For the latest article in our Backstory series we spoke to Conor Charleson about some tricks that have only recently graced the internet. Find out more about exactly what went into capturing three moments selected from his incredible Slight Inclination part…
words and interview by Jacob Sawyer. Screengrabs above of tricks selected from Slight Inclination
Crafting a video part is a territory riddled with unspoken rules where tried and tested formulas are often adhered to. The video part from which the three tricks below are plucked is far from formulaic, it is a standalone part in every sense of the word. Conor Charleson is a skateboarder who marches to the beat of a different drummer, his favourite spots would be hell to most – untamable walls, and surfaces to many. While filming for Cover Version Conor found a kindred spirit in Dan Magee, someone who can film and edit with a similarly unique panache, and whose approach offered a grounding counterbalance to the missions Conor had in mind. Dan applied his quarter of a century of experience into making a video part with Conor that would stand the test of time, and the two of them have created something special.
In a world of doom scrolling where we plough ever forward for the next three-minute-fix, Slight Inclination is a relief, a real video part, steeped in references, that will keep you coming back for more. It is eminently rewatchable because of Conor’s rare mastery, the spots that opens up, Dan’s editing skill, Greg Conroy’s illustrations, and a Derek & The Dominos earworm that you’ll be humming for days. It’s the whole package, all elements are covered, and we wanted to try and do more than simply embed it and move on.
We greatly appreciate Conor taking the time out to speak to us about a selection of tricks from this new part. He broke down the process, and frustrations of filming two tricks in London, and one across the pond in LA. It would have been remiss not to speak to Dan Magee about this labour of love so we are glad that his thoughts close out the article, and lead into the part we encourage you to take in once again. Read more about some of the efforts that went into making one of our favourite parts of the year…
Conor Charleson – 5-0 to fakie (2023)
I reckon I first looked at this about two years ago and thought it was possible. It’s cool how the top edge is concrete, everything about the spot is cobbles apart from the bit you need to grind. It felt like an inverse spot almost, if there’s a transition for instance you can usually get a trick on it even if the top is a bit crap, as long as everything else is smooth. I liked how this felt like it was the reverse of that. I had been there for very small periods of time when we’d gone past the spot aiming for somewhere else. I think I initially looked at it with Jackson Davis and rolled up to it a couple of times as it was getting dark. Then I was there once with Quentin [Guthrie]. He was focused on making a New Balance edit at the time but I had a half-hearted bash and got my back truck on one. Then I went there and filmed a front slash on my phone. I dumped that on Instagram which I shouldn’t have done. Rich West shot that though and it went out in Grey. I knew then that a better trick was possible.
I remember getting to the spot the next time and knowing I could get up there but when I started trying it, it was really hard, It’s higher and steeper than it seems. If you go at it with any kind of speed on normal wheels the cobbles are so slick that your board just slides out sideways. The first time I properly gave it a go was with [Daniel] Wheatley when he was here in the UK the summer before last. I even brought softies out and tried it using them, they were some soft OJ Keyframes. The soft wheels meant it was much easier to get into the 5-0, and I brought it in a couple of times, but because it’s such a harsh bank into cobbles I kept getting wheelbite at the bottom. I was getting chucked because of the wheels so I had to rule them out too. Wheatley wasn’t going to be back for another year but he said if I wanted to try and get it with someone else in the meantime it was totally fine. Then I didn’t actually go back and try it again until he was back in London. I was wrapping the part up and needed a couple more things that I was happy with opposed to what Dan [Magee] was happy with.
I had a another bash with some 97A Spitfires. They were just soft enough that my board didn’t slide out, but they still made all the cool noises too. You could really hear the cobbles, and the road sounded as rough as it felt. I was bummed when I was trying it with softies because you kind of lose the point of the spot, the grit. I first tried to do it with the 97s with Will and Michael Boardman filming, and that was pretty much a year later, so about two months ago now. The Boardmans have been a massive help over the last year in terms of getting the final bits while [Dan] Magee was working.
