British skating legend Tom Penny grew up in the tranquil Oxfordshire village of Abingdon, but went on to conquer the US skate scene, landing never-seen-before tricks with such ease and nonchalance that even hardened American skate watchers immediately sat up and took notice.
He was born on 13th April 1977 and began skateboarding with his friends at an early age in Oxford – with no magazines, DVDs or YouTube to influence him, Tom soon developed his own, unique style. He began popping up in skateboard magazines and videos, and was spotted by Oxford’s SS20 skateshop, and then Deathbox Skateboards, leading to an appearance in the first Flip video The Long Overdue in 1993.
After relocating to the States with Flip in 1994, he landed tricks with fluidity and nonchalance in videos such as Flip’s Sorry, Really Sorry and Extremely Sorry. However, his legacy is longer-lasting that a series of video parts – his style has influenced skaters including Paul Rodriguez and Andrew Reynolds, and he was named the 21st most influential skateboarder of all time by Transworld Skateboarding in 2011.
However, Tom was never into skateboarding for the fame or money, and he periodically disappears from the scene to recharge his batteries by doing tai chi and meditation. In recent years, he has had spells living in Argentina, Barcelona and Copenhagen’s stoner community Christiania as well as the UK and the USA, all of which has added to the legend that has built up around him.