Portrait by Percy Dean
Every year we look back on the video edits that made the cut, the ones that surprised the most, the tricks that made our eyebrows raise and the overall contributions and dedications to skateboarding at ground level.
The UK has produced more skateboarders than ever who have proved they can cut it at the highest levels. We are currently seeing another shift where pro’s are getting a run for their money by the upcoming ams who are hitting the road, getting amongst it and most of all, getting down to business. London based skater Tom Knox has put in the hard work this year. His Blueprint/Emerica section hit our homepage on day of release and rightly spread worldwide to claim the recognition it deserved across the board. Raise a glass to Tom today as he is Crossfire’s Fresh Blood of 2011.
Enjoy his Reflections looking back on an incredible year in skateboarding and expect much more from him in the future.
What did you learn most from 2011?
Not much really, it went by so fast! Just how to be productive with my time, as I’m not in school anymore so I can do whatever I want for the first time in my life. It’s really fun, but can feel strange sometimes.
How are you getting by as an am rider living in London and what other interests outside of skateboarding are filling the hours?
Well, I still live at home so my rent is not as much as living on your own, plus I save money by eating here. I have a big family and we all live at home, so I spend as much time as I can with them because I know one day when I eventually move out I will not be able to. It’s really fun, I am definitely lucky to have the family I have around me. I play a lot of music in my spare time. Guitar and flute. I also swim all the time, play football, tennis, and watch loads of movies.
Best personal moment of 2011?
Probably getting my part finished and released. I worked quite hard on it so was good to see a final product.
How long did it take to put together and what did you feel was your biggest achievement from it?
It took about a year, but it went by quickly as we were filming through the winter, plus we had no camera and injuries to deal with. The biggest achievement is probably the spots that we found. At the time I didn’t really realise the missions we went on because either me, Jake or Smithy would mention a spot we found and we’d just all go skate it. Once it came out, quite a few people mentioned the previously unskated spots that we had we discovered and that felt like quite an achievement as London is quite a hard city to do that in.
What was the most ridiculous thing that happened whilst filming for it?
Probably the time when myself and Jake we’re going to film some stuff with quite a few people, but one by one they bailed out. So we decided to skate this spot near his place in Peckham. I tried a line for a little but wasn’t feeling it, so we decided to go back to his and except the failed mission. Then some dude asked us where a street was that we didn’t know, he hung about for a sec, then grabbed Jake’s camera bag. When Jake tried to pull it back he bottled him round the face and ran off. It was so horrible. He was bleeding everywhere and had the most swollen face. He took it like a man though until he realised it was a WKD bottle!
Watch Tom’s Emerica/Blueprint section filmed by Jake Harris and edited by Dan Magee.
What was your most memorable skate trip of the year?
I have just returned from a trip to Japan with the Blueprint boys and it was one of the best places I’ve ever visited. We had a really good crew, weather and skate spots. I’ve never been to Japan before so it was cool to see what everything is like out there. The locals showed us an amazing time too.
The Japanese skate scene seems quite unique, what’s it like in comparison to here?
It’s really good man. I look at the guys I’ve seen in videos and they have a very unique outlook on skating. But when you go there it’s just like any other scene. Their skating is up there. I saw a girl do a backside flip out of a foot of vert, was insane!
Did you hit up any of those Gou Miyagi rail spots?
Nah, not really. There are tiny rails everywhere though and so many spots. The Japanese respect authority over there, so unlike England, you don’t skate a lot of the spots you pass on the street and go to the ones you know aren’t a bust. I think if you lived there you could find some crazy obstacles for sure.
Who ate the strangest food on the menu from that trip?
Most the stuff you eat is strange. There is some stuff that the locals eat. I didn’t try it but Sylvain (Tognelli) did and said it was the strangest thing he’s ever eaten. It was so alien to his taste buds!
If you had to pick a tune of this year what would it be?
I only started listening to Bob Dylan’s Street Legal album this year, so good.
Most satisfying line made this year
There were a few but probably the line at Liverpool Street where I end with a fakie ollie down the stairs. It was the middle of winter, I hadn’t filmed anything in a while. I was trying it for about an hour and just couldn’t make it. Then my wheel fell off! I got a friend to give me one of his and he said that I would only have one more try and luckily I made it.
What was the newest trick added to the bag this year?
Switch back smiths.
Skate DVD you watched the most?
Dimestore The Duece.
Who would be your MVP of the year?
Who are your Fresh Blood tips for 2012?
Casper Brooker, Kyron Davis and Jacob Harris.
What are you looking forward to most in 2012?
Traveling a bit more and hopefully get myself to some places I haven’t been yet.
Backside Smith. Photo by Percy Dean
Let’s end this on some quality viewing. What are your top 5 video edits of the year?
1. This is a web part of Gilbert Crockett. I think the footage was just a compilation of a load of web stuff he’d already had out. I watched this a lot before I went skating this year as really gets me hyped.
2. Neil Smith’s well deserved pro part.
3. I really like watching raw footage, something about it makes me really want to go for a skate. This makes me want to go throw myself down some stairs as he makes it look so easy.
4. Brian Delatore has been around for a while but has blown up in the last year. This welcome to Habitat video shows what his skating is all about. Good spots, fast lines and sick tricks.
5. It was such a pleasure to go on trips with Sylvain this year. He’s always up for an adventure.