at other skaters, I know that to get to where

lying on my garage floor at three in the morning screaming with my

they are, they have to love it like I do. However, nowadays big stuff

face covered in snot and tears. I just thought, ‘I can skate!’

makes great photos. So if you look at how pros skate in the magazines, that’s not how they skate every day. It’s a misrepresentation. It leads

switch off the voice recorder and we sit there, listening to

people to believe that is normal. I mean, how can that not diminish

the cracks of urethane overhead. Rodney seems content just

your career lifespan by skating like that? By doing those things, it

to hang, asking if he has given good enough answers. I sense

ultimately takes away what is most precious to you. So I think it is unhealthy and uncool… I see great skaters and their ankles and knees are ruined. They become ashamed that skating got taken away from them before their time. So in that way, I can be critical of the hype because it takes away what is most precious. Skateboarding is such a gift. But I still love to watch these stunts; I get so stoked. It’s a hare-

an unwillingness to go back out to the crowds, but after a few minutes we leave. “Oh my god,” a loud kid shouts as he leaps out in front of Rodney, grasping his hand. “Hey, how you doing?” Rodney’s face lights up and greets him like an old friend.

and-the-tortoise thing. The hare is going to end up bummed out. I

After our conversation, it seems strange to see Rodney flipping

look at so many skaters who are in a daze because they’ve worked so

back into this presidential mode. But then it isn’t really flipping at

hard for so long and now it’s just gone. If they are skating for x number

all, it’s just another one of the dimensions that lurk within him. Yet

of years, they don’t recover for three times x years.

as I leave the skate park, I can’t escape the feeling that you could spend a lifetime with the man, and only just scratch the surface

You’ve helped develop new products such as Tensor Trucks and Uber Light Technology decks. Did that stem from your interest

46 HUCK

www.globe.tv


+33 558 49 89 70 INFOEUROPE@GLOBEINTLTD.COM

CAPTAIN JAKE CHANNEL CROSSING MOTLEY TEAL AVAILABLE NOW MARK APPLEYARD CHRIS HASLAM JAKE DUNCOMBE DAVID GONZALEZ RODNEY MULLEN RYAN DECENZO LUAN OLIVEIRA LOUIE LOPEZ KNOW MORE WWW.GLOBE.TV

united by fate


Longboarding's queen of style Kassia Meador spreads her wings beyond the waves. Text Gemma Freeman Photography DEVON HOWARD

“Surfing’s my artistic form – it’s my life. I need to do

discovered Malibu at sixteen, then went to summer

something creative every day otherwise I freak out,

school in Calabasas in ’97 where she spent her

you know?”

afternoons cross-stepping and nose-riding Surfrider

Kassia Meador is buzzing. She’s firing articulate

Beach, Malibu, following the area’s heritage of style –

answers at jet speed, a media veteran of the interview

hands low, body poised – and falling into the footsteps

game. Sporting tomboy cut-offs, a vest and huge

of Hawaii longboard legend Rell Sunn. “I still have that

dark sunnies post-surf, she’s about seventy percent

same feeling when I go in the water now,” she explains.

focused – politely fending off interruptions from

“It was always a special occasion when we went to the

friends and other impatient hacks.

sea, and I loved it from the start.”

Perched in a corner of the riders’ area at the Roxy

After winning the first contest she entered, the 1997

Jam, Biarritz, the twenty-eight-year-old and I sit in

Roxy Wahine Classic, Kassia was offered sponsorship

the eye of the contest. While we focus on banter, the

by Roxy on the spot. Two years later she turned

finals wrap up behind us with Kassia’s close friend

professional and started competing worldwide, helping

Jen Smith winning the event and the ASP Women’s

to set up the first-ever stand-alone ASP Women’s World

World Longboard title. She’s now being carried,

Longboard Championships along the way. With an easy

crowd-surfing style, towards us by a rowdy throng of

charm and obvious passion, Kassia was picked up by

excitable fellow contestants. You can almost sense

MTV to star in the reality series Surf Girls at nineteen,

the concentrated fusion of oestrogen and adrenalin.

followed by more TV work for the likes of Fuel TV and

But without Kassia – dubbed ‘Surf High Priestess’

her own female-focused film project, Fashion, in 2004.

by some, style icon by others, and known for her

Eventually she moved to North County San Diego for

graceful, ballet-like log riding – it’s likely none of this

more consistent surf, buying a house in Oceanside and

would have happened.

focusing on her own film sections – including 2009’s

Kassia grew up skating in Westlake village, in California’s Conejo Valley, but didn’t start surfing until she was fifteen while on a family holiday. Hooked, she

48 HUCK

Dear and Yonder from Villa Villa Cola, RVCA’s You Scratched My Anchor, and the Thomas Campbell triptych – The Seedling, The Sprout and The Present.


“I knew I was always going to be a surfer, but never

photography a few years ago when she broke her foot,

pros for artistic ambassadors – freesurfers who also

thought I’d turn professional,” she explains. “I surfed

she’s consumed by image making – creating surreal,

dabble in pursuits like art, film, fashion and music –

because I loved it, then all this unravelled around me. I

large-scale photo-based artworks via a combination of

elite athleticism isn’t aspirational enough. You need to

now know that, from the beginning, this is what I was

print, paint and fine art techniques. “I shoot Polaroid

join the boho intelligentsia too; get a taste for obscure

meant to do; I was meant to pursue surfing and be a

because there’s just that one chance to get the shot,”

indie, vintage clothing, Vonnegut and Vogue; weave

part of it – to be here now, talking to you.”

she says. “It’s a lot of fun – I like working with large

each aspect of your lifestyle into a conscious creative

projects and being hands-on.”

tapestry, wearing your personality on your sleeve.

But describing herself as ADHD, Kassia was never going to focus her many talents on just one profession.

In just a year, she’s exhibited work worldwide – in

“Style is everything,” says Kassia. “How I dress,

Now there’s an added dimension to her freesurfing

Japan, San Diego and at the Tribeca Grand in New

how I surf, how I live my life, the cameras I use, the

experience – that of a travelling photographer, artist

York – all thanks to famed artist, writer, filmmaker and

photos I shoot... They all reflect my personality.”

and designer. “I love everything about Japan,” she

photographer Thomas Campbell. “Thomas has been a

For her latest endeavour, Kassia is creating a fine

enthuses. “It’s a beautiful place where they embrace

big inspiration – helping me think more professionally

art photography book with friend and mentor David

the surf culture and lifestyle… Like me, they’re not

rather than being like, ‘Yeah, I take photos sometimes.’

Mushegain, set for release early 2011. “We’ve got some

worried about surfing as a sport or contests. Indonesia,

He was instrumental in giving me confidence. ‘You’re

interesting images already, and this year we’re going to

New Zealand, Mexico... every scene is different. In

a nerd – they’re good,’ he’d tell me and I was like,

just as many places. I learn a lot from him, and we’ve

California, they support individualism – longboards

‘Really? You think they’re good?’ I can be unrealistic

such contrasting styles that we create completely

and people that like to get weird, like me. But waves

and scatty, wanting to do everything. But Thomas

different images. It should all work wonderfully

are waves – as long as you’re with a good group of

helped me stay focused, he was like, ‘You need to chill

together.”

friends, you can be surfing anywhere.”

– this stuff is amazing, but you need to relax.’”

So what exactly does ‘art’ mean for Kassia? “Art’s a

The friends that have contributed to her myriad of

Alongside Alex Knost, Joel Tudor, Dane Peterson

creative extension of yourself. Taking photos, surfing,

creative projects are now Kassia’s greatest inspiration.

and Chris del Moro, Kassia is very much a part of

painting, singing, dancing, laughing – all of it is art, if it

In the last year, she’s worked with Donald Takayama

Thomas Campbell’s crew of wave-riding creatives.

comes from within.”

on her latest model for Hawaiian Pro Surfboards – “the

Together, they’re cultivating a considered subculture

best noserider I’ve ever ridden” – and has designed an

that adds a hypermodern twist to the clichéd surfer

The Roxy Jam returns to Biarritz on July 10-14, 2010.

edgy signature collection for Roxy. Now, after studying

stereotype. As more and more brands swap athletic

www.kassiameadorphoto.com

49


50 HUCK


Skateboarding celluloid enters a surreal new realm, thanks to a Scotsman, a Canadian and a touch of fate. Text Jay Riggio Photography FRED MORTAGNE

It’s no secret that the world of dramatised skateboard

John Rattray, Frank Gerwer, Rick McCrank and the

movies has forever been a train wreck. Movies like

legendary Steve Olson, Machotaildrop paints one of

Thrashin’, Gleaming The Cube and The Grind have

the most unique, dreamlike visions of skateboarding

gone down in history as downright laughable in

ever imagined. In a bizarre comedic world,

the very sore eyes of most skateboarders who have

skateboarding is not simply the reserve of a renegade

seen them. It’s hard to sum up what’s wrong with

youth; instead, it’s a universal phenomenon where

them. Could it be that skateboarding – all natural

skateboard professionals are cultural icons, groomed

spontaneity and unapologetic lifestyle – is simply too

like royalty and living like kings in a whimsical castle.

elusive to contain in a plot-driven format? Probably.

When young Walter Rhum (Anthony Amedori) is

But something groundbreaking has happened.

chosen to ride for the best skate company in the

A fictional film about skateboarding has been

world, Machotaildrop, he is suddenly transported to a

made, and it isn’t just really fucking good – it’s

lavish estate where team riders are bred for greatness

downright beautiful. It’s called Machotaildrop

by a strange god-like figure called The Baron. Paired

and, uniting comedy with a thematic undercurrent

against Blair Stanley (Rick McCrank), the company’s

that explores corporate corruption and the loss

hottest rider, Walter rises to stardom but soon finds

of innocence, it’s a genuine tour de force of

his dreams tainted by the exploitive practices of the

skateboarding cinema. The brainchild of filmmakers

Machotaildrop mega-corporation. Sounds simple?

Corey Adams and Alex Craig, Machotaildrop is the

Well, it’s not. Packed with wonderfully absurd

first, and quite possibly the last, great skateboarding

characters and subplots, there are enough surreal

movie of our generation.

twists and turns to keep even the savviest Herzog

Alex and Corey were awarded a cool one million

film snob engaged.

dollars to fund a new project after their short film,

Harvey Spannos, won the Fuel TV initiative, The Fuel Experiment. The result was Machotaildrop – the duo’s first feature film and most ambitious undertaking yet. Utilising a cast of pro skating notables like

But as intricate and fantastical as the film is, the account of how a Scotsman and a Canadian came to make a skate epic in Hungary is in itself another story. Here, filmmakers Alex Craig and Corey Adams take us on that journey. 51


The Ride That Binds

dove headfirst down his stairwell. It was at this point I

Corey: For me it was also Apocalypse Now that

realised we could probably work together effectively.

made me look at films in a different way. It was

Growing up on opposing sides of the globe, it’s

the closest thing to taking LSD that I had ever

safe to assume that Scotsman Alex Craig and

Corey: We actually bombed that hill with about

experienced without actually doing it. The feeling I

Canadian Corey Adams would never have met

seven people on one skateboard. I think we only

had after watching it was pure euphoria. There was

without the binding force of skateboarding.

made it half way down. Alex had shown up with a

something about the way the images and sounds

few other Scotsmen to visit my roommate – I was

melded together that seemed to hypnotise you.

Alex: I grew up in a fairly remote part of Scotland and

working a shit job at the time and decided to quit

I would sit in my bed as a teenager late at night

started skateboarding when I was fourteen. The road

and go on an adventure with them. He then came

watching it over and over. Then I discovered Hearts

that led up to our house was always covered in cow shit

back to Vancouver a few years later and I had just

so I had to learn on a tiny cement patio in the garden.

broken my jaw. He arrived and greeted me in the

Later we moved along the coast to a village where

hospital. When I got out we went to the casino with

there were some other kids and a patch of smooth

twenty dollars and put it all on black – by the end

tarmac. So we propped up a piece of plywood on some

of the night we were up about $250. We took that

of Darkness, which is the making of Apocalypse Now, and seeing them in the jungle going insane making that film really appealed to me. The struggle that went into making that film, it just doesn’t happen these days.

old stones and then it was on.

money and dressed Keegan Sauder in the same wolflike headpiece that I donned years before and made

Corey: When I was twelve years of age, I went to see

Harvey Spannos

a film called Of Wolf and Limb.

a parade in a place called Fort Langley, which in the 1800s was a major export route for salted salmon in cedar barrels. It was during this parade that I witnessed the live act of skateboarding. It had nothing to do with

The Apocalypse Is Now

Even though one short film won it all and led to a fully funded, big-budget feature, the duo’s ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ filmmaking

the parade itself, just a kid around the same age as me,

Influences in the world of filmmaking are as

dressed in filthy ragged clothing and skin painted with

vast as the universe itself. But for these two

dirt. He launched off a curb mid-parade and that was

artists, inspiration proves to be eerily fateful

Alex: Harvey Spannos was the winning film of The

it. I instantly wanted to be like this boy. The grime of

when the topic of a Francis Ford Coppola

Fuel Experiment and the reason why we got to

his being and the way he flew through the parade like

masterpiece comes to light.

make Machotaildrop. We shot Spannos in Canada and Scotland in 2005. I think it’s around forty-five

it wasn’t even happening was an awakening for me. Alex: I remember watching Apocalypse Now when

Meet And Greet

style remains.

minutes long. It was pandemonium.

I was about sixteen and I couldn’t stop thinking about it for weeks. I was never interested in films or

Corey: Machotaildrop barely got finished. It was

TV or anything before then and I remember being

kind of a shock for me at first to have that kind of

A collaboration is born with the aid of some

in shock that a film could affect me so profoundly.

money to make a film with. Added with the fact that

treacherous hill bombing, whiskey and a little

Then later on Alien Workshop’s Memory Screen

I had just broken up with a girl I was with for seven

something known as fate.

came out and it was the first skate video I saw that

years, and my Nana, who was the most inspiring

went way beyond skating and into this super rough,

person in my life, decided she was done with earth.

Alex: I met Corey in 1999 when I visited Vancouver

tweaked abstract realm and I loved it so much. And

All this in one week. It was a crazy time. I was used

the first time. We drank a bottle of whiskey and

through that I realised that it was possible to make

to the $250 casino-winning budgets. So I decided

bombed a hill in the pouring rain. Later on, Corey

your own videos with a VHS camera and two VCRs

I would hire a few ‘legitimate’ film people, like

donned a wolf-like headpiece and a leather vest and

and so I began making shitty home videos.

producers and such. Unfortunately, the producer,

52 HUCK


who was a wonderful gal, just had all these textbook

slowly diluted by the Western obsession with order

end up having a skateboard chase scene – I don’t

ideas about how a film was made. Alex shows up

and control. Maybe it’s all the energy drinks making

even remember how that came to be.

from Scotland and things are strange because

them paranoid? It’s kind of gross how popular those

we’re getting pushed down this road of textbook

designer poisons are over there. I ended up getting a

Corey: The mistake all those films made was to try

filmmaking, which can lead to the soul of your

taurine addiction while we were shooting.

and show some kind of essence of skateboarding.

film being sucked out. So I call the producer and

It’s like trying to take a photograph of a horrible

tell her things just are not working out and we can’t

Murphy’s Law

really make a film like this. Unfortunately when she goes, she takes every person she is associated with

stench. You really just have to smell it to know what it is. That is why we dressed the stench up in fanciful costumes and ridiculous locations, so that in hiding it

along with her. We are supposed to be shooting in

Filmmaking is a risky old business. If anything

amongst these things some kind of truth may appear.

a week and have now lost our entire crew. Me and

can possibly go wrong, chances are it will.

