I come from Brisbane, Australia. I love Brisbane and when I was growing up I used to travel an hour on the train on Saturday mornings to the city skateshop. I’d sit around and wait for other skaters to come in then we’d head off street skating. Through this simple process, i made some life-long friends. 18 years later, i still have a lot of those friends. Some I go drinking with, some I go surfing with, and a few I still try and skate with.
I started photography around 8 years ago and its kept me in the scene and kept my skating going a lot longer than those I started out rolling with. Being on the Skatebiz Team (the only skateshop around) and doing demo’s at skateparks for the last 10 years has kept my skating at a reasonable level as has teaching kids at Saturday morning skate lessons.
I started Skatemeets here around 4 years ago to get kids out once a month to skate with the older guys that I was skating with. It’s difficult to bridge that gap these days because the younger kids often get nervous and shy around the older guys lacing trick after trick. So there’s no comp at Skatemeets; it’s just a session to juice everyone up and maybe break down some personal barriers.
This approach has kept our scene fresh and exciting for a good 2 years now and we’ve also mixed in a few tours into our Skatemeets. Brian Aragon and Murda came through our city on tour a few years back. I linked it up with a Skatemeet and BOOM! 500 people at one skatepark. Kids got photo’s with Aragon and Murda, parents wanted to get autographs and just say hello. It’s kind of like the time Chris Edwards came to my town on his Birth Tour. I got my photo with him and saw the first topsoul and mctwist in my life. And, holy shit, it changed my life!
This type of experience is few and far between these days due to the economy, the state of the industry and geography; Australia is so far away from everything.
I also branched out by visiting the UK around 3 years ago to develop my photography and just go and skate all the amazing things I saw on videos from around the world. When I saw so many awesome skaters not talking to each other at local skateparks, I wanted to do something about it and I tried to bring the same kind of unity from back home to the centre of London. It took awhile to get going and earn the trust from the locals but I ended up successfully running around 8 of these Skatemeets. You could see younger skaters develop from getting to skate with the older guys and it also got skaters exploring skateparks they have never been to.
Now, I’m back home to a scene that I was told was dead. It’s far from dead, it just seems to need some organizing and some unity. Skatemeets were now back here in Brisbane as of this month, February 2010. Skatebiz has again come to the party supporting the event and supplying products for kids who rip it up. We have vouchers, bringing in new customers into our stores instead of buying off the internet from overseas. These acts allow longevity for our industry here in Australia. Getting more kids on skates ensures a future generation or skaters. I want to believe that through Skatemeets some kids out there will have the same experience I had as a kid in meeting some damn good skaters pushing their skating to the next level. But most importantly, we’re helping to keep rollerblading alive.
Leon Humphries, Air, Harlow Skatemeet, England
Gold Coast Skatemeet Crew Shot
Lachlan Burke. Topsoul to Topsoul, Alex Heads Skatemeet
Dale Travers, Air, Camden Town, London
London Skatemeet Crew Shot
Gerard Arens, BS Royale to 180 Over the Fence
Jamie Stenner, Fishbrain, Saffron Walden Skatemeet, England