From Sidewalk 197 – February 2013
You might not associate Kyron with South Bank, Slam City Skates or the more typical iconic landmarks of the contemporary London skateboarding scene; his roots run deep in the west and the fringes of the city. Itâs intriguing to see a different take on London, not necessarily bred from a desire to pursue something alternative but more so just an instinctive choice to explore his home yard of Ladbroke Grove where he grew up, West London and Harrow where he now resides.
One thing that struck me about Kyron the first time I met him was that his skateboard influences arenât cluttered by obsessive attention to skate media or what the next man is doing; he has more based his passion on riding his skateboard at speed towards, down or over anything in his path. All natural ability and finesse aside, Kyron is an un-caged beast on the board and thereâs a good chance you are going to witness either a teeth clenching slam or a face-melter of a trick.
It would be disingenuous for me to speak much further on Kyron given that I first crossed paths with him early last summer, but I can say with confidence that he is someone who will carry the torch for the humble, appreciative, well grounded and free thinking skateboarders, the kind who are more inclined to look outside of the box instead of hitting ârepeatâ.
Interview by Ryan Gray
Photography by Various artists
Go on then Kyron, introduce yourself…
- OK, Iâm Kyron McGrath-Davis, Iâm 18 and Iâm from Harrow. I think thatâs all you need to know…for now (laughs).
Youâve been skating for a long time havenât you? Didnât you start skating at a really young age?
- Yeah Iâve been skating since I was about 7, maybe younger. For a while my dad wouldnât let me skate because he was too protective, so he tried to not let me get into skating.
Did you want to skate before you actually got the chance to?
- Yeah, I wanted to skate way before then but he wouldnât let me, he was scared of me hurting myself. When heâd go to see his friends Iâd take his board and teach myself how to skate; I taught myself how to ollie onto a little ledge, and he saw that was like âf*ck it, Iâll take him to the skateparkâ, and thatâs how I started skating.
Your dad skates too, right?
- Yeah he skates. Well, he used to skate for a bit of fun but heâs got a lot of responsibilities now so he canât really do it any more.
Didnât your dad work at Playstation for a while too, when Kevin Parrott worked there?
- Yeah he worked at Playstation with Kevin and all the old-school heads; he worked there for about four years I think. Was it about four years Daryl?
Daryl Dominguez: It was a long time. He was working there before I skated there and Iâve been there a f*cking long time (laughs).
Weâve both been there since we were kids, man.
Daryl: Kyron and me used to skate there all the time; weâd do back-to-back tricks and he was like 11. Weâd do tricks over the hip and copy each other.
Pretty much, like, âyou land this and Iâll land thisâ double runs.
Daryl: Youâd land a trick and Iâd be hyped, right behind you.
It was so good.
Did your dad used to take you down Playstation when he was working?
- Yeah sometimes heâd take me down when he was working, but Iâd go down there a lot. Maybe too much…
Would you say you were a âPlaystation kidâ, so to speak?
- Pretty much, yeah (laughs). Weâd skate Royal Oak and Meanwhile as well but Playstation was the one back in the day. The Wednesday night sessions would be so packed on the mini ramp that you could not get a go in at all, youâd have to snake people and shit. The vibes were sick as well.
What was the best thing you saw go down during the Playstation days?
- Iâm pretty sure Jake Duncombe went from the roll in into the halfpipe. Was it that?
Daryl: Nah, Jake kickflipped from the flat over the deck into the tranny, and flipped it to flat too, where the halfpipe was.
Yeah, there was so much crazy shit I canât really think of one trick. I think the main thing was Awadh (Mohammed) actually. He was doing frontside flip melons on the halfpipe every go. That dude is so sick.
Daryl: Trevor (Beasley) as well: he was doing switch frontside flip stalefishes on the quarters. Like properly doing them as well.
What happened to Trevor? It seemed like he was out there killing it for a while a few years back, but then you just stopped seeing stuff of him.
- He used to ride for Ortega, but he got into different things and he stoppedÂ skating for a bit.
Daryl: Heâs still just as good now.
He used to do the sickest switch backside tailslides for like…when I was younger it seemed like a hundred meters across the mini ramp, going a hundred miles an hour. Him and Awadh are two people I love to watch from Bay.
What did you do with your days before you started skating? Because you started at such a young age, did you ever have any other real hobbies or anything?
- Believe it or not I used to be really creative. I used to ride my bike, never a scooter…I never got into the scooter stage, it just wasnât around back then. I used to draw loads of shit, and I remember once I made a suit out of paper, an actual suit. It was legit.
