Sam Beckett‘s new pro status on Blind Skateboards was announced after a top sesh at the House of Vans in London a couple of week’s back, so enjoy the footage from that session and get your eyes on his new pro model that is heading to your local skate shop right now.
It’s not often a UK pro gets a board on a US company so raise that glass!
Joe Howard is one of those people whose skateboarding makes you sit up and take notice. An angry and powerful style which makes everything he does look like he is acting out a personal vendetta against coping; grinds as long as you like, and any air to truck or tail smack at will.
Joe specializes in skateboarding that looks like a bar fight!
Coming from someone as chilled out as he is just makes it seem even gnarlier (ignoring the time he tried to fight the whole of Hastings town centre, that’s another story), and his brand of transition destruction is fuelled as much by roots reggae and dancehall as it is by hardcore punk.
Jono Coote caught up with Joe to talk about The Ripped, Yorkshire, Copenhagen and badly timed ankle injuries but before you get stuck in, enjoy his fast-as-fuck footage put together by Ross Brunton shot down at the HOV and Brixton Beach.
Ph above: Melon to rock at Stockwell’s crack house. All photos courtesy of Paul Graham.
When did you start skating, and what was your first set up?
Coming up to 10 years strong I reckon now. As far as I remember I got my first board from the local car boot – some fishtail biscuit with pink rails. I remember learning my first trick on that number, dead stop shuv-it’s in the pub car park because it wouldn’t roll right! Good you know it had probably been melting away in some bloke’s damp cellar since 1989. After that short lived introduction to the useless wooden toy I can’t really remember being stoked on a particular set up for a long time. I had a few no branders for a while, you know, I couldn’t afford a ‘pro’ deck for a long time, I was just happy to be skating. I guess I just used to buy what was cheapest at the time, saving up all my paper round money and heading over to Wisdom skate shop at the time; usually something British like Blueprint, Death or Heroin – mostly Death. They had the best team growing up. I think the first video I bought was Escape from Boredom, that got me hyped.
I first met you skating the legendary Ripped skatepark (RIP) in Dewsbury – explain that spot for those who didn’t manage to get to skate there?
It was the real crust, heart and soul of northern skateboarding growing up for me and my pals. Situated on the outskirts of one of West Yorkshire’s finest shite’ole towns, Dewsbury. The ‘crete coping was loud, Sex Pistols played on repeat, the bonfires were high and the death matches went all night! Everything that was edible was deep fat fried, no one knew who paid in and all nine cats that lived there were addicted to cali. Skinnyman played there once wearing nowt but denim, rapping away in the middle of the park, that was pretty raw. You would leave sleepless with graffiti in your lungs covered in cat shit but they were always nights to remember, hands down, every time. Snoz is the business!
Fakie thruster in Tottenham’s scum hole.
Do you have any good stories from those times? The Listerine moonshine night always stands out for me…
The moonshine was gnarly. Instant headache gear and you aren’t tasting shit for days, that stuff was battery acid for sure. I remember when place first opened, it was a right dust fest. The transition was a real slip n’ slide, so Mad Snoz decided to mix up a portion of paint and sand giving the ramps a real good seeing to! You can only imagine the scabby aftermath.
It seems like once the Ripped closed and all you guys got older, most people moved to Leeds – who still skates in the area now?
I think I’m the last man standing to be honest, I’ve been a lone rider for some time in this town now. But like you said, most of the fam live in Leeds now so I spend a lot of time over there. You know it’s pretty sweet to know there’s always a couch to crash on when you’re rolling with the boys, holla for the hospitality fellas!
I spent the last 3 years traveling up and down from London too, as my piece of fluff moved there for uni. It would be rad to move to London or some city with a strong scene one day but got too much love for Yorkshire still. RWTB!
If in doubt just throw yourself at it…
As someone who appreciates a good transition, give us a top 5 list of skate parks you’ve been too?
