How Chelmsford's Nick Rémon found himself sponsorless at 21.
Where are they now? ‘Off Radar’ with Nick Rémon.
We’ve waxed lyrical countless times about Nick Rémon via every Sidewalk outlet imaginable, and in our recent Sunday Service post centred on the currently/previously MIA Nick, we just about covered the entirety of his video output from his emergence in 2010 up until his perceived vanishing act in 2015. But, for the sake of the uninitiated, I’ll give you a brief recap here: from 2010 the magazine was full of Nick – a First Light, Haunts, a full interview, two covers and no shortage of editorial appearances…you could barely pass an issue without encountering this moppy haired Essex lad. He had a part in our 2011 DVD project ‘In Progress’, he featured in various Vans ‘Big Push’ edits and in 2014 he was the subject of our first Vans collaborative ‘Excursions’ section. Then, following a Route One team outing to Gran Canaria in 2015, it all went quiet.
Word radiated out from Essex that he’d left all his sponsors and was happily working in a newsagents in his native Chelmsford.
Obviously there have been sightings of Nick over the last few years – sometimes on his board, sometimes not – though recent conversations with Nick created an opportunity to get him involved last minute on a trip to Italy that Leo Sharp and previous ‘Off Radar’ recipient Sean Smith were running. Eleventh hour flights were booked and at 4am on a Saturday morning back in March, a sponsorless Nick Rémon emerged at Stansted Airport, passport in hand, ready for his first skate trip in three years. The full fruits of that mission will be delivered to your waiting eyeballs in the very near future, but for now, let Nick tell you exactly why he stepped back from the coverage radar, and what he’s been up to in the years since.
All hail Rémon!
That’s pronounced Ree-mon as well; he’d like you all to know. His surname is actually spelled Rémon. We accidentally rebranded him as ‘Remon’ in 2010. Apologies! Anyway, read on…
Interview by Ryan Gray, 2018 photography by Leo Sharp and archive photograpy by various artists.
Nicholas Rémon, where in the world are we right now?
We’re in Italy, in Pescona.
(Laughing) You’ve just combined the names of the two places we’ve been – Ancona and Pescara!
Pescara! We’re in Pescara (laughs), on the coast.
Is this the first time you’ve left the country in a while?
It is. I left the country last when we went to Gran Canaria on a Route One trip. That was a few years ago now, probably 2015. The crew was Rye, Doug (McLaughlan), Manhead (then R1 TM Josh Young), Benson and CJ. That was really good, but I haven’t been away since.
The last time you had an interview in the mag would have been before that then – probably when the ‘Excursions’ section came out.
Probably, yeah. When was that?
I want to say 2014, around March…
We’ll go with that; I think you’re right (editors note – it was February 2014). We spent a whole while filming for that.
That ‘Excursions’ section came out, your final cover came out, your interview came out, and the ‘Albion’ video premiered, all in the same week.
Everyone was bombarded with me (laughs), fucking hell…
How did that make you feel?
It was all right actually. We spent so much time filming and traveling around, and it all came out at once. That was quite nice, I didn’t know that it was all going to come out like that either – I don’t think anybody did – but we spent a lot of time and put a lot of effort into doing it.
I guess it’s worth pointing out that the HD stuff was for Vans, but the ‘Albion’ section was the VX stuff we filmed before it. When the ‘Excursions’ and ‘Albion’ parts came out, were you still on Superdead?
I was still on Superdead but it was fading out around that time. Milk Skateboards was coming around, and I think I made the switch from Superdead to Milk at the exact same time as the ‘Excursions’ part came out. I was still on Superdead when it came out but shortly after that Milk blew up, and they had a lot of sick riders like Charlie Munro, J-Thaxx (Jordan Thackeray), Harley (Millar) and all the other guys from around my area. So I got on Milk and was doing a few bits for them, and then nothing really happened after that. I was just skating; I didn’t see you too much…
I know. It just seemed like you were back in Chelmsford again and didn’t really leave.
I was just in my hometown, skating about, having fun and learning stuff.
Did you do any of the trips with Milk? They did a couple didn’t they? I remember they did a some to Lisbon and Berlin.
