Introduction by: Guy Jones
Artwork by: Dwayne Coleman
Photography by: Rob Whiston
We’ve been fans of Rianne for time and a half and we’re so happy to present this interview, spots, trick selection and an excess of style captured marvellously by Rob Whiston. We didn’t expect Rianne to stop pushing by any means but she’s slaying even more so and you can see the firework isn’t going to burn out anytime soon. Thank you for being in the mag Rianne, very stoked indeed!
Hi Rianne, how’s it going? Where and what are you up to right now?
Hey guys, I’m doing as well as anyone can during this pandemic, just plodding along really. Currently in the midst of a move to Bristol, I’ve been eager to move there for a while, but it’s been difficult to plan anything since Covid. I’ve just been chilling in Bournemouth for the last year, after moving back from Barcelona. Been back with mumsy for a bit, living that teenage lifestyle haha.
Jono: You first started skating in Bournemouth right? How integral is the Kings Park scene to the vibe there, and how much did that affect your proclivity for transition skating?
Yeah I grew up in Bournemouth and started skating at Kings from age 14. Kings, like many local skateparks is the hub of the skateboarding community in Bournemouth. It got built in 2005 and there weren’t many concrete parks around then so I was extremely lucky to live 5 minutes away. Without it I doubt I would have ever picked up a board. It’s definitely transition based with a fat snake run, which meant all I wanted to do was learn to carve and go fast. I think it took me a year to learn to ollie because I just wasn’t interested; I was stuck to that mini ramp all day. Bournemouth skate scene is magical to me, it’s unknown to the outer skateboarding community, as who even really knows where Bournemouth is? Haha. It’s got some good heads, some insane shredders and a real family vibe to the scene. Everyone really looks after one another and we all come together to create our own events, DIY’s, you name it. For the last ten years we’ve organised an event called King of Kings (King of the Road style competition), that in later years has become a celebration of the life of a local ripper (RIP Nathan Heard).
Jono: Bournemouth is also home to an almost forgotten 70s/80s concrete park in the form of Slades Farm – like the mad aunt that Rom, Harrow, Livi and Stevenage made a pact to keep hidden in the attic. Did you ever skate there much when you lived there?
Haha, yeah Slades Farm is like Bournemouth’s best and worst kept secret. It’s been there since the 70s and is in dire need of resurfacing. I skated there a few times when I first picked up the board. It’s the perfect place for beginners to boost their confidence as none of the ramps have coping so you can just roll around without even needing to drop in (imagine the old section of Stockwell skatepark, but rougher). I received my first skateboarding scar from Slades in fact, the floor there is like a cheese grater; it takes no prisoners. You mostly just find BMXers from the local council estate there now, with a few longboarders rolling through from time to time. It’s a shame, I wish the council would throw some money at it; it’s got a lot of potential.
Jono: Maybe it’s the delirium tremens talking, but wasn’t there a miniramp in a Bournemouth beer garden for a hot minute as well?
Wow, I totally forgot about that myself. What a time in my life that was haha. So yeah the mini ramp was at the old fire station club in Bournemouth for some D&B, Reggae night. I remember us young’ns had to get there early, help set up the ramp and skate it before the club officially opened and the bouncers turned up. I was only 16, still at school and suddenly found myself in the biggest club in Bournemouth. I remember being too scared to even order a drink because I thought they’d see straight through me haha. A rollerblader asked to have a go on my board and ended up snapping his leg in half… I don’t think they did many more nights after that. Good while it lasted though.
Jono: Continuing with the subject of Bournemouth skate secrets, is James Breezy actually Animal Chin?
Well, you’ve got to try to find him first.
Jono: And you moved to Brighton to study Earth and Ocean Science, can you tell us a bit about what that entails and do you wish to pursue this further?
So most people give me the most dumb founded look when I say Earth and Ocean Science. No wonder, it turned out to be a bit of a cop out degree. I mean it’s cool I’ve got a science degree but the course itself was so varied, just skimming the surface of every subject. I studied geology, marine biology, environmental science and oceanography as well as things like environmental behaviourism (almost touching on psychology) so as you can imagine I never actually learnt about each one in full. I think if I didn’t skateboard I would pursue a career in environmental studies but it is quite a difficult industry to get into and I guess my passion for skating is just stronger. I am thinking about doing a PGCE (Post-grad teaching degree) in the future possibly. I need to grow up and get a career at some point.
Jono: A lot of your generation of Level skaters seem particularly handy with lip tricks/combos, do you think this is the influence of watching Stevie Thompson skate for so many years?
I mean Stevie Thompson is the biggest G, I have a lot of love for that man. Stevie is one of the most creative skateboarders out there; he definitely looks at obstacles in a different way to most. I’m sure he’s influenced many of the younger generation. I also think the fact The Level has so many 2ft ramps to learn on gives everyone the opportunity to try crazy combos, without the fear factor. A game of skate on the 1ft is a daily occurrence down there.
