DC Special Delivery II UK Tour
When Dave Snaddon told me we’d have 2 vans full of skaters for the UK leg of the DC Special Delivery tour, my initial reaction was: ‘Shit, we’ll get kicked out of every street spot we go to’ but after a bit of thought I mellowed out. We’d smash every demo with that many dudes, and if anyone got too hung-over to skate, we’d be ok.
Snadz and I picked up the tour vans from the world’s most difficult-to-find car rental agency - after an hour of wandering the backstreets around Temple Meads in Bristol we eventually found the place and our 2 plush rides, only to be denied again by the computer because someone at DC HQ in France had booked the vans, and Dave obviously wasn’t that person, (even putting on his best pseudo West Country/French accent didn’t work), so it took another hour of frantic phone calls to Biarritz to sort things out.
Packing the van may have been a little easier if there hadn’t been a huge kicker ramp to wedge inside it too.
Snadz insisted that we needed to take this with us for the Milton Keynes demo, although it amusingly turned out to be almost unskateable even with a Costa coffee sign taped to the bottom when we got there. To make matters worse, shoving said (useless) kicker into the van also put a hole in the vinyl interior of the boot within 5 minutes of us picking it up. Stoked…
By the time we’d got the vinyl decals attached to the van (not sure the hire company would have been too happy had they known about them!) it was time to pick up DC’s Welsh contingent and drive to our first tour stop in Liverpool.
Sam Pulley, Dylan Hughes and Nikki Howells lightened the mood as we joined the bank holiday weekend traffic on the M5. Somehow it didn’t take the 11 hours I’d predicted to get there. What did await us though were yet more DC riders, namely Wes Kremer, Jorge Simoes, Thaynan Costa and Anthony Lopez.
We were also joined by US TM and skate legend Jimmy Astleford on filming duties. The skater accumulation continued in Manchester and London with John Bell and Sam Murgatroyd both taking up more space inside the vehicles.
What followed during the next 10 days included shop signings, (most of which didn’t get stink bombed), skatepark demos and Wes doing about 1 million interviews. Happily, some banging skateboarding and constant Welsh-accent-tinged laughs all counter weighted this so the nause levels were acceptable.
How’s the return of that hire-van deposit looking Dave?
Dylan Hughes – Nollie crook – Bath
I hadn’t seen Dylan in a while, as he’s been AWOL in Thailand and Australia for the last year or two. The good news is he that still rips and is still an utter baked helmet!
Old Hughesy was keen to skate this bridge spot in Bath, which has had a bit of a make over since I was last there a few years back. This spot is just around the corner from UK legend Joel Curtis house so Joel got to witness ‘The Huge’ land his trick and came out for a pint of the finest Bath Ale afterwards!
James Bush – Switch backside heel flip – Milton Keynes
Bushy has been killing it for a good while now, but recently seems to have stepped his game up even further. He seemed to get a trick at pretty much every spot we went to on this trip.
When we reached the Motherland, the centre of the known universe AKA the Mecca that is Milton Keynes (and Bushy’s home town) he seemed to take things even further. After a “warm-up” switch heel flip over this well documented bar, (and speculation as to whether Jereme Rogers had already done said trick in 2004) [he did – Ed], James claimed a switch backside heel flip and nailed it in 4 tries.
John Bell – No comply wallie – Bristol
To only have one day of rain on a ten-day skate trip is pretty lucky in the UK. Our rainy day happened to fall fortuitously whilst we were in Bristol, a city which happens to have a couple of undercover options, one being under the flyover at Showcase cinema.
Mr Bell always seems to have his own take on well-documented spots. Whilst everyone else was flipping off the middle of the ledge into the bank, John headed for the wall at the end and no comply wallied in.
Dave Snaddon – Fakie ollie – Milton Keynes
I think it was Bushy’s idea to go to this spot in Bletchley, just outside of Milton Keynes city centre. He tried a few attempts at a frontside 360 ollie but his heart was never really in it.
Wes managed to get an ollie hippy jump in a few attempts whilst Snadz got to work with this fakie ollie shifty.
**UK skate history check** Rob Selley was the first person to bring this spot to light in the late nineties and the first person to ollie it!
