Friday, 5 February 2010


Trawler lien to tail
Trawler lien-to-tail, Newquay.

For those with links to skateboarding in the UK Trawler will need no introduction. Based in Plymouth, but always liable to put in an appearance at a skatepark anywhere in Europe, if Trawler had a personalised number plate it would be SK8R4LIFE. Despite incurring injuries that would leave many on the couch permanently, he's still skating hard and along with running a business and raising a family, is now also pursuing his love of custom bikes.

Slalom Plymouth Hoe 1977
Trawler running cones in 1977, Plymouth Hoe.

How long have you been rolling and what got you hooked in the first place?

I have been skateboarding for a total of 30+ years. Seeing Surfer magazines when I was a kid and surfing on TV, I think it was a programme called David Nivens Amazing World.
My grandparents lived in Newquay and I went there in the school holidays. Grandad found a rollerskate skateboard in the side alley public walkway. I picked it up and spent hours trying to master it. I was hooked just as the first craze wave came along.

Trawler skate Plymouth Hoe 1977
Trawler, fully flared, Plymouth Hoe 1977. Nice jumper.

Skateboarding has seen many changes, is there any particular period you look back on as being poignant for you?

I liked skateboarding when it was pure and new and it was what we did growing up. Also I like it in later life, the last ten years has seen lots of new ramps and parks and I have enjoyed sampling all the new terrain and travelling over Europe and a few trips to the United States.

Trawler Plymouth skatepark
Olden days Trawler pushing past vertical in the Plymouth fullpipe.

Trawler over vert
Recent days Trawler upside down in Brixxleg.

Why do you still get your grind on?

It is part of who I am, I have to skate, I go nuts without skateboarding for long periods of time. It's like old longboarder surfers that you see at the beach, they have to do it.

Duane Peters and Trawler
Duane Peters and Trawler.

Trawler, you ARE skateboarding (in that you've devoted a large part of your life to it) so you've probably met a lot of the skateboarders that you always looked up to. Did they live up to expectations?

Most of the top guys I have met were really cool, Duane Peters is great, he knows people want to say hi and get a piece of him, he loves it and carries it off well. I am a big fan of Duane.
Probably the most egotistical and up his own bum is Tony Alva, I don’t mind saying that because it's common knowledge. The pro skaters that don't believe their own hype are the most down to earth.

You also had a fairly healthy board/memorabilia collection - if you had to name your fave graphic which would it be?

I did have a massive old deck collection for a while, the ones I have kept aside and not sold on when I sold the bulk of my stash are the Zorlac Abrook Brothers first board and an 11 inch wide Duane Peters Santa Cruz board that is signed. The Abrooks are very special friends to me.

Are you interested in any other art form or artists?

I have a very healthy interest in art and things I see. I like modern line drawings, tattoo and hotrod, vato style stuff mainly. Favourites are; Mike Giant, Usgrow, French, Mr Cartoon and Keith Weesner.
I also strongly believe that Chopper/bobber motorbikes are the ultimate artform. It involves a combination of skills in paint, metalwork, leather, form and function and you can ride it when it's finished. Plus it is so easy to get the look wrong. I spend hours studying bikes.

Trawler board collection
Whole lotta deckage.

Your top 5 all-time skaters?

70s - Jay Adams
80s - Duane Peters
90s - Danny Way
00s - John Cardiel
10s - So far has to be Andy Scott (he rules and won the first comp in January 2010)

What does 'style' mean to you?

I like to watch a skater with a good style but on edge, pushing it but fully in control. I don't like seeing guys skating with their arms flailing around like they are trying to wind down some imaginary car windows!
I hate seeing myself skate sometimes and I have always made gnarly facial expressions, you can't help your own style and you cannot ever change the way you skate!

Trawler layback
Gnarly-faced layback, Tuckingmill.

1990, St Newlyn East bowl, cover of Skateboard! magazine.

You've had a lot of sponsors - can you even remember them all?

