Danny Way interview

Danny Way is probably the best skateboarder in the planet. There is not another human being that brings fresh, outrageous and creative ideas to test the boundaries of what could be done on a skateboard. Zac managed to get an hour or so with Danny exclusive to Crossfire whilst he was making plans for his Megaramp competition being held on August 8th 2004 in the USA. This interview is as big as the stars that surround the planet Danny Way has created by himself.


OK, let’s test this Dictaphone out ‘ say something Mr Way.

Gooday mate! (bellowed in an Aussie accent!)

Hey I’m from the UK fella, you are in the wrong country!


So, where you at right now?

I’m actually in my car driving away from the doctor’s office trying to get my ankle sorted out so that I don’t have to worry about limping around at the XGames here.

What’s with the ankle?

It’s not too bad. I rolled it and sprained it a couple of weeks ago, it’s not a major sprain, but swollen..i can still skateboard, but it’s definitely not 100%, so I gotta take of it, you know.

Are you missing out on a DC US tour at the moment?

Yeah, I skipped the whole tour this summer so I would not have been in a situation where I could get hurt. But it just so happens I have legitimately rolled it practicing for the XGames which is bad luck! I have to focus on this Megaramp Jam as opposed to being on a tour, I need to my concentration and being on tour would have taken my thoughts away from where they ought to be right now.

A lot of people over here in the UK would not have heard about what you are bringing to the XGames this year, so fill us in on what will be going down.

Well, we have taken the Megaramp to the XGames this year. We wanted to look beyond where have been at with competitions and look into the future to figure out what is the next step as far as the progression of skateboarding. It’s been progress over time, little by little putting the building blocks in place so now we are almost ready to go. Check out the photos, you can see where we are at as far as progressing the environment to be able to extend the boundaries of a trick to put skate boarding on a level where there is an unlimited amount of possibilities. It’s not just what can be done on the Megaramp but also to show that we have barely begun to experiment with what we have.

Obviously all of this has come from Point X Camp, how big is this ramp, is it bigger?

It’s about the same size part from it’s built on flat ground in a parking lot, so it’s freestanding from the flat ground to the top about 100ft (33m)!

Wow, that is fucking huge! What other skaters will be riding this ramp at the event?

Pierre Luc Gagnon, Jason Ellis, Bob Burnquist, Jake Brown, Brian Patch, myself, and Bucky Lasek.

No Mike Valelly?

Nope, I don’t know if Mike is ready to roll into this. He is amazing skateboarder and has a good shot of doing this but I dunno if he is ready to get into this right now?

Who invites the other riders to this particular event?

Not me, but I have provided the practice facilities for these guys and that allows me to kinda get my thoughts on where people stand on where their ability goes and you can tell who will be entering the contest. It’s pretty self explanatory who should be in the contest and who shouldn’t, so that is where we are at right now, there has been enough guys coming out there, so it’s been dictating itself.

You mentioned the word practice, it’s shit or bust really on something that big right?

Well yeah, you can practice as there are 2 different sizes of jumps. There will be a 50 ft jump and a 75ft jump. The smaller one, you can practice quite a few things on without being too beaten up, but the big one I would say is more the for when the time is right in contest time. I would not say that we have too much time to practice on the big one. It makes that better for the contest.

All the guys have been going down at the ramp a lot to practice and have had as much time as I have out there. It’s pretty fair, I don’t wanna make this a biased situation, and i wanted to make sure that we had an equal amount of time to be good at it.

Have those guys been hitting the box and the rainbow rail as well?

No, the box and the rail have been left out of the picture this year because there is simply not enough time to learn how to do every thing out there and we are out there to get jumps wired as that is enough time consumption as it is, and I feel as though the rail and box will add too much confusion this year. If it goes well this year, and I have a good feeling that it is going to, then it will be more exiting to add them into the contest next year.

What kind of prize money is up for this?

You know what, they have not even told people yet and that is not the issue, it’s all about doing it.

So, have you had a run on the new Megaramp yet now it is constructed?

Yeah, I was up there yesterday taking a peak at it and it’s pretty much done. Apart from they would not let anyone practice just yet because they have to have the safety engineering stuff done first and we have to all sign off on it all. The thing is nuts though, it’s no joke!

Do you compare it snowboarding?

To some degree, yeah, but on a snowboard you can slow down, but on a skateboard there are no brakes and you got straps and stuff! It’s a lot more technical, a lot like snowboarding but on a snowboard you have a lot of pluses on your side.

You snowboard though yeah, does it help for this?

Yeah, i snowboard; it has helped me, as much as motocross has helped me as in trying to gather enough confidence to be able to look at a jump that big a magnitude on my skateboard so that I can actually jump it. So those kind of jumps on my motorcycle and a snowboard have really helped.

How much time was spent deciding how the Megaramp would go from idea to built?

We tried to mimic or duplicate the plans of the DC ramp as much as possible without having the same landscape to build it on which creates a few variables here and there. It is similar, but there are definitely some design changes. Looking at the ramp you can tell that the roll ins into the ramp are all just really steep and gnarly looking, and at Point X, one of the roll in’s on the smaller jump is really mellow and slow. You go fast, and if you jumped off, you would be alright. But this one is very different, basically once you drop in, there is no turning back!

How fast is it?

Really fast! In fact we will make sure that we find out exactly how fast with this new ramp, as I wanna find out. It’s by far the fastest I have ever been on a skateboard….nothing compares.

Geometry and calculation wise it must have been difficult, how much of that were you involved in?

A lot of it has been a gathering of information over the years, I have skated a lot of ramps and you have a good idea of what the perfect ramp will be like. It didn’t really take a long time to figure out the dimensions.Once I started to get into it I just started to figure it out pretty quickly. Using the formula I have used for my ramp in the past, I multiplied the numbers and got to where we are now. The guy that actually built it is JT at VPI Ramps, he built my last ramp and just continued, it’s progression for them too.

What about the World records, the XGames is probably a great platform to break your existing record at, is that something you are thinking about?

It’s possible. I had to be fair and I didn’t want to make the ramp too different from Point X and I feel like I didn’t really maximise the potential of Point X for the World Record stuff, so it is gonna be a similar environment but not gonna be dramatically different. I may break the record by a foot or 2 here and there but whatever, so long as it gets done. Its not a big focus for me, but I will definitely be excited if it happens.

When you were filming the DC Video at Point X, was it on your mind?

Yeah, I like to do that to set a benchmark to know where the boundaries are at right now, you know. It’s like putting a stake in the ground and you can keep pushing your stake out further and that is where we are at ‘ just trying to extend the boundaries and keep pushing the stakes out and that is why doing the high air stuff and the records kind of just draws the line to say OK, anything’s possible inside here.

What about the other riders, have they got their eye on breaking that record, or is it more of a jam situation out there?

No, it’s more of a jam, those guys are as just as intimidated as I am when I look from the top of the roll in. You know these guys don’t have much experience, so it’s gonna be a long haul for them to attempt a world record you know, but, most of the competition is gonna be about the different tricks that are going down.

Who do you think has the edge on the tricks so far?

We will could be anyone’s day. Everyone has been working the runs that they are gonna do depending on who makes what, it will be interesting.

What is the most impressive trick that has gone down so far?’s hard to say. (He’s being very coy here and will not give anything away!)

Has anyone ridden it switch?

I have ridden it switch, Burnquist has too.

You still say that you have unfinished business at that ramp, is there other stuff filmed that has gone down already?

