Mute down the beige in 1991. Photo – Wig Worland
The Wig Worland picture above of Leo Sharp tackling ‘the beige’ in Milton Keynes is 25 years old. Leo still approaches skateboarding with the passion and enthusiasm that he did back then. When we asked him to do a 5000 Words for us he sent back a goldmine of shots spanning his career. There were too many photos we didn’t want to leave out which is why we have split this feature into parts. Here are some more selected shots…
Snowy – Ollie – Manchester
Daniel ‘Snowy’ Kinloch hails from Lancaster in the North West of England. I first remember clapping eyes on this human at Heysham indoor skatepark around 1997 or so. Even as a whippersnapper he had the typical casual steeze that has stayed with him to this day.
Although others have stepped to this spot since, Snowy was the first to conquer these 14 in Manchester around 1998. I think the photo was used for Snowy’s ‘Newblood’ in Sidewalk magazine. I remember shooting a photo for his ‘Haunts’ interview a while afterwards. Snowy wanted to feeble grind a rail outside a pub on the outskirts of Blackpool. The rail was absolutely perfect (for Blackpool!), low to get on to and not too steep. I had set up my stuff ready to shoot, when Snowy said, almost as an afterthought, “We’d better get this quick or we’ll probably get bottled.”
Neil Smith – Kickflip – Mallorca
I’m not entirely sure when I first heard about Neil Smith, suffice to say his rise to fame in UK skateboarding was nothing short of meteoric. I remember seeing a photo shot by Andrew Stark (Starky) of Smithy ollieing over a rail to a huge drop on the other side. I had no idea who the kid in the photo was but the gnarliness was pretty shocking for the time. Some time later I got to shoot some photos of him. Two things I noticed straight away: 1/ He’s one of the nicest chaps you’ll ever meet. 2/ He never hesitates to chuck himself down the biggest rail or gap.
The photo of this kickflip really doesn’t do the spot justice. The length of the gap, combined with a skinny run up and very short roll away would be enough to put most people off. I don’t think it took Smithy many goes to nail it perfectly. Check Blueprint skateboards ‘Lost and Found’ video for conformation of this beast.
Paul Shier – Crooks pop out – Mallorca
Any skate trip with Paul on board is bound to be fun. Whether he’s driving the ‘Cool Guy’ car to the spot, holding court with his quintessential story-telling prowess, or actually skating with what has become an inimitable style, there is no mistaking that Croydon accent! When Shier is on form, there will be guaranteed laughs for all involved. Visits to Fairfield Hall in Croydon during the 1990s will be forever burned into my memory for the speed and style with which Shier took apart the ledges there. This photo is from a more recent trip to Mallorca. Paul actually went back on 4 different occasions to land this ender to his part in Blueprint’s ‘Make Friends With The Colour Blue’. Sorry to say I wasn’t there to witness the final make, but it stoked me out to know that a 30 something old bloke had this in him!
Mike Manzoori – Ollie transfer – St Albans
I met Mike in 1993 whilst shooting photos for an interview in ‘System’ magazine. Mike exudes style both on a skateboard and behind a video camera and is an inspiring human to boot! I had been an avid follower of Mike’s career, watching him skate first hand at the St Albans and Radlands comps and of course ripping in the old Powell videos! Getting to take some photos with him was literally a dream come true. My grasp of photographic techniques at the time was tenuous to say the least but Mike’s patience helped no end. The interview ended up including a fair few bangers, not least this ‘up in the rafters’ transfer at The Pioneer in St Albans. Thanks for being a beast and a good friend Mike!
Dan Magee – Mallorca
It seems there are more than a few Mallorca photos popping up in this article. One of the reasons for that probably stems from the person silhouetted in this photo! Dan Magee is a law unto himself. Nothing short of a visionary with all forms of moving image and graphic design, Dan single handedly art-directed Blueprint Skateboards from it’s obscure beginnings at Faze 7 distribution to a world renowned brand. The talents of Blueprint’s riders themselves are well documented, but it was Dan who had more than a little say in putting the team together. Blueprint’s annual sojourns to Mallorca during the winter months were always fun and extremely productive. Everyone would be frothing to skate during their 2 week winter sun window and Dan’s hard drives always came back laden with clips.
Howard Cooke – Ollie – Liverpool
Howard Cooke is probably my all time favourite skateboarder to watch live. ‘H’ would always take 10 more pushes than he needed to at any obstacle, whether he was launching over an enormous channel between 2 quarters at a Radlands comp or ollieing 10 flat 10 double sets with no apparent fear. Howard comes from the Liverpool skate scene of old, when the only spot that wasn’t gnarly was the 2 foot high ‘Police Bank’ and even then ‘H’ would do sweepers catching his board in his teeth! (see ‘H’s interview in Document magazine).
This sequence illustrates exactly what I’m trying to say: Howard started off by balancing two x 1 1/2 feet wide bench tops on wobbly metal bins. Each time he’d ollie the distance, he’d look over at me and say ‘Was that shit? That was shit wasn’t it?’ in rasping Liverpudlian. He would subsequently move the bins further apart. This was repeated until they were so far away from each other that myself and the other assembled onlookers were laughing in disbelief. Madness. The footage of this exists somewhere Danny McCourt’s instagram account: @s_b_t_photo.
Jamie Bolland – Blindside kickflip to fakie – Glasgow
I wish I had spent more time around Jamie over the years. An inspiring artist, musician and skateboarder, Jamie has a style unique to his wiry Aberdeenshire frame. From not having clapped eyes on him for years, I once again got to witness Jamie’s special skateboarding ability during the summer of 2015. Jamie is the owner of one of the best kickflips on Scottish soil and it was good to see that he has been keeping said trick well honed. A couple of blindside numbers on Glasgow’s Kinning Park subway banks were a treat to behold. Jamie happened to have work on show at an art exhibition whilst we were in town, entitled ‘Indoor Parkour’. I advise a perusal of said artwork online or indeed any of the skate footage from such visual treats as ‘H’Min Bam’ or The Harmony’s ‘Wolfstadt’.