Hey Po, where are you from?
Hey mate, I’m originally from Chon Buri, Thailand, but brought out here to the land down under! Oz represent!
When did you start skating?
I didn’t start skating all that long ago, I was street skating on and off for a year or so, but only picked up a longboard in 2009, and really started downhilling in 2010.
How did you get into longboarding?
All my mates at school were doing it, so I had to give it a try. At first I borrowed my mates Landyachtz Evo, with some Bears and Durians, and took it out to a local hill, then I bought that setup off him and I really started getting into it.
Where do you skate?
Radelaide! Home to some of the fastest and gnarliest hills in Oz.
What’s the community like there?
Growing. There are constantly more kids getting into the sport, ranging from as young as 12 to as old as 20. And it is great to see how everyone helps people progress in Adelaide, because over here we are creating some of the fastest groms in Oz.. maybe even the world.
Haha, 20 isn’t old!
Haha, don’t let Dani hear you say that one. I recently sold some gear to a guy who was 19 and just starting off, and he was as keen as any 12 year old, just stoked on a new board, and keen to make new friends!
How does one create a fast grom?
A good older crew, and a variety of hills. In Adelaide we have a good spread of older crew, Leigh Griffiths, who has travelled to Canada and the USA competing in the IGSA world cup. Then there is Michael Bowditch who has also been to the US and Canada, and last year came back from competing in the Euro Tour. Then there is Dani Hawes, who is everywhere! He has been to the US, Canada and Europe, had a load of experience all of Adelaide could benefit from. And they all have their own unique styles, and skills, combine that with the range of hills here in Adelaide and you are bound to get some fast up and comers.
What influence have these guys had on you?
Those 3 are the main people I owe my skating progression to. They took me out to the bigger hills in Adelaide, showed me the ropes, and showed me how to skate really fast. They helped me improve my technique, and always got me stoked on every session. At first it was a fight to get a seat in a car with them, but now I am out shredding hills almost every weekend with them (that is if they are in the bloody country). haha
Who are the fast up and comers from Radelaide?
There was a crew who came up with me from Radelaide to the recent IGSA races in Sydney, those and a few more are the guys to be watching out for. Some of them are good at racing, others need to get more of a racing head. But to name a few guys I believe will be stepping it up soon would be; Chris Hardy, this kid and I have been skating together from almost day 1, we have always been close going down our local hills, and he is starting to really progress. Charlie Harris, little micro grom who is 14, super gnarly at freeriding, and as soon as he gets fatter he will be flying down the hills.
Do you have a crew?
I don’t really have 1 crew, I mean the main people I skate with would be Leigh, Bow, and Will Morphett, who is the man grom of Radelaide, but that is when we are out in the car. Otherwise I skate with Chris and Charlie as much as I can. Also other mates who I know through the sport.
What gives you the most skate joy?
That’s a tough one, I would say just skating with my mates. Going 90Km/h right next to Leigh, or railing corners next to Chris, or getting slideways with Charlie is what gives me the most skate joy.
When did you start going fast?
I probably really started going fast on the first day I went out with Leigh, Bow and Dani, about a year or so ago. We went to the fastest hill in Radelaide as a “warm-up” as Leigh liked to call it. And, well, I had only skated this hill maybe once or twice, but nowhere near the speed these guys hit it at. Following them down, and getting to know the real speed difference between them and me as I was trying to keep up was fun. That was when I really started going fast.
Have you managed to catch up with them yet?
Haha, yeah finally, I have caught up, and sometimes even pushing them to go faster now, which is awesome. Leigh is the main speedster out of all of them, he is the one I modeled my tuck on, and I still do. Even the other day I was trying to catch Leigh and get in his draft, but that little shits tuck wouldn’t give me any draft! Haha
What do you like about downhill skating?
I like the rush of going fast, I like the feeling of drifting on the pavement, and I love the community!
Have you done any competitions?
Yeah, I have done a few, my first one was the Radelaide outlaw, which was an awesome experience, being able to race against Jackson Shapiera and BenBro Hay from Sydney was awesome and placing 4th was even better. From then I raced in last years Collingrove Cup, a little race down here in Radelaide. Then went to Sydney to race in the Grom Bomb early this year, which I won. Then back to Adelaide for the Par 5 Race, which I just beat Bowditch by a wheel in the finals. Then of course there were the IGSA races in Sydney which were my most memorable by far. (So far hopefully) I took out the Junior class in both the Mt Keira Challenge and Newtons Nation and managed to place 4th in the Mt Keira Open class finals, which was awesome.
What is a Grom Bomb?
The grom bomb is just a race for only groms, so under 18’s. Hopkin Racing over in Sydney, help put that on, and they also, I believe, have a few other grom bombs all around Oz.
