Sidewalk Skateboarding Henry Fox - First Light - Sidewalk Skateboarding

First up Mr Henry Fox where are you from, how old are you?

I’m 26 and from Wolverhampton, or as the local crew call it ‘Wolftown’.

How did you first come into contact with skateboarding in somewhere like Wolverhampton, which although rich in iconic spots and history within UK skateboarding, is seen as far off the beaten track for a lot of people?

Back when I was 12 my best mate lived at the back of my house. I used to stay at his for the whole six-week holiday. He had a skateboard so I had a go and managed to pull of a nollie shuv standing still. I got hooked just from that I guess. My Dad got me a board from JJB Sports with a bulldog on the bottom and see through orange wheels. It was shit obviously but I skated that for about a year and learnt how to kickflip. I used to kickflip and land both feet on the tail and stop dead! I remember going into the city to skate and we knew Civic Centre was the place to be, but when we got there we realised how much better the skaters were so we didn’t even skate because we thought we weren’t good enough. We stayed local to home until we learnt enough tricks to go back armed. One time in town I saw Richard ‘Benny’ Hughes and Nick ‘Palomino’ Sharratt burn past us when waiting for the bus and I wanted to be able to skate just like them!

Slide like Clyde – frontside half-cab noseslide fakie. Photo CJ

You ride for A Third Foot and Ideal Skateshop right? How did both of those things come about and how has it affected your skateboarding as far as having what you need and motivating you to go get footage etc?

Back in Nov 2014, Ken offered to give me one board a month on flow. He always makes sure I have a back up so it’s more like two now. I guess Ideal have known me for a long time. They always reposted my Insta clips but Kris approached me on my 26th birthday as I was getting some fresh clothes and asked if I wanted to rep the shop. I didn’t even think about it and said ‘yes’ immediately. Plus asking me on my birthday was rad. Ideal are really chilled out about what goes down. They are just happy to support me with supplies when needed. I want to do a little clip for them at some point – like an ATF and Ideal joint thing. I have good days and bad days when it comes to getting footage. With working weekends alternately I hardly get a good skate in some weeks. I just have fun and enjoy the time I do get.

Like most of the sponsored skate world in the UK, you work a regular job. What are you doing at the moment and how hard is it to drag yourself out of bed on a Monday morning when your body’s in bits from filming all weekend?

I work 9-5 in standard Robot life mode. I currently sell white goods: fridges, freezers, washing machines etc, etc. It’s super relaxed but I’m looking to quit my job soon and work out what I want to do next. When you don’t enjoy your job it’s hard to drag yourself out of bed as it is. Never mind any injuries or pain. I’m never on time for work and they don’t even say anything anymore. It’s mad! The worst feeling is when my legs are fucked from jumping down stairs then the next day I have work and I’m on my feet all day so I don’t even get time to rest. Just push through that pain. I’m used to it now. If I can’t handle it, the painkillers come out!

How did you get into selling fridges then? Were you at college before hand or is it a kind of ‘will do for now’ deal?

Ah man! I lost my previous job due to gross misconduct. I worked as a property manager for three years but I made some mistakes and it cost me my job. So I took what I could find. At the time I’d just brought a house so needed the cash flow to keep rolling in to pay the bills. It was good in that respect but I hate the job now! I tried college for a week and quit.

Your Insta handle is #gullymandem. Care to elaborate? It’s pure irony right?

Come to Wolves man and you’ll find out! Fend off ‘yewts’ trying to pull out knifes on you when you just wanna skate is standard. Gullymandem or GMD for short is our original crew name. I made my Instagram account to push our crew but we decided Wolftown was easier to relate to. I never changed the account name just because everyone loves it! Even people who don’t skate relate to gullymandem. I just get called gully now, which I’m not gonna hate on but don’t let it fool you.

I remember you from the Jack Edwards era. And during the 2014 Lakai Tour I saw you at the Wednesfield plaza spot and you said that you’d been out with injury. What happened and how does the mental and physical memory of injury affect how you approach things now?

It’s a shame Jack isn’t about skating any more as he was the soundest dude going. He could learn a trick with a click of your finger, nuts! I had that injury for two years. Tore some ligament on the inside of my ankle, which the NHS didn’t help with so I had to go private. Once I did that and had the proper advice it slowly got better. Kickflips were the worst to try for a long time. I suppose it does put me off trying bigger stuff but I try to just blank it out. Some days I don’t even think about hurting myself. It just depends what mind frame I’m in I guess.

A Third Foot have a solid team at the moment and you guys have Rob (Whiston) out filming which must be a massive help for you around the Midlands. With Rob being genuinely good at skating and partying himself – do you have any good stories from your times with him?

The team’s super strong right now! Rob puts a lot of time and effort into giving ATF a strong presence with filming and social media. It’s definitely grown at lot over the past few years. I’ve only been out on the piss with Rob about four times and guaranteed every time I’ve got completely smashed and I only hear the story of what happened the next day. Usually it’s me doing something stupid like recently throwing up in a taxi, getting a 50 quid fine and losing my shit on the cash machine. My hand was fucked the next day. Booze…

Kickflip into pure Britishness. Redditch. Photo CJ. 

You entered The House Comp the other week alongside some of the most notable skaters in the UK. How was it and did you give your run any kind of thought or was it a case of just trying to stay on?

I don’t enjoy comps to be honest as I always feel nervous on the days running up to it, but they’re a good meet up and always rad once you’ve gotten your run out of the way. I used to enter more of them when I was younger but not so much these days. I managed to get through to the second round, which eased the nerves but I completely flopped on the second round. Got one trick in, that’s about it. Legs just went to jelly! My plan was to just stay on, which worked until I missed a trick then I just snow balled. Fuck it; it was a rad day nonetheless.

What’s the short and long term plan then? Get a new job and have more time to skate?

Short term is I’m quitting my job. As of Monday, I’m handing my two weeks notice in. I work weekends and missed out on so much over the last three years but I’ve finally thought do it now or never, you gotta make the most of skating whilst you can. So on the plus side I will have more time to skate! Long term, who knows? I’m just going to float for a bit and see where life takes me.

Shout outs?

Thanks to ATF for believing in me and keeping me pushing. Ideal for the support, Rob Whiston for looking after me when I’m skating and pissed up, Sidewalk and CJ for the photos and mag feature, Wolftown mandem, Gnargore #broflow, all my friends and family.

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