Yeah, there is actually. The Megaramp Documentary video that OnVideo are making right now, but I have a bunch of footage that I have at the Megaramp on the rail that I have not used yet. There is some stuff in the new Transworld that just came out, the Awards issue and there are 2 pages on me in there, a frontside 270 to backside lipslide across the rail, and switch nosegrind across the rail.

How much do you kill yourself when you are skating this stuff?

It depends, every session is different, some days I walk away clean and some days I walk away beat up. There have been days when I haven’t really been trying to do much and just having fun, and I take a good slam, it’s so unpredictable!

Did you bust your balls yet on that rainbow rail?

Er..not yet.but it could happen anytime soon!

I must admit that there is just one part of the video in the extras section where you just get away with it and you are laughing at the camera and that just about sums it all up for me, it was a real moment of seeing someone having the best fun ever, and that is skateboarding all over!

Yeah, it’s one of the moments where you are walking on thin ice and don’t get beat up, you know, it’s almost fun to laugh at it, as you know that you just got away with it. It’s like a battle you know, just right on the edge and it didn’t get ya! It’s a large muthafucker!

You have been on the top of your game for a while now, have you ever been approached to do this as stunt style, like jumping the Great Wall of China or something?

Yeah, we are planning to do that kind of stuff, it’s on the horizon, but only as a publicity stunt. It’s not as important to me to represent skateboarding in that fashion. I think it’s cool to be able to say you have done this and that and that other, it’s cool to define the boundaries of the sport but you know, for the first part, I don’t want to be known as the Evil Knievel on a skateboard!

I’m so chuffed you just said that!

Yeah, there are a lot more things are I am more proud of than just jumping on my skateboard from point A to point B you know. But like I said, defining the boundaries, gives the sport room to grow. If I can clear a 100ft gap on my skateboard and get it wired, then who is to say that you can’t do 720’s over 100ft and get them wired and that’s my motivation to build new boundaries. Why are we saying we have to play in this little yard over here, when we can play in this big playground over here you know?

How do you look after yourself before you do this big stuff?

I stretch a lot, it’s like a ritual man! So much stretching and I work out all the time, just keeping all my joints strong that are weak from all of the injuries over the years. If I don’t work out I just start to go to shit, I cannot do the stuff that I wanna do, so that has become part of my skating, feeling like I am strong enough to be able to handle the stress I put my body through.

What about nutrition, is food part of your resume?

Yeah, I’m not a saint or angel about it, I don’t try to take it beyond living on crazy diets and stuff like that. I naturally eat healthy and have done for a long time. I don’t have a formula that I stick to, but I do eat healthy and I do take care of my body as far as rehabilitation goes, like training and stuff like that, because if you are pulling your body in another direction all the time, you need to. But I’m aware that you can be too anal about keeping healthy in regards to diet, you can start to have a military approach to skating, and that is not healthy either. I’m not looking at how many carbs or how much protein is going in my body, but in regards to what food I eat, I make sure I eat healthy with organic foods. I do not eat meat and have not done in 20 years now. I eat a lot of fish and I love fishing. I eat fish all the time, only if it is freshly caught though.

What about sponsors, as various pro’s like Tony Hawk for example have signed themselves up for the big food companies, has this been offered to you, would you take the money and endorse stuff like that?

I really would not want to endorse anything that I would not personally consume or embrace myself. Like the McDonald’s thing, I don’t personally eat McDonald’s, my kids don’t eat McDonalds, and I think McDonald’s is crap so I would never skate for McDonalds you know. It’s not about money at a certain point. I have had a great career in skateboarding and made enough money and I am happy with what I have, and I have always felt good about what I am representing and promoting. That is the most important thing to me as a person, about who I am and what I am about.

How old are your kids, are they skating?

I have two boys; one is 2 and the other 6 and yeah, they are both skating a bit!

How much stuff do you do for kids?

We do as much as we can, not much on the way of skate schools, but tours, loads of tours. There was a video tour for the DC video around the World with signings and stuff, but we try to interact with the kids as much as possible whenever we get a clear chance to do it.

You mentioned before about your tough upbringing, how did that have an affect on your skateboarding?

Having a rough background made me value the things that are important to me in life from a young age and the most thing I probably value as being most important in my life aside from my kids, my wife, family and friends is skateboarding, for being able to give me a life when I was a kid you know. I respect skateboarding for giving me the things I have, and that is why I want to help skateboarding and not harm it.

Skateboarding has always been there for individuals that have gone through a lot of shit; it is probably one of the best things ever for people wanting to find a creative route in life.

Yeah, it’s the kid of thing that does not take a hell of a lot of money to get into it. You may not have the best brands that you can find on the street but it doesn’t take much to get rolling on a skateboard and for a kid that don’t have much that can get their hands on a skateboard, it’s a great channel. I’m a good example of that when i was a kid and I needed anything to get away from what I was going through at home with my family life, and skateboarding was the nearest thing I picked up on to get me out of hard times you know.

Who had the board, how did you get into it?

I grew up in Southern California and skateboarding was a big part of the culture here alongside surfing and my uncles and my dad had a skateboard, so I started to ride them and then started to ride Del Mar skate ranch and that was the place where Tony (Hawk) grew up skating and other pro’s and it was right by my house, just off the freeway there so my brother and I would flip out and start going there. We were about 6 years old.

You were the talented kid that was fired into the skateboarding spotlight from an early age; did you feel pressure back then as the light was on you?

I have always been self driven throughout my career and never really had a lot of pressure from others around me, but now, going into the XGames I feel pressure because people are expecting you to compete at a certain level, but for the best part, I feel as I have had a little battle with my inner self, the pressure comes from myself.

Who was skating there back then, did you skate with Gator?

Oh yeah, we skated together.

Have you seen the Stoked.Rise and Fall of Gator movie?

Yeah, he was one of my favourite skateboarders you know, in skateboarding terms he was beyond most and I always thought that he was the most complete skateboarding vehicle that was on the scene. You saw pretty much the best of all the top pro’s at that time in one guy and that was Gator, and then he lost his mind. I don’t know what happened from there.

Are you in touch with him at all?

No. I can’t relate to him at all you know? I don’t really know where to start. I was friends with the guy then, and I just don’t relate to how to somebody can go to that level mentally, but I respect him for his skateboarding, but not his decisions in his ability to handle the roller coaster ride of life you know.

What about Christian Hosoi, have you seen him since he has been back on the scene?

Yeah, I was just hanging out with him the other day. He came down to the Megaramp with Omar to check out what we have going on, but he didn’t skate it as he had tweaked his knee, it was a little irritated.

Do you think he is going to come back into skateboarding in a big way?

Yeah for sure, he has preserved his body for about 5 years and he is in good shape. He looks rock solid, ribbed, and he looks as though he has been working out a lot. He is getting a lot of publicity right now because people have been waiting for so long and people have been saying stuff like, will we ever get to see him skate on that level again and now he is back and people are blown away!

I think a lot of kids should know the history of a rider of his caliber, do you think it is important that kids do know about people like Hosoi to help them skate bigger stuff?

What he brings back to the table is style, power and finesse and people forget about that. You look at a lot of vert contests these days and how robotic every one is and how much they’re just trying to bang out trick after trick instead of trying to actually show how much ability they have with power and style and all that as it’s a big part of it you know ‘ it’s how you get the job done!

What about other skaters, who are you rating out there?

There are a lot of young kids that are amazing, but I grew up and the guys I was looking up to were different. Times have changed and these guys have idols now that are street guys. But it’s hard to see the same kind of roots for building blocks these days. For example we have a local park here with a brand new sick vert ramp and all the kids are riding the street course!