Who organises the outlaws in Radelaide?
The first outlaw I went to Leigh, Bow and Dani, had organised with a little bit of help from Jacko. But at the moment Charlie, Chris, or myself seem to be holding little outlaw events and it seems to be working nicely. There aren’t really main events as such, the only one would the the Collingrove Cup, held out in the Barossa Valley. But usually, we would have some little outlaw events here and there and a few slide jams, just to keep everybody a little bit competitive!
Who supports these events?
My local skate shop Daily Grind Skate Co. Sean and Scott, who run the place are always putting up prize money and helping with organisation. Matty Leadfoot (not his last name, but I don’t know his proper one, sorry Matty if you’re reading this) haha, but he is an awesome bloke, who is always trying to organise races and amp up the community. Every now and then we can get people like Rayne and O’tang to help out with a few prizes, which is always handy.
Have you skated anywhere else?
The only other place I have skated apart from Adelaide is Sydney, but even then I haven’t had the opportunity to skate all of Sydney’s best which I am a little annoyed at, but soon I will be making a trip just to skate them all.
Do you have plans to skate further in Oz?
Oh I have many, many plans, whether they become a reality is a whole other thing. My plans are to get back to Sydney within the the next 2 years to skate everything they have to offer. Then in January next year go down to Tasmania to race the King of the Zig and also skate their hills. I am planning a trip to Melbourne/ Falls Creek road trip in December of this year. and Making my way up to Queensland, Byron Bay to visit the awesome boys at Early Skateboards Australia!
Was your plan always to race in the IGSA?
At the start, no. I hadn’t even heard of the IGSA when I started out, it was only when I raced in that first outlaw, that I knew I could, and wanted, to take this all the way, or as far as I could get.
Where does ‘’all the way’’ end?
I guess, all the way, to me just means being up there with the best in the world, or being classified as a ‘Professional Downhill Skateboarder” and getting paid to do what I love. Of course number 1 in the world would be nice, but just to be up there, and skating with them and travelling the world is what I would love to be doing.
Are there any perks of being a ‘’pro’’ that you’re particularly looking forward to?
Maybe the financial help, and just making a name for myself really. The best thing is making new friends and stoking everyone out!
Congratulations on the amazing results!
Cheers man, I was super stoked, and still am I guess. I met so many new faces over there and made a lot of new friends, placing 4th was wicked, and racing the best, was a crazy experience. One I will ever forget.
How did the race go for you?
The race was wicked, it was my first IGSA race ever, and meeting the worlds best skaters was awesome. I got to race some of the best in the world and stick with them which was awesome. Throughout the whole of the opens bracket I was racing against Alex Tongue from start to finish, and with each run we just became more and more stoked. There was a heat with James Kelly, Alex Tongue and Duke Degan which I will never forget. I was on the start line thinking ‘what the hell am I doing lining up against James Kelly!!’ haha, but after I settled the nerves I was ready to race. We were super tight at the start, Alex was out in front, then James, Duke, then myself. After the first big righty, the positions had changed James was in first, Alex 2nd, I was in 3rd and Duke in fourth. Then we went around the second lefty, super tight, just as the first, and I managed to pass Alex on the straight after leading into Camp Corner, and I was right in behind James. As we were going into it James got a wobble going around and I made the scariest, and best pass I had made all day to put myself in first, with Alex also making the move into 2nd and James in 4th. Unfortunately Duke crashed out on camp corner. Then coming around the last righty or ‘carnage corner’ I was leading, but got a twitch so Alex was able to come up next to me, it was a drag to the finish line with James close behind, but Alex and I managed to hold him off and take out 1st and 2nd to make it through to the finals. But overall that was my most memorable heat. As for the parties, well they were epic! I can’t go into too much detail but everyone had fun!
What’s the biggest thing you learnt?
The biggest thing I learnt was probably how to race, and how to race fast! Lining up with those guys and taking that track at it’s fastest was crazy, and they showed me how it was done. Another thing that was really big was Adam Yates just helping me to control my nerves in some of those heats! If ya reading this mate cheers for the advice!
How big an influence is he to you?
I only really met Yates on the first day I flew into Sydney at Jacko’s crib, but I had heard and seen a lot of him and he lived up to being a bloody good bloke! He gave me some advice, and we just chatted (along with Striker). He told me what was up and is always up for a chat, and helps ya whenever ya need it! So he isn’t a huge influence but he is much appreciated for help, and I am stoked that I am going to be living with him in Canada for a month!
Have you felt any pressure to do more giant killings in races since the World Cup races?
