Oli tells us about the UKDH scene, going on tour in Europe with the Banditos and explains why Aaron is so ugly.
Hello Mr Slaughter. How are you today?
Good day to you sir, I am swell thank you.
How was your weekend?
Quite rad actually, Met up with some crazy skaters and went 58mph on a wheely plank..
Where do you usually skate?
My Local is Bo Peep just a small, slow hill in Sussex no one has heard of but sometimes good for the odd bit of downhill.
What’s it like?
At the top there is a car park. You push off and drop into a right hand bend, this fires you into the hill, and also puts your balls in your mouth, you should be doing about 40mph right now even if you’re air-braking. Keeps dropping, building speed about 50, now, if you have big cojones, this is where you tuck. Kinks right then burn all your speed immediately for a beast of a left hand corner, keep dropping then into a sweepy left and finish. It is a pretty intense ride over in seconds and still one of the only hills I get fear at the top of.
As happened to Aaron’s face?
One of the worst crashes I have seen: both of us pitted against each other in a 1 on 1 race. It was always going to be close as we are like brothers, skated together since the beginning and we were both super competitive that day.
Pushed in hard off the top dropped round the first right and he just pulled in front, I began to draft him both of us tucking hard eager for the win.
About halfway down the straight doing at least 45 he turns back to check where I am, then his board twitches and flicks away from underneath him, he lands on his side and head and then drag dolls for 15 meters down the road. I immediately braked and finally stopped then shot for a medic like some kind of war film, then went running back up the hill.
Got to him and he was knocked out but breathing, as the St Johns ambulance finally “Walked” up and got to him he began to come to. Helmet smashed to bits and leathers torn. His helmet saved his life! He had a bad concussion and was not 100% for the next few weeks talking random stuff but he’s all good now.
Does anyone else there skate?
It is the home of the Banditos, they are the ones in front! We have developed a little cohort of grommets there which is also cool to see. Quite a rad bunch of guys and there almost every Sunday. Just like church.
Who is your favourite grom?
I’m sorry I can’t answer that some may become deeply depressed and possibly cry… the ones we have at Bo Peep are all rad skaters and it is good to see them stepping it up week after week. Charlie Gray, Will Mack, Toby Newman, Will Clare are all annoying as hell but fun to have on the hill.
When did you start skating?
I started in 2009 with Juan Griffiths and Aaron Skippings the original Banditos.
What got you into it?
Juan rocked up at college one day with a Lush Mako and started yabbing on about some race over in Eastbourne (Local town) I had a go down the road and was hooked. Smooth, flowing and fun.. and from there on the adventures began.
You went from 0 – 60?
Skated little hills at first once we were bored of the hills in town, bam! All over google maps sniffing out hills for plunder. The more we skated, the more we wanted bigger and bigger hills to feed our addiction. Watching skate videos all the time, trying to copy what we saw. We had no one to teach us so that’s how we would progress… slowly. I remember it took me about a month to learn to coleman slide. Bit by bit. Back then that was like “OMGrom you can coleman!1!!!11!!! RAD!111!!!11!”
What videos did you watch?
Orangutang 4prez has to be one of the first, watching them rip down the californian roads was awesome and the slides they were doing were just mind blowing and we wondered how on earth do you do that shit. Also every single Yvon Labarthe video I just remember watching over and over and over. I still do now haha.
Did you do any interesting skate stuff that year?
Myself, Juan and Aaron decided it would be a cool idea to enter for the IGSA World Cup Speed Days race at Beachy Head in Eastbourne as it had become our local hill and we would be up there skating every weekend.
With all that practice you must have shared the podium spots amongst yourselves?
We had been skating 4 months but yeah sure racing is anyones game. Never underestimate the banditos haha.
I do remember heading to the pub when we rocked up, then Scoot Smith walked in… HOLY MOLY is that Scoot Smith!!!111!!1 then Mischo!!!111!! just more and more pros, these were guys that we only thought existed in awesome skate videos and we got super stoked.
Have any groms reacted like that on meeting you?
I’d be surprised if any knew my name.
How was the weekend experience?
Awesome went to shred a magical smooth road with hairpins and 3 Minutes of goodness which is rare in the UK. Then got up at 4am to go and do 58mph runs with some of the fastest guys in the UK then over to another hill for a massive skate session in the sky. That’s what it’s all about; crazy stories and having fun bombing hills with your mates.
What is the norm in the UK?