We went there one time and this Northern Irish guy came storming out of the Westminster Arms pub across the road. He was shouting at us saying “you guys need to get out of here right now, you’re terrorising the neighbourhood”. I argued that we were hardly terrorising anyone, but he just shouted over us as we were trying to talk to him, he kept telling us we were making a racket. He just didn’t want us there and was firing excuses at us. I apologised and said we were only going to be ten minutes and then we would go to which he replied “I’m going to call the fucking police”. He actually does, then the cops show up and basically tell him that he can’t move us on. They said we were fine to be there, and He had a face like a smacked arse. He started fuming about being a licensee, and us ruining it for the neighbours. There’s no-one around at this point, and the pub is closed. Anyway I made a deal with the police, to try and diffuse the situation, that we will set an alarm, try for ten minutes, stop bang on ten minutes time, and leave. They were basically saying if we wanted to come back another day, we could. They have UKIP rallies and all sorts in that area, we are the least of their worries. I think that pub guy might host them, I’ve seen some horrible flags outside that place sometimes, so fuck him anyway.
“I made a deal with the police, to try and diffuse the situation, that we will set an alarm, try for ten minutes, stop bang on ten minutes time, and leave”
I nearly did it within that ten minute time frame, came as close as I could get, but now I was slipping out on the cobbles on the way back down, I was getting to the flat though. I left it for about two weeks, then we returned when the pub was open. We were running out of time, I wanted to do it when the pub was closed so he had no reason to moan, but we needed to get it. So we go back there, the pub is open, and I’m gearing up for another interaction with this guy, but he never came out. Maybe he wasn’t there, the pub was full of people, and some of them took a passing interest in what we were doing, coming outside to look. Anyway, I kept getting caught in the cobbles at the bottom because it’s a bit of a trap, but one of them just worked. It was a relief, and I managed to roll away with some speed which I didn’t think was going to happen.
I had to go as fast as I could at it in terms of pushes, the road before it is pretty hacked but the wheels helped with that. There was a time when I started to stick some but there was a Santander bike drop off point right there. This van pulled up as I was getting close to take away all of the busted Santander bikes, and the guy was really taking his time. I asked him if he’d mind reversing a few feet but he refused, saying he’s working. Things like that were frustrating but it was okay overall.
I was trying to grind the 5-0 like more of a Salad, I was going for a front Salad to fakie if that makes sense. It just about gets there, it worked better for the spot that way, in terms of where my weight needed to be. My board kept going over the top, and there’s a small drop on the other side. I was trying really hard to prevent it from rolling over the top which is why the salad approach worked a bit better. I think more tricks are doable on there to be honest but it’s a bit of a mission. It would be cool to do a tailslide or something, but maybe I should take the victory and run. Will Boardman filmed the first angle, and his brother Michael filmed the second where I roll away towards the camera. Going out with those guys is good, especially if you’re filming something long lens because they’ll both get it covered, and find good angles. They might bicker a little with each other, but with the best of intentions, those two lads are fully on it. They’ll do alright, they’ve been filming with Palace guys recently.
“With this one it was all thanks to the wheels, they ended up being the perfect middle ground…That 97A hardness made such a difference”
With this one it was all thanks to the wheels, they ended up being the perfect middle ground. I never used to do shit like that, I was always of the mindset that you skate a skateboard, and anyone can skate anything on any setup long as you’re used to it. Now I often have different wheels for different spots. I try to avoid using softies if I can because I think they sound shit. That 97A hardness made such a difference though, I used them for the backside 180-fakie manny too. I tried it using normal wheels and kept getting stuck in the cracks between the cobbles, the same deal, so they were the difference between getting the trick or nothing. In London where there are loads of spots that are just made out of shit like that, it opens things up a bit more option-wise. I just carry a set around in my bag now, they’re great. The whole Queen Elizabeth II Centre is super sick and I would like to keep trying to get bits on different parts of it. I need to take another look at it all.
