Respect Where Due: Josh “Morph” Malthus

Over the many years I have known Morph he has always held the throttle wide open. Full speed, one hundred percent committed and head first. There is no hesitation of caution about his skateboarding, and he is not intimidated by brutal terrain. He will cop a beating on a trick that will make your eyes water, he won’t stop until he rolls away in his trademark crouched style.

All these photographs were taken over a couple of days on the road in the South Island of New Zealand. He was nursing an injury, I had seen him a couple of months before with a full cast on his ankle to his knee and a cane. That didn’t stop him rolling into Lynfield bowl!

He may look like a Warlock’s understudy, but he is a kind hearted, considered bloke and loyal to his friends.

Hope to roll with you again soon mate

Textbook boosted boneless

Then a 270 boneless one

Stalefish in Grom Boy’s front yard

A very loud layback smith

Layback five 0 on a brutal vert wall.

Flapped out frontside air

Respect Where Due Revisited: Tim “Cunnaz” Cunneen

I reckon it’s about time I did a few more of these. The last one on Cunnaz was 5 years ago. Has old mate slowed down? No chance. Sure, he has a spawn now, but fatherhood has not taken the fizz out of his Fanta fuelled veins. It is rad to see him embrace his new role as well.

The “Respect Where Due” articles were really about giving a nod to the underground rippers. Those skaters that everyone respects, that throw it down during the session, time after time. Most of these photographs are from our recent New Zealand trip you can check out here.

Cunnaz absolutely slayed it. Ten days on the road, ripping it up every single spot. Damn good road company too, keeping the yarns and vibes rolling along as we chalked up the kilometres.

I’ll let the images do the talking, and endeavour to keep these going.

This hip was a really harsh blend, old crusty west coast battered concrete. Steep as. Blasting after ten days straight.

Hucking a solid melon in Wanaka, before cooling off in the river. Les Hiddins attire.

It took me a million goes to chicken scratch here. Go there, it’s fucked. Back tail that would have to be an NBD

Back d’s on lock. How’s the serenity?

This think is jacked. No idea how he got into that bit. Pitted.

Mild in the Streets. 42, Don’t Panic

Since I turned 40 I have tasked myself with getting a few skate photos together, with my birthday being the deadline. Perhaps one day I can stitch my face in each of them together into a time lapse, so you can see me turn into Voldemort from Billie Corgan.

Underwhelming as it is, I am ok with my skateboarding. I know where my level fits into the greater scheme of things and these are my limits to push. Is what it is.

Thank you to my old friend Duncan Ewington for his patience and for always coming through with excellent photographs. I’m sure going to miss our regular rolls and your stoke.

I work pretty hard to maintain my pop. I have a weird looking pre skate stretch routine. I try not to make eye contact during it. Ollie into some cool obstacle

Back boneless on a roof. “You should get higher” Yeah sure, you go skate it.

Arty tail block on a crusty spot

Slappy stand up. The best feeling trick ever. This was on a solid 8/10 hangover

I’ve seen some heavy stuff go down on this. This is just an ollie

You have to go super fast into this. I landed proper on both my shins going pretty quick so I was so stoked to roll away. Slappy fifty fifty onto the road

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Nothing better than hitting the road. Disagree? Your opinion is invalid. It is a spec in the distance of the rear view mirror. Shrinking, disappearing. Like the troubles, anxieties or fucks to be given.

It hasn’t been as easy to get the crew together. I’m putting it down to the silly season and newborns and so forth. Once the dust settles on 2017 crew should be easier to muster. I bloody hope so.

Anyhow, we headed North East across to the alpine grazing region of the state, to drink beer, eat BBQ, heckle our friends lying in pain on the concrete and occasional skateboarding.

These guys had the right idea, except they were taking away all the good bits about motorcycles and adding a death pod. I snapped this whilst eating an AM pie.

First stop Yea. Scotty swept after hooning through Flowerdale in his SS ute. Cheers for driving mate!

Old mate turned up in a bee-keeper hat

On to Mansfield. It is a chilled little park in a sleepy tourist town. We begun to make the place our own with an urban camping attitude and gypsy flair

The kicker to kicker was longer than most. Kinda challenging. Old mate Gez emerged from the forest to snag it

Bristol battled for it. It was his 32 birthday we were celebrating

Jake rocked up with a fresh haircut and killer new whip. Steezed

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Street Morris is on a warpath. Back 180

Boardie to fakie first shot

Scotty ripping the gap from the bowl

Cunnaz is always going to kill it

Fiddy on Mr Plow

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Bonk to melon

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We lit the place up, shared (mostly) the same old yarns and showered under a livestock bore. We camped in a school yard due to a lack of options. The next day we found a hangover cure and washed away our shame.

Thanks gents, always a pleasure

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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