Dan Shervington, he actually paid for me to get a new passport. I was meant to be going on a Milk trip so I went to London to get the fast track passport. I went all the way to Victoria, was queuing up all day, got the passport, and I didn’t even go on the trip in the end. I can’t remember what happened…but I didn’t go on it (laughs). I had the passport and I was ready but I didn’t end up going on it.
I wouldn’t have been here today if he hadn’t have done that so he sorted it out for now, in the future (laughs). He must have had premonitions that I was going to be in Italy in a few years time, with Rye and the crew, so he sorted me out a passport and I never went on a trip with them, but I’m here today. Cheers Dan!
So how and when did Milk come to an end for you?
Milk sort of just ended. I think J-Thaxx was on it right until the end – he was the last rider, sticking to his guns, staying on the local thing – but everyone else just went their own ways, doing different stuff and riding for different companies. Milk was a really good company because it was local to me; all the riders were about, we’d go out filming. I was actually making an edit with Jack Kenward at the time for Milk, but he ended up doing that as his own thing – the ‘Mainly Weekends’ section – that was meant to be my introduction to Milk edit, but we ended up releasing that as his own thing. I filmed some other bits with Toby Gozzett for Milk which hasn’t been used yet, but I think that will be used in (Mark) Radman’s upcoming video, which is coming out soon…I’m not sure when (laughs).
When Milk came to an end, was anything else on the cards board-sponsor wise? Or were you just mainly trying to stay in Chelmsford at that point?
Well, I was always kind of just in Chelmsford anyway, doing the usual, skating about and that, then Milk sort of fizzled out, so I called Dan and was like “I’m not really thinking I’ll be doing this much longer. Cheers, but I’m not really into this (being sponsored), I need to get a job and try to earn some money”. I was never getting paid off Milk or anything, I was just riding for them because it was the local company and I wanted to be supporting the local area. I like where I’m from and I want to support that. It’s quite a small scene; it’s tight. Especially with the Empire and RampRage scene, and the Colchester boys, they were the most active guys in Essex at the time and I was always doing bits with them and they were always backing Milk, so it was all the same thing really. Anyway, I spoke to Dan and he told me a couple of the other guys had already left to do their own thing – Charlie got on Primitive and J-Thaxx was there until the bitter end then got on Lovenskate. Dan’s a sick guy, it was a good idea with Milk but unfortunately running a board company is hard work.
What happened with Vans? You were on Vans UK for a few years, then weren’t you meant to be getting on Vans Europe just after the Route One trip to Gran Canaria back in 2015?
I was speaking to (Danny) Wainwright and he gave me the European criteria – like “you need to get this, this and this” and I wasn’t into it. I was doing whatever, just going out skating, I wasn’t going out to get a load of coverage like that – I skate first then the coverage comes after. I never wanted to purposefully go out to get coverage, because if you’re doing that, skating’s like a job, and if you’re doing a job, you need to be earning the right money for the job, and I didn’t think I would be earning the right amount of money. Previously I was on Vans UK and it was decent money I suppose, earning £100 a month or whatever, but I need to pay £300 a month rent and what I was earning from skating wasn’t really covering it.
I had to get a job, I was working part time but working every day with one day off a week at the end of it, which was my skate day. I couldn’t really be sponsored and work a job at the same time. I was 21 years old, I started needing to get something to support myself with, and my mum doesn’t work either so I need to help her too. I just wasn’t earning enough – it’s nice getting the product and getting to skate all the time, but I needed money to support myself.
Do you not think it would have been possible to take the Vans money so you were earning something from skating at least, then work alongside it part time in order to bring in a decent amount?
I probably could have done that, but Vans were asking for Instagram stuff, and for me to be shooting photos every month – there’s no photographers where I’m from, so I’d have had to go completely out of my way to make that happen, whilst working…I decided it was better to just work more then skate in my free time. Especially if I was on the European team as well, I don’t know anybody on the European team, I’d never met Wainwright I just had a few phonecalls with him, but it wasn’t really where I wanted to go with it. They got rid of (Nic) Powley and he was the ultimate geezer; I really enjoyed working with him at Vans, but then he wasn’t there and they didn’t have anyone team managing the UK for a while, so it seemed like it was Europe or nothing. I’m not a European skater, I’m a UK skater, and there was no UK (team) so there was nowhere for me, pretty much.
But then Manhead afterwards, he was the UK TM, but that was more recent, he wasn’t the guy back then.
