Featured rider: Aaron Skippings

6

Aaron is one of the infamous Southern Banditos, hence this interview should be read with a sense of humour in one hand and your favourite beverage in the other.
 Hey Aaron, where are you from?
Hey hey! I’m from the UK and reside in a small town called Bexhill. To be honest its full of old people that come here to die but other than that its okay I guess.

Erm… why are you there?
Because I was brought up there haha.

You’ve never left?
Nope haven’t left yet, all my friends are here and it doesn’t seem right to leave, if I left I wouldn’t know where to go. Maybe somewhere hot with loads of hills close by.

When did you start skating?
I started skating in 2009 but was first aware of the sport in 2008. I went to a race local to us which was Go Fast Speed Days in Eastbourne, I loved it! Watching the skaters fly past us and crashing was just awesome and I had to be a part of it, so I got my first longboard. It was a lush mako with holeys and pink seven-o’s and never looked back. I knew I was no pro as soon as I started haha, it took some time to get used to it , and having beachy head so local to us, that’s where I skated until I found Bo Peep!

How did you end up at the race?
I was invited by skater Juan Griffiths to the event as he heard it was on and I think he had been there the previous year.We just had to go this year!

What’s beach head? Sounds… suspect
Beachy head is where go fast speed days took place, the road was paved just for the event but you still had to run onto the rough surface towards the finish line it was mad. Also it used to be the number 1 suicide spot in Europe so yeah… it’s a dodgy place.

So what happened after your initial exposure to longboarding in 2009?
After I had been to the race and set up my board, I got more into it and bought leathers, full face helmet and made my own slide gloves and was ready for tackling bigger and better things.

The same week/month? That is KEEN
Hahaha no way! It took more time than that, later I invested in a Landyachtz evo with bears and orangatangs which had just come out  so I thought they must be brilliant! Let me tell you bear pumpkin bushings in bear trucks cranked up felt good to me then but it doesn’t turn, making corners didn’t go well to start with, a lot of crashing happened. I didn’t know what pads and footbrake soles were then, I was proper messed up haha.

How badly did you mess up?
I was cut and bruised every week and we used to skate 3-4 times a week , now its just once if we are lucky

Where did you skate in the beginning?
Skated in (and still skate) a small hospital at the end of my road, it has alleyways and small paths to ride on, not so much a hill haha just a small gradient but it was enough to get practicing. When I show people where we skate they are surprised by how much we progressed through it , not many hills in my town

What’s the skate scene like in your town?
Erm there isnt one? hahaha just me and Oliver Slaughter skate together , theres like 3 or 4 more skaters in the area but guess they have school etc , they do however come to Bo Peep at the weekend so we all skate together at least one time just not in our town

Aww how romantic.
That’s how we roll.

Who is Oliver Slaughter?
Oli Slaughter is an awesome skater and best friend,skate brothers!, always skating and travelling together!

What’s the skating like in the UK?
Skating in the UK is like nothing else, there aren’t many hills and you have to go searching for some, a lot of the time people don’t want their hills skated unless they know you, so everyone keeps it private. But the community is small so mostly everyone knows everyone else so its fine. Some of the best hills are in Wales and you have to travel a fair bit to get there, that’s why I feel so lucky for having Bo Peep 30 minutes from me!

When did you start skating competitively?
Started skating competitively in 2009 at Go Fast Speed Days, it was my first race and I was bricking it. The hill isn’t mad now but when I first started it felt very scary and I needed the toilet before every run hahahha. Soon after Beachy Head I was invited to Portugal by some guys I met at go fast, they were having an event called Festival Longboarderz which was a longboard celebration event. It had a downhill slalom race, slide school/comp organised by Mark Short and Will Edgecombe, plus it had an awesome redbull dj set mounted on a hummer like car , rapper biru lex on the mic.

Was that your first time travelling to skate?
Yeah that was my first time travelling to a skate event overseas, I don’t know if I was getting ahead of myself, going to new places skating bigger hills when I had only just started, but it was an amazing experience and was my first time meeting Mark Short who is a sliding nutter! Good friend right there! Learnt a lot from this man! Mad respect.

