Leo Sharp 5000 Words Part 1

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Leo Sharp Portrait by Nicole Gomes

Leo is one of the most diligent people I know, anyone who is friends with Leo will know his relentless work ethic. Whether driving from a surf in Cornwall in the morning to shoot a photo up the country later in the day, or doing a trip from Cheltenham to Scotland in a day! Leo is out there. He has also run from John O’Groats to Lands End with Pritchard and Dykie, which is amazing- good on you fellas!
Leo is pushing it, I can recall the monthly meetings at the old Sidewalk office where everyone would bring their photos to the lightbox. Leo’s reflected, as he said, the 40 thousand plus miles a year he did in his car one year! This would have been driven by his love for skateboarding and photography, anyone who read Sidewalk magazine would have noticed this.
Nowadays Leo also shares his love of photography with students in Falmouth on the course he teaches. Leo is as nice dude as he is legendary. Hope you enjoy…
Dominic Marley


Danny Brady – Backside 5-0 – Shenzhen, China

This photo is from a Blueprint Skateboards trip to China in 2006. I’ve known Brady since the late 90s and his days spent training it up on Blackpool seafront at ‘The Banny’ with Ted Moyle. Usually known for his bank/ledge techery, on this occasion Brady got gnarly! This ledge is a lot longer and steeper than it looks, but I remember it only taking him a couple of tries. The trip was an eye opener for a lot of us as I don’t think anyone had been to The People’s Republic of China before. I remember getting the train from Hong Kong to Shenzhen and going across the border. We had all got through except Neil Smith. It turns out Smithy’s girlfriend had ripped a couple of pages out of his passport to write a phone number on. If your passport isn’t wholly intact or appears tampered with, the Chinese authorities will turn you away. Smithy had to get the train back to Hong Kong on his own, go to the British Embassy to get a temporary passport and then come all the way back. I remember Paul Shier asking him if he was ok when he finally met up with us the next day. His gurning faced reply of ‘Nah Mate!’ was quoted for years afterwards.


Mark Channer – Fakie Heel Flip – Milton Keynes

I shot this back in the early 1990s with a Canon T90, a 17mm Tokina lens (purchased from Matthew ‘Wig’ Worland), a Metz 45 CL4 flashgun and a sketchy off camera slave. The resulting image wasn’t ever run in a skate mag as I think Wig shot a far superior version. Wig taught me pretty much everything I know about skate photography and I owe him a lot.
The spot is a Milton Keynes staple, dubbed ‘The Biege’ by locals due to it’s sandstone colouring. Having grown up skating this spot, it was always a pleasure to see rippers such as Mark Channer destroying the steps that I had only ever ollied. Channer and his mate Matt Fowler would regularly make the train journey up from London to skate with us in Milton Keynes. I remember being blown away at the variety of tricks they could do and how they approached spots differently, even skating things we hadn’t considered to be a ‘spot’.


Chris Jones – Kickflip into the bank – Costa Del Sol, Spain

Chris Jones part in the new Isle video is incredible, skating ridiculously rough spots with speed and style. It’s amazing to see how far he has come since I first saw him skate in Cardiff years ago. I think it was Mathew ‘Dykie’ Ryan that said I should come and shoot a picture of “…this new kid who’s doing frontside half cab flips into massive banks…”. It transpired that the ‘massive banks’ in question are indeed some gnarly, steep, 10ft high banks under a Cardiff Bay dual-carriageway fly over. ‘Ceej’ showed no visible signs of any fear when laying down first try ollies, kickflips and indeed frontside half cab flips into them. The resulting sequence was part of his ‘First Light’ feature in Sidewalk magazine. ‘The Bank Manager’ (as Dylan Hughes later named him) went on to ride for East skateboards, Crayon skateboards and ended up on Isle. This photo is from a Crayon skateboards trip to Spain in 2009.


Colin Kennedy – Nollie Heel – Euston

What can I say about Colin Kennedy that hasn’t already been said? The consummate professional throughout his skateboarding career; Whatever the spot, he would always get the job done with typical aplomb whilst having a good laugh along the way. Any trip away/day out with Colin was a good one. I first met him around 1994 when he used to come and stay at Simon Dodson’s house in Milton Keynes. Even then he was absolutely ripping on any terrain. I remember filming a switch backside nosegrind revert ‘trick tip’ with him on the MK train station ledges for part of a uni project. Not an easy trick for the time!
This nollie heel into a now staple London spot was shot in 1998 I think, around the time Blueprint skateboards began. I believe John Rattray also backside flipped into the bank during the same session.


Lucien Clark – Backside kickflip – London

It’s rad to see how good a skateboarder Lucien has become. It feels like he’s been in and around the UK skate scene forever, with coverage in all the magazines and now with bonus international status on any skate website or social media platform you’d care to mention. That uniquely languid style which has become his trademark along with a powerful snap are a concoction for success. I think it was on a DVS trip to Mallorca a few years back that Lucien fell asleep with a plate of half eaten potato wedges on his chest. I was sleeping in the bed next to him, and when I awoke the next morning he was covered in ants going crazy for the tasty cajun topping! In typical Lucien fashion, he awoke slowly, surveyed the scene from his prone position and began to brush the ants off without freaking out in the slightest. I actually thought he would continue to eat the wedges afterwards. This backside flip photo was probably shot around 2006 at a London spot called ‘The Windy Stairs’.


Olly Todd – Backside Tailslide – Liverpool

Olly Todd, Toddy or as he was named during his Liverpool days ‘The Toad’, has always ripped on a skateboard. Hailing from Whitehaven in the Lake District, Toddy spent his formative years travelling to the North East of England, skating and filming with Mischief skateshop heads Bingo (RIP) and Cleveland Bod (RIP). I think there was even some footage of him skating vert in one of Bod’s ‘Joybus’ videos.
I first met Ollie whilst shooting pics for his ‘Haunts’ interview in Sidewalk around 1997. He was getting tech even then with 50-50 kickflip outs on round bars. His inimitable style has gained him longevity within the UK skate scene, and I for one am always stoked to see any new Toddy footage surface. I think this backside tailslide on the now defunct Post Office brick banks was Ollie’s photo in a ‘Liverpool 10×10’ feature for Sidewalk magazine around 1999. I’m pretty sure John Dalton did a frontside bluntslide to fakie in the same session.


Vaughan Baker – Three Sixty Flip – Edinburgh

Vaughan is the only UK skater I can think of who has skated for both Unabomber and Blueprint. They were completely opposite in aesthetic, but Vaughn’s lazy style fitted both companies from the straight gnarly approach of the early ‘Bomber vids to the more polished Blueprint productions. If there’s one trick that I rewound more than any other (to the point where it broke my copy of First Broadcast), it’s Vaughn’s backside nollie flip down the ‘London Bridge Ten’.
The 360 flip you see here was shot on an Emerica tour of the UK back in 2000. It’s crazy to think that this was 16 years ago, many other tricks have gone down at the Dynamic Earth triple set in Edinburgh since but rarely with this much finesse. I can vividly remember watching the replay back through the viewfinder of Mike Manzoori’s VX1000 and humming the tune to opening credits of 411 video magazine (which was the pinnacle of skateboard media at the time).