Conor Charleson – Switch Slappy 50-50 (2023)
I had to go back a few times to get this, and I went there with a couple of different people. This was in January or February this year. I went there once with John Morello, who was the Crailtap filmer up until yesterday. I knew him already from when he had come to London. For the last couple of trips they have done I showed them around, I was their resident spot guy, or whatever. I was going out with him a bunch over there, and he also kindly put me up for a week. He drove me into town and knew that I wanted to skate this spot. I had seen a slappy crook in a video before, so I knew it was possible to slappy, so I can’t really claim that idea, but I thought it was really cool how it has that little strip of grass before it. Technical skateboarders visiting LA have annihilated that spot, but for what I can do it felt like a good ledge to hit for a slappy.
We went there, after being told it was really chill, and no-one ever bothers you. On the first visit this bloke who lives there came out straight away and said “you’re messing up my grass, my sprinklers man”. I apologised and screwed his sprinklers back in that I’d knocked over. The guys who I was with pointed out that it wasn’t really a house, it was apartments, so I shouldn’t feel too bad. I did though, he lived there, he wasn’t happy, and so we left.
“you’re messing up my grass, my sprinklers man”
I then went back there with another group of people, and with Trevor Owens filming. He was working on a Carhartt video at the time which isn’t out yet. There’s a pressure that comes along with that, he’s out with people, and they’re in town specifically to film with him, Brett Weinstein and Corey Glick, were there that day for instance. The thing about LA is that everyone is a freak, they’re fucking good at skating. It’s not a fanning out thing, it’s more of a stress thing, where I feel like I don’t deserve the time even though everybody is dead sound and encouraging. I think if you grow up in any area of the UK with a relatively small skate scene it’s probably normal to feel like that, maybe in London even. There are these skaters out who are really fucking good, Trevor is being paid to film them, and I’m taking up their time, so it adds to the stress of trying it.
I was much closer to it the second time, I kept getting into switch backside slappy willy grinds. I think I might have even done a few of them by way of sheer determination to make it off the ledge again. Obviously that’s absolutely gross, and it was putting me in the wrong position to pop out. It was making me pop out to fakie instead of shifting my weight to come out switch, it was fucking me up a bit. Then the guy comes out again. He wasn’t even angry, he was sad, which is why it was so hard to push my luck with him. He came over and said “man, my sprinklers man”. I was so sorry again, and we told him we were leaving. It felt like I had upset him more than anything else.
“I asked for one more go, and he agreed to just one more, I think he could tell I was close”
It’s not easy to skate that spot, the run up is slightly downhill which is good for speed but there’s loads of little holes you don’t see. How the trucks lock in on the ledge itself makes a big difference too, it’s just a few millimetres off being wide enough to fit a whole truck on, it would take a while to feel it out each time. We got to go back there one more time. On that last attempt all the French guys were over. Noah Mahieu was one of the guys filming for that Carhartt thing and he was there with his friends Ruben [Delisle], and Daniel [Praya] from Biarritz. Noah said he would watch for cars, and it’s thanks to him, with considerable assistance from Ruben that I was able to stop tweaking out over the traffic. I was filming it with Trevor [Owens], and the guy doesn’t seem to be there. I was getting super close, getting both trucks on the grind, grinding all the way to the end, I even landed on a few and was so surprised that I slipped out.
Then he appeared, we didn’t think he was in, we had been there for about 45 minutes at this point. He stood on his porch above the ledge and said the same thing about his sprinklers “my sprinklers man, it’s you guys again”. When he came out, he saw me stick one and slam. I think this might have peaked his interest a bit, because he watched a few more attempts. But finally, again, asked us to leave. So I asked for one more go, and he agreed to just one more, I think he could tell I was close. Then on that last go it just worked, it was that random, lucky, one last go scenario. On the roll out I’m clinging on for dear life because I knew we definitely couldn’t come back again.
It’s not in the video but in the full clip the camera pans back up to his face and he’s smiling, you can see that he is kind of stoked. It was a relief in a way that this dude I had been bumming out day after day, at least saw the positive side of what we were doing, and got to share in the end result if that makes sense. He thanked us for leaving, and we thanked him for giving us one last go. Often those things can spiral into misery and this did the opposite, even though I was back for a third time. I felt like a bit of a prick going back that last time.