When was your first competitive season and how was it?
My first competitive year was 2010 and for me it was a brilliant eye opener to just how hard it is racing on a world cup circuit and definatly one that pushes your limits, some more than others. My first race was Almabtrieb World Champions in Germany run by Stephan Risch, he did an awesome job at organising it! One of my favourite tracks to ride: wide road, 60mph straight, nice corners. It was a scary experience for sure, but one I won’t forget! I came back to skate the road last year! like 100 runs within 2 days was crazy . After that was a nice road trip with the riders en bray crew! These french guys are such a big stoke booster, loved every minute travelling and skating with them, we checked into Switzerland for a few days and skated an amazing hill with so many corners, some of the best skating I did was there (not telling you location) check greener pastures episode 4, about 30 seconds in… Yeah THAT hill!
Last race was graveyard call in the South of France,very thin track almost like a path! Not a long track but very tech, most technical I have skated and definitely another track I shall not forget!

How did you do rank after your first season?
Erm injury wise I got pretty lucky and nothing more than a small cut or bruise, racing rank wise it was really not about the rank as I knew I wasn’t a pro who could do all this stuff because I was still learning ,although you never stop learning, so much progression in this sport its great! But yes I didn’t get high rankings in racing, did good at crashing though, it was all fun!

What do you ride now?
At the moment I ride a 9.81 prototype made by Nicolas Robert, I love it! Great board! At first glance it looks funny compared to other boards on the market because he has built something great and it works for me so I’m happy.

Define funny
It has crazy rocker and when I say crazy it’s like 4-5 inches of it. I found it weird to ride to start with but after a while I got used to it and its great!

When did you start riding for 9.81?
I started riding for 9.81 this year! Cedric and Nicolas know their stuff and they’ve been making skateboards, buttboards and luges for a long time now. When the oppurtunity came to join – I was happy to accept! Looking forward to more good things. Also you can’t go wrong with Mikel Echegaray Diez on the team! He’s one fast dude! Before this, I rode a Sector9 lacey, which was awesome – till it got run over!
At the moment I also ride for riptide sports in California, Newtons Shred (awesome guys!), Smb bearings (which are a lovely bunch of people who look after me well) and also PSD footblocks.

How did the Riptide connection happen?

I got into it when the company was fairly small and within the last year it’s exploded to being the 2nd most popular bushing company in the world, we have a crazy team of riders, some from abec 11 and other big companies including the powerhouse Douglas Dalua! Owwwwww , but Brad and Tracey Miller are awesome people who have done a brilliant job of putting together the team by choosing the right people and making the best products available. I wish them all the best getting to that number 1 position, stoked to be part of a truly  great team!

How was last season for you?
Last season was really good for me as it was more of an insight of what I can do if I work at it! Bo Peep was more of a local thing as it wasn’t big yet, I did well to start with until I raced and smashed my head on the road and knocked myself out, so I had to visit the hospital. That put me out for a bit but I got back on it! I placed top 30 at Kozakov which was a shock for me as I never really thought I could do it, but just had fun there and gave it my all. Maybe I’ll try placing better this year? Shame about the crazy amount of rain there though! Bit of a put off! After Kozakov we went to the Insul Cup which was a very technical track but nothing like Graveyard Call. It had loads of fun there and lots of crashes but nothing serious just going light headed and needing sugar hahah, got to do loads of racing there though !

What are you looking forward to this season?
This year I’m looking forward to more fun skate times with friends! Maybe hit some freerides and generally have fun and do my best, gonna head to Kozakov again and hit up Peyragudes because that track looks sick!! Very nice indeed

Highlights of last season?
My highlight was probably skating in the UK with all my friends, seeing everyone again at Bo Peep Crash and Burn and also: skating really fast hills like stopping off at the Almabtrieb World Championship road, so good! Had so many runs till I was half dead! Kozakov was some of the best racing I have done and I think for everyone it still is one of the best tracks to race on today (if its good weather) ha!

You must be looking forward to Bo Peep a bit this year
A bit? LOADS! It’s my local race, it’s always fun to ride on when its closed, no matter how many times you go down it can still be unpredictable, don’t think you can tame that road! YOU CAN’T! Hopefully I won’t fall off this time and will make it down the hill a few more times, and race buttboard again too!

