Exposed: Drawing Boards – ‘Draw The Line’

exposed-drawtheline_crossfireGrowing up in the Croydon area of the United Kingdom back in the 80s was a blast. Fairfield Halls and Norwich Union bank sessions on route to M-Zone to stare at the latest American decks and stickers on display was a must. It was tight knit, everyone looked out for each other and the element of DIY when it came to skating was rife. If you didn’t wake up to build something new, nothing new was going to build itself.

Drawing Boards is a DIY skate company born a generation further down the line in Croydon. This is a group of friends hell-bent on hanging out together, spreading their art across the South East and shredding for fun since day one. Their talisman AD was last featured back in 2008 here to raise awareness about Fairfields and to discuss his art that fuels the company. Five years later, and Drawing Boards have released their debut, full length DVD, ‘Draw The Line‘, an impressive debut from an outfit that have worked their socks off to get footage down and show the world how much fun they actually have.

This lot are a small crew with a big heart. Read on to find out how their debut was put together in this month’s Exposed.

So, AD, how long did it take to get all of the footage together for this debut?

Spread between having a baby, moving house, working the day job and trying to stay on top of other bits n’ bobs, it took about 3 years! We covered a lot of ground on filming missions. Plenty of South Coast missions in Brighton, Portsmouth, Southampton and Bournemouth, and a healthy scattering of spots covered in London while staying at Elliot’s hipster pad. We also filmed up North and of course, the Cronx, plus some trips overseas to the Czech Republic, Germany and Barcelona (all have tour edits in the extras of the DVD). Big thanks to Babette and Martin for going out of there way to make us feel so at home.

You used VX instead of HD on the film, what helped you make that decision?

It kind of suits us better as a roots company and to be honest I just feel more at home with it. Although on the production side of things it was definitely important to make sure it wasn’t like anything people had seen before, which is really important to the aesthetics of Drawing Boards in general. Liam (Teague) and I really went balls out to make it the best we could and the “quirky” bits definitely got a good reaction at the premiere. Luckily with such good skaters on the team this made our job a bit easier to bring it all together.

Watch the trailer:

Is most of the footage from the South Coast?

Plenty of it is from Brighton as Isaac, Teague, Dylan and I live in that general area. We spent a fair bit of time in Pompey too as that’s where Jak (Tonge) lives and he’d always be digging out spots. Also having lived in Croydon previously, I knew of plenty of spots in that area, so we made sure they got a good seeing to. The entire video is street based so anyone who has made a street vid knows, you really have to mix it up. So yeah, there are loads of spots in the film, even in Essex, Nottingham, Reading, Crawley, Horsham, Fareham, Oxford, Bristol….the list goes on and on. I managed to actually kill off the AD wagon doing so much driving for this. Haha!

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What is the hardest part of running a skateboard company?

Well if you had asked me a year or so ago I would have said organising 6 individuals to be in one place at one time, but these days it’s getting a work/family balance. My daughter is very important to me, and since her arrival I have felt more inspired than ever. So I have to make sure I’m a good Father to her as well as keeping the company ticking over. Time is really tight these days and I feel as though I’m rinsed for every second. So the answer is TIME!

Looking back, what stood out most during the making of Draw The Line?

Things that really stand out in my mind are the hairy moments that really made us club together, and I suppose made us stronger as a unit. Smay (Sam May) totally knocking himself out into a new realm in Czech (I’ll let Elliot tell you about that). I have never seen anybody talk in tongues 5 centimeters away from my face! I’m so glad he came back to this world. Whilst in Berlin, two days from the end of the tour, my camera bag got stolen containing all the footage we had filmed over tour so far. Full freak out mode! There were so many hammers on there. Luckily baby jesus was on our side and the thief threw the tapes and my passport in a bush! We were so lucky! Cheers to Jerry for holding it down with me that day! The whole production was literally to the Line. Potter filmed his intro for the vid and Teag filmed one of his tricks 3 days before the premiere. Not to mention Jak’s ender haha! Basically it was the last time he could go out before the birth of his son – I won’t spoil it for you, it’s on the DVD. Suffice to say he had no other option.

Big shouts to Teague who not only filmed a tight part but also edited the beast. He certainly put his time in at the pixelation station, not to mention having to put up with my at times anal scrutiny. Also my old friend Si, who even though he’s living the more laid back lifestyle these days continues to have input and give me feedback on what’s cracking. We have been through all a lot together and everyone dug deep and pushed their own boundaries as skaters and people for sure. I’m so grateful to loads of people who helped us out along the way. Check the credits on the vid haha! There’s quite a lot of em!

