Happy to announce that our buddy Will has just been signed to Rayne Longboards! We discuss his love for skaters of the fairer sex, his travels over the last season and the best wheels for sliding! Enjoy
Hey Will, where are you from?
Hey Gbemi, I’m originally from Bristol, UK. Now I live in Falmouth, have done for the last 3 or so years
When did you start skating?
I lived in Jersey (Channel Islands) for 3 years before moving to Cornwall, it was an ideal way to get to the beach with a surfboard under my arm! That was about 10 or 11 years ago.
Managed to scrounge together a ratty street setup which served me for years.
Do you still surf?
Nah, still got my boards, but never have time. Most of my time outside of work is spent on the hill. Or at this computer!
You still ride street?
Nah not really. Or as Kevin Reimer puts it, ‘yes, I ride street every day’. Down streets that is. The technical approach street skaters have turns me on though, that’s what we strive for in our sliding. Learning everything every way.
When did you start longboarding?
Must be 8 years ago now. The movies Dogtown and Z boys and Gravity’s FLOW were big influences in wanting to learn slides and ride down hills.
Wow 8 years is a long time. What/Where did you ride in the beginning?
A 40 inch Lush Bahari was my first longboard that wasn’t home-made from a plank.
That was during College. After that I studied Foundation Art in Falmouth, that’s where I was first properly exposed to a crew and people to learn from.
What crew was it you were exposed to in Falmouth?
The Faltown Crew! Faltown made slide specific skateboards, and hosted many an event back in 2003-06. Including visits from Cliff Coleman and Sergio Yuppie.
Do you still skate with them?
Faltown as a crew doesn’t really exist now, but I still skate with Mark Short, who designed some of their decks and was influential in developing sliding technique, still is.. And is one gnarly motherfucker. I also skate with George Vincent, he’s rad.
Your diet consists of sliding with a side of sliding?
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a cruise to the shops, and going fast in a tuck is fun, but what we have around us are a lot of quite short, very steep hills. Perfect for sliding and not much else. Not that I’m complaining.
Where is here?
Falmouth. It’s riddled with more hills than you can shake a stick at, and we have various spots in Cornwall and neighbouring Devon that keep us busy for filming locations.
Filming? For skate purposes?
Yeah skate filming. Our home hill is great for practice and learning new things, but it’s always good to test ourselves on different terrain.
The hills were so good, you didn’t move away after uni?
On the contrary, I moved away to Plymouth for uni for 3 years, spent 1 further year after that with my folks further north in Cornwall, then moved back. I was driving 40 mins each way to skate at least 3 times a week. Made sense to move!
What is the skating like in Plymouth?
It’s pretty hilly, and there are big open spaces like the Hoe for flatland. It was downhill all the way into classes every day! Good uni longboarding scene there.
Hoe. UK spots have the best names. Hey Will, let’s go ride Hoe
You were part of the Uni society?
Well only loosely. Hooked up for a few skates.
How did you get into sliding?
It’s necessary for getting down a hill safely, since skateboarding down hills was what I wanted to do. I remember ruining a perfectly good pair of motorbike gloves before I knew what slide pucks were.
You’ve been doing it since the beginning?
No! Cliff has been doing it since the beginning. I was just ignorant when I started, and there wasn’t much info out there.
The Godfather of slide, Mr Coleman. He was there with the first exponents of sliding in Berkeley California, and is still skateboarding and evangelising safety in downhill. Legend! Love that dude.
Have you skated with him?
Yes, a fair few times, twice in the UK in 2004 and 5, when I was still pretty new to it, and most recently at the Broadway Bomb, New York City last year.
In the UK! How?
I think in a collaboration between Lush longboards and other figures in UKDH, Cliff was brought over to run a slide clinic. He returned the next year with the Brazillian Sergio Yuppie.
How was the broadway bomb?
Surreal to see 1300+ skateboarders in one place! It was pretty wild.
Going again this year?
I’d definitely like to, the slide jam the day after was super fun also. Getting leave from work and finding the funds is an issue though.
Should have figured you were there for the sideways action. How did you do in the comp?
Haha the trip itself was fairly fortuitous bit of planning, I had the opportunity to drop in on NYC on the way to Brazil from Canada. Folks from all over were congregating in the city. As for the slide comp, I narrowly missed out on the podium. I fell pretty hard because I was going too fast, which is my usual mistake in competition. Without a lot of practice competing generally, it’s psychologically very tough.
What is so good about this piece of evangelical skateboarding?