What will it take for people to start realising that street skating is not everything?

Well it’s to do with facilities. If there is not a vert ramp around, well, street is what you do, so it’s all about providing the ramps in areas to make people aware that you can ride everything.

Have you skated the Oregon Parks?

Yeah, the kids are skating those parks because there is nothing else for them to skate that is smaller, so it works well. I have had some great fun up there in the Northwest, I liked a lot of them, but there weren’t really any big vert sections where there were real vert transitions and there wasn’t really any street skating stuff either, mostly bowl and mini ramp kinda stuff, which is fun as shit, don’t get me wrong as I had a blast when I went up there. But a kid that skates those parks every day is not gonna come out of those parks as a vert skater unless they practice vert somewhere, but they are gonna come out looking for the lines and wanna fucking shred around somewhere.

Tony Trujillo style?

Yeah! Which is great, I love that style of skating! I feel that the ultimate park should have all places to skate, so that there is everything there for different levels.

What about Girls, are there more girls skating in the USA these days?

Yeah, there are more girls skating, not a lot but a couple of girls that shred locally. For example there is one girl from round here in Encinitas called Lyndsey who is sponsored and she rips!

That park has had an upgrade huh?

Yeah, they just built a couple of shallow bowls, a new vert, a street course, but I don’t get down there much as they just finished it a couple of months back The bowls are mellow, no one around here wants to push the trannies over 11ft, and I feel as though some of these bowls should be equipt with 11ft but also with a couple of feet of vert, like vert ramp trannies. I prefer to skate my warehouse.

Who do you skate with down there?

Jake Brown, Colin McKay, Jason Ellis, and a few others.

What is Colin up to? Is he skating the Megaramp?

He has just come out of shoulder surgery, so he has not been riding it, but he will be up for best trick on the Vert at the XGames.

A possible chance he will be your vert doubles partner there then? Haha!

Vert doubles is like the synchronized swimming of skateboarding!

Do you work on tricks down there a lot?

Sometimes I will think about it during the night and go down there the next day and see if I can nail it, push it around and see if it works. Sometimes I try new stuff, other times I just jam down there. I have not been working on too many tricks lately, I have spent more time recently getting more repetition, get them wired for this XGames contest and not much video part stuff to do.

Do you enjoy doing videos?

I love doing video parts and progressing my skating. I get excited to get some motivation to push those boundaries. It puts more pressure on me and I like that.

Let’s talk music; I hear you are in a band?

Yeah, I play guitar, we are kind of hardcore at times and melodic at times. I write the guitar riffs, and then hook up with the vocalist Renee Renee who has a bit of a following as he was a well respected rapper before and started singing and has a crazy rock voice, so we hooked up and started a rock band. We jam a lot and have been putting the album down in the last couple of weeks on pro tools. We put the drums down in the studio and then we use pro tools to get it all together, but we will have someone in to mix it for us. Pro tools are the best way to do it for us as we can use it anytime.

Sounds fun, so is it song based or are you making a racket?!

Song based for sure, we are not trying to fire up like a Death metal band!. I have had fun jamming that shit over the years but it’s mellower with melodic verses and heavy choruses. In fact we are playing at the XGames!

How many shows have you played so far?

About 3 so far. We played first with Pennywise and Unwritten Law and then MXPX and Guttermouth and other bands.and the XGames has a huge set up, it sounds like fun but my focus has to be on the contest as a priority but I love doing the band. You are in a band as well yeah?

Yeah, it’s called K-Line and we have an album come out right now.

What do you do, sing?

Yeah, I sing. We have a Dischord Records influence and some old school hardcore stuff, in fact we just played with 7 Seconds here recently.

Cool, they are great band! I will check that out.

So what is on your stereo in you car right now?

Ozzy man!

You love your Metal huh?

Yeah, I listen to everything from Circle Jerks and old punk rock stuff all the way through every kind of metal; I have about 5000 tracks on mp3 stored away. Sometimes, it’s metal, sometimes it’s hardcore. When I’m going down to the Point X ramp in the desert I will be listening to Slayer the whole way out there just to get fired up!

Reign in Blood the whole way?

Yeah, it’s definitely a big part of it! I just saw them recently and they played Reign in Blood, the whole album all the way through without stopping! It was sick, it was in San Diego..

So, which 5 bands would you choose out of all of them?

Er.Masters of Reality, Black Sabbath, Slayer of course, Led Zeppelin would be in there for sure and Metallica, Kill Em All!

What about Alien Workshop, you have been quoted to say after you got on Alien Workshop, that there was a possibility of Plan B making a comeback, how do you feel about that now?

I don’t know if we are willing to take the time to wanna make it happen, and I don’t know if Colin and I have the motivation to start another skateboard company right now, you know. We have done it before and we know what we are dealing with but it doesn’t make sense right now as we are both doing a lot things, and running a skateboard company is a full time job, it might be cool to do, but at the same time, is it really worth it…?

So what kind of mark do you want to leave on skateboarding?

I just feel as though skateboarding has the potential to be there and if we are all supposed to do it, I have been skateboarding my whole life and I feel the same as a lot of other guys that have spent their whole life getting trained to a level where you can actually think on that level, and now is the time. I’m not getting any younger and I gotta make this happen.

What is next for Danny Way? I hear that you are planning to build a skatepark on the side of a hillside, is this true?

Yeah, this is true, a few people know but I have not really spoke to much about it, only to friends. I just bought a bunch of property in Hawaii, where I don’t have to worry about neighbours, noise, etc and it’s full of hills and jungle and it’s big enough to do what I wanna do. I chose Hawaii because I like to surf and I can’t afford to buy property and do that here in California, plus Hawaii is a lot nicer than California, and the property price is a lot more realistic!

Wow, so what would the hillside park be like, what are you thinking?

I have not even really got that far just yet, as I have only just got the property locked down, but there is a lot of possibilities so I will go out there and start designing it, but the possibilities are unlimited! It’s gonna be pretty amazing!

So Rob Dyrdek gets a DC plaza and you get a hillside!

Yeah, Rob’s project is moving forward nicely. There is plenty more to come!

So let’s cap this interview then with one more question ‘ if you had Tony Hawks’ leer jet to whisk you away to skate anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I don’t need to go anywhere as I have my warehouse and the Megaramp at Point X Camp and that is all I need! So, you know what? You could have that flight and get your ass out here for a session!

Cool, I will pack my bags right now! Cheers for your time and good luck with everything.

Thanks man, you are welcome.


Danny Wainwright

After an email interview went tits up over Xmas, this interview was done by Zac over the phone in Feb 04 …it took an hour. Some of the questions are from Ralph LD and others from the Crossfire and Sidewalk Forums…..this photo here was shot by Leo Sharp and robbed from

so, let’s get on with it…

Name and number?

Geoff Capes mate!

Haha! I have not heard that name in a bit of wrestling huh? patient, haha!

Ok, lets get on with it starting from the beginning. How did you get into skating, and why?

My mate Pob back in Stroud where I grew up had a board for his Birthday and we used to share it and skate together, then one day Mum and Dad said to me, ‘check out what is the car’, and there it was a brand new board, you know, the Turbo 2’s.?

Haha! What was the graphic?

It had a Bruce Lee graphic haha! You know the sketchy ones you used to get in the market for a tenner?!

Yeah, I remember them.I had one to with Palm Trees on it! It was rad! But no one at that time had wide boards, so they were pretty rare back then huh?

Yeah, too true, I saw some kids on one once and I was like whoa! I gotta have one of those one day and try that man, and then a few years later, I hooked one up!