Short sharp hills, British road builders have got it all wrong and like to build really boring roads, whereas on the continent they love to go mad and just put hairpins everywhere! But there are some gems to be found if you look hard enough, they are not in plain sight.
Where’s your favourite place to skate in the UK?
Wales has lots of super fun places to skate, longer hills not really fast but great to skate down with a few mates. One of my other favourites has to be G-Spot (Vandem), smooth, fast and sweepy = big smiles and the rest well… If I told you I would have to kill you.
If you had a pile of money to build a road, what would you make?
Well first I would need some mountains, a waterfall and a Ski Lift back to the top. 6km, lots of hairpins, super smooth but not too grippy, a forest section and a super fast straight. Almost if you hooked up Almabtrieb and Kozakov at a party together to make sweet sweet babies.
What did you get up to in 2010?
I did a lot of Skateboarding. UKDH Outlaw league was organised by Gavnar McFrenzy (Legendary beard keeper)! I also did a whole 6 week euro tour. Almabtrieb, Graveyard Call, Teolo, Insul and Kozakov.
Almabtrieb was my first international IGSA race we jumped in the van with the sector nine team (another OMGrom moment) and checked out the hill. To us it looked terrifying but the sec9 guys were like “Yea tuck here, put a pre drift here” I was just thinking don’t crash here or there or there or there.
After the first couple runs I was buzzing! Never had so much fun skating with friends burning down a 3km road doing 50mph. The track was bliss and still is a favourite. I qualified and got to race, my first 4 man heat was with Mr Pete Connoly (Gentleman, fast skater and all round super rad guy) of 128 I get put with the UK no.1 rider.
Waiting to start my heat (super nervous) push off, hurtling down the hill, “holy shit these guys are fast, right concentrate, tuck tuck tuck”. First hairpin bam one rider scrubs out into Pete on the corner and they head towards the hay in a ball of mess. Suddenly I’m in 2nd and wondering wtf is going on, get onto the straight “be fast, be fast”. I look behind, I can see Pete in the distance already back hunting me down like a hungry bear. I just managed to keep the distance, but I get to the finish and he is just behind. 2nd hell yes! Oh shit I just knocked out UK no1 oooppss.
On to the second heat, Patrick Switzer, Spencer Smith, Kim Anderssen. Just to get to stand next to these guys on the start line was a big deal. Obligatory pre race hug from Patrick and we were on our way. I got left for dust like a little dot in the distance but passed the line with the biggest ever smile!
Graveyard Call, technical, slidey, thin and challenging. Starts with a windy forest bit build up to about 40 sweepy corners then bam super tight slidey left hand corner. If you are still on your board at this point you drop to another right then it gently sweeps left then bam! Surprise: another left. (First time I did this corner, I hurtled straight off into the mattress, no time to react). It keeps twisting and turning into a village, still super thin past the graveyard then an almost 90 degree left and then finish. Everyone would fall and clean runs were like gold medals. Sadly I didn’t qualify so ate pizza and bought used Sec9 wheels from Louis Pilloni!!!111!!! (OMGrom)
Teolo was crazy, some strange inline/ice skate opening ceremony with underage girls in latex followed by people getting lots of expensive stuff stolen from the campsite by some pesky kids. Ate lots of bruschetta and did some skateboarding with more rad people. Back to Germany for insul, currywurst and shnitzel (so good, try it!).
The Germans sure know how to skate. Fun road, long straights with hairpins and getting passed by Brianne Davies .Damn that lady is fast.
Before going to Kozakov, we stopped off at Prague after visiting the Tesco express sized sex shop next door to the hotel we head out into the city to Cross Club, all the skaters had been talking about it. Crazy place, loads of different levels down into Lazer shows and dungeon bars, car parts and gears all over the walls. If you get a chance to go – do it!
I was just sitting there and Robin Sandberg and Jackson Shaperia walk in with a very drunk Yvon Labarthe (OMGrom). Turns out after the sex museum and segway ride (Not at the same time), they had stolen him from Mischo Erban on a tram, doors closing “nooooo yvon!!” kind of moment. Somehow in the end we got stuck with Yvon so we took him back to the hotel. I got locked out and Yvon took my bed. So I slept on the floor in another room. What a bitch.
Kozakov! I had heard that it was super gnarly, scary track not to be messed with so first run a little scary. After that it was pure love! Not scary. So rad, So smooth, So fast! with a mental party, mosh pits, flares, bundles, bench wrestling, bench beer sliding and drinking games (to mention a few) in one giant party tent with 1 euro beer to top it all off. Also the Goulash there is boss! Which was followed by the mother of all Thunderstorms that consumed the campsite and split a tree in half not far from the tent. (Happens every year) been to this race for the last 3 years such a great event.