Daryl: So you had a thing for textiles?
Yeah I just liked making things. Then I started skating and I was pretty much âskate, skate, skateâ.
Have you tried making any clothing since? Do you think you could get into paperÂ fashion design one day?
- Maybe. Iâm gunna try (laughs).
What so of stuff were you into at school?
- I used to love sports; I used to play for the football team, the rugby team, the cricket team…most of the teams. I was so down to just run about.
You were in college for a bit werenât you? What were you studying there?
- I was in college last year but I stopped in July, or August… when the school year ended. I was doing a plumbing course. My dad was like âyou can skate by all meansâ – he was super supportive, my mum and dad both are – but he was like
âyou canât just skate though, you need to have something else backed upâ.
It was quite hard though because this last year I started going on all these trips, so Iâd miss so much college and Iâd go to my mum and dad and be like, âIâve got to go on this tripâ, they knew it would be a good opportunity so theyâd always say I could go. I got really bad attendance but I still managed to get through it.
Did you pass the course so at least youâve got that first year under your belt?
- I didnât finish one of the exams. I need to finish the exam so I pass the course. I havenât done it yet but I need to get around to it.
I reckon in two years or so Iâm definitely gunna go back to college to study something. Skating is cool as f*ck but I do want to learn something new; too much one of thing isnât always good.
Explain your full name for us. Doesnât your surname always get shortened?
- Itâs actually Kyron McGrath-Davis. Itâs funny because if I ever enter a competition or Iâm doing an interview, everyone always writes âKyron Davisâ, so my mum and my granddad are always screwing, like âwhy didnât you put McGrath in?â and Iâm like âI do put McGrath in, but no one uses itâ. I think itâs because it makes my name so long. So make sure you get McGrath in there this time (laughs).
Whereâs McGrath from? It sounds Celtic…
- Itâs Irish; my mum and my granddad are Irish, theyâre from Dublin. Well, my granddadâs from Dublin but my mum was born here.
So back to skating â how did the whole getting sponsored thing come about for you then? Didnât you ride for Half pipe when you were quite young?
- Yeah, when they started up the shop they had the sickest team; I was so hyped to be part of it. They had Daryl, Awadh, Trevor, Guy, Todd, Fred, that other guyÂ Daryl; I donât know what happened to him. Halfpipe was my first sponsor, then Ortega.
I was so stoked on Ortega, it was the sickest, plus it was a West London company anyway, run by Ricky. Then Bullet, Gary, he managed to get me sorted out with a DVS thing; theyâd give me shoes here and there, which was cool, then Ortega went under and Gary sorted me out with Chocolate boards.
I was really lucky. I never really put out any videos I just skated for so many years, then we started street skating and we had this guy call Lue, Louis Pascoe, weâd go out on filming missions with him and Josh Clarke, we had a good little crew. Weâd be out every weekend at 10 in the morning and stay skating til 11pm or midnight…those days were so sick.
How did you go from getting Chocolate boards to getting flowed ClichĂ© boards? Was that through Sami at Dwindle?
- It was actually Daryl and Gary who sorted that out. I went through this stage where Iâd stopped skating for a while because of school and girls and shit. Iâd skate so much…you know when youâre just kind of over it a little bit? I tried to mellow out and stop for a little while.
Awadh messaged me on Facebook one day, like, âcome out for a skateâ. I was like âf*ck it yeah, Iâll go out for a skateâ, then I realised why I loved it so much, and since then Iâve been so hyped to just skate. Iâm happy that I took that little break; when I came back to it, it made me realise that I loved it even more. I was so hyped to learn new tricks, but it was kind of weird because I had to relearn tricks as well.
I started putting my feet in different positions and it changed the way I did so many of my tricks. I couldnât remember what I did before. Daryl spoke to the guys at Dwindle and he was like, âKy hasnât got any sponsorsâ so they hooked it up. It was lucky that I gotÂ on ClichĂ© because werenât they like âwho would he fit?â
Daryl: Yeah, they asked who you would fit best on, I was like,
âitâs Kyron, heâd definitely fit on ClichĂ©â. That was only two years ago.
Since then youâve got involved with the actual ClichĂ© program havenât you?
- Yeah Iâve got involved a lot more. When I started going out shooting photos and getting footage, they saw that I was down to go skate and film and stuff. I think it was six months ago that Jeremie (Daclin) spoke to me and he said, âif you ever need anything then let me knowâ, so I got more of a link between me and those guys.