So the Vans thing seemed like it was Europe or nothing, there was no Milk, I was getting WESC stuff off (Pete) Turvey then he left so there was no clothes either, so in the end I only had Route One. Route One was sick and I appreciate what they did for me – there was a good crew and we got to go on a lot of trips – but it was only them in the end, and if I’m spending most of my time working I don’t want to be seen to be lazy and not be putting stuff out or not doing anything, so I thought I might as well end it all and just work. I don’t want to be that guy who’s blagging stuff, like “give me stuff man, I’m there… I mean, I’m not doing much but give me stuff anyway” (laughs). I don’t want to be that guy, I want to be out there doing stuff, I want to earn it, otherwise it feels like you’re blagging it, and I don’t want to be doing that with skateboarding. In a real job, working in a shop or whatever, I might take the piss out of them and take advantage of it a bit, but I don’t want to take advantage of skateboarding, that’s something that I appreciate.
So Vans, Milk and WESC all ended at the same time pretty much, then I didn’t feel like I could do much for Route One at that moment, so I wanted them to give that opportunity to somebody else who was doing stuff.
You’ve obviously still been skating the entire time since leaving Route One to now – do you feel like you still enjoying skating as much?
Yeah; I’ve been skating my whole life, since I was 6 years old, since just after starting primary school, so skateboarding is me; it’s what I do, I’m never going stop…unless I can’t physically do it (laughs).
So the sponsorship pressure is off now – you can just go and skate Chelmsford park if you want without worrying about getting coverage or anything…
It was always the same to me – I never really took being sponsored as ‘being sponsored’, people were just giving me stuff for doing what I was doing. I was skateboarding for ten years before even having a sponsor so what I know as ‘skateboarding’ is skating for myself, without a sponsor. You go out skateboarding and if people want to give you something because they like what you’re doing and they want you to represent them, that’s all good…if I’m not doing anything – filming or shooting photos – then no one should give me stuff. I’m always skateboarding, even if I’m not doing any tricks, just pushing to work and back or something like that, I’m always skating.
Even though it has been quite filming and photography focused, have you enjoyed coming on this trip?
I have enjoyed coming on this trip. You just asked me and said there was a space going so I was like “of course”. I never met anyone else on the trip apart from Leo (Sharp) before, but everyone is sound as fuck.
It’s funny because you and Sean both had parts in ‘In Progress’ but Sean was there for the first half of the video being filmed, and you appeared halfway through, when he’d already moved to Barcelona and was doing his own thing.
Sean had a really good section actually, that big old front nosegrind (laughs). I’d seen Sean before, in interviews in magazines, doing flip tricks over that grass gap in Milton Keynes, so I already knew about Sean because he’s sick. Leo and Jody (Smith) are both sick, then there’s (Rob) Selley – everyone knows Selley! You told me they were coming and I was stoked on that, so obviously I wanted to get on the trip as well. And now we’re here…having the time of our lives (laughs). I appreciate it though, thanks for having me!
I’ve learned a few new tricks as well, whilst I’ve been here.
Oh really? What have you learned?
Back 5-0 fakie on that bank spot, like a May Day pop to fakie. Rob Selley told me to try it. And if Rob Selley is telling you do something, you’re going to do it (laughs).
[Leo Sharp appears and reminds us that Nick is still the UK Champ, as there hasn’t been another event held since he won back in 2013]
We’ve just been reminded that you’re technically the reigning UK champ. How long have you held that title for?
Maybe about five years now; it’s still going. I’ve still got the trophy.
Leo: What is the trophy?
It’s a big cup with handles on the side, and it says “National Skateboarding Championships 2013 – First Place”.
Leo: Does it have Powley’s face on it?
I wish (laughs).
Leo: Where was it held in 2013?
Flo Skatepark in Nottingham.
Leo: Actually, I went to that one. So you saw me win. That’s how memorable it was (laughs). They definitely need to do another one though, I’m bored of being the champ; someone else needs this title.
Leo: Who would win it now?
I’d say…probably Sean Smith I reckon. He’s come on this trip and now he’s on a comeback. Well, he never left…but he’s back.
Nah he technically did leave, for quite a while as well.
Did he stop skating? What a wasteman (laughs). Why would you ever do that?
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