Mild in the streets: 41.

Since I turned the big four zero last year I thought a good way to motivate my self was to try and get a few skateboarding photographs every year. Now my age has clicked over it has come time to share a few.

So behold, bask in my underwhelming lameness. As time goes onwards these pissweak skateboarding feats will become progressively worse. It will be a timelapse where I slowly morph from a pirate into a wizard. So, unfortunately, this is as good as it is going to get.

Thank you to Duncan Ewington aka @ewingram for the photos. Us grown man grommets help each other to keep the stoke alive. You can call shotgun anytime mate.

A hazard plant on an overnighter to Kerang. Sleeping next to the park with a belly full of beer and BBQ is as good as it gets.

Lexi’s ramp is insane. Seeing him hit it is superhuman shit. The transition to vert ratio is wild.

This is just a go to trick. However, it’s on my backyard ramp and there is nuclear stuff coming out of my arse. Every time I look at my backyard I am reminded that I have awesome mates and that I am still a child. I think this white t shirt phase lasted a week max.

Bucket list stuff. Carving a cake in a backyard pool. This doesn’t look like much but I would say it took a good hour. The struggle is real.

My favourite ramp at Mat’s shed in Kyneton. Rare front feeble.

Slappies are the best. I have wanted to have a crack at this for ages. I’m sure a little bit of wee came out.

Tokyo

It seems an impossible place. If you could cut through it with a giant knife and expose the layers of shops, houses, levels and levels of subway, tunnels and plumbing it would be unimaginable that it would all work.

But it does. It works. In a very strange calm way. Most other cultures would be at each others throats and looting the joint if they had to be around this many people and be this buzzingly fast. Not the Japanese. They just get on with it, politely and in a friendly manner. I saw at least half a dozen bicycle collisions. People just bow, ensure no one is hurt, and continue on.

Everything looks like it has been designed for children. Need death insurance? This giant whale with an anime haircut will sell it to you! The uniforms are very Lego, I don’t know how else to say it. The TV screen has a face in the top right corner pulling melodramatic facials in every program. It sounds like I am being patronising or disrespectful however I’m not. It’s awesome and I love it. I just don’t know how else to express my impression of the place.

Just get to the photographs eh?

The population density. It is intense, and is challenging.

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The small little streets that were left intact from the earthquakes and war were my favourite places to hang out. Streets too small for a car, bars that can hold less than a dozen, half of that comfortably. Dive bars are one of my most favourite things to explore when traveling. I would recommend you check out Golden Gai in Shibuya.

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Sure, it’s overpriced, cheesy and depressing when the performers have to clean the place at the end in front of you. But the Robot Restaurant is a must. We got kinda wasted.

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We hit the road to Hokuto with our old mates Hiro and Kelly. It was a great day and so good to catch up. The loveliest people!

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Hokuto and Gallery Trax. We ended up at a sake distillery and had a surprisingly awesome meal at a truckers diner

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We ended up at Harmonica Alley, Kichijoji at a little dive bar. The solo bartender and chef kept cranking out the beers and japanese tapas. The whole area is rad, I only took the one crappy photo where I cut Jo’s head off! The crew drank me under the table I must admit. Hiro is one of my favourite artists and we made friends with some rad tattooists and art makers that evening. Looking forward to catching up again in Japan!

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We took a tour to Mt Fuji. I can’t really handle tours but this one worked out OK. The view from Mt Fuji.

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Then it got more touristy, and we boarded a boat and a cable care. I must check this region out more thoroughly next time.

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I skated the city a bit, mainly bombing through Shinjuku and Shibuya. The Shibuya skate park, and adjoining “box man” homeless area, were taken over for more high density apartments. So the park, and rare public recreational space, was gone. Such a shame. It was rad just bumping into crew and joining their session before heading off down more hills )maybe via another bar!)

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Architecture there is wow.

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I had planned to head to a great new skatepark out of Tokyo, however the weather was going to turn. My only option was north. The 30 year old Annaka bowl, dubbed the “Death Bowl” in Japan, seemed like the go. Man, this thing is 1000 times gnarlier in person. So kinked and rough, ready to buck you off at any time. I had a fun roll with the locals in the ghetto bit too. The snake run is, well, unskatable really.

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Jo got more ink. Fugu!

Thank you to all the wonderful people that helped make our adventure so fun, and thanks to my wife for being a great travel companion!

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Osaka and nearby cities.

I have always wanted to go to Japan. Now I have been, I would completely recommend it.

The people are just amazing. For a place that is so mind bendingly busy, there is a calmness about it. Osaka is much slower paced than Tokyo. It is close to some incredible cities nearby. We have only just scratched the surface of what there is to explore. We will be back many times.

Thank you to Uz Matsui for taking me skateboarding and drinking. Legend of a bloke. Shout out to the Backhanded Crew and The Osaka Daggers. I was pretty stoked to meet Chopper!

