Gilbert Crockett interview

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One of the best parts of being involved in skateboarding is appreciating someone else’s natural ability to ride one, especially when they are straight-forward rolling like Gilbert Crockett. The Virginian may have been left in Alien Workshop limbo with the rest of the team exactly a year ago, but it didn’t slow down his ability to progress whatsoever. He just pushed faster.

With a killer new part under his wing in the new Vans Propeller movie and launching a new skate company, Mother Collective, he’s had his work cut out, but Crockett’s attitude on and off a board comes across as nothing but refreshing. Chris Pulman spoke with him the week before Propeller hit screens to speak about the good things that have gone down of late:

Looks like you have a busy year ahead. You must be pretty excited?

Yes, I am. I can’t wait to see this video.

I guess filming for the Vans video is pretty much wrapped up by now. Are you happy with what you have for it?

Yeah, we’re all done. I am happy with what I have, it’s been a long time coming.

It’s gonna be pretty epic purely from the list of riders Vans has. Is there anyone in particular you’re looking forward to seeing a part from?

I’m really looking forward to AVE’s and Daniel’s parts, but also just the whole thing. I can’t wait to see what Greg does.

Greg Hunt has some formidable projects under his belt and a real ability for communicating skateboarding in a genuine way. Do you get any direction from him? Do you have a strong vision of how you’d like to be portrayed or is more a case of ‘just get on with it’ and do what you do as best and as interestingly as you can?

I think Greg and I see eye to eye on a lot of things, and I think what you said is true about him doing things in a genuine way, and that is definitely a goal of mine when trying to put something together. So, I think I’m definitely just inspired by Greg, and working with him motivates me because I feel like we have a mutual respect about both of us wanting to do our job well and be happy with what we make.

The feeling I get from watching the Cellout and Bust Crew videos is that you use your talent to skate everything you come across. There’s a real genuine excitement from the act of skateboarding that comes across from these. It reminds me of being younger and street skating and trying to do everything on anything. Do you still get that excitement of real challenges in real surroundings?

Yes of course. Skateboarding for me at this point is sort of an intimate, emotional thing for me. If I’m skating the shittiest ledge you’ve ever seen with my friends and everyone is excited and having fun and trying to do whatever we can on it, I’m going to skate better than when I’m on a more serious session and I can feel everything around me like, “Wow, I called this session out and I’m wasting everyone’s time if I don’t get this”. But even then, I want to try to get a clip or a photo that my friends will be siked on.

Do you think that’s a reflection of growing up in Virginia? I’ve never been there, but I’m guessing, like a lot of us that didn’t grow up in major cities, you have to make do with the architecture that’s directly in front of you.

Yeah. It definitely has to do with that, and also, I think getting older and after you’ve been skating for 10-15 years, you start to want to just fuck around with spots that you’ve driven by your whole life, and just learn how to skate different shit, or shittier shit.

At a time when a lot of media is digested in disposable web-clips and instagram posts, what do you feel is the purpose of a full-length skate film?

I think the full length video is just the real deal. It’s just doing it, really doing it. And when you do it right, it’s unmistakable. You can’t just pump these things out like you can a fucking web edit, they take YEARS to make, and you can see it. Videos that are made like this have an impact for a reason; they live in real skate shops and on skateboarders’ bookshelves — they’re not just taking up space.

Apart from the easily accessible nature of instagram clips, I also think that they’re inherently genuine. In a world where kids are hammered by a lot of shallow marketing, do you think that this genuineness is what really appeals to the skaters?

I don’t know, everything is so clouded. It’s hard to tell who is keeping it real anymore. But I try really hard to not hate and just pay attention to the people I like.

gilbert_crockett_switchflipI’ve heard that you’re very details-orientated when it comes to footwear especially. Do you have any reasons for this that you’d like to share or do you suffer from the same level of OCD that most skateboarders have when it comes to their gear?

I mean, I can’t just wear whatever. It’s got to be tested and approved to be a part of “the uniform” which is what AVE calls it. A lot of skateboarders work like this: you find a pair of jeans, a couple shirts, and usually some sort of hat that works for you, and you just run it into the ground until it falls apart or until you have your next gear crisis.

I’ve also heard that you like to look at authentic things and processes, be it footwear or tattoos. Personally, I love to know how everything works from making skateboards, footwear construction, leather-working and carpentry. Do you have any other skills or interests that you pursue as doggedly?

Yeah, I definitely pay a lot of attention to detail and how things are made. I paint flash and have messed around with making some clothes recently, but I don’t really pursue any of it. Hopefully one day.

Ph: Anthony Acosta / Vans

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Your first Vans pro shoe is looking great. The Wafflecup seems like a perfect way to bring a little more consistency to a vulc-style shoe without losing any of the qualities that make that construction perfect for skateboarding. Have you had a lot of say in the development of that construction? There look to have been some subtle developments since the earlier Vans Stage IV shoes.

Yeah, it’s great. I really love it. My shoe is just the next generation of the waffle cup sole, we just found ways to improve it. I can’t say enough good things about the shoe and about Vans for letting me design a shoe that I love.

