Right then Dylan, tell us who are please.
I’m Dylan Hughes, I’m 16 and I live in Bridgend in Wales.
You started skating at a really young age, in fact there was a whole crew of you rolling fetuses at one point; how does a 9 year old kid get introduced to skateboarding in your home town?:-
I was probably in year six at school and my older brother moved onto the Comp nearby and all his mates were skateboarders; I just wanted to know how it got off the floor likes.
So was your brother part of a scene then?:-
No, he didn’t really know that many other skaters outside of his mates, so I skated with him and then eventually we met some of the older skaters, Morph and that.
What did you do with yourself before you had a skateboard?:-
I used to play loads of sports, rugby, football, swimming
Were you any good?:-
At swimming yes, I swam for Bridgend in competitions.
I’d travel around to different events, won a few contests in England; I was well into it for a while.
What’s the swimming scene like?:-
Pretty serious – not much of a laugh, you know. I had to get up before school to train every day at some ridiculous hour. Then I got into skating which was a bit more relaxed, (laughs), that was the end of my swimming career.
Have you got any trophies?:-
Yeah, I’ve got a box full.
What was your special move?:-
Probably the butterfly, that was my signature move back then, (laughs).
I remember seeing footage of you, Caradog and Taylor on one of Dykey’s old videos, you were all so small, it was crazy to watch. What’s the story with the mini Welsh boy crew then?:-
At first it was Taylor and Caradog, they were the cool kids, I wasn¹t in the cool crowd to start off with. Me and Chris Wilson, (my mate), we were the outcasts for a long time. Then all of a sudden, I got sponsored and they started hanging around with me, (laughs).
So that was you becoming the “cool kid” then?:-
Yeah, Caradog and that, I was friends with them anyway, before that, but they didn’t really accept me until I got sponsored. Until I’d proved that I was as good as them I suppose.
Why? Because of some snide little kid competition thing or something?:-
(Cackling), yeah: totally because of that. It’s all-good though; they’re my best friends now. We were just little kids then, we didn’t know any better. Caradog’s on Kill City and Taylor’s just started up skating again; I skate with both of them all the time.
Was there some kind of dwarf skate army infesting Bridgend back then?:-
(Laughs) there were so many of us at one time. Jeff, my next door neighbour, he’s sick, Chris Jones he’s from round here, he’s amazing too. These were all kids who started up skating round here at a young age and got good.
Chris (Jones): he wasn’t part of the cool kid clique either, he was an outcast like me, (laughing).
Are you getting sick of the little kid questions yet?:-
You can ask me a couple more, but they do get annoying though, (laughs).
Yeah well Dylan, that’s what happens if you film multiple video parts as a two-foot high human.:-
Which tricks used to be impossible when you had baby legs and which ones were easier?:-
When I was really young I was definitely guilty of the illegal hardflip, the through the legs front shove one. My tiny legs couldn’t handle a proper one. I reckon kickflips were a lot easier when I was smaller though. They used to just naturally ninja flip back then; these days I have to try.
How old were you when you first got sponsored, and who was it by?:-
I must’ve been about 12; I got on Osiris and Minute on the same day actually, through Gibbsy. I didn’t know anything about it until the day I got the phone call (laughs), kind of a surprise like. I didn’t really understand what it meant at first. When I got the first box I was panicking because I didn’t have any money, I thought I had to pay for it.
Did it go to your head a bit? Be honest.:-
Erm, it probably did a bit honestly, but I was 12 you know, of course it did. The same thing happened to Taylor too, he got hooked up back then too and kind of took it as the “wait was over”
Seems like a lot of people do that: they get sponsored then stop trying, you know?:-
Yeah totally, whereas you should be pushing yourself even more once you get flowed free stuff, like you say, seems like a lot of people use it as an excuse to stop trying a bit. You know, I’ve made it now.
So you’ve been surrounded by pissed up adults ever since you were a small child, has hat had a negative effect in anyway?:-
Mmm, I suppose in some way, but I do hang around with lots of different people, not just alcoholic lunatics, (laughing). I just adapted to being around older people I guess. I kind of grew up around people who drank too much so I was used to it anyway.
It’s just funny really.
Am I allowed to ask you what kind of carnage you got exposed to at that age then? I mean you’ve known Pritch since you were 10 or something, you must’ve witnessed some Dirty Sanchez shit first hand, right?:-
(Laughing) loads of stuff over the years: Pancho used to always give me slaps when I was little, one day I’ll get him back.
When you’re taller than him?:-
(Laughing), nah, I was taller than him when I was twelve. I meant that I’ll get him back when the opportunity arises.
