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Calvin Skinner Interview: East Cooperative, Vlogging and Seattle Mass Tour

The power of social, digital and etc media to activate your art and stoke and share what drives your passion in life, is literally limitless. While many scoff at the idea, I have lived the opportunity myself for a long time. Australian media composer Calvin Skinner is pursuing his own version of this story and developing his facets in an ongoing challenge to explore not only the potential of media, but ones self. And in my opinion he’s killing it.

I had heard of The East Cooperative, but wasn’t at all clear who Clavin was. They hail from Australia and I haven’t headed over there and am often forced to rely on what the news feeds pump out. Which can often mean, if you’re not sponsored, you’re not promoted. Calvin started vlogging and all of a sudden I was presented with this very real person and they’re experiences in a way I hadn’t really seen much [or done well] since Long Treks on Skate Decks. Vlogging, for those who don’t know, is kind of like a video journal (log) of ones life, for Calvin, that’s longboarding, but it’s updated in near realtime and intended to expose your life story more explicitly than the more edited down versions we tell. As he pumped out his vlogs, it was clear he was making his way to Central Mass Skate Festival 7 and it was particularly interesting to me to watch his adventure unfold, and the event itself, in a very Reality Tv fashion.

As he returned home from his trip, he eventually put out the more expected skate road trip [though also top notch!] style edit with The East Cooperative and I wanted to learn more about his experience and his media efforts.

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Hey Calvin, can you give us the full name, age, shoe size details?

Hey Les, My full name is Calvin James Skinner, I’m 21 years old, I’m somewhere between a 10 and 11 depending on the brand and fit.

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Photo By Dylan Pierce

Larger than average! Must have big socks. Where you from? Where you living?

My hometown is a town called Redcliffe in Sunny Queensland, Australia, but my whole family up and moved north to the Sunshine Coast at the end of 2012 which has been great since the coast is one of the most hill rich parts of the state.

Nice. Australia looks epic, but I have yet to make the trek. Vancouver sometimes feels like we have a good serving of you’re kind though and Australians are a lot of fun. They also road trip a lot it seems. You just got back from a mad road trip right?

Yup, The Seattle Mass Tour, pretty much a tour based in two cities, Seattle and Boston, taking in the surrounding areas and of course going to the Central Mass Skate Festival.

How long have you been skating? How did you get into it?

I started cruising around parks when I was about 5 following my older sister and brother, but I faded out of park skating for a while. When I was 15 I was stuck in hospital for around about 5 months with a spinal tumour that nearly left me paralysed, whilst I was in there I saw my brother got a giant pintail cruiser and I promised myself that if I got out I’d start skating again. And from there I started cruising, saw the Loaded videos and started skating down the small hills Redcliffe had to offer with a small local crew and then soon enough I was hooked.

Was this the first big trip or have you done other skate cations abroad?

This is my first major trip, I’ve skated in a few other states and cities in Australia and a little in New Zealand when I was on a holiday. But was definitely a big move going to the states after not really skating abroad before.

What’s the skate/ travel situation at home like?

Skating in Australia is rad, but also pretty darn expensive. But with that in mind on the coast you can travel 15 minutes and be at some of the best hills in the country. But there’s a still a beauty in travelling and skating hills and spots you’ve never skated before be it in the next city over or a completely different.

When did you pick up the glass? Are you more video or do you snap photos too?

I definitely was messing around with camera’s before I was going fast on a skateboard, but as soon as skating became a major part of how I spent my time it was only natural that I started shooting the thing I loved to do. I try and do an even split of photo and video, lately I’ve leant very heavily towards video content but I will always love capturing stills.

What’s the East Cooperative?

The East Cooperative is network of Skaters, Filmers and Creative on Australia’s East Coast, it started and still remains the idea that pooling efforts and audiences will allow for more exposure for smaller communities and undiscovered skaters. Along with that it just became a centralised location for skating content to be posted. We have a pretty big group of contributors and hopefully will be getting a few new faces involved to assure we have a variety of content to keep people stoked.

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And what’s Calvillain? I’ve been checking your Vlogs there?

Calvillain” is the youtube channel I post my Vlog content, after studying advertising and media at uni and lecture on the validity of video logs as a way of communicating constantly to an audience and a case study in creators like Casey Neistat I was inspired to bring that sort of fun daily content to the downhill community. I initially challenged myself to do 100 videos in 100 days, which I did and it grew my audience and stoked out a bunch of kids. I remember one kid saying that my videos encouraged him to start skating and grow his own local community, which was probably one of the most rewarding things to hear. After the 100 videos I decided that i’d take to travel Vlogging my experiences in America which proved really rad to. At the moment I’m on a small hiatus in Vlogging as I try to get life after uni sorted back home but they will be back in some format sooner rather than later.