Sam Pulley – Fountain ollie – London
I’d seen this spot a few times in photos and actually been to it once before but got the boot immediately.
This time when Austin suggested going there I was super keen.
Riding over all the bumps is a lot of fun. Ollieing from one to the next is not so much fun and actually pretty scary. Add a metal fountain in the middle and the gnar-factor increases tenfold. As fate would have it, the join between bumps in the dip right before you take off is the perfect width of a skateboard wheel. I could see that this jolt right before the pop was putting Pulley off but he carried on regardless and managed to clear the fountain with ease in the end.
Sam Murgatroyd – One-foot ollie to pivot – London
Having already whiled away a few hours at South Bank this summer, I was keen to make use of my time there on this trip. With the addition of the new whippy quarter pipe in the lower banked area, tran-dogs like Sam Pulley and Sam Muratroyd got a chance to shine in the normally street orientated darkness.
Pulley bagged himself a massive frontside tailgrab, (which is no mean feat on such a tight transition) whilst Sam Murgatroyd tried tentatively to one-foot ollie to pivot. He eventually got one, surrounded by a slow shutter hurricane.
Dylan – Switch backside smith – Manchester
High ledge? Check. Smooth and poppy floor? Check. Stocky Welsh stoner? Check. Switch backside smith? Check.
Dylan claimed this trick but said he needed ‘a couple of goes’ to warm up. I’d barely had time to eat a pasty before he was back hassling me to shoot a photo. I made him do it about 5 times before he landed a nicely dipped one.
Manchester’s newest perfect ledge spot currently seems to be less of a bust than Urbis. Pay a visit whilst it remains that way. The floor and ledges there are extremely pleasant for skateboarding on!
Jorge Simoes – Backside noseblunt – Bristol
As luck would have it, the DC travel agent in France had inadvertently booked us into the Ibis hotel adjacent to the Lloyds amphitheatre in Bristol, so after our first day of rain, the crew were chomping at the bit to skate the iconic spot, as most of them had never been there.
Jorge was playing around backside nose blunting off the 2nd block to flat. I asked him if he fancied repeating this off 3rd. It took him 3 tries.
Sam Pulley – Boneless into the bank – Bristol
It’s a misconception that Sam Pulley doesn’t skate street. Actually, Sam Pulley doesn’t skate street unless there’s anything gnarly enough to jump off or into.
As it’s not possible to roll on top of (or even stand up on) the ledge that Pulley wanted to boneless off, he had to find a bit of wood to put down instead. He might as well have not bothered though as the bit of ply he eventually found was soaking wet and as a slippery as the surface underneath was rough.
It didn’t stop him bonelessing into the bank twice in a row for the assembled media though. As he landed the second try, Pulley jarred his back, which put him out of action for the Dean Lane jam the next day.
Nikki Howells – Noseslide to fakie nosegrind – Bristol
Nikki came on the whole tour with us and was a constant source of amusement with his truncated renditions of the songs from the new David Brent album that was released along with the recent ‘Office’ film.
I can only imagine that, ‘Slough… I don’t know how…. Anyone can put you down…’ was on repeat in his head as he tried this noseslide to fakie nosegrind until the bricks echoed with a triumphant 4-wheeled rollaway.
Thaynan Costa – Backside smith – Bristol
Thaynan’s super smooth style makes everything he does look really, really easy. Although we used the ‘cheating’ pulled-up drain cover method to access the flat bars, the fact remains that they’re super high and have gnarly bollock crushing potential. This didn’t seem to phase Thaynan though, who proceeded to back smith the bar after a few tries, then film a line down the street to it.
Thanks to Griff for providing me with an improvised plinth to shoot from in the form of an old fridge.
DC Special Delivery II UK Tour
We caught up with Wes Kremer at Campus Pool as he passed through Bristol on the DC UK tour. It was the penultimate day of the trip and everyone was a little tired - Wes had an infected mosquito bite on his leg, but nevertheless did some really cool tricks at the pool. Stand out tricks include the switch nose grab tail bonk on the plastic barrier and a nose pick on the big tranny (all of which I am sure will hit the interweb shortly). In what follows we discuss Peter Smolik leaving Ska8Mafia for the new incarnation of MNC, Wes’ two doppelgangers, and that fakie heel over the rail into the bank.