We were always talking about films that were as far

Alex decide we are going to buy a few plane tickets

away from skateboarding as possible. We wanted to

to Bangkok and shoot the film there – I still wish

Alex: A feature takes a longer time to develop and

distance ourselves from the world of ‘extreme’ and

we would have done this but something stopped us,

it takes a lot of energy to pull off. It’s heavy going,

adrenaline-charged SoCal metro-sexuals, and show a

not sure what it was. So having lost the crew we had,

mentally. You get caught up in the process and we

more sensitive side to these athletes.

and needing to shoot in a week, we decided to hire

were taking a lot of risks each day in our choices so

a bunch of friends to help us. With no real schedule

it ended up being fairly stressful. As far as obstacles

or budget worked out, we started shooting. The

go, we had many. One of our lead actors, Brian

final result of all the madness that ensued after that

Blessed, had some kind of heart attack on his first

was Machotaildrop.

day. We had to persuade the Slovenian government

More Than A Feeling

to allow us to shoot in a world heritage site. We

It may not be the highest-grossing film

had to bribe various Hungarian gypsies, charter ex-

of all time. But who cares, you won’t

list goes on.

in the editing. When we were writing we had some pretty grandiose schemes that we were never able to bring to life just because of the logistics of it all,

Alex: We’ve had a pretty positive response so far.

Corey: Everything at one point or another became

It’s only played at a few film festivals so we get a

an obstacle. Including ourselves.

lot of people asking us how they can see it. We’re

Alex: Yeah, I think we always had a good idea of how it should feel. If anything it got tamed down a bit

see skating in Avatar.

Soviet airplanes and find a posse of amputees. The

The vision for Machotaildrop was more intuition than conscious thought.

The Avatar of Skateboarding

planning on getting it screened in a bunch of cities

The Cheese Factor

over the next few months. You can keep an eye out on the Facebook page. I’m not sure what the website address is. Machotaildrop something or other.

Shunning the tried-and-failed skate flick

or people telling us it couldn’t be done or it wasn’t

formula, Alex and Corey attack uncharted

Corey: The best criticism so far has to be, ‘I would

safe. I also realised for the first time how different

territory, going where no other skate film

love to go to Ape Snake park, just not the one Corey

a skateboarder’s perception of what is safe differs

has dared to tread.

and Alex have given us.’ The best comment is, ‘Machotaildrop is the Avatar of skateboarding.’ That

from your average Hungarian. I always presumed that people from Eastern Europe still had common

Alex: We were aware of the cheese factor in all films

sense, which is one of the reasons we wanted to

made for kids and tried to stay away from doing the

shoot there, but I think they’re unfortunately being

obvious, as far as all that was concerned. But we did

statement is just so bizarre, I love it www.machotaildrop.com

53


54 HUCK

A young Yvon labours over his prized piton collection.


The calm rebellion of Yvon Chouinard is inspiring a new generation of environmental custodians to stop talking, and start doing. Interview Michael Fordham

Yvon Chouinard – blacksmith, climber, surfer,

created is about to delve wholeheartedly into the

Is that ‘hardcore’ authenticity still possible with a

fly fisherman, Zen prankster – is arguably the

European surf market with a new line in wetsuits. The

huge business like Patagonia? Well, I’m interested in

most successful businessman in the history of the

man himself, meanwhile, has been advising corporate

the ‘Generation Y’ effect… In a world of almost infinite

outdoor industry. He has created in Patagonia a

America on how to tread a lighter environmental

lifestyle choices, Generation Y activism is about

company that remains on the cutting edge – not

path – but he remains deeply pessimistic about the

young people knowing their own inner priorities and

only of technology and design but in the ethical

future of the planet.

vowing to live by them, even in the face of adversity.

values it practises and preaches.

Still, fresh from a lunchtime yoga class before

So Generation Y, as opposed to Generation X and the

Chouinard was always a pioneer. Born in 1938

sharing a wholesome meal in the corporate café, he

boomers before them, applies to kids born between the

in Maine, he moved to Southern California with his

listens carefully to my questions, answering them with

years 1980 and 1994. It is this generation’s consumer

French-Canadian family as an eight-year-old and

a relaxed but passionate delivery. One thing that sticks

activism that makes them a unique challenge for

became a surfer in the earliest days of that coastal

out about the man’s personality is this: he is unafraid

marketing. Generation Y consumers don’t just want to

sub-cult. An interest in falconry soon led him to the

of sustained, fathomless silence.

buy brands, they want to buy into what a brand believes

vertically oriented delights of climbing, and he would

in. They flock towards brands like Red and Livestrong

go on to play a vital part in the evolution of North

Where does surfing fit into the broader Patagonia

that spark movements. Some are social movements –

American alpinism, inspiring a move away from the

project? Well, I’ve been a life-long surfer, since ’54

the success of sweatshop-free and socially responsible

high-impact use of hand-forged iron pitons toward

or ’55. It’s been a life-long passion. I like to make

clothing is making clothing brands like Timberland,

lightweight, removable protection. He picked up

things that I use myself, and I wanted to diversify the

American Apparel and Patagonia must-have items for

influence from Eastern philosophy, and made a killing

company. Being dependent on mountain sports is

Generation Y. So anyway, this new generation is calling

along the way – manufacturing and marketing the

kind of a dead end these days. You know, as I’ve been

bullshit on a lot of stuff that marketeers do. They don’t

products that enabled him and his contemporaries to

quoted saying before, it’s never going to snow again.

believe in advertising, they won’t listen to advertising.

explore the mountains in a less-harmful manner.

A lot of the first descents and ice climbs I’ve done

So it fits right in with us, right now we’re having the best

From its roots in the early seventies, Patagonia has

around the world no longer exist. I wouldn’t want

year we’ve had in years. I personally love recessions.

pioneered sustainability as a legitimate business aim.

to own a ski area!... The thing with making clothing

The highly successful One Percent For The Planet

for climbing is that you need a lot of stuff. Fact is,

That was my next question – how has the downturn

non-profit organisation that Yvon co-founded afforded

you don’t need any of that shit for surfing. All you

affected Patagonia? I love a recession because it kills

the company something of a cult following, while a

need is a wetsuit. You know, Kelly Slater can’t surf

the competition and drives people to buy things that

self-imposed ‘environmental audit’ cemented their

any better with a pair of $60 surf trunks than he can

last a long time. They stop being silly in their fashion

commitment to using non-toxic, sustainable resources.

with cut-off jeans. The whole surf industry is built

choices. They start buying practical things, and that’s

By applying the principle of ‘cause the least amount

around caps, T-shirts, sweatshirts and very expensive

where we are. It was a good time to get into surf

of harm’ to an otherwise hypocritically depletive

surf trunks, which are totally unnecessary. It’s been a

too, for the same reasons. That’s why I encouraged

industry that was (and largely still is) encouraging us

dilemma for us, because we want to make authentic

my son to build his surfboard business [Fletcher

all to love the planet to death, Patagonia as a brand

stuff. I don’t want to make stuff that people want

Chouinard Designs], because the only things you

has become somewhat iconic amongst a generation

but don’t need. That’s the problem with the world.

really need for surfing are a wetsuit and a surfboard.

who see themselves as environmental activists –

Everyone’s buying stuff they don’t need. How do we

He’s making surfboards that are as good if not better

even if that activism is encoded solely through their

break that cycle? Plus, no large company has ever

than any in the world right now – performance-wise.

consumer choices.

broken into the surfing market, they’ve all started

And as far as durability and strength goes they are a

from scratch, you know, because otherwise you don’t

hundred percent stronger than polyester urethane

have that authenticity.

boards, and they are non-toxic into the bargain.

When we meet at Patagonia HQ in Ventura, California, in the summer of 2009, the company Yvon

55


When the only pitons available leave scars in the mountain's face, a conscientious climber is forced to forge his own.

What’s the blank made from? Well we make our

every surfer wanted to buy a Patagonia down jacket

time respecting them. I mean, there’s a few that are

own blanks. They’re out of a Styrofoam, but it’s a

in silver. I realised at that point that a down jacket

really good guys and stuff, but the real soul of the

closed cell extruded Styrofoam – we’re the only ones

is actually a surf product, especially in November in

sport are the Rastas [Dave Rastovich], who don’t

making boards out of this stuff – then we glass them

Scotland or something, when you get out of the water

compete and, you know, he should, he’s worth way

with a non-toxic epoxy. So anyway, they’re very high-

and there’s three inches of snow on the ground, and

more to Billabong than any of their competitive

quality. That’s given us the authenticity required in

your hands are so cold you can’t even put your key in

surfers, because he’s where surfing is going with

the surf world. And now we’ve built the wetsuit, too.

your lock, you want to wear something warm. And so

Generation Y. This generation have all had courses

We didn’t just want to build another wetsuit like

I realised I didn’t have to make T-shirts, sweatshirts

in environmental stuff starting in grammar school,

everybody else. They’re all made in the same factory in

and caps – I realised I could get into the surf industry

and they’re very aware that we’re destroying the

Taiwan, you know, it doesn’t matter what brand you’re

by selling multifunctional clothing. I’m not interested

planet and these people, these people who represent

buying, they’re all made out of the same materials and

in the fourteen-year-old girl or the seventeen-year-

surfing’s soul, are their heroes.

the same unsustainable processes. So we researched

old boy. I’m more interested in the one-percenters

materials, did a lot of homework and came up with a

who are serious surfers and who don’t follow fashion

Do you think that surfers will ever evolve into

better neoprene, and better wool for the inside. We

and don’t want to buy something that they only wear

a group of custodians for the environment that

put the wool throughout the whole suit too, not just

one percent of the time, but something that they can

they exploit and enjoy? Well, I mean, that’s the

on the trunk areas. So our 2mm is warmer than your

wear all the time.

ideal, I’m not sure whether these guys actually live

normal 3mm. I think that the suit is probably the best

it out in their lives. They talk a good story, but I So in this search for an authentic aesthetic and

haven’t seen any effect of what they’re actually doing.

authentic products – is this where people like

I hate to say that. Ninety percent of the American

But your core market is still the outdoor market.

the Malloys, Lopez and Wayne Lynch come in?

people consider themselves environmentalists. But

Do you think the two, surfing and ‘outdoors’, are

Yeah. We call them the ambassadors rather than

you ask them how that translates into their everyday

becoming the same thing? Well, it’s interesting. We

sponsored surfers. I wanted to work with people

lives and it all falls apart. Have you changed your

took a trip to Chile a few years ago, with Gerry Lopez,

that symbolise the soul of the sport. I don’t like

light bulbs? Do you volunteer? Have you changed

the Malloys and Jack Johnson. Out of this trip came

the idea of professional surfing, or professional

your life at all? Do you do anything? I mean, you are

an article for Surfer magazine. In the article there

climbing for that matter. Professionalism doesn’t

what you do, not what you say. And that’s the state of

was this photo of Gerry wearing one of our silver

belong in those sports as far as I’m concerned, and I

environmentalism these days.

down jackets. Suddenly that became a surf item, and

look at who the professionals are and I have a hard

thing we’ve ever made in this company.

56 HUCK

So many people in America consider themselves


Photography: Tom Frost.

Superman Yvon outside the Tin Shed, where the first generation of Patagonians drilled hexes, assembled ice axes and slacked off when the surf was good.

“That’s the problem with the world. Everyone’s buying stuff they don’t need. How do we break that cycle?”

‘environmentalists’, yet at the same time a study just

good eye. He’s got a good sense of how design works

came out that concluded that protecting the planet

with the designers here and he helps them come out

is number nineteenth in Americans’ priorities!

with the right product. These guys test our wetsuits

[Laughs]… That’s where we are in America. This

and give us feedback on that so to be sponsored by

generation, the baby boomer generation and even

us means you have to do some work. And Gerry, we

Generation X, is totally fucked. It’s not going to

published his book and sent him around to do book

do anything. It’s the Generation Y, these young

tours – he’s become a good speaker. He was terrible

eighteen-year-old kids that are in college right now

at first, but we helped him put together a slide show

and are studying environmental sciences, they’re the

and it sold a lot of books.

ones that are going to make a difference. How do you stay motivated to do business when Do you think the people Patagonia welcomes

you could easily just take off forever and climb,

into its fold can make a difference, too? Well,

surf and fish? Well, I enjoy it. You can’t travel all the

Chris Malloy can have a big influence in his films – a

time. You’d burn out, plus you’ll end up in karmic hell.

really big influence. I mean, maybe he doesn’t change

I’m a real pessimist about the future of the planet. I

his life too much, but maybe he can really influence a

mean, there’s absolutely no reason to be hopeful at

lot of kids through his films. All it takes to make a big

all. But I feel a responsibility to do what I can about

impact on a kid is to have Kelly Slater walking down

it, and doing what I can means using this business as

the beach picking up a piece of paper and sticking it

a resource with which to influence other companies.

in a trash can. You don’t say anything, it just shows

That’s why I stay in business. I don’t need any more

something positive. Right now you go along surfing

money, I mean Christ, if you look at my car, the way I

beaches the day after a swell and there’s just trash

live my life, you’ll know the way we live is very simple.

everywhere. That’s all it would take. These guys can

Money is not a motivator at all. In fact, I give most

wield a big influence. We get hit up to sponsor surfers

of my money away. What motivates me is pessimism

all the time. But we don’t sponsor people in the same

about the world. I love the natural world, and I want

way as a conventional surf company. Dan Malloy

to protect it. I mean, it sounds corny, but that’s the

gives us a lot of feedback on clothing. He’s got a really

reason I stay in business.

57


“You can’t travel all the time. You’d burn out, plus you’ll end up in karmic hell.”

they’re not going to buy from. That’s the first step.

nothing you can do with the toxic waste. You could

The second step is to look at every single product

save a tremendous amount of energy just through

that they sell in Wal-Mart stores and assess the ones

conservation, and you can replace all that fossil fuel-

that are of toxic ingredients. If there is an alternative,

generated energy with wind, sun, waves and tidal

then they will buy from the alternative. I mean, that’s

power. I mean, the city of San Francisco figures that

a huge commitment and they could truly change the

it could power the entire city with tidal power at the

world by doing this. I made the keynote address

mouth of the bay. And they don’t even have big tides.

when they announced this new policy to their 1,200

Look at places in the UK and France, they have fifteen-

buyers in Arkansas, and they announced at that time

foot tides all year round. Then there’s wave power.

each buyer would have to work in this way and if they

Chile, for example, could power the whole country

did it there would be reward – because it’s a lot more

with wave power. In the north they have sun 365 days

work for a buyer – and if they didn’t want to do it,

a year; in the south they have high, high winds, and

they said, ‘I’m sure you can find a job somewhere

the potential for wave power is phenomenal. Nuclear

else.’ So it is a serious commitment.

energy just represents a lack of will and imagination. We’re still subsidising coal, we’re subsidising oil. Get

So where do governments come into this? Have

rid of those subsidies and then you’ll see people start

you had a sit-down with Obama yet? No, I haven’t

recycling, and it makes sense to recycle, and it makes

had a sit-down with the President. But we can’t save

sense to go to alternate energy. You don’t even need to

the world without the government, that’s for sure.

subsidise this alternate energy, I don’t think. But you’ve

Over the last eight years, we couldn’t do anything

got to get rid of the other subsidies.

really, so we just gave up on government, just went

I know you’ve been influenced by Zen Buddhism

around them. But Obama’s administration gets it.

The problem is, though, that we won’t get to play

and the nothingness at the centre of the Zen

The big question today is, okay, if we go to a green

in our cars, jump on our airplanes and enjoy the

philosophy. What happens when you go? What

economy, is it going to bankrupt the world? Is it going

environment that we love. You know what? There

is your ambition ‘post-Chouinard’ for Patagonia?

to crash the whole economic system, because it’s all

won’t be planes in the air twenty years from now.

