Scott Palmer 'Cover Stories' interview from Sidewalk 200

Ayumi Powell Ayumi Powell

From Sidewalk 200 – May 2013

 

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Scott Palmer
Sidewalk issue 32 : December 1998
Cover photo: Wig

 

 

So Scott, your cover is from issue 32, Dec 1998 – what was going on in your life at that point?
– The day job was working as a joiner for the local authority, other than that, my life revolved around skating. Most weekday nights were spent skating around Hull City Centre or at Rockcity and then going on weekend missions to other cities and/or indoor skate parks.

What do remember about shooting that photo with Wig? That spot was dead in the centre of Hull right?
- Wig shot most of my earliest photos in and around Hull; I owe a lot to him for making this effort. He would mission it up on weekdays from London/Oxford so we could hit up Hull’s city centre spots when it was quieter during the week rather than at the weekend when it was busy with shoppers during the day and pissheads during the night. It’s crazy that this cover was chosen because this is one of the only tricks that I have a specific memory of riding away from. I don’t remember seeing my board during the flip but I just remember the distinct feeling of rolling away on brick set pavers and the noise of my wheels chugging over the cracks, and then the realisation I was rolling away.

So you just had an interview that Jake from Slam did up on the Slam site – are we to believe that is the beginning of the end of your skate hibernation Scott?
- I am planning on getting back on it this year and skating a bit more regularly. The one good thing about hardly skating is that when you go out and have to relearn a trick you’ve lost since the last time you skated, you get the satisfaction of progressing without having to really push yourself, unlike when trying to do something for a first time.

How was it going out and shooting the photo for this? When and what was the last skate photo you shot? Can you remember?
- It was rad. This was the first time I had been to this wasteland spot and I was stoked on it because it had that rawness you only get at DIY parks because they are not perfect, (which makes them perfect).
The last photos I shot before this was a sequence of frontside 270 alley-oop ollie at the Humber Bridge, which was run in your mag as part of my Hometown article.

So, can you give us the run down about your honourable discharge from pro skating? Why did you dip out when you did, and what have you been up to since?
- It got to the stage where I was conscious that I was pushing myself to keep progressing because I felt I had to, whereas up to that point progressing was what I wanted to do.
I was fortunate to be a professional skateboarder, but that was the byproduct of my enjoyment of skateboarding and spending a lot of time doing it. It was obvious to me I had travelled that journey and was ready to start a fresh one. The timing was perfect because my old employer, the local authority, was advertising vacancies and I got my old job back and since then my two children have been born.

So what was the first photo you ever had printed in a skate mag? What about your favourite photo of yourself from wherever? Why?
- I can’t remember my first photo in a skate mag but my favourite photo was a sequence in a Blueprint advert shot by Ollie Barton where I did a switch flip down the Crucible steps in Sheffield. I don’t usually like my own photos because I always notice the flaws but I was satisfied with this one. I think Ollie’s angle captured the trick perfectly, the angle of the board as it rotated, the catch and the landing.

What are your favourite Sidewalk covers from over the years and why?
- The ones that spring to mind are Shier’s ice cube cover and Rattray’s black and white cover in the fullpipe. Both these covers worked purely because of the unique styles on show: I’d like to see anyone else try holding down a cover with a crook grind on an ice cube…

You’ve been involved in all aspects of skateboarding over the years – from regular skater to full on pro travelling abroad to film videos, contests etc: from today’s perspective what does skateboarding mean to you?
- Same as it always has really. It’s weird now I think about it because I have not skated that much in the past six years, but that has never been a conscious decision, just a result of me wanting to spend my free time with my family. But during this time my mind’s thoughts with regards to skating have not changed, and when I do get out it’s all about hooking up with my mates and pushing myself to do stuff, although to onlookers it might not look like I am pushing myself, due the simplest of tricks taking effort, (laughing).

Are you excited to join the ranks of the rad dads?
- Definitely, I am looking forward to rad skate trips with the kids once they are old enough.

You’ve long been associated with your home town of Hull in particular and Yorkshire in general – what do you like about it so much? What’s kept you there?
- All my family and all my friends I grew up with live here. If I were ever to move it would only be to a warmer climate and to provide a better standard of living for my family, which cannot be achieved dramatically by moving anywhere else in the UK.

