The Adam Kola Story (Pt 2)

This is by far not everything I have in my back catalogue. After scanning relentlessly through almost 1000 rolls of film or more it has been an amazing history lesson for myself.  Forgotten memories flooding back I realised it was almost an impossible task to digitise everything and then make a selection. Every photo I stared at and admired means a lot and has an amazing back story so below are just a few of those.
Thank you to everyone I have ever photographed and I apologise if you are not in this selection. You have allowed me to develop my hobby and in turn combine the two favourite things in my world, blading and photography!

Words and photography: Adam Kola
Read the first part of Adam’s interview here:

Alex Broskow bank to topsoul which was part of his Booted feature that we did last year, 2014.

This was my first USD UK tour which was the start of many more. Fun times with my best friends. Shot in the backyard of Tom Martin’s house in Devon. Originally published in Unity Mag around 2004.

This skatepark is somewhere in the midlands UK. This was my first time meeting these guys besides Oli and was alot of fun. I think this tour was to promote Tory’s skate, circa 2004 and printed in Unity Mag.

Frazer Watson escaping a drenching in London Bridge. I believe this would be around 2005.

For 2 years myself, Simon Cox and Brian Barron would escape the UK winter and move to San Clemente, California for 3 months. In 2006 Dan Mclaren did the same with Tom Portas and Will Willson. Dan is one amusing character with alot of skill on the blades. This is the infamous Dana Point kink and if you look closely he’s got a cig chilling between his fingers.

During a Roces tour throughout Europe which was joined by other teams I got the pleasure of shooting Samo Bajec, a european legend, 2004.

Albert Hooi always put a show on during the IMYTA events, many of which he was victorious. This was a rare glimpse of the pain he’d suffer afterwards, stone cold killer.

Albert Hooi at the Amsterdam IMYTA.

It’s quite an honour to have this shot in my archive. I was asked to head down to meet up with Richard Taylor and shoot a Xmas themed photo for a potential cover. I had never met Rich before and quite honestly very nervous to do this as I had always looked up to him, I remember watching him on British TV morning shows growing up. Safe to say he was an absolute star and this was run in December 2003.

After touring throughout the UK, Tory decided to stay on and we decided to head to Barcelona for a few days. This was around the time Heat was beginning. Great weekend away and was my second time discovering Barcelona. Unpublished, November 2004.

As mentioned in my interview, Ben Schwab came to visit for a few weeks and this was shot during that period. Oli and Ben, Manchester 2007.

I always liked the thought of doing team shots on one roll of film, this was an attempt of a few of the Conference guys, October 2008.

Nicolas Schopfer was a guy I’d always wanted to shoot. So myself and James Sharp paid him a visit in July 2011. Portrait in his hometown of Geneva.

Rachard during Winterclash in Berlin.

Erik ‘Ski’ Perkett was one nutter. I’ve mentioned I get scared shooting gaps, I think the one exception would be Ski, absolute diamond! This was shot in Lake Havasu during some spring break style weekend where I felt a little out of my element watching a bunch of jocks on there boats as if in an MTV music video. The digitial version of this was published in One magazine, March 2009.

Enanoh has always been one of my favourite skaters. This was during the launch of Nimh and he came to stay with Oli and I when we lived together in Brighton. A fisheye digital shot of this was printed in Be-Mag I think. May 2010.

Richie Eisler in San Pedro, California, Febaruary 2012.

Jeff and PJ whilst we were on a trip to Arizona, March 2012.

Leon takes more falls and pain than anyone I know. His determination to get a trick is remarkable. This was shot just after he’d turned and smacked into a lamppost, splitting his forehead/eyebrow in the process. Barcelona, September 2012.

During the same trip to Barcelona, Joe Atkinson joined us and wanted to stab me… JK!

Possibly one of my most important negatives shot during an unforgettable tour. UK USD summer tour, we were doing the usual tour stops however this one had a very unfortunate incident. We were travelling from Chester to Cardiff knowing Rich had had an accident but not 100% of his condition. It was during that drive we were informed of his passing. I remember pulling over and everyone in the van walking off in their own directions for a while. We carried on and decided to head straight to the hospital and for those who chose to were able to see Rich.
This shot of Si was at the next stop on the tour at Mount Hawke in Newquay done as a tribute to one of his heroes and good friend. Published in Unity mag 2004.

During the same tour in which I explained the unfortunate incident of Charles Dunkle‘s piss, I was able to watch a true master skate. Bruno Lowe vertical soul stall in Peterborough, 2004.

Iain Mcleod was just a stones throw away during our winter retreats to California so shooting with him was an absolute breeze. True top soyale in Newport Beach, published in Unity, 2005.

