From Sidewalk 208 - January 2014
Photography and text by Nathan Rutherford
Right now, the first thing you can say about Tom is that he always looks happy when he skates: none of this stressing, throwing boards about business, just genuinely enjoying it, and I would be too with the bag of tricks he’s got! I think the first time I saw him skate prop- erly was at Barnstaple skatepark doing flip back lips on a flat bar out of a bank and remember thinking, “this kid is better than me and half my age’.
I think I was just slightly jealous of his skills. Since then I’ve seen him skate a lot more often and it’s getting beyond a joke. I haven’t skated myself for a year or so now thanks to injuries, so I can only imagine how much he’s improved since the last time I saw him. Maybe Tom is over-looked because he’s not in a big city, but he is definitely one to watch out for in the next couple of years, this is just the start.
- Dan McDermott
So, tell us a bit about yourself Tom... - Where to start, where to start?
- Well, I’ve got bucket loads of swag! (Laughs), nah, only joking! I’m 19 years old from Barnstaple, North Devon, and I spend most of my time trying to find spots to skate, but in this area of ours it’s not so easy, considering it’s all green countryside...
What do you do with yourself on a regular day?
- I have a pretty packed schedule to be honest, working a hard 6 hours a week at Tesco. I’m making my way up to Overlord: when you get to that level they give you a little cape and you just run around the place bringing law and order and preventing chaos! When I’m not enduring my harsh 6-hour Sunday shifts, I’m skating, hustling, or generally roaming the streets tying to make some dollar!
Can I apply for this Overlord position?
- One doesn’t just simply “apply" for the overlord position! It’s status orientated and highly coveted!
So do you get out of Devon quite a bit to skate?
- I was in Sweden for ‘Vert Attack’ in the spring, and manz be heading out to Barca in a couple of weeks. If you want to get involved in a skate scene then North Devon’s not a great place for it unfortunately, so you do have to get out quite a bit for a change of scenery...
But the skaters and people around here make the place what it is and I do really enjoy my skating here and trying to push myself as much as possible with what we have.
Being from North Devon, how do easy do you find trying to push your skating?
- Pfff...despite our local skateparks, we still want to skate street, shoot photos and film clips and make edits etc and with people like you (Nathan Rutherford) and Lee “Starwing" Taylor to organize and get stuff done it can always be fun and games! A few of us do our best to build some DIY spots, but the council are usually on top of that fairly quickly and a lot of our best spots are in schools, so times to skate those are limited also. We try and get out and about quite often to find fresh ground; if that means a day trip to Somerset or Cornwall, then so be it!
Well you must be doing something right, as you’re the third skateboarder from North Devon to have a First Light within the last couple years. Do you think this reflects the scene and what’s happening down there?
- Definitely! Ever since having more parks built in and around our hometown, a younger generation of skateboarders has started to appear, which is always good to see, but before that not much was happening. Having new parks built helps boost the local scene without a doubt and gets you psyched to
go out with your board. Despite the boom in scooters it’s great to see more and more parks getting built, and not by local councils hammering any old bits of wood together either. We just have to keep hoping new spots crop up with new buildings and developments. There is always something waiting to be found!
One of your favorite pastimes is Instagram, isn’t it? Talk us through your addiction...
- Well simply I’m quite arty and into my photography, as bad
as it may be, but I’m not one to be carrying an SLR around my neck all day, so I find that my phone and some programmed filters make for a good substitute. My friends and I get into competitions where a lot of underhand tactics and craftiness come into play (laughs), it’s not as simple as you would think! I’m definitely addicted to it though, without a doubt! I live my life by hashtags!
What does the future hold for you?
- As it stands - Australia!
Care to elaborate?
- I’m heading Down-Under in September 2014 - escaping our winter to catch some of their summer time sun. I’ll be starting in Perth, working and skating my way to the Sydney/Melbourne area. After that, I’m going to stay in Oz with my family or head back to the UK, who knows...
Do you have any final words?
- Swag, trill, yolo, banana, quadruplets, hoof, glove, lozenge, nostrils, ungulate...
I meant, as in, is there anyone you’d like to thank...
- A bit of a cliché start but my Mum and Dad, especially Mum for driving me practically everywhere I’ve been to! Glenn at Beats for everything he’s done for the scene and for letting me ride for the shop, and I’d say specific names but if I missed anyone I’d get a punch so just “the crew"! Not Cory though, he didn’t give me a shout out, (laughs). Cheers’en!