Conor Charleson – Alley-Oop Grind (2023)
This spot is between Kings Cross and Camden, it’s a spot I would pass often on the way to the brick bank in the estate further up the road, and I always liked the idea of getting something on it. I remember the first time I tried to wallride it, it was ages ago just going past it, and loads of bits on the wall sprayed up into my eyes. Years of mineral crust was on the bricks where water and dirt had leaked through leaving a rough layer of crap on the wall. I wrote it off for a while and then I went past with Arthur [Derrien] one day. It wasn’t that long ago, maybe sometime in spring. I was imagining grinding the part of the wall that sticks out. I felt like alley-oop would work for the spot because of how you can throw your weight up with that motion, particularly when the bank is short. It just felt like it made sense. Arthur hinted that I needed some last tricks anyway and should try and do it, so the seed was planted in my brain. That day we went to the brick bank, and walked back, and talked about it again, so I started trying it, and getting kind of close. I waxed the edge of the wall up, even though stuff was spraying up into my eyes, the little bit of wax on the wall was helping me skid up a little bit. It stopped me from gripping all the crap, I was kind of sliding over it instead.
I waxed the wall, and I waxed the lip of it a little bit as well, and I was getting closer. Then on one of them I stuck in the slash part of it, I fell back and smashed my head on one of the bridge supports. There was a corner that sticks out about a foot above ground, I smacked my head on the corner of that support and went fully dizzy, disassociated dizzy, it was super painful. I took ten minutes and sat down with my water. Then I went and stood back in the run up, and I couldn’t even concentrate on the idea of hitting the spot because I still felt so unfocused. There was no way I could even try it again. I was pretty bummed but I thought because I had gotten into a few that I could do it. The problem was that I just couldn’t get back in, the bank is shorter than a board, or as short as a board. I kept getting wedged between the wall and the ground every time. I would just get stuck and chucked to the floor.
“The problem was that I just couldn’t get back in, the bank is shorter than a board, or as short as a board. I kept getting wedged between the wall and the ground every time”
Then I had the ‘genius’ idea to saw about two inches off of my nose before coming back the next time. I figured that would stop my nose catching, it would be a bit of a cheat but I’d have a go. I don’t know about anyone else, but sawing two inches off the front of my board made the trick itself, and skating impossible. I’ve never had anything feel so alien, I don’t know how the hell people skate those boards with no nose, or used to skate them back in the day. I still had half a nose and it felt like my ankle was just going to come off the front, it felt like I was going to roll it every time. How the hell did people skate vert like that? Your nose is such a safety net for your front foot, it stops it from going past the point. I guess if that’s all you know it’s kind of fine but to go from having a normal board to that feels insane. So I focused that one which is not something I do too often. I was really frustrated as I’d banked on it working, and the idea felt so stupid when I was trying it. I had a spare board with me anyway, and once again I got super close to doing it. This time though my legs were dusted from trying it with no nose. It took a lot of effort to get up there.
“Then I had the ‘genius’ idea to saw about two inches off of my nose before coming back the next time…I’ve never had anything feel so alien, I don’t know how the hell people skate those boards with no nose, or used to skate them back in the day”
We filmed this in the summer, it was pretty close to the very end of filming, probably in July. I just remembered that the second time we went there the council had done loads of tree surgery and ripped a load of stuff down around the train lines and just left it on the spot. Loads of bushes, and branches, and dirt, and stones. We had to spend ages moving all of this crap out of the way, and it was really windy so it was blowing it all into our eyes as well which was pretty tedious. I forgot one more visit we made, so it’s four times in total. One time I went to go here with Magee, and when we got there, a guy with a van was posted up at the spot on the pavement with a fence around it. He was just sat there with a drain cover open. I asked him when he was going to be finished and explained that Dan had come a long way to film something I wanted to do there. He told me he had no idea how long it was going to take so I tried a different approach and asked him when he finished work, and he said one or two hours. We got there in the end, it was a weird interaction.
We went to skate the brick bank for a couple of hours to warm up, played it safe and came back in two hours time. He was still just sat there with no idea how long he was going to be. One of those really annoying moments where you waste a whole day holding out for something. Dan [Magee] had to be somewhere that evening so we had to call it a day, we had the window and it was gone, super frustrating but part of the process. So we technically went four times but didn’t even skate it on one visit.