I expect one of you locals will be looking to win the crashing prize?
Well I wouldn’t put it past us not to have a few tumbles but if the prize should go to someone it should go to Jack ‘pinball’ Penman for always crashing in style, from crashing onto the ground to skating on his knees its basically his signature move haha

Do you have a name for your local crew?
Yeah man! We are the Southern Banditos! http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001368515008
Started out with 4 of us and slowly became a strong crew of 6 or more! You can moan at us and say why do we always skate Bo Peep – it’s our local spot and it does justice for us just like other hills do justice for others. There isn’t a wrong or a right hill, for us it has everything we need and i don’t get bored skating it.

Who are the Banditos?
Me, Dave Martin, Oliver Slaughter, Will (is gay) Clare, Toby Newman, George Juson and there is another one but he doesn’t talk.

Apparently you’re so slow the Bandito footage featuring you is actually sped up.
Yep I heard this too but it’s really funny that it only happens in Will Clare’s edits, he must either want to be me or is just a jealous afro ninja either way his balls are bigger on the internet than in the real world.

You’re familiar with his balls… Is there this much sexual tensions between the rest of the crew?
This is a weird question, but Toby Newman has definitely been wanting to get it on with Will Clare’s sister for some time now, he just won’t admit it. Everyone asks about tobys sister but I heard shes a lesbian and only drinks from the furry cup.

Ah… The infamous trollito banter. Do you take lessons at offending each other and innocent bystanders?
No we dont take lessons, we just slowly learn more and more ways to annoy each other, not until breaking point but just enough for them to want to crash into you and cause harm when skating, as for bystanders we are gentlemen and do not get rude to anyone because we respect the place and people and want to keep skating the hill unless they moan at us then we get crawley lad big dave out of his white transit van to sort out the situation… Gentlemanly like of course.

What have you been up to the last few months?
In the last months I’ve picked up sponsors Newtons Shred from London and Essex or londessex haha, also 9.81 boards, and I’ve been skating a fair bit, travelled to a magical place of skating heaven that I shall not talk about but I will say watch the video below says it all really, really good skating with old friends!

Londessex? You’re not as funny as your face is.
My face is beautiful…..under a brown bag.

Leif told us you came to bother him, looks like you had fun
Oh did he now? Haha hes a funny dude! Doesn’t stop eating and before we arrived he dislocated his jaw on a rocking chair raving, he is nuts! Mouth with a golf ball hanging off it, fat kid stuck in a lift that kind of nuts!

What do you do when you’re not skating (or trolling)?
I work nights at spearmint rhino then become an escort during the day it pays its way pretty well.

Those pensioners you spoke of earlier are generous?
Well they can be if they want to be. But most of the time they’re stingy with their money.

Will you be doing more travelling this year?
I will be at Wallonhill freeride this weekend and also Bo Peep, Kozakov, Peyragudes and maybe Switzerland again, shall see how it plays out for sure, as long as I can skate I’m happy all round! And MORE UK skating!

Yeah! Come to London you ugly thing!
Whats london? I don’t want to be seen out in public.

That’s why you have a fullface helmet.

Choose 3 numbers between 1-24
6, 9 ,20

6 – Do you like lemons?
Hell yeah! with tequila and salt!!

9 – Favourite song to listen to when you skate?
Bass nectar-heads up (the glitch mob remix)

20- If every job paid the same amount, what would you do?
skate you bumdito!!

It’s been fun talking to you Skippy McSkip. Good luck in all your travels.
Thanks dude! skate soon yeh!! It’s been jazzy wazzy spazzy (christine will be telling me to shut my mauf now) good luck with that new boyfriend of yours yeah!

Not sure what you mean, but if you’re trying to see if I’m single – I’m way out of your league.
Turning the banter onto me now! Your learning quick! I’m sure your woman is like chewbacca without clothes, me though I prefer my woman clean, your just weird…

Maybe she is like a mix of Dr Spock and a Wookie…
This is really getting weird now but if your into that i can give you will clares phone number.

Your banter is even worse than your spelling. You’re a disgrace to trolls everywhere.
I got a damn good english grade thank you! Although i should of as i am english maybe i,m used to text talking , i know some trolls but your just trying to be part of the gang

You mean ‘’should have’’. I win. Goodnight.
It wasn’t me honest.

Any Thanks/shout outs?
Thanks to Brad and Tracey at riptide bushings for always hooking me up with awesome stuff, Nicolas and Cedric Robert of 9.81 boards for making awesome products, Smb bearings for keeping me rolling smooth, Tim at psd footblocks, and Newtons Shred for letting me be part of their awesome team!