Melbourne is consistently named the world’s most liveable city; but by whom? The Economist, Wikipedia, The New York Times? None of that shit matters if you are a skateboarder. We see the city from a whole different perspective.
Article from Slam Issue 211, 2016. Words by Anthony Mapstone.
Despite the loss of some very iconic street spots, Melbourne remains the place to be for anyone who wants to go further with skateboarding, or to simply enjoy it more. Over the past year, Melburnians have had many longstanding spots taken away – Tiles, Block City, suburban DIYs, and most recently, Lincoln Square. After suffering the loss of so many of these quality spots in such a short timeframe, will we see a decline in the city’s skateboarding scene? Not possible. Skateboarders will still be found on every street corner, and the amount of photos and footage from here will continue to burst at the seams, onto screens and into magazines.
The city is constantly expanding. If you tilt your head upwards here you’ll see cranes that tower from Docklands to East Melbourne. Where cranes are present, new buildings are created, and with that comes new spots. And new spots means more skateboarding, photos, footage, and good times.
Not only is the city expanding, but the inner and outer suburbs are also growing. With new skateparks being built every other month, and new street spots appearing in these small suburban areas, many of these areas were untapped, but they have surfaced with an abundance of productivity from local skaters.
As manager of a city skate shop, I see skaters from all over Asia, Europe and North America arriving here on a seemingly daily basis. The smooth surfaces and young age of the city appeals to Europeans, and the plazas appeal to those from Japan, Korea and Thailand. Skateboarders from the US are just stoked to be able to skate without getting arrested on the regular.
Every weekend I usually meet new skaters that aren’t just visiting Melbourne to skate, but they’re migrating here, especially the Kiwis. It’s great to see that Melbourne has had such an impact on skateboarders from all over the world – enough of an impact to encourage crew to leave their lives behind. Will this impact last?
We have a few obstacles ahead – namely, angry old CBD residents complaining to the council about skateboarders. This is something I’m sure every urban skateboarding landscape faces, but I say ‘send it’ to the anti-skateboarding campaigners. We’ll fight back with raw street skating, amazing creativity, and downright fun on the board. Skateboarders have played a part in making this city what it is today, whether the general public can admit that or not.
We’ve entered the cooler months of the year, as well as some high rainfall periods. Sure this will affect the skating, but once again, we always seem to branch out with our creativity and find, or build, or uncover new vibes to keep the good times rolling. Prepare yourself with a coffee or a frothy, kick back, get comfy and take a glimpse into some of the razor-sharp skating that is going on here. I’m certain the photographs will impress you enough to forcibly push you to skate these streets or book a trip with da boys here, right away.
Melbourne – you fashionable, arty, skateable big piece of ooh la la!
Callum Paul, ollie up to gap to frontside noseslide. Photo by Bryce Golder.
The word ‘bonkers’ comes to mind as I caption this pic. The trick is bonkers. The skater is bonkers. CP is known around the world for his unique style of skating Melbourne’s CBD. When I talk with skaters from Japan, the UK, and the US, they always ask if I have seen Callum Paul skate. Shit, if only they knew how much of Callum’s head I have seen over the past 10 or so years! His Pass~Port clip and Syd’s Glory Ride vid have made this avid Collingwood fan’s skateboarding go viral. The little Batman headband-wearing, arm in a sling, long flowing blond-haired character continues to push the boundaries on a skateboard. Callum has definitely influenced a lot of big-name US pros who have adopted his trick selection in their video parts. His many aliases on social media may come and go, but his original and creative style of skating (based on fun) will remain for a long time to come.
Jack Kirk, kickflip. Photo by Bryce Golder.
Here is an OG Melbourne skate rat that grew up to have one of the sickest styles in our beautiful city. Jack is a funny bugger. He’s also great to skate with because he fucks with everyone, which is awesome. He brings so much laughter to a session. Laughter will also erupt after he lands a mind-blowing trick that most of us can’t even fathom. As long as I have known Jack, he has always had a strong work ethic. Working six days a week, with a 4am start, he also has his own company that he runs on the side. Beer Money is made solely to have a brand just for da boys. From the number of Beer Money stickers plastered all over Melbourne, you can see the respect and support he has. Here’s Jack kickflipping a set of stairs right in the CBD, shot by his longtime bud, Bryce Golder.
Jimmy Roche, 50-50. Photo by Andrew Mapstone.