I then went back there a fourth time. [Dan] Magee had seen how close I had come on previous attempts he said “I’m coming to Kings Cross, you’re gonna fucking do it, and I’m going home before peak time”. That was the level we were at basically. On that trip it was just myself, Dan [Magee], William [Boardman], and Raf [Rafal Wojnowki]. The trips before were with William, and Michael. Bless Michael for being there for the first two trips, he didn’t get the one which sucks, it’s shitty to go back with someone else. I’ve talked about going back for different things with different people, and if you check in, it’s always kind of fine. In this case I felt bad for going back without Michael, he understood though. Magee had a very specific way he wanted to shoot it, and he needed William there to film it from the low angle. So the three of us went back there.
“don’t do this, just surf it, be lighter on your feet”
The alley-oop grind that worked, surfed out for Rafal Wojnowki’s lens. This photo was shot for Free Skate Mag
I can’t remember the exact number but I managed to do it in a handful of goes, I just did one. Magee was telling me “don’t do this, just surf it, be lighter on your feet”. I think I was so kind of pissed off at him barking orders at me that one of them just fucking worked, we had it done in about five minutes. Then Dan said “you did it that easy, just get another one”. It then took me about half an hour to get another one, and I think the two angles used are two different ones. I think maybe I did it three times, and the roll out on the middle one wasn’t so good, but the third one I managed to roll away with some speed. But it was down to having a normal board, with a normal nose, and trying to be way lighter on my feet to deal with the shitty little bank at the bottom. It just clicked on that day, I think sleeping on it is such a huge factor in skating. I hate the idea of going back for stuff but I feel like everybody does. You forget sometimes that everybody goes back for shit, and that it’s fine to do so. I think sleeping on stuff is a game changer, you have processed everything that you need to do. Then you go back, and your body knows what to expect in terms of the motion. When you go back you can add to whatever you figured out previously.
“I think sleeping on stuff is a game changer, you have processed everything that you need to do…When you go back you can add to whatever you figured out previously”
In the part there’s a really shitty brick bank to wall where the bank is about a foot long, it’s in Tower Hill on the side of a hotel and I do a mayday on it. I’ve done this trick there before but with just my back truck. That’s much shorter in height though and felt much more achievable but that alley-oop motion was essentially the same. I’m happy with this being called a slash, both trucks hit, it’s more of a slash than a fakie 50-50, it grinds within the motion of the trick. Sometimes the right spot and certain dimensions just lend themselves to certain tricks, and this is one of those. I had an easier time getting up to this travelling alley-oop than I would have done trying a regular backside wall ride 50-50.
When I landed this Dan was actually hyped. What I will say about him is that you can see how much he cares. He is capable of being a knobhead the entire time up until you do something but when you do do something he gets really stoked. I’m not going to say it makes it all worth it but it definitely helps. It’s nice to see him get excited considering he’s seen a lot. If he can see that you need to do something a certain way it’s worth listening to him. He was pretty handy when he was younger and has a good idea of what he’s talking about so it is worth listening to him sometimes and trying something his way. This is an instance where his advice definitely helped me land the trick.
Dan Magee adding some perspective to the height of Conor’s alley-oop grind. PH: Conor Charleson
What follows are Dan Magee’s thoughts about capturing the penultimate trick for Conor’s Slight Inclination part and the project itself…
I kind of got tricked into filming this part. We started filming for it just before lockdown, and it was originally going to be Conor and some younger skaters who he was skating with at the time. It’s hard to get a lot of stuff out of Conor in a quick timeframe, but I figured if he got the main things, then the younger kids could stack it up and fill in the gaps. He suggested working with Alex Hatfield, who Conor rated and had a dope style. So I started filming with him and figured we would have the part done in no time. Then Alex started to ride for Yardsale and messaged me to say he couldn’t film with me anymore. I was also filming his friend Dennis [Roberts], who got a few bits but rode a lot of Dunks. When Conor started getting a bit more serious with Vans, he was worried there would be a lot of other shoe brands in his part, so it evolved into just being a solo Conor part, which was going to be more of a mission.