In an Instagram post Peter Smolik said that his decision to leave Sk8Mafia for MNC ‘all comes down to the fact that an artist needs to able to express his art with no barriers.’ What do you think he means by barriers?
[Laughs] oh my God – his nasal cavity. Pretty much his septum. He’s trying to break the boundary between his left and right nostril right now. It’s fucked up.
Does he party a lot then?
Ah he rages, for sure. I seriously wish the best for him; we tried to help him so many times. Yeah I wish all the best for him dude, but he’s fucking in his own world man. To me he’s still stuck in like 1998. I wish he would just get his head out of his ass and skate. I mean he does skate, here and there.
Do you think that the new MNC will be cool?
Ah yeah for sure. I hope it works out, that’s what’s up dude. I’m definitely hyped on fucking Antony Lopez and Raul Navarro. And I love Smolik for sure man. It sucks to see him leave the Mafia you know, whatever, I fucking grew up with the Mafia: it’s in my blood.
How has the Sk8Mafia been since he left?
[Laughs] it has probably been less of a headache for the people in the office, the people that have to deal with it you know. They have to deal with it if he needs new boards and shit. But it just sucks to see it go down because so many people associate the Mafia with Smolik you know. Dude I fucking associate Sk8Mafia with Smolik, he’s the fucking don son. Hopefully he knows better, hopefully he just comes out of it. I don’t know dude, he just wasn’t getting his boards you know [laughs].
If you had to leave Sk8Mafia, whom would you want to ride for?
I guess I wouldn’t skate. There’s no way; I’m never not going to be a part of the Mafia.
What about Sour?
Ah yeah for sure, Sour, those are my homies man. Of course dude. They’re the shit. I’m definitely down to ride Sour boards and Mafia boards you know. More family shit you know.
Are you not drinking now, you turned down beers earlier?
Oh no man, just on the first night here in the UK we got devastated, in Liverpool, we didn’t go out, we just kicked it, drank beers, went out the dinner and had a bunch of drinks, and then came back to the hotel and were just drinking and smoking joints and shit. And then uh, right when we went to bed I was so fucking blitzed from the flight, I like lay down and all of a sudden the whole night came crashing down on me, all the food just stuck in my stomach, like a rock, I had the beer here [points to stomach], and usually when I have the beer here it’s hard to digest the food later, and it was like doubled up because we had some really good food but I just packed more beer on top of that and literally just lay down and felt delirious because we got 3 different flights on the way over. I lay down, trying to go to sleep, and then I started spinning and was like fuck, ‘chuck it up, no I don’t want to,’ trying to fight the rollercoaster or whatever. And then eventually it just came up and I just puked for a second but luckily I let it out and I dealt with it. But I puked all over the hotel – bad look. I made it to the toilet, and then the next day I felt super congested and shit, really sick. Then the next day I had a beer and it didn’t add up. Literally I’ve been drinking tequila on the rocks, with a wedge of lemon, just trying to kill the congestion; I have a couple of cokes here and there. Felt the same the next day, not worse or better. Then I had three drinks that night and felt a little hazy, and then had some the next night and was like, ‘this isn’t working.’ But I’m still like congested and shit. I want to say it’s a cold but it is probably low immune system.
Will you be voting in the US election?
Ah yeah I think so, fuck I don’t know, I think I’m signed up. I’d better go take my ass to the poll and vote, I don’t even know if it matters, I guess I’d vote anyway against Trump, you know, I’d vote to at least give it an extra chance that he’s not gonna win, you know?
Do you think he will win?
There’s a good chance, but whatever. I don’t know how well Hillary’s gonna do either. I was for Bernie, I don’t follow much into politics but fuck I’m backing Bernie.
What do you think of all the stuff that’s happening in America right now?
