Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? South-end-pi-rates! Just setting the tone for this surreal sounding interview with 3 guys from a crazy crew in England. Enjoy.
Hey guys, where are you from?
Sam: HMS Gnar. I’m moored up in Southend at the moment. So I’d say Southend.
Brad: Born and bred in Rochford, worked and spent all my time in Southend on Sea and now live in hilly hilly Benfleet.
Kami: I’m from Paris and take the Eurostar every morning to go skate in Canvey Island.
When did you start skating?
Sam: When I was 7 years old, so that’s like 12/13 years, but that was on one of those small boards. Started longboarding 2 years ago.
Brad: Long story. Skateboarding – when I was in Secondary school, stopped to practice and focus on Parkour, picked up longboard the tail end of 2010 to get around, then it rekindled a LOVE to boards. Went to a few local races and events, did well and it’s now my main mode of transport and skateboarding as a whole is my main pursuit. Ironically I swore to myself I wouldn’t step on a skateboard again to avoid injury within my Parkour, but yeah, look at me now.
Kami: I used to freeboard with Marcus Jenkins back in 2008, and in 2010 I went do live in Vancouver for a year and that is where I really understood what longboarding is, so I burnt my freeboard (sorry Marcus) and bought my first Rayne Nemesis and since then I never travelled without my board or sleep without it .
Kami, how did you end up in Essex from Paris?
Kami: I met my partner in a pub and she was from Essex
Brad: He bunked the train ;p
Sam: That is so true. “Guys Y U paying for le train. it is free.”
Brad: My fines from testing that theory would disagree ;p
Kami: Never pay for the train.
Where do you guys skate now?
Sam: I ain’t skating much at the moment because I hate the winter weather and I’m doing some strength training for Lulz, but when the weather is looking sexy I usually skate in my road or the road next to it cause where I live it is pretty steep with lots of corners and pubs so it’s pretty sick. Only problem is that it’s full of idiots that don’t know how to deal with me being gnar and try knock you off. Really looking forward to the spring and hitting it hard with these Gents again.
Brad: I commute on board, so ride everywhere as long as it’s mostly dry. I skate the super hilly special secret spaces in Benfleet when I can, ‘slide hill’ in Southend, and anywhere I can get my wheels into to be honest. I also work at Legacy XS ( http://www.legacyxs.com ) Which is a youth centre/Skatepark in Essex so I’ve actually been spending a lot of time on my shortboard playing with tricks and flowing around the indoor skatepark, I’ve been spending time down Leigh Skatepark too recently. So yeah… I skate A LOT… I live with Nelson Ortiz (Check his stuff http://www.youtube.com/legaskate) over from the states skating where I work and Luke Cooper who’s a local skateboarder. I joke that we have the “Benfleet Skate House”.
Brad: Kami just jets around the world skating awesome gnar.
Kami: Same as Brad above I spend a lot of time with Brad. (Pirates!)
Brad: Yeah, we ”skate” a lot together… Kami also spends a lot of time with the locals in Southend, the SL crew, saving them delivery costs from the shop and helping them out. It’s really good and nice of him AND they’re improving lots now too!
You’ve been assaulted by mortals because you skate?
Sam: Nah I’m a demi-god, bitches bow down to me.
Brad: I’ve experienced a few Southend drunkards swinging for us, good thing MOST of us have sense and always wear our lids etc.
Kami : Never, because “ me don’t speak English” with a big smile, French accent so I always go away with murder.
Brad: ”Get away with murder” Kami… You’ll have the po po after you if you phrase shizz like that wrong matey.
Southend. Is that where you all live/skate?
Sam: Live skate work party and sleep. It’s a really sick social town and it’s always fun, a lot of people doing their own activities like roller derby, sailing, parkour, lots of art and dance. So the town is full of interesting people and you can always have an interesting chat about gnar with anyone you meet.
Brad: Spot on Sam… it’s full of great people, (shout out to the Seaside Sirens Roller Derby Teams) http://www.seasidesirenrollergirls.com/ ) I’ve always worked in Southend doing all sorts for years, it’s the best place to do stuff in the area in my opinion, and longboarding there isn’t too bad either. It’s basically the HUB of the area. Easy to get to and have a decent amount of Longboarders, hence “Southend Longboarding”.
Kami: I just wanted to have a sea view when I wake up .
Brad: aaarrggh! *pirate snarl*
Is there a local crew?