You spent several years working for Tesco’s ending with a kicky and bevvy in hand exit. Do you have any good stories from this time and do you feel serving the public gives you a better perspective on how to treat others serving the public, now more than ever?
I felt after seven years I needed to make a grand exit, one of my best Insta clips for sure. Typically I’m back working there now. Only job I’ve ever had. Tesco seems like a pretty crappy job but it all depends on who you work with really, doesn’t it? The Brighton store I worked at was amazing. We’d be drinking rum and coke from Costa cups behind the till and then all heading to town after the shift. The manager was the worst of us all, literally pouring sambuca down our throats and always demanding one more drink. Being Brighton it seemed we would call the police almost everyday because of a fight breaking out, druggies refusing to leave when you catch them stealing, even had a few knives pulled. It was dramatic but not boring at least. I used to be quite shy before I started working there, I mean I was young but I definitely think it boosted my confidence and taught me how to communicate with different types of people.
After you left this position you moved to Barcelona. What were you up to here and was this always the plan and is it mandatory to live by some sort of aquatic escape? What are the benefits of being by the sea?
The second time I visited Barcelona in 2016 I stayed at a friend’s and mostly hung out with people that lived there rather than holidaying so it gave me a good insight to the vibe of the city. I basically came back from that holiday knowing I wanted to move there. I just needed to get University out of the way and get some savings under my belt. I was planning on getting a job out there but when I realised how difficult it was to do anything other than work in a call centre, I decided to just live off savings and only do the one year. It was an amazing time though; it really boosted my confidence on and off the board. Just skated everyday really, ate loads of tapas and drank plenty of cervezas, it was like the longest holiday to Barcelona ever, haha. I have always found myself by the sea, it’s not quite intentional but I guess growing up by the seaside I’m always going to love it. Bristol will be the first place I’ve lived not on the coast, at least it’s still fitting with the ‘B’ vibes though.
You’ve been getting Polar stuff for a while now, how is it skating for such an esteemed company, it seems you share a passion for DIY ethos. Have you skated any of Pontus’ creations and what are some DIY’s closest to your heart?
Yeah I’m so thankful to Polar and Keen for flowing me boards and garms these last few years. Polar has been my favourite company pretty much since they came about, I’ve always really enjoyed their videos, think their team is sick and love their board designs and clothing. I’m so stoked to be associated with such a large, well-liked brand and I know I’m insanely lucky. Yeah, I’m a big fan of skating DIY’s, I would love to get involved with building more in the future too. The amount of times I’ve been to Malmo and kicked myself for not skating the Train Bank Spot, one day though! My favourite DIY has to be Spotter in Barcelona. They’ve built so much since I moved back to England, I can’t wait to get a flight over to check it out, when we can do that sort of thing again.
Nike SB have been producing great things for equality, the Not Here By Luck series is fantastic, how was it shooting this with master lensman Robin Pailler and does it stoke you out being associated with not just a big company but also one that has produced gender neutral clothing lines through Leo Baker?
Actually one of the main reasons why I was swayed to move over to Nike SB was their advertising campaign at the time, which was ‘for him, for her, for everyone’. They’ve really been closing the gender gap by supporting and advertising more female skateboarders. I think it’s really rad that they have a female team worldwide. Sometimes it seems companies get a token girl to tick a box. I don’t know. I just think it’s rad they’re producing all female videos and neutral clothing lines. I would like to see some more mixed videos in the future though; male and female Nike riders in the same edit would be rad. Robin Pailler has to be one of the nicest, most genuine people you will ever meet. Filming with him definitely didn’t feel like work, it was more like two mates just hanging out. Robin’s very professional and produces some amazing work but also doesn’t make you feel awkward or doesn’t even particularly ask you to do much for the lens, he works more around you. I much prefer that, it means you get more realistic shots and it removes that anxious feeling you get when you’ve got a camera in your face. Typically the one thing I get most concerned about is the voice over and the day we recorded that we forgot the extra batteries, but I ended up being real happy with how it came out. Robin probably just didn’t want to listen to me waffle on anymore, haha.
Do you think either of these brands will collaborate with Royal Mail and is this the portrait of yourself wearing the hat taking the first steps into making it happen, or is it to try and re-nationalise this institution?
If any brand is to collaborate with Royal Mail they’ve got to be a UK company, surely. If I could spill some political business to do with re-nationalisation I would. Truth is I just think it’s a cool hat, haha. I’ve got a collection of work uniform hats like Southern Rail, Gatwick Express, Krispy Kreme, Costco, Dominoes etc. Big up my mate Jed Jolly for always sorting me the Royal Mail garms, legend!
