Sidewalk Skateboarding Debuts - Snowy - Sidewalk Skateboarding

Interview: Andrew Horsley and Ryan Gray.

So this photo is taken from the ‘Five Years On’ Radlands jam article. Was this the first time you’d been to Radlands?

It was the first time I’d ever been to Radlands, yeah. I’d have gone down with Frosty, Boon and Icky probably, all the Preston boys.

Wearing the mandatory yellow t-shirt and blue jeans late 90’s uniform, I see.

I think that’s a Golden State t-shirt I’d bought off Snoz at Rehab in Wakey about a year previous for something like three quid.

This was the first time I’d been in that situation with all the boys. I remember Mouly (Alex Moul) and everyone being there and giving me a bit of shit, but in a nice way. They were getting me to do a feeble grind down the handrail I think. I’d never done a feeble grind at that point and they were all giving me shit about it, so I was thinking “no way, all these boys are giving me shit”…I was so excited, literally giddy with joy.

How old were you then? Does it say in the caption?

It doesn’t say in the caption, no, but I think I was 15. There was another Radlands article then some time afterwards where I was stood in the background as well. I think I had a Wu-Tang stencil on my board and I was stood on the back quarterpipe when maybe Manzoori was doing a frontside rock or something. I think that could have been a Christmas comp, a wintery comp.

We obviously had a hotel room for this one, because there’s (Andy) Simpson skinning up on the bible (laughs).

Oh, the heady days of smoking loads of weed. ..

What do you remember about the photo setup then, shooting this flip with Horsley and Ben?

Wasn’t Ben the flash stand? Ben the human flash stand? (Laughing) I can kind of remember it. I was so fucking stoked that you asked me to take a photo, I was literally like “fuck…!”

Before you asked I think I was being rather consistent and I’d done the flip a shit load of times in a row, then you guys asked me and I kind of lost my nerve. I remember it was right in the middle of everybody skating the big driveway, mid session, everybody going for it, then us nausing everyone up trying to shoot this photo. You two running in from the side and breaking up the session.

You weren’t ollieing up there were you? You were throwing your board down on top of the block and riding along…

Yeah, you might be right there as well, I was cheating so hard.

That wasn’t cheating back then though.

Nah it wasn’t, was it? “Ollie up onto the ledge? Are you silly? I wouldn’t have enough time to set my feet up!” You could’ve probably ollied up then dropped off (laughs). You know what? I probably just couldn’t have ollied up that at that time either; I’d definitely not have the stamina to keep ollieing up and kickflipping off.

I remember at the same time Julian Molyneux was kickflipping off the platform at the back of the vert ramp and into the massive transition, landing in the bottom few feet of the tranny and just eating shit. He was sticking it every fucking go but eating shit.

He was landing with both feet together, on the front truck bolts. He was landing it ‘bolts’, but unfortunately his feet were only on the front set of truck bolts (laughs).

Well, you guys obviously nailed this shot…

Ben’s too close with the flash though.

You just couldn’t get the staff back then (laughs).

There’s a nice catch going on then there, especially for those days.

It does seem kind of shifty-ish. I think I was riding an 8.5” deck with 55mm First Division wheels, some Ricky Oyola’s. So my set up was half East Coast, half the Northwest of England (laughs). It was a bit of a bastardised set up, that was. I think it was an Anti Hero board as well because I’ll have got it off Frost; it would have been one of their old ones.

I loved big boards back then, but I soon converted when I realised you could do nollie flips on smaller boards and I literally didn’t need to have to kickflip off a head high box in order to make my board spin round (laughs).

It must have been like trying to nollie flip a bath making that thing turn.

It basically was, yeah.

Who else is in this article then?

Lee Stewart is in there, bailing something, properly pissed. There’s a young Nick Zorlac there as well. All in all, it was a good eye opener for me, getting to see the whole scene. I think the scene was a lot tighter back then, and the pilgrimage to Radlands was a big part of it as well. We’d have set off at 7am to get there on time, and obviously hotboxing it all the way. I don’t think there was any money up for grabs either…

Yeah, if you won, you were just ‘the winner’.

You didn’t get anything; they’d just try round you up some shit for you to have.

“We’ve just swept up the vert ramp. You can have all of the dust that we got there in a bag…”

“It’s up to you what you do with it. Try selling it.”

Oh look; you’ve almost got the ender for the article there, before you get to the classic…’Creative Destruction 98’ advert.

I like how you don’t even know what it’s selling. Was it just a lifestyle? I think they’re selling some sort of creative and destructive lifestyle.

Do you remember when the mag came out? Do you remember seeing the photo for the first time?