Whilst visiting Barcelona with Tory and Oli was when the infamous ‘forum’ skate spot was about to be built. The coping ledges didn’t exist but this sweet wall ride did. The fisheye version of this was used a cover for Freenation Magazine, 2004.

Oli loved to dress up and loved clockwork orange. Portrait shot during a fancy dress skate party for his good friend Stig’s birthday and was later used in his Roces advert.

Oli Short saw things and skated things that no one else did. Sometimes I’d actually get annoyed because it would be so much film I was burning through, but it was always worth it. Manchester, August 2004.

My first trip to Barcelona. Alex Pym moved out there with university and invited us to gather a crew and stay. This is a scene that all bladers know no matter where you are in the world. March 2004.

Matt Watt was another British skater that was drawn to more unique blading. The Southbank rails weren’t exactly low and to get round this bend was a trick task.

What can I say about this other than ‘you fuckin hero Jenna’! During the shooting for her Unity interview there were two things she really wanted, a sequence of a 900 (first girl to land it I think?) and this little chef rooftop on the side of the motorway. With a little encouragement from Frazer Watson she stomped the fuck out of this, absolute legend. November 2004.

I think this was shot on my second trip to California in 2002. Mike Leaf backside fastslide on the infamous Rancho Bernardo rail.

Liverpool IMYTA, 2002.

This was my first proper skate tour in the UK and what a great one to begin on. Deshi during its global takeover. Not only did I get to blade with Randy and Louie, long time heroes of mine, but I got to hang with Iain whom had become a friend of mine from my California visits, and I got to shoot with Chris Farmer who was at the beginning of his global takeover. He was quite possibly the most interesting skater at that period, Mindgame was huge and he’d come over with his prototype Xsjado frames.
Seen here is Paul Hardwick who at the time was the rep for Conference and Randy doing a little Justin Timberlake number in Bristol making the girls weak at their knees, August 2003.

Chris and Iain chilling at Lloyds in Bristol. I’ll never forget the buzz Chris brought to a demo. He would skate around and have a tail 100 people deep following him.

Portrait of Leon for his Unity interview, September 2003.

After meeting Richie in San Diego in 2001 he decided to come over and stay for a while in the summer of 2002 after a Salomon tour. This was at the end of his trip and a street contest called SYS was on in Nottingham. We had actually skated here during our time shooting around the UK but watching him destroy this rail was a treat, going from natural to switch with such ease and then lacing this full ao topsoul was mind blowing… He obviously won the event!

Al Jones is one of few British skaters that went all out, do or die style. This portrait was shot in Belgium on a random trip we did after having a nasty bail. April 2003.

Al Jones, sweaty in Belgium, published in Unity Mag 2003.

I always used to get Crazy Roller when I could, the design and photography was always great, so I had seen a lot of Fabrice Guyont over the years. This was shot on a trip I did with Oli and Brandon Negrete while filming for Forever Now. I think this was in Unity, October 2003.

Woody, hero of the North and another do or die blader. Frontside fastslide on the Hallam University drop rail, the long shot of this was used as a cover for French magazine Amateur. June 2003.

You never doubted Albert, anything he wanted to do he could, a real blading master. I think this was used as a USD advert? Ao unity in Walsall, June 2003.

This was used in Be-Mag. Shot in the first year we rented our house in California, 2003. Bcam’s hometown of Temecula.

Barcelona’s seafront before it had a facelift. Oli Short 2003.

Found this whilst digging up negatives for this interview. I’ve always found it funny the looks the general public give us and this is a perfect example. Barcelona, 2003.

Brandon during our Paris trip. A great friend who I’m happy to have shared many trips with.

Oli and his infamous puking scene from Forever Now in Paris.

Rollerblading owes alot to this guy. Photographer Jeremy Stephenson, Barcelona 2005.

Jon Julio carrying the IMYTA prize in Amsterdam, 2004.

After visiting Rich in hospital we fortunately had this amazing photo of him by Chris Hallam. We plastered it all over our van to let the world know who Rich was, 2004.

What can I say about this guy, one of my greatest friends who I’ve been on more trips with than I can possibly remember. Alex Morris, Manchester 2004.

Used as a cover for Freenation Magazine, Matt Watt launch to wallride to fishy stall, shot around June 2004.

I had completely forgotten about this. I also thought this film never came out. I was experimenting with cross processing and thought everything was far too overexposed to get a result. Frazer Watson grinding the drop rail outside our rented house in San Clemente, 2005.