There’s a lot of good riding in this movie, but what stands out is Sergio Yuppie’s part (easily found on Youtube). I think I can speak for Mark Short too when I say that it was gobsmacking. How the fuck was he doing that?? For me he’s the major influence in wanting to slide stand-up. TECH 4 LYFE haha.
Nah. Footbrake 4 LIFE!
I’ve seen that! Very funny. I’ve really enjoyed the spate of spoof pisstake movies in recent times. The venom one was the best. So well acted and right on the mark.
It’s good to see people being able to poke fun at themselves… or others
Yeah it’s necessary! One shouldn’t take oneself too seriously. Skateboarding is very important to me, but it’s not the only thing in my life.
Being a slider, I guess you see the ‘’uber slider’’ a lot – the ”look at me I core my wheels faster than you core apples” type.
I get through quite a lot of wheels, but I don’t slide with the sole aim of wrecking them. That’s a bit wasteful and expensive. I also don’t choose wheels according to how good their ‘thane lines’ are.
What wheels do you enjoy sliding best?
Round ones. Pretty hard ones.
Mate. Round ones are so 2011. Pyramid cores are the new black.
haha, I’ve ranted before on the ‘fish about the attitude that slidy wheels are cheating, somehow. I don’t get it. Not impressed with the bravado of being able to pull a ‘standy’ on square 12a Centrax or whatever. Slidy wheels for sliding! It makes sense to have the right tool for the job.
Well it’s partly ignorance, and obsession with kit over technique.
In real life or by cyber skaters?
Those with brilliant e-technique.
You only ride ‘’Pretty’’ hard wheels?
For technical sliding on a twin kick board it’s Slide As from Earthwing. 58d (off the Shore A scale, by the way). And for freeride, where we’re working on pushing the rotations and combos, it’s gotta be 84a plus, even 92 or 98. Otherwise you’ve lost your speed after a 420 degree spin into a whatever. You get my drift. Soft wheels are nice for rolling on though. Also, it’s a really good idea to learn on hard wheels. Get it right then translate it over.
What if the wheels are hard… but ugly?
Not bothered about how they look. As long as they work how I want. wheels are wheels!
You freeride on small hard wheels?
My current go-to freeride wheel is a 92a Grippin, lips radiused with a belt sander. So not specifically small.
D scale? D > A?
Oh I can’t remember how they line up, but the ‘’A’’ durometer scale kind of ends at 100a. The D scale is used for ‘harder materials’. It’s not an exact science and the measurement is done with a different tool.
What is the sliding scene like in the UK?
There are various groups of sliders around the country. Down here we’re quite isolated (it’s easily a 5 hour drive to London) and are actually closer to the international scene, through travelling to events and contests.
When did you first go outside the UK to skate?
2008. I took a trip with Mark Short and Piet Wiekens (also from Falmouth) to Vancouver. We skated Giant’s Head, amongst other amazing spots, then headed down to San Diego in Cali for Slidefest.
Do you ever use the word ‘’longboarding’’
I know there’s lots of debate over terms. It’s all skateboarding, and yeah, I’m a longboarder too.
It’s interesting how some people get really aggravated over it. They are just words. Why so much agro?
Perhaps it’s the only domain in which these people can achieve domination?
You’re a terrible human being William.
Haha, guilty as charged.
You had a skateboard before a longboard, that could be why you don’t see a conflict of interests.
It all overlaps so much, why draw lines in the sand? We look to many different facets of skateboarding for inspiration.
What inspires you?
Many different things. Pure form, on-the-edge gnar. Obviously other skaters, especially the sliders in Brazil, and more eclectic ideas from other sports, such as how snowboarders throw their arms when they spin, you can find technique hints from all kinds of sources.
Anything/one outside board sports?
Photography is a passion of mine. It’s an important aspect of travel for me, and a creative outlet.
How do you photograph events you compete in?
It’s tricky to combine the two sometimes, but I try to! Sometimes you just gotta put the camera away and skate though. It’s pretty psychologically intense and concentration matters, so I have to make do with photographing other aspects of the day, or sessions before and after.
You mentioned you travel a lot. Where did you go last season?
I’m lucky to have friends in the longboarding world who can offer me employment!
Mike McGoldrick is one excellent chap, he’s helped me get around a fair bit and sometimes there are other skaters in the crew I’m working with (fitting glass on Cruise Ships).
Last year we hit Singapore (where there’s a big and enthusiastic scene), Poland (slid on ice there) and Victoria in BC, Canada where I shared a cabin with Travis Craig of Landyachtz. We headed out when we could to skate. Good times. That trip to Canada continued to NYC and the to Brazil where Mark and I stayed with Sergio and his family. Also Danger Bay X, and some trips assisting a photographer to Thailand and Europe. I always take a board.