What is coming from Drawing Boards in 2013?

Good question. This year we are all about spreading the word of Drawing Boards. Getting the DVD out there, hosting and sponsoring comps, still filming and meeting new people. The new Level (skatepark) is opening just down the road from my house too, so it would be good to be involved with some events there. I’ve just finished some new graphics that I’m stoked on too and currently planning a mini UK Tour with plenty of surprises, so keep checking in.

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We asked the team riders to look back on various memories filming ‘Draw The Line’. Enjoy these stories on the making of this video but before you do, push play on this exclusive ‘Rad Burger‘ clip from the DVD with the team shot in Berlin.

LIAM TEAGUE

“Don’t tell anyone, but I don’t really like this guy Dyllan. He’s the sort of guy that would do go skating with you and casually rip every single spot you think about skating to pieces in about five minutes, leaving you crying about how you can’t land anything. Dyllan’s the fucking best! He’s got the exact approach you want in a sponsored skater. Take him to any spot and he’s got no thoughts other than “I’m a skateboarder, I’ve been taken to a spot, I should skate it” and that’s what he did.

He came to the scene real late, firstly by joining us as a friend of Zak on a filming tour round the country and putting us all to shame by pretty much getting more footage than the rest of us put together. After continuing to do this for a few months every time we went filming, Ads announced he was gonna hook him up. Dyllan really saved the video, his part really added that something it was missing, and seeing him tear through and produce that part in such a short time was an inspiration.

Aesthetics wise, myself and Ads knew that profiling the company’s image in the vid was important, and had a lot of fun experimenting with different ways to do this. Having the support of someone else to be able to make these ideas happen was amazing, and adding these things in put us two in some interesting positions. Standing in front of endless green pieces of paper; making people pretending to point at things hundreds of times over; sneaking in to train stations waiting to jump on and off the trains; trying to explain our ideas by drawing onto car windows while driving down the motorway; painting huge titles for four hours and having to edit in missing pieces of the shot frame by frame; throwing giant boxes of paintbrushes around; and relaying clips over dropbox millions of times over arguing about the thickness of lines… The details we worked at to put in there have been a hilarious roller coaster, I hope it’s paid off for the viewers.

Slammin’ – I have a bit of trouble staying on my feet when skating, and probably experienced more pain while filming for this vid than ever before. The lipslide slam led me to A&E, and back a few weeks later for three giant metal wires stuck into my hand – the picture you’ll see after is of the pliers used to yank them out later on. The full speed run into the fence was definitely the worst shinner of my life. Few ACL problems from that one for sure.

The worst though was easily the sacking in Berlin, hands down the worst pain I’ve ever experienced. We had to cut the sound from the edit as it was just too harrowing. Half a dozen or so people came over as they thought someone was being tortured or something. Somehow it only put me off my board for the next day, but certain movements were rather uncomfortable for a long while after, to say the least. But it was only at the airport waiting to go home that I decided to go have a look down there, only to find two giant purple balls covered in dried blood. Stoked.

Liam takes a switch bonk bigspin for the Line. Photo by Rich West.

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Jak’s rail in the rain was gnarly. A four hour drive for a ten minute session, hands down the craziest thing I’ve seen. This was the last weekend of filming before the premiere. Jak needed another hammer for his part and we knew this rail was the place for it. It was only skateable on Sundays so this was the last chance we had. The forecast did not look good but me and Ads set off early anyway on the two hour journey to pick up Jak and head over there, checking the floor, the skies and the Met Office every step of the way. As blacker clouds loomed as we got closer, we really thought we’d struck gold in getting away with it as we pulled in, but as you’d expect, almost the second we turned off the car engine, the skate Gods opened up the heavens and the inevitable finally happened, and with no reserve. With morales low we went and had a look at the spot anyway, but it only took a few minutes for Jak to decide that he was going to give it a go regardless. In the conditions, I wasn’t too sure if I believed him, or whether I thought it was a good idea, but I wasn’t there to play advisor so hastily we tried to set up the cameras without water logging them. A few minutes later, straight out of the car, no warm up, a couple of roll ups to check it out and boom, he went straight for it first go, sticking straight away and flying right to the floor through the rain and mud!

Before me and Ads could pick our jaws off the floor he was back up the top wiping his board down with his hoodie and ready for another. Second go, he grinds right through the thing and casually jumps off. At this point we realised this might actually happen, but before we can even stop giggling in excitement it was over. Third try, soaking wet, board covered in mud, full speed, perfectly locks in and rolls away through the thunderstorm. This one was the definition of dedication to the cause.”