Doing the Tour completely changed the way I saw and live Downhill Skateboarding. My skating progressed dramatically and showed me what a step up it is in skill from the UK Scene.
How did your attitude to skating changed after your tour?
I became more confident with my racing and the size of the hills I would attempt. I learnt so much in the way of getting the most speed out of the hill, a good tuck, drafting, pack riding, reading lines, where to brake, what the guy next to you is going to do, all essential stuff. The guys in Europe are a lot faster, you head over and its a bit of a shock, but its great to skate with them and learn, sandbagging and fake braking is always fun too.
What was the UK scene like in 2010?
Smaller, mostly focused on Downhill but still a good core group of riders that you still see today. Outlaws were the best excuse to travel all around the country gaining points and racing. We had races in Wales, Kent, Sussex, Hampshire, Devon and Dorset. Most weekends we would jump in the car and get to go and skate all weekend at someone else’s hill with an awesome bunch of guys. Almost everyone I know in the scene is through that. It was a rad year for UK Longboarding and I would love to see it happen again. It was also when I really started to get into making skate videos of my trips.
How have things progressed on the island since then?
The scene has almost doubled in size and there is a lot more focus on freeride and stand up skills in line with the direction that the rest of the sport seems to have taken. But it has been good to see the progression of a handful UK riders beginning to get super fast and challenging the continent and some solid yearly UK events finally emerging.
Which UK faces do you see on tour?
People like, Josh Monk, Oli Jepson, Kami San, Aaron Skippings, Chirs Vanstone, Rob Borek, John Griffiths, Alex Sutton, Simon Haverson and a few others. All sound guys and great fun to have about on trips.
You’re a film-maker?
It is something I really enjoy doing alongside my skating. I love to create the same suspense and adrenaline in my videos as I feel when I am hurtling down the hill. I have a few videos in the pipeline to come out soon and always learning new tricks. The best thing is people enjoying something that you have created.
What video are you looking forward to putting out most?
I have a video from a trip the magical skate island of Nabobo that is also a featured article in the most recent issue of thrill magazine that I am currently editing, first time I have used my new camera and the intro is looking awesome. So super stoked on this one. Should be out soon so keep your eyes peeled.
What is the most important thing in a skate video?
Explosions! Good skating and uniqueness. As awesome and as talented as these people are, I am so bored of watching people throw out videos of people doing the same stand ups over and over.
How does your camera work impact your skating experience?
I often have to take time out of skating to do it which is not always great and I am often the one behind the lens but I really enjoy to do it. It gives me a chance to look at everyone else techniques and see how I might be able to adapt yours or offer advice to them. There is nothing better than getting re-stoked on your experiences of the trip almost like a home video haha.
What’s your weapon of choice?
I am currently riding a prototype board crafted by Boardlogic which is a board company set to start up this year. It is a classic Califiornian top-mount shape hence dubbed The Classicali. The board is still in development but I am having lots of fun working with them to make a enjoyable board to ride. Light, turny, stable it has survived the extensive testing of some epic hills on the far reaches of the continent and set for some more high speed testing for this year, changing, tweeking, perfecting.
Camera wise, I have always used GoPro Cameras to get bulk of the footage I need. They are by far the easiest way to get cool on board shots. I’ve just got to play with the angles from time to time. I have recently obtained some more firepower with a Sony A57, the more I use it the more I am falling in love with it. The quality of the footage is beautiful and I am looking forward to showing off what it can do, also by opting for a DSLR I have really started to enjoy taking stills too.
No wheels or trucks?
I am not really one to tinker, I barely change my setup compared to other skaters. I have been riding Kahalani Trucks since I started skating in 2009. I feel super comfortable with them and why change something that isn’t broken eh. For freeride it will have to be Paris trucks. I try to keep my setup as loose as possible all the time, it really improves my control and helps to cope with wobbles. It’s always fun to push your setup to extremes.
Freeride wheels at the moment are cult converters, easy to slide and have fun with on the hill. If I am looking for a wheel in a racing situation, I would go for the Sec9 race forms, they have a good grip fresh and when they break away they give a good buttery slide unlike big zigs for example that will chatter and try to spit you off.
In racing wheels are normally only good for about 4 runs then it is a good idea to change them, when you’re pushing high speeds and on the limit of what your equipment can do, you need to have that faith that you will be gripping and sticking your lines. I normally see the top guys changing sets every heat and carrying literally a suitcase full of wheels, which is insane.