Vlogging is pretty rad an I am seeing it more. O&H has Pablo Quilles and Alex Dehmel doing some for downhill travel and I really enjoy them. And Hans Wouters, he does some cool stuff with flatland. Tell me more about the Seattle Mass Tour? Were you rocking it solo?

The Seattle Mass Tour was a my University Graduation Trip. I’ve dreamt of skating Seattle hills since I was from watching Nate Blackburn tell me about the latest gear at Motion Boardshop, and Central Mass has always drawn me since I saw the giant crowd of skaters it always drew. I did travel Solo, but all in all if you’re staying with skaters your never really travelling solo, the only time you are alone is when you’re on planes or in airports.

What did you get up to? Who did you hang with?

In Seattle I stayed with Dylan Pierce (@Nwordie) one of the most talented photographers coming up in the Pacific North West in my opinion. He showed me round the wonderful city and amazing roads of Seattle and the surrounding areas.

Photo By Dylan Pierce

Photo By Dylan Pierce

I also got to meet a bunch of rad skaters and up and coming groms, a stand out was this guy Jake Walkling who I’d never heard of or seen in a video before, but after skating a session with him I was hyped enough to ask if he wanted to film a full video for the east cooperative and the next morning with Dylan working as a second unit we powered out a full part in 3 hours.

In Mass I was graciously offered a couch at the Mission Hill SkateHouse which holds a bunch of the Thanestore lads (Sam Wolff, Brendan Ronan, Pete Noyse) and I was joined by Remember Collective Rider Patrick Eddings and Luxe Truck rider Brendan Adams. These guys were such an amazing crew to stay and skate with, all stoke, all the time and they ended up crashing in my hotel room at Central Mass and they guaranteed I had an experience to remember.

What was the Central Mass experience to be remember… that you can tell me anyways?

Central Mass is an event like no other, the scale of people at the event completely blew my mind. The racing was rad, the party was rowdy to say the least and the slide jam was like nothing I had ever seen before. But the best thing about CenMass is the sense of community, everyone is a homie and if they’re not at the start of the weekend they will be by the end of the weekend from groms to veterans everyone’s a mate and down for a chat or a pack run.

Photo by ill Downhill

Photo by ill Downhill

Photo by ill Downhill

Photo by ill Downhill

So you don’t have events this style at home? 

Not particularly, there have been big slide jams and big races but nothing that brings the whole community to one event like Central Mass.

What’s the event scene like at home?

A lot of emphasis on racing at the moment. I believe racing does deserve it place in the spot light for awhile down under, but when I got into the sport there were slide jams every other weekend. I honestly believe these big multi event weekends that bring race oriented skaters and freeride oriented skaters together is definitely something that Australia needs.

Are you back in Australia now?

Yup, I’ve been back home in Australia for just over a week now still recovering from some road rash I got on one of my last days shredding a gnarly little bike path in Mission hill.

Will you be heading to school? Work? The couch?

Hopefully work soon, I got offered a pretty good job before I left and hopefully it has the chance to open doors in skateboarding and adventure sports world for me but I can’t say too much too soon.

How much do you get skating and filming when you’re at home?

In Uni I definitely was all about the skate every day lifestyle but with work on the horizon I’ll try and squeeze in a session after I knock off and skate and film every weekend.

Photo By Dylan Pierce

Photo By Dylan Pierce

What’s on the horizon? Got any plans or goals in sight?

A goal for next year is to do a bit of a Giants Head quest, SF – GHF sounds like a plan and if i got to money I’d like to stick around for Central Mass 8.

Anything we missed you want to share?

Big shoutout to the guys that helped out where they could on the Seattle Mass Tour, Mudjimba Cruisers, Thane Store, 122 Street Wear and of course my mum and dad, always gotta show those two some love.

Photo By Sam Galus

Photo By Sam Galus

Thanks for taking the time to chat with me. Stoked to keep checking the East Cooperative and your Vlogs. Shout outs? Thanks moms? Throw some hate?

Major shout out to all the homies at The East Cooperative and all the local crew at home, huge thanks to Dylan and the Mission Hill SkateHouse for letting me occupy floor and couch space.

Also Thanks to the talented media creators for their photos and videos: Dylan Pierce, Sam Galus, Ill Downhill, Jeff Perry, Elijah Frank, and Brendan Adams.

Let’s make it a true 21 questions… favorite thing to eat on the Seattle Mass tour?

There was this burger joint down the street from the Mission Hill Skate House called Beta Burger, they somehow figured out how to make greaseless burgers, it was pretty revolutionary.

 

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