Define employment in the longboarding world?
I am a part time rent boy for downhill ladies, I teach them to ‘’speed tuck’’
Oooh Singapore! Who did you skate with there?
Mike and I hit up the Longboard Love and SSM (Singapore Speed Movement) crew. They were ecstatic to see him there in the flesh!
Did you compete in Canada/NYC?
Mark and I went out to Danger Bay in BC earlier in the year and competed in the slide comp on a really wet day. There was a slide jam after the Broadway Bomb which I took part in.
It’s interesting you say that, we spoke to Ishtar Backlund a few months ago and she upped and went to america and managed to find work designing graphics for Bustin and Motion boardshop. Can anyone just turn up in America and the community absorbs them and sorts them out?
I think there are certainly many more opportunities in the US (and Canada) and many companies are looking to tap into the youth market especially. The various communities are always very accommodating for a travelling skateboarder.
Are there similar opportunities in the UK/Europe?
It depends what you want to do. I’m interested more in the act of skateboarding than necessarily working in the industry. I would say that the industry the other side of the Atlantic is just huge in comparison.
Have you travelled anywhere in Europe to skate?
Yeah I’ve skated a fair bit in Euro. Portugal in 2008 to help Mark teach slide-school and judge a slide comp in Carvoheiro at a Longboarderz event, We just came back from Mallorca Rayne trip, which treated us to freaky weather! I’ve skated in Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Poland, a bit in the French Alps. Probably some other places. Not usually at events though.
Oooh! You wouldn’t happen to have skated with Susana in Portugal?
Yeah we met the Porto and Lisbon crews. Lovely bunch.
Not many girls slide, it must be good to mix it up with the fairer sex sometimes.
Yeah for sure! It was refreshing in Mallorca to hang out with the LGC Girls.
I’m not sure if my girlfriend appreciates my newfound enthusiasm for hanging out with lots of skaters of the fairer sex however…
Mallorca! Did you meet our Luigi?
Yeah! He’s fantastic. Everyone there was so friendly.
How did you bump into the LGC girls?
This was a Rayne hookup. Graham Buksa and Les Robertson had been at the ISPO trade fair in Germany and rendevous’d in Mallorca to meet the LGC founders and we were invited to go and join em.
Your girlfriend must be thrilled!
Haha she’s put up with my travel habits with grace so far.
Does she skate?
No, but I’m not gonna pressure her. Not everyone can be expected to share my obsession!
Fair play. What are your plans for this season?
Less travel than last year. Train hard and film the results!
You’re a film-maker?
No, I wouldn’t say so. I can throw a skate move together for sure, but our emphasis is on skate. As soon as you start making ‘films’, shots of bumblebees and dandelions creep in or worse yet, take over.
Don’t forget the wide angle landscape shot and the autumn leaves!
On the flip-side, we do need people like you to document their longboarding adventures to entertain skaters and inspire non skaters to have a go! We’ve seen a lot recently: Drop, Greener Pastures, Endless Roads
Those productions took a lot of work and resources behind the scenes to make them happen. There’s only 3 of us, and when it comes to filming, naturally all of us want to skate and not miss out on the session, so the camera comes out less than perhaps it should.
Ah. I understand. Who is this 3rd musketeer?
George Vincent, he’s 16 and scarily good.
Sweet! What do you ride?
I ride for Rayne; a Nemesis and Renegade are my current go-to boards. Aera Trucks. Vicious Grip.
Nice! How long have you been making it Rayne in Falmouth?
Mark has been on Team Rayne since 2008 (?) so it’s not surprising we all ended up on Rayne kit. I’ve been offered a contract this year and am really stoked to join em.
Congratulations. So that means we’ll see more of you !
Yeah fo sho!
One last question – choose 3 numbers between 1-23
21, 22, 23
21 – Would you pick the red or blue pill?
Hell if I know. do they come with any documentation? Side effects? Haha Red pill, real world any day. Life’s too short to worry about matrixes.
22 – Do you have any hidden talents?
Maybe they’re hidden for a reason.
23- Bacon or Chocolate?
Both! Together they are a good combo. P-Swiss would agree on that one. He taught me that bacon goes with anything.
It has been really fun talking to you bro! Hopefully see you soon in London (and Madrid in September?)
I’ve had a great time thanks! I hope to get to as many UK and Euro things as I can this year.