What is skateboarding to you? Give us 3 words that come to mind when you think of skateboarding.

THEM: BRUNO

THEM: BRUNO. Bruno’s been around in Australia for 50 years. He landed here at 19, got into the trades and started working jobs that would allow him to settle down and survive. He was sitting outside, (outside that arcade on flinders st/flinders ln that sells real cheap chinese food; $6 a dish; where the waiter chicks are heaps butch/angry) and I thought, hell yea, why not interview my man Bruno. When asked what is skateboarding to you?, What do you think about skateboarding?, Bruno replied: “No, i don’t like. They, they go down the street and might bash into your leg.” When i asked him to expand on the afore-mentioned, he just reiterated that he “don’t like” skateboarding and skateboarders. The 3 words that came to Bruno’s mind when presented with the word skateboarding were: 1.-, 2.-, 3.- (he had nothing). Instead, he started telling me how he used to work in a store near lo-life, how business was good before the city-loop was built, and how the big guy at the cafe near his store “talk a lot of shit. A lot of shit”.  He pleasantly offered me to come to his store anytime to listen to more of his stories and to, in short, chill out – I said, hell yea, for sure. Thanks Bruno.

Caspar

US: CASPAR. My energetic man right here is called Caspar. He’s from Bondi, Sydney and was browsing the store with mum for a new watch. He’s a downright dirty street rat skater – he doesn’t have a driveway so he skates the spot across the road from his house. He has 2 boards, which he’s real proud of. Caspar says skateboarding is awesome. “I love skating”. 3 words (2 in fact), that came to Caspar’s little mind when presented with ‘skateboarding’ were: 1. talented 2. Cool 3. – . He’s still in primary school so he’s still expanding his vocabulary you know? Be on the lookout if you’re ever in Bondi as supposedly this boy jumps of cliffs & peers for shits & giggles. Peace Caspar.

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US: JOHN. Next up is self-proclaimed ‘Baller $hot Caller’ John. John’s a rad nut but he’s a tad lazy. He’s a city park local and has been skating for fair few years now. Done with high school, John’s going to be studying architecture, hence he’s started sketching/drawing to start developing his creative side. Dude’s a thinker. When i asked him to come up with 3 words, he came up with 3 words. 1. Exclusive: It’s a big fraternity 2. Stigmatised: There’s a big stigma out there about skateboarding. People view it as a destructive activity, that attracts delinquents (to be honest i didn’t know what this word meant so i searched it up. It means: people that show a tendency to commit crime/dodgy people). However, John says he’s met very intellectual people/skaters that have accomplished a heap of things (Computer programmers, tattoo artists, uni students, journalists etc). But then again he says he’s also met a shit load of delinquents. 3. Addiction: In essence, skateboarding is an addiction. He’s got to physically stop himself from skating as otherwise his legs will get too bloody sore. He’s had a lot of those problems because of skating’s addictive qualities. If you’re ever around city park, you’ll see this guy. Say hi, because even though he’s a ‘Baller $hot Caller’ (?), he’s a real good dude. Thanks John.

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THEM: SHERYLSheryl’s a super nice lady. She works for Metro and was doing the gates near the store today so we had a little chat. Plus she kinda reminded me of mum. Sheryl’s not a skateboarder. But she loves seeing young kids with their dads & mums rolling down the street on their boards & scooters. She thinks skateboarding is good provided it is done properly. Properly? She explained that skateboarding should not be done amongst crowds and not in crowded public places – because people may collide & get hurt. But what if we don’t get in people’s ways and look out for others before we skate?  She says that’s fine. Sheryl said that skateboarders should respect the public, especially the elderly. 3 words that came to mind: 1. Entertainment 2. Past-time: a hobby 3.“Age is no limit”: Now this, I really liked. She thinks, for skateboarding and skateboarders, there is no age limit. Provided one can stay healthy, keep his/her ability to balance on the board and just enjoy what skateboarding has to offer, a skater can skate for as long as they wish (Just yesterday at Newport skatepark, I got to see around 5/6 older dudes (40’s/50’s/60’s) absolutely shredding the bowl, sharing a few jokes, downing a few beers & having fun). She reminded to keep mindful of the public when I skate. So I said of course, I will! Thanks heaps Sheryl!

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US: ANDREA COLOMBOFrom a small town in Italy is Andrea. Andrea’s 22 and he’s been in Melbourne for around 1.5 years. He’s a chill dude and reckons skating out in public amongst the people is where it’s at. He’s currently working on Collins st designing buildings. We started talking and I found out he’s juggling a few projects right now, one of which is designing an apartment (which usually takes 2 years). 1. Fun 2. Friends 3. Enjoy are the 3 words Andreas came up with when thinking about skateboarding. We further talked about skating in public: Andrea thinks skating in crowded places, public places is rad. He prefers skating street spots than skating at the park (Bowls are an exception though. They’re real fun). However skateparks in general feel like cages to Andrea, and going there is the same as an average person going to the gym, where he/she goes to exercise & train. He feels at ease, feels free when he’s pushing around in public. Skating street offers a chance to be creative, to take in the trees, buildings, people you’re skating around. You take in, and add to, the atmosphere of the environment. Andrea talked about the St Kilda banks, and how it’s a great feeling skating a spot that has in the background the beach, ocean, people, movement etc. At the end of the day, Andrea thinks skateboarding is meant to be fun, chill and something to be enjoyed with friends. Cheers brother.