I think that Roots clip helped out a lot too, Daryl with the editing and shit (laughs). For that clip, me and this guy called Toby, this filmer from New Cross, heâd just got a VX and I think for two months straight, every single chance we could we went out and filmed. It all came together quite quickly but it took a while to come out because I was trying to wait for photos to be released in Sidewalk and stuff like that.
How many trips have you done with the ClichĂ© lot?
- Iâve only done one; I went to Mallorca, that was the first legit trip with all the team. There was Jeremie, JB Gillet, Kevin Bradley, Daniel Espinoza, Flo Mirtain, Pete Eldridge…I donât want to miss anyone out; I want to get all the names in. Boris Proust, he films but he skates too. Itâs crazy, heâsÂ a sick filmer but he shreds it on a skateboard as well. Thatâs about it. Itâs kind of crazy though – having looked up to these skaters then getting the chance to actually go out and skate with them was a bit intense, but it was a lot of fun. I hurt my back on the first day so I was out for pretty much the whole trip.
I managed to get two clips then I couldnât skate; that was a bummer.
Did you like Mallorca? Was that the first time youâd been there?
- Yeah that was the first time Iâve been out there. It was really good. It was perfect skate conditions because it was sunny but there was a little bit of wind.
There were no people because it was out of season so the roads were empty and we barely saw anyone, we didnât get in any trouble with the police or anything, which was good.
Are you going to be getting some tricks in the next ClichĂ© video then?
- Yeah, Iâve been trying to film for that. Jeremie asked me to film a couple of bits for it about three months ago but Iâve been injured since then and I havenât had the chance to go out for it. Especially now because itâs been snowing and raining and shit, so itâs so hard to get out and film. Iâm trying to get a couple of clips for that for sure.
Lets talk about shoes.
- (Laughing) âThe Shoesâ…
In terms of footwear, you had a pretty interesting year last year didnât you? You started out the year on Lakai…
- Yeah. That was the same sort of deal as the DVS thing I said about earlier. Lakai basically said to me they could give me shoes but that was pretty much about it because it was so hard for them to push for anything more.
Emerica got in touch after I spoke to Tom Knox and he was like, âI think Emerica are looking to find another rider, probably not someone from London, but if youâve got any footage then send it overâ. I sent him a bit of footage that Iâd got to- gether then Percy (Dean) called me up and asked me to ride for the team, I was pretty hyped on that so I took the opportunity. What happened after that?
You were on there for a little while; you did the trip to Spain…
- Yeah, to Alicante.
…then you went on The Big Push, which was your last trip with them. Did you know you were going to leave by the time you went on that?
- Nah I didnât know. Nike had got in touch with me once before but nothing really happened. After the Big Push, Colin (Kennedy) got in contact with me and we spoke a little bit, he offered me a lot of opportunity and chances to go out and travel. I felt like because Iâd been on Emerica such a short time I didnât want to leave it all. I had to get loads of peopleâs opinions â I spoke to Percy, I spoke to Tom and Casper and everyone, but it was an opportunity I couldnât say no to because they could help me out so much.
All I want to do is travel, have fun and skate, and Nike have helped me a lot. I got on just at the end of August, and from August until now Iâve been to eight different places with them, in that short amount of time.
Didnât you quitting Emerica leave you in a funny position with the Big Push coverage though? What happened there?
- I went on the Big Push, skated and filmed…the Big Push was so sick, by the way, I was so hyped on that. It was so cool going away with Casper and Tom; I know theyâre from London and Iâve known them for a while, but the team was such a good crew. Sorry, Iâm going off topic now (laughs).
So the Big Push deadline was coming around, and I reckon five days or something before that I spoke to Percy. The Emerica team is so sick and I hated to just leave like that, itâs not something I ever thought was coming; it was really unexpected.
Percy told me straight up âthey (Nike) can really help you out and do a lot of stuff for you. If you feel that itâs a good opportunity for you then just take it. I wish you the best of luck and hope it all works outâ. Then a few days before the deadline, Sam Bailey who was working on the Big Push edit, he had to take my footage out. I still havenât seen it. Yet, (laughs)…
How much was there? Did you have quite a bit?
- Yeah, I was stoked on it. The week was so good; I got quite a lot that I was happy with, and all the team got so much as well. Everyone was hyping each other; every spot someone would land a trick and it would hype someone else to do a trick, then someone else. We were just vibing off each other, which was cool. But yeah, he had to take out my footage from the edit, which was a bit of a shame but thatâs what happens.