Part of the same film, Woody with a gap to backside backslide in Sheffield, 2005

Matt Watt, soul to a huge gap wallride at shell centre London, now completely gone and unskateable. Part of his Unity interview, May 2004.

What an amazing person to see grow, especially as he’s from my hometown. Alex Burston, now one of the world’s best skaters during his first BHC tour, August 2005.

The first trip I ever did as a photographer was to shoot the SS1 crew for Unity in 2000/1. A skate crew from the south coast near Brighton. This is where I met Mike Welland who was one of my favourite British skaters. He had tricks, style and hammers and turned out to be a truly great guy who became one of my best friends and house mate. A spot made famous by DNA magazine and the first generation of British legends. AO mistrial in Harrogate used on a conference playing card, November 2003.

Tory had bladed around the world many times but this was the spot that had got away. A life long dream came true when we took him there. This zero spin shot was used for a RB ad, 2004.

Albert Hooi during the shooting for his Unity Mag interview in Dublin, 2002/3 I believe.

My first trip to California and America for that matter and this was the back garden where I was staying. ‘Leafland’ it was called and was the garden to Mike Leaf: on a daily basis it was home to rollerblading’s greats, Bryan Bell, Chris Haffey, Jeff Stockwell, Damien Wilson, Nick Wood, McLeod brothers, Lyle Shivak and more. We couldn’t have asked for more but we got it, the most hospitable parents ordering in pizzas every day in true US fashion, just like I had seen in all the movies growing up. San Diego, 2001.

The crew, and the start of some incredible relationships. Sim Warren, myself, Chris Doughty, Si Cox, Gavin Nelson, Oli Short and Mike Leaf, 2001. A lot happened on this trip, most notably being stranded due to the 9/11 disaster and no flights home.

If you read my interview, you read about Oli’s loss of memory. Here is the moment, he had gap royaled, soyaled, truetopsoyaled and then went onto true porn but came short. Pretty sure this was 2001.

Richie receiving his prize money at the SYS street comp in Nottingham, 2002.

I grew up going into this building every weekend, this was my local cinema in my village. Although this wasn’t landed, to even get up there was insanity. Oli Short, 2003.

Adam Entwistle was always on the hunt for an abstract spot, as was I, so hearing of a full pipe was music to our ears. I know this is in Bolton but still not entirely sure exactly where but would love to go back considering its the hometown of Nick Lomax and Elliot Stevens. Circa 2004/5.

Long shot of the full pipe.

I was always told Liverpool had some amazing spots but they were all in some pretty gully areas. But when you have Brian Aragon in town for the day you ignore that and let the Rampworx owners guide you around town. I’ve always loved the grittiness a British spot has and this is no exception, Mecca bingo’s are quite the iconic buildings for relatively deprived areas. November 2003.

Brian with an AO Fish in the same area.

I think this was shot during the Berlin Winterclash of the Ucon guys plus a lurking Lukas who was the mastermind behind the Clip trilogy (ed note: there were actually 4 Clip videos) .

Erik has always been one of my favourite people to hang out with, the guy’s just the dude, plain and simple. I had a spell of heading out to SF a fair bit while he lived in the mission with Pat Lennen, boozeman Nick Whitmore and Adam ‘crob’ Roberts. Great household and a lot of fun. This is Erik’s moustache era, January 2008.

When you have no power for an airbed pump, call Kato. He linked up around 4 AA batteries and somehow made this bed inflate.

Brandon and Enanoh while filming for Fade Nation ’Too Faded’. During the filming process these guys became really close and went onto make a lot more magic. LA, September 2007.

NASS 2013, we found out there was a large reservoir in the area so after the blading qualifiers a good crew of us took advantage of the great weather. Jake Eley of Loco Skates at the front and Kingdom partner in crime Joe Coyne at the back.

arlo,ao 360 transfer,blackpool2
A large LG finals took place in Manchester bringing everyone to town for an awesome weekend. Nothing better than having all your friends from around the globe in your hometown. Afterwards I joined an England Clothing tour to document the shenanigans and joining that tour was Arlo Eisenberg, a hero and icon in our world. He obviously hadn’t been blading like he used to for a while now with other priorities, but when he set this monstrosity up and landed like a champ I couldn’t believe it, floating an alley oop 360 from the quarter into that sketchy bank on top of the ramp! Blackpool, October 2005.

arlo,ao 360 transfer,blackpool4
Same as above.