I’ve told my family to basically sell it when I go – get

been based on cheap energy and oil for the last 150

To keep those things from falling to earth, there’s

out of it. And it may be that our work will be finished

years. Now we’re saying we have to get away from that

no known technology that will keep them up there

when I’m gone. The world doesn’t need a clothing

and we have to get away from the idea of consuming

without petroleum. They’re not going to be running

company. And if we can be successful and influence

and discarding endlessly. So what’s going to happen?

on hydrogen, I can tell you that. They won’t be running

large companies to get greener then our work will

What we’re saying is, ‘Look, if you turn your business

on electrical power. America has put all its subsidies

be done. We’re working with Wal-Mart right now,

green, you’ll make more profit than you ever have, like

into airplanes and automobiles and roads. We should

the world’s second largest company. They are the

we are right now.’ At the top of this One Percent For

have a high-speed train from San Diego to Vancouver,

eleventh largest economy in the world. It’s hard to get

The Planet organisation that we helped create, there’s

Canada – it’s a straight shot. Our passenger trains are

your head around but there are only ten countries on

well over a thousand members now. I was just looking

going slower than they did in the eighteenth century!

the planet whose economy is larger than the annual

at the figures recently and the top six companies on

But you know what’s going to happen, is that we’re

turnover of Wal-Mart. We’ve been influencing them a

the program are all having the best year they’ve had in

not going to get in an airplane and go to Tavarua in the

lot. Right now, we’re working with them to create a

ages. And that’s the lesson that business has to learn.

future – we’re going to have to live with the break that’s

manual for how to make and market environmentally

We have a big role in society right now, to prove that

close by, which means we’re going to have to protect

and ethically responsible clothing. We’re working with

green business is good business, and in fact if you

it. If somebody goes to destroy that surf break there

them to communicate how to identify all the fibres

don’t do it, you end up like General Motors and Ford,

are going to be a lot of surfers that go crazy. They’re

– which ones truly are green, and which ones aren’t.

these stupid-ass big companies that resisted every

not going to allow that, because that is all we have,

It’s going to include methods of computing your

change that came along.

because we can’t fly to Tavarua anymore. It’s the same thing with a little local stream that’s polluted – if I

carbon footprint when making clothing, calculating water usage, the impact of various dyes, etc. It’s crazy,

If you’re so pessimistic about the baby boomers

want to fish, I’m going to have to clean this stream up.

but nothing like that exists at the moment. In the

and Generation X doing anything about emissions

I mean, people talk about eating locally as being vital,

process of creating this user manual and them aiming

and climate change, what do you make of nuclear

but it’s not just eating locally that’s important. We’re

to work closely to it, Wal-Mart are truly trying to

power as a potential source of relatively clean

going to have to do our sports locally, we really are.

become a greener company. We’re constantly sharing

energy? It’s awful. Economically, nuclear power makes

Everybody thinks there’s going to be some technology

information because we constantly have to educate

no sense whatsoever. It has to be heavily subsidised by

that emerges that’s going to transport us all over the

ourselves. And, you know, it’s working as far as our

governments, even insurance companies won’t touch

world with no carbon emissions. That’s not going to

mission statement goes: one, make the best clothing

it, so the government has to insure the businesses

happen. And you know what? You’ll get used to it. I

possible; two, cause no unnecessary harm; three, use

in case the planet blows up. So that’s a huge risk to

think I need somebody to tell me to stop travelling.

business to influence other companies.

take. The government have to guarantee loans to

If someone was to tell me, ‘No, you can’t do that,

They’ve made a commitment to look at all

create the infrastructure to create the power, because

because there isn’t any oil left and you’re destroying

their suppliers and do an environmental and social

no bank is going to lend them money. And there’s

the environment,’ I’ll say, ‘Okay’

assessment of each company they work with, and

very little uranium left in the world, so we have to

the companies that don’t come up to their standards

trade with unstable and suspect regimes. And there’s

58 HUCK

www.patagonia.com


 

BEST BRANDS. BEST BUYERS. BEST BUSINESS. BEST BRANDS. BEST BUYERS. BEST BUSINESS.

W W W. B R E A D A N D B U T T E R . C O M


Surfing is a source of bemusement to local kids, who watch as Rashid loads his board and then chase the car all the way to the beach.

The entrance to the Bangladesh Surf Club is a doorway to escapism on a street otherwise blighted by poverty.


the wave-riding reveries of Hawaiian Kings REAch the jungle-lined shores of Bangladesh. Text & PHOTOGRAPHY Cyrus Shahrad

At 4pm on my second day in Bangladesh I wake from

Hills marks the start of a sprawling jungle spiked with

a jet-lag slumber in a paint-peeling, fly-infested hotel

ancient temples and traced by tigers.

room in Cox’s Bazar. I flip on export strength Indian

My destination is the Mermaid Café, which the Lonely Planet guide glowingly describes as serving ‘quite possibly the best food in all of Bangladesh’, as well as having ‘an odd surfboard or two that it will rent out’. The latter statement I’m able to dismiss immediately; the only board in the building is broken in half and dramatically nailed to one wall. I seat myself at the bar and order a mango juice, and while it’s being made I ask the barman about the surf club. He reaches for a pen and scrawls a phone number and a name on the back of a napkin: Mr Jafar Alam. The name I already know. It was Jafar who ten years ago returned from a holiday in Hawaii with a surfboard and a determination to begin riding the waves that broke almost against his front door. His obsession drew first the ire and later the admiration of locals, and soon kids were swarming the shoreline to marvel at the way their softly spoken neighbour was able to hover god-like in the mouth of the wave. Seeing the potential for a small revolution, Jafar contacted his friends in Hawaii, and a charity was established to begin sending unwanted surfboards to Bangladesh. It was with these boards – all dings and peeling stickers and turning yellow from exposure to the sun – that Jafar founded his Bangladesh Surf Club, offering boys and girls a chance to escape their impoverished backgrounds and find a rare moment of communion amid the tumbling waves. “Will he mind me calling?” I ask the barman. “Oh, he is not here.” He sets my mango juice on the bar, a cardboard lid in place to keep off flies. “In Hawaii. Surfing.”

MTV as I dress, marvelling at its garish adoption of Western norms – the ads for skin-lightening creams, the reality shows hell-bent on breaking up relationships – before stumbling downstairs and out into the sunlight, blinking away a shimmering band of gold where the ocean meets the sand. Within seconds I’m set upon by a swarm of sinewy rickshaw drivers, their arms and legs so lean that it’s hard to tell where man ends and machine begins, their colourful carriages decorated with religious icons and the faces of national film stars. I muscle past them and press along the promenade – past tin shacks selling bottled water and strung bunches of black bananas, past shop fronts hung with dried fish carcasses spiralling in the sea breeze – and down a few stone steps to the sand, which burns my feet through my flip flops. Running over 120 miles, Cox’s Bazar is the longest unbroken sand beach in the world, and draws a great deal of wealthy Bangladeshi tourists as well as the occasional Westerner, the latter attracting hordes of sun-blackened beach children with gap-tooth grins and arms strung with seashell necklaces for sale. I keep to the far side of the beach and watch as men and women wade out into the warm blue water fully clothed to preserve their religious dignity, screaming with excitement as wave after wave rears up and over them. A safe mile from the madness of the main beach, wiry fisherman can be seen dragging wood-framed nets into and out of the water, a practice that hasn’t changed in centuries. Behind me, beyond the five-star hotels and flash restaurants, the lush fringe of the Chittagong

61


Rickshaws remain the preferred mode of transport in Cox's Bazar, though models featuring surfboard racks are yet to be invented.

“Tourists call this a pleasure resort, but it is not a pleasurable place to live without money. That is why we surf.”

three boards from the clubhouse poking out the boot of his battered hatchback.

Half an hour later we’ve parked up and weaved a path through the last of the sun loungers. The waves

We take the long route to the beach so that Rashid

are rolling in nicely, suitably small given the summer

can point out the side of Cox’s Bazar that tourists

months (they reach double overhead in winter), but

never see. Doors flap uselessly on to the street where

clean and consistent, and the lapping shoreline that

there are doors; gaping entranceways frame women

meets my feet is warm as bathwater. We attract a few

rocking wailing babies where there aren’t. Palm trees

stares as we attach our leashes – local fishermen may be

shift over rusted corrugated roofs, and bare-chested

used to the sight of surfers, but for tourists this is still

men shuffle up the street bent double by sacks of rice

a carnival of confusion – but it’s attention that Rashid

or bundles of scrap metal.

and Kamrul seem to savour as they begin paddling

“There is nothing for us to do here,” says Rashid. “Tourists call this a pleasure resort, but it is not a

out and beckon for me to follow, my board decidedly lopsided from a sizeable ding on its belly.

pleasurable place to live without money. That is why

We duck dive wave after wave, each face a

we surf. It allows us to forget all of this and enjoy

funnel of pink reflected from the setting sun, before

moments together.”

emerging out back in a moment of calm and sitting in

Rashid describes how he wakes every morning at

silence to take stock of the skyline. The sand appears

5am to surf the high tide with members of the club

to stretch like time itself from the past on one side

before they scatter to their respective service industry

towards the future on the other, with the present

Jafar Alam may be notable by his absence, but

jobs in the hotels and high-rise apartments of the

somewhere in between, a cluster of glass and concrete

it doesn’t take more than a few minutes of loitering

promenade. Rashid works for a deckchair company;

monstrosities on the verge of being reclaimed by the

outside the Bangladesh Surf Club for a local to guess

Kamrul washes dishes in a restaurant. After work they

jungle looming overhead.

my intention and lead me to the house of rider Rashid

meet again to surf the evening tide, and afterwards

As I’m paddling for my first wave Kamrul calls

Bappy, whose father welcomes me like a family

gather around the television in Kamrul’s living room

and asks which football team I support, and I lie and

member and serves sweet, milky chai while we await

to watch The Billabong Odyssey (another gift from

say Chelsea, just to annoy him. One moment there’s

his son. When Rashid finally returns from work – a

Hawaii) and plan surf trips they know none of them will

a chorus of horrified jeering, chants of ‘Manchester

Bangladeshi Baywatch extra in mirrored sunglasses,

ever be able to afford. Kamrul asks where I normally

United’ and ‘Rooney, Rooney’; the next, their voices

boardshorts and artfully tousled hair – he phones a

surf, and I say Great Britain. He says that’s top of his

are lost against the rush and babble of the breakwater

friend, Kamrul, who ten minutes later turns up with

list, and I tell him not to bother.

as it lifts and carries me home

62 HUCK


BELIEVETHEHYPE.

CHECK OUT WWW.ONEILL.COM/HYPERFREAK EXPERIENCE THE HYPERFREAK IN 3D & ENTER THE ONLINE COMPETITION FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A TRIP TO

THE O'NEILL WORLD CUP OF SURFING IN HAWAII.

PHOTO:MIKE LATRONIC

PHOTO:MIKE LATRONIC

www.oneill.com/hyperfreak


i.

64 HUCK


Broken boards, shattered spirits, run-ins with the law. Making a skate video is an uphill battle – but it keeps you coming back for more. Text & Photography Mike Belleme

Twelve years, two shattered elbows, one skateboarding ticket and thousands of dollars worth of shoes and boards later, I can’t help but ask myself: ‘Why do I do this?’ Over the past year, I have explored this question through the lens of a camera. In this project, I document the efforts of Push Skate Shop’s team in Asheville, North Carolina, as they put together their first skate video. These are the kids of hate and love – two strong words for two strong emotions. But it’s this dichotomy – pain and tension versus adrenalin and stoke – that unites every skater and keeps us coming back for more. Filming for a video pushes all the emotions and tension that goes into skateboarding to the extreme. The process generally takes two to three years of constant work. Getting a two-second clip for a video part often involves returning to a spot four or five times. When filming, a skater constantly pushes themselves outside of their comfort zone trying a trick until their body simply won’t allow them to try anymore. The list of struggles when making a video based around street skating is daunting. To start with, it’s not legal. Tickets are given out, boards are taken, skaters are even arrested and brought to jail. Between cops, security guards and business owners, finding a place to skate for more than twenty minutes is a task in itself. These struggles – combined with injury, broken boards, and the difficulty of the tricks being attempted – are just some of the reasons why making a skate video is such a battle. So back to the question at hand, ‘Why do we do it?’ Well, because that battle is what we live for. When a skater finally makes the trick, gets the clip, conquers their fears and beats the odds, the feeling is indescribable. The need for this feeling is what makes us keep going, walking back up the stairs for one more try. The rush that a skater gets from hitting up a spot late at night, lighting it up and getting a trick before the cops show up is all part of the experience. The sense of community in skateboarding is one of its biggest assets. We’re in a club and all members of the club, internationally, have a bond that ties us together. Over the course of my twelve years of skating I have become a part of a network of likeminded people that extends across the US and even overseas to Europe. In any major city in the States, I have a couch to crash on and, if I don’t, I know someone who does that can put me in touch. When people come to Asheville to skate, the Push team welcomes them with a place to stay and we try to make sure they skate all of the best spots. The same happens when we travel to other cities, which happens frequently especially when working on a video. When I think about the places I’ve been and the people I’ve met through skating, it makes the negative aspects seem trivial. It’s a labour of love. It’s a labour of hate. www.pushtoyproject.com

65


ii.

iii.

iv.

v.

vi.

vii. 1. Caroline came down from her apartment threatening to call the cops, but eased up when we promised to be careful. ii. All kinds of spots spring to life at night. Rorey wallrides behind a steakhouse after business hours. iii. Justin (centre) stresses out while struggling to film a variel flip over a handrail, despite having logged more footage than anyone else. iv. Nohe smashes his board to bits but returns to the spot with a new board and nails the trick on film. v. JT and Adam are from the Carolinas but now live in New York. Push riders regularly crash at their Brooklyn pad. vi. Matt is given a ticket for illegally skating and is permanently banned from all public parks including Asheville’s only skate park. vii. Charles’ griptape reads, ‘We are the kids of hate and love.’ Nohe chills by the board he broke trying to film a wallride. viii. With no health insurance and a low-paying job, Rorey nurses a hip injury with prescription pain killers bought from a friend.

66 HUCK


viii.

67


ix.

68 HUCK


x.

xi.

xii.

xiii.

xiv.

xv.

ix. Molnar ended up with five staples in his head after he fell into a fireplace drunk on his birthday. x. Justin frontside boardslides a rail to warm up at the spot before trying to film a trick. xi. Skating gets placed on the back burner when Brunt (right) and Rorey (left) get sidetracked partying with friends in Atlanta, GA. xii. Luke tries acupuncture on a foot injury that took him away from skating for six months. xiii. Push Skate Shop owner Rob Sebrell (left) and crew scout out a spot on a filming mission to Charlotte, NC. xiv. George falls trying to kickflip a gap. xv. Rob ignores the ‘skateboarding prohibited’ sign after returning to a spot he got kicked out from under the cover of dark

69


70 HUCK


Between a hazy past and hyped-up future, Julian Casablancas steps out alone and finds room to breathe away from The Strokes. Interview Niall O’Keeffe Photography YSANYA PEREZ

Many great bands comprise one person who seems

This is you putting your own name on the record

I definitely had more freedom to do that, so it came

to resonate with the masses a little more than the

and being the focal point. How does the song-

out more like that just because I didn’t have guitar

rest. Take The Strokes. Despite the stellar line-up,

writing differ from The Strokes? Were there a

players waiting to play, you know what I mean?

one figure stands out: Julian Casablancas.

lot of pent-up ideas awaiting execution? I didn’t

After the New York quintet went on hiatus in

think like that before I started at all, but it was

Obviously the other members pursued their

2006, a succession of solo records has confirmed

definitely nice to be able to explore any possibilities

own projects. Was there a competitive element

the power of the big JC. The soft-rock of guitarist

I desired, y’know? With the band there’s definitely

that crept in when you saw what they were

Albert Hammond Jr inspired some indifference,

a little more... definitely parameters, whether it be

doing? I would say no. Not really. I mean, I don’t

while bassist Nikolai Fraiture and drummer Fab

what instruments people play or whether it just be

know, maybe subconsciously in my mind. But I

Moretti made similarly inoffensive records as,

people’s opinions. To be honest it was really fun to

don’t feel that.

respectively, Nickel Eye and Little Joy.

be able to follow an idea without being told it’s a bad songwriter,

idea. Not to say that I didn’t have bad ideas that I

How do you see the future in terms of keeping

Casablancas finally made a solo foray in late

scratched along the way – probably half of them

the two things going? Has the first one whetted

2009 – and delivered a lesson in humility to his

were. You know what? More than half. Probably

your appetite to do more solo records and

moonlighting band mates. Simply, Phrazes for the

eighty percent of what you do is not good. I think

continue that in parallel with the band? Possibly.