Do you think the footage will ever see the light of day?
- I think itâs gone. I tried to get it sent but I donât know what the deal is. Iâm a bit bummed out but itâs all good; I still had fun, I was stoked to just skate with all those guys.
Since then it seems like youâve been on back- to-back Nike missions â how many places have you visited?
- Iâve been to Holland, to Rotterdam, then to Paris. Barcelona then another part of Spain, then…where else did I go? (Laugh- ing)
I went to America, to Tampa for five days.
Oh yeah, of course. Was that the first time youâd been to America?
- I went in 2006 for a family holiday. My mum and dad saved up for like three years so it was a big thing, we went to Disney World. Go to Disney World, everyone needs to go to Disney World (laughs). F*ck…it will blow your mind.
So Tampa was the first time youâd been to America to skate then?
How was that for you? Daunting? I canât imagine that Tampa Am is that much of a laugh…
- Yeah exactly: I donât even skate that many competitions as it is â I like UK comps because theyâre chilled, more like a session â but it was so intense. Itâs one of the biggest comps so everyone was so hungry for it, where Iâm more mellow and like to chill out and do things in my own time, but that was crazy watching hammers go down every single second. It was a bit scary for the first day but I got used to it.
The level of skating was so crazy that I ended up watching a lot; watching skaters that I watch at home to get hyped, I was watching them in real life, which was cool.
Where did you end up placing in the comp?
- I think I came 63rd or something, but that was out of nearly 350, maybe 400 people, so they split it into two days. I think there were 175 riders each day, but in my day I think I came about 60th. Everything in the park is so small itâs ridiculous, apart from this one decent sized quarter pipe but thatâs not even big at all. Itâs quite a weird park to skate.
Iâm used to skating bigger obstacles so that was quite hard to get used to at first. It looks bigger on the footage; on the footage I was like âdamn, this shit is big!â but then everything was so small. It was so hard to get used to do because you had to pop so low for tricks, and itâs all so crammed in.
What did you think of Tampa as a place? Did you see much of the city away from the skatepark?
- Oh shit, itâs so ghetto man! Thereâs a strip that looks really nice, it looks like something out of a movie where everything is so perfect, but if you leave there then everything is so ghetto.
We were on the coach on the way to the park each day and youâd see these dudes chilling on rocking chairs on their porches, waving at the cars and shit, smoking weed… it was pretty funny. Itâs ghetto though, you donât want to go to the wrong part at night. I tried to stay on the strip the whole time.
You didnât get yourself into any bother or anything whilst you were there then?
- I didnât but I saw some crazy situation. This girl was so drunk, drugged out of her face or some shit, she was going crazy at this metal band one night. Everyone started pouring beer all over her and this guy comes up, takes out his knob and starts pissing all over her in front of like 200 people. She looked like she was loving it too, it was so f*cking weird.
Would you go back to Tampa Am again if you got the chance?
- I wouldnât say no if Nike asked me again, Iâd say yeah.
It was a good experience, everyoneâs just super cool and down to skate, drink beers, chill and you get to watch a load of sick skating as well. Itâs like a non-stop demo.
You had to do the whole âKyron goes to Tampaâ thing too, in the run up to the comp.
- (Laughing) Yeah they had me do all that. It might have been a little bit much but I was stoked to be able to film the clip, go out with Magee and skate…show you guys how I live, (laughs).
How did you feel about Bay having the live webcast and getting people down to watch you skate in the qualifiers?
- I think it might have been a little overhyped but youâve got to go along with it.
Daryl: No pressure!
Everyone was like âyouâre the only English dude going to Tampa and everyoneâs going to be keen to see how you do…no pressure at all…but you better do wellâ. (Laughs) I donât like pressure, but I was so stoked to go out there.
Have you got much planned in terms of coverage once this interview drops? I guess youâve never had a proper video part have you so is that something youâre looking at getting together?
- At the moment the main focus is on the ClichĂ© video, and getting some clips for that. Thatâs why I like ClichĂ© because a lot of companies wouldnât give that many opportunities to guys on flow, but ClichĂ© gave the opportunity to a few of their flow riders, like, âfilm for the video, and whatever you get we will put it in thereâ.
Lets say I filmed a full part; theyâd put the full part in if it was all up to standard. I like the fact they gave me the opportunity to go out and get stuff for the video.
