Vague fave and Welcome Skate Store’s very own Liam Hobson comes through with a brand new part filmed entirely on a bulky VHSC cam in Brisbane by his good mate Jack Cassidy, theres plenty of satisfactory curb and car park shredding in this feel good part. Watch below and read an interview with the hunky man himself produced by Jono Coote!
Swapping the frequently exhausting capriciousness of UK weather patterns for Antipodean sun is something frequently discussed in the depths of winter, over the pints taking the edge off the fact that you haven’t skated in three weeks due to the relentless deluge and sub zero temperatures; but actually doing so is another matter altogether. In 2018 Liam Hobson took the plunge, swapping his native Yorkshire for the much smoother and more sun kissed streets of Brisbane with his partner. To coincide with a new clip filmed entirely on VHSC cam by local filmer Jack Cassidy, captured after hours across the city over the past couple of years, we caught up with Liam at the start of a knee surgery recuperation period. Increase your scroll-based RSI and meander your way down this page for a discussion touching on surfing, the pull of the skatepark vortex, the pitfalls of filming on a vintage medium and the advantages of painting in a variety of mediums, amongst other things…
Yes man, this interview is accompanying a new video clip of yours, but as we speak you’re recovering from very recent ankle surgery – what did you do to it, and how are you planning on spending the recuperation time?
Yeah mate! I just had ligament reconstruction on my left ankle. I sprained it pretty badly a month ago and got what’s called a syndesmosis injury. It’s always been my weak ankle so I’m pretty stoked it’s on the mend. I have three to four months of recuperation time which I don’t intend to waste. This time off has given me loads more time to work on my art which I’m loving at the minute. I also just bought a Toyota Hilux Surf 4×4, so I’ll probably turn into a full blown Queenslander and just be out in the bush tearing it a new one.
At least it’s recuperation in the sun! Last time you had a chat with Vague it was around the time that Welcome released ‘Paul,’ and you were dodging rain to skate the streets of West Yorkshire. How and when did you swap Northern crust for Queensland sun?
Ohh yeah the good old days! I do miss me some Northern crust. Yorkshire and the people in it have a very special place in my heart. I’ve got some very fond memories of that time period, living in Leeds and skating with all my mates. I can’t wait to go back for a visit once travel restrictions ease. I swapped the crust for the sun in 2018 with my partner Clare. We had always dreamt of coming over here and seeing what the vibe is. It was pretty handy that she is a Australian citizen as well, so I was able to get over on a partner visa and have been living the dream ever since.
And have you travelled through many other parts of Oz since you reached that side of the world, or in fact anywhere else in the Southern Hemisphere? You were saying before that you’d been over a few years before as well, right?
Yeah I first came over here in 2009 for a month to visit my mate’s dad and have a holiday in Melbourne. I think that trip made me realise how good life could be out here. Learning to surf on Phillip Island was a massive eye opener and it got me hooked on the ocean. When me and Clare eventually moved over we had saved up a bunch of extra cash to travel around a bit before actually getting jobs and settling down. We went to Fiji for our anniversary, which was dope, and then shortly after that we went to South East Asia and travelled through Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia in six weeks. Cambodia is by far my favourite place out of the three, such a beautiful country.
I was going to ask about surfing – how much have you been doing since you got out there? Do you think it has affected your skating much (i.e. how long before we get clips of you doing Bertlemanns at Pizzey wearing a Hawaiian shirt)?
Haha!! I think that might have to be my ‘return to skating’ clip. I love Pizzey Park but never really make the drive south to the Gold Coast – the traffic is a nightmare! I’m gonna make it my mission to go there more often and turn into the burnt-out Hawaiian shirt-wearing Bertlemann guy once I can skate again, probably sporting a mullet and speed shades to seal the deal!
Surfing loosens you up for skating and there’s no better way to start the day. I went out on the log most Sundays before the injury. I had a good routine of waking up early, smashing it up the Bruce Highway to Noosa on the Sunshine Coast and getting a couple of hours in on the waves. I’ll have some lunch, head back and finish the day off with a skate and a couple of cold ones with the bros in the late arvo. Throw a BBQ in there for dinner and you have a perfect Sunday in my eyes.