Young was the best record a Stroke had delivered since Room on Fire in 2003. Opener ‘Out of the Blue’ set the tone. After a burst of sci-fi synths, a Strokes-like jangle of guitar cued a trademark Casablancas vocal: half languid drawl, half anguished croon. The song told a story of soured success and thirst for vengeance, over the sound of various Strokes shifting in their seats. Over its eight-song span, Phrazes for the Young offered a rich mix of breezy melodies, complex time signatures and eighties-sounding keyboard riffs. Yet lyrically, it was a consistently downcast affair: ‘11th Dimension’, for example, found Casablancas muttering about “bootleggers and vultures” before deciding to “forgive them – even though they are not sorry”. One wondered how happy Casablancas was with life in The Strokes. The band has since reconvened to start work on a new album ahead of dates in the summer. Phrazes for the Young implied that they may have one or two issues to work through, and an interview with Casablancas ahead of its release deepened that impression. Sure, he was dismissive of questions on intra-band competition or difficulties – but also strikingly enthusiastic about the “freedom” that comes with working solo.

editing is probably the biggest part of it...

I mean, it could go a few different ways. It might get

Always

The

Strokes’

chief

absorbed in the band – or vice versa! I’m kidding. You’ve always been famously exacting with The

But I think I’ll always want to play Strokes shows

Strokes’ records. Did the same obsessive drive kick

and do Strokes records or whatever, but... it’s not

in with this record or did you feel less pressured? I

only me in the band.

would say it’s similar, or maybe even more pressure. You know, I think it’s not just that I’m obsessive...

Looking back, did you find it stressful when

It’s a desire to get everything right, for everything to

The Strokes blew up and became so famous?

be perfect, to be ready – yeah, that does take a lot of

Did being under such intense scrutiny wear

work. Maybe that’s obsessive, I don’t know. It’s time

you down after a while? I wouldn’t say so, no.

consuming for sure. But I think it really pays off in

Sometimes if you’re touring and you do a lot of

the end. Some people say, ‘You’re never happy’ or ‘The

interviews, it can be psychologically weird. You

record will never be finished until it’s ripped out of his

know that it’s going out to a wider view of people

hands’… It’s not like it’s never finished for me. I just

and it’s, like… It’s the questions that state facts to

think it’s taken a while to finish the ones that I’ve done.

you, over and over. It’s always like, ‘So, this record

I mean, I’m done with it, I’m happy with it. I can’t say

is so hard – are you aggressive because of this and

that about all the records I’ve done, because we’ve had

this and that?’ And about the same record, the next

deadlines and it was ripped out of my hands.

interview will be, ‘This record is so soft. Are you going soft now? Is it because you’re married?’ It’s

Is there a particular Strokes record that you wish

constantly having to be told what everyone thinks

you’d had more time with? Yeah, I think the last

about you. After a while, it’s like the opposite of

one, maybe, we could have worked on a little more...

what I would imagine psychiatry would do. Building up a bunch of ideas…

Was the solo record a chance to explore different

To be honest, touring – the travelling and the

musical influences? Clearly, some of it’s written on

playing and all that, that’s never been a big deal. I

a keyboard, there’s more eighties-sounding stuff…

always find I don’t mind that. It’s not a big deal. It’s

71


“if you play music with people for that long, there’s a certain musical chemistry.” just, sometimes the energy level dips below having

and then… It’s more complex than it seemed to me, but

Is that something you take pride in or do you

that constant drive of wanting to play music all

maybe I’m being overcomplicated. If people want to

view those kinds of statements with a jaundiced

the time, so you just – in your free minutes – start

see it that way, and people want to think it was so, I’m

eye? That sounds insane to me! But I love it.

watching TV just to decompress, and you go six

not going to dispute it, either. Again, I’m not a good

months without writing a song… That kind of thing

eyewitness because I don’t remember things so well.

of success you get is great.

Do you have a lot of material stockpiled for The Strokes’ next album? Yeah, yeah, we’ve got a

gets me personally frustrated. But… No. Any kind Was that because of the alcoholic intake at the

stockpile of stuff we’ve got to go through. Soon as I

time? I think a little bit of everything. In general,

can get everyone ready to go! I’m ready to go.

Obviously you were seen as leading lights of the New

I’m hanging out with people and I’m like, ‘Oh yeah,

York scene of the early part of this decade. When I

I saw that person three weeks ago’ and they’re like,

Is it always tricky to get those five personalities in

spoke to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs [in April 2009], Karen

‘That was two years ago.’ So I don’t trust my own

the room together? It has been, yes. It has been lately!

O said she’d moved to LA because she was grieving

memory. With some things I’m good. Faces: I can

the death of that scene. Do you feel that there was

remember random faces from ten years, twenty

Do you find the way the business has changed hard

something there in New York that you now miss, or

years ago, but my time memory is very weak.

to get your head round – the shift to downloading, the focus on live shows rather than records…? Do

was that never on your radar? Um [pauses]… What was on my radar was, I think, a small group of friends

Did shows change a lot when you cut out the

you feel you can go with it or is it something you

– I wouldn’t call it a scene, you know what I mean? It

drinking? You gave up alcohol a few years ago,

want to rail against? I think it’s been good. I think that

wasn’t like everyone had a certain kind of outfit and

right? Yeah... I think it made the behaviour a little

it’s good that there’s not that thing where there’s ten

haircut and always went to a bunch of different venues.

less whatchamacallit – it’s like a Catch-22: it’s like

albums that the record industry loves. There’re so many

To be honest, I don’t know. I don’t remember it so well!

you perform way better, technically, but don’t act as

different bands and so many ways to get heard, and the

I always thought they were trying to make more of a

kind of reckless, which people obviously love. You

Internet helps people have so much more eclectic taste

scene than there was, to be honest. But having said that,

walked onstage and you tripped and people kind of

as they’re able to get their hands on a lot of music. I

whatever little there was has changed.

liked that… But then at the same time, you get that

feel like there’s a lot of good stuff coming out. There’re

Manhattan has pretty much moved to Brooklyn.

wasted and the songs sound pretty terrible. So it’s

more good bands I think than ever in my lifetime, so I

I think Brooklyn is pretty much the centre of new

weird. Musical people will be like, ‘I thought the show

don’t think you could argue that it’s a bad thing.

music. I feel there’s more of a scene now, there’s so

was pretty terrible.’ And then tone-deaf people will be

many bands in New York and LA, everyone’s like,

like, ‘That was AM-AZ-ING!’ So it’s really, like, you’ve

With the freedom that you’ve had with the

‘Have you seen this band and that band?’ I don’t

got to pick your poison, and I think I’ve – well, I guess

solo project, do you think that going back to

remember that so much. Other than the Yeah Yeah

I’ve chosen not poison. That’s a terrible analogy, but I

the band full time is going to be, initially, a bit

Yeahs and us, and maybe like the Liars – but I didn’t

think you get naturally high if the music is really good,

challenging? No. I think it will be fine. If anything

even see the Liars that much – I don’t know. I mean, I

which is maybe even more kind of... I don’t want to say

it’s the other way round – that intuition…

guess The Walkmen too. But these weren’t people that

pure, but it feels better. Does that make sense? You know each other well enough by now, I

I personally hung out with, you know what I mean? In hindsight I can think of bands from New York

Do you foresee the different things you’ve done

guess. Yeah. I think if you play music with people

from that time that were cool. Maybe they all hung

on Phrazes for the Young carrying through to

for that long, there’s a certain musical chemistry.

out, I don’t know. When we first started there was a

what The Strokes do in the future? I think the

bunch of bands that no one really would know now, you

band will probably simplify things. And I think that

Do you see yourself ultimately ending up as a

know? But I wouldn’t say that ever grew into a scene.

sometimes that’s a good thing. It depends where I’m

Leonard Cohen figure, performing rapturously

We came out of that bunch of bands but I think we

at really, I don’t know. I think the point with the band

received shows to adoring fans the world over

came on so strong from the beginning that we would

is that it’s more of a group effort so I do the singing

while in your seventies? Um – I don’t know. I don’t

kind of… It’s not like we would make enemies, but I

part and the general music directing but I won’t really

think so, maybe. I mean, it’d be fun to do it for fun,

think people were like, ‘Wow.’ I think people were

tell people what to play. Maybe that’s been a problem

but I don’t know – I guess I would see that as ‘still

sometimes surprised at our vibe. So sometimes that

that’s made people go off and do solo records!

in my job’ perhaps. Is that weird to say? Still in my

can cause a little bit of competition. Because we’re all

primary job

friends and we started different bands and we’re like,

A lot of people are talking about The Strokes as

‘Yeah, go dudes!’ We’re playing with these guys tonight

the band that defined the noughties, musically.

72 HUCK

Phrazes for the Young is out now on Rough Trade.


73


An adventure-hungry pro surfing veteran heads to the Hawaiian Island of Molokai with no expectations, a curious mind and an overriding urge to hitch a ride. Text & Photography Jamie Brisick

’d heard much about Molokai: that it was

traffic lights and no buildings over two storeys high.

ahead,” then added that, “You’re lucky you have

sleepy, that the locals were friendly and

I drank a scrumptious banana, mango and

hospitable, that it was one part of Hawaii

pineapple smoothie at Outpost Natural Foods, asked

that had yet to be spoiled, thus I should get

a Crocs-wearing customer for directions to Hotel

Sis drove a raised brown Chevy Blazer and wore

there as soon as possible. I also heard that it was fully

Molokai and learned that it was two miles east. I

a white baseball cap and mirrored sunglasses. She

hitchhikable, which was enticing.

walked out to Hwy 450, stuck out my thumb, and got

was portly, soft-spoken and a mother-of-three. She

picked up by the second car that passed

waved to every car, person and dog that we passed,

If travel is about immersion, tossing yourself to

friends in Hawaii. This will be an important refuge for you when things get worse.”

worlds other than your own, then what better way to

John was a pony-tailed, Rutger Hauer look-alike

experience the Friendly Isle than by thumb? It was

who not only pulled his dusty Toyota Sedan into the

a whimsical decision, made late at night in a blurry

parking lot and dropped me off three steps from the

When I asked her about Molokai, she smiled and

state, but it was one I intended to stick to.

Polynesia-themed check-in counter, but also handed

pointed her finger downward. “My favourite place is

me his business card and told me to call should I need

right here,” she said.

I arrived into Molokai Airport on a sunny Friday morning, marched straight past the rent-a-car kiosks

anything during my three days on Molokai.

and exuded a satiated calm that suggested strong pakalolo.

“Do you get to the other islands much?” I asked.

and taxis, and turned right on the airport loop, where

From there it was one interesting encounter after

“No need,” she said, and added something about

a colourful sign greets arriving passengers with,

the next. Crystal wore a maroon hospital gown and a

the other islands being overpopulated. “In Oahu they

‘Aloha. Slow Down. This Is Molokai. Mahalo.’

white sun visor.

don’t even wave at drivers,” she grumbled. “It’s like

I aimed my thumb in the direction of town, and

“Excuse my face,” she said as I climbed into her

got picked up by the third car that passed. Roger

grey Sedan with various skin creams scattered about

drove a gold Nissan pickup, had long grey hair, and

the centre console. “I have skin cancer.”

the Mainland!” ‘Aunty’ had a pockmarked face and rotund body. She drove a rusted-out, mid-eighties Dodge Dynasty

was warm and chatty. Over the red rolling hills of

She looked to be in her sixties, and had swollen

with stalactites of loose fabric falling from the ceiling.

Hwy 460 he told me that Molokai was like stepping

eyes and purple scabs on her nose. She said she

I suspected something was slightly off when her

back in time, that the people here were incredibly

worked as a herbalist, and moved to Molokai “right

friend, a pinched-faced, toothless woman of about

self-sufficient and militantly anti-development.

after Woodstock”. She told me that “Molokai taught

thirty, was riding in the backseat not the front. She

me about forgiveness, made me get over my own

nervously twirled an unlit Kool between her fingers

stuff ”. She said that she hasn’t been “off-island” for

and asked if I had a light.

“Molokai folks don’t like change,” he said, as we passed a grove of spindly palm trees. He was kind enough to give me a brief tour of

three years and that she has no desire to leave. With

I have been on middle-of-the-day drug runs in

Kaunakakai, Molokai’s largest town, which consists

a kind of conspiracy theorist’s conviction, she said,

Oahu and there’s a certain nervous anticipation,

of an L-shaped strip of a dozen or so mom-and-pop

“Canada, the US and Mexico are going to get into it,

a flickering of eyes and looking over shoulders and

businesses. It was refreshing to see no chain stores, no

and there’s going to be some really heavy, dark times

peering into houses with menacing big trucks parked

74 HUCK


The battle for sovereignty is an ongoing one in Hawaii,

Jonathan Socher is the affable owner of Big Wind Kite Factory.

and Molokaians are at its forefront. They are fiercely

He loves introducing stressed-out mainlanders to kiting. “The

territorial, and make their opinions known on bumper

taut string releases all their inner pressure, they’re staring up at

stickers, T-shirts and signs placed in front of their homes.

the sky, wind whipping – it's a wonderful thing,” he says.

in front and blurting out, “Finally, those fuckers are

enchanted forest I arrived at Mana’e Goods &

Molokai’s fierce community activism could be

home!” that these girls clearly exuded. Nevertheless,

Grinds, a small convenience store/drive-in along the

glimpsed along the scenic stretch of Hwy 450, where

they went out of their way to drop me at my destination.

coastal road. I ordered a chicken katsu plate lunch

it seemed every tenth house was fronted by a protest

and sat down with it under a patch of trees. All was

sign. Most displayed a hand-painted, crossed-out

going well, the greasy, BBQ sauce-drenched chicken

windmill, in reference to the proposed wind farm on

here is something introspective and old

tasted splendid, until a primer grey 4x4 with a big

homestead land. One read, ‘Beware of missionaries

worldly about hitchhiking. It demands

bloody dead pig draped across the rear bed parked

dressed in green.’ Another, ‘Look. No touch!’

patience, humility and a willingness

not twenty feet away from me. Hunting, I would

to dive into conversation with people

soon discover, is huge on Molokai.

There were also startling contrasts. One lily white, well-kept home had a giant cross presiding

you’d never speak to otherwise. It also inspires a

From there I caught a lift into Halawa Valley,

over the garage. In the driveway was a mini van

peculiar self-consciousness. You see yourself as your

which is believed to be one of the earliest Polynesian

decorated with a similar cross on the hatch, and the

prospective ride might. Are my pants zipped up? Is my

settlements in Hawaii, dating back as early as 650

words, ‘1 cross, 3 nails, 4-given’. Directly across the

body language too humble/desperate/cocky? Have I

AD. It is impossibly lush and Edenic, with the

street, a neglected house suggested Satan’s workshop.

successfully veiled my inner serial killer?

double-tiered, 250-foot Moolua Falls on one side,

Rusted-out cars and discarded household appliances

And then there are all the oddities you find

and a cosy nook of a white sand beach on the other.

littered the overgrown front lawn. An Everlast heavy

strewn about the side of the road. At 45 mph all

The beach was nearly empty, save for a Hawaiian

bag hung from a tree, surrounded by a circle of plastic

looks fairly clean and well maintained, but on

family playing a leisurely game of touch football at

lawn chairs, a five-gallon Igloo beverage cooler, and

foot it’s a bit like taking a magnifying glass to your

the shoreline.

at least three BBQs. Next to it was a small pen full of

kitchen floor. I saw countless beer cans, li hing mui

Molokai is thirty-eight miles long and ten miles

(salty dried plum) wrappers, and Menehune water

wide, with a population of about 8,000. With the

The other thing I noticed is that it was exclusively

bottles. I saw a kid’s hand puppet made of Popsicle

exception of Niihau, it is the only island where

locals who picked me up. The modest, sun-faded

sticks and pipe cleaners, a Bartles & Jaymes wine

Hawaiians are the majority. It also has the highest

jalopies were on my team. But the shiny, spankin’

cooler bottle that looked to have been discarded

unemployment in all Hawaii, but the locals I spoke

rent-a-cars whizzed on by as if I were invisible.

around 1986, and a fingerless black leather glove

to didn’t seem too worried about it.

pit bull pups, yelping away.