What about Pritchard? You’ve known him for a long time too?:-
Yeah, we did that “Day in the City” thing together didn’t we? That was pretty funny. Pritchard would do stupid stuff even when the camera wasn’t on him. He’s a bit nuts. We were into this park and he just ran full speed into this log against his head for no reason, (laughing). He hung me off a bridge once before too, just for a laugh like, well, a laugh for him.
Didn’t you go on one of the massive Osiris tours when you were 12 too? Who was on that one and what do you remember?:-
Yeah, we went to Scotland, London, all over. This was the Louie Barletta era Osiris; that was a really good experience, most kids my age would’ve been watching stuff like that on video and I got to actually go on it. Brandon Turner was friendly as hell, really in your face friendly, (laughs). He might’ve been a bit much for some people back then but I was a little kid so I was just super stoked.
You got lost in Paris with Dykey and Morph when you were only a wee nipper too didn’t you?:-
That was sketchy: it was me, Luke Thomas and Taylor.
Basically I lost my luggage that was why we ended up getting lost. We were on our way to the hostel and I left my luggage on the train. So we waited for the train to come back around, we all ran on the train to grab my stuff, at this point the doors started to close so we all jumped off, except Taylor who got his head caught in the door, like actually stuck in there, (laughing). So the train alarms go off and we’re all panicking and then some weird couple started trying to get us to go off somewhere with them. It was dodgy man; I think they were trying to kidnap us or something. We ended up just ignoring them and running off, we were scared though.
Are you well traveled for your age then, in comparison to your school-mates say?:-
Yeah, I’ve traveled loads already, not just through skating either.
My family likes to travel a lot too, last summer I lived in Brisbane for a few months. I’ve got a lot of family out there; I love it – Australia’s basically Britain with all the shit stuff taken out. I met an Italian girl when I was out there too; she was an exchange student who was staying at my Uncle’s house where I was staying, so that was a bit of a result.
You’ve just come back from a trip to Barcelona too haven’t you?:-
Yeah, that was incredible. I’ve never seen anything like it. There was loads of us Welsh boys out there, Tanner, Porno, Leo, loads of us. We were just skating all day everyday, it was like a dream. I’d never been there before either so it was amazing to me. The city is crazy. I’m going out again pretty soon with the DC team. Even Porno was skating street when we were out there, (laughing) he ollied this big double set.
Do the kids in your class know that you’ve been in mags and had covers and what have you?:-
Some of them do, the ones that I talk to a lot know.
Does it make it easier to get with girls: you use your celebrity status I take it?:-
That’s more of a tactic for when I’m in town to be honest, (laughs). You know how it goes, if you’re trying to talk to some girl it’s always good to have something to separate yourself from the other boys isn’t it? It usually works, bit of celebrity you know.
So you’re carrying around your coverage in your pocket?:-
(Laughs), I’ve got some Polaroid’s in my wallet like but I don’t normally get them out; depends how fit she is like.
Has been sponsored messed up your schooling or do you take school as seriously as you do skating?:-
Nah I stayed on at school and I try to take it as seriously as I can. It does get complicated though because the way I see it, if you’re sponsored you should be skating full time, trying to progress and what not. That’s hard when you’re still at school.
Do your teachers understand?:-
Some of ‘em do, some don’t. When I told one of them why I was off to Barcelona they just laughed, “Skateboarding?” you know. They don’t understand I suppose. It¹s pretty rare in Bridgend to make anything out of skateboarding so I suppose that’s why they don’t get it. Thing is, Bridgend has probably one of the best scenes in Wales right now, there are loads of good skaters and we all skate together so my teachers are going to have to get used to it.
Tell us about the Bridgend skatepark, that’s been your TF since day one hasn’t it?:-
I used to skate at Porthcawl more when I first started, then I started going down the “Rec” (Bridgend park) and that’s probably been the place where I’ve learned most of the stuff I can do.
Is it still shared between the skaters and the curling team?:-
Yeah, last year was supposed to be the last year of the park, but it looks as if they’re going to keep it going now, just because there are so many skaters here. It’s still only open in the summer and closed in the winter, which is a bit of a nightmare but at least it’s there.
So what’s so good about that particular park?:-
Well I’m probably biased because I live 2 minutes away from it but it’s just got a bit of everything in there; it’s a good place to learn all different kinds of tricks.
Whilst we’re on the subject, who’s your favorite Welsh skater of all time and why?:-
This confused me a bit, I thought respect wise that I ought to say Pritch but as far as influencing me personally, it’d have to be Gibbsy.
We don’t really skate that similarly but he definitely pushed me and helped me to get to where I am now, him and Morph more than anyone really.
