Francis Peters - First Light interview - Sidewalk Skateboarding

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Francis Peters – First Light interview

A day spent in the South West hitting up new spots with The Prince of Yatton Skatepark

Shooting skateboarding for a living is like being a professional gambler; you search out a long shot or get a tip off from an insider (usually the local filmer or shop owner), you weigh up the odds and you take a punt. What’s the opportunity cost if that punt doesn’t pay off? A wasted day? A day that could have been productive elsewhere with others? As we all know, there are only so many dry days in our calendar on that sodden island so there’s a fair amount at stake if things don’t work out.

When Bristol based filmer James Harris (of Little Paradise fame) gave me the heads up about Francis via a footage drop across the social networks, I instantly knew we were on to a winner. We met up a few weeks later and travelled all over the South West to a raft of towns and spots I’d never been to before, which is rare in these oversaturated times. It’s fair to say that this gamble was a safe bet as Francis shot five banging things in one day and wrapped up his video part. Result!

CJ.

Francis Peters aka The Prince of Yatton Skatepark is a skateboarder, musician and proud owner of the Co-Op Feta and Red Pepper Pasta Enthusiast Award.

I’ve not known Francis for very long. I used to see him on the “Grom side” of Lloyds, repeatedly performing obscenely dipped back smith grinds, but never found the need to go and speak to him as I thought he was a one trick pony. It wasn’t until Wes at Rock Solid kindly asked me to film with him that I actually gave a shit!

I jest, of course. He’s a talented skateboarder with a decent bag of tricks, a good head on his shoulders and a kind and considerate personality, something which is very humbling.

Francis has a great eye for scoping out spots and seeing different approaches to old classics, something that makes this lad stand out, and makes him a pleasure to document. He is also very consistent, which is always a plus!

I hope you like his skateboarding.

James Harris

Gap to nosegrind surrounded by Nailsea sun – photo CJ

First up, where are you from and how old are you?

I’m from Bristol originally but moved to Yatton, a little town near Weston-super-Mare, about 9 years ago.

Who are you currently getting support from?

I’m getting support from Wes at Rock Solid distribution and am being flowed some shoes and clothes from HUF through Jimmy and Joe at Out of Step distribution.

How did that come about? Did you make a sponsor me tape, or like a lot of people these days were you noticed on Instagram first?

I worked on some projects over autumn and winter, it was put together kindly by Al Hodgson with some older clips I’d filmed with Henry Gibbs which was then formed into a short little raw thing. Some friends then passed it on to the right people and things just started happening from there.

Bench pop to tree goal – photo CJ

Not known to the wider world for its links to skateboarding, how did you first come into contact with it living in Yatton?

I started skating a little while before I moved away from Bristol. I’d bring my board to school in Hotwells, there was a long sloping playground which you could roll down. There was also this little garage complex around the back of my house which I’d skate. My Dad and I used to hit up this weird park in Brislington, basically a load of crusty humps, which was pretty rad. Later, I moved to Yatton and that’s when I began skating properly. Luckily it was around the time that the park here was built.

What are the key parks or places to meet up around Yatton, Nailsea or Weston?

There are lots of nice places in my area although none of which I would call ‘meet up’ spots. There’s combes and forests all over the place, it’s a really pretty place here for sure if you know where to go. My friends and I just go skate at the park in Yatton, which has a solid scene of its own and the best ledge in the South West. The highlights aren’t so easy to pick, but the charity shops are the ones for all my shopping needs, we’ve got a nice bakery too, that’s probably about it. The park out here is cool though, it’s right in the corner of a pretty big field and no one bothers us, not even scooters (for the most part).

On our day out with James Harris (who filmed the accompanying edit), you guided us around of bunch of rad spots I’d never seen before. With Instagram clips from ‘the known’ spots filling up the airwaves, how important do you think spot aesthetic is?

I don’t think it matters too much, if someone can do something new and interesting at a rinsed spot then that is cool. I just happen to be in a position where I’m around lesser known areas for skateboarding and you just spot things if you keep a keen eye out. I also work as a courier so that takes you out to some places you’d never go otherwise. If a spot’s aesthetic is nice then that’s a plus, and it can do a lot for a clip. If it’s cohesive to a certain idea then that’s rad too but I can’t tell if all this off the point, I guess that sort of stuff matters as much as you want it to.

Where do you take this approach from?

Anthony Pappalardo used to go on about it a bit and I agree with what he says about it for the most part. There is something more exciting about skating lesser known places.

The lesser seen ‘smithgrind pole jam’ on the streets of Weston. Photo CJ

When we were out shooting photos, you mentioned that you were into music production. What sort of music, and how did you get into that?

It was a natural progression from being in a musical environment from a young age. My Dad has always played and written music around the house. I’ve played instruments for a little while until I’d decided to get it down in a more finite form and I guess you get to a point of enjoying the consumption of something enough so that you have to involve yourself in the creation of it. It’s a bit like how a lot of people get into skating through games, videos or whatever, it strikes you as something worthwhile and pulls you forward. I can’t exactly define what sort of music it is that I write.

What’s the plan for the coming years? Are you going to stay in Yatton or are there plans for Uni, a bigger skate scene or further working towards music production? What’s the end goal?

I’m moving to Bath to study and will be living with some good friends who I’ve known for a long time. I’ll definitely see what Bath is saying spot wise and I’ll be up the new park there a lot also I reckon. There are always goals but no end goal, I prefer working towards something than being done with something. Skateboarding’s good for that.

Risking wetness in Weston Francis tre flips by the Bristol Channel – photo CJ

Who are you going to thank and give a shout out to?

Thanks to Wes at Rock Solid for sorting me out so much over the past couple months and Jimmy from Out of Step for all the help also. I’d very much like to thank Charlie F White, Eric, Alec H , Max H, Crazy Ed, Joe, J.K, Todd, Wallis, Chris Carr , Al, Sparky, Griff, Sam, Henry, Dan Starr and CFW and also huge thanks to my parents for all the help with shoes and boards when I was younger.

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