That night was Aloha Friday at Hotel Molokai,

of the Michael Jackson sort. In a half-mile stretch

“We’d much rather stop the mini malls and the

and over a glass of Longboard Island Lager I watched

I saw a narrative: first a six-pack of Heineken and

condos and 20,000-square-foot homes,” explained

Na Kupuna, a band of a dozen or so ‘aunties’,

Coors lights, then an empty condom wrapper, then

Kolohe, an effusive, born-and-bred Molokaian who gave

sing smooth, lilting Hawaiian folk songs to the

a squashed pack of Marlboros.

me a lift back from Halawa Valley. “Preserving Molokai

accompaniment of guitars and ukuleles. Often a

is far more important than bringing over jobs.”

hotel’s presentation of the indigenous music is

Shortly after walking through a kind of serpentine

75


Aloha Friday at Hotel Molokai. This gorgeous woman hula dances from a seated position, her cane resting against her chair. While her lower body remains stationary, her arms flutter through the air like waves, telling stories, spreading a distinctly Molokaian brand of pixie dust.

watered down and mildly offensive, but this was

on the side of the road I realised that this was foolish:

the real deal. One stately senior citizen in a peach

I was hitchhiking to spite myself. If I was headed to

I followed them through a tunnel of trees to

dress and fashionable cowboy hat couldn’t stop hula

an unpopulated, touristic destination, and tourists

Kauleonanahoa, also known as ‘the phallic rock’. It

dancing in her seat.

didn’t pick up hitchhikers, then I was fighting a losing

needs no explanation, other than the fact that it’s

battle, swimming against the current as it were.

about the size of a VW bug, and that, according to

Saturday morning started out well. I woke to a

said one blonde paddler with a tattooed shoulder.

cacophony of crowing roosters and barking dogs,

I crossed the street, pointed my thumb in the

legend, if a woman visits with offerings and then

hit the Kamehameha V Highway at sunrise, and got

direction from whence I came, and got picked up by

spends the night, she’ll return home pregnant. I

picked up almost immediately by the first car that

the fifth car.

should also mention that the paddlers took turns

passed. Three middle-aged men in a beater Sedan

I rented a $49/day Toyota Echo from the affable

were headed to the same place I was. We arrived

agent at Hotel Molokai and beelined for the Kalaupapa

together at Kanemitsu’s Bakery, a Molokai treasure

Lookout (I’d long since missed my mule ride).

that’s been in the same family for nine decades.

posing for pictures, turning the rock into a sort of trophy horse. I then headed west to Papohaku Beach, a three-

The view was spectacular. From a cut-out in the

mile stretch that’s billed as the longest and most

I ordered a buttery croissant and a cup of coffee,

thick forest of the Pala’au State Park, I gaped over the

pristine in all Hawaii. From the car it looked idyllic:

which I lapped up from a bench across the street,

edge of a 1,500-foot cliff to the Kalaupapa Peninsula,

calm turquoise water, virgin white sand and not a

and duly noted the Hawaiian’s strong affection for

where the homes, structures and church of the

single person in sight. But the moment I opened

the jacked-up 4x4, often with ‘In Loving Memory

former leper colony can be seen from a kind of bird’s

the door I understood why. The wind was whipping

Of...’ stenciled across the tinted rear window. I saw

eye view. It is a curious piece of land. Not only was it

at full gale, the sand like pins and needles against

a decked-out Honda CR-X, an early eighties rust

created when lava erupted from the ocean floor, but

my legs.

bucket of a Mercedes-Benz, and heard Peter Tosh’s

it sticks out literally in the shape of a thumb, and sits

‘Legalise It’ blaring from an iridescent blue/purple

at the base of the world’s highest sea cliffs.

I drove through the old plantation village of Mauna Loa, built in the twenties to service the

Kalaupapa is Molokai’s biggest tourist attraction,

Dole Pineapple Company. Dole left Molokai in the

And then things took a turn for the worse. I was

which is ironic considering that, in the late 1800s, no

seventies and the town has a desolate, abandoned

headed north, hoping to reach Kalaupapa Lookout in

one dared go near the place. I was hoping to see it up

feel. The Town Cinemas, Molokai’s only movie

time to take a guided mule ride down to the renowned

close but there were signs forbidding ‘unaccompanied

theatre, was boarded up, as was the Molokai Ranch,

leper colony, when it suddenly occurred to me that

hikers’ from making their way down the switchback

KFC and Libby’s Drive In. But Big Wind Kite

not a single car had passed for over forty minutes.

trail. I did happen to meet the New Hope Paddle

Factory was open, and Jonathan Socher, the white-

There were cars headed the opposite way, into town

Team, a crew of eight vivacious female outrigger canoe

bearded proprietor, was gregarious and hospitable.

for the Saturday farmer’s market, doubtless, but my

paddlers, who were as entranced by the vista as I was.

He told me that “kite is good therapy”, and that

direction looked bleak. After two hours of standing

“There’s something else you should check out,”

one of his greatest pleasures is taking stressed-out

Toyota truck at seven in the morning.

76 HUCK


Situated conspicuously along Kamehameha V Highway, this is the stuff that never makes it into the tourist brochures. But this is Molokai – warts, palm trees, nationhood activists, luaus on Sundays and all.

“Not only is there nothing on Molokai,” he quipped, “but there’s huge amounts of it.” businessmen kite flying and watching “the tension in

salad. It recalled the old saying, ‘Hawaiians don’t eat

included a Congregational Church, Church of God,

the string release the tension in their body”.

till they’re full, they eat till they’re tired.’

Sacred House of New Jerusalem, Kingdom Hall of

I told him I’d been to Halawa Valley and

Jehovah’s Witnesses, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter

Kalaupapa Lookout, and asked what else I needed to see or do on Molokai. He told me to relax. “Not only is there nothing on Molokai,” he quipped, “but there’s huge amounts of it.”

Day Saints, Church of the Nazarene, Calvary Chapel n Sunday morning I returned to

and Seventh-day Adventist Church. Butted so close

my hitchhiking. In less than five

together as they were, I was reminded of a food court

minutes standing on the side of the

in a shopping mall.

That night I had dinner at Kualapuu Cookhouse,

Kamehameha V Highway, I caught

Molokai is fascinating in its simplistic, unhurried

an old plantation house turned into a casual, Hawaiian-

a lift with a young mom and her cherubic son in a

way. There are moments when it looks and feels

themed eatery. The menu was distinctly Molokaian: ‘If

beater pickup. I rode in the back alongside several

like ‘The Land of the Lost’, completely cut off from

you’re in a hurry,’ it read at the bottom of a list of fish

bags of recycled newspaper. The sun was balmy, and

the high-tech, celebrity-obsessed, dollar-driven

and meat dishes, ‘you’re on the wrong island.’ I asked

the wind smelled of the sea and plumeria flowers.

Mainland. And then there are other moments –

my grinning waiter what he recommended and he

We passed One Alii Beach Park, where an

specifically at Molokai Pizza Café where the tables

said that the hamburger steak was a favourite. It was

extended family was gathered around a picnic table

are filled with bucket-sized Cokes, X-large pizzas,

tasty. It was also the biggest plate of food I’ve eaten

under palm trees. We passed a black sand beach, where

and XX-large people – when it could easily be the

in the last decade: two ginormous patties covered in

a large tattooed man frolicked in the shorebreak with

Midwest, albeit with darker skin. Most of all, it’s

mushrooms and onions and slathered in rich gravy, two

a small child on his shoulders. Most memorably, we

great to know there are still places in the world where

scoops of sticky white rice, a mountain of macaroni

passed a half-mile long strip called ‘Church Row’ that

you can stick out your thumb and catch a lift

77


Top Row: Lovenskate Drink Tea Get Rad. Enjoi Whitey Panda. Chocolate Kenny Anderson. Element Timber City. Girl More Mary. ClichĂŠ Sean Cliver. Bottom Row:

78 HUCK


Almost Ăœber Light. Santa Cruz Jason Jessee Aquarius. Girl Mo Money, Mo Problems. Solitary Arts Piano Pinner. Blind The Blind Video. Dark Star DeCenzo Chopper

79


Big-mountain charger Jeremy Jones ventures out of the safety zone into greener pastures new. Interview Zoe Oksanen Photography TERO REPO

Jeremy Jones has been a tad busy of late. When we

to reach. I am now finally doing exactly what I want to

catch up in February, he’s just returned from a trip

do with movies, boards and more.

to Capitol Hill where, as the founder and face of Protect Our Winters (POW), he met with lawmakers

Protect Our Winters, the non-profit organisation

and Congress on the issue of climate change. Now

that you established in 2007, seems to be gaining

the big-mountain charger is back on home turf

momentum, what with your recent presence on

in Tahoe for a few days before heading to Europe

Capitol Hill to discuss the issue of climate change.

to showcase his new snowboard company, Jones

Did you get a good insight into the political forces

Snowboards, at goliath trade show, Ispo. But before

shaping an issue so close to your heart? It was intense

the political activism and entrepreneurial duties,

to see the inner workings of democracy on Capitol Hill.

Jeremy was venturing into newfound territory in

The people we met with had a strong passion for making

Antarctica, clocking up numerous first descents on

the country a better place to live and put everything

previously untouched peaks while filming for his

they had into their job. Their passion for democracy is

mould-breaking, two-year movie project, Deeper.

very similar to my passion for the mountains.

It’s exhausting – just thinking about the exploits of one of the most multi-faceted athletes of our time.

What is POW doing on a daily basis to educate

And yet, at thirty-four, Jeremy shows no signs of

people about climate change? Climate change is a

fatigue. In fact, it’s like someone put dynamite in his

complex problem, and Protect Our Winters is fighting

snowshoes as Jeremy continues to push snowboarding

it on many fronts, from getting formal education

into entirely new and untapped territory, showcasing

into schools so future generations learn about both

it as a survival sport and driving the renaissance of

the problems and the solutions of climate change,

freeriding around the world.

to supporting alternative energy projects, protecting a very volatile part of the Atlantic rainforest, and

It seems like you’ve entered a new phase in your

rallying our base to support key policies.

snowboarding career. Not only have you left long-term sponsor Rossignol to create your own

Jones Snowboards is carving out a new niche

snowboard brand, you’ve also upped your political

in the snowboard world as a producer of purely

presence with POW and pushed backcountry

freeride boards. Five years ago, that could have

exploration into a new heli-free realm. Are all

been a risky endeavour, but it seems that the

these things the outcome of a conscious decision

world of snowboarding is rediscovering its love for

or are they part of some subconscious evolution?

freeriding. Why do you think that is? The average

It is an evolution. With everything in my life I am

age of snowboarders goes up every year. The sport is

trying to gain more and more control of my world,

maturing and riders are learning that there is more to

surround myself with very passionate people and

snowboarding than just the park. It is important for

reduce my impact on the environment. I always knew

snowboarding to inspire these people to stay in the

I wanted to take my snowboarding further away from

sport by offering innovative products for riding the

crowds and into the vast unridden zones that are hard

whole mountain. The other growth I am seeing is with

80 HUCK


81

Jeremy Jones dropping into a 55-degree couloir in Livingstone Island, Antarctica.


“I always knew I wanted to take my snowboarding further away from crowds and into the vast unridden zones that are hard to reach.” split-boarding. Split-boarding is free once you have the

You are Snowboarder’s eight-time Big Mountain

night because the days were twenty-one hours long.

set up and riders are realising that great snowboarding

Rider of the Year. Having become synonymous

We would have huge days on snow hiking lines, and

and solitude are both lying right off the side of the

with the backcountry, does urban riding seem

then get back to the boat and watch these never-

road – if they are willing to hike for it.

like an entirely different sport? Urban riding is at

ending sunsets as we passed by the best mountains

the other end of the sport but the ethos is similar

in the world while watching whales.

Having always been involved in the development

to freeriding in the sense that, like freeriders, urban

of your boards with Rossignol, was starting

riders are not relying on resorts to get their fix and

You seem to be spending a lot more time hiking

your own board company an idea you secretly

there are no rules or guidelines to where or how they

and have even camped thirteen-thousand feet up

harboured for a long time? Up until a year ago, I had

ride. It is important for snowboarding to embrace

in the mountains to avoid being dropped off by

not given it much thought. I was looking for change. I

all facets of the sport. Recently, I’ve met a few split-

helis or sleds. Is this the way forward for you now?

wanted to be surrounded by people that had the same

boarders that have pretty much been involved in

Now that I have realised that world-class freeriding

level of passion for the sport as me and I really wanted

every aspect of the sport from urban, to pipe and

can be done without a heli or a sled, it has opened up

to give freeride boards the attention they deserve. It

park and now splitting, and I’m envious of those

the world to me. Everything is in play now whereas in

became clear to me that, in order to achieve my goals,

riders that have literally experienced it all.

the past we only had access to about five percent of a mountain range. My hit list of lines is now endless. So

I needed to start my own company. How do you feel about park kids who can put

my focus is on these areas. But I don’t want to claim I

There will always be cynicism surrounding

down a double cork yet can barely snowboard

will never get in a heli or use a sled again.

snowboard and surf companies’ claims that their

their way to the kicker? I call that ‘the lost art of

goods are environmentally friendly, as ultimately

the turn’. It is sad because I often see established

Do you ever go to drop in on a line and think,

we all know the products we use can’t be entirely

pros who want to evolve into freeriding but they

‘I’m not really feeling this right now’ and want to

green. How far can you actually go in attaining

have a bad turn and you cannot hide a bad turn when

bail? ‘Live to ride another day’ and ‘Just say no’ are

carbon neutrality in the production of snowboards?

filming freeriding. It is really only a problem in the

two things I say to myself hundreds of times when

All snowboards are toxic. We are committed to evolving

US. Every mountain in the US has a sick park with

I am looking at riding a serious line. If at any point

the manufacturing process and the materials we use to

its own lift so that kids never have to find their own

something does not feel right then I step down.

make a much less toxic snowboard, but I do not see us

jumps. In Europe it is much more raw and the riders

When stepping in to serious lines I need to turn all

making a one-hundred percent carbon neutral, cradle-

are much more well-rounded and can ride anything.

these no’s into yes’s. If I turn nineteen no’s into yes’s

to-cradle snowboard anytime soon. The other message

Guys like Nicolas [Müller], Gigi [Rüf] and Wolle

but the twentieth comes up short, then I step down.

we want to get out is that snowboards have a much

[Nyvelt] are good examples of this. One of the only

longer life than people realise. Many riders are buying

guys in the US that can hang on that level is Travis

How does your wife cope with the dangerous

new boards to have the latest graphic. This is why we

Rice and that has a lot to do with the lack of a park

aspects to your life? My wife has a lot of trust in my

have simple graphics that we hope will not fall out of

at his home mountain, Jackson Hole.

snowboarding, but it is still very hard for her. The

fashion like a lot of the flavour-of-the-month graphics

one downer about riding these lines on foot is that

do. We reduce our product’s footprint as much as

The trailer for Deeper, your movie project due

it takes a lot more time. Even if I am filming at home

possible and then offset the rest by giving one percent

out this Autumn, is pretty dramatic. Should we

in Tahoe it usually takes a night or two of camping

of sales to Protect Our Winters.

be expecting a lot of drama in the movie? The

to get a shot. For Alaska, my trips are twice as long

whole movie will not be as dramatic as the trailer. In

and I am out of touch most of the time. Using helis,

With all the big companies putting their marketing

parts of the movie, we are riding very critical lines in

I got to a point where I could shoot a video part in

budgets into freestyle and contest riders, we were

hard-to-reach areas making what we are doing very

two weeks if the conditions were right.

excited to see Jonaven Moore’s name listed as a

dramatic, but there will also be some fun-loving,

Jones Snowboards rider. Do you plan to create a

pillow-bashing pow.

