The Cornwall dwelling man-mountain himself, Mr Leo Sharp, steps to our Photographers Stories plate this afternoon with five of his favourite shots gathered across the course of 2013.
Have a click through below to find out what Big L's been into over the last 12 months, then head on back tomorrow for our next installment...
Joe Gavin, wallride nollie.
On possibly the coldest day of winter 2013, I met up with a gregarious crew of Manchester heads to hit a few spots around the streets of Salford. It was one of those raw January evenings where, even though it's been dry all day, tarmac surfaces begin to get damp and greasy. After Nev had nailed himself into the dry but unforgivingly freezing concrete slabs of the law courts gap trying a backside flip (and getting robbed - again), Joe suggested we try to skate this rad hip.
It's a notorious bust at the best of times due to its enclosed location and the fact that the bottom of the bank is six feet from the entrance to a shop. The shell-suited ghost of Dan Rees must have been watching over us that night though. After blasting a few noisy wallrides, the air was still devoid of security walkie-talkie crackles. The run-up for the spot consists of a short, thin tarmaced alleyway requiring a throw down and last second carve. Not a problem for someone of Joe's rugged backstreet prowess I hear you cry, but throw in the sub-zero temperatures and a surface way past dew-point with nowt but half a Dominos pizza box to dry your feet on then you'll begin to appreciate the nause.
A few tries later though, and it's in the bag with a distinct lack of Das Boot.
[part title="Phil Parker"]
Phil Parker, frontside wallride.
Continuing on with the wallride theme but this time with an utterly loose cannon and a helm, I mean at the helm, we move straight to Bristol and an equally Brass Monkeys night time scenario.
I think this was the first spot of a Phil Parker one night tour of skateboarding destruction, later seeing him ollie some extremely long and ridiculously high stuff. Syd mentioned that he'd recently been sessioning an old underpass spot frequented years before by many a Bristol plank rider. It had recently been given a D.I.Y. seeing to in the shape of small concrete lip allowing speedy access to the tiled transitions. As soon as we arrived, P.P. pushed Mach 10 out of the darkness, up the wall and almost head-butted the roof. This is by no means easy as the transition is extremely tight and most would loop out onto their head at the speed Phil was going. A mention has to be given to the lovely ‘Bear’, Joe Habgood who frontside wallrode this same spot years beforehand with probably no concrete lip whatsoever.
Thanks Joe, your legacy is in unsafe and swollen Southampton hands.
Josh 'Manhead' Young, fakie ollie.
I've met plenty of heads at these fullpipes over the years but only a select few have actually skated them. Even fewer have tried a 'trick' in them. This is because they are way gnarlier than they look. For starters they're 6 feet + off the ground (Manhead hid a picnic table round the back so he could climb back up each time he had to retrieve his board) and they are only about 3 feet wide. Add to this the zero-flat-bottom-get-dizzy-as-f*ck-in-5-seconds factor and the dread of flying out of the side 12 feet into mid air is a very real prospect. Local Newquay legend Harry Bray once graced the cover of Sidewalk many 10 bags ago with a kickflip to fakie. Other notable stunts include Rob Smith's frontside 180 grabbed exit and Tom Shimmin's fakie steeze out.
After a long day teaching kids at camp WESC, I dragged Manhead to this spot with the promise of 'Fullpipes'. I'm not sure he was too stoked when we got there! He definitely wanted to go further up the transition and pop higher, but the inexorable Cornish darkness encroached on his contact lenses.
[part title="Dave Snaddon"]
Dave Snaddon, 360 flip.
The location of these planes can, alas, not be given up. A friend found them on the internet a couple of years ago, so a weekend drive was taken, followed by a walk around the fields for an hour, culminating in the sighting of a cluster of hulking fuselages. Behind a facade of ‘No Entry’ and ‘Private Land’ signs lay a graveyard of broken military flying machines. Our excitement was palpable; these things could actually be skated! But we were soon subdued by the sight of the police car patrolling in the distance. All thoughts of skateboarding on planes were put to the back of minds. As if to consolidate this, it immediately pissed it down and we were left contemplating our folly from under a hedgerow.