What about pro boards?

Back then, I used to just buy all of the second hand boards from locals kids cos we was skint..they used to call me Second Hand Dan! All the rich kids use the take the piss out of me! I used to buy people’s shoes and everything man!

Back then though, nobody even dreamed of becoming pro and having a career right?

No way! We used to drill metal on the back on it and spark the hills. You know, like blakeys.remember them at school?!

Yeah, everyone had Blakeys.what ever happened to them?

I have no idea. But we should get them going again man! That is ours, let’s trademark it haha!

What about Powell, how did the relationship come about?

Through Shiner.this guy called The Hawkins who used to hook up the teams and all that you know, I owe him big time cos he hooked me up, and got me on Powell.

So it was flow to start with right?

Yeah, Shiner were looking for people to represent Powell here, and also get someone on the Vision offshoot label that Chris Gentry and others were riding for, I can’t remember the name now..but all my friends were like, ‘yeah you should ride for Powell man’, so I just did it! I got a few boards for free and I was also getting flow from Jeremy Fox with Death Box, like jeans and the boards an all that, so he helped me out in the early days.

What about the original Bones Brigade Videos, did they influence you choosing?

Yeah, the opportunity to ride for them was massive, they were massive.

Yeah, I remember it was either Santa Cruz or Powell back then for me.

Totally man, …but the Powell videos were amazing, all those skaters, Ray Barbie, Chet Thomas etc, I used to record the music off the videos and go out skating with the soundtrack on in the headphones….the music was as important as the skating.

Do you have contact with George Powell?

Yeah, he is cool man, he arrives at the office from 12-8pm, he has his dogs in there and everything, it’s a cool set up over there in Santa Barbara, all the warehouse and factories are downstairs and then upstairs is like a massive open plan office, and everyone works in there, so you just go up there and hang out..

Do you get over there much?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I will probably go over there soon.

So what was your favourite era then?

I dunno.maybe when Real Skateboards came out, before it got all technical and slow and all that, you know.when all those Blind videos came out, Henry Sanchez, Chico Brenes and all those dudes man.that was THE era..

With the limits of skateboarding being pushed each day, do you think that somebody who wants to make it as a skater has to learn to discipline themselves and take care of their body?

Well the Americans who skate vert for sure..all of them are like full-on athletes, supplements, work out, if they get hurt, they get it sorted and move on, very different to here man! And street skaters, especially here in the UK.well, a bag of weed and a Pot Noodle will do, and if they get injured.well they get walking again and go skatin! That is the UK! Skaters here don’t take it too seriously, and that can be bad as well because we don’t get anywhere because of know what I mean, we are not really supported because of that.

Do you think we are not supported enough then in the UK?

Well look at the contests here, barely anyone goes, you know! They are all like, ‘yeah I can’t be bothered‘.British Teams, or ‘so called Teams’.where they at?

Like say there is a comp in London or something, they are too busy drinking Stellas and playing chess in their cardigans and that..they are like, ‘whoa, I’m not into that’, which is fucked!

You seem to take comps seriously right? You have won loads of comps lately like Board-X, Turin Italy, and Montpellier etc. Is there a method to this, do you go to win?

I think about it a lot beforehand, a lot of the time I feel like I gotta do well, you know like there’s Vans, Powell etc, they want me to do well you know.

Obviously sponsors don’t push you into doing all of this, it’s up to you right?

Yeah, it is up to me, but you know, last year I really tried harder cos I’m 28 now man, and I wanna be seen to still be progressing, and doing well you know, so last year towards the end I was like lets do this, it’s on you know, I felt good about my skating, and the last 5 events I entered I won, so it felt good man.

Do you think loyalty to sponsors is important?

If they are cool with you. You have to build a relationship, you not gonna have no trust if you jump around, you won’t really know anyone that you are dealing with, I find it easier you know.I have been at Powell for like 10 years now, pro for 6 of those now..and Vans, the Team manager Pete is like one of my best friends, so I don’t wanna fuck him around, I just wanna represent, and do the best I can.

Do you think kids nowadays understand this loyalty too?

A lot of it is about image, being seen to be part of a fresh thing, it’s a funny one, I’m not really that bothered, you gotta sort yourself out; it’s hard to explain.

Talking of brands. If a big brand such as a mobile company or big clothing manufacturer wanted you as part of their team, would you take the money and ride or turn it down?

Well fuck, what other skills do I have man? I don’t wanna do too much crazy stuff.I did that thing for the BBC and I didn’t know what it would be like or how it would turn out…

Yeah, that looked good on TV, where you happy with it?

Yeah man! It was amazing; it won a Bafta as well! Best camera operator!

Was it a skater who filmed it?

Nah, BBC filmed it..i helped to choreograph it and all that, it was cool. We has to go to Northern Ireland 3 times, help set up the course, and then got to pick the riders for it, Frank Stephens and Ollie Todd you know, get the Vans boys in you know! I went to a meeting with Christian Stevenson and we picked 2 heads that would be able to do tricks all day solidly.we filmed all day, they got good style.

Frank has some good stuff going on right now huh?

Yeah, it’s about time to.

We heard rumours that there was a possible switch for you to Cliche, is this true?

Where did you hear that from?!! Walls have ears huh!

They did talk to me an all that, but I didn’t see it as being the right thing you know, I like what they are doing, but not for me man.

So what is the deal with the Wainwright pro shoe?

No love from Vans man.I got that one called “the Sums” that was amazing, and they didn’t even give me an ad or anything, they didn’t promote it and get it out there enough.

Would you want another pro shoe out?

Yeah for sure, it’s a big achievement to get a shoe, I’m surprised and I’m stoked I got that opportunity, I dunno if I will get that opportunity again but if it did, I would make sure it happened properly.

What was you contribution to the Customized Vans in the new Vans Shop in Carnaby street?

Yeah, I did a pair, I don’t know if it sold, but Stella McCartney’s sold for like £8000 or something and the Gallagher’s designed some, it was fun. We came to your jam afterwards man, it was cool.

Yeah, that was the best to date..

We came late to yours as we had to do our Vans stuff, and I remember getting there, hanging with some kids, went to have a skate and all the lights went off, I was like oh shit, we missed the main event man! But everyone was stoked on that jam, keep em up, they rock!

You are pretty cool with the kids right.don’t mind autographs etc

Yeah, and I will tell you a story why I am like that.

Go on then, let’s have it!

When I was little, I went to see the Wrestling with Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks yeah, it was sick, and after the fight, Giant Haystacks walked off, you know, and I’m all like running over to him, by this time he is at his dressing room, and I’m like, ‘hey man, can I get your autograph?’. And he looks at me and bellows at the top of his voice ‘ FUCK OFF’ and he is this massive geezer, I was gutted!

It happened to me with Henry Rollins once so I know how you feel!

You know what, if I saw Haystacks now man, I would thump him! Haha!

So you are into your art, would you use your own art for a board graphic?

I do a few bits and bobs, I like street art, graffiti, posters and stuff like that but I have never done a board graphic.

When you were growing up, was Electro music a part of your life? Did it start there?

Yeah, of course, we all used to Break Dance, I had my name on the back of my tracksuit and shit, haha..

That’s funny!.What did it say?

‘Mini D’!

Haha! ‘ Class!

Yeah man, that was my tag, I was about 8 years old or something!

We used to have sessions in school cos they had great polished floors, where did you kick out the electro jams?

Well I used to live in Coventry and we used to take over these abandon garages and we took 2 of them over, we had a bed in there, lino and a beatbox, it was great!

