In celebration of our recent anniversary issue we made some predictions for the next 20 years we realise it isn’t easy feat, and putting those thoughts down in print (and pixels) is even dicier.

I’m going to avoid making any predictions myself so nobody can dig this issue out of their parents’ garage in 20 years and rub this intro in my middle-aged face. I’m going to let the guys at the magazine do it.

The thing about predicting the future is that the big thing in 20 years might not exist yet, or maybe the person everyone’s banking on blowing up will make a sudden career switch, get fucked up and get arrested for masturbating on the hood of some poor stranger’s car in the middle of the day.

The 10 year anniversary issue of Manual was the first skate mag I ever laid eyes on. I got it with a Golden Dragon complete for my birthday and read it until the binding came undone. A lot has changed in those ten years. I’ve grown pubes, people stopped using instrumentals in videos, and the crew at Manual is completely different.

Considering how much has changed in the last ten years, I’ve got to slow down to think about the last 20. I was 2 when the magazine started, which is going to make some people feel really old.

The guys at the Manual office could have just sat back and relived the last 20 years for the whole issue, but instead they’re looking forward to pick out 20 people that are going to shape the next 20 years.

I’m writing this without knowing which people Manual have chosen, and I’m not trying to jinx anybody, but I know this article is about people who are relatively new to the game, but who have already made a significant impact. In the next 20 years some of these people might grow up and not have time to make music, some of these people might get on the crack and sell their camera equipment, or stop skateboarding.

Whether or not any of the above happens is irrelevant because what these people have already achieved will have a lasting effect.


Illustration by Logan Smith.

Logan Smith (@smiddybacall)

Never one to embrace negativity, Smiddy’s beer is always half full. This outlook is expressed in all of his carefree Kiwi classics he pumps out every time he gets behind a pen. His ability to observe and absorb his surroundings has made him a very capable skateboarder, but more impressively, one of the country’s most exciting graphic designers and creative journeymen. More down to earth than the roots of a rimu tree, Smiddy’s ability to listen to one’s imagination, take into account the environment it will be playing in, and produce illustrations that supersede any client’s expectations will pave his legacy. He’s a true brand builder who’s been establishing establishments ever since going out on his own business in 2015. Steadily stacking recognition and respect, his proven track record will see him enhancing the organisations he desires throughout his career. Whether it’s a new logo for the All Blacks, branding a chain of top restaurants, copywriting for the Green Party or creating your favourite T-shirt, Smiddy is deserving of every bit of success he’ll experience in life and I’m more than hyped to see what this breather from Hawkes Bay manages to create for himself through creating for others! | Nick Mason

Photo by Vaughan Brookfield.

Mahi Mains (@mahi_mains_mane)

Mahi Mains Mane is the quintessential snowboarder New Zealand needs. True to his name, Mahi is living evidence that if you put in the work, you’ll see the rewards. Just look at any Southern Hemisphere publication or vid clip that’s come out in the last three years. The dude has bagged cover after cover, interviews on top of interviews; his exposure meter is definitely flashing. I would assume it must have been pretty dope for him coming from Queenstown, growing up in the wake of the legacy left by the Dero crew (who are all damn near 40 these days). But rather than following in their footsteps, Mahi’s put the team on his back and is carving his own path. He’s showing us all how to snowboard in Alaska on a dirtbag’s budget, unlike a lot of the younger generation coming through now who tend to follow the quad corked road to riches, while chasing the five-ring dream. Mahi is on his own programme. He’s doing things his way, staying true to his way of life and leaving a legacy of his own that I can only hope influences the next generation. At his age, Mahi is the snowboarder I wish I was and I can’t wait to see where his raw talent progresses to in years to come. | Roland Morley-Brown


Photo by James James.

Jake Darwen (@Jake Darwen)

No disrespect to the Old Guard of Skate Photography, but in terms of technique and style, the brakes went on ages ago. Thankfully, it’s inevitable in any industry a new generation sweeps through and shakes up the old and if you’re not gonna move with it, you best get out the way. Jake Darwen is the photographic juggernaut at the forefront of that advance, and he’s not stopping for anyone. For editors outside of Australasia, it must be like he came out of nowhere, and to a large extent he has. From photographing his school sports day to shooting covers of all the big international skate mags in the space of a few years, you could argue that nobody saw it coming. Those that know him well knew better. He’s a quiet observer, taking in and absorbing info. He has an internal filter, discarding the stale or old, able to take the technique and info he wants, improving and creating as he goes. Whether he knows it or not, he’s already had a massive influence on the way a skate photo is taken, no small feat for a boy from Auckland’s North Shore. You only have to pick up a recent magazine and compare images to see that he’s leagues ahead of the big names in every way. You could be forgiven for thinking the others simply stopped trying. So if you’re young and coming through with a camera in hand today and looking for advice, forget the Photo Fossils, you’d be better off sliding into Jake’s DMs. | Mark Barber

Switch ollie, Wellington. Photo by Jake Mein. 

PJ Wybrow (@pjwybrow100)

Motivated by having fun with the boys, PJ skates most days and is pretty much always smiling. He’s more interested in what older Dunedin skaters living abroad are up to than random pros, and has grown from a fluoro Deathwish kid to a chili-eating, fulltime welding machine. His bag of tricks is massive, he skates everything and because he’s motivated by the best things, you’ll most likely see him in Manual’s 40 year anniversary issue too.| Craig Strong


Sculpture by Shannon Rush.

Shannon Rush (@relax_and_ned_kelly)

It was the early 2000s and I’d just moved back to Christchurch. It was late and I was catching the last bus home from the bus exchange. This young kid walked in carrying a skateboard, dressed better than anyone in the depot and stinking of booze. When I was paying for the ticket Shannon interrupted and told me he liked my graffiti. As I was feeling like a B-grade celebrity he told me not to fucking talk to him on the bus as he wanted to listen to Oasis and zone out. I sat in my seat and watched him do exactly that. I thought to myself, ‘who the fuck is that’?| Joel Rickerby

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