Fast-forward to 2013.
Through various Falmouth University links with the MOD, photography students are to be allowed access to the planes to shoot degree work! I pulled a few strings and managed to get Dave Snaddon, Jody Smith and Dylan Hughes access to be used as 'models'. The boys brought their boards with them as 'props' for a fashion shoot, but whist pouting and throwing blue steel for the camera they threw tentative glances at rough surfaces and potential lines.
“Will that wing slide and grind?"
“Could you roll on that nose cone?"
Our accompanying MOD officer eventually went off for a cheeky cigarette and it was game on for a skate. We skated the wing of one old World War One bomber. Dylan bagged a back smith and Jody a switch crook. Dave rolled up the other wing and snapped a backside flip but our overseer returned and put a stop to the skating. To our surprise, although he said we couldn't skate the bomber as 'the wing was too unstable’; he suggested we skate the Harrier Jets round the corner! Before you could say 'Lyme Regis', Snads was straight up on top of the cockpit and popping tweaked ollies into the wing. As the skies began to darken, Dave put down a treflip and dropped off the end of the wing onto the crusty tarmac. Thanks to DC shoes and Falmouth University's Fashion Photography course for making the day possible. I doubt skating will ever be legally allowed on MOD land, let alone its vehicles again.
[part title="Chris Atherton"]
Chris 'Avi' Atherton, no comply.
I chose this photo for no other reason than the fact that Chris 'Avi' Atherton IS skateboarding. If you haven't seen any of Avi's skate videos, such as 'Shit on the Lens' or his most recent offering 'A Golden Egg' (In conjunction with Jesse James - click here to watch), then I suggest you take the time to watch them.
Avi's way of looking at skating vastly transcends the term 'unique', rather it defines it. The Oxford English Dictionary should change its definition of the word to simply 'Chris Atherton'. Who else would spend all their spare time constructing skateboards from anything and everything, ride them in all conditions on all terrain, but not stop there - make their own oversized skate shoes, arm extensions for layback grinds, punch balls attached to the noses of boards so that a flip can be performed by punching not kicking, saw a board in half only to join it back together with an extendable pole so that half board kickflips are possible. Need I go on? Watch 'A Golden Egg' now!
On the day I drove up to Accrington to shoot this photo for Avi's Sidewalk Issue 200 interview, the British weather had just seen fit to dump a load of snow across the Lancashire hills. I normally wouldn't even have bothered to try and shoot a skate photo in such conditions, but knowing Avi, he was more likely to want to skate in a January blizzard than a July heat wave. After perusing his 'spot list', (written on the back of a flattened Lancashire tea box, complete with illustrations), we decided upon the 'big three steps on top of the hill'. Possibly the worst spot to try and hit considering the conditions, but why not! Avi wanted to try and use a jump ramp to grind the top step, so he carried that, a shovel and his board up the steepest hill, through a forest and 3ft snowdrifts with seemingly no effort at all. I kept slipping on my arse with a mere camera bag on my back.
Upon reaching the summit and 'the spot', which turned out to be three dry stone stairs normally surrounded by rugged tarmac/gravel mix, now surrounded by snow, we realised that the wind may be a factor. It was blowing that hard we could barely stand up! After shoveling the snow away, Avi decided that the jump ramp idea really wasn't going to work as he was pushing into the wind and couldn't get any speed. Most people would have turned round and called it a day at this point. Actually, most people would have looked out of the window, laughed at two idiots lugging a load of gear up a mountain and turned the central heating up. Avi on the other hand, decided to try and no-comply the steps. As you can see in the photo, there is no run up. One push and pop the trick and hope. The wind was actually so strong that it lifted the board against Avi's knee on each attempt helping him gain more control. After only about 10 minutes he was actually rolling away (not very far because of the wind and utter dog shit surface) but rolling all the same. Thanks to Avi for staying true to himself and skateboarding for all these years and absolutely not giving a single shit about any mainstream nonsense whatsoever.
If more people were made this way, the world would be a much more interesting place.