Where you into skating then?

Nah, I was into BMX but I never had a good one!

Yep, same here! So what about music, tunes always have played an important part of art, skating etc, what is on the stereo right now?

Hear ya go (turns the stereo up) , Trojan Dub right there man! Loving it!

So what are the fave musicians in your life?

Oh, whoa that is one hell of a question, this is gonna take a while.lemme think.hmmn…Biggie Smalls will be in there, Mobb Deep, yeah, some Jazz in there to.I reckon Robbie Coltrane..

You like your chilled stuff then?

Oh dude, fuck yeah, well I’m a stoner innit so, you know, nothing hectic! Snoop would be in there..OG Snoop, Doggy Style!

Have you ever made your own tunes?

Nah, lots of friends of mine make tunes but I have never really gone for it, Bristol has a really good scene for music, and I’m into that for sure.

Tell us about 50-50? How did it come about in Bristol?

It’s the bomb, the best, it’s the most original, skater owned yo!

Did you start up on your own?

Nah, me and Sid man. I won some money at Generation 97 and Sid got some money together, we put a business plan together, and the bank helped as well, and we got it all up and running and started with nothing.

What about distributors?

We did not get support in the beginning from distributors, people like Shiner were really supportive, and slowly after about 6 months, people started to come around you know, obviously the shop will do well because of who is involved, people like Alan Rushbrooke was there from the beginning, everyone knew about it and now it’s no problem at all, we get to choose what we wanna do now.

What’s the future for the skater owned shop vibe?

Yeah, there should be like a recognized group of shops you should got to, skater owned, or shops that support the scene and put something back into skating, cos there are a lot of shops that just stock shit, and happen to be a distributor as well so they are just undercutting every other shop the stock to, like that Osiris shop in Bristol. We used to sell their stuff and then all of a sudden they open a shop right next to us, they sell it cheaper than what we can buy it for so why would people wanna buy it from us, it’s tough you know, but that is life.

And chain stores?

Well, 6 months in, the Legends shop in town is closing! It can only be good to for the scene. It’s bad, of course, but it’s good because it filters it back to what it was in the beginning.

Are skater owned shops doing enough for their local scenes?

Yeah, Sumo, Ideal and others do that I know, I can’t speak for other shops, but we organize demo’s, contests, make flat bars, take them out for the kids, we have the ramp at the back of the shop that people can skate, people come in and watch videos, it’s like a meeting place you know, and we don’t just sell the kids products. Kids don’t really know what to buy when they come in sometimes, so we teach them what is good and what isn’t. Say for example if some fat kid comes in, I’m not gonna sell him a super light! We just be cool and fair to people.

What is the future then for 50-50?

Who knows, we are just waiting for these other irrelevant shops to get out of the way so we have a bit more room to do things. We have great support from local skaters, wearing the shirts, and even parents like the vibe; we will try and keep that going cos it’s all good.

What about the 50-50 brand?

Yeah, we wanna get that out there more, do more stuff with artists instead of just logo based stuff. We got 4 people working on stuff right now. Science is one of them, Eko with a graffiti crew called TCF, and another friend of mine, Sick Boy,who’s doing boards right now and another guy called Parish who writes for TCF as well, all these guys are well known round here. let’s talk about ‘The Ollie’!

Ahhhh, I knew it would come up! Haha!

How does it feel to hold the record?

Stoked man, it’s tough but, ollieing 40 inches – I can it every day pretty much and I know other people can, but over 40 inches is hard, it’s a real push..

Do you think you could break it?

Back then I was into ollies but now, I try a different style of skating, new tricks you know?

What about switch then?

Dude, you know that guy Javier Sarmiento who rides for The Firm? That guy has the biggest switch ollies! He switched ollied this thing in Japan that I just ollied, it was fucking massive.seriously!

With the highest ollie, highest switch ollie, longest ollie and $10 000 games of SKATE, what’s next?

There was something recently, a long ollie comp at ASR, I heard about it, but I think all that stuff has calmed down now a bit, it’s media induced you know.

Do you think such competitions are good or just a mockery of what skateboarding is all about?

Nah, I think it’s really good, but in proportion. The ollie thing was good because it had not been done for years, and they shouldn’t bother do it for another 10 years, until there is a whole new batch of skaters and new techniques.

Could we see more competitions like this in the future ‘ any invites to new ones?

Well, look at the loop with the gap, who knows what is next. The Americans are good at doing all this stuff.

Have you ever been tempted to move ship to the States?

Not really, more than ever now. Sometimes I think why did I not go there for a bit, but there is still plenty of time, but it’s really different out there than the UK. The whole lifestyle wears you down you know. The sense of humour here is great, and the way people are, they tell you straight here, over there it’s like one big game. I used to go for like a month or 2 and then come home which was cool, there are always invites, I reckon I will go back soon, Powell ask about when I’m next visiting now and then.

After making the pilgrimage to the States and then returning to set up shop in England, do you think Europe has a chance to compete with the American skate industry?

Yeah, Europe is on fire right now, has been for a while. Support it!

And finally..

Some Questions from the Forums..we asked online community if they had any questions for you and these came back!

Do you think you’ll be remembered as “The Dude Who Did The Ollie”? – Dave1

Haha, probably i don’t know !

Why R U the only skater to have a pro shoe that actually lives in the UK?
– Arry

Cos the UK don’t get no love man!

How come he hardly gets coverage in the big american magazine ?
– Arry

They always over the same people, the same places every issue so i’m not missing out, plus i live here man, i got the 50-50 for life.

Are you still obessed with Vanessa Paradis?
‘ Frontside Rocker

That is a funny one man! I did an interview years ago, it’s funny someone remembered that ! ‘ I saw her on TV the other day, and she’s not looking so hot these days! When i was 16 yeah!

Also what are Powell doing with those graphics? Does he have any say? I think they’re awful!

I could not agree more mate ! i don’t have a say.hey have you seen my new one, it looks like a prehistoric corn on the cob !

Has having a name 1 1/2 times as long as ‘Danny Way’ had any beneficial impact on your career?

Did Jason Lunn ask that question ? Haha ! He is great Jason, big respect.

Who do you idolise in skateboarding ?
– J Hetfield

I don’t idolise anybody man, but dude, great skaters, – so many i don’t even know, from back in the day, all of those amazing man, i love watching stylish skaters. Someone with flow.

Fave session?

Whoa, that is a hard one…Will Ainley, Frank Stephens – all the 50-50 crew man.

Why wasn’t your section on Day in the City 3 because i didn’t see his section on the premiere
‘from Tyler

Well, i didn’t do one..Will Ainley did, but it didn’t get on there.

If there was one thing you could change about your career so far what would it be?
– Rom Skater Andy

I would not tried that handrail in the Raggy Video that i split my nuts on man, yeah, that for sure !

Who’s the most annoying & hard worker of the 50/50 ams?
– Deegwaad

Oh boy, they ask some real sick questions..I’m stoked they wanna know about the crew though, it probably would have to be Little Dan Wileman for both, they are all annoying, a bunch of idiots ! But Dan is the most annoying for example we will be out skating and he will be like – “Dan have you got a bearing or whatever or “can i borrow you knee pads?”, and he will borrow them and not give them back or something..Big Love though Dan!

Any shouts, plugs weblinks or general abuse to people you know reading this?!

Yeah. Thanks if you take time to read this.

Thanks to all the kids for their questions and yeah, of course Big Ups to Crossfire for hooking this up and pulling us all together.