Yeah hang on a minute...
Plymouth skatepark team and then Steve Daniels Marine sports shop in the 70s.
In the 80s it went, Brand-X, Thunder Trucks, Pacer Hogs, Jimmy-Z then Hawaiian Island Creations, Skulls Skates, Toxic and Deadbolt Trucks for a while.
Early 90s it was Zorlac Skateboards through the Abrook brothers UK distribution set-up.
In the big comeback wave of skateboarding in the 2000s I have skated for Panic Skateboards for a few weeks (mainly because the Panic owner wanted me to ride his product in my Sidewalk magazine tribute interview).
The Panic skates thing fell flat in 3 weeks and I never used those interview photos we did in Marseilles, France.
I soon got in with Hunter Boardwear in North Devon after they came up and spoke to me at a Red Bull local demo.
From their official importer deals I rode for Alva UK for two years and then Sector Nine and Lost Clothing. I got that product some good coverage and it was a really nice relationship.
The guys at Shiner, Chris Allen and Darren Rathbone, have always been cool to me. I wore Draven-Duane Peters Shoes for 7 years and now they hook me up with Santa Cruz Veterans Division boards which I love and feel very proud to be a little part of.
Finally Nic Powley at Vans UK sends me cool shoes because of the motorbike magazine stuff I am doing.

Trawler lien air
1989, Exeter, lien air.

Did coming face to face with your own mortality have an effect on your outlook on life? (I'm referring to your bout with leukaemia)

People who read this will not believe all this is true or actually happened but I did fight off two bad bouts of leukaemia with marrow transplants in the mid 90s and early 2001. It has taught me to seize the day and live my life as if each week is my last. It definitely has had a big psychological effect.

Is music important to you?

Yeah I guess it is. I have always liked English Punk and Metallica, we have lots of CDs in our house. I like all sorts of music but I do not think any vert skateboarding contest is complete without Metallica - Master Of Puppets blaring out!

Best gig?

Probably Metallica supporting AC/DC at Donnington 1991 or when my son Ross was picked out of the crowd to sing with Green Day at Birmingham the other week. He sang a chorus and met the lead singer then staged dived back into the 16,000 strong audience, I was very proud of that one!!

You've also been running a blog for a while - how's that working out?

I started one in May 2008 and it has been updated daily since then, it's skateboarding and bikes and life. I don't do it for any other reason than my own personal therapy and documenting the things I like and see and do. It has over 200 hits a day so somebody must like it!

And now motorcycles? You gotta admit that sounds a little bit mid-life crisis...

Yeah I am late to biking but I have fallen right into it. I dont think it is a M L C as you call it. My middle name from birth is Harley so I knew I wanted to get into choppers from years ago, I had been putting it off for a long time.
My friend Benny Thomas, he built my first chopper. He is a great bike builder and he put nearly all of the input into my bike the “Kooler Shaker” which won Torbay bike show with £1000 cash prize and the Bulldog Bash, the biggest UK show in 2008. It appeared in Chopper magazines worldwide. We changed that bike in 2009 into a different look we called it the “Trawler Hauler” and that won some trophies and appeared in Greasy Kulture magazine which sells all over the globe as well.

What's next?

Now I am putting together another bike, a 1970s Shovelhead HD 1340cc which will look more like a Tokyo style street chop and that will be on the road by Easter 2010.
Maybe a chopper bike lifestyle TV series we have in the pipeline will get off the ground with a certain SKY channel.
Back to skateboarding after suffering with a broken leg and a new indoor skatepark in Plymouth.
Skating with my own sons and doing my big ramp event in Mount Hawke for the 5th year running.
Just got to keep rolling, business as usual and living life to the fullest.

Trawler hauling
Later sk8r.

Thanks Trawler

Thanks for the chance to do this little blog article, good questions, it was fun.

All images courtesy of Trawler


  1. good shit, trawlers a legend!

  2. I remember the Plymouth full pipe - made a visit there on a flat summers day to skate it and its crazy snake run... Love the blog by the way, and thanks for the linkage to - a nice suprise.