Then lockdown came, and it was such an unknown. I live with my wife, Hattie, so I can’t just be out and about with a bunch of skaters during the period of lockdown when no one knew anything about this virus. I had to pause on that for a bit. Then Hattie’s dad got sick and passed away. I’m saying all of this to illustrate how fragmented working on it was.
We went out together to get a few things, and there were multiple visits to the same spots. Obviously, this is standard in America for professional skateboarding. Out there, you may go back to a spot twenty times to get something, but it’s a different thing when you don’t get paid for filming skating and I’ve got a freelance job with clients to juggle. I could only get out with Conor at certain times, but when I did go out, I tried to make sure I would walk away with something… wishful thinking.
Eventually, I realised we couldn’t do the whole thing with just myself filming. It needed to be made the same way I made Kevin Coakley‘s MFWTCB part, basically try to get as much done as I could myself and then oversee and direct some key contributing filmers, and give the skater some guidelines about what they need to do to shape the part. It became a case of working with whoever would put a decent camera on Conor. It’s tough in London because a lot of people who can film to a decent level work for skate companies where they are tied to filming certain skaters. It’s also difficult because everyone shoots long lens these days or doesn’t have the right camera and lens, or fisheye experience. Luckily, these twins became friendly with Conor, Will and Michael Boardman. They were hard working guys who would work shifts at a job and run out to film before or after. They could film and were up for the challenge. I gave them some basic guidelines, kept an eye on the footage, and gave them pointers or asked them to refilm some bits a certain way. By the time we had done that with the hardest tricks, I was also living in Dorset part-time. So I’d be asking how close they got to certain things with Conor and then come back from Dorset to get a trick on certain days when I’d do a London stint and rely on them for the other angles.
There are two ways people film now. They either go way too hard on the Strobeck style with over-the-top filming on the face, which can look like absolute shit, or they play it quite safe. You can put a few clips in an edit that are filmed in safe zoom mode. But if you have too many of these in a row, it can also look bad. The twins were filming really well but sometimes too safely, so those tricks in a row can make an edit look a lot less exciting. You need some middle ground with a Strobecky, but not too Strobecky clip in the middle, in between all those tricks. Daniel Wheatley is one of the filmers that perfectly sits in the middle of these two styles. Just right… he also filmed one trick of Conor. The alley-oop grind was one of the missions where we went together for a specific trick. This escalated after Conor had got close a few times beforehand. I asked Will to film the safer angle, and I tried to film something a bit more dynamic to work with it, something zoomy but not too zoomy, so that’s what we did. In the end, it worked perfectly with Will filming it real good from that safer angle.
By the time we got there on this day, I’d already psyched Conor up a bit. I’d given him some shit on WhatsApp to kind of make him hate me, so he would have to do it, just to spite me. He got up on the first one, rode into it straight away. It was just me, Will, and Conor. I gave Conor a bit of adrenaline by singing the CKY theme song just to amp him up. Will followed suit, singing it, and then we blasted it on the phone. He literally did it after that, in two or three goes, the music got him there, hahaha. That song is like the Rocky anthem for skaters, like a Crane technique Karate Kid scenario.
“By the time we got there on this day, I’d already psyched Conor up a bit. I’d given him some shit on WhatsApp to kind of make him hate me, so he would have to do it, just to spite me”
It’s pretty mental that spot; I stood up against it afterwards, and it looks like it’s above my head. Admittedly, I’m shit at skating, and I’d never be able to do that trick, but when I’m looking at attempts, I can often see what someone needs to do with their body weight and everything they need to do to do it. I could see that Conor was trying to mentally compartmentalise it and do it in too many stages; he had fragmented it in his mind. He had broken it down into this equation of pump, rotate ride, roll in. However, it was having an effect on his physical motion by thinking through it too much in this way. I knew he needed to do it like he was on a wave, one fluid motion; that was my advice to him for this one, to surf it out. I probably couldn’t even push up to the wall these days, but I could still see what he needed to do.
