Intro and video edits by Dan Bycroft. Original video and comments by Bill Bycroft.
Let’s hear it for skateboard filmers. It’s a dirty, thankless, repetitive job that takes persistence and patience. But it’s also essential work, if a trick wasn’t captured on film did it really happen?
My brother Bill is a perfectionist with a relentless eye for detail, so of course, he’s a great skate filmer. For a long period of time, he was a fixture at every contest, pro tour, and sponsored junket, he captured some of the most important skateboarding done in Aotearoa from 1997 to 2015.
His self-taught apprenticeship in skate cinematography helped launch a successful career as a Director of Photography in the film industry, creating cinematic works of art for your favourite alt-country crooners, speed metal bands and much more. Most of whom don’t care about ABDs and bring their own spot list.
He’s a busy man so it’s been a while since he’s actively filmed skateboarding. Knowing he’s sitting on an archive of rarely seen clips, I hit him up for a slab of raw footage to edit while deep in lockdown ‘21 doldrums. Of course, it was a perfectly curated selection of bangers which I did a very average job of mashing together, luckily the skating speaks for itself.
Check out Bill’s full video archive on his YouTube channel.
My friend Liam is a film director and had an idea for a music video based around skating. I suggested Christian Low and the next thing we’re in Melbourne for a week on NZ On Air money. We filmed over 3 rainy nights but managed to get what we needed. I wanted it to be proper street skating, not cheesy music video fodder. It was a big ask of Christian but he was into it and went along with our random requests. He’d skate all night then go straight to work, then we’d make him do it all again the next night.
Justin Keeley is the most determined person I’ve ever filmed with. We spent years filming the gnarliest shit and he’d often genuinely scare me. The aggression he could harness was frightening.
My brother Craig, Matt West and Rhys Campbell have always been my favourite people to skate and film with. We’ve been doing it for well over 20 years. There’s not a lot of Rhys in here because 15 years of never warming up and bone-crunching slams took its toll. He’s still out there doing it though.
I didn’t often get to film with Brett Band but he’s one of the best, just see any of his video parts. His one trick in here kind of sums it up.
Nico Gottschalk is insanely talented on a skateboard, he has so much raw power. We spent a lot of time filming a Manual part and he did some amazing stuff. At the time I think he was more into partying so it took a lot of encouragement. — Bill Bycroft
I’ve been fortunate enough to film some overseas visitors, largely thanks to Dave Read at Manual. There’ve been a lot of great trips but only a few in HD.
The Vans Australia team came to Auckland one October and of course it rained every day. Along with the NZ team riders we found enough covered spots and breaks in the weather to piece together a cool trip. It’s always fun seeing people from somewhere else bring a new approach to spots you’ve known forever.
My most memorable trip was with Dave Chami for a Transworld article. The US pros were super cool and wanted to experience more of the country than just skate spots. We camped a lot and kind of took it easy. Joey Pepper had the full camping kit and had spent a few weeks camping with his girlfriend before the trip. Dennis Busenitz had his family here so was dividing his time between them and skating. Then we’d get to a spot and you’d find out what a professional skateboarder is.
Joey was the master of choosing his battles. Walker Ryan and Josh could skate anything. Nestor had a busted angle from the start and couldn’t skate but paid his own way just so he could be here.
Busenitz just skates and doesn’t care about photos or filming. He’d skate literally nonstop for 2 or 3 hours hardly ever repeating tricks. Trying to film him was a bit like a game. He’d just go whether I was ready or not so I kind of had to catch up, I think he liked that game. I saw him destroy a brand new pair of shoes in one session, and he left countless sweat-soaked t-shirts hanging out to dry across the North Island. — Bill Bycroft