 

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Are you aware of the fact that Ollie Barton said that the photo he took of you lipsliding the tidal barrier rail in Hull is one of his favourites in his recent Deaf Lens interview?
- Yeah, Rob (Salmon) told me this when we went out to shoot the photo for this article. I was stoked when I checked it out, pretty astounding really when you think of the photos Ollie must have taken over the years but I think this is more a reflection on Ollie and his appreciation of his roots.

Ollie was a big part of Sidewalk before he moved to the States and also took a hell of a lot of the most iconic Blueprint related photos – what memories do you have of him?
- On reflection, Blueprint’s progression was all about the timing of a group of people coming together and Ollie was a vital part of this in documenting our skateboarding in the best light. During this period I was probably unaware of how lucky I was to have Ollie laying in the piss ridden gutters of the UK shooting photos, although I was aware of his enthusiasm towards skateboarding, which is still evident to this day and probably a major factor in his progression within the industry.

The Blueprint boys used to decamp in Mallorca every year – what memories do you have about those annual trips? Any good stories?
- It was amazing heading out there in the January/February when the island was deserted. It was rad just going skating all day and night, finding new spots and reacquainting ourselves with old ones. I remember going to a school in the middle of nowhere late at night/early hours of the morning, the one where Smithy does a kickflip down some large ledges at the beginning of his L&F section. We were just getting set up and all of sudden torch beams and headlights were glaring in our eyes. Next minute we were all rounded up by dudes with guns – they frisked us and had us sit on the floor. Eventually we realised it was the local police in plain clothes but initially this was quite a scary situation to be involved in.

I know that you’ve not really been skating too much but you’re obviously still up on new skate videos and whatnot thanks to the web – what have you seen recently that’s stoked you out?
- I have just watched the Danny Way documentary. That slam he takes on the vert ramp after he rodeo’s the mega ramp made me fear the worst, and then to see him get back up and do the run clean is ridiculous, that is just downright gnarly. Never been a big fan of this type of skating, possibly because I couldn’t relate to it, but that is just ridiculous.

Who would you say are the 5 most important skateboarders of all time and why?
Eric Koston – Progression
Marc Johnson – Highbrow
John Cardiel – Rawness
Jamie Thomas – Determination
Tom Penny – Influence

You’ve filmed loads of video parts over the years – which are your favourites and why?
- I have been lucky enough to be involved scene and company videos over the years. I don’t really have a favourite, any video section I have ever done holds good memories and nostalgia.

Do people still quote “I tried to dope…” to you, or has that one left the building now?
- Not very often but every now and then when I meet up with people I haven’t seen in a while, (Danny Calow) it creeps into conversation as banter, which is rad.

What about the skaters who have inspired/influenced you personally the most?
- Too many to mention over the years; my main influences were everyone I grew up skating with in Hull, plus during the different early/mid nineties street skating eras companies such as H-Street, Blind, New Deal, World, Plan B and Girl were influential on everyone. This period of time had such a big influence on my skating which has always remained.

That 360 flip at Lincoln Castle is, put frankly, f*cking unbelievable to this day Scott – I know you’re modest but I want to hear about how that went down because it was straight up gnarly. Who else was there, how long did it take, did you hurt yourself etc?
- Magee had come up for a couple days with Baines, Louie and Mike Wright. We had been skating Selby’s leisure centre benches in the day and decided to go to Lincoln Castle bank in the evening to try and film a kickflip over the hip which I had done previously. After ollieing the hip a few times I threw out a couple of kickflip attempts over the hip but wasn’t feeling it, the flip just wasn’t working and 360 flips were a bit of a go to trick so I figured I would have more control over a 360 flip to try and land it. I can’t remember how long I was trying it for, but fortunately on this day it came easy enough. I don’t remember taking a bad slam. It was one of them where it was landed in my head well before I rolled away.

Can you imagine a life without skateboarding?
- No, I remember my mate quoting an old school vert dude (I think) who stated “once you’ve skated for more years than half your age you’re a lifer”, which I can appreciate.

Have you got any words of wisdom for the people reading this?
- Keep on rolling

 

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Backtail. Photo – Salmon

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