ISAAC MILLER

“I was skating a mini ramp with Jak Tonge watching his effortless bag of tricks unwind and that was my first introduction to Drawing Boards. I never thought I would be on the same team as him and my buddy, ole pal Dyllan Vd Merwe who is the latest member of the team. He managed to film his part for ‘Draw The Line’ in under six months! Not to mention watching his monstrous frontside flip down the double set in Berlin on the last day of the tour after 7 days of binging and skating. I’ve never had such a good experience skating with the DB team and friends in Barcelona and Berlin, skating all day getting smashed all night, living life to the full. Shouts out to Drawing Boards, DC, AD, Jak, Dyl, Leo, Chris, Level Army and all family and friends.

Isaac Miller back smiths for Ranny’s lens.

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JERRY WILSON

Being involved in the ‘Draw The Line’ vid has been incredible. I’ve so many fun memories from all the tours, days out filming, the chill out sessions post skate and met so many amazing, inspirational and hilarious people. I’ve seen the company grow from a few hundred t-shirts to what it is now: a movement. It’s about spreading love, positivity, and a passion for skateboarding. By the skaters, for the skaters. Here’s three of my favourite moments, just off the top of my head:

1.) On the ‘Czech My Puss’ tour (probably my favourite of all the tours) we stayed just an hour’s drive from the City of Prague in a wood cabin submerged in the most beautiful countryside. With a huge lake just five minutes walk away and the most stunning views, the location was second to none. Martin hooked us up with a keg of beer, all the weed one could inhale and the raddest spots (real streets spots) that were so rewarding to get a trick on. From start to finish I never stopped laughing. Countless interesting, ridiculous and sometimes just damn-right scary conversations really helped the team to bond during our time in Czech. Then there was Stalin square; after walking up what seem like never-ending travelator stairs of doom, you arrive in a skateboarding metropolis of ledges, hubbas, manny pads and the smoothest granite floor imaginable. I managed to skate the whole tour without an injury, what a rare blessing.

2.) The Hill Bomb in Czech was a hill bomb like no other. It went on for days. Nothing can beat that feeling of cruising without having to push, with all your boys around you, during a picturesque sunset in the beautiful Czech Republic. However, there were points during this trip where I feared for my life, accelerating ever faster down a bottomless road. I remember at one point looking to my right over at Tonge (who had no such worry) popping up curbs, doing manuals and generally kicking back. Look the other way and you were faced with a naked Potter (which is a gnarly sight at the best of times!) but when he’s flying at 30mph stuff gets real misplaced and messy. No duck tape required to hold back this man-gina – the wind did it for him! What a nutter! At this point I decided it was best to keep looking forward and concentrate on getting to the bottom in one piece. We completed the hill bomb and Potter put his pants back on, but we soon realised that Smay (Sam May, photographer) was no longer with us. Elliot will end this story below.

3.) The Premiere of ‘Draw The Line’ was awesome. It was amazing to see the video come together. It was a great turnout of people, good vibes, good beer and a smashing after-party! Ad has put so much into this project, and I could tell he received so much back from it by everyone being there showing their support and enjoying the short film we had made. He is a truly inspirational man who has taught me so much. He is the company. Long live the ol’ dude! It has been a privilege, thank you everyone! Peas and love.”

Jerry nollie flips for Dom Marley’s lens.

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POTTER

“Filming for ‘Draw The Line’ has probably been one of the greatest experiences I have had the chance to be involved in. I would like to formally apologise to everyone as the video would have probably dropped 2 years ago if I hadn’t have been so lazy, so big ups to Ad’s for putting up with me, as I know I have been a massive pain. Ha!

From gaffer tape ankle supports to being called ‘mosher’ or anything that could relate to heavy metal or rock ‘n’ roll, I wouldn’t change a single thing about my time in filming this video, well maybe just one, I could have got more footage!

1, One of my fondest memories has to be when we were on tour in Barcelona and after a hard days skate and a lot of bangers later it turned out to be St Patrick’s Day, so off we went to the bars with our boards. A lot of GREEN beer later we were riding through the streets cruising looking for spots as we were all pretty merry. Jak and I found a disco ball the size of 5 basket balls (at this point we where so drunk I have no idea if I was meant to have paid for this). We were skating and kicking this giant disco ball through the street while riding our boards I passed to Jak and with one mega boot Jak kicked the disco ball as hard as he could, bang it hit a taxi (by mistake, nice one). In a panic, Jak tried to hide but behind a box that was maybe 5ft smaller than him making him stand out like a sore thumb!