Sam: There is the “Southend Longboarders” which are like whoever skates and wants to meet people, then there is the “Longboarding Pirates” that are the hardcore regs then the racing team who like crashing at speed.
Brad: There is, there is. It’s kinda a few people’s brainchild but the ‘Southend Longboarding Pirates’ are a crew of 30 (no more) who were invited to help keep “Southend Longboarding” alive and progressing in a positive way. The SL Gravity Research Division came out from myself and Sam heading to Crystal Palace Park (in London) and thinking of over the top Downhill Team Names as we got more into downhill.
Sounds a bit like inception. You have a team within a team, within a bunch of loonies? Why so complicated?
Sam. It gives everyone the chances to get involved as much as they want.
Brad: Simple. There are a lot of people who “Like” the Facebook page we’re over 300+ people, and there are stores pumping out some good stuff and some. Not so great longboards, along with the general hype around longboarding, so it was to try and control and push the “Southend Longboarding” community in a decent direction. The 30 in SLP are respectful, look after the places we skate, in terms of littler, are safety conscious, wearing lids whenever out, etc. and have a decent message, oh yeah, and they LIVE skating, which, ANY growing boarding community needs to grow well.
Southend Pirates! Brilliant name. How did you come up with it?
Brad: Why dont YOU tell us how it came to be? ;p
Kami: We live next to the sea so pirate sea? Simple.
Brad: As far as I heard, you started calling the guys from Southend Pirates, at LL meetings, so the name stuck, we needed a name for the local crew… And there we go. So yeah, Thanks Gbemi ;p
Dunno who this Gbemi is, he sounds like a ninja.
Brad: He’s a landluvveeerrrr from London taaaan!
What are your local longboard shops?
Sam: Newtons Shred, thanks to Kami who bunks the train we get free deliverys and good price. but we don’t have an actually walk in shop local to us. We do have X-isle which sells longboards but not the sort we are looking for short nice beach cruisers. but you can go in there grab a shake chill out with like minded people and share some stories, so thats always cool.
Brad: Newton’s are great and have been helping the locals a lot in terms of events and support. Alex and the guys at X-Isle are a nice bunch, they’ll chuck in some free milkshakes for gnarly bails, and chat to us about all sorts of stuff, and it’s a stones throw away from Slide Hill which is a closed road where most of the locals practice, or Don’t practice if you’re Sam or Harry ;p. X-Isle threw in Some wheels for the SL Slide Comp we did last year so, they DO help us out. Should also mention Switch Skatestore in Leigh which is a core local skateshop.
Kami: I have opened my online shop 1 year ago “Newton’s Shred” with 2 good friends (Alex & Mark). So when I need something I know where to go.
Brad: Yeah Newton’s and Kami’s ‘services’ work out well, people really get a regular chance to try and buy etc. good for learning what’s what, education in parts and duro’s is really healthy.
What is the local crew like?
Kami: The girls all look sexy and skate hard and the guys keep hugging.
Sam: Gotta agree with Kami there. Some of the lads are looking alright too. No homo.
Brad: Generally speaking, amazing. Shoutout to George Bottomley and Jakey Denyer who have been arranging and keep regular session going in Southend.
Flipside…There are a few people in the area, like most skate communities who unfortunately, do not listen to simple advice like, wear your lids. We’ve had on local in particular crack his head bad on one of the hills, he changed his mind after that. The SLP have had a few changes and shuffles, BUT the crew is staying at 30, agreed apon BY the SLP members to keep pushing a good message. When people are pushing and really helping out then we’ll discuss as a crew if they’ve earned’ a SLP Tee and we know they’ll help others and keep others safe. It’s not about skill level but who they are and what they do. The locals need to travel around the area a bit more, there are some great spots around, but Slide Hill has some pheromones that keep everyone there or something.
Or you could say…his mind was never the same after that!
Brad: Too true. He learnt his lesson. We just love what we do and we don’t want people to nearly die in order to learn. Numpty
How do you keep a crew to 30?
Sam: We have chains and whips and a book on S&M. So you cross that line you better hope you brought your a game. No *cough* homo.
Brad: Haha, there were a few teething problems, but it was suggested and most agreed via the SLP secret facebook cave (page).
Kami: Brad scare me ! So I have to agree with him
Brad: Glad you know where you stand Kami haha, I can’t push too much though as you and your other half are my ride to lots of places.
