Photography & Interview by Graham Tait
You're young but have been skating a long time, how did you get into it?
I think I might have been about four, not even five, when I started pushing about. My big brother who's seven years older than me, he skated at first then got into BMXing. He had a board and me and Geordie shared it for a few months.
That's a young age to get into it so you probably don't remember the specifics.
Exactly, those are my first memories, so skating's been there since then.
Geordie's your twin brother, I'm guessing you both started at the same time?
Oh aye, the same time. My dad's been skating since he was 12, so he got us into it. He didn't force it on us or anything like that. My mum was into it as well, taking us about skateparks. We had a seven seater people carrier and by the time we were six we were going up to Perth skatepark, and to Penicuik quite a bit. Those were the main ones, and Cooper Angus. We skated the old Transgression skatepark a lot too. I only really skated tranny as well, I didn't start skating street till I was about 12.
Do you think that's an age thing? You're going around skateparks with your dad when you're young then you get older and start exploring more on your own.
I started skating more on my own when Saughton skatepark got built. We'd get the bus up with mates, I was fully padded up, wrist guards, elbow pads, helmet, that all came off when we got there. Then we started going street skating. We'd get the train over to North Berwick for £5 return and skate The Space and session it for the full day.
I'd see videos on Facebook of my pals, who I hadn't seen for a while since going to high school, making little ramps around the park and skating in the tennis courts and that got me skating with them again. Then plastic beach DIY ramp was built down at Seafield, and we started going there. We had a crew, at least seven of us all skating from the same school, it was good. There was a little wasteland bit that had an old garage or something, we went through a hole in the fence and saw potential to make our own little DIY. We wanted to keep it quiet, we didn't want any of the older guys that make plastic beach to know about it and it be our own little thing. I got a GoPro for that Christmas in 2015 and we all hung about there and started making a wee video. You know what I'm on about right? We had that little premiere in March.
The video that was 7 years in the making?
There was obviously gaps where we didn't get clips, it went on for ages. Starts off with us getting clips at 14 then jumps to 17/18. The last clips that I got were in 2018 and it just dragged on. We should've done it ages ago but we thought we get more clips but never really got round to it. I need to get that uploaded, it's got some funny stuff in it.
It's funny seeing you go from a wee 14 year old to a full sized 19 year old.
Exactly. That's the thing with that video, because it was dragging on for ages I was like 'these clips are going to be shite', but it wasn't really about the skating, it was about us being wee boys just having a laugh. It has loads of high jinx in it.
Gap to 5.0 pop out
You guys had a bit of a reputation for causing trouble about Edinburgh I think it would be fair to say?
Haha! I dunno, I guess maybe mucking about too much at the Leith ramp. Playing hide and seek with the boards, putting them on top of buildings and climbing about, the neighbours weren't feeling that and it got back to Ruari and he was getting annoyed, which is fair enough. The older crew must've thought we were a bunch of dingles or something, but oh well.
The ramp's only a few minutes from your house, did you have mates that didn't skate hang about there so it potentially looked worse that it was?
That's the thing, they see a bunch of boys in trackies and think the worst. That's probably what it was, going there, bevvying a bit, some people not skating, it makes it look like we're not really skaters and we're just there to abuse it. But we skate it more than anyone else and really do appreciate it. It's so convenient for me, it's literally a minute walk from my door to there.
How did you find the transition from park kid into street skating, do you have a preference?
I definitely skate street more than I skate tranny now. I don't like either better than the other, but, I dunno.
What kind of skating do you like to watch?
I probably do watch more street just because there's more videos of it. But I do like to watch old stuff as well, 90s and early 2000s. Jason Lee and Gonz shit, I like skate history.
Was your dad watching skate videos?
Nah, he wasn't really. The skate videos I got were from sticker tosses or some shit. Big Push ones and 'Are We there yet', the Vans one where they tour the U.K. Those are the three I remember. I'd only really seen U.K. ones, and videos from skate jams and War Of The Thistles edits. I didn't really know about street skating until I got into it, I had no clue about flip tricks or anything.