There is a lot of photos to get though (I took well over 2000) so I will just let the images speak for themselves.

Still the best way to get to know a new city. Head for the hills and get lost.

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I met up with Uz at Backhanded. It was so punk rock. Everyone bashed the coping after each others run, no matter what went down. I don’t want to post heaps from here as I will do a spot check. Slideshow below, you can enlarge the individual images.

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We headed to Nara. It has deer that just wander about looking for their special crackers. I wasn’t sure if it would be a bit sad. They seem happy and well treated. I only had to threaten to slap one bloke not being nice to them! The temples are incredible. You have to just still your mind and imagine the grounds filled with soldiers in perfect lines. It is a task with so many people taking selfies.

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Kyoto is a must. I am uneasy about everyone walking about as fake Geisha. Aesthetically it is beautiful so I just switched my scorn down a few notches and forgot about the cringeworthy aspects of dressing your kid like a Geisha without explaining what it actually is. Anyhow, we wandered about the gardens and retired to the beer gardens, then sushi restaurants. Everywhere you looked it was just stunning.

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I was intrigued by the detail

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And the graveyards.

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We hung out in the “cool” part of town. It’s pretty easy, just head for Triangle Park, home of the Osaka Daggers. We drank beers and people watched here for hours until I could hardly stand let alone skate. The city is so happening, vibrant and inspiring.

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We took the Bullet Train to Hiroshima. I thought we were in the museum for 40 minutes or so. I was shocked that nearly 4 hours had passed. Jo and I have studied WWII extensively so I was acutely aware of the brutality that ended it. We seemed not to have learned from it as a species. The museum itself, and attached shrine, lived up to the daunting task asked of the architect.

It was pouring with rain, and after the museum we had an outstanding Italian meal alfresco under an umbrella, trying to process what we saw.

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The A Bomb Dome is the solitary surviving building. The archival imagery is haunting.

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I contemplated as I tried to capture it as best I could.

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Then it was time to catch the train

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And hang out with my beautiful wife. Foxy.

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Kook Pool

Now I’m not about to enter into the name of the pool or any of that. That is what it was known as. Cheers to those that scoped it out and made it rideable.

Pools in Australia are usually small, bathtub sized transition and pretty difficult to skate. This one was indeed a harsh old matron of a thing. Rough, a bit slippery, tight as fuck… and Shane Macgowan teeth for coping. It was one of the best ones found in Melbourne though for the last decade.

The forecast was grim. Drizzle all day and little hope. As far as I knew it was a goner and we had one day to give it a crack. We gathered the crew and ignored the BOM radar and headed west.

The house was being demolished and was half done. There was no reason for a bunch of us to be filing inside. We aren’t really discrete even when we try! The older Vietnamese neighbours were standing in their front yard as our black vehicles pulled in and tattooed up skateboarders emerged.

Somehow, the newspapers did the job and we got some. The pool lasted a lot longer than expected. The workmen dropped in to say g’day a couple of times without any worries.

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The drizzle ceased and the session commenced

Getting over the light was the first order of business. Chris

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There’s going to be a lot of frontside grind photographs. It is the best feeling trick and charging one in a backyard pool is one of the best feelings ever on a skateboard. Getting one in this pool is no joke. It was super tight and loads of vert. Bristol fought for it and won.

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There are few that make skateboarding look as good as Anton Jeandet. Barging through three or four pavers.

Cunnaz is always going to give it a solid nudge

Pivot on a serious amount of vert

Threading a line through the top step and jagged pavers was super difficult. I had a street fight with it and got away with it, but it took me about a solid hour! It was steep rolling into the deep, which doesn’t really translate in the photos.

Bisho did it the fastest

Muddy had the goofy line dialed

Brighty went to war in the thing. Impossible lines constantly. Hefty ollie over the steps.

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I don’t understand how he did them, frontside grinds in the shallow.

R.I.P Kook Pool

Well bugger me I’m 40: Mild in the streets

Why would you do a blog post on your own skateboarding? Well lets face it no one else is going to run these photos. There are vast grades of skateboarding that ranges from pissweak to mind blowing. I am under no illusion to which end of the scale my “skill” lies. But that is largely irrelevant.

Skateboarding is difficult. It doesn’t get easier as the teeth marks of time leave their scars. I have been finding myself staying in second gear a fair bit. I thought with the milestone of 40 hovering on the horizon I should try and get some photos together to push my skateboarding. Enough of second gear, every now and then you have to dump the clutch and sink the boot in.

Thank you to Duncan Ewington (@ewingram) for his patience and for all the photographs. It’s rad to have mates like you keeping the stoke alive.

Same goes for all my extended skate family, particularly the Grim Creepers and NSC crew. Y’all bring the juice to a session. I appreciate it immensely. Nothing better than to hit the road with you lot.