So S&M skate socials… sounds like you are a bunch of rowdy privates. Pirates. Sorry
Sam: Bring your leathers lads.
Brad: I’m in mine now….
Sam: I’m in the ones that god gave me.
Brad: Been hearing too much of some of the SLP’s party’s of late though! Filthy soundrels!
Would people not in the chosen 30 be allowed to skate in Southend?
Brad: Of course, it’s not a huge controlling big brother type thing, but the general theory is this: If we have a core group who respect spaces and people, then others hopefully follow suit and we progress respectfully as a community, something that often gets lost when things grow too fast without any guidance. That way it’s easier to show a distinction to the powers that be if something kicks off that we don’t stand for those who go outside ‘the pirate code’
When did it get started?
Brad: Sam can answer about SL, SLP; it was end of 2011.
Sam: Southend longboarding was started when no human was brave enough to ride the dark streets of Southend, but during the summer I went from short board skating to longboarding, I bumped into Brad one day and we got talking about stuff. then made a Facebook page, it’s really took off. Went up to London met some people, got really stoked about the community came home, pushed for a simular vibe that the London family have and here we are today.
Brad: We all keep the page up to date with useful info, local goings on, and general news and links etc.
What events were there?
Brad: Last year I had the idea and ended up doing a stupid amount of leg work and favour asking to create the First Slide Jam, we had people from as far as Cornwall come down, as well as scene regulars. The main ethos was always FUN and a mixture of all skating. So we had Hardwheels sliding, Softwheels (Longboards) sliding, an Uphill Push race, and an idea I’d been toying with for a while, a “Slide Slalom”. This event was free and open to all (Who had a lid). Barry Dring who’s a local street skater (Used to ride for Reaction boards) judged heats and provided a kicker and stuff, so yeah went really well, also Props to Luke Small at Marmalade who helped and donated time and prizes.
Sam: The Marmalade Bunker crew are always giving us a push in the right direction. High fives to the Small Brothers and their possy.
Brad: Yeah, Luke’s an old school skater who own a printing company, who’ve customed a fair few boards in their time and helped us get out sweet looking SLP shirts etc.
What is Marmalade?
Kami: Is it not like jam? I am sure you can eat it.
Brad: Marmalade is a company who do all sorts, really into their skating so they’ve made their own board graphics and set ups etc, but they mainly focus on their arts, Shirt and printing company with a heart within all things skating. Luke and his brother Jon helped LOADS for the slide comp and have done for Southend Longboarding in general. http://www.skatemarmalade.com/
What sort of art do they make?
Brad: They share an old underground bunker with Ten Bomb who are crazy good artists from Southend who have stuff all over the pace, some official stuff some, errr, not so official / sanctioned pieces ;p.
You mentioned earlier that you visit to London, are there other crews close to you?
Sam: We’re pretty friendly with all the crews and we are always traveling round, I know a lot of the Bournemouth and we’re part of the UK Freeride Invasion and there always a talkative bunch. I think 2012 we’re hoping to do more traveling and get friendly with more people.
Brad: “Burnham On Sea Longboarders” is a local-ish crew but doesn’t appear to have the same numbers and community that we do, they’re kinda mid/north Essex, about the river Crouch. Me and Kami get a bit further afield and meet people at events etc..
Define further afield?
Brad: Did, Koffe Schnapps in May 2011 so that was the border of France/Germany. Wales ride the Dragon, wettest freeride of the year (see my videos ;p www.youtube.com/xpedite ), Kami hit Bo Peep and got on the IGSA rankings etc, and Josh Monk who’s on the SLGRD, (who’s currently in Australia) did the Euro IGSA Races with the Banditos… He moved over from Wales back to Essex so skated with us a lot before he jetted to sunnier parts of the world for a year or two.
Sam: Switzerland. I went to Brighton this weekend but without my board, it looks pretty sick down there, not near the front but further back, plenty of hills. I think we should hit that up.
Brad: You hit a Southern Fairies race too Sam…. and generally the local SLP are always up London skating with London Longboards.
Kami: Slovenia: KnK Freeride
Brad: SO yeah, we proudly ‘get around’ a bit… ;p Me and Kami and the Newtons Team are off to Brussels in April with some of the UK Invasion, so, will be goooooood.
That’s a lot of events! You’re going to Wallonhill? AND Bear Guts?
Kami: yes will be at both and off course at Hog Hill & Bo Peep
What is Hog Hill?