People are tripping. They should just relax man. I feel like the news has carried it out more than what it really is though. Of course there’s stuff going on, but that stuff goes on all over the world. I guess the US just publicizes it. A couple of the homies on this trip have asked me ‘what’s up with the US, what’s up with the cops, I’m scared to get shot,’ but it’s like, don’t be scared to come out just because of a couple of news reports, it’s not like the Wild West out there, that stuff could happen anywhere. You can suss out the situation, know right from wrong, where not to go at certain times. Just stick to the coast [laughs].
What was your favourite era of DC?
I loved all of the 90s era of DC. When the DC video came out, that was super impactful, that’s when Danny first introduced the mega ramp. Psycho would fly like 70 feet in the air. He’s on another one. It had an epic soundtrack, amazing skating from super tight skaters. Not only were they super good skaters but also they seemed like rad people. Sick personalities. Especially Ave and his intro, [laughs] seriously watching him freak out and that kid on the bike, when he throws his board the kid just gets shook. It zooms in on his face when Ave’s freaking out and he’s thinking ‘what is going on.’
Have you met Ave?
Yeah we went on a trip together, but it was a super big crew so not everyone was kicking it all the time. It was a Transworld trip but Vans were out there at the same time so we collaborated on our trips.
What is your all-time favourite DC shoe?
The Danny Way 1. Never liked the moon boots, but I had D3’s back in the day. Those were fucking spacey. I got them because I thought that, since they were so big, I could jump down anything. I thought that you could just jump down anything, any size, and you’d be OK, and that they’d be able to compress the impact. But that was not the case [laughs]. But DC made a remake of the Danny Way 1, I don’t know if they were slimmer or still bulky, but they made some vulcanized suede versions.
Have you seen that a lot of people on the Internet think you look like Busenitz?
Yeah for sure dude. That’s pretty funny you say that because the first time I ever met him, I think it was in Copenhagen, we just happened to be in the same place at the same time, and he was like, ‘what’s up dude – doppelganger?’ [Laughs].
Dude I heard that one, Dennis for sure, and my other doppelganger is Willis Kimbel, it’s funny dude, I was actually flipping through a Lowcard a couple of years ago and I saw a photo of an ollie at Burnside, kind of like a silhouette, and for a second I was like ‘what the fuck?’ – tripping. Looking at it like, ‘I don’t remember that.’ I double took and was like, ‘I haven’t been to Burnside,’ and I saw the name, Willis Kimbel, he even has the same initials. When I first met him it was at Tampa and everyone was like, ‘dude you’ve got to meet Willis he looks just like you,’ so I met him and told him the story about the Lowcard. But it’s sick I actually got to know him and it’s all good.
In ‘Not Another TransWorld Video’ you do a fakie heel into that bank. What were you thinking when you tried that trick into the bank?
[Laughs] So I got summoned to film a Transworld part, and in the middle of the filming process they were like ‘yeah dude, wanna film a part?’ And I was like ‘yeah sick,’ so on my first trip to Barcy I got smoked, first day, first spot, kept getting hurt. And then I tried that fakie heel – I was like ‘I got to get some footy,’ I felt comfortable with fakie ollies and I was like ‘fuck it I reckon I could fling a fakie heel’, I could pop that trick. And then I was trying it and the day we were skating there was this huge crew and Theotis came down, and the only people that were skating were me and one of his homies, and his homie is trying to ollie the stairs, it’s like a fucking 17, so I was like ‘yeah homie you got this,’ and I just see him launch and disappear. And I’m like ‘oh fuck, what happened?’
It was just a weird day dude, it was super cloudy, and I was trying it and tried to put down one and my foot caught on top of the bank and I flew all the way to flat, fucking smoked my wrist, fell straight on to my wrist. I didn’t realize it but I broke my wrist and had to get surgery. But that was like a month and I had a couple of months left to film this video so three or four days before the premiere I went back to get that shit and that was it. Sometimes you just get hyped, you know you got smoked last time at the spot, but it’s one of those things, you’ve got to get it. So you go there with the eye of the tiger, I was like fuck it it’s the last day, I’m either going away with it or getting smoked.
Was that the last trick you filmed?
Uh yeah. If I remember correctly I rolled away and went to kick it. All my life I’ve been a procrastinator waiting for the last minute, I could have done it months before, but I was like chilling, chilling. Then it was like this is the last day we can film for this. So I tried that [laughs].