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THEM: JASMINE. This groovy human being was browsing the store today and when asked if she wanted participate in this little photo-y interview-y thing-y, she was like “HELL YEA DAWG!” (nah..she just said “yeh”). Jasmine’s an artist. She’s studied fine arts/painting at Monash University, is currently at Melbourne Uni doing a masters in art curatorship and is about to start her thesis on street art.. Rad. She used to skate in high school because the boys in the group skated. She’s also been to Globe skate comps (when they used to be held at Rod Laver) and has had friends that were/are skaters/skate photographers. She recently gave her board to her cousin so he could start skating. 1. Fitness is her first word. “You have to be fucking fit if you want to do it”. I agree. 2. is Skill. Jasmine reckons there’s a fair amount of skill, dedication and motivation in skateboarding. A skater can’t improve in his/her style of skateboarding if he/she doesn’t put in the hours. Simple as that. She thinks, however, that the public don’t see that and only see skaters being little street rats. Jasmine’s actually the executive director of an organisation called the Forest Collective. Her organisation helps support young creatives to get themselves out there to do what they do. If you want to know more/support these guys, go here: http://www.forestcollective.com.au . Lastly, Jasmine thinks there’s no age limit to skateboarding and that there’s a close relationship between art and skateboarding culture. Goodluck with all your projects this year Jasmine! Cya around!

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US: SAMMY. Straight up, Sammy’s multi-skilled, talented and faceted. He’s not only a skater, but an earth explorer, keen traveller, creative, graff painter, music fiend and on his good days, could probably pass as wolverine. Coming through on a slow slow Saturday, Sammy brought a different kind of energy into the store – earthly-positive-chill-friendly. He recently moved down from Northern NSW after hearing only good things about Melbourne. He’s currently based in Preston, living with the drummer of Hiatus Kaiyote (A band he put me onto that day. Amazing music.) Skateboarding to Sammy is 1. FreedomIt’s also a way to 2. Explore one’s environment through a unique, intriguing and exciting perspective – a skater’s perspective. But further, by doing graff-related activities, he has that mindset of a painter and so you can only imagine how different his perspective is to the average person. Skateboarding is all about 3. Connection. Skateboarding doesn’t just strengthen existing connections and relationships, but also allows one to connect with new/unfamiliar faces and places. Sammy knows skating hard is mad fun, but also knows there’s a need to balance the ‘living in the moment’ mentality/attitude skaters have, with a bit of foresight. Health is important. He also believes that there are no rules in skateboarding, and further, art, but there are integral boundaries. At the end of the day, others don’t matter, one’s style of skateboarding and art – photography, music and fashion style for that matter, “will be whatever their soul wants it to be”. So don’t fret. Thanks & skate soon Sammy. Peace.

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THEM: SADAM. Next up is my really good friend Sadam Ahmed. We usually chill out near the Carlton flats and talk all sorts of nonsense over coffee. He’s probably one of the most tech-savy dudes around as due to his visual impairment, he’s been using different types technology since a young age to learn, connect and communicate. His passion is I.T., and he hopes to enter that arena in the near future. He hasn’t had much opportunity to try skateboarding or other outdoor activities however has done awesome things like being a music reviewer and commentator for pretty cool organisations. He has heightened auditory senses and has a pretty rad ability to receive and process incoming noises/sounds/auditory information whilst still effectively communicating outwards. Therefore, he knows that the skaters that skate in his area on Saturday mornings are jumping 3-4 metre stair sets and that they’re going really fast on the footpaths he’s on. Sadam reckons skateboarding seems 1. fun, is 2. fast but, 3. dangerous. Although skateboarding doesn’t mean much to him, he thinks its great to have another choice for a hobby for kids, teenagers and adults. He reckons skating’s universal, breaks down cultural barriers and has no age limit. Goodluck with the future and see you soon Sadam! Peace.

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US: BRENT. Brent deserves 3 pictures. Brent says he’s from Planet Kolob in San Diego. As I Google Planet Kolob to assess the legitimacy of his claims, I’m directed such pages as  “Top 10 craziest Mormon Beliefs” “the Mormon Masterplanet” etc. So thanks for that Brent. He was walking by when Girl skateboard’s Mouse video caught his eye. He zoned out at the door and when invited inside, he sat down to zone out some more. After there were no more zones to out in (?), we started talking…

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BRENT CONTINUED. He explained to me how if the Fender Rhodes electric piano that plays in the background of the Mouse video could manifest itself into human form, he’d not only shake his?her? hand for “32” seconds but also, regardless of its gender, unite with it to form one soul. . So after I survived this wave of Brent, we started talking skateboarding… 

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BRENT CONTINUED. According to Brent, there’s a lot of seriousness and competitiveness in American skateboarding. We thought maybe because it’s the birthplace of skateboarding/as it’s where the big skate companies reside etc. Who knows? But on a global scale, there’s also a lot of celebrity (skater) worshipping. We both agree Pro skaters deserve respect and admiration, but not worship – we’re all equal human beings. Brent’s first word is 1. Paradox: as skateboarding is one of the free-ist things to do but it also gets insanely competitive. We both agree that a chunk of skateboarding’s attractiveness comes from its supposed lack of competitiveness. Everything Brent’s learnt in team sports – i.e. Baseball: teamwork, dedication, motivation etc., has become more applicable and relevant in skateboarding than the actual team sport. Skateboarding to Brent is all about friendly vibes, community, about peace & love. He reckons skateboarding is a 2. loophole, as when you skate, you cheat life. You escape the life of a suit, 9-5 er, cleaner etc. and live in a fun alternative lifestyle. Brent’ll be in NZ for a while then back in either Sydney or Melbourne. The last words he leaves us with are: “I really like philms” & “Laugh & get into things”. Good meeting you Brent. Peace.

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