It was also the first tour we had with Issac who was the star of this tour. His view on life at the time was brilliant. I have never seen any one hold drink down as well as this lil man and still kill it on a skateboard day in day out. One memory I have of Isaac has to be when we were walking to the next spot he saw a huuuuuge bank with a block at the top, without thinking, he just popped his board on the rail and tail kickflipped into the bank first go, with luck he rode it out clean while we all watched in shock. He popped into this bank that had a channel gap in it that would have probably killed the rest of us and headed directly into a main road that he didn’t even bother checking for cars or buses!

2, Has to be Berlin. The night before we left for Berlin I watched the film ‘Cabin in the Woods’ only to board a plan the next day, arrive in Germany and find out we are actually staying in gypsy wagons – in the woods. It was very eerie but at the same time gave me a different outlook on life. Liam (Teague) sacked himself on a kinked hand rail. After getting a bs board slide down it, he contemplated a fs board and like a man of steel, went for it first go, only to hit the kink and catch his ball-sack on the end of the rail! I will never forget the screams he gave out but big ups to him, as I have never seen a man with blue balls like this! I still have the photos. Haha! I will release them someday!

Potter takes a 5050. Photo Joel Lelliot

3. The Prague Tour (Czech my Puss) was brilliant, It was a nice welcome to the team for Jak as well, he fitted in perfectly with the family that we have all become. Apart from the fact that he almost burnt me alive in my sleep while trying to cook himself dinner! He somehow managed to set the curtains on fire in the small cabin we were staying in, and from what I hear everyone got out of the cabin but somehow all of them forgot I was asleep upstairs! Either way, the fire was put out and i’m still here. I didn’t hear about it until the morning when everyone was having a good laugh about how they forgot about me! lol!

4. The ‘Ey Up Me Duck’ tour was one of the first tours we went on way back in 2006. It was a nice chance for all of us to get to know each other, but the team just consisted of myself, Jerry, and John. For the first tour I would say we did pretty well. My main memories are of all the mad places we stayed ranging from sleeping in the woods with tree people to sleeping on a golf course only to be awoken by the grounds keeper saying how he’d never seen this kind of thing before . When Ad explained we where skaters on a tour he proclaimed “I’ve seen it on youtube” and as we left he mentioned another golf course where we may like to stay. Haha!

5. Has to be all the tricks that have been done by the team through out the years, but then the Berlin trip brought us Dyllan who I hadn’t really met until this trip and I have to say the guy reminds me of skating back in the day, keeping it gnarly doing huge kick and frontside flips down double sets into a downhill landing! He eats shit but gets straight back up and lands it!

Big ups to Adam for putting up with us and keeping us alive in skateboarding, the man has a true passion for skating and art and it wasn’t for him I would have never have been or seen half the countries I have been to. Even if I had, there’s no way I would have had as much fun as I did with this family.”

Playback of footage in Berlin.

DYLLAN VD MERWE

“Coming to England, I would have never have thought I would have met such chilled people and a sick crew down in Brighton. It’s a great skate scene and just full of good vibes. Meeting the Drawing Boards crew was cool, going on tour with them in 2011 was mental couldn’t have asked for a better introduction into England’s skate scene.

All the guys pulled it out the bag. Jerry injuring himself all the time and then still having a dope section was inspirational. Isaac smoking fags every two minutes and then ripping it up. Teague eating mega shit! Don’t know how he’s still alive that guy loves to eat shit! Black thong (aka Jak Tonge) with his general good vibes, chillin’ and killin’ the spots. He’s such a creative skater and he’s a big believer in reproduction. Big up to him and Jen on their little one! What to say about Potter? He’s a funny bastard! Meeting him was a good laugh massive pop long legs and black metal! Elliot the white Asian lovely guy, super down to earth. He’s an old man in a young man’s body. It’s amazing how he has such good balance on a skateboard without his walking stick.

Berlin was insane, sleeping in a cabin with wheels with no running water or electricity was an experience. It was fucking rad! Trying to film a part for the ‘Draw the Line’ vid was intense. I had a short time to do it but I’m happy Adam pushed us to get it done. The premiere was so good, all the hype for it was dope to see, I’m happy it got a good response and that people support the independent based companies. Big up to Ads and the Brighton crew, big love and respect to all you dudes!”

Dyllan blasts a fs flip. Photo by Rich West.

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JAK TONGE

“Filming for ‘Draw the Line’ was an amazing experience. These boys are my friends so it was never really stressful until certain tricks came into play and the fact that my woman was heavily pregnant during the last few months of filming, but many thanks goes out to her for understanding my responsibilities to this video. Here are five of my fondest memories whilst being a part of this crew.