So how did you end up hooking up with Selley’s company? Did Rob get it touch with you or what?:-
That was through Gibbsy again; I knew Rob a bit from being on Minute and after that fell through Gibbs just got in touch with Rob and sorted it all out for me. Hook ups!
How much do you know about Selley’s skate history? You know he pretty much did every tech ledge trick 10 years before anyone else in Britain, right?:-
I don’t know that much to be honest, I’ve heard the stories but I haven’t seen it. I need somebody to put some of his old Blueprint footage up on YouTube, (laughs).
So have you been out skating with Rob and Sean much since you got on
Yeah a fair few times, more with Sean really because Selley’s ankle has been screwed. I’ve been away on DC tours with Sean, he’s crazy. I started going up to MK a fair bit when I first got on Motive, skating with Sean and that you know. He¹s insane man, even though he looks like Gollum, (laughs). I¹m not too much of a ledge skater but I’m learning.
I hear that you’re a MySpace addict; you’re on there all the time aren’t you?:-
Yeah, it is true. Pretty much whenever I’m at home I’m on it, sending out bulletins.
Oh, you’re one of those annoying nightmares who posts a bulletin every five seconds are you?:-
Yeah, that’s me. It’s more of a pisstake out of people who send them out seriously but I’ve ended up getting addicted to it. The last bulletin I sent out was pretty much representative of them all, it was a dot and a smile, (laughing).
What have you been up to recently then, besides shooting photos for this?
You been filming for anything?:-
Yeah I’m filming parts for two videos at the moment ¬ you can see footage from one of them at www.bridgenders.com It’s just a scene video but it’ll be good ¬ I haven’t got that much stuff in it but Chris Jones is going to have a really good section on there. Scott McGill’s making it, it’s me, Chris Jones, Caradog, Nicky Howells, Al Williams, Popcorn Barry and a load of other people; it should be really good. The other one is the Bristol in Bloom 2, that Louis Gane’s making, that’ll have all the footage from Barcelona in it
Can you speak Welsh?:-
Nah, not at all. I know a couple of words that’s all. I did do it at school but I used to sit at the back of the class drawing on the table rather than listening.
Right, this is probably going to tarnish Leo’s reputation but can you tell us about what happened with shooting the portrait for this because the story I heard from Leo was dark as hell.:-
Yeah, it was pretty bad. It was me and Jeff and Leo, trying to shoot a portrait in this public toilet near these steps that we skate. Leo goes in on his own and starts setting up his flashes and that whilst people are walking in wondering what the hell was going on, (laughs). Anyway, he set his stuff up and Jeff and me are in the cubicle with Leo shooting pictures, it sounds bad enough already but it got worse. At one point Leo goes to Jeff “get on your knees”, right as this guy walked in there, the guy was freaking out.
Explain the thinking behind shooting this portrait.:-
I dunno really, Leo came up with this crazy idea; he thinks I’m a bit of a school bully like (laughs) so he wanted a shot of me flushing someone’s head down the bog (laughing). We were going to do it at my house but it didn¹t look right, so we just went to somewhere that we thought would be quiet, but it wasn’t.
Didn’t any of you think that it might be a bit of a sketchy idea?:-
Yeah, definitely, I wanted to do it at my house but Leo was right, it didn’t look proper. You¹ve got to suffer for your art haven’t you?
Didn’t anybody ask what the hell the three of you were up to?:-
Yeah, kind of, but we just jumped ahead and explained that it wasn’t what it looked like, (laughs). It’s right across the road from the police station as well.
Ok, let’s wrap it up Dylan: is there anything else that you want to say to the people reading this?:-
Just keep skating everyone, don’t quit. If you keep at it then something will happen for you.
Big shout out (no real order) My Mother, My Dad r.i.p, all of my family. Leo Sharp, Gibbsy, Morph, Rob Selley, Caradog, Chris Jones, Scott Magill, Bad Habbits as a shop and the people in it. Viv Wongle, Sean Smith, Jess Young, Huw Caddy, Popcorn Dai, Al (Bundy) Williams, Nick Batt, Nicky Bone Howells, Chris Wilson, Luke Thomas, Tommy, Rhys Meek, Ginge, Reezy, P.a.d.s Skatebark, Simon Johns, Nathan/Taylor Oakley, Cardiff Boyos, Rick @ Exist clothing, Swansea boyos, Bristol George Man, Louie Gain, Boyo, all the other Bristol boys. John Tanner, Frenchy, Joe Nobes, everyone at MK.
PORNO PAUL keep it (techgnarl), Pully, Pritchard, Dainton, Pancho, Greg Lutzka and Mark Appleyard for inspiration. The girl who liked the taste
(???) and everyone in 6th form in Bryntirion comp (but most of them are dicks)… and anyone I may have missed out sorry.