Did you skate with your twin all the time?
When we were younger with our mum and dad yeah, unless one of us was ill or something.
I mean when you started skating in your own.
Aye, it was still me and him with our pals up until he damaged his ligaments in his ankle about three years ago trying to front shove the Chamber St ten set. He stopped skating but was still kicking about with us, then he got back into it late 2020. We kind of stopped mucking about together as much because we both got girlfriends and wouldn't be with each other as much. It just kind of naturally happened so I haven't really been skating with him.
You hang out as the time as a kid and as you get older you've naturally grown apart.
Yeah it's started to happen, not a pure sad way or anything, but I don't really skate with him much. He never fell behind when he was injured though, he seemed to get better, it was weird.
Was there any kind of rivalry between you growing up?
Nah nah, none of that. Not rivalry, but we'd skate against each other at jams, but no rivalry at all. I'd say we're at the same level of skating.
Had you shot any photos before we stared this?
Nah, I hadn't shot anything proper. I think Russ Hall maybe shot a picture of me at the skatepark but it wasn't like 'hey do you want to get this', he just came up as I was trying it and shot it. Nothing like this though. Even with filming, I've not filmed much.
Do any of your mates have footage that they're sitting on?
James Davies! He's got some beasts, he's got some good stuff, and some stuff that I've probably forgotten about. I'd like if that came out, I want people to see it. I'd like to get more, it would be sick have an actual part. I'd like to film more, not like the video we made but smaller edits. Going back to our video though, no one had seen any of the footage, my mates would come round and ask to see some teasers and I wouldn't show them. I didn't want to show anyone because I think it's worth the wait. Kind of like the photos we shot, I didn't want to see them, I want to wait and see them in the magazine in front of me, that's where I want to see them for the first time. I don't want to get presents before my birthday.
You were quite specific with what you wanted to shoot, how did you find the process?
I didn't think it was going to be like this at first. The first photo we got, I remember that day thinking we were maybe going to go shoot a couple of things just for the magazine. But then it turned into an interview which I didn't know about at first, and I started thinking about it more, I didn't want anything too similar.
Yeah it kind of just happened. We shot that first photo, then we got another, then another... It was originally supposed to be a twin feature but with Geordie getting injured it made sense to do it on your own.
When I heard it was going to be an interview I didn't want to half arse anything and wanted to be happy with what we got.
What else have you got going on, any plans for Uni?
No Uni for me, that's not my thing. Just working in a bar called The Lioness in Leith. That's also basically across the street from me.
Was your bro not working in there first?
Ruari set up group chat with me, my pal Harry and Geordie asking if anyone wanted a few shifts or whatever because his girlfriend is the manager there. Geordie went a few times then hooked me up with a couple of shifts when he didn't want to work, it was chilling. I ended up working there the whole time as he had to get a full time job to save for camp America, which is another reason he wasn't skating as much. I'd never had a job before, I'd help my dad out every few months and was always good with saving money but I turned 18 and it was definitely time to start working. I don't dread working, I might try getting some more shifts to get some money to go travelling, go on some skate trips.
Ally-oop BS Heelflip
When you told me you guys were sharing shifts there I thought you were doing the old identical twins switcheroo!
That could've been quite funny, never really thought about it.
It's an obvious twin question, but did you guys every do anything like that when you were younger?
Nah, I don't know why. We could've easily done that especially at school. I actually regret not doing that.
What you got going on the rest of the year?
Now that we're in the flow of it I'd like to keep shooting some photos, it would be nice to not have as much pressure, not like you put loads of pressure on or that. Try to film some stuff too, I have a list in my head of tricks and spots. We chatted about doing some doubles photos with Geordie, it would be good to do that when he's back too, that would be class!
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Published in North 34