Photographers Stories 2011 - Matt Clarke

Ryan Gray Ryan Gray

Matt “Mega Ramp” Clarke kicks off our next series of 2011 themed interviews, which sees both Sidewalk staff and contributing photographers talking you through a selection of their favourite shots from the past twelve months.

As with the “Behind The Cover” interviews, we’ll be posting up one a day so be sure to check back daily!

Joe Marks, fakie flip fakie manual half cab, London.
At the time we were shooting for Joe Marks’ “Haunts” interview in late 2010, we couldn’t have chosen a worse time to try and do it. The weather was teasing us with the odd sunny day and constantly wet ground. We desperately needed a sequence and all Joe and I could think of was the Jensen brick manual pad spot in London.
A few weeks later, my best mate and a mental case Joe rang me up to say he was driving down from Rotherham to Leicester to get in “Get Lesta” filmer Callun Loomes’ car, to then drive down to Kettering to meet me and for me to then drive to London to the spot. It was absolutely freezing cold, and everywhere was wet on the way there, but once we arrived the spot was somehow dry, and so it began!
As Joe started to stretch and warm up like he does, Callun found that after all this he forgot to charge his camera batteries, which meant he was there feeling like death, freezing cold somewhere in London for no reason. Joe was wearing a t-shirt typically despite the freezing conditions, whilst me and Callun kept ourselves from catching pneumonia during the mind bending wait, I dared myself to jump from a wall to wall in Parkour style, which resulted in me flat on my back, almost smashing my camera. Joe was flipping into the fakie manual too easily every go and almost had the trick ten times, but kept getting denied at the fakie ollie over at the end. We decided to change it to a half cab after a few close attempts of fakie shuvs over too and he ended up getting it second go!
Joe went absolutely insane trying to get the trick, I’m pretty sure me and Callun did too. Joe and me rewarded ourselves with a warm Starbucks and typically drove back home straight away. Get Lesta!

Chris Jones, 5050 up, Edinburgh.
After getting off the train at Edinburgh all the way from Kettering, I was greeted by the Nike SB UK team at the station. I pretty much hadn’t met anyone there before so I was fairly out of my comfort zone, but at the same time I guess you think you kind of know them from the videos you’ve watched over the years. Anyway, the first stop was the new Edinburgh skate park, which I’d been to earlier in the year. The park was soaking wet after some heavy Scottish rain, so I went and treated myself to a beautiful battered Mars Bar next door to Focus skate shop. To everyone’s disbelief and with some great help from a few locals, the skate park started to dry up, and the guys got to skate. The one guy on the trip was Welsh/Bristol beast Chris Jones, who came out of nowhere and started grinding up the handrail. I had to embarrassingly leg it over to a closed Focus shop and get my camera stuff in hope I’d get back to him still attempting it. Luckily I did. I managed to get set up just in time and after Chris battled with it after various harsh slams for a bit he got a roller.
First photo done of the trip and it was a banger, plus I got to see someone grind up a handrail for the first time in real life, hyped! Chris later continued to take alternative routes around the park making for some more rad photos too. Session over and it started to piss it down in perfect timing, stoked!

Trevor Johnson, Judo, Kettering.
After a sudden run of bad luck with his wrist, me and a slightly more healed Trevor Johnson finally got to try and get some photos around my home town of Kettering. We went to the ramp in the woods, which I had been telling Trev about for a while, and typically we finally got to skate it at the worst time possible time of year, late winter. Local BMXer’s made this ramp specifically for their needs and because of that the roll in is literally old wood dumped in the general direction of the quarter which sits at the bottom of steep hill. There’s also a lip half way down it, a good sized gap between the wood on the flat, then the quarter itself is soggy, steep and at the time it was damp too. Nonetheless Trev and I were more than keen to finally get a photo on it and after warming up with some backside crails and other tricks, mutant Trev started to learn Judo’s on the horrible thing.
Fortunately enough the next month we were surprised to see that when Sidewalk popped through my letterbox they had used it for my first Contents double page spread, stoked! Oh and thanks to Will Snelson for holding my flash too!

Boots, Switch Nosepick, Kettering.
After briefly talking to Dan Cates at the UK Champs about him and Boots wanting to check out this rad natural concrete spot down the road from my house, I got a phone call one day saying that Cates, Boots and filmer Jake Shunt were coming to give it a shot. It was the first time for me having anyone come and skate one of my local spots, so I was pretty hyped and worried at the same time!
As far as I know, no one has ever really skated it except Trev, not even myself, except when the yellow bars weren’t put in place years ago to stop people going over it and skating it as it was too hard to skate anyway. Apparently local legend and recent TV contestant Buddy Hell went off the roof into it, but that might be a myth! I tried to get the crew to expect the worse as the spot’s far from perfect.
When the crew arrived, now joined by Toby Bachelor and Billy Dickfingers, we had a session to see who could skate it. I only just managed a backside pivot on it myself, whilst Cates slashed over the bar avoiding some serious leg amputation. A now knackered Boots used his last bit of energy to leg it onto his board switch to nosepick it and back down with out taking his ankles off in in-between the gaps of the rails, crazy!
I was more than happy finally getting another nice photo on a cool spot that’s just down the road from my house with a UK pro making for my first Witness photo too. The session finished just in time for it to piss it down ending the session and for us to head to my local Weatherspoon’s where Cates fell asleep on the toilet!

Joe Marks, Fakie 360 Flip, Sheffield.
This was yet another ridiculous one photo mission with Joe Marks and Get Lesta in attempt to get the last few photos for his “Haunts” and video section. The annual Boardroom Jam in Leicester had just about come to an end and with it being piss wet outside, Callun comes up to me with the obscure information that it’s apparently dry at the Arts Tower stair set up in Sheffield. Somehow Callun was keen as ever to drive there with Ben Rowles, SPT and others late at night in the snow, so I figured since I didn’t have to do the drive I might as well shut up and go with the nut jobs!
We got there after looking at piles of snow on the side of the motorway to find it was in fact dry. The dry run up thanks to the big building above but with snow to each side down the set with a few feet of dry roll out before an amount of more snow. We swept the set free of salt grit on it leaving the slightest damp spot on the point of where your board would pop, which sent Joe into absolute mental case mode. I literally rolled in the wet patch to dry it from the drips above, for him to then say there isn’t enough run up to get the speed fakie. Great. I went off into a near by building site to find some crates and wood to make a ridiculous bank for him up against a wall to roll up and back down fakie to get the trick. After what felt like two hours of his OCD run up routines and probably only ten actual attempts, he rolled away from it!
Realising we finally got a finishing trick done, everyone jumped out of their cars and started throwing chairs celebrating. Callun was literally blue because of the minus temperatures. That’s dedication!

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Next up in Interviews

Behind The Cover - Buyers Guide 2011: Mark Baines