Support Skater Owned! – DW

Danny’s recommended links include:

50-50 Skate Shop online at

And some Graf sites well worth checking out at and


Natas Kaupas interview

Zac hooked up with Natas Kaupas at the Marseille Bowlriders 04 and instead of going for the traditional swim in the Mediterranean; they exchanged socks in a tent, and this is what went down!

Ok fella, what is your name and where are you from?

My name is Tony Alva from California!

Haha, he caused chaos here last year huh?

Yeah, as ever. Nah man, this is Natas Kaupas in Marseille. (Haha!)

So Mr Kaupas, you obviously are now working with Quiksilver, how long now and what do you do?

Yeah, been working with Quiksilver for about 5 years now. I started designing some t-shirts for them on a freelance basis and they liked that so I ended up doing some skateboard ads and snowboard ads, and now I’m doing all their ads!

Full time now then?

Pretty much, I spend a lot of my time on it now, they pay the bills, keeps food in the belly, it’s great!

You told me earlier that you are you are starting your own skateboard company, how fresh is this news?

Very fresh, yeah, nobody knows yet really but yeah along with a full time job, I’m starting ‘another’ full time job which is starting a skateboard company but it’s gonna represent what I’m to now which is artwork, as in working with artists and being an art director. So I’m sponsoring artists instead of skateboarders.

So what are we to expect? How is it gonna work? Who have you got in your sights?

We are treating the boards like fine art prints where there is a limited run on each one and you can get one, ride it, or hang it on your wall, which ever, and each one is limited to just 500. The first run, we have got a board designed by Thomas Campbell, Shepard Fairey of Obey, and this great painter called Paige. You will be able to read all about the artists with little booklets that come with it. We will also have the guys from Lowdown design, you know, the magazine?

They have 2 designs they contributed and a few of the artists will also do representations of the old Santa Monica Airlines Panther graphic. They are given really loose guidelines, and just to let their creativity to kinda go forward with of the new classics as it were. We are looking for good art and good aesthetics.

Sounds fun. The Panther is a classic design though. In fact, I almost said it WAS a classic but it’s obviously not dead just yet!

Yeah, history is never done! (Haha!)

Will you be scouting artists from all over the World? Is there anyone from London on your radar?

We are really trying to get hold of Banksy in London it’s just a matter of tracking him down; we have private investigators on it over there at the moment!

You like his stuff then?

Yeah, his books, his philosophy goes in lock step with skateboard mentality, the kind of stuff we like to promote.

And to promote it, what plans are there already?

Well, I think in a few years we will have enough good art to do a book as we already have a tentative book deal and plan to do art shows and tour it around, but most of the art is in computer form so we have to figure that out! There are a few raw pieces right now, we are still figuring it all out and it’s a little bit problematic!

All of the different riders will have their own styles, is it totally open ended?

Yeah, definitely open ended, we are also looking to work with a few painters who will paint a large installation and photograph it and put it on a board. We just want to people to push the whole thing of doing a print I guess.

The whole thing is about showing things to people that people haven’t seen before. We are working out and flexing new muscles there by bringing all of the artists together. We feel there is a new aesthetic that was born a few years back, you know, the do-it-yourself way; the confidence and style of showing a personality and individuality that skateboarding represents. When you see it, it will probably all make sense.’s called Designarium by the way.

Ha-ha that was my next question! OK, so is there any connection here with music? What are you rocking out too right now?

I’m listening to a band called the Detroit Cobra’s who are girls doing covers of Motown songs, and it’s all pretty wild, raw, and has a super guitar-garage sound, the singer has an amazing whisky smoked voice and they just belt out the old Motown classics, that is on constant rotation right now!

Lately it’s all been about the recording quality, you know? You wanna hear some personality and you don’t get that when stuff is overproduced. I think The White Stripes brought it back and did it very well. You know you take Bowie’s latest album and it’s so slick and boring you know, over produced and it’s over, nothing really grabs you, and er, it’s just not great to hear. There is another band from the USA right now called The Gossip. Same deal, you know, you can tell that they are doing their own garage which is great!

As far as what we are doing, we wanna bring the artists together to do skateboard graphics, and mix them in with musicians and film makers and hopefully we can make some DVD projects and films and we are really looking for good distribution, and function as an agent to get things shown and get it out there. It’s not about making tonnes of money but we will hopefully be making good connections for others and just representing our culture to people.

Doing it the way you see it through your eyes?

Yeah, I would hate for someone else to do this that didn’t skateboard or grow up in it or didn’t know about what’s important or what the history is.

Is there anything else out there right now that is similar to what you are about to unleash?

Er – No. There are obvious examples of where you have the skateboarder in the right guard ads, fashion ads or whatever and they have totally cropped the photo wrong. I think that we are just totally maturing all of these ideas that are coming forward and it’s just as important as any other artwork that is happening right now. In a gallery they will make a fine art print, they silk screen’s the same process, but I just wanna put it on a new way on a skateboard. It’s a way of putting skateboarding culture toe to toe and be representative I think.

And clothing, will you have limited runs?

Yes, I wanna make sure that we can bring something to the table that has not been done before and keep the quality know?.like if people said hey ‘I’ve never seen that before!’ I don’t wanna do the same old thing.I wanna bring something new, just like skateboarding did for the rest of the world.

Just like what you did for skateboarding in the 80’s?

Haha, yeah I guess so.

Let’s talk about that briefly. So, when I started skating, you were everywhere, and since that day, you have set standards for today’s street skating? How did that affect you when you were younger?

Ha-ha, that was not up to me! Maybe for what I did but the people remember it and followed it, I dunno, it’s sort of like the motion was done. I did what I did and it grew and had a life of its own. I’m just glad that people remembered it or liked it – it’s cool.

Any regrets along the way?

No real regrets. I did the best I could! Haha! The only one I think is probably that I could have been more focused on what I was doing more, but I did not really appreciate the human connection for a while, as I was pretty young and I didn’t handle the attention really well. It’s not really a regret but I think I could have probably handled it better. A little training would have been nice! Haha! I really just wanted to go skateboarding and was stopped to sign autographs and it was really not why I was into it. But no real regrets though, cos it’s all good fun!

What about now, are you skating weekly, where are you hanging out and who are you skating with?

I’m down in San Clemente these days. It’s a sleepy little town between San Diego and Los Angeles. I just moved there and there is a cement park down there and I’m mostly skating with little helmeted kids! Yeah, I’ve been skating a bit but not as much as back in the day. I’ve been surfing a lot more and get to travel to all of these great spots so, anyway, yeah..still skateboarding!

If you had to pick one, what was your favourite ever skate session over the years?

Years ago, skateboarding with friends midnight until four or so… it feels like the world is yours skating at those hours!

How has skateboarding changed through your eyes compared to back when you were riding for SMA?

A lot has changed, but the skateboard it self if pretty similar. So it’s up to the skater; there sure are a lot of them these days!

What are your fave movies, the ones you always go back to, Skate or feature films?

I have a hard time watching any movie twice. Except maybe Fight Club because of the whole twist thing.

Have you seen the ‘Stoked. Rise and Fall of Gator’ Movie?

No…..not yet.

You must have skated together at some point back in day, how did his lifestyle change affect you when you found out what he was going through?

We never really got along from the first moment we met, so there was always a great emotional distance between us. But it was a bad and evil thing to do, so that part made me sad- but not in a real personal level. People should know to be decent to one another.

When will the Designarium touch paper be fully lit?

The end of summer 04. We are already questioning our slow start, there’s a pretty big demand- hopefully some products make it over the ocean to you guys.

Good luck with Designarium and thanks for the chat.