Are any of the above your sponsors?
Nope, however most of my equipment I have comes from my sponsorship with Newtons Shred. Which I am stoked to be part of, they support the UK Scene, really look after their team riders and are just happy to be skating, which is what is all about. We have a good bunch of guys on the team now and I really enjoy skating and promoting them.
Who else is on the team?
Lots of super talented guys with a mix of different areas of skating to bring to the table. Sam Holding, Bodhi Keen, Jack Watson, Kami San, Josh Monk, Aaron Skippings, Dan Shinnie, George Vincent, Marcin (The Destroyer) Zielony, Brad Moss, Marcus Jenkins and Aidan Fyans.
What will the Shredders be up to this season?
Hitting up lots of UK events including the Vandem freeride! Look out for some pack runs! Also a few of us are heading over for a little trip to Europe.
How was last season?
I traveled over to Kozakov with Azzy and Johnny Braund. As usual there was a crazy party and had lots of good pack runs with a whole group of UK riders. On one of these runs we were all hurtling down the final straight, 60mph close skating, drafting Johnny and Aaron then kapoww! Chris Vanstone, Rob borek and Juan griffiths come zooming past and the six of us go tan it into the final sweepy right. Get to the bottom, lots of smiles and excited faces, reliving the stoke. Johnny then goes to pick up his board to get on the bus and his axle slides out of his surf rod hanger! “HOLY SHIT! You could have killed us all on that run”. Haha good times.
After returning from that I shot back out to Peyragudes a week later with Josh Monk, Kami San and Liam Fourie. We went out a little earlier to go and hit up some freeriding spots. We were not disappointed! That place is a gold mine and easily one of my favourite places in the world. Very many hills and beautiful landscapes, if you haven’t already check the videos…
Come race time we were super buzzed. The track was FAST easily 60mph on the final section that was a super smooth never ending right hand sweeper of doom, to get the best time you needed to hold your tuck round it, not for the faint hearted. I had a super fun run with a water pistol in one hand, saw Rob McWhinnie do some mental stand ups on corners I wouldn’t dream of and watched Josh Monk punch a hole in his arm after landing on his footstop at 50mph and sliding for 15 meters.
Ouch. What was the highlight of the season for you?
The highlight has to be freeriding in Peyragudes, the hills go on forever, tarmac super smooth and beautiful views that with a bunch of mates is a perfect way to spend the day.
Does anyone ever mistaken your suit for a certain Canadian?
All the time not by mistake, the man has good style, haha. There is a funny photo actually of me and k-rimes both sliding into a heelside corner at Velefique freeride.
Where will we catch your white suit this summer?
I’m off at the end of July to Switzerland for some free-riding for the first time before heading over to Almabtrieb for the race, very excited to be skating that hill again look out for lots of photos and videos!
How will this year be different from your past seasons?
Having to dial the euro racing back a bit as I’m off to university at the end of the year and about to become a poor student. Mainly focusing on a few events, maybe one or two international races, lots of freeriding with mates and mucho UK skating with the guys in the south west for the next few years to come.
What do you do when you’re not skating?
Hug trees, take photos and drink.
Pick 3 numbers.
7 – What is your favourite meal?
Anything with bacon.
34 – luca coleman asks: Whats the weirdest thing you ever put in your mouth?
I ate a fly once.
42: Justus asks: Which world leader would have been the best downhill skater, and why?
Nelson Mandela – He looks like he would be oozing with style and bust some sick tricks.
Yeah bro! Killed it, super happy to have done this long overdue interview. Have fun this season. Will your mom bring cake to Bo Peep this year?
Most definitely il make sure of it…. ummmm Creame egg brownies (OMGrom)
Any thank yous?
Thanks to, all the awesome people I have met from my time skating, Newtons Shred for supporting me and pushing the scene, The Banditos for being the best UK skate crew and a rad bunch of guys! Dave Martin for being bandito coach and top dude! Aaron Skippings for pushing my skating! Josh Monk and Oli Jepson for being gentlemen of the sport and good friends! Gav for supporting the scene and stoke throughout the years, Dan Shinne for the many boards! Eko for all the gloves and putting us up in Portugal! John Griffiths for getting me into it! and to lots more that I haven’t mentioned, thanks guys!
My videos – https://vimeo.com/oliverslaughter
Peyrenees Pt.1 – https://vimeo.com/51931330
Euro Bandito – https://vimeo.com/27737940