Morgan Campbell Interview

Giant half pipe shot by Steve Gourlay other shots and sequences courtesy of Leo Sharp

Brits and Aussies share the same affinity for some of lifes most horrible things: Yeast based extract and dodgy soaps.

The common bond has made for frequent foreign exchanges with the Brits coming out tops weatherwise and spotwise, but that didn’t stop one Aussie from settling down on our shores for a bit and serving up kangaroo whallops to every spot he skated.

Morgan Cambell passed through the UK and made strong ties with the industry, claiming a place on the exclusive Blueprint team, before injury had him hampered and heading back to homely comforts.

Today Morgan is back in Oz and supporting skateboarding with as much heart as ever, be it through his skating, his art or his media at

Ralph Lloyd Davis caught up with the honourable ex-pat for a proper grilling- Throw another shrimp on the Bar-Bee mate!

What’s up? What have been your days duties?

I like to wake up and have some coffee, do a bit of writing, walk my boarder collie called Genie, go for at least four hour rollio, then come back homeward, cook some tucker for my lil sis (am house sitting for the folks right now here in Melbs), listen to some music, do some more writing, then spend some quality time with the lady. Sometimes I go for a lurk in Northcote or Brunswick street, maybe hit some bars.

You keep yourself very busy skateboarding wise. What are the different levels we might see you at i.e. skating, writing, business…?

Well I write freelance for an e-zine called I do print articles for the supreme new aussie mag Skateboarder’s Journal and for a travel mag called Paper Plane. I am working on a book of short stories from my skate related adventures too. I have been doing a lot of video work in the past, but am taking a bit of a break from that at the moment. Also I keep myself busy travelling and skating, you could say that skating rules my life! I wouldn’t have it any other way.

One of your first sponsors was Kew Day Skateboards, run by Chad Bartie’s brother Jaime. What was that like? Who else rode for Kew Day?

Riding for Kewday was a pretty amazing experience, mainly due to the fact that for me it involved discovering the whole world of the East Coast, travelling with my skating for the first time, skateparks (we had none in West Oz then), and skating with amazing people like Chad Bartie, Mick Yuen, Matt Mumford who were all on the team. Jamie is and always will be a good friend, as will all the Barties. I’m really proud of what everyone involved has gone on to do.

The Aussie industry is very self reliant. How come? Are the Americans starting to realise the local potential and open up shop over there? How do you feel about this?

The Aussie industry has always been a player I guess, ever since the 70’s. So I guess having such deep roots in skating means that it has always had a business side. We are still dominated by American brands though, we don’t really have a Blueprint or Cliché equivalent. Although I think Brett Margaritis (who does Modus Bearings) may have a huge impact with Four Skateboards. It is weird because the “American” companies that are undermining the prices of all the local and other intenational companies (eg Blind, World etc) are all actually Australian owned (by the Hill Bros who do Globe)!

Is the Aussie industry reliant on Chinese manufacturers for their products, or do they keep it home-grown?

Our manufacturing is mostly done in China or US, there are no real board presses here. Which is sad. Coretech Wheels are made here though and have quite an international following.

What’s it like growing up as a skater in a land where surfing is the predominant pastime? Do all the surfers skate or vice-versa? Are the surfers biting skate tricks..?

The most common question when travelling is being asked: “Oh you’re Australian, so do you surf?” There are plenty of ‘surfie slashers’ at every park, but I don’t think they really bite our tricks. I guess though some of the new aerial guys like Ozzie Wright are heavily inspired by skating, more so than surfing I think!

What’s the difference between a skate betty and a surf babe?

Not too sure, but I reckon a skate betty (aka bowl mole): is a rare species fond of sweat, beer, cut off band shirts and waxing ledges. A surf babe (aka wave slave) is more fond of sand, soft drinks, beach towels, bikinis and waxing surfboards. However they can both be filed under mingers.

Does Australia have chav culture like it does in the UK?

We don’t have chavs, we have bogans, and they wear thongs, not shoes.

Where did you lose your virginity?

In a vagina thankfully.

I read that a board can cost up to $300 dollars Australian. Is that expensive because it sounds like it!

It is about 120 pounds. I’m not sure what the going rate for your boards is… but yeah it is a fucking rip off! They are even more expensive out West!

Why do so many Aussies move to the UK?

We have a tendency to leave paradise for cheap drugs, pints and pish weather! Certainly not for your food.

Why did you come over? When where why etc…?

I came for a girl. Also I do love rough spots and your skaters are often more interesting to hang out with than some of the rednecks here! (tee hee) I lived in the UK for 96 – 98 and again for 2005. Good times. Met some classic crew like Toby Patterson, Colin K, Rattray, Leo, Horse and Ben Powell.

What was your funniest story you took home from living here?

