The now London based all round top human that is Lex Kembery is next in line to offer up his "Photographers Stories", waxing lyrical about a collection of his favourite shots from 2011.
Get reading below now to find out some behind the scenes style info from Lex, then check back Monday for another dose of photography tales...
Gonz, backside boneless, Bloblands, London.
Those five words need very little explanation in all honesty. Gonz aged forty-three plus backside plus boneless divided by Bloblands equals “once in a lifetime". I took this whilst the Adidas global boys were giving it in Europe this past summer. When I was asked to go out with them I was pinching myself the entire time. I had never seen the Gonz skate in the flesh and I had read countless articles saying how amazing it is just to witness him even pushing. I always thought “ah whatever, cant be that good". I couldn't have been more wrong with that thought. It’s beyond a joke how next level he actually is.
I met everyone at the hotel and we did the usual waiting around game and then got in a small coach that looked like something from outer space that had been in Tim Westwood's hands. Black and bright blue leather seats, TV screens etc. I felt sick just sitting in it.
So we arrived with our slightly baffled driver looking on and made our way along the path to where Bloblands is. It’s a funny place as it’s basically an old water park for kids, but it’s got Claims Direct written all over it so there is no water there anymore. I remember thinking as we walked down “I hope Mark does something amazing here", even more so as it was my first time at Bloblands. It was really mellow skating there with everyone just having fun, Karim waiting for the wind to drop to ollie the gap over the steps, Chewy doing what he does best, Lucas doing mental manual combos with Kevin and then Nestor and Mark playing with the Boob. Then, as spontaneous as ever, Mark just started trying to backside boneless it and trying to deal with the pretty slippery surface due to the fire paint job which complimented his purdey trousers nicely. I think this will always be a favourite of mine because as it was at end of a really amazing week and the fact it's such an iconic skateboarder at somewhere like Bloblands.
Chewy Cannon, backside lipslide, Docklands, London.
Hands down one of the best things I have ever seen on a skateboard. This was another spot in London that I had never been to and always wanted to after seeing countless video clips and photos of the wave ledges. It’s quite a bizarre place because it’s over the top for something that is quite hard to actually get to. I get it, it’s the Thames Barrier, but I can’t see many tourists making the trip to it. I remember getting down to the ledges and getting hyped 'coz the light was good and it looked so rad.
The decking was pretty rickety and rotting in places, the ledges were really chipped with big chunks out of them, and then to top it off, some parts around the ledges were so bad they had fenced it off. I think it was Mark that suggested we lifted the fence over the ledge so it could be skated, which was fine but I thought “what the hell is anyone going to be able to do here?" as its so chipped you can't grind them. Chewy was the only one who was really excited to skate it as I think everyone else just thought “sod that".
After waxing it to oblivion, Chewy casually started trying backlips up over and down, and Skin, who was shooting the tour for Transworld, was egging him on with bets and bribery for beer. Chewy got super hyped and I remember he fell off backwards and missed scraping his back on the very end of it. At this point it was still beyond me how he was even getting to the ledge let alone sliding across it. Soon everyone was cheering and hyping Chewy to do it, he seemed so close but so far and then wallop, he did it. Still speechless to be honest, Chewy is on another level.
Benny Fairfax, ollie, Wolverhampton.
The Big push has taken me to many places in UK that I would never normally visit, one of which is Wolverhampton. However due to the wealth of skate spots that are there it has been a strong destination for the last few years. I have always thought it would be amazing for someone to ollie the channel, and maybe someone has before this. I was always quizzing people to ask if someone had, it looked do-able but it’s wide, steep, down hill and made of bricks; it’s gnarly!
Benny was filming his line ending with an ollie over the channel, everyone else was either skating around and having fun or sat in the middle on their iPhones watching clips on YouTube, I was curious why and that’s when our local tour man Brewer informed me there was free wifi. I couldn't believe it! All week I had put off giving the Travellodge five pounds to use the internet - I still stand by the fact it should be free if you're staying in a hotel. Benny was doing the line time after time but the ollie seemed to be getting the better of him. I was thinking I should shoot it whilst he is trying to film it but I couldn't as he was doing it in a line, he came close and then the next go he made. I quickly put my lights in position as Benny said he really wanted to get a photo of it but his ankle was starting to seize up! Thanks for persevering Benny!
Lucien Clarke, backside 180, Normandy, France.
The trip to Normandy has to be the highlight of my year as the good times never stopped flowing. Lev was on top form, France was rad, staying on a farm in the middle of nowhere eating amazing food and taking the piss out the French and Germans. I knew this was going to be a good week when we turned up and Vivien said “f**k they've won already, look at them all in tracksuit bottoms". The weather was good, the banter was good and the skating was even better.
It was the last full day of filming so needed to go to this double set to get the final hammers. We got there in the early afternoon and Lucien began trying this monster backside 180. He tried for a while but there is only so many times someone can jump down a set of steps that big before it catches up with them. It was decided that we would boy it off and go and find something else to skate and we found ourselves at the ledge spot where Chewy filmed the 5050 wallie to 5050. I don’t know if it was Lucien who suggested going back to the double set but we did. As he got closer to landing the backside ollie, the hype increased with everyone with their arms round each other like a football team jumping up and down screaming “Trill" at Lucien! He bashed out the backside 180 like he was yawning doing it on flat, a complete joke! All powerful Palace!
Rory Milanes, ollie, La Harve, France.
We found this spot by mistake whilst driving around La Harve. I was trying to find our way back to the main road to get out of the city when we turned down a street and drove past this ollie over the steps/wall. It’s a big old Ollie too, even to just run along and try and jump it, so to continuing the on going hype, everyone was gearing Rory up to do the ollie.
There was a really annoying signpost right in the middle of the photo which was loose and I managed to lift it out of the ground, so I said to Rory that he had to do it now. He pushed like a maniac at it and we were all cheering again. Anyway, this is a favourite of mine as he did it once and once only. I like a bit of “one go, one photo" action, why complicate things? I also love it because we found this rad spot by mistake. When we were done, we headed back to our country retreat and got stuff into the bread, wine and cheese; good times. Yeah Rory!