1) Brixton Beach, (Stockwell) UK
2) Faelledparken, the Hullet, Christiana bowl: can’t beat Copenhagen turf.
3) La Cantera, Bilbao
4) Mechelen DIY, Belgium
5) Tottenham DIY, UK
How about the top five destinations you’d like to visit to skate?
4) West Indies
Staying with the travel hype, you’ve done Copenhagen a few times now – how would you describe it for those who haven’t been?
A comfortable hell ride every time. Everyone should go there and get a slice.
You’ve recently got hooked up with Anti-Hero, Independent and Spitfire through Shiner..
Yeah, I feel blessed to be getting flowed my all-time favourite companies off them, so stoked! 18 has been my fuel since I was younger watching all the old videos round Lee Rozee’s house, there ain’t no other company that emits so much energy and never will be.
You can add this photo to that Tumblr of skaters not wearing Nike’s.
Did you manage to skate at all after fucking your ankle on the first day of the most recent trip?
The Indy trip was a total wipe out for me on the first stop. I was just getting into the session and I just chicken footed down the tranny and my trotter bust; you know I snapped it before when I was young, so it’s real weak and that. It’s been a few months now tip-toeing about. Luckily I didn’t break it this time, just messed up the ligaments real good and that, but I am back on my board now. Besides from that shit all the guys smashed it! Seeing Colin Adam skate up there was rad. I remember seeing him do eggs in Faelledparken deep a few years ago all pissed up, they don’t call him a cannibal for nothing!
I know you’re into vinyl, especially reggae and dancehall, have you picked up anything good recently or is there any good shit you want posted up with this interview?
Yer for sure. I get bits now and again but wax is expensive especially with riddim there’s not that many record shops around west Yorkshire for that kind of stuff. I like to go rooting in London sometimes and I guess a lot of the new stuff is digital nowadays but you can’t beat that reggae turntable sound. I like lots of music, it all depends what mood I’m in to what I buy or listen to like I’m sure most folk do. At the moment I’ve been digging this new album my good friend Sam Barrett just brought out. Check it! These are my homies and my inspiration.
How did you get into reggae? I know Huddersfield has a legendary background in reggae sound systems, but you’re also into punk music which is what got me into reggae?
Yeah I guess when I was younger I used to listen to a lot of old British punk which got me well into the roots and early skinhead stuff, like all the Trojan releases and that which got me hyped. I guess everything I’ve listened to stems from rooting through my dad’s music pulling stuff out like Killing Joke, Bauhaus, Yellowman and even N.W.A when I was younger lived through all the genres. I remember him telling me to get hold of a Burning Spear album when he knew I was into that stuff telling that reggae don’t get better than that so I guess he has always introduced good music to me growing up. Huddersfield still has a little reggae scene going on, I used to go to the carnival there as a young whipper snapper to stand as close as I could get to the sound systems until my bones rattled and my ear drums burst.
Let’s sign this off with your top five Yorkshire skaters?
The Holy Shits aka Foo Fighters
Live at the House Of Vans, London
I love Dave Grohl. Mission Impossible. Scream. DC Hardcore. Dain Bramage. Nirvana. Probot. Sound City. I USED to love the Foo Fighters. When that first album came out, we were so desperate for at least some kind of continuation after the brutal, shocking end of Nirvana and Grohl made us smile again, with Pat Smear grinning beside him like a Cheshire cat and a batch of superb, high-energy melodic rock songs to win us over. That first Reading Festival set in 1995, the chaos in the tent, those great early singles…then Grohl steadily slipped into a far safer mainstream stadium/radio rock path and the excitement waned. You can’t blame him, he’s an incredibly talented melodic rock song writer but for those of us raised on 80s punk and discordant 90s noise, it was a path that just didn’t excite.
