Ben Rowley ‘First Light’ interview from Sidewalk 203

From Sidewalk 203 – August 2013

Photography by Andy Horsley 


In the 7 years I’ve known Ben, he’s gone from dirty skate-rat in Lowestoft to a modern day Renaissance man. Moving to Norwich for art-school, whilst DJing/making beats and of course skateboarding he has developed his current persona of half art-fag, half chav, and all smiles.
When I broke my arm on a recent trip Ben was always happy to tie my shoelaces and make a roll-up for me, good lad! He is also guaranteed to take us to the weirdest spots that no one else wants to skate, (except me, sometimes) and if he can’t find one, he’ll build it out of twigs and feathers.
It’s always fun skating and filming with him as he’s not a stress-head and he’s got that ability to play, have fun and learn tricks at the same time – which I envy. As a mate once put it – “he just BOPS about”. Old twinkle toes skates more than anyone I know with a fulltime job, girlfriend, sets to play and paintings to paint etc, yet he always has the most tired looking setups because he never breaks anything.
Despite his lack of concern for his 4-year-old trucks – he’s particularly fussy about what his footage looks like: sketchy is unacceptable.
Lewis Ross (Spex5eyes). 

“This is well deserved, Ben’s progression is amazing. He’s got some of the lightest feet on a board I’ve ever seen and pop to spare. He’s got a great eye for spots, I’m always impressed by the way his mind works…Snoozy”
Franklin Stephens

“Ben Rowley is a f*cking good mate with weirdly fast feet.”
Justin Rawnsley

“I have known Ben for a good few years. He makes the most out of every spot we go to, good or bad. He dominated Skegness Park on my Stag-do and in the process made the ma- jority of scooter kids sit and watch. He has one of the biggest bag of tricks that is possibly only rivalled by Chris Haslam! Always smiling, never stressed, and always pushing those who aren’t as, (ahem), good. Good mate, great skater.”
Michael Casey


Lightning fast cobblestone tre-flip. Photo – Horse

Is your skateboard male or female and what would you name it if you had to?
– She’d go by the name of Poppy Bolted.

What set-up are you currently riding?
– 8” National Skate Co deck, 51mm Super Toxic wheels and Royal trucks – the trucks are cracked to f*ck but have been going for absolutely ages and I’m sort of sentimental about them and reluctant to let them go until they crumble, my setup’s got to be low – I love the wheel-bite!

Other than skating, what else do you do to bring satisfaction?
– I mix records, make beatz and have always been into painting, drawing and making my own cutlery, so Arts, Music and Skating really – it’s all interconnected. I’ve studied the Arts since finishing school and got my degree, ironically I now work in accounts admin – but it pays the bills.

DIY or squeaky clean?
– Definitely DIY, I love building sketchy structures to skate, pile some stuff up and stick some more stuff on top, the wobblier the better.

What section/s do you watch to get you pumped for skating?
– Ryan Gallant – First Love, absolutely love his style and trick selection and the tune is sick! “Oohh Child”, and any sections featuring Brent Atchley – he has really good feet!

What’s your favourite trick? And what made you want to learn it? Or did it just happen?
– There are so many! I love stupid confusing tricks or tricks that make people laugh, if I had to choose one though – It would probably be kickflip bs sexchange – it was sort of an accident initially, learned because of doing hardflip-reverts, I could see the 2 were sort of similar – but they took a while to learn – and I regularly end up tangled in a knot on the floor.

What’s the worst injury you’ve ever had?
– Hopping down some stairs, I landed primo on the wheel-bolt and shattered my heel and then had to walk 1⁄2 mile home. Recovery consisted of a couple of months in a wheelchair, then crutches, then finished with a month with a walking stick, stay classy.

You live in Norwich, but you’re from Lowestoft, what’s your favourite spot in Lowe?
– It’s got to be Ness Point – the most easterly spot in the UK. It’s 10 minutes from my Mum’s house, smooth concrete, couple of bodge ledges, rough mannys and sea-defence banks, but it’s metres from the sea, so it’s got plenty of charm – I love chillin’ on the rocks after a day skating.

Shout outs:
– Firstly I’d like to thank Spex5eyes (Lewis Ross) – the Norwich scene-filmer, always up for filming, always got ideas and understands the sorts of things I want to do, he’s patient and as most will know – never in a hurry. Also big thanks to Sam Avery @ Drug Store skate-shop – for supporting our scene and for my store-credit (I’ll pay for them shoes soon, I promise haha).
The NSE Family, Casey, Snacob, J. Ragely, Dazzle-Whitesocks, Franklin Stephens, Ronny Callow, OlMalSpanky, Josh C, Josh B, Sam @ SHhhh Clothing, Keiran @ Always & Forever, Josh @ Cure, Andy @ Charge Unit, Loweskates crew – Boon, Ginge and McGeady for keeping me on track, Tremors Radio team and my GF Laura – for the Sunday roasts.


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