Conor is one of the only people I have fun filming because he’s just a buddy, and for me, that’s great because it’s much more personal and fun than just going out to market someone to sell a product. It is a double-edged sword, however, because he is also quite difficult to film, the spots and types of tricks he wants to go to and perform. Difficult tricks you need to invest in, and it would be worse for me having to sit it out filming someone if I didn’t really care for their skating or the trick. For me, this part is different from most things I have done before. It’s not for a job or a brand. It’s just for Conor because he asked me to do it as a favour from a friend. He wanted to film a video part that was different from one you would normally work on, one that’s more personal, not a load of bangers in a row. It’s my friend who skates well and skates differently. I wanted to piece it all together in a way that’s both personal to him, and personal to me. Going into it, I had figured out it wasn’t going to be a load of very technical tricks edited together, more of a mood piece that was punctuated by a few things, and that was what this was going to be all about, the punctuation. Then the more I looked at it, the more I realised that we had something different, a part that totally links together in every single way. I think it’s one of the most cohesive video parts I have ever edited.
“the more I looked at it, the more I realised that we had something different, a part that totally links together in every single way. I think it’s one of the most cohesive video parts I have ever edited”
Somehow, I’ve been fortunate to film some of the world’s most gifted skateboarders in my time, but only under a very restricted, confined set of circumstances. Filming Ishod Wair, for instance, but he has to shoot photos, or you’re on a tour with a van of amazing skateboarders going from place to place, and you might go street skating for one day. Being in those situations was great, but it also inspired me to do the Cover Version project with Kevin Parrott, to get back to filming skateboarding how I used to love filming it because that was what started me on my journey.
It was great being on Nike trips with incredible pros, but you’re not getting to film them in a way you would normally want to. The thing that always got me excited was the impetus for Cover Version – work with a bunch of under-the-radar, underrated guys. Even back to Blueprint, it was a mixture of the partially known and unknown skaters. When I was filming Mark Baines, Paul Shier, Chewy Cannon, and Danny Brady, it was all about bringing people up, highlighting a skater from Hull, Gorleston in Yarmouth, or Cleveleys in Blackpool. Then people see their video part, and suddenly they want to dress like Brady or skate like Chewy. That was always something I enjoyed, and that’s why I wanted to make videos with the Cover Version guys, and now to do this with Conor, someone who is not making a living from skating and from a small town in Wales, feels like it’s come full circle.
As with Cover Version, making a video project with zero budget almost feels like it drives it. As much as I would like some money to film a video part, at this point, it’s just something I’ve always done. I’ve never had any substantial budget to film for any of the videos I have made, even Blueprint videos. I was paying for myself to go on these trips, paying for my accommodation. Now I see people going on crazy trips to film, but it doesn’t feel like they’ve had their fully rounded career part yet, which I would love to see.
With this Conor part, I feel like it’s something he can also look back on and be proud of; he can show this to his kid when he’s old. It’s a personal decision he put upon himself to make happen regardless of skill level or sponsors. It’s obvious that he put a load of work into it. The feedback on this has been very positive, which feels more like when I used to make edits on VHS or DVDs; no one has really had anything bad to say about it. It’s great for Conor to have that. It hasn’t had mega views, but I think that’s fine as it’s not a big name with no brand affiliation, which is just where we’re at. It’s been the most rewarding skate edit I’ve done recently. Conor has filmed this part off his own back, but at this point in time, he’s really just a distributor flow boyo. Will it ever be anything more than that? It would be nice for him to find something solid.
“He wanted to film a video part that was different from one you would normally work on…I wanted to piece it all together in a way that’s both personal to him, and personal to me”
Conor Charleson’s Slight Inclination released by Free Skate Mag
We would like to thank Conor Charleson for taking us through the process behind these three tricks from Slight Inclination, thanks also to Dan Magee for his time and thoughts, and for making such a memorable video. Thanks to Rich West, and Rafal Wojnowski whose photos appear, and thanks to Grey Skate Mag for the Instagram shot.
Big thank you to Will Boardman, Michael Boardman, Dan Magee, and Trevor Owens whose footage sparked the conversation in the first place. Thanks also to TT Liquor for hosting the premiere where everyone took it in for the first time, and to Free Skate Mag for beaming this one onto our screens.