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

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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

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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Respect where due: Duncan “The Baron” Ewington

Skateboarding is difficult.

As the teeth marks of time leave their scars it gets a little harder. Sometimes you need a grown man grommet to get you off the couch. You need a little encouragement to ditch your responsibilities and go for a roll. Someone who has that spark in their tone of voice when they are embelishing details of a new spot. A mate who is as stoked as their fifteen year old self when they set up a new board, taking a step back to look at it.

Duncan is that mate.

Photographer, tattooist, gardener, Musician, BBQ host and creator of The Cream. He wears many hats.

Above all else, he is a skateboarder.

On one of the many road trips in search of new terrain. Young skatepark is a ripper!

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Howard grind at the Uno DIY

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Joeless one at Deer Park

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No comply after a sesh at Reservoir

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Hazard plant at Bathurst

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Frontside nose blunt slide at Brunswick, on his birthday yesterday

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Cuntry Fangin’ Part One: Millthorpe Bound

For some, chanting mantras brings their mind stillness. Being in the present, not troubling yourself with the future or the past. What is done is done and predicting the future is futile, yet the mind feebly churns over the details like it has relevance. The present, that fleeting moment where your mind is still and content with the task at hand, that my friends is what life is about.

Let’s not sugar coat it, chanting mantras is pretty bloody dull. I’m not alone in having a chuckle at the happy clappers in church getting lost in the evangelical trancendance of hymns. Hey no judgement here it’s just not for me. It’s all a means to an end, being lost in the present. The now. No more no less.

When you are on full boost exiting a corner in a high performance car, launching a motor bike, playing guitar on stage, sparring in boxing, painting or being moved by a musician…you are not thinking about when the gas bill is due. You are transfixed by the concentration of the enjoyable task at hand.

I am fortunate to surround myself with passionate people that grab life by the horns in a variety of ways. Sure, we all get caught in the mundane. Some would argue that physical pursuits are fleeting and temporary, and the consciousness itself should be nurtured. Yeah maybe, but I am no Yogi. I’m sure a full speed, just hanging on grind feels as good as it can get. That is my meditation.

Forgive me, I digress. It was time to escape the task of earning a living and hit the road. This should serve to light a fire under the arse of my skateboarding brethren to come along next time, we could have hit more spots with more crew. We had quality company and some Kms to slay, so we packed our gear and hit the road.

We had a burger and a leg stretch at the border. These drains looked promising, but no dice. Sick graff though

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Duncan hit the whippy bits with a front rock

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We then arrived at Wagga Wagga. Great chill park

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Duncan got to work and embraced his inner Ed T

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Duncan snapped a Front Feebs of me

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Cunnaz manhandled the jersey

Wallie

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Back smith

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Old mate shut down the session with a thong clad banger. Huck and exhale!

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We stocked the chilly bins and headed for the campsite. A bath in the river and a cook up. Light a fire and tell tall yarns

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We awoke in a serene environment…I took old man photographs.

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Could have done without the brutal calls of these dicks. Shit birds!

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After some internet reconnaissance we headed for Young, which wasn’t even on our radar. Some single lane road fangin’ was had, we even got a little air at one point!

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Filled up for gas and went here, it was pretty crap

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And then found Young. Behold!

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Duncan snagged a Howard grind on a cool obstacle

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Feebs in the ripper of a bowl.

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I gave the pocket a tickle. Thanks Duncan for the photo

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The local solitary skater was stoked to have some crew in town!

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Trev chilled

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And of course, old mate Cunnaz slayed the joint.

Grind up to fiddy, this obstacle was no joke!

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Fangin’ over the hip

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Charging!

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…and then on to my favourite bowl in NSW. Millthorpe. A tucked away great little food and wine town of about 800 people. The pump track is a hoot, and the bowl just works

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Duncan shot these before I had too many beers. The cradle is tight with a waterfall, so fun.

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No comply

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Duncan got a couple of publishable photos of Cunnaz here, I missed the action and was happy to heckle

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Back 180 up the step up

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And Duncan snagged a blunt slide behind the cradle

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And then it was time to cook up and set up camp for the evening, right next to the bowl. The lightning stayed on the horizon and all was good in the world.

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