So I stopped paying attention. At least, I thought I did. If I did then how the hell do I know pretty much every song of the entire two-hour plus set they play tonight? The Foo Fighters are in town, ahead of a forthcoming release of their new album, to fire up their cylinders and get back into live touring mode with a batch of ‘intimate’ shows (playing under the name The Holy Shits!) and tonight, under the tunnels of Waterloo, they power through a set packed full of hits and you realise that yes, you know every song because they’re great.
You’d have to be a pretty joyless fucker not to enjoy this. Sure, I have no real desire to watch the Foo Fighters play in a stadium, but the chance to see them live in a venue this size couldn’t be passed up. And they don’t disappoint. For a start, the sound is incredible, an amazing achievement considering the booming acoustics of the brick tunnels, and the songs come so thick and fast, high-energy, Pat Smear still cool as fuck (he was in in THE GERMS FOR FUCKS SAKE!), Taylor Hawkins blazing on the drums (how anyone can have the nerve to play drums behind Dave Grohl, I have no idea but this guy pulls it off) and they play ‘This Is The Call’ and ‘For All The Cows’ from that first album and I fall in love with it all over again. They play all of the hits. You know them, I don’t need to list them. This is a crowd pleasing set. Nice guy Dave wants to please.
I leave smiling and sweaty. I think I just fell in love with the Foo Fighters all over again, just for the night. A one night stand.
We spent Thursday night and Friday afternoon camped out with a few tins at both the House of Vans and Victoria Park in our backyard of Old London Town. Enjoy our edit of the Thrasher Vacation Tour with Grant Taylor, Ronnie Sandoval, Tommy Sandoval, Andy Scott and more.
Thanks to Dan Joyce whose drone came good with a different view to the pack and also our old buddy Ed Gill who took care of the view from the ground. Our full gallery of the House of Vans party is live, get down there before the 31st to see the exhibition.
Ph: Churchill takes a first bite at his newly designed bowl by Gorm
It’s taken over a year of hard work to get the new House of Vans venue to become a reality in London’s Waterloo district and it opened with a bang! With various legendary Vans riders in attendence from Wainwright, Alva, Hosoi, Cardiel, Rowley, Caples, AVE and a killer music bill in place, the two bars packed with people served up cocktails and beers fueling an excellent party for 850 invited guests.
Savages, Toddla T and Roots Manuva warmed up one of the loudest Dinosaur Jr shows ever witnessed that was followed by a party packed set from Public Enemy who got the place absolutely rocking! Deafened ears are still being discussed as we write this.
The huge 30,000sqft space consisting of five tunnels that host a gallery area, cafe, bars, office space for upcoming designers and artists, music venue, concrete bowl, mini ramp and street area is a stunning layout and now finally open for everyone to get creative in.
This month there’s also a DIY culture exhibition in the gallery titled ‘Scissors & Glue’, curated by our good friend Gorm who shared these photos below from the night. He is joined by Ben Drury, Trevor Jackson and Louise Grey covering a brief history of the good ol’ Zine and the launch of the very first Vans ‘Zine guest edited by Jeremy Leslie. Go scout it out and make one yourself as that’s how this place started. You can also enjoy French and Gorm’s zine on HOV here.
Well done to all involved to make this happen. Central London has not had an indoor skatepark since the days of Ewer Street in London Bridge back in the early 90s. The fact that this has been put together by a brand with the longest support in skateboarding history just makes it even better.
Believe the hype and most importantly, go online to book your free skate sessions now.
Planning to travel New York this year or thinking of going somewhere you can skate and take in the delights of a new City? The new House of Vans park in Brooklyn looks well worthy of a visit this year as it has something for everyone.
It opened last year with various special guests including Public Enemy, click here for the recap and watch this latest clip to get a feel for the place, looks much fun.
Earlier this month Vans and Autumn held a jam at the House of Vans to celebrate the legacy of the Autumn Bowl. There were a whole host of rippers in attendance and all the shredding was caught in this short edit that you can see right there below these words. Go and watch it.