This “how are ya, yeah nah, not much” originally from the Gold Coast made his move to Melbourne around eight years ago. Jim and I have had our fair share of skates and skate trips together. Talk about big pop and an even bigger bag of tricks. Jimmy6balls is one of those guys where if you point out that he could do a certain trick over a certain obstacle, he’ll look a little puzzled and think you’re talking shit. Then he’ll give it a crack, and surprise, surprise, he’ll nail it with ease. This 50-50 was actually a situation where the tables had turned. I thought, Yeah nah, I don’t think anyone could grind up and across that. This bar shook like a 40-year-old housewife’s vibrator with brand new batteries. And if you look closely at the landing you will see another bar that you have to narrowly dodge as you pop out, or you need to grind longer to clear it and enable a downhill glory ride. On top of that, you also have to deal with pedestrians walking up and down that path every two minutes, school kids heckling from the train platform, and some rain moving in on this particular day. None of this bothered the 6balls, though. Grindy up and acrossy completely.
Corey Leso, ollie over to sign ride. Photo by Jason Morey.
Sometimes it’s hard to think of new things to skate or shoot photos of, but eventually, a light bulb starts flashing. Hey, let’s grab that sign from The Arena of Goddesses and Pleasure, along with that pallet, and set up a wheelchair ramp to bank landing. I’m sure everyone already knows about their amazing service anyway, right? They won’t mind us using this at all. Originally from Wollongong, but now a permanent resident of Melbourne, Corey Leso busts a nut; I mean, ollie off this makeshift wheelchair ramp into one of the sauciest landings I’ve seen. For some strange reason, I keep looking at that landing area and start typing a number into my phone’s keypad – hmm.
Dean Johnston, wallie over and in. Sequence by Jason Morey.
This foodie bike courier has come a long way since taking out the grassroots comps that I used to run for kids. I made sure we always had gluten-free sausages for him on the sizzle. The constantly smiling ‘Dean’s Beanie’, as he has been nicknamed, bungs out a mad wallie into the bank at an undisclosed Melbourne location.
Photo by Casey Foley.
Geoff Campbell, switch front blunt. Photo by Casey Foley.
Cunnie rips. Originally from Dunedin, New Zealand, Geoff has lived in Melbourne for over 10 years now. Skating Lincoln Square was a great attraction for him to move here, so it’s only fitting for his trick in this article to be on the three stair out ledge. Ducky captured this shot during the Tricks for Beers comp on the last Saturday at Lincoln before it was destroyed. Geoff is incredibly dedicated to skateboarding. He has mad ’90s gear and he can skate pretty much anything. He is also one of the most dedicated filmers I’ve known in a while – he will persevere for hours in order to film his mates. After he’s secured their clips he’ll jump on the board and put his own tricks down. Anyone who films would know how hard it is to try and get tricks after you’ve been filming someone try a line for two hours solid. Your body is stiff and you have to start the warm-up process all over again. It doesn’t seem to faze Geoff, though. He’ll slip off his slip-ons, put his shred kicks on and hit it. Keep an eye out for more of Geoff and his video work in his up-and-coming releases. Let’s see what he has in store for us after ruling with Cunnies Box and $21.50.
Photo by Casey Foley.
Tom Snape, fake five-o. Photo by Andrew Mapstone.
Snape G is the man. No question about it. Another Kiwi turned Melburnian. I remember my brother, Andrew, asking Tom to shoot this pic at the last Lincoln Square barbecue. Tom’s response was a smile and a nod of the head. He waited for Andrew to stand in the middle of the tram tracks and popped into quite a few of these no worries. This ledge was high, but not a problem for Snape G. He did it cruising around the whole plaza, shot after shot after shot, without breaking a sweat or nada. Tom is one smooth skater, the real deal, and great to watch. And by this, I mean when he skates, you end up sitting down and watching or basically throwing your board back in the car. I filmed this on my phone, but no Insta for this. You’ll see it when it comes out in Geoff Campbell’s new vid.
Scotty Standley, ollie. Photo by Andrew Mapstone.
Another Melbourne landmark overhauled. This time by a surfy looking bloke, while a creeper wearing dark polarised lenses lurks behind in the background. I have no idea how Scotty managed to squeeze in the time to execute this lengthy ollie from the top of the stairs, over the kinked Hubba, and then thread the needle of the poles at the landing. By finding time, I mean in between the amount of wedding photos that go down on this exact set of stairs. Surely he could have waited until some voluptuous bridesmaids used the stairs to show some leg; for the readers’ benefit, of course. He also did well to get this photo with the amount of security patrols, due to the fact it is the Treasury building. Maybe the boy from Ballina, who has been living in Melbourne for the past five years, was just trying to impress the photographer shooting, who also gives him free shoes. I think it worked.
James Hall, bluntslide to fake. Photo by Andrew Mapstone.
