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: 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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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 one: Jugiong and Wollongong

Am I an angry fellow? I think not. With the weight of making small talk with people I don’t know, or care to learn about, I get a little feisty. I spend a lot of hours a week doing this. It’s a part of my life I am rectifying mind you. I’m not about to unleash and start beating people about the head, but internally the scenario does play out.

I’m ok…Really I am.

It is remedied by hitting the road. Once the car is packed I exhale, feel a little lighter. I turn over the ignition and head north. I’ve got 3000kms of well chosen back roads and destinations in a capable beast. It is always a lonesome feeling kissing the wife goodbye, but she isn’t fond of spending the days at skateparks and then sleeping by the river. I sure am. Solitude is good for the conciousness anyhow.

I booted through to Jugiong, to camp by the Murrumbidgee.

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I met Col, and he showed my his travelling companion. He has owned this vehicle for 35 years. It was no show car, but i couldn’t see a ding or imperfection.

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I drifted off to sleep due to a mixture of Hank Williams and good shiraz. Swags are the way to travel. You can still see the stars before you drift off.

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I headed towards Wollongong via the Macquarie Pass

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I caught up with one of my oldest and best mates Tim. We first rode skateboards together in an abandoned metal halfpipe made for industrial forming of concrete. We were 12. We turn 40 this year. It’s always so good to heckle each other and have a schralp. We meet up at Berkley

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It is a fun park, but overrun by ratty scooter kids. I ended up having a run in with a bogan mum after trying to teach her kid some etiquette. It is killing skateparks, the culture has outlived them and is under threat. It ruined our skate a little, but we still had fun. Tim on the trigger

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Front feebs

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It was so hard to get four wheels on this thing. Tim got some

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Tim’s wife Clem cooked up great food for us and I lurked the beach. We then hit Helensburg. It was a early 2000’s park, super fun lines. There ended up being quite the session. The Witchcraft team rocked up and destroyed it. So much stuff went down on the big vert wall to bank, I wasn’t going to poach photos

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I got a tail block before the rain on the steep roll in.

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And this chap did effortless textbook front rocks. I’ll find out who he is! He was from Spain

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Respect where due: Mudguts

Mudguts is a man of few words. Carefully chosen, but few. He will be the last one rolling the spot, trying to get that last trick. Long after everyone else has decided it is time to take a seat and heckle. On our recent camping trip he skated for a solid 12 hours…Yep 12. He might look life a ruff nut, but the truth is he is a cat loving softy. Nothing wrong with that! Mind you he will fire up if provoked in true ginger form.

It’s pretty hard to take a shite photo of Muddy. Everything is done clean and with speed. If you follow The Grim Creepers he gets a fair few photos featured. Stoked for more sessions in 2016

Mudguts, ladys man

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A noisy, lenghty feeble at The Ring Of Fire

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Smith at the cruel but fair Pearcedale

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Crail at Sommerton on the same day

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Back D at Deer Park

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Frontside feeble through the corner at Lara

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Slappy gap out yesterday at Citypark

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NSC X GC Peninsular lurking

Trying to get ourselves sorted and organised for a skate weekend away is a nightmare in logistics. It’s like herding cats, but the cats in zero gravity and there are biscuits floating everywhere to distract them.

We finally got our shit together and made some loose plans, stocked up the chilly bins and leaned heavily on Bristol Nick to take care of our infrastructure and resources. He stepped up to the plate superbly.

We were all having such a great time that we didn’t take heaps of photos. Duncan (@ewigram) and Tom Peden (@tommypeden) and I pooled our photos. Make sure you follow them on insta if you don’t already. Tom was injured, hence why there are no handsome back tail photos.

I won’t babble on as there is a load of photos to get through.

First stop, the underrated Chelsea. Now with shade sails

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Heaps of rad stuff happened, and my meh grind on the skinny extension. Photo @ewigram

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Then we had a mellow session at Mt Eliza under lights, cooked up, drank up and camped next to the bowl.

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After a 6:30am swim we had a leg stretcher. Mudguts barefoot barging

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And a decent length backside lipslide into the hip

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Heckle area warmed up before we moved on

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The heckling continued

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Pearcedale is so fun, yet snaps everyone off. Everytime. Jesse smiths

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Mudguts got loose

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Duncan lapped one. @tommypeden photo. Cracker of a shot!

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@ewigram shot these next four bangers. Cunnaz Liened one as a gnarly transfer

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Gez rocked @ewigram photo

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Dan slid one through the tight corner. @ewigram photo

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Mudguts rolled into the harshness @ewigram photo

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We then hit a little park called Sommerton. Cunnaz always wants moar Slayer

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Jesse has the best long as five-0 to fakies

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And switch 5-0’s

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Chris step off finger flip

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Ducky worked super hard to clear this gap. He had it in him, but didn’t get it. So damn close!

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He got retribution with this nosegrind pop out. @tommypeden photo

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Mudguts played all weekend. Crail

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Got the gap in his efforts to set a fire under Ducky. They amped each other up

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We set off for the paradise that is Balnarring

The flat bank triangle is rad. Dan with a backside heelflip @tommypeden photo

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Cunnaz with a kicky to fakie @tommypeden photo

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I did a no-comply @tommypeden photo

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and a tail block. @tommypeden photo

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Chris lapped a front rock proper @ewigram photo

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As did Bristol @tommypeden photo

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Mudguts nosegrab. First and last man rolling for the 12+ hour day. @tommypeden photo

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Duncan with a switch frontside shuv @tommypeden photo

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Punkpete shut it down with this banger over the gap

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And at the wee hours of the morning we polished off the last of the whiskey and hit the hay @tommypeden photo

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Cheers for the great times gents!