Daryl: What is the Roots Collective?
- Itâs kind of like a little family, man. All the people associated with Roots are cool, everyoneâs just so down and open-minded and wants to do the same stuff I do, just skate and have fun. I like the concept of the Roots too â âstick to your rootsâ and all that.
Daryl could tell you so much because he kind of made it, he could go in deep…
Daryl: Less about me, more about you!
Let me ask you some questions, Daryl (laughs).
Daryl: Nah. Tell us about the Skrimp.
Oh shit! The Skrimp is just a joke that got out of hand, pretty much. The people that we skate with, itâs like an extended family of Roots. Itâs a little crew and we like to skate, drink beer and have a laugh. Iâve had the most fun with the Skrimp boys for sure. Skrimp all day! The Skrimp Video is coming out as well. I think everyone who is in the Skrimp is going to have a two-minute section. If we see a curb and want to skate it then weâll just skate that, we try to have fun with it. What else have you got for me?
Daryl: Obviously youâve done a lot in the short time that youâve been sponsored and dealt with a few different companies. Do you think thatâs altered how you think about skateboarding?
Yeah, for sure – I see a lot more of a business side to it; I didnât realise it was so business-like until now.
Take a situation like today â a photographer has flown in from Holland, your TM has come down from Scotland and thereâs three filmers all waiting on you to skate a handrail. When ad shoots and things like that come around, do you pay much attention to the pressure?
- That was so much pressure, man. Theyâve obviously spent a lot of money to come out for me to do one trick, and that is pretty hardcore. I donât want to not land a trick but I kept on trying it and trying it until I physically couldnât try any more. I did only have two hours sleep beforehand though, I was hungover and turned up two hours late (laughing). I didnât get chance to warm up either, we just went straight to the handrail.
Daryl: Having said that, do you see skating as more of a job these days?
Definitely not. I donât ever want to think of it as a job; as soon as you start thinking of skating as being a job then it stops being fun. There are a lot of people Iâve met through being sponsored that take it way too seriously. Itâs kinda cool though because I realise Iâm happy that I donât really take it overly seriously, I donât see it as a career itâs just something that I like to do.
But then with the opportunity comes the responsibility behind it, so if I ever think Iâm doing something I might not want to do, I have to think âtheyâre giving me all these opportunities, Iâve got to get this done for themâ. Like interviews, I donât really like doing interviews if Iâm honest (laughs).
Youâre doing quite well considering youâve already done an interview earlier on today, and now weâre doing this one.
- Yeah I know. OK, I donât like writing; I donât like typing interviews out because it sounds different. When I read them back Iâm like, âwhat are you on about Kyron?â (laughs). I like this kind of vibe though â beers, rollies…what more could you ask for?
What are your plans for this coming year then? Have you got many trips lined up right now?
- I donât think so. But I think in February I might be going to Japan with ClichĂ©, which Iâm stoked on. Itâs not been confirmed yet but theyâre speaking about it. Iâve seen so much footage of their perfect spots so it would be cool to check that out for sure. For the ClichĂ© video though Iâm trying to get as much filming done as I can in London, because it would be cool to see a video thatâs going out worldwide with local spots in it.
After Japan Iâve got no real plans yet. I think Colinâs got a couple of bits lined up though, he told me at the start of 2013 it was going to be a busy year so thereâs no resting for me! Iâll be constantly doing something so Iâm hyped. Colin sorts it out, and heâs the coolest guy ever. If Iâm ever in need of anything I can call up Colin and heâll sort it out to the best of his abilities and help me out. Heâs the best team manager you could ask for, for sure.
Who would you like to thank?
- First of all my mum and dad, above the rest!
My nan and grand dad, Daryl Dominguez, Manny Lopez, shout out to my boy Evan Knight and all the boys from the Roots Collective and Skrimp – they know who they are. Thank you to Nike SB, ClichĂ© and Supreme, and thereâs a new wheel company coming soon that you need to look out for; the team is looking super good.
Ryan Gray at Thrasher, not Sidewalk (laughs). Iâm just playing, thank you Sidewalk!
Gary â you all know about Bullet.
Shout out to Trevor, Awadh, everyone from Playsta- tion and Bay,shout out to Daryl and Manny again, Hector, Casper, Jack, West London, Harrow, Ollie, Connor, Xavian, Lue, Kate and Sara. Shout out to Colin Kennedy, Jagger from Supreme,
Sami Seppala and all the boys from Dwindle.
Any last words?