It’s SOTY-season, so we tracked down New Zealand’s longest-running Skater of the Year — Simon Thorp. We talk BINZs, rigged votes and predictions for this year’s NZSOTY.
Simon Thorp, alley-oop five-0 grind. Photo by Eisei Toyota

Alley-oop frontside five-0 grind. Photo by Eisei Toyota

The last time Manual Magazine awarded a New Zealand Skateboarder of the Year title was back in 2017. Simon Thorp has been wearing the BINZ (Best In New Zealand) crown since he was bestowed the prestigious title in March of 2018. Some would say this is because there has been no greater skater than Simon to come to the fore since. Many say that a simple case of mismanaged resources and industry in-fighting has caused the award to burn a hole in Simon’s mantle. Insider knowledge tells us that it could be a mysterious case of whodunit? (Or should we say who-didn’t-do-it?)

A confidential source claims to have recently seen Simon trying to cash in the award at a Queen Street pawn shop. He was claiming that it was his turn to buy a box for the boys, and he wasn’t able to run the expense through the Young Guns Skate School slush fund since it had received its Fortune 500 ranking.

Controversy aside, we thought it was a great time to speak to Simon. We wanted to pry inside the mind of the longest standing BINZ. Discover the trials of fame and notoriety, and uncover his pick from the year past as we signal that 2022 will be a year that the award will finally change hands.

Switch backside bluntslide. Photo by Connor Hill

Switch backside bluntslide. Photo by Connor Hill

What’s it like to be the longest person holding the NZSOTY title?

It’s been three years since anyone called me Simon. It’s like I changed my first name to SOTY.  Shout out to the SOTYs

What are your 2021 NZSOTY predictions?

Tom Snape has been deserving for a long, long time. He’s the go-to SOTY. This year, Theo Clarke has been a nut case; the man stops off for quickies with kinked handrails on his way home from work. Huntley (James)  is unstoppable. Seamus Peters and Mikey Gibson should be joint SOTY, perhaps? Whare (Adam Wharekawa) blew it this year.

Who should have been NZSOTY in 2018, 2019, 2020?

Tom Snape, Jake Darwen and Juzzy Reid in no particular order.

What would you say to anyone who was going to try and be a BINZ?

Be prepared to wash up like a piece of driftwood afterwards.

What makes a BINZ?

I think there’s a difference between a BINZ and SOTY. BINZ means the actual Best in NZ. While SOTY means Skater of the Year. (e.g. Run a skate school and get 4000 kids to vote for you.) Oh, shit, I mean…

What doesn’t make a BINZ?

Body varials, hippy jumps, tre bombs, fake styles and a bad attitude.

If you could give one bit of advice to the next BINZ, what would it be?

Hit me up for a job at Young Guns Skate School.

Who have the best BINZs been? (pre-Manual-NZSOTY too)?

All the SOTY’s, Chey Ataria, Nick Lister, Bjorn Johnston, James Wright, The Watenes, Tommy Fynn, Toby Locke, Tom Snape, Adam Wharekawa, Brett Band, Shan Foster, Joe Whaanga, Rodrigo Herring, Lee Ralph, Morri. All were or are on another level.

Simon Thorp, fakie kickflip. Photo by Eisei Toyota

Fakie kickflip. Photo by Eisei Toyota

It’s official — Simon’s reign is over. Will the 2021 New Zealand Skateboarder of The Year please stand up? (Watch this space.)