Another kid from the Goldy, James Hall has been living in Melbourne for around three or four years now and has really embraced the Melbourne fashion scene. I mean, skateboarding scene. James’ fashion speaks for itself – it is unique, interesting, and so far out there to perfectly complement his skating and personality. James is one of the nicest people you will meet in skateboarding, and he’s also a funny guy to watch skate after a certain amount of liquid. This kid can skate anything, from gnarly long handrails, kinked trannied bowls, the Globe mini on his lunch breaks, or even rough suburban carpark banks, such as this one. Coincidently, my brothers and I used to skate these banks back in the late ’80s when we had lappers on our trucks to help us get up the gutter at the bottom – true story – cool, thanks for reading. The gutter is bloody annoying, so you either have to put a sign down to skate it or get your hot blond mate to tow you from his motorbike.
Ben Currie, tailslide kickflip out. Sequence by Andrew Mapstone.
How do you like your noodles? Spicy? Cold? Hot? Or Curried? Ben Currie noodles, that is. Ben has an amazing noodle-like head of hair. There have been times where I have mistaken his noggin for the lead singer’s of Twisted Sister (Dee Snider), my older sister, or even the old love-ballad swooner, Michael Bolton. To add to his curly characteristics, Ben is also a bloody nutcase on the board. He’s sending my brother and I broke with the amount of XEN decks he goes through. I’m sure you can see why if you watch his Gooch Street parts, or his winning clip that entitled him to a free trip to the US, courtesy of the Volcom Wild in the Parts comp. He skates at a hectic pace and hucks on the regular – whether it’s at a skate spot or in JC’s backyard via Pat Roberts’ Snapchat. Here he is with a front tail – a slide that looks longer than the drive to his home in Berwick – and then kickflipping out to the road. Bloody hell, mate, simmer the Currie noodles down.
Tristan Walker, nosegrind pop out. Photo by Andrew Mapstone.
One of my best mates. Here is another true blue Aussie who works six days a week, yet still manages to skate almost every day after work. He’s also an amazing father to two awesome kids and the ultimate husband to a great lady. If he’s not ‘slaying bricks’ at new estates, he’s out filming with his Boky/Camberwell crew, or with us older blokes having a good old yarn about riddlers and riddled moments in time. Tris is so Melbourne. Whenever we talk about going on a road trip somewhere, he always manages to point out how good Melbourne is to skate, and why we probably don’t need to go anywhere else. Here he is sorting out a window ledge in Docklands on an otherwise tumbleweed day in this area of Melbourne, known as a Sunday. Rock up in the ute, park it, warm up by doing every flip trick goofie and then regular, Smith grind the ledge, get the nosegrind pop out, and head home to the wife, kids, and a glorious six-pack. You beauty.
Anthony Mapstone, backside ollie. Photo by Andrew Mapstone.
How do you caption your own skate photo? I don’t know? Seems a bit me, me, me, selfielike, huh? Here’s my attempt: We used to drive all the way out to the eastern suburbs to skate this transitioned wall back in the late ’90s. Since then it has been attempted to be rendered unskateable. But is it unskateable? No. Skateboarders always find a way to skate the unskateable. In this particular instance, I struggled to step outside the realms of what I thought was doable. Finally, I decided to try and ollie over the bar that they bolted into the bank to obstruct skateboarders. It seemed to work fine, and thank god my brother was there to shoot it fisheye and make it look way better than my skating actually was on the day. The landing is super tight and I’m sure that someone much younger than me could get more tech on it, but they would have to do it swiftly. We were kicked out by a timid security guard who was actually impressed by the skating. He was friendly, so we left as soon as I got the trick and he apologised to us for spoiling our fun. No worries, mate. We will be back another day for a kickflip over it.
Quayde Baker, switch frontside shove-it. Photo by Bryce Golder.
Quayde kills it. Have you seen his section in UBG Vol. 1? If not, buy it, watch it three times in a row, go skate while you’re feeling the hype from his footage, and then crack a beer for Quayde. Originally from WA, with NZ roots, Quayde, aka Shorlee, took to Melbourne like a 17-year-old girl takes to a free fake ID. He’s only lived here for around two years, but has accomplished a lot on his board in that time. I was told by quite a few that he cleared this barrier by a mile and rolled away switch like a true G. All hail, Quayde.
Nathan Jackson, kickflip. Photo by Jason Morey.
This is a flipping photo, kickflipping that is, that really stands out to me. This tall Brisbane boy has been residing in Melbourne for two years and six months to the day, he tells me. Nate Mate knows how to make Goldsborough Walk more visually appealing for anyone looking to rent an apartment on this strip. It could be a great selling point for real estate agents looking at leasing flats here: “This stunning two bedroom apartment overlooks the exact location of the legendary kickflip performed by Nathan Jackson in 2016. It was executed over the huge handrail and into the steep street, where he rolled away with that famously big smile on his dial.” That would surely raise rental prices. Location, location, location!
