If you don't technically exist, can you really disappear? Having had his name mentioned on DC ads and tour posters for some time before he actually got any coverage, Dom Henry came out strong about 2 years ago, roughly 2 years after his name started drawing a bit of attention. With his name well visible but his skating not, Dom starting to gather photos throughout 2005 and even released a Reading scene video, "Loving Life" around the same time. After that he sort of disappeared. If it wasn't for the few bits of coverage he'd had you'd be let off for thinking that Dom Henry was just a name New Deal made up to pad out the DC team list.
I was suprised to find out a few months ago that Dom had actually relocated himself to New Zealand and installed himself in the skate scene out there, not only that, he appeared to be killing it. I got in touch with Dom recently and found out to find out how he found himself living in New Zealand, amongst other things. Read on...
So then Dom, what's the story? How did you end up out in New Zealand? It's a far cry from Reading…
Well, after I finished school, all I knew was that I wanted to get stuck into some extensive travel, so I got a full-time job and saved up for one of those round-the-world flight deals. The 2006 trip that ensued was epic and took me to Japan, Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and the states via San Francisco on the way back. Knowing little about the place I was only supposed to be in New Zealand for 3 weeks but ended up down in Wellington (the capital) where I was lucky enough to make a ton of friends who ensured that my supposedly flying visit turned into a 5 month couch-surfing residency. After a whole lot of skating and good times I finally made it back to the UK with my mind pretty much made up that I had found a city I wanted to live in for now, its’ got everything I need - except for all my friends and family back in the UK who I miss a lot.
Have you traveled about NZ much? Where are you now living and who are you living with?
I was lucky enough earlier this year to go on an LRG road trip courtesy of Revolt distribution, which involved traveling around the North Island for ten days in a camper van, so I got to see a good chunk of the country then - we stopped off at this raging waterfall called Huka Falls which was rad! But I've still seen barely any of the amazing vistas this country has to offer, I’m guilty of spending far too much time in Wellington city. I live at the top of a hill in Wellys which is a fun bomb directly into the city centre, but if town's not on the cards I can sit on the roof and look at mountains and the sea. I live with my friends Roger, Tara, James and Jonothan in an old wooden house which sways and rattles in the wind. Sometimes it feels like living in a tree house.
The west coast of the South Island is supposed to be amazing so I'm going to try and make a road trip of some kind happen this coming summer, James Gardner's coming over to stay for a bit and I know he's keen for the mission so fingers crossed...
You never really hear much about the NZ skate scene over here, can you tell us a bit about what it's like?
Yeah people outside of NZ often don’t really seem to have much of a clue about the place other than the landscapes they've seen in Lord of the Rings, and I've met people who think its a state of Australia! I didn’t used to know a thing about the place either. It’s definitely quite isolated from the rest of the world, people are generally just friendly and creative down here and are just doing their own thing. The best way to describe it is probably mellow. The scene in Wellington is amazing, its just one big army of friends.
Who's your regular crew of people to go skating with?
The funny thing is there are so many sick skaters in Wellington, and despite being the capital its small enough that everyone knows everyone else and is friends. So the crew that I skate with will change from day to day, you can always be guaranteed to roll into town and catch up with some friendly faces. I normally just meet up with some cats at the brewery or the skatepark and we'll just head into the city from there.
We spoke before about you not been able to skate because of the harsh weather, can you talk a bit about that? How much did you manage to get out skating over the winter?
Wellington is the second windiest city in the world, so that can be frustrating, and it can get pretty cold at night. The wind can be really annoying - a good rule is that if you're having to push to get down a steep hill, your skate today is going to suck. The weather is also schizophrenic, much like English weather sometimes - it can turn from wind to stillness to rain to blazing sunshine within the same afternoon. But you can't beat Wellington on a sunny, non-windy day. On days like that I'll normally be found rolling at the Brewery which is pretty much the main meet-up spot and is right on the waterfront, and has a pub which brews its own beers sitting right by the spot in case brews are in order.
Who are your current sponsors? Did moving to New Zealand affect who you got product from?
I get boards from Because which is a new Wellington-based company run by friends Jade and Doug, the new batch of graphics just arrived this week so I’m stoked on my board, its looking fresh! I get shoes from DC and clothing from LRG (the Lifted Research Group), and Indy trucks flow.
Initially it took a while to start getting DC shoes again from the distributor out here, but I managed to convince them that I wasn't an impostor and they've been looking after me really well ever since, cheers guys!
What's a regular day consist of for you?
Well before uni ended it consisted of getting up, going to some lectures or tutorials, then cruising into town to meet people and go for a skate, sometimes after scheming a free coffee first if my friend's working in this cafe downtown. Then off to work in the evening if its one of those days. Luckily I lost my old job, which I was grateful about since it involved touching sweaty rollerblades. No joke. it was really, really lame! I was working at this place which you could generously call an indoor skatepark but which could equally be titled a roller rink, since it hired out quads and rollerblades. Disgusting! Im about to start work in a new skateshop right by the park in town so that should be a lot better, and uni's ended so its just a whole lot of skateboarding and drinking shenanigans...
What's with this wealth of footage you're rumored to be sitting on?
Haha, there's a bit of dadcam action racking up...
Who are you filming with and are you filming for anything in particular?
I guess I film with whoever I'm skating with, there's enough dadcams floating about to hold a small scale amateur media conference, as well as a sprinkling of VXs. I just filmed a fun part for my mate Kieran's video which also features some ridiculous unknown (outside of NZ) talent such as Joseph Whaanga, Jesse Abolins and Bennet Field - from what I've heard the video is either going to be called Goneburger or VideoWack! I’ve also been flicking the odd mini DV tape over to Kevin Parrott for his Savoir Faire DVD, so hopefully a couple of tricks might end up in that.
What do you miss most about home, if anything?
Friends and Family in Reading and around the UK. Freya the cat. Honeycomb Yorkie bars. Listening to Up With The Partridge on Radio Norwich. Quality comedy - although saying that the Kiwis are catching up," the Flight of the Concordes" are from right here in Wellington and those guys are hilarious.
Have you got any plans to come back to the UK soon?
Yeah I’m coming back at the end of November until just after Christmas. I’m looking forward to donning some gloves and having some crisp cold dark December sessions with old friends. Roll on December!