01. photo by Tom Bomb, 02. photo by Kevin Dana
— What year did you first take up permanent residence in the States, and where?
I first came to San Diego in March of ’88, when I was 17. I spent a month living at Ron Wilkerson’s Enchanted Ramp house in Leucadia… it seemed like heaven; great riders, great weather, 2 halfpipes in the yard and the beach right down the street! I went back to England sold my car and moved out here in May ’88. Now 21 years later I’m still here! Although I have spent a couple of years back in the UK, and five in the Bay Area when my wife and I were working for Fox.
— What made you choose vert over everything else?
It just feels the best to me, the speed and air, and I guess it came most naturally. I was really into racing when I was younger, but gave that up by 15 to concentrate on freestyle. Back then you had to do ramps and flatland in the same contest run, but as soon as ramps became its own category I focused all my energy on that. This was also around the time that I started riding half-pipes… I fell in love! I still haven’t found many things in life that compare to the feeling of floating above the coping of a ramp. That’s why I’ve been riding again!
— You rode for Haro and Airwalk; who were your other sponsors?
Trend Bike Source really helped me out after I got kicked off Hutch, Skyway wheels for a minute… that’s about it. It was a weird time for getting sponsors. Plus the fact that I was living here illegally didn’t help.
— Do you have any funny or scandalous stories about sponsors back then?
Ha, ha… I wouldn’t want to ruin anyone’s reputation!
I can tell you about the Hutch thing though… After entering my first contest in the states (2-Hip Flint, MI. 1988) I wanted to party! It was my first time meeting a lot of vert guys I’d seen magazines, and I was amped from riding. At some point Ron Stebene (Hutch Team Manager at the time) told me I needed to go to bed, I decided to stay out all night drinking instead and got kicked off the team! Actually, I got suspended but told them to stick it! No hard feelings towards Ron, he was just doing his job 🙂
— Did you still end up riding in the finals the next day, and how did you do?
I think the prelims and finals were all on the same day. I got 3rd behind Matt Hoffman and Dino Deluca. There were a ton of great riders there so I was pretty stoked. I also got really close to pulling a 900… too bad I couldn’t quite hold on, no one had pulled one at a contest yet.