I think it is absolutely hilarious that Brophy 180’d up the south bank 7. Also a fan of telling the crew about the stories from the Oxford House that Chris Fodder, Andy Horsley and Ben Powell inhabited. The prank calls are the funniest shit ever!

Did you ever set up a BBQ inside the house!?

Nah but I can cook a mean vege dog!

Did you ever get laid from visiting a Walkabout?

Thankfully have never set foot inside one. They don’t even sell Coopers.

What food makes you gag?

Anything cooked or grown in the UK and Fosters.

Favourite tipple?

Love my Coopers Pale.

Top 3 Pet hates?

My elbows, my ankles and my titanium plate.

Trick that you hate the most?

Tail grab bluntslides.

Fave set up trick?

You can go past a frontside grind.

Top 3 skaters of all time?

Gonz, Carroll, Oyola, MJ (sorry can’t count)

What was it like riding for Blueprint back in the day? Compare the team when you rode for them and the team today.

I was so stoked to ride for Blueprint. But I do love it down here, and to truly do stuff with them I would have had to have moved to the UK. When I rode for them it was the OG team with none of the new blood. I’m stoked to have the Blueprint model up here at me mas on the wall…consider it quite an honour indeed. Love Dan’s work and the steeze of all the shredders. Shit Chewy should be in my top three in the question above.

Does Blueprint get a big following Down Under?

It is respected, but rarely seen. Hopefully it will change for em.

What’s it like being the tour guide for travelling skaters that pass through? Any good stories?

If they are respectful I love it. I have been able to skate with some of the best in the world as a result of my local spot knowledge. The best experience was taking the entire Lakai team including Koston and Mariano to the world’s oldest park on its 30 birthday. Guy Mariano single handedly tore it a new arsehole within minutes of getting out of the car!

Talk to us about is that like the Crossfire for Oz? What do you do there?

I don’t do anything for except use it as a tool for finding parks and getting news and goss. Drew and Potty who do the site are fucking legends. My only real affiliation is using the email address that they were kind enough to give me. It is a great service they provide, and it is a little like your site, but with less emphasis on music.

Tell us about the injuries that hampered your professional career. How do you deal with downtime?

I don’t really want to go into the harsher ones in too much detail, but put it this way: I have died before! In my downtime I like to get creative and catch up with all the things I miss out on from spending too much time on a board!

If you weren’t a skateboarder, what would you be?

Kate Moss’s underpants.

Do you think the UK is an easy ride for tourists travellers compared to the strictness of Oz?

Totally, you let in swarms of Oz maggots without a question, where as we make it incredibly hard for you guys to visit here.

Which Aussie skater should we be buying stock in? Who’s coming up in the scene?

Lewis Marnell is the best. There is also a kid called Alex Campbell from Perth who has equally epic steez!

Is Australia an environmentally aware country?

I like to think so. We do have pretty good recycling programs set up. Having the ozone hole directly over us, make you realize pretty quickly that we have messed up the world, and it is affecting us on a day-to-day level. (Oh since I answered this question I have found out that per capita we have the second highest rate of emissions in the world…lame as)

We hear on the vine of grapes that Nike are now sponsoring your feet in Oz and in the UK, how did that arise?

Well Globe let their entire Aussie team go the same week that they signed Appleyard. Poor Mark would be gutted if he knew this was going to happen. I had a dream the day before I got sacked that I actually left Globe for the Swoosh. So when it all happened the next step was kind of obvious. First off Seb gave me some shoes, and recently Australia’s best filmer, Chris Middlebrook got the job as TM and has added me to the Oz team, Seb will help me out too when I’m in Europe. Oh I also went on an Oz tour with the UK Nike mob, which was super fun, and helped it kick along!

How do the Australians see the skateboard scene with Nike, Adidas and Reebok involvement – are they accepting it?

They seem to be lapping it up. If these companies are actually supporting the scene, then it is a good addition. Adidas and Reebok haven’t really started their Aussie assault yet though.

Are there other Australians on the team?

Lewis Marnell, Nugget, Luke Croker, Nick Boserio, Corbin Harris, James Whineray and Mike Martin.

Top 5 tunes ever? Desert Island discs…

Another corker of a question. Today it would be:

Orbital – The Girl with the Sun in Her Head.
Tortoise – The taut and the tame
MIA – Gangalang.
TV on the Radio – Staring at the Sun.
Salt N Pepa – Push it.

Tell us what today brings for MC?

I’m about to shoot out and meet my girl Alana Di Giacomo at some design fandangle for some free bevies!

Where would you like to die and who with?

In the Delorean, with Marty McFly and the Doc, on my way back from purchasing the NuMark 23 Hover Board from 2099.

Famous last words…

Hey Doc, what is up with the noise coming out of the flux capacitator?