1. Prague 2008. Not really knowing anyone on the team, minus the boss, and knowing very little about where we were going. We drove an hour from the capital up into the mountains to a little cottage with the best night sky I have seen, There were no lights for miles! Beers, herb and BBQ every night for a week! Seeing Jerry and Smay cutting shapes on the dance floor, a mini ramp in a pub and a three mile perfect hill bomb through the mountains is a glimpse of how good this town was to us.
Many thanks to Martin and his parents for hooking us up!

2. On the same trip, Journey Wilson (Jerry) had three sixty flipped a big gap into a hill bomb the day before and was keen to get a nollie inward heel. He told me he had never had it down anything bigger than a paving slab at the legendary Fairfield’s. The whole team were scattered about, some watching for cars and others on walls filming and taking photos. Every go he almost got his feet on was like an explosion of excitement, especially from Neddy, our cameraman at the time, I can’t understand how he caught this trick on tape as he was going proper mental! When Jerry landed and rolled down the hill into the sunset, all I can say is, shit kicked off!

Jak feeble’s his way out of this rail. Photo by Rich West.

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3. My mate Adam has a pretty inspiring outlook on life and has held together his own rad company, but, his driving is something to watch out for. Generally we were fine cruising at anywhere from 20 to 60 mph however as soon as we had to change roads, shit hit the fan and sprayed all over the gear stick! The funniest example would make my Nan’s driving look slick! You would think telling someone to go right at the roundabout meant third exit, but on literally the busiest road in my hometown, I said third exit and ‘me old china’ proceeded to turn right onto a road where cars were about to come screaming toward him! Pricks don’t hold back on that roundabout as there is generally nothing in your way, but not this time.
As soon as he pulled away, I got a bit dramatic to say the least! I’m not sure if it helped as he just looked at me confused for a bit until he saw the front lights of vehicles followed by a few flashes, he then slammed into reverse and turned perfectly into the road he was at previously…we all had a little breather! Oh how I love Adam’s driving.

4. I was working at Preston park, Brighton on a spine/mini when a small local lad with massive hair approached me and asked if it was OK to have a sesh. He was quiet and humble but so fucking loud on his board. I told Adam about him the next day and he’d already heard of the talent. The next week the Drawing Boards introduced Mr. Issac Miller. So stoked to have him on the team. Cheers for the good times and hook ups mate!

5. Berlin 2012. Told we were staying in caravans for the week. I think most of us missed the fact that it was a bohemian park with no heating or hot water. We lived the simple life with grey water systems, veg growing all over the show and even the odd cannabis plant to trim and help grow. Man, by day three I was ready to settle in forever if it wasn’t for my family at home, I probably would have! We skated with some rad people including Denny Pham who looks and rolls just like Malto it is uncanny. Long live Radburger! Thanks to everyone on the team and all the people that helped us along the way.”

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ELLIOT ROWE

“Words to sum it up: Sunshine, happiness, youth and freedom. I really enjoyed spending time with everyone. Being surrounded by people so good on a skateboard made me feel so good being on a skateboard! Even though I’m losing my skill as quickly as my hair, the memories won’t be forgotten. Especially that crazy night in Czech!

Here’s my version of the Smay incident. Drunk, stoned, late at night, sounds like the perfect time for hill bombing. Potter of course gets naked, when doesn’t he? I can only describe it as snowboarding on concrete. I’ve never been that fast on a skateboard before. So drunk I can hardly see, which helps when there’s a 6ft man with his dick out, we all wait for everyone get to the bottom including our ski lift / tour van. Hmm…still waiting, no van, no Sam. Oh look there they are, everything’s fine, we can get back in the van and do it again, well everything’s fine apart Sam’s got serious concussion and there’s blood pouring out the back of his head! One last hill bomb before we go to the hospital anyone? No? Fair enough.

Then it all starts getting really really weird, in space of 30 minutes, Sam forgets who he is, who we are, and starts speaking some made up language that only goblins could understand. So we have a group of skaters, all stoned, pretty much useless, about 6 other guys including Ad’s, doctors and policemen holding Sam down on a hospital bed spitting in Ad’s face while they inject him with something to calm him down. Yeah it was intense! Next morning – “So Sam, can you remember much about last night?”- “Nope”.”

Pick up the ‘Draw The Line’ DVD at thedrawingboards.bigcartel.com

Chillin’ in Barca. Ph: Smay

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