Yeah, thanks!


Lee Smith

Speak into the mic.

Testicles 1-2! (Laughter!)

Great! Ok Lee, it’s the 8th July and you’re in Lyon, France. How did you get here? When? Why?…

I’ve only been in Lyon about 2 or 3 days, but in total I’ve been in Europe about 5 months. I just got kinda sick of Los Angeles, sitting in traffic, trying to skate a shitty handrail that Johhny Wickerbean already did a nolllie boardslide down! So, I decided to just be a gypsy for a while and spend some time in Europe.

Where have your travels taken you through Europe?

No where exotic really. I’ve been spending most of my time in Barcelona on the beach… And at Macba! (Laughter!)

I guess you still get to see your friends because of the strong influx of US pros during these recent times.

Yeah. I’ve been hanging out a lot with Paul Shier, and a lot of guys I know that came out from San Francisco like Brad Johnson. The DVS guys came out… I’ve also been spending time with a lot of the local Spanish skaters, so it’s good. I’ve been brushing up on my old ‘Espagnol’.

You mentioned earlier that you were tired of skating in the States. Is this because of the constant competitiveness of it over there? Do you find Europe more laid back?

Yeah, I mean in America, skating wise, the mentality is that you’ve got to push! Push! Push! Do this trick! Do that trick! Get this out there! In one way it’s good, but on another level it’s just too extreme, you know? I think the European lifestyle, in general, is a lot more laid back. People are relaxed and like to chill. It’s more about enjoying each moment of every day, instead of trying to make a buck.

With the recent blow out of ‘Johnny Hammertime’ skaters and skating, do you feel a little left out because your image is at the other end of the spectrum? Or, is this a relief that takes you out of the spotlight and lets you enjoy your skating more?

Well, I definately think that people weren’t paying attention to the whole City Stars thing until we got the little kids on the team (Ed. Mike Taylor, Paul Rodriguez…). But, me personally, I didn’t do a lot for a long time. I was pretty lazy and I was kinda just into partying. I was kind of out of it, so I really don’t know… But I think the whole handrail craze is coming to an end! People are just starting to respect style and creativity, which are the most important things about skating.

Definately! You spoke about Paul Rodriguez being on the team back then. Did you get to witness this wonderkid firsthand and watch the progression?

Oh yeah! Paul was already really good when he got on City Stars, but he was still just a young kid and really humble. He’d pray before every trick… Now he’s just a bit caught up in all the money and hype of fame, glitz and glamour, and trying to be a gangster. He listens to too much Hip-Hop! ( Laughter!) It’s music, that’s it. It’s just like a movie: it’s there to entertain you and then the movies over.

Watching the recently released FTC Trilogy, there is quite a bit of footage of you back then. What was it like in San Francisco during that time?

The scene was a lot of fun. Some of my best times in my life, just coming up and skating Embarcadero. Watching the progression of certain skaters like Jovantae Turner, Mike Carroll, or Henry Sanchez. People like that really push me to progress with my skating. It was a great time! Obviously we were getting into a lot of mischief at the same time, but I don’t regret anything.

Looking at then and now, who inspires you today?

Back then, it was obviously my peers that I was around. Karl Watson, Marcus McBride, and then all the older guys I mentioned earlier like Mike Carroll, James Kelch, Jovantae… All those Embarcadero guys, those are the ones I looked up to. Nowadays I’d say whoever is just being creative and doing something else from the norm. It’s like every skater wants to learn every other trick that every other skater does. They only want to skate the spot that’s famous! ‘Let’s go to this rail that 30 other people have done tricks down!’…

Do think the whole one-upmanship is to blame for this phenomenon?

No. I think that a lot of skaters are kinda stupid to tell you the truth! They think that if Jaime Thomas grinded this rail, then if I lipslide it, I’ll be famous aswell! So, they’re going to go to the same spots, do the same tricks, and all of a sudden one person does a nollie flip noseslide and the next thing you know, every little kid in the world ca do a nollie flip noseslide! Someone does a switch bigspin heelflip, then all of a sudden every fuckin’… It’s crazy! Most skaters lack creativity and ideas. I don’t know, I find it strange, you know?

You’re recognized as a technical street skater, but do you ever skate other things, say pools or transition for example?

I like to skate whatever is put in front of me. I’m not saying that I’ll be a maniac on it! (Laughter!) But, I’ll definately skate a mini ramp. Bowls I’m not too good at, but I’ll push around, man… That’s what skating is about: trying to learn. Fuck! Take a slam if you have to!

During your travels over the last 5 months, have you got any good stories to tell, or crazy happenings that occurred?

I wish I could say ‘Yeah!’, but I can’t. No, not really. Nothing too abnormal. I’ve just been taking it easy and that’s about it… Oh! I did meet a girl. (Laughter!) … I met a girl at a club and she said, ‘Meet me at the beach’, so I went and when I got there she was topless with a thong on! So, for me to be an American in Europe and meet someone that you’ve just met on the beach in that form was very odd… (Laughter!)

But it’s a nice surprise!

Yeah! I was like, ‘This is great!’ That was awesome!

As you’re in France at the moment, what are your plans for the near future?

My plan is to stay here a bit longer. Maybe visit a couple of friends in Switzerland and go back to Barcelona in a week or two. Try to wrap up some more filming for the new FTC video which I’m going to have a full part in, the last part. So, I’m looking forward to that! I’m looking forward to… I don’t know actually, I’ll take it as it comes. (Laughter!)

Ok, have you got anyone one you want to give a shout out to?

I want to say ‘Thank you’ to Kelly Bird over at Lakai and Sam Smythe over at Chocolate and Girl. I’d like to thank Diamond supply and FTC Skateshop, and Autobahn Wheels.

One last thing, the last time we met you gave me some stickers with these little mushroom things on them. What was that?

Oh, that’s Angel Biotek! It’s still running, it’s my friend Shelby Woods who does it, but he’s got a lot on his plate at the moment, so… I mean, it’s still going, but you’ll have to wait a minute.

One very last thing that I ask every person I interview: If you were sent to a desert island and could take one book, one object and one CD with you, what would they be?

Ummm… I don’t know. (Laughter!) I’d take my I-pod! (Laughter!) Isn’t that what JB said?! My I-pod and a bottle of Jack Daniels, because you wouldn’t last long on the island, so you might as well make it a party!

That’s it! Thanks Lee!

Thank you man, and thanks to Crossfire!


Andrew Brophy

Ralph met Andrew Brophy during a session in Lyon , France and got some words whilst they were both bombed by little gypo kids armed with firecrackers! This is what went down whilst they were Caught In The Crossfire…

Here we are in sunny Lyon, but what I want to know is how you got here?

I was in London before, and Jeremie (Daclin) brought me here I think. (Laughter) Oh, and Ben from Circa in London paid for it.

You’re not from London though, you’re from Australia. Whereabouts?

I’m from the West coast, a little country town called Margret River. Basically it’s a little surfing town with not much to skate.

If there wasn’t much to skate, how comes you didn’t just pursue a career in surfing?

They had a skatepark opened and I didn’t like the water because the waves were scary as fuck! Skating was the easier option, and I ain’t gonna drown, I’m just gonna fall on concrete.

While you were skating back in Australia, did you know you now team mate, Cale Nuske?

No, he’s from the East Coast. I met him when I first came to Lyon a year ago.

Who were your first sponsors?

The first was Momentum skateshop from Perth, then Modus Bearings from Brett Margaritis’ company and TSA Clothing.

Seeing as you have travelled all over the world, how would you compare the different skate scenes?