You’ve also included a mid-top version, which looks to be based on one of Vans’ longest running shoes, the Half Cab, do you wear either style in preference for any kind of terrain or do they both feel equally as good to you?

I usually skate the lows, but I always get into a mid phase like once a year or so where I’ll wear them for a while. I love both.

Ph: Greg Hunt / Vans

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Now that Mother Collective has launched, it must be a relief to end all the speculation after the AWS sabbatical. Is that how it feels?

What happened with Workshop was inevitable. AVE and Dill knew that, but here we are, and I’m happy that it did.

Lastly, I spied your Vans team page quickly before I started these questions and noticed that you mention ‘The Four Agreements’ by Don Miguel Ruiz. It’s a good philosophy for making the most of one’s lifetime. Is philosophy something that interests you a lot?

I don’t really pay much attention to it, but I do love that book, a lot of things inspire me, that was one of them.

Any philosophy on skateboarding that you’d like to end this with?

Have fun with your friends, stay up late and eat pie.

Interview by Chris Pulman.
Illustration by George Yarnton.
Gifs by Henry Calvert.
Download Vans’ Propeller skate video here.

Follow @crossfirezine on FB, Insta, Twitter and Tumblr for daily skate shit: *SINCE 2001*

Vans Pool Party 2015: Finals

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The bible’s edit from the Vans Pool Party 2015 is here. It was an outrageous event, as ever, but this year seemed to have brought out the mental in people for the 10th Anniversary. Chris Russell’s board breaker, Tom Schaar’s 15 year old gold, Pedro Barros hammerfest, Rune’s sick lines. This has the lot. Enjoy the finals.

Daniel Lutheran’s “Propeller” Raw Files

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So the Raw Files from Vans’ long anticipated “Propeller” continue to be uploaded, this time it’s Daniel Lutheran’s turn as he slays every spot in sight, taking a few blow outs in the process. 4 minutes of pure carnage.
Hit that play button then go get your evening shred on.

Take a peek at content from Propeller’s London premier here.

Joe Howard interview

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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.

Joe Howard, Fakie Thruster, Tottenham, 2014

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…

Throw on Wallride, Gateshead, 2015

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?

1) SF
2) Oregon
3) Scotland
4) West Indies
5) Germany

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.

joe fs wallride

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?

Let’s have a couple extra:

-Lee Rozee
-Doug Mclaughlan
-Lois Pendlebury
-Paul Graham
-Jordan Kaye
-Ben Lister (AKA Bruce)
-Felix Owuso-Kwarteng

Joe rides the lightning for Anti Hero, Spitfire, Independent, Hoax MFG and Rip Ride Skateshop.

He loves Madonna too… to fakie.

Joe - Madonna Fakie

Gilbert Crockett’s “Propeller” Raw Files

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Three whole minutes of raw Gil’ footage with tons of alternate angles and pure spot destruction from Vans’ first full length video “Propeller” brought to you by Greg Hunt. What a treat.

Check out photos and footage from Propeller’s London premier here and look out for an interview with him on here very soon.

Vans Propeller London premiere

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Let’s kick this off by saying that the hype surrounding this film before it aired at the Prince Charles cinema in London was completely justified. It’s an incredible production that has zero filler and parts that will leave your jaw on the floor. Greg Hunt obviously worked his socks off to get this completed at the highest level and left no stones unturned. It’s so damn good that it feels like everyone has the ender.

At the world premiere, Geoff Rowley mentioned that Propeller “is a raw video, like one you grew up with” and he’s spot on. Doused in fast moving rock n’roll, each section is peppered with incredible skateboarding, packing gnar and tech from a crew who broke bones to make it special. Let’s hope that those skaters who grow up with Propeller see full length production as the norm, and bring back the full length as a priority over web clips in the future. It’s night’s like these where you wished the internet never existed.

The premiere itself was packed to the gills and over subscribed with people who had travelled from all over the UK. There were no seats for us, so we were asked to watch it upstairs where we joined Sidewalk’s Horse, Henry from Grey Mag and about 10 others and watched it with a Rob Smith introduction instead of the full cast. I’m sure the atmosphere downstairs was electric though, as each part just takes the piss. No spoilers of course as you will have to downnload it and watch it on iTunes on May 5th when it drops worldwide, but it’s a ridiculously impressive skateboard video and one to keep.

Plenty of booze was consumed at the House of Vans afterwards, where Steve Van Doren made burgers for everyone and was joined by Lutheran, Zorilla, Hunt, Rowley, Trujillo and more of the pro team. At 1am, Steve Caballero and Christian Hosoi decided it was time for a bowl sesh. Enjoy this drunk cam footage and snaps from the phone. Go get Propeller as soon as you can.

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Vans PROPELLER World Tour Dates

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This May is going off as Vans bring to you their very first full length skateboarding video: PROPELLER. Directed by the one and only Greg Hunt and featuring the biggest names in modern skateboarding as we know it alongside legends and true pioneers.

PROPELLER ends the world tour on April 30th at London’s Prince Charles Cinema, with what’s looking to be an explosive after party in House of Vans London. Get your tickets now.