Sam: Cycle track in Redbridge with a close to 30mph hill on it.
Brad: You can get a little faster that 30!
Kami: very good for beginners and meeting with old good friends. For the 2 Hog Hill events this year Newton’s Shred will be running the DH part so you are going to hear me a lot on the mic “chicken”
Sam: Kami on the microphone is the best thing in the world. HIT THE CHICKEN!!!
Brad: (Aka Chicane at Hog Hill) Marcus said the other day that Kami said he “Owned him a beer”…. hahahaha
How do you understand what Kami says?
Brad: We’ve had training…
Kami: I learn English 5 years ago
Brad: Got the receipt?
You all keep mentioning Newton… Isaac? What does a dead physicist have to do with longboarding?
Sam: SIR Isaac
My apologies! Sir Isaac Newton.
Kami: My view, I don’t know about yours: Given how gravity affects our momentum & more importantly makes hills worth skating down, the waves crash & snow fall (amongst a million other things) we thought we’d pay homage to the dude who precisely noted that which was such an alien concept to the people of his own time (as well as being historical figure in the UK)
I wouldn’t try to find a deeper link than that unless we find evidence that Isaac was as a skater
That said, his coat of arms were some cross bones.
LOL. I love you Kami
Brad: Hahahahaha! Where did you cut and paste THAT from!?
Kami: Don’t laugh at me.
This is nothing short of genius!
What is the UK Freeride invasion?
Sam: “UK Freeride Invasion” is a Facebook group dedicated to helping organise the UK riders getting into events on the mainland.
Brad: A closed invite only group of core UK skaters, who like HILLS.
Sam: It is like Fight Club. Rule 1 and 2.
Kami: A group of longboarders who listen to bum techno and drink beer all around Europe
Bum techno. Sounds like something you pirates would enjoy. I hear you don’t let guys with girlfriends in your crew.
Brad: News to me ;p
Sam: LOL.No homo… Still laughing.
Kami: I thought that was the London Longboards group ?
Apart from bum techno, you drink beer skating AllAround Europe?
Sam: Nah drinking is bad for your bank balance.
Kami: Only drink wine
Brad: JACK AND COKE…. Donations/gifts welcome.
Sam: Friendly, there is always going to be an air of competition and keeping those secret spots hidden, but everyone is on the same level and just looking for some beers and some steez.
Brad: Travelling is a huge part of it all. London was established, we had locals here, made our own, not too dissimilar from how Parkour grew and spread… Internet is a crazy place. XSS are a great bunch who travel and we bump into a lot.
Kami: I travel a lot with Marcin and Gav from “Dangerous Decka” but honestly all the UK crews are very friendly and sick riders.
You talk about Parkour a lot Brad. What’s that?
Brad: Parkour is a physical practice that is about overcoming obstacles, running, jumping, swinging, vaulting, climbing etc. Useful, safe, effective movement getting from one place to another. Media view: jumping around buildings….. Actual Practice: Hard training and conditioning, aiming “to be strong, to be useful” in a variety of situations, in exemple emergencies etc.
The fact that I don’t currently drive is an exentension of my practice I feel. I mean there’s few faster ways to get safely and speedily to the bottom of a hill than on a Longboard as long as you know what you’re doing.
What spots do pirates skate?
Sam: A place known locally as ‘slide hill’ is really popular with the locals. It is a small access road to the cliff gardens which is always closed off. Good place for some learnings. I skate my hometown Leigh-on-Sea a lot which I’ve mentioned before but it’s good, defiantly have to keep your eyes peeled for danger though.
Kami: Benfleet a little bit more steep but good for more fast slide or racing practice.
Brad: Benfleet is BEAST…. few are starting to head this way which is really good for their learning things a little faster and steeper. We play a lot in a local carpark that has a gentle gradient, playing ‘Longboard Tag’ or Multistory if it’s too wet out.
Are there local races?
Sam: Nothing to write home about, just little races amongst friends.
Kami: Not yet but me and Brad are looking to change this in Essex.
Brad: We have options here locally, but more outlaw type stuff… very residential but we’re hunting down options for road closures. Hog Hill is our “Local race”, I won there 3 times since starting, One Le mans style start, (run to boards from bottom of a hill, grab boards first to the bottom won a board) with Longboard-Lounge (R.I.P) and run by Will Stephenson and Liz Kinnish. Then the other two were regular DH races at each other HH event throughout 2011… Won a Mini moto challenge there too! ;p
Sam: Stay away from those Mini Motos.