It’s all quite similar. Everyone still takes their sport quite seriously in Australia, but maybe there isn’ as much to skate in Australia either. Well, there is but it’s not as accessible.

But I heard that places like Melbourne or Sydney were full of spots?

Yeah, Melbourne is full of spots! But for me, coming from the West Coast, it’s just as easy to fly to Europe as it is to fly to the East Coast. It’s all the same.

[A little gypsy kid lets off a massive firecracker nearby] That was fucking loud! (Laughter) Oh shit! Maybe we should move because he just put one in a metal can..?

Excuse us for this brief interruption. Some kid is giving us a fireworks demonstration!

Vietnam. Vietnam. Ha! Ha! Look at him, he’s going off!

You’re on Cliche now, so tell me how that’s working out for you? How did the deal come around?

It all started from when I was on Link Footwear and came over here for some touring. I got hooked up then, and got flow from the distributor back in London, Slam City Skates. [Gypsy kid’s firecracker doesn’t bang as loud as hoped for] Oh. Ha! Ha! He wanted that shit to blow up. (Laughter)

So, wait. How come you even left Australia? Wasn’t the jump to London a big step in the dark?

Well, it was either go to London or move to the East Coast, and I didn’t know anyone over there at that stage. Well, I did. There was Brett, Chip Waltman, Ben McClaughlan and Kyle Stanley etc had all moved back from the East Coast, so there was no-one for me to go over there and stay with.

My brother was living in London at the time, so I thought, ‘Fuck it!

My grandparents are going to pay for the airfare over there, so I might as well go and live with them rent free!’ It’s easier, and since I’ve been there everything has worked out great! I’ve met loads of new people and made new friends.

What do you think of the London scene? Who do you hang out with?

Nick Jensen, Charlie Young, Robbleyard a.k.a. Rob Mathyssen, Levant Tanju and the Slam City crew. London’s good in Summer, terrible in Winter!

Why is it so terrible?

Oh, you know! It’s so wet and freezing! You know.

Well, I know, but the people reading this don’t! Often you hear London is so shit for skating because the grounds so crap and there are no spots.

No! There are loads of spots everywhere. You’ve just got to know the people who know. (Laughter)

So how long do you think you’re going to spend on this side of the globe, in Europe and stuff?

I don’t know! I’ll see how it all works out I suppose. Hopefully for as long as possible.

What’s it like having Jeremie Daclin as a team manager?

It’s funny! I wish I could speak French, so that I could communicate with him a bit better, but it’s all good.

Do you hook up with the Cliche team very often, or is it on one of these rare occasions that you visit Lyon and see them all?

This is the second time that I have been here and hung out with the team. It’s fun, the weather’s nice here as well. [Gypsy kid suddenly blows a firework up in his hand regardless]

Wah! That kid’s gnarly. Did you see what he just did??? Anyway, is your brother a skater? What do your parents think of your career move?

Well, my brother was a surfer before I skated and he was busy doing the Pro/Am shit, travelling.

Whoa. Wait a minute. Watch out!… Oh, it’s alright. It’s not going to blow!

Yeah. So, my brother did a lot of travelling and my parents didn’t really mind. They’re pretty happy for me to do what I want and enjoy my time. Just doing whatever interests me.

Have you quit your studies now?

Yeah, I’m finished with all that. I’m 18 now! I might go back to Uni afterwards.

What are your plans for the future? Cliche is about to head off on a couple of tours including the Roast Beef Tour aren’t they? Do you know anything about that?

No. I don’t think anyone really knows where we’re going! (Laughter) Just get in the van with sleeping bags and as much clean clothing as you can possibly fit in a backpack, and go and stink! (Laughter) Just smell and sleep on the floor, it’ll be funny!

Any other plans for the future, non skatewise?

Just travel, skate and meet new people. Be poor for a very long time! (Laughter)

Have you done any filming yet with Fred (Mortagne)?

No! None so far.

You’re known for your huge pop, so if they were ever to organise an ollie contest again, would you give Danny Wainwright a good run for his money?

Yeah. I’d check it out, take a few people out. Whaaaa! [Gypsy kid blows off a huge firecracker right behind us!] I think that shit popped my ear drum!

I’ll push that little fucker in the water! Damn!

That was so loud dude!

[We take a little break to soothe our ears, laugh and threaten the Gypsy kid and Lee Smith for making him do it]

Do you ever get sick of people asking you to ollie up the 6 stairs at Shell (Skatespot in London)?

Yeah! No requests!

What would be your dream session?

Back home ??? skatepaaaark! [Gypsy kid tries his luck one more time but Jeremie tells him to fuck off or else!] With Brett, having a barbecue, drinking beers and skating the miniramp. That’s the best!

One last question that I ask all my interviewees: If you were sent to a desert island and were allowed to take one object, one book and one CD with you, what would they be?

Ummm. The book would be porn! (Laughter) The CD would be the ‘Postal Service’, that shit’s good. An object? I don’t know.Maybe a blow up doll?

Tissues perhaps?

Yeah! That or a tent!

Ok, thanks for the answers despite our little gypsy friend.


Brandon Biebel

Ok, it isn’t very professional, but it happens at least once to every journalist:
I erased my interview with Girl Skateboards pro Brandon Biebel! Maybe the recorder was stuck on pause? Maybe I didn’t realise because I was star-struck? In any case, this is as close as the interview went, or at least as good as my memory gets. Sorry, it won’t happen again, I promise!

Hi Brandon! Welcome to London and the new X-box Bay Sixty6 park. What do you think?

Thanks! It’s pretty cool, but it’s real busy, huh?

So, is this the first time you came to the UK?

Oh no. I’ve been once before, but I don’t remember much so this feels like the first time again.

I see you’ve just been signing autographs and taking photos for the last hour or so; do you still enjoy doing demos and autograph sessions, or would you rather travel abroad to skate new spots and film stuff?

I don’t mind doing the demos, you know it’s for the kids and all. It’s good. I like to see new spots, and I guess we’ll try and film some stuff if we can.

Is this the beginning of your European visit through the Summer?

Nah! I’m just here for a week and then I get back home to Sacramento.

Do you know where you’re going after London? I heard you were heading to Milton Keynes.

Yeah. We’ll be in England, maybe Scotland. I don’t know.

Before you rode for Girl, you were on ATM. That’s quite a difference. How did the change come about and how does it feel?

Well, in my eyes, Girl is the best company there is! No doubt! I wouldn’t ride for anyone else, but I guess it all came about through Lakai and hookin’ up with Rick (Howard) and the boys.

Judging by your part in ‘Yeah Right!’, it’s quite obvious that you know how to manual. How long does it take to get to a level where you can bust out tech tricks like that?

Oh man! I’ve been doing manuals since I was a little kid. It’s something I’ve always been doing. That and curbs, you know?

You like Hip-Hop and travel a lot, so what have you got playing on your I-pod during the trips?

I listen to some rap and R&B. I like to chill with some R&B.

Have you listened to the latest Ghostface album, ‘The Pretty Tony Album’?

Nah! I ain’t heard it yet. I don’t listen to him so much. It’s funny, I didn’t choose that track for my part in ‘Yeah Right!’ I guess it just worked.

So, what are you plans for the future?

I just got finished with my part for the new Transworld video, so that’ll be cool. Right now, I think we’re starting to film for a Lakai thing.

Will it be like ‘Beware of the Flair’, another tour video?

Nah! This’ll be a real skate video!

Ok, well that’s all I’ve got for you, so thanks!

Thanks to you and Crossfire man!


Brian Anderson