Until recently it’s been firmly farm focused; dairy products, fibres shorn from woolly mammals, meat from less fortunate mammals. Not to mention milk-fed males who excel at running with oval balls.
Maybe it’s time to add South Island street skaters to the nations GDP. For the past few years the South has been steadily cultivating high quality street shredders. Like a petri dish set aside in a lab, or an isolated valley where rare species thrive, something has been brewing down there.
Matthieu Lucas, backside 50-50, Christchurch. Photo by Tomoki Peters.
Without pushing the analogy too far, is the South Island our Galapagos? A place where skatological imperatives are messed with, skills and techniques refined and honed to perfection? Whether they hail from Runanga, Linwood or St Clair, a common trait amongst the new breed is a well-considered trick selection and a general awareness of skateboarding’s most fondly remembered decade. The one that came after the 80’s, widely recognised as street skating’s modernist heyday. What this looks like in practical terms is raw street style, classic tricks at proper spots with very little concession to fickle fashion trends.
“Are there covert training camps running from Picton to Bluff?”
Finn Roberts, switch wallie, Dunedin. Photo by Callum Parsons.
There’s the old chestnut that isolation and hardship breeds greatness, but in the age of high-speed Internet and million-dollar skateparks this hardly seems relevant anymore. So, what’s the secret to the abundance of fresh skate talent from the South? Are there covert training camps running from Picton to Bluff? Is there a panel of veterans running mandatory YouTube tutorials on classic skate vids from 1997-1999? Skateboarding’s most influential network has always been jaded older dudes with harsh opinions who reign over skate parks and skate shop counters. Is this influence more prevalent in the South?
Liam McCulloch, fakie nosegrind, Christchurch. Photo by Tomoki Peters
Part of the South’s impact on NZ skateboarding has also been cultural. From trick and lifestyle slang to a general no bullshit attitude, there’s a sense of confidence that thrives when exported to urban hot beds over the ditch or across Cook Strait.
Whatever the reason, the South is happening right now. These photos showcase a selection of the new generation of Southerners on the come up, you can guarantee there’ll be many more to follow.
Published in Issue 67.
Text by Dan Bycroft
Thumbnail: Stefan Robin, frontside wallride to five-0. Photo by Tomoki Peters