You shot this interview with top fella Rob Whiston, hitting a variety of spots nationwide. Were there any sessions or spots that bear particular significance to you and how was the process shooting this interview?
Top fella… we don’t want his head getting any bigger now, haha, joking. Rob’s an absolute legend; he’s the king of banter. Every time I meet up with him, I leave with an aching jaw from laughing so much. When you’re travelling around the country, he’s definitely the man you want with you. We hit up a few spots around the midlands and spent a few days in Bristol and Glasgow. It was a shame it was lockdown during the time and the weather was just going downhill but we still managed to get some shots and have a banging time while doing so. It was pretty chill. We had a few sessions one on one but most of the time we’d be meeting up with some locals or with Cal and the boys (Get Lesta), they’d always have some good spots in mind. We had a banging day during our Bristol trip at the water reservoir (as seen in the recent Yardsale video). I didn’t even skate it, but it was so much fun watching all the boys shred it up. There was a huge group of us from about eight different places in the UK, deffo breaking some Covid rules but it was the closest feeling to normality I’ve had in a long time.
What are the benefits of long socks?
Shinners, surely! C’mon. I mean especially if you’re wearing shorts, got to protect that business. They also keep you warmer in the winter to be fair. For some reason it actually creeps me out when I see people wearing ankle socks while skating.. I think it brings back bad memories of the ol’ board in the ankle scenario.
Things are improving slowly in skateboarding, but it still has a long way to go in forms of equality and exposure for womxn, but who did you find inspiring when you were starting out? Obviously Lucy Adams and Lois Pendlebury are hugely influential but people like Charlotte Thomas, Kirsty Tonner and Dani Gallacher have done so much for skateboarding. Do you remember meeting them for the first time and how did you get involved in Charlotte’s book ‘Concrete Girls’?
My first UK female inspiration was Sam Bruce, I had heard the locals at Kings talking about how she ollied the eight set at the opening jam so obviously had to do some googling. I remember finding this photo of Sam airing over the hip at Meanwhile Gardens and I was like ‘Oh my god I want to fly in the air too’. I think I saw Lucy and Lois for the first time at NASS, that competition was a real eye opener for me regarding the level of female skating in the UK, I was completely in awe. I had known Dani for years but when she introduced me to Kirsty our friendship really kicked off. Girl Skate UK organised an event in Brighton called Push the Prom and me and Kirsty completely hit it off with our admiration for bevvies and a few months later the three of us were holidaying in Barcelona together. I will always have so much love for those two. I met Charlotte through Stefani Nurding, I’m pretty sure the first time we all hung out was shooting for Topshop’s online blog. Dani was there too, we all went to the headquarters, picked up suitcases full of skinny ripped jeans and crop tops and headed to Markfields DIY. Totally surreal to look back on. It wasn’t long after that Charlotte had the idea to get a book printed so we met up in London one weekend and got some shots. I’m real glad the book came out as good as it did and I think it’s a super sick way of documenting that era of female skateboarding in the UK.
How do you feel we and the media can improve in terms of equality and skateboarding as a whole? I hate it when people say keep politics out of skateboarding.
I think the magazines, especially the UK ones, are doing pretty good in terms of equality, personally. Yeah you don’t see 50/50 male and female in the mags but the participation rates aren’t at that level yet so it’s totally understandable to have less women advertised when there’s less of us to produce content. As women’s participation in the sport increases, I would like to see their presence in the media correlate. As you can also argue that without representation of women in the community, fewer females are inspired to start. I always wonder where the female scene would be now if companies had given the early female riders the same support and welcoming attitude that you mostly find these days. To be honest the whole conversation regarding gender in skateboarding confuses me and gives me a bit of a headache. We can all agree there’s still a lot to be done but it’s still difficult to know exactly how to go about that. I guess there is a big argument of whether separating competitions, teams and brands for male and female is creating equality or if it’s only segregating the two sexes even more. Competition wise, I would like to see separate prize money for male and female participants like we currently do but instead of having the men’s competition and then the female’s competition at a separate time (which few people bother to watch). It would be rad if they had one heat of males, followed by a heat of females etc. I think this would encourage people to watch and appreciate the female skateboarding and create a less segregated atmosphere while still appreciating that the level of skill is still not quite equal. I definitely think that will level out in time though; you only have to look at Sky Brown to see that.
Could you please recommend absolutely anything for us, could be a book, a walking route, a film or a skating cheat code?
Movie – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (my all time favourite since I was 16) .
Book – Just finished Papillion, true story, gripping tale and makes you really appreciate life.
Song – Time (You & I) – Khruangbin (whole albums pretty chiller to be fair).
See the footage of the above Rianne photos in her ‘Darling’ part below!