Greg Stewart, 360 flip to fakie. Photo by Andrew Mapstone.
A typical 40-year-old man on a day off would normally sleep in, watch the footy, suck back some beers, eat junk food, have a nap, get it on with the bored Mrs, squeeze in a game of pool with a round of darts, and then pass out at around nine at night with a long neck and souvlaki in the bed. Well, not for this lead-footed Lexus-driving, camouflage cargo pant-wearing, sauvignon blanc-swilling, unorthodox skateboard setup-riding, one-of-a kind language-yelling, never short of a 36-hour night out story-telling, blacklisted from two taxi companies and barred from 10 bars around the Melbourne CBD, Dolph Lundgren look-alike, Timberland boot-wearing gentleman. After 30 years in the skateboarding game, Gregsie, The Vibe, shows no signs of slowing down on the board. He has more energy and finesse than most skaters in their early 20s. Here he’s at the dirtiest, sketchiest warehouse, skating a riddled bank, with taped up signs at the bottom, all in order to get a photo of his most consistent move, the tré flip. Sure enough, he nailed it, many times, and kept doing it better for the visual atmosphere. This bloke is a card that won’t ever be dealt with in a negative way. His positivity, in the crappiest situations, always remains high.
Ben Harriss, hardflip to fakie. Photo by Greg Stewart.
What happens when a 10-year-old boy from Fairfield in Melbourne watches the movie Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol for the first time nearly three decades ago? If you haven’t seen it, the ’80s classic had the Bones Brigade street skating in it. Side note: Tony Hawk was fired from this film because he was too tall to play a stunt double for lil David Spade. Before I digress further, a young collector of Star Wars, Transformers and He-Man toys watched the film and was blown away by the skating. He sold the aforementioned toys at the Camberwell markets for 50 cents each to save up for his very first skateboard. Of course, he didn’t make nearly enough, so he did chores for his mother for one month, flat out, to obtain the right amount to buy a pro setup from Snake Pit skate shop. That same kid skated the brand new board all day, every day, until five days later when his prized setup was stolen from under his feet while he watched the Prahran Ramp Riot. Twenty-nine years on and that same kid is still out in the streets. In this picture, he’s putting his one raised eyebrow, and crooked top lip into action, while busting poppy hardflips on a makeshift bank at a new artistic, soon to be iconic, Melbourne location – captured by his oldest skate bud behind the lens, Gregsie. That kid is now the man, Ben Harriss.
Tim Williams, backside tailslide. Photo by Jason Morey.
Is it bad of me to point out that this is my favourite pic in the article? Just look at the half-American/half-Australian with freshly peroxided hair skating. Then there’s the gap out to land in back tail difficulty on a temporary spot, which only lasted a week or so. There’s the sketchy, flexi, take-off kicker and the proximity to Lincoln Square, where this gourmet chef always barbecued for da boys. All of that, and the quality of this crisp photo, culminates to my pick of the bunch for this feature. Tim, aka Gucci Buck, has really made a name for himself since he moved to Melbourne from San Diego a few years back, and we are all stoked to have him here. I mean us skaters, and maybe a few Tinder friends he’s met. Ah, moving right along. Give it up, for Gucci Buck.
Bryce Golder, wallie into the side bank. Photo by Andrew Mapstone.
Dirty, rundown, broken, rough, cracked, tight, old, but fun. No, I’m not describing myself, but the spot that this ex-Alphington resident, now dog-box dwelling Fitzroy local is skating. Here, in typical Golder fashion, is the man who works magic on the other side of the lens, hoisting a wallie off a vertical wall, through two pillars, and into a tight little bank. Not exactly the hardest trick for ‘Bruce Sliver’, but extremely difficult for anyone else. It is always a great time skating with and watching my favourite team rider. Oh, did I just write that? Yes, it seems so. Bryce has been on my shop team since back in the PSC days. He was also the first guy to say that he’d skate for whichever shop I work at when PSC was closing its doors. Since then, Bryce has had many accomplishments: such as a model on Habitat, numerous video parts, photos in US magazines, and countless productive projects involving his stylish form of skateboarding. He goes the extra mile. He works six days a week, and while he zips around in his work van he searches for spots to skate or shoot pics of his mates skating. Bryce is the epitome of a Melbourne street skater who also excels at any form of transition skating. It seems fitting that someone of his calibre should close this chapter covering our great city.
Photo by Casey Foley.