Brad: Good old Dangerous decks…. GENIUS!
Brad: Aha, cheers, Just glad I didn’t break an ankle like the guy at the last Mini Moto Challenge!
What is a mini moto?
Kami: Devil board, you don’t want to know
Sam: Quickest way to die.
Brad: Dangerous Decks, made some tiny boards that are possessed with all sorts of craziness.
What is Longboard Lounge?
Brad: Old shop that died as far as I heard…
Kami: Very good shop which is closed 2 years ago, I met the owner at Bo Peep last year and the guy was so friendly and generous, he gave me very good advice when I went down the hill.
Are there other other big UK events?
Kami: CPP Slide Jam, really enjoyed it last year, still didn’t digest losing against someone who early grab some grass and another one who nearly finish in a coma lol. This year I will be back stronger than ever ;o)
Brad: Haha, Kami! Give them a break, It’s all hard to judge man. I’m sure you did great.
Hoping to race Bo Peep Crash and Burn this year. Hog Hill’s and wherever I can get to.
Do you have plans for more events this year?
Sam: Skate moar.
Brad: Amen Sam! Looking at doing another slide comp in Southend and or steeper Benfleet this year which will be supersick! Was so stoked SO MANY people turned up for the comp last year ;’)
Kami: N.s team and S.L are working very close, at the moment we still looking for good spots. but this year is going to be mad in Southend.
What do you when you’re not skating?
Brad: I work for the Southend YMCA doing all sorts and Legacy XS skatepark. Spend time skating, skating, training Parkour, bit of weight training… and Skating.
Kami: I have a little boy who is 14 months old , so when I’m not on the road, I try to spend all my time with him and my beautiful partner.
Sam: Studying my palms, working, weight training with Bradley and socializing.
Kami, why do they let you skate with them, you clearly like women?
Kami: Of course I’m French.
Does your son/partner skate?
Kami: My Partner skate a little when it’s hot and sunny outside, my son can stand and jump on a skateboard.
Kami: Yeah like his daddy!
What have you won?
Kami: It is not about winning but about fun.
Thank you guys for your time tonight, it has been has been highly entertaining!
Sam: IT’S BEEN A PLEASURE.
Brad: Thank you man, skate soon!
Kami: A bientot
Just 1 simple question left. Choose 3 numbers between 1-23
Kami: 1, 3, 2
1 – What do you take with you when you go for a skate ?
Kami: Helmet, pads, glove
Brad: And often your son ;p
Sam: A sandwich.
3 – What impact has longboarding had on your life
Kami: Longboarding change my life completely, I have new friends, I travel the world and have a shop.
Brad: Go Kami Go! Glad to have you man!
Kami: Me too man
Sam: It’s allowed me to eat sandwiches in different groups of people and in different places.
Brad: And pasta with a skate tool…. Pics to prove it…
2 – Would you rather have a hook for a hand or a wheel for a foot ?
Brad: 5, 7, and lucky 13. How fun…. I think I just wet myself a bit!
Calm down boy
5 – Who is the best skater you’ve met ?
Brad: HA, I appreciate different skating, I love watching my housemate Nelson Ortiz ripping the skatepark, so good, best skater I’ve seen and met technically! Longboarding, I can’t say best really, I’ve learned so much from everyone so I’m really thankful for guidance and being pushed by the likes of ‘Kami San’, Alex Ireton, Marcin Zielony, Bruno Silva De Oliveira and Lance Martins, I enjoyed watching Aaron Skippings, Oli Slaughter and Pete Connolly in Wales. Everyone’s had some amazing moments though!
7 – What is your favourite cheese ?
Brad: Halloumi! It’s amazing! The stuff just wont melt!!
13 – Do you have a pet ?
Brad: A little Frenchman named Kami
Kami: Can you ask your girlfriend to stop licking me
He is a pirate, he doesn’t have a girlfriend
Samwise Gamgee: 40000.9, 9000000000, 474733
Just give me what ever. COME AT ME.
There is no number ‘’whatever’’ Give me dem numbers.
12 – What’s your favourite band
19- What is/was your favourite video game
Sam: Battletoads 2.
10 – Snack – before during or after ?
Sam: Yeah before during and after, snack all day every day. Favourite snack; pint of milk with a nice chicken based salad with tuna and coleslaw. MMMMMM. This interview is now about food.