full team of backcountry riders? Helping up-and-

Finally, we have to ask: does it drive you mad if people mix you up with Jeremy Jones, the rail

coming freeriders find a platform to show their skills

You’ve been blogging about your trips to places

dude? I do not get that much, but it does happen.

is very important for the sport and us as a brand. We

like Antarctica, which in particular sounded

It is something I have grown up with and has never

have a small team of freeriders that ranges from up-

like an unreal experience. How did it compare

made me mad. Jeremy is an awesome rider

and-comers like Ryland Bell to legends that are still

to your experience of remote parts of Alaska? It

charging like Jonaven Moore. You will see some fresh

was nature on acid. There was such a high density

www.60daysto.org

faces in my movie, Deeper, as well as the established

of sick terrain surrounded by wildlife everywhere. I

www.jonessnowboards.com

chargers that the snowboard media has passed up.

was so wired during that trip that I could not sleep at

www.oneill.com

82 HUCK


Photographer Niall O’Brien is capturing the superpowers of a renegade community of New-Age punks. Text Shelley Jones Photography Niall O’Brien

84 HUCK


85


“If I could have any superpower it would be flying, that would be so good,” says a sixteen-year-old punk kid called ‘Turkish’. “Just to be able to go anywhere you want at any speed you want and you could just, like, feel the air rushing past you. Just do whatever you want.” That was four years ago, and although most of us will lose the conversation of our youth to time and memory, Turkish’s will live on, immortalised by documentary filmmaker and photographer Niall O’Brien. But Niall never intended for his short-film project to last this long. He explains: “I wanted to get a group of kids together who had something in

But something changed, on an expedition to

common, skateboarding for example, and chuck

explore a derelict mental asylum, when police

them in a room, record a dialogue and that would be

turned up in search of the trespassers. “I kind

my piece… So we asked the kids what superpower

of gave myself up for them, and that was a huge

they would like and two of the kids, Turkish and

breaking point in our relationship… Twenty

Sul, started talking about flying. The way they

minutes after we broke into the place the police

talked about it was really beautiful, the way they

came and I basically hid [the punks] in a room

described it was kind of like escapism.”

and said, ‘Hey, look I’m a photographer’ and I got

Niall was so fascinated by the kids he met one

arrested… Suddenly they were ringing me to come

afternoon on Camden High Street that he kept in

and hang out and they were telling me things and I

touch with them on MySpace and began meeting up

became fun. Up until then I was a thirty-year-old

with them on their home turf in Kingston, South-

guy hanging out with a group of kids, and they were

West London, always with his camera ready and a

suspect, you know?”

fresh roll of film. “I remember trying to get in with

For an outsider, in both age and background –

the cool gang in school and it kind of felt like that…

Niall was “hip hop through and through” growing up

But at the end of the day all I give a shit about is

– gaining the access, intimacy and trust embedded

taking pictures and the fact that they were ignoring

in his portraits is extremely rare. But once Niall

me was to my advantage. They were doing their

had proved himself to the hotheaded youths, “a

own thing and I was literally the fly on the wall.”

gate opened” to an entire community, however

86 HUCK


“These kids are not fashion punks. They live and breathe it, but in a way that’s so unconscious and understated. They just don’t give a shit.” dysfunctional, of disenfranchised kids, like the

uniform. In that respect it’s not fashion, it’s the

gypsies came up asking for money. One minute

punks he met in Berlin through his young British

same thing every day. They don’t get up and figure

the kids were begging for money to get a beer or

muses. “Berlin punks are quite hardcore and the

out what studded belt they’re going to wear, it’s so

whatever, and the next minute they’re giving that

minute you have a camera they’re like, ‘Fuck off.’

unconscious. It is what it is… These kids are not

money to the gypsies, because they know where

And here’s me, I don’t look anything like them…

fashion punks. They live and breathe it, but in a way

they’re from. They know they’ve got families and

but the kids just said, ‘Don’t worry he’s with us’ and

that’s so unconscious and understated. They just

stuff, and they know these people don’t.”

that was it. For two weeks I was hanging out with

don’t give a shit. They don’t care about anything.

For Niall the project is nowhere near finished

punks from Israel, Mexico, America, Hamburg. I

They couldn’t be arsed to go to a punk gig. They’d

and, citing Larry Clark’s Tulsa as an inspiration – “It

was in these five-storey squat parties; massive big

rather spend the money on cans of beer… and that’s

was seven years in the making” – he wants to immerse

desolate areas with desolate buildings, like this shit

pretty punk in itself.”

himself even further by moving into a squat with the

you couldn’t even find, these locations, and they

As the rules of punk are kind of ‘there are no

punks and photographing them twenty-four hours

would set up a barbeque, with their dogs and their

rules’ the kids self-govern themselves and, despite

a day. But what’s the drive, the motivation, behind

rats – they all look fucking amazing.”

the antisocial rap they often get in society, Niall

this life-absorbing project? Says Niall: “It’s about

But for the kids in Niall’s photos, it is most

has found a lot of their morals to be pretty sound.

youth and reliving my youth and capturing youth…

definitely not about the look. “They make this huge

“A lot of their morals are quite hippie-ish. They all

It’s there, it exists, why shouldn’t it be captured? I’m

statement but they don’t intend to, it’s almost an

wear vegetarian Dr. Martens and they’ll never rob

captured by beauty all the time… I try to find the

anti-statement. You look at them and you think

from a local store – they’ll only steal from Tesco

beauty in things.”

fashion, hair, jackets but they’ve been wearing

and Sainsbury’s, you know. A lot of their attitude is

those same jackets for the past three years, it’s their

thought out. I was in Berlin with them and these

www.niallobrien.co.uk

87


88 HUCK


carbon-fuelled There’s a revolution brewing, people. And its name is DIY. So forget rising up and is industry cottage of breed factories and mass-produced tripe - a new e little innovativ these world, tter cookie-cu a in ty personali fighting back. Armed with the sheds, visits HUCK home. at stuff making and basics to back going are guys their mark. kitchens and spare rooms of five backyard innovators quietly making

TEXT SHANNON DENNY PHOTOGRAPHY GUY MARTIN

“There’s a lot of art and lifestyle and travelling and experimentation that goes with surfing,” says shaper Mark Roberts. “Being able to modify and build your own equipment is quite a big part of it. It was a backyard industry that turned into a big industry, and now it’s started to become a backyard industry again.” By way of example, Mark crafts his Glass Tiger boards in a shed. “Being a one-man band aids innovation because you can literally just go off on tangents,” he says. “In surfboards generally there’s a set formula, which for a long time was polyurethane foam and polyester resin. What I’m trying to do is break away from that a little bit. I think there’s a lot of scope to experiment with different materials and techniques that haven’t been applied yet.” With a background in 3D design and boat building, Mark’s main medium is wood. “Surfers are connected to the environment in quite a nice way. When you’re in the ocean it’s quite intimate with nature, so you do feel a little bit responsible,” he explains. He uses local oak and ash for rails, and poplar, beech or birch laminates for decks. “Wood is a beautiful material. A lot of times when you make a surfboard you’re using manmade materials to do something that natural materials can do quite well on their own.” So what does the future hold for Mark and his fellow DIY innovators? “At the moment there’s a lot happening. I feel like there are a lot of people like me just working, whittling away and coming up with something very different.”

www.glass-tiger.com

Mark wears Jeans Etnies, T-Shirt Howies, Shirt Insight.

89


six-foot and a real boy shape. r find a readymade wetsuit to fit. “I’m Newquay’s Elsie Pinniger could neve shoulders, let in water and and waist says. Men’s suits gaped around the I’ve always worn boy wetsuits,” she was nothing on the market there d foun too short and girlish. “I just kept her cold, but female versions were baby blues, all very flower y,” she for the teenage market – pinks and for my age group. The designs are all plain, really black. So I designed it.” says. “I just wanted something really seven years as a surf instructor, enge, with a pedigree that included She was perfectly poised for the chall top soft furnishings firm. “I put Curl and a day job sewing for the area’s freelance stints in marketing for Rip to make.” making stuff myself – stuff I wanted all those things together and started cks but also for her flawlessly ts in the water not just for her cutba Before long she was getting complimen its in a workshop five minutes from over a year ago she started Neon wetsu fitted retro-flavoured suits, so just seams. y busy running up suits and gluing down Fistral Beach. Here she stays constantl she observes. “Once you tell them familiar with because it feels safe,” “A lot of people buy brands they’re g something that’s different to havin t abou ed want they get so excit they can have almost anything they the market. It’s really nice to be , like I did, that you just can’t get on everyone else. People want something able to provide that.”

www.goodneon.co.uk

e dress Neon, Jeans Howies.

Elsie wears Handmade & Homemad

90 HUCK


91


92 HUCK


Wax has a way of working itself off your board and into the water, where it can harm organisms that make the ocean their home. It’s this sad fact that inspired Paul Hill to launch Hills Organic Surf Wax three years ago. “With surfing you’re connected to the planet a bit more. It’s a natural phenomenon, the ocean. It’s always around you and you’re more aware what lives and dies in it,” he says. “I wanted to do something to lessen my footprint.” The hub of Paul’s cottage industry is his Pembrokeshire kitchen, where he blends virgin coconut oil, beeswax and pine resin according to his own formula. “I’m not a chemist or anything so there was a lot of trial and error. We’ve had exploding wax, wax all up the kitchen – you learn as you go along,” he grins. Paul has a bit of a punk ethos, so the explosions and errors are well worth it. “You get quite a buzz when you see someone buying a block of wax and using it. You think, ‘I made that in my kitchen and someone’s surfing on it!’” he says. “What we do is all natural, it’s our own process from start to finish and everything is lovingly handmade. There’s a part of me in every block.” And while surfing has brought him closer to nature, the homemade wax enterprise has brought him closer to surfing. “When conditions are not good you just stay inside and make a load of wax. When conditions are good, you go and test it!”

www.hillsorganicsurfwax.org.uk

Paul wears Jeans Alotment, T-Shirt Insight, Hoodie Finisterre .

93


As adept upcyclers, Chris and Katie Hartop are practised in the art of envisaging new uses for redundant objects. Keen to lend resources, otherwise destined for landfill, a new lease of life, they launched an initiative called Oddsocks. “We came across a bit of fabric one day and thought, ‘That would make a good board sock,’” Katie says. Seeing a bright future for the cast-off orange curtain, the couple bought some unbleached canvas sailcloth. “We wanted something that was eco-friendly without too much of an impact,” she explains. In line with their make-do-and-mend attitude, she then sourced a used sewing machine. “It’s not electric, it’s a handwound one. It cost about fifteen quid on eBay. The lady who had it was in her eighties, and it used to belong to her grandma!” Armed with ancient machinery, reclaimed fabric and eco canvas, Oddsocks has been crafting drawstring surfboard bags for about two years. “We try and make each one as different as possible,” Katie says. The bags – which Chris describes as “one-off pieces of art that just happen to be functional” – suit surfers who ride hand-shaped sticks and like a bit of individuality in their kit. “Surfing for a lot of people is about soul and headspace and originality. I don’t see that mass production of anything can provide originality and personality,” says Katie. And she claims that’s not the only benefit handcrafting has over assembly line gear: “If you’re enjoying what you’re doing it shines through in the end result.”

www.oddsocks.moonfruit.com

Katy wears Hoodie Etnies, Chris wears ShirtPatagonia, T-Shirt Seed, Jeans Alotment.

94 HUCK


95


96 HUCK


g beanies during a ski season in Born in Quebec and raised in Florida, Kikine St-Jean started crochetin the hat,” she says. “I think I’ve make to myself taught I Chile. “Someone taught me a few stitches and for me to do.” thing perfect a was it so me in streak creative a always had offering twelve style options These days she makes bespoke beanies for board riders around the world, number of rows of colours,” the to down c, specifi really be and any combination of fifty colours. “I try to what they wanted, exactly exactly get and own their design can they that fact she says. “People like the what they had in mind.” in thirty minutes. “I don’t want While a single beanie at first took four hours, she can now produce one I don’t want to get to where beanies. the making me with it keep to like “I’d to be huge,” she says though. much.” somebody else has got to make them – I don’t think I’d like that very have it any other way. “I just love Being a one-woman show keeps her constantly busy, but she wouldn’t something I love doing so much.” doing from money some make actually can I it. Honestly, I feel so lucky lot of people buy into the name “A ion. competit corporate the from apart work her sets passion This of K Beanies. “It’s your own rather than the actual product,” she says, in contrast to the crafted quality special.” be to got That’s it. hat – you designed www.kbeanies.co.uk

Kikine wears T-shirt Quiksilver Women, Beanie Kbeanies.

97


1267$56 “A HORRIBLE ALBUM THAT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO LISTEN TO. AND I MEAN THAT. I DON’T HAVE EARS. PUT ME BACK IN THE DIRT.” – AN EARTHWORM

ENJOYED BY ALL LIVING THINGS WITH EARS. Introducing 1% For The Planet: The Music Vol. 1, featuring Jack Johnson, Mason Jennings, Jackson Browne, and more. All proceeds benefit 1%’s continued efforts to make the planet a more beautiful place. Visit music.onepercentfortheplanet.org to listen to exclusive tracks.


Lister vs. Frost Artists takeover.

Wabi-sabi

A philosophical approach to imperfection.

Jack Johnson

Plugging in and rocking out.

Photography: Mark Leary.

Back Pages The

99


Jack Johnson d is back an he’s all p. u d e k n u p When you think of Jack Johnson,

built-in microphones, around with built-in microphones, around

enough that you can. In Brazil,

Bay how it is... But even people

you don’t think ‘punk rock’. You

recording ideas ideas on on with me and recording

for instance, how can we expect

who were opposed to a hotel

think daydreams, palm trees

then bringing bringing camping trips and then

them to when they are struggling

going there originally have now

and campfire sing-alongs – and

would build build the ideas to life. I would

for equality? It’s a good

accepted it. I’m sure if five new

that’s not very punk.

guitar and and the drums and bass guitar

argument. The bottom line of

ones went in, the next generation

Thing is, deep down, Jack

vocals –- itit was was really really garage-y. garage-y.

the book is that we need to help

in however long will just get used

Johnson is punk rock. Punk rock

vocals from from It sounded like the vocals

these countries out economically,

to it. Still, most people who live

as fuck, in fact – even without

the Strokes The Strokes and it came out like

get them to a place where

out there and a lot of the tourists

the tattoos and leather uniform.

found a a way way to to garage rock. We found

everybody has the luxury to think

who come to Hawaii agree that

For starters, the guy is truly

of energy energy hold on to that kind of

about the environment on that

it is nice to have a place that

Odo, name Nicolas Le DIY. Hereal built his two recording

a freelancer, stuffOdo thatknows we and As [added] the stuff that we

he already plans to take There ishas level. a lot of truth to it.

represents that natural beauty

Borgne,with has his come longhands, way studios ownabare

the importance of takingtones. on acoustic tones. I already do with acoustic

his artwork directions. There are a in lotnew of things that “I

of Hawaii still, it’s nice to have

from writing graffiti the streets to record songs heon wrote for

jobs as and when ititended up. Ilike likewhere where endedthe up.offers

would end like to up oil painting could uptake happening where

those pockets. Because a lot of it

of Bayonne. He currently works albums released through his for

come in. But far from bowing

in the future,” he says. “And I’d people start community gardens,

has been developed on Oahu, it

one of surfing’s most own record label. Herespected speaks

What people who to the about powersthe of commerce,

also like to locally, work on authoring grow food come at it from

makes logical sense not to create

brands and this year he will host for progressive out social and

arealso expecting the Jackto he sets time aside

and angle. creating a children’s book.” that I think it would be

another Waikiki on the opposite

his first ever solo exhibition. environmental change. He helps

formula? A concentrate on personal work. Johnson acoustic

If Odo the balance healthier forkeeps the environmental

side of the island. I’ll definitely

Le Borgne adopted the the children from the Hawaiian

musicians will listen toOdo tones, This see lot ofDecember

between business and creativity movement to be re-framed as

keep doing what I can to support

moniker Odora after tagging neighbourhood he grew up in,

people, when hosting first ever solothey show but mosthis

going, more than likely to be a thingthey’re that wasn’t so much

the idea of not [developing]

it onone the he walls of his native city the never left. He stands

listen to music,after they developing either like at Spacejunk,

worth the wait. David about money. WhenMcNamara I talk about

there. There has been a lot

but latercorporate shortenedgreed, it to Odo for against and

it or they relationship don’t. I’m curious. The a strong with the

the solar panels on my studio,

of positive preservation work

convenience. he’s swapped holds the richNow, accountable.