Anything disaster on this was a mean feat. But when Bcam hit the fast slide, hero! Another hammer to add into his collection. July 2003.

ben schwab, bbslide, manchester
During Ben’s first visit to me we snagged enough shots to go towards a Kingdom interview. I’d always loved this spot hidden away at a uni in Salford. August 2007.

ben schwab,zero b roy,mcr
Zero spin back royale through the drop kink, August 2007

billy o'neil,ptrait,lpool
Through Kingdom mag we set up a huge tour. We tried to have someone from every team come tour the UK at the same time. Billy is one of my favourite skaters and a dapper looking dude so I couldn’t pass up this portrait opportunity in Liverpool as the heavens were closing up. June 2007.

Where it all began with Unity mag. Britney Spears and my friend Neil skitching her tour bus, 2000/1.

chaz,f torque,sheff
Chaz has been one of Scotland’s finest exports and a travelling buddy numerous times around the world. Seen here as part of his Kingdom interview in Sheffield, June 2008.

chris kingdom ptrait
Ever since that first Deshi tour I’ve had the pleasure of becoming friends with Chris and shooting him on numerous more occasions. This shot was a little promo we did for our new Kingdom T’s and was shot at the tail end of a 2 month trip he made to England to shoot exclusively for a Kingdom interview. As you can see, he was loving it! June 2008.

Dominic Sagona, Orange County - Location, Barcelona
Barcelona yet again delivering the unique spots and what better person to have with you than one of my all time favourites. Ever since Forest Fire I was a fan boy of Dom’s and it’s great to of become friends and shot with him multiple times on different continents. Printed in Be-Mag, TTS, October 2008.

Elliot, fishy to b fslide, LDN
This is one of my favourite parts of London, around Bank, because on a weekend it is completely abandoned as all the workers have gone home and it feels like you have the whole city to yourself. This area especially has lots of alleys that still look like it could be the victorian era. Used for a Dirt Box poster, Elliot Stevens, fishbrain to fastslide, November 2011.

jeff, parallel fishy, LA
We were in San Francisco when Joe Atkinson told us about this abandoned pool he’d been told about by a girl he met. So when Jeff, myself, Si Cox, Ross Kuhn and Brandon Negrete got back to LA we decided to find it, armed with Google maps and Jeff’s navigational skills we were set. Filled a couple feet deep with dirty water we all got to work fast and dried this sucker up. I think it must be every skater’s dream to skate a real pool so this was an absolute treat, especially to have Stockwell and the fact Si and I were flying back to England that night. Printed in Be-Mag, November 2010.

This was a great trip, back to Barcelona again but for the first combined Valo + Roces tour. Jona Messerli was such a stylish skater and was a huge part of Ucon’s more ‘fashionable’ lines. Printed in Unity Mag, June 2005.

mike welland,fishy,lpool
I always thought we were the first to skate this however it turns out Arlo bladed it weey back. Mike Welland definitely made it his own with this fishy though. Not sure if this was in a mag, maybe Be-Mag photo issue, April 2006.

nick lomax, 540, brighton
One of the greatest success stories England has. Nick Lomax has grown into such a talented skilled individual and is always an ease to shoot. Printed in Wheelscene, 540 in Brighton, September 2011.

northern babies
Individual portraits all used towards their first magazine features. The backstory to Nick is quite an intense one, but basically a case of mistaken identity for what could of been a very serious crime and a lot of jail time. The other two, a baby Alex Burston and Joe Atkinson looking very cheeky.

oli,mute stall,cornwall
Marc Moreno came over to visit Oli and I to film for Nimh just after he was put on the team, so we decided to venture to some new territory in the South West of England area. Oli of course coming up with the goods. August 2009.

ollie gomm, nut smash, oxford
The emotion in this photo is so mind blowing, I’ve always loved the misses and in-betweens of a landed trick and given Ollie Gomm’s charismatic nature it was a good blend. August 2006 towards the very first issue of Kingdom Mag.

remy ptrait
Remy Meister chilling outside my house in Brighton.

sean cullen,mute transfer,mcr
No matter what, you’re going to have a good story by the end of it, no matter the awkwardness you feel during it. Something I have to remind myself every time I’m with Sean. This was a near impossible trick, something Sean is incredible at doing. The Lui Kang version was printed in One which I seem to have misplaced, here’s the mute. Manchester, October 2006.

sean cullen,swimming,bcn2
During a BHC trip to Spain, Sean pulled a typical move and randomly showed up in our hostel, we thought he was in SF but how wrong were we. During a heavy rain storm he decided to swim on the concrete, as always, making an amazing/amusing photo, September 2006.

ski,mute gap,bcn
Like I mentioned before, one of few people i felt confident photographing doing gaps. I think this never got published, despite the pure insanity. Erik Perkett, Barcelona, September 2006.

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