Shout out to my younger brother, and also mentor, Hugh. We share the same birthday. I’ll do a Respect Where Due on him when his broken wrist mends.

I have to thank my gorgeous wife Jo. As I rapidly accelerate through my mid life crisis into old age I couldn’t hope for a better person to share the experience with.

“Skateboarding doesn’t make you a skateboarder; not being able to stop skateboarding makes you a skateboarder.” Lance Mountain

No Comply in Collingwood

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Dodging Friday night St Kilda pedestrains and an awful run up. Slappy

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Pole schloop

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Why do I look so terrified? Wall ride under the rail line

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This bowl is very difficult. So much fun though! Slash at Bowlriders HQ

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Country Creepin’ part three : Tamworth Country Music

The weather was going to shite, so there was no point camping another night in the Blue Mountains. After studying the forecasts and the radar I thought I could boot through to Tamworth and miss it. Last time I headed to Tamworth I got caught in one hell of a hailstorm. I wasn’t keen to end up in the same predicament. It wasn’t easy convincing my insurer that the matte black finish on my car was factory and I didn’t want to roll that dice again.

The Putty Road is epic. Hairpin corners, 100km/h limited and beautiful Dapto forest. It is in the top ten roads in the country. There are a bunch of car graveyards in peoples front yards so it a photographers dream. I didn’t have much luck, and the storm hit a few hours earlier than forecast. It was pretty severe! A road that was meant to be a highlight was a bit of a nightmare. Putty Road has it’s own memorial site, it is a stretch of tarmac to be respected.

The storm front. I had to head right up the guts of it.

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I pulled in here and had a rest. It was well played, I dodged the hailstorm front by fifteen minutes.

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I ended up making it to Tamworth after a very stressful drive. It was where I was raised, it is always a bit nostalgic. Country Music Week sees the town double in size. I reckon the council and hoteliers have become a bit greedy. They are price gouging for accommodation and stalls. The buskers have to pay to audition, then pay if they pass the audition to busk. The crap buskers are part of the appeal and there was hardly any buskers at all. If the main clientelle of the event are grey nomads on a pension, then price hikes will have a detrimental impact.

Anyhow, we saw some great bands. I always go and see Uncle Bob’s Jug Band. Hillbilly AC>DC covers and the like.

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People drank out of a leg, and I had a beer with a one armed bloke named Wingy

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Murphy’s Pigs were my favourite.

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I can’t believe a didn’t get a photo of my old man. Blowing it. I took a photo of Cam though

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It is always a pleasure to catch up with my old mates Troy and Ricky. I’ve known them since I was in early high school. They are fortunate to have great families and it is great to see them. I was chuffed that they made the effort to throw a BBQ and we had a rad afternoon.

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After the temperature dropped below 40 we got stuck in. Anaky has got the fire for it and has improved heaps since last year. Shredding!

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Troy was ripping. Sweeper

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Texas plants

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Getting the speed for the sketchy extension was really hard!

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Ricky manhandled the thing

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His boneless ones into the extension were rad

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Then the fire came out!

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I’ve been fortunate to shoot some incredible skaters doing some heavy moves in my time. I reckon this is one of my favourite photos though. Ricky’s daughter Mat challenging herself and overcoming her fears!

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Thanks to Dad, Robin, Troy, Ricky, Tina, Maire, Anaky, Mat and Joey. See you next time!

Country Creepin’ part two: The Blue Mountains

I pointed the trusty WRX at the Kiama mountain pass and fanged it toward Katoomba. I lived in Katoomba for a year. I was at a real crisis point in my life, and I was kinda loosing it. Katoomba let me retreat and rebuild myself. It was a very dark period and a healing period at the same time. Healing? Mainly healing from my own stupidity and shithouse choices if I’m honest.

I perhaps needed to spend more time there to properly asses the place. It is always captivating and beautiful, however it had lost a little of its bohemian charm. The ice age had hit the place, and burnt out hippies and shabby lad dickheads gronked up the vibe. Again, I needed to spend more time in the place, and take my nose out of my book or glass of wine and get to know the current locals better. I’ll reserve my judgement at this point.

Terrain? Oh hell yeah! There is so much stuff to skate. Weird, fun and challenging stuff.

Lawson is my favourite. I would love to hit here with the crew. I had a fun dork around on my lonesome

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The best warm up spot ever? Katoomba mini bowl thingie

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Katoomba park was always pretty crappy. The DIY style makeover is total fun

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I set up camp at Ingar Billabong

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The road in got quite challenging at times

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The food is always spectacular. The bush is the highlight though. I awoke at dawn to have the mountains to myself. Aboriginal people from far and wide brought their sick here to heal. The eucalypt trees fill the air with an invigorating scent, intensified by the mist.

The mist rolled in through the valleys

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The rocks opals as the sun hits

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The stairs

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And the blue

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And the Eucalyptus

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