one centre, song that sticks with people arts which boasts no

www.spacejunk.tv sometimes people say, ‘That’s

there. Some of the battles have

spray cans Remind youfor ofwatercolours anyone? Theto

fromthan the first is ‘At Or With less fourlisten galleries across

great that you can afford it.’ I

definitely been won.

create intricate worlds Clash? Stiff Littlefantasy Fingers? Minor

has the electric France. “I presented my work to Me’ which

understand that aspect. But I

and mystical creatures that he Threat? Bad Brains?

morefor curious than Spacejunk in 2008 a series of guitar… I’ll be

feel that’s dangerous. Anybody

Do you see yourself as

believes macabre HUCKpossess took the“amaestro of surf

seethe how people group shows,”tosays twentymost people

who can afford it should go

politically engaged? What are

edge”. Ittodidn’t take long for melody The Bowery in New

far,amazed it seems at alright. five-year-old, how react to it. Sostill

ahead, take the time to do what

your thoughts on Obama?

companies notice Le Borgne’s former to York, home of CBGB and

quickly an offer to fly solo came

they can with it. But there are so

He’s from Hawaii and we get

unique talent. “Iof work forrock, Billabong the birthplace punk to

Do youin. think the ‘green’ rolling “I was totally surprised

so many other aspects that has many other aspects that have

protective of each other, so

as aabout freelance graphic designer,” talk his new release, To The

movement has been hampered when Jérome Catz [Spacejunk

more to do with where our food

I’ve got his back. But I’ve kind

says because Le Borgne.for “I create Sea, the firstdesigns, time in

by the financial crisis? There founder] asked me to do my is

is coming from. Hopefully things

of disengaged from it. I’ve

illustrations T-shirts and his eighteenfor million album-selling

thatsolo danger in Ienvironmentalism first show. was thinking I’d

will get re-framed through the

been writing and stuff. Before

typographies. I also work for career, Jack Johnson is rocking.

thatone we in are2012 getting associated do or 2015!”

whole process.

the election I was sucked into

Billabong’s marketing department,

with ‘if you can afford it’. But Spacejunk will host an

What dotheir you look thinkbooks.” people creating people will will

there mayatbe some positives art show mammoth winter

Saving the neighbourhood

mine met Bob Dylan and his

make of youBillabong, rocking out Besides Le on this this

that come out of this… sports tradeshow ISPO There 2010,

seems more realistic than

only advice was, ‘Don’t read the

record, withscored big guitar solos Borgne has a bunch guitar solos

is a great book I read which is rumoured to called feature

saving the world. What’s

newspaper or watch the news.’

and the like? It’s gonna fun of commercial deals thatbe are gonna be fun

Break Through Michael Odo’s artwork,by but the artist is

happening on the North

It has been frustrating to watch,

for mytomusician to likely leave hisfriends bank balance friends to listen listen

Shellenberger and Tedabout Nordhaus, remaining tight-lipped any

Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, on

but who knows, it could have

to. For the first time I took guitar looking pretty healthy. “I’ve took guitar

who also wrote theproject: manifesto involvement in the “I really

the development front? Your

been worse. Tim Donnelly

solos – afor lead, solo, whatever worked other brand namesyou whatever

The Death of Environmentalism. can’t say much about that for the

home is always tricky because

you call it.had I’veDivision had guitar suchit. as Cell and PTB,” call I’ve little little guitar parts

Their whole that to ISPO moment. I’vetheory never is gone

there’s always politics involved.

To The Sea is out June 1 on

parts before, but not likeOne this.of he says. “I recently designed before, but not like this.

environmentalism, the whole and right now I’m only thinking

But politics is in everything. With

Brushfire Records, and the

One oftrophies the fun for challenges of some the the fun challenges of EuroSima this record

concept, something you think about myisone-man show.”

the growth of the Turtle Bay

worldwide tour kicks off in April.

this record taking thiscover little Waterman’s Balllittle andfour-track the was taking was this

about when you get to a place Though Le Borgne has not

Resort, I think most people in the

four-track thing, battery powered for thebattery Hawaii Surf catalogue.” thing, powered with

where you are comfortable yet completed his first exhibition,

the community like Turtle the Turtle community like the

100 HUCK

reading everything. A friend of

www.jackjohnsonmusic.com


If you dig

TO THE SEA check out…

Mason Jennings The Honolulu-born troubadour, now touring Blood of Man on Johnson’s Brushfire Records, has gathered a loyal following with his simple-yet-catchy melodies over eight albums. www.masonjennings.com

Beth Orton BRIT Award winner and Lilith Fair favourite Beth Orton has carved a career out of tearinducing elegiac love songs and is currently touring the US and working on her fifth studio album. www.bethorton.co.uk

Ben Harper Johnson’s close friend is a two-time Grammy Awardwinning blues rock icon and devoted political activist. Harper is currently touring White Lies for Dark Times with his new band, Relentless7. www.benharper.com

Iron and Wine Samuel Beam’s folk ditties – including that Postal Service cover – often find their way onto movie soundtracks and hit US TV shows but it’s Dorset they’ll light up this summer for the End of the Road Festival. www.ironandwine.com

G Love and Special Sauce The alternative hip hop blues style, currently touring Long Way Down, were one of the first signings to Brushfire Records and feature in Johnson's surf documentary, Thicker Than Water. www.philadelphonic.com

Photography: Hilary Walsh.

collective with a laid-back

101


Kapow by Ben Frost.

Other artists appearing at

Kicks N Canvas…

INSA British street artist INSA has a thing for the ladies – and feet, it seems. His signature print, featuring magenta high heels, should make a fitting statement when he customises a pair of Nike kicks at this forthcoming London event.

Goldie Seminal drum and bass artist Goldie has been a prolific force on the UK graffiti scene since the early eighties and took part in Britain’s largest graffiti battle alongside Massive Attack’s Robert ‘3D’ Del Naja. Expect wild style tributes and some old-school skill. This man is a veteran.

Mr Jago As a founding member of the Scrawl Collective, Bristol’s Mr Jago has earned his fair share of kudos. His more recent work is like a graffitiinspired fine art dream – as if Expressionism collided with spray cans in some futuristic land – while classic Mr has a robotic twist.

Dan Baldwin Dan Baldwin’s caustic i-Tattoo by Anthony Lister.

collages are full-blown narratives of the painterly kind. Disney characters dance with crucifixes, skulls and clowns play with kittens and birds. Baldwin’s world is mad and bold, so prepare your eyes for a visual assault.

102 HUCK


Australia n artists Anthony Lister and Ben Frost go head to h ead. Anthony Lister’s art scares the

that was brought up in the last

Picasso and Matisse, Cubism

or barely even see them, so it

shit out of me. Not only because

ten years to somehow describe

and all the motions and

sort of glorified the fact they

it’s like the dream of a deranged

what is happening, but I think

vibrations of the collective

were famous. So I think maybe

Walt Disney meets Charles

everybody is coming out of

aesthetic consciousness. It’s the

as a separated Western entity

Manson, but because behind

that now and trying to distance

101 monkeys thing. But at the

we’re almost even more brain-

this uncooked aesthetic lies a

themselves from the past five or

same time, when you’re making

washed – at least I think I was,

truth. Ben Frost’s imagery is just

six years.

work around people you are

being an Australian raised on

plain evil. It’s pop culture in all

Lister: It’s like ‘metal’ music or

inspired by, as much as you find

American television. It was so far

its whored glory, illegitimate and

‘bestiality’ in porn – once it’s got

familiarities with their work, only

from my reality it had this aura

smutty. But it’s the message that

a title then it’s got an identity

you as an artist will survive twenty

of this extra-far, out-of-the-way

makes their pieces so prodigious.

and it’s part of fashion so it can

years of either accepting or

challenge – which is maybe

It makes you stop being lazy and

wear out. Personally, it doesn’t

dismissing influence. Ultimately,

even more of an attraction.

compels you to think. Hailing

really matter to me, as long as

it’s about the work – your line will

Frost: I agree, I think it’s that

from that forgotten state of

there is a real community of

always come through. As hard

disillusionment of getting older

Queensland on Australia’s east

artists, you know. Whether it’s

as you try to replicate or be in

and meeting that famous band

coast, Lister and Frost are at the

Surrealists or Dadaists it’s just

on something, it’s got to come

and they’re just normal people

forefront of the so-called lowbrow

a group of people that make

naturally and this is what I admire

and it’s like something in your

art movement – a dirty aesthetic

stuff, really.

about your work, Ben.

soul crumbles when you realise

that’s being welcomed off the

Frost: I don’t think anyone

HUCK: So where are Ben Frost

that. It’s almost as if there’s no

street and warmly embraced by

champions a cause unless they

and Anthony Lister going?

hope left in the world.

international galleries. They’re

are desperate to be a part of

Lister: I see Ben Frost going to

Lister: It’s almost like seeing

not big fans of staying inside

something. I don’t think you or

hell.

your dad cry or have sex with

the lines. So instead of doing

I are desperate to be a part of

Frost: Yeah, I’m going nowhere.

the dog, and you’re like, ‘No, it’s

something conventional like

anything – we have always tried

Lister: I’m going to the shops to

not real!’

interviewing them, we kicked

to be a little outside of what’s

get more beer.

Frost: What, having sex with

back, relaxed and let them

happening everywhere.

Frost: I think it’s interesting that

a dog?

interview themselves.

Lister: I just try to be like Ben

Anthony and myself came out of

Lister: We started on dogs,

Frost as much as possible.

Brisbane with a bunch of other

we’ll finish on dogs. Kieran, you

Lister: How’s it going, Ben, how’s

Frost: Doesn’t everybody?

crew. Being Antipodeans it drives

can call the interview ‘Dog Eat

the dog?

[Laughs] I mean, I’ve got a

you harder. It’s an Australian

Dog’. I would love to be the guy

Frost: Yeah, it’s good. Actually

studio here, with five or six of

thing – we feel like we need to

that writes the headlines on

we just cut its balls off. He’s gone

us and we’re all trying to do

work harder.

newspapers. Kieran Burke

really paranoid and weird.

the same thing but in different

Lister: It’s funny, I was having this

Lister: Why did you cut his balls

ways. I think it’s about the

conversation with a guy in a bar

Anthony Lister and Ben Frost

off, Ben?

education of an artist and how

last night and we were talking

will be painting live at Kicks

Frost: Ah... Just because he’s

they perceive what’s going on

about how far away the dream

N Canvas presented by

getting way too intense.

with other artists and how they

was when you were living in

SoleHeaven at a secret London

Lister: Ben, what are your

fit into that. If an artist is smart

Australia. If you had a favourite

location, April 8-25.

thoughts on being pigeonholed

they will try and be different to

band or favourite skateboarder,

in the whole lowbrow street art

everyone else.

the fact that they existed was so

www.kicksncanvas.co.uk

scene?

Lister: And I think this has

so far far from from your your reality, reality, youyou could

www.soleheaven.com

Frost: I think that was a term

happened over time with

could write never neverthem writeathem lettera letter

www.zerocoolgallery.com

103


If you dig

Photog ra Mark Le pher a capture ry the min s u of a su tiae r everyd fer’s ay life.

SALT AND WAX check out…

44 Photographs – Trinidad Stephen Gill, Nobody

This book, put out by Stephen Gill on his own publishing imprint Nobody, features

Mark Leary is an ordinary kind

the various characters, both old

images of ‘radness’ the average

forty-four loose C-type prints

of guy. He’s hugely talented –

and young, that make up the surf

surfer rarely comes across. Not

within the shell of a 1964

don’t get me wrong. But when

community and contradict the

everyone can do 360 airs or

publication. Get one of

it comes to taking pictures,

surfer stereotype. Look at me –

ride tiny thrusters, but glamour

115 signed and numbered

this award-winning British

I’m the wrong side of thirty, a bit

sells – if the magazines were

copies while you can.

photographer has an eye for

overweight and have been living

full of cruddy days, nobody

the ordinary – only he manages

in London for fourteen years.

would buy them. However, this

to make quotidian details look

That’s diminished my surfing

emphasis can influence people

Early California Surfriders

anything but mundane. In his

opportunities, but I still love to surf.

and not always in a good way.

Doc Ball, Pacific Publishing

People seem to forget surfing

If you’ve got a thing for

second book, Salt and Wax, Leary captures the essence

You must have met some

is about fun and being an

yesteryear, surf photography

of UK surfing through his own

interesting people through

individual. You do not have

doesn’t come more classic

modest and benign style, by

creating the book…? The

to look a certain way or be a

than this. John Heath ‘Doc’

documenting the workaday

two most inspirational surfers I

certain age, you can be any

Ball’s archives may have

situations surfers come across

photographed were a belly-

age and ride any board – an

been washed away in a

in their daily lives and the broad

boarding eighty-year-old woman

air matt, a belly board, long,

flood in 1964, but this 1946

cross-section of characters

called Dot, and Gwynedd

short or whatever and be

epic is his enduring tomb.

that make up today’s surfing

who was the first Women’s

whoever. I wanted to capture

tribe. HUCK caught up with the

British Surfing Champion in the

the reality of being a UK surfer,

pragmatic lensman in Newquay,

sixties. Dot is the most stoked

the everyday minutiae of life.

Cornwall, to get under the skin of

and enthusiastic surfer I have

The book is about what makes

Surf Photography of the 1960s and 1970s

surfing’s less glamorous side.

ever met and Gwynedd, who

a surfer smile – like the smell

LeRoy Grannis, Taschen

must be sixty-plus now, virtually

of wax, a good forecast for the

When LeRoy Grannis picked

What was the inspiration

ran off to go surfing while I

weekend or the anticipation

up the surf documentarian

behind Salt and Wax? I was

was photographing her. She

while driving to the beach. The

gauntlet in the sixties, he

visiting a friend at his office in

wears an ill-fitting old wetsuit

book celebrates the sacrifices

quickly became a hallmark

South Devon and he had a

and two swimming caps to go

so many of us make to fit surfing

of California’s Gidget-era

surfboard leaning against the

surfing, so she is far from your

into our lives.

scene. This iconic collection

wall in his office. On impulse, I set

average Roxy girl. But the first

up my camera equipment and

wave I watched her catch she

Do you think surfing in the

archives to retrieve a capsule

photographed the scene. When

bottom turned beautifully, then

UK is special? I have family in

of a time before the fall.

I developed the photo, I really

gracefully walked to the nose

Queensland, so I have been

liked it and decided to do other

of her longboard as she surfed

lucky to spend a lot of time there,

Tracey Moffatt

similar shots. I had been living in

the wave with style and class,

surfing the points of Noosa.

Tracey Moffatt, Institute of

London for fourteen years and

shattering my expectations.

I’ve also been to Costa Rica,

Modern Art

Morocco and all over mainland

For political punch and issues

whenever I come back from a

dips into his personal

surf trip, I have to dry my wetsuit

Do these images of ordinary

Europe but there are places in

aplenty, Tracey Moffatt should

and store my board somewhere,

folk and everyday scenes

Scotland and Cornwall I would

be your artist of choice.

so that provided the opportunity

carry a deeper comment

not swap for anywhere else. I am

In this definitive collection

to take more photos like the

on society? Over the twenty

spending more time in Cornwall

she pulls her favourite

one in the office. After those

years I have been surfing, the

now, I find the landscape so

subjects – gender, class, race,

first few shots I started to realise

mainstream surf media has

beautiful, and the light so

colonialism – together with a

there was a story to be told. So

emphasised performance

inspiring but, most importantly, I

tragicomic twist.