I do. I was shitting myself for a couple of months waiting for the mag to come out. What’s this issue? Jan/Feb ‘98? So this must’ve been shot in early December ‘97. I’d have just turned 15 then as well, a proper little shit on a roadtrip. I remember being on tenterhooks for a couple of months thinking “I shot a fucking photo” ..but you might not have put it in, and that would have devastated me (laughs). Nah, I was never one of those dudes where I was thinking “I have to be in the mag”, but I was excited because it was a measure of what you were doing back then. If you’re skating with all of these boys here – Scott Palmer, Howard (Cooke), (John) Rattray – having the best day ever, shooting a photo, I felt like I was, you know, a part of it…I was definitely waiting for it to come out. I was fully stoked when it was in there, then it just opened the floodgates, didn’t it Horsley?

Oh yeah, it’s been nonstop!

(Laughing) Nonstop coverage, right up to this day; it’s never stopped.

Do you know what your next photo was after this one?

I can’t remember, I think it might have been something with Document. I mean, Leo (Sharp) was about then but I think it was an early Document photo. I can’t quite remember.

I did shoot a Haunts but I have a feeling I’d just turned 17 when I shot that, or I was just about to turn 17. That was a good year later, at least.

I’m trying to think when I shot that ollie off the roof with Percy as well but I can’t remember, I have a feeling it might have been that (Document issue 15, Jan/Feb 2001 – Ed). I think everything came a lot later actually, I don’t think I had a photo for a while after this.

I didn’t really have anyone to shoot with and I was still a little grommet, but you guys were definitely hitting me up for a while until I got it together and started shooting with Leo over in Manchester. So I guess the next photo was probably a portrait (laughs).

Who wrote this Radlands article? Ben?

I think so yeah, because look how much writing there is. Definitely wasn’t me. I’m trying to see if you’re mentioned in the text at all…

Not that I don’t any more, but I used to religiously read Sidewalk back then, back to front, read the whole thing back and forth. Every mag would be thoroughly rinsed; I’d go to sleep with the captions going through my mind. This was pre-internet, pre-mobiles as well I’d say. Well, it was definitely before everyone started having them. I think this was in my pager times, with just my mum paging me on the regs – “you haven’t been back again. Where are you? Where were you this time?”

I’d have been traveling so much with all the Scousers back then as well, because of Frosty and the LBP connection, we’d go somewhere every weekend. But before that, when I was really young, me and my cousin Phil used to go to Wakey all the time. We’d get the train to Wakey, go to the Easter comps, stay at the park over night when we were 14 or 15, sleep on the vert ramp and smoke loads of buckets with Andy Scott. Watching Scotty and those guys skate the vert was amazing,…I remember (Ali) Boulala coming down, (Matt) Pritchard, meeting Carl and Lee (Shipman). I didn’t meet Carl until a lot later but Lee was always really nice, sound as fuck.

This text is bringing back memories here, look – “Frankie Stephens pulled frontside and backside 360 ollies off the ledge drops in the comp” – he was skating it with you, and I think he did 360 flip turning with it as well.

Wasn’t that in something? That was in a video of some sort.

Oh yeah, here we go, it says here – “…then afterwards landed a load of crazy 360 flips turning with it off the very same obstacle. They were well sick!” (laughs) – “And I saw that Manzoori captured one on cine film so look out for that.”

Isn’t it in ‘Unapromo’? I’ve definitely seen it in something. You didn’t shoot it though; you obviously missed it.

Yeah but I probably couldn’t even shoot sequences back then though, seriously. The camera I had couldn’t shoot them; the sequences were all Wig.

Even this Lee Stewart sequence is only six frames; trying to shoot the Frank trick you’d have just ended up with random frames – ride up, a bit of the flip, landing, then riding off somewhere.

I think the T90 shot four and a half frames a second; that’s what we were shooting on. You couldn’t shoot sequences of anything that tech. You literally needed to be shooting someone jumping off something into something.

Or a vert sequence – loads of spins maybe.

Sorry Snowy, you didn’t get mentioned in the article text – you need to have a word with Ben (laughs). Martin Herrick did though…

Herrick did but I didn’t? (Laughing) It’s so funny because, through meeting Foz, I remember skating with Herrick and Zorlac and all that lot, going to Botley Bowl and loads of random places like that. Botley Bowl was haggard though, it was literally a bowl in the middle of a field and it was utterly fucked. I remember Vaughan (Baker) having photos there somehow. We went to all these other parks and bowls that must have been on the outskirts of London, all around Oxfordshire and those sorts of ways.

Is that a Toddy (Ollie Todd) photo as well? Oh, this is a Night of the Living Dead piece. If I’d have pulled my finger out I could’ve had two photos in this issue (laughs). I think I was at this one…

If you could travel back in time and give the Snowy of 1997 one piece of advice, using all the power of hindsight, what would it be?

If I could travel back in time now, what would I say to myself? I’d say “do it all again mate, you’ll be fine. But write these three points down – maybe don’t do this when you’re about 18, don’t do this you’re about 23, and don’t do this other thing you do when you’re about 30” (laughs).