Yeah that drive fucking sucks! But Pizzey is incredible. Have you ever skated Salk Oval? That was my favourite Gold Coast park. This is kind of unrelated to the interview though, just me reminiscing about when I used to have a regular intake of Vitamin D. So how did this part come about, and what was the thinking behind filming it in that medium? Capturing skating on VHS cameras presents its own unique set of challenges, how did this affect the filming process?
Nah I haven’t been there yet, I just searched for it though and it looks real fun! Next time I want some pool coping in my life I’m heading there for sure. The part was basically Reece’s idea, I’m pretty sure he said I should do it before I even got out here. Once I was out here it all happened pretty naturally, Jack hit me up on Instagram after seeing me skate at Bracken Ridge, and asked if I wanted to film. He films in all mediums but I think he was mainly doing VHS at the time and I really liked the look of the footage. But yeah, challenging is an understatement, especially as we decided to do it all at night too. The amount of tricks that needed to be redone because of glitches was unreal. Respect to Jack though, because any sort of shake on that camera would ruin the footage. He’s got the hands of a surgeon, does the lad!
So I’m assuming you’ve found a solid crew out there – how do the street spots compare to back here? Is there a plaza spot, or is it more a skatepark vortex meet up a la Hyde Park? I hate to say it, but I pretty much got distracted by being a bowl troll the whole time I was in QLD, the closest I got to street skating was bombing hills and skating Mt. Gravel Pit DIY…
Yeah I’ve met a few solid humans out here, everyone is lovely. I think with it being such a big area compared to back in England there’s loads of different crews. I tried for a while not to have a local and keep going to different parks to spice it up a bit but the best park is literally the closest to me – I would definitely say that Bracken Ridge Skate Plaza is the local now. There’s a good bunch of lads who go down on the regular and it’s always a good session. This place is definitely my vortex, there’s been so many times I say I’m keen to go street and film and just end up staying there until the lights turn off. As for street skating I’m kind of used to being able to just skate from spot to spot mainly because I didn’t drive in England, and didn’t need to. There is a lot more driving and planning on street missions now because the spots are so far apart. Still a good time though! Mt. Gravel Pit DIY is another place I still haven’t been. I’m loving this mate, I’m gonna have a good list of places to check out when I’m back on the board. Cheers.
Haha sick, when I get a minute I’ll think of some other good ones round your way I skated and send over a list! So other than skating and surfing, what else have you been getting up to out there? You mentioned before that you’ve been working on some art, what sort of stuff is it that you’re working on?
That would be awesome! Painting takes up most of my time these days. I’m currently working towards getting trade qualified as a residential painter. It’s hard work but really quite rewarding. I also try to look at it as my art practice to keep me motivated. I’ve learnt so much from painting houses and brought these little techniques to the abstract paintings I do at home. I mainly paint on old or snapped skateboards, surfboards and canvas. The canvases have been getting a lot of love on Instagram at the minute and I’ve got a few canvas commissions which I’m pretty hyped on.
Rad! It gets me stoked that more people are painting on old or snapped boards these days; it feels like, alongside people making recycled objects from skateboards, a rejection of previous ‘disposable’ attitudes towards skate hardware – I guess it reflects wider changes in attitudes towards environmental issues, whether that’s conscious or subconscious?
I definitely am more conscious about environmental issues these days. I’m currently living on a mountain where we run off solar and live off rain water, which would be pretty handy if there was ever a zombie apocalypse. But I think it was more of a subconscious thing when I started painting on snapped boards over ten years ago in my mate Jamie’s studio. All credit to Jamie though, because it was his idea. We were both skint students with very little money for canvas so I guess the natural thing to do was to paint the snapped decks laying around the studio. I do remember the night he came up with the idea though. I walked through his gate to find him pacing around his garden in the dark shouting “I am a genius” haha! It turned out that it wasn’t the Eureka moment he first thought because it definitely wasn’t the first time anyone had put paint on a snapped board. There’s so many rad people making art from recycled skate stuff, it’s really nice to see. I want to get to a point in my art practice where I’m using every part of the board to create something dope.
And to finish this up, what would be your least favourite Australian biblical plague – spiders, mice, or that weird polished concrete that has no grip which they finish every skatepark with?
I don’t know if they are a biblical plague, but mosquitos over here are a real bitch. Maybe even more of a bitch than Paddo’s polished concrete.
Liam Hobson – AFTER HOURS