I moved on to photographing

and glamourised surfing with

get to surf more. Mark Sankey

104 HUCK


105

Photography: Mark Leary.


the black kurtkeys vile Childish Brothers ProdigyV2/Co-op Matador AsThe a solo Black artist, Keys Kurtgot Vile,so who good. day-jobs Realising as thethat guitarist the in grungy, indie rockers bluesy The two-piece War On Drugs, thingiswould a singer-songwriter lead them straight who sounds downasa cul-de-sac, if he was breast-fed they went The classic Velvet Underground rhythm‘n’blues and with Richard their Hell. last, Danger He’s rough, Mouse-produced electric, fervent,album from Philly and but they’ve drawls expanded like a New Yorker, on that andidea only here, if you with ripped equal off allsuccess. the gorgeous Album sonic number slop six that begins he muddies with a his gospel-style songs withbanger would you called hear‘Everlasting something approaching Last’ that Bon front-dude Iver. It’s a deserved Dan sings signing in falsetto, to thethen excellent they Matador move onto Records John after Lee Hooker-like a lower-key debut boogie, in 2008 scorching – least trad not because rock and you’llvintage hear him soul. sayIt’s “sheeeeeeit” beautiful like stuff, he’s allClay recorded Davis in at The theWire. legendary Great record, Muscle and Shoals Kurt Vile studio is actually in Alabama. his real name. Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin and The Staple Nice. Phil Singers Hebblethwaite cut many of their best tracks there and their spirit has rubbed off. Brothers is as tight as a nun’s proverbial: there just isn’t a bad song on here. Phil Hebblethwaite listen

the Melvinscolor awesome

listen

Massa Hypnos Chicken Switch Ecstatic Ipecac Peace An it ain’t broke…’ trio album originally (now On ‘if paper, a Melvins remix is a from reallyDetroit annoying andBrooklyn) whose take on the Stooges, Sonicrockers Youth and psych rock is in unnecessary idea, but these sludge inspire and, mlace, done In their ownand way, they’re a goodwith way,feral andpower. often most mental foul. PH actually quite arty, but never at the expense of being raw and loud. This third album doesn’t piss around with the formula. There are long, wig-out tracks here, sharper attempts at Dinosaur Jr-like college pop, and you again end up delighted that someone got it right, as Beavis once said. PH

kid sister Pens

Hey Friend What Ultraviolet You Doing?Asylum De Stijl Some from when Vice magazine says on the bumph that You fear dude the worst albums get chronically delayed comes Pens’Rebirth), debut that they’re bestofnew (see Lil with Wayne’s but in thethe case Kid British Sister band Take a bow, although youth (thearound. only artist with ‘Kid’buddy, in her because name that’s any good), counts for something, it The never excuses making all’s turned out a-okay. best stuff on here Hoxton is pure bunkum of an order high as this. Forbeats thirty coupled seconds, Chicagomusic – throbbing jukeas and hip-house are okay live,clumsy but theirbut record is so intensely thestyle. half withPens Melisa’s slightly super-cute rhyming hour of your you lostatlistening to it. Avoid, dog shit.but PH A couple of life attempts pop flop, but you like can’t help really like her nonetheless, even if you sense she’s missed the party. PH

ganglians

listen

106 HUCK

listen

Monster Head Room Souterrain Transmissions One of those lo-fi, sunshiny bands from people who are hi-tech and don’t see much sunshine. You know the thing – jingly jangly-sounding and suited to computer speakers, but actually quite reedy and thin. Still, much to enjoy here from the Sacramento natives: Beach Boys harmonies, Phil Spector-inspired production and classic candy pop/rock songwriting about going to the grocery store and doing acid, not necessarily at the same time. At an hour long, though, you end up drowning in treacle. PH


PLUS SPECIAL GUESTS

MOJAVE 3

TUESDAY 29 JUNE

CARDIFF INTERNATIONAL ARENA WEDNESDAY 30 JUNE LONDON O2 ARENA

BUY ONLINE AT LIVENATION.CO.UK

029 2022 4488 / 0844 856 0202 JACKJOHNSONMUSIC.COM / BRUSHFIRERECORDS.COM NEW ALBUM ‘TO THE SEA’ DUE JUNE 1 A LIVE NATION PRESENTATION


tetro Director: Francis Ford Coppola It’s crazy to think that Francis Ford Coppola’s reputation as a giant of American cinema rests on just four films produced back-to-back in the space of seven years, from The Godfather in 1972 to Apocalypse Now in 1979. And then? Nothing. Creatively speaking, at least. Coppola’s career seemed destined to dwindle into insignificance, but his reinvention with Tetro shows the return of the artist we thought was lost. Black-and-white, shot in Buenos Aires with Vincent Gallo and doe-eyed newcomer Alden Ehrenreich, Tetro is a smokily beautiful family drama about two half-brothers uncovering the painful secrets of their past. Irresistibly romantic, this is Coppola at his poetic best. Matt Bochenski

traile

greenberg

traile

r

Director: Noah Baumbach Indie noodler Noah Baumbach has made yet another selfconscious cine tone-poem with Greenberg, the story of a middleaged carpenter (Ben Stiller) who falls for his brother’s young assistant (Greta Gerwig) while house-sitting in LA. The dialogue is deft, the acting sharp and the milieu well-observed, but if you’re not already a fan of Baumbach’s digressive, navel-gazing style you’ll probably wonder what all the fuss is about. MB

the killer inside Me

Director: Michael Winterbottom You can imagine how Michael Winterbottom secured the funding for this one: ‘Hey guys, I’m gonna make a movie with hot young stars Casey Affleck, Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson. Ker-ching!’ Thing is, this tale of an apparently ordinary young man in fifties America is based on a story by Jim Thompson, in which a Southern sheriff explores his capacity for violence. Cue Alba’s face being pummelled into mush and Hudson getting kicked in the stomach until she wets herself. It’s provocative stuff that offends almost as much as it intrigues. MB

traile

the brothers bloom

traile

r

r

Director: Rian Johnson Remember Brick? Seems like a lifetime since that 2005 school-set noir launched the career of spunky young auteur Rian Johnson. His second effort is a consummate conman movie that’s been sat on a distributor’s shelf for two years. That’s usually a bad sign, but despite some narrative hiccups this all-star thriller (featuring a swoon-inducing role for Rachel Weisz) is a solid yarn with charm and energy to burn. MB

London river

Director: Rachid Bouchareb It was Days of Glory that put Rachid Bouchareb on the map, even though that 2006 North African war movie was grossly overrated. Now he’s back with London River, a film that uses the backdrop of the 2005 terror attacks in London to tell a contemporary tale of loss and identity. It’s all a bit liberal and right-on, while never getting to grips with the complex truths of a multicultural city and its inhabitants. MB

108 HUCK

r

traile

r


Red Dead Redemption Xbox 360, PS3 Set in the American frontier at the turn of the Twentieth Century, Red Dead Redemption is like Grand Theft Auto reworked as an epic Western, with cowboy hats, horses and sheriff badges galore. Playing as outlaw John Marston, you must choose how to survive in this brave old world, either as a bounty-chasing do-gooder or crooked bandit. Whatever you choose, gun-slinging is still very much the order of the day. With an awesome slo-mo Dead-Eye targeting system and a real-time physics engine that sees your enemies react differently to each shot fired at them, it’s a helluva way to let off a few rounds and pretend that you are Clint Eastwood and John Wayne all rolled into one. Danny Miller

Skate 3 Xbox 360, PS3 Taking you to the fictional city of Port Carverton, Skate 3 sits as a very natural progression to this hugely successful series. But now your aim is to start your own skate company and sell one million boards [evil chuckle]. You must build your empire via online cooperative gameplay, by creating a team of skaters, building parks and completing challenges to get exposure and sell, sell, sell. But when it comes to the actual gameplay mechanics, it’s very much just a tweaked version of Skate 2, only with new spots, new outfits and pro skaters like Andrew Reynolds and Josh Kalis lurking about the place, talking street. Gnar. Ed Andrews

Streetfighter IV iPhone This is just the sort of thing you want in your pocket. Although the classic beat ‘em up has been scaled down for a screen not much bigger than a postage stamp, it retains the responsive controls necessary to rumble with the best of them. It also boasts the fantastically outlandish anime visuals that made its bigger brother so appealing. It may only have eight playable characters and no real unlockables but when you’ve got Chun Li and Ryu, and a twoplayer option via Bluetooth, who needs ‘em? Ed A

Splinter Cell: Conviction Xbox 360, PC Super-stealth killer Sam Fisher is back, and on the hunt for his daughter’s killers. Even without the backing of his former malevolent government agency employers, he still slips from simple vengeance into another terrorist plot. This latest incarnation of the stealth-based action series has given Sam superhuman powers that allow you to execute your enemies with flair and finesse using a new markand-execute control system. With video cut scenes and mission prompts projected onto the grimy backgrounds, the game feels more like a brutal post-modern new media thriller, and the addition of cooperative missions and multiplayer gives you good reason to return to it after you’ve saved the day. Ed A

110 HUCK


Street Level Sue Kwon, Testify Books As a collection of twenty years worth of work from New York photographer Sue Kwon, Street Level offers more than just a portfolio – it’s a vibrant and insightful celebration of New York City itself. Each chapter of revealing and uplifting portraits explores the characters populating the different neighbourhoods, from shopkeepers and tree surgeons in Brooklyn to boxers and Baptist ministers in Harlem, with a few famous faces dotted in between. It’s an exhaustive capsule of America’s most cosmopolitan streets. Ed Andrews

DIY Album Art: Paper Bags & Office Supplies J. Namdev Hardisty, Mark Batty Publisher This muted insight into J. Namdev Hardisty’s private record collection throws a spotlight on the DIY ethic that drove early nineties North American punk and hardcore. The result is a healthy reminder that the best things in life are usually homemade and that the digital era can never replace music you can hold in your hand. With original covers from influential DIY labels Gravity and Bloodlink, it’s essential viewing for hardcore fanatics and aspiring independent label owners looking for ideas. David McNamara

London Calling Barry Miles, Atlantic Books Barry Miles takes on the hefty task of exploring the countercultural trends that have emerged out of London since the Second World War. It’s a pretty comprehensive effort too, with the author drawing from the worlds of art, music, literature and fashion. Everything from Teddy Boys to New Romantics; the Krays to Vivienne Westwood; and Dylan Thomas to Jimi Hendrix is given its place in this metropolitan petri dish through firsthand anecdotes, journalistic studies and some solid factual myth-busting. Ed A

Hunt and Gather Tina Ziegler, Mark Batty Publisher This 148-page foray into the uncharted world of contemporary ‘new art’ not only highlights forty exciting emerging artists like JShea9 and Catalina Estrada but exists as a document of Ziegler’s three-year journey discovering them. With one objective – “to discover new art and share it with the community” – Ziegler found artists that inspire her personally and tells their story through striking full-bleed spreads and intimate first-person quotes. Expect a dark, anime-inspired aesthetic balanced with softer pieces of a more whimsical nature. Shelley Jones

There’s Nothing Wrong With You (Hopefully) Michael Sieben, Gingko Press Opening this curious A5 hardback for the first time is like finding a forgotten old sketchbook. It is in fact a collection of wonderfully dreamtup creations by Thrasher staff writer Michael Sieben, and with little writing – just a short paragraph describing Michael playing jokes and wearing funny pyjamas – it is happy to exist totally ‘reason’-free, much like the skateboarders and out-of-step critters it depicts. SJ

112 HUCK


SUPREMEBEING FOR LIFE

FIND US AT THE FESTIVALS PARTYING WITH CHAI WALLAHS THROUGHOUT THE SUMMER WHAT’S GOING ON? WWW.SUPREMEBEING.COM/SB4LIFE

IN ASSOCIATION WITH


A retr specti musio n the pe g on ve of imp rfection by Jamerfection, ie Bris ick.

114 HUCK

Photography: Jussi Oksanen.

I first heard the term ‘wabi-sabi’ when I was thirteen. It was the late seventies and I’d recently gotten a brand-new Dogtown skateboard. It had a sinister-looking Dogtown cross on the bottom, hand-carved wheel wells and a sleek, double-ply kicktail. I was ecstatic. I covered it with shellac to keep it from fading, carefully applied grip tape and took it for a test run at my friend’s backyard ramp. It felt magic under my feet and, as I kickturned at the top of the quarter-pipe, I instantly knew it was the best skateboard I’d ever owned. That night I cleaned it with an old T-shirt and slept with it right next to my bed. And then the next day, while trading runs with some of the neighbourhood skaters at the same ramp, a longhaired stoned kid lost control and ran into me, tearing a three-inch chunk out of my new Dogtown skate. I was devastated. Skateboards inevitably get scuffed up, but this broken piece, lying haplessly on the ground, may as well have been my severed finger. I rode home distraught, my mom and dad consoled me and my oldest brother helped me glue the broken piece back on. “Wabi-sabi,” said K.D., our eternally barefoot, yoga-practising friend, when I showed him my damaged board the next day. “What?” “Wabi-sabi, man. Like, welcome the imperfection. Life is fleeting, transient – and so is your skateboard.” I should mention that K.D. wore Jesus robes, urinated outdoors because “every time we flush a toilet we waste a gallon of water,” and was prone to three-day LSD trips. I shook my head and skated off, bewildered, wondering what language he was speaking. At any rate, I would not hear the word wabi-sabi for another twenty years. This was right around the time graphic designer David Carson became involved with Trip magazine in Brazil. My good pal Vava Ribeiro, a Trip photographer, and I were trying to describe Carson’s random, haphazard aesthetic.

“It’s like, if he were to set a cup of coffee on a photo and the cup left a round stain, that round stain would be incorporated into the piece,” I said lamely. “Wabi-sabi,” declared Vava. And a few days later he presented me with a book titled Wabi-sabi: The Japanese Art of Impermanence. The words wabi and sabi do not translate easily. Wabi connotes rustic simplicity, freshness or quietness, and can be applied to both natural and human-made objects or understated elegance. It can also refer to quirks and anomalies arising from the process of construction, which add uniqueness and elegance to the object. Sabi is beauty or serenity that comes with age, when the life of the object and its impermanence are evidenced in its patina and wear, or in any visible repairs. Wabi-sabi is equally difficult to put into words. It represents a comprehensive Japanese aesthetic centred on the acceptance of transience. It is a concept derived from the Buddhist assertion of the ‘Three marks of existence,’ i.e. impermanence, suffering and ‘not-self’. “If an object or expression can evoke a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing, then that object could be said to be wabi-sabi,” goes one definition. “Wabi-sabi nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished and nothing is perfect,” goes another. The most iconic example of wabi-sabi is the Japanese tea ceremony, in which the pottery items used are often rustic, not quite symmetrical and simple-looking. In more colloquial terms, wabi-sabi is ‘warts and all’: it embraces flaws; it happily reveals history, wear and tear. When you hang a photo in your bathroom and the steam causes it to curl at the corners, this is wabi-sabi. When the paint chips off a door or a spider spins a terrific web in the corner of your garage, or grandma’s teacup has little hairline fractures from three generations of use, this is wabi-sabi. Wabi-sabi is optimistic. It’s seeing beauty where less imaginative sorts might see blemishes. It’s also malleable. When a few drops of olive oil splatter your freshly pressed dress shirt at lunch, this is not sloppiness, but rather magnificent imperfection. When a schoolmate carelessly steps on your spanking white sneakers, leaving a greyish stain, this is time accelerated. And when a klutzy kid tears a chunk out of your beloved, brand-new skateboard when you’re thirteen and innocent – this is preparing you for the real world, where things inevitably fall apart. Leonard Cohen says it best: “There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”


(photographers, clockwise from top left) Jeff Johnson, Danny Moder, Danny Moder, Jeff Johnson, Scott Soens, Jeff Johnson, Danny Moder, Devon Howard, Scott Soens (center)


DESIGNED BY DAVID BENEDEK

HUCK magazine The Rodney Mullen Issue (Digital Edition)  

HUCK is an intelligent, beautiful and sophisticated action sports lifestyle magazine, produced by the most creative minds in the surf, skate...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you