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Tennis vs skateboarding.

I’ve got back into tennis these last few years now that I have more time on my hands. Before I went to art college I spent all my time skateboarding and playing tennis. In fact I was considering it as a possible career. All the top female players came to stay at my dad’s hotel The Grand Hotel in Eastbourne where the women’s championships are held on the lawn tennis courts; this site does not do justice to the club! It was odd seeing them at breakfast in the hotel restaurant with ten rackets in a bag by the table.

St Annes Well tennis Hove

This is one of my two main tennis partners, he’s tall and agile but I have experience and consistency. This shot was taken in the winter, I don’t normally play wearing a Norwegian woolen jumper.

The Grand Hotel
The Grand Hotel Eastbourne
Rockwater tennis Hove brighton

Chilling out at Rockwater Hove after yet another epic match. The courts here are not great but they’re free and you have the sea air. And if you’re on the beach all day like I was yesterday you’re going to need one of my snapback caps imported from San Diego. The come in two styles and four different colours, they’re top quality and embroidered in Cornwall.

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Vans Skateboarding at 52 Year Old

Last weekend was Van’s 52ndBirthday. It’s probably the skateboard brand that’s closest to my heart. I’ve lost count of how many pairs I’ve had Era are my favourites.

In 1977 the #36 Old Skool design was produced based on a quick sketch by Paul Van Doren. I’m guessing the stripe was a graphic representation of a skater’s motion from A to B. The #36 design was the first with leather panels for added strength.

My first Vans were the #95 Era style, probably the most copied and most iconic of all Vans. The #95 was designed by Stacy Peralta and Tony Alva who are both contemporaries of mine. (In fact Tony has said he likes my T-shirts which is pretty cool). 

This is me skating in Paris. Note the odd coloured Vans…

In late ’78 Vans introduced the Sk8-Hi #38 we called them high tops. The idea was to provide more support and protection for the ankle.

The rest is history, 52 years in the making. Here’s the full timeline.

A few legends in Paris….

To have a range of VOS trainers is still a pipe dream. In the meantime you’ll have to make do with some T-shirts.

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Dogtown skateboard legend Tony Alva Video

dogtown skateboarding usa retro vintage

We’ve all heard of Tony Alva right? Well if you haven’t he was one of the key members of the world famous Dogtown skateboarders from Santa Monica California good old USA. And he was a member of the pioneering skate team the Zephyr Skateboard Team which had 12 members. Here’s a photo of them with Tony on the far right and the late Shogo Kubo who I skated with twice a long time ago and he signed my Dogtown T-shirt. If only I could find it! Gold dust.

santa monica Zephyr skateboard team dogtown

When Tony came to the Vans event in London in 2011 he saw someone wearing one of my T-shirts and he said ‘Hey man that’s a cool T-shirt’ which is cool in itself. I met Tony in Soho and he signed an A3 poster of himself for me which I will be giving away in a competition this summer.

Tony Alva Dogtown Skateboarder USA
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Jay Adams wore my T-shirts

It’s a couple of weeks since Dogtown legend Jay Adams birthday. And five years since his death. Jay started surfing at 4 years old. He was famous for his don’t give a shit attitude and just doing what he loved. We had this in common. At that time skateboarding was emulating surfing, it’s what the surfers like Jay did in Dogtown when there was no surf to be had. Then in the mid 70s skateboarding came of age and developed into something more than stylish sweeping, carving lines like a surfer. I contacted Jay on Facebook and we chatted for a while, he then asked for a couple of my Ts so I posted them to him. I always regretted not going over to the USA. Who knows I may have ended up staying there. The exact T-shirt Jay asked for is no longer available but the is the closest one.

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Mini me finding my legs for the first time…

It’s probably the very first thing that got me into skateboarding. A few years later I was to get a wooden green Stingray skateboard. I actually can’t remember using it so maybe it just lay in my dad’s garage. Instead I discovered and remember doing skim boarding on the miles long golden sandy beach. We we’re lucky enough to live on one of the UK’s most famous sandy beaches on the Jurassic Coast. Skim boarding was uber cool until some health and safely idiot had it banned. Years later I learnt to snow ski and windsurf in the world’s second largest natural harbour. I never did do much waterskiing but little did I know many years later I was to get involved in a global water skiing adventure that took me to New Zealand to ski with a world champion. More on this later.

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For the new blog here’s something pretty old, my Dad

A shot of my old man back home in Norway. I love wearing his old hand knitted jumpers in the winter. He was virtually born on skis and if he wasn’t on skis he’d be either fishing salmon, shooting Ptarmigan of sweating it out in the sauna then running naked into 10ft high snow drifts, I have the photos to prove it. All these things were in his genes and so in mine too. Sadly I don’t have a personal sauna and snow drifts are hard to come by. I met a few of these dudes, my old man out-lived all of them, he gave up smoking pipes etc soon after this I guess. Checkout these awesome before and after photos of Norway here!