Yeah of course. People have seen how I can race against the worlds best, so I always feel a bit more pressure than before. But I know I am nowhere near as fast as I could be, and I know there are a lot of dudes pushing me to go fast, even in my home town. First is great, but second or third is even better because it means there is always someone I can try and beat.
Where does the pressure come from?
Honestly, it’s mostly from the expectations of other people, they are all expecting me to win races now and it is hard to do that with everyone becoming so much faster. I also put some pressure on myself just to try and please sponsors, and make sure I am representing them, as well as myself, in a good way.
Does the pressure affect your performance?
No way! If anything it makes me race that little bit harder and a little bit faster, I thrive under pressure.
How do the other groms regard you?
I’m not entirely sure, I think a few regard me as Junior World Champ, some as the best grom in Oz and some just regard me as a good skater. I don’t really care what they regard me as, I just hope they respect me. I try my hardest not to be arrogant and help anyone out in anyway I can, I hope most of them can see that, and they can respect me for it. I am just like them, out there skating and just having fun!
You mentioned earlier you were going to Canada, is it because Oz bacon sucks?
Haha no way man, the bacon in Oz is crispy as! But Canada is where the official World Cup Championships for 2012 are being held and I didn’t want to miss it! It was also a great opportunity to meet a much larger community of skaters, visit sponsors over in the US also, and just taste some new bacon, and skate some epic hills.
You’re going to Calgary!
Hell yeah! After talking to family, school and sponsors, I decided I should go over there and get more experience in general and go for the Junior World Cup Championships and also see how I do in the opens. I am also racing in the High Level DH race, and also the Cathlamet Correl races. All of which should be epic!
How did the opportunity to race in Canada present itself?
With the money I won from Mt Keira and Newtons! I decided I didn’t want to waste it, and I realised that it would cover my flights to Canada. After talking to Jackson Shapiera about the track and if I should consider other races and stuff instead, I chose to go to Canada for 5 weeks.
It seems like the experienced guys have all taken you under their collective wing!
I would like to hope/think so. Jacko was one of the first guys I talked to when I went over to Sydney the first time and he showed me the ropes. I try and get all the knowledge I can from those who know.
What are your plans for this summer?
Atm in crap town Adelaide it is winter, and it has been wet a lot of the time! So I am skipping out of Winter and going to the Summer in Canada!! Yeww, but when it gets back to summer here, I will be back and travelling to a few states hopefully!
Where will you be skating in Canada?
I will be flying into Vancouver and living with Tony Graves and Kevin Reimer, in a house in the Bp’s so I will be hopefully shredding there a lot. I will then be heading up to Edmonton for the High Level DH and Rogue Race, then heading back down the weekend after to Cathlamet, for Cathlamet Correl, then finally hitting up the Winsport Canada Cup in Calgary.
What do you ride?
At the moment I am riding an Early Skateboards Pro Model called the Oliv, designed by Olivier Bareaud, and it is sick! The boys are really stepping it up!! I am also reppin the new Aera K4’s 176mm axle and 46 degree baseplates, and adding to the radness of Aera trucks, I’ve got some super stable super turny, Riptide Bushings! And finally I am rocking the Orangatang Wheels, 80a Baluts for freeriding and 80a InHeats for almost anything else, they never let me down!
Are those your sponsors?
Yeah, Early Skateboards, Aera Trucks, Riptide Bushings, and Orangatang Wheels are helping me out at the moment. I have also got Fireup Industries, my good mate Nick Duffield making some of the best leathers available for my travels. My local skate shop Daily Grind Skate Co. who have been supporting me from the start. Mike Girard from G-Form is hooking me up with some super sick knee and elbow pads! I/O Merino, are hooking me up with clothing and skins, to keep me warm, cool and unstinky! And last but not least Decent Hardware hooking me up with killer skate travel bags, shirts and shorts to get me around the place!
What’s daily grind?
Daily Grind Skate Company is a local skate shop here in Adelaide, South Australia, they have been helping the sport grow in Adelaide and have been giving me great deals, and hooking me up right from the start, without them in Adelaide we wouldn’t have races. Sean Flynn and Scott are part of the backbone of the Adelaide downhill scene!
Represent your local.
What sort of stuff do they do in Radelaide?
They offer us skater bums a spot to hang after sessions, a place to meet and hang out, offer competitive prices on all gear, and always stock the top quality stuff! They are always getting involved with any problems we may be having, monitoring grommy grom videos from causing too much hate, and keeping the scene intact.
Who are the other daily grinders?
They would have to be Leigh Griffiths, Dani Hawes, and Michael Bowditch. Us 4 makes up the real team, but Dailies also helps out young Charlie Harris and Chris Hardy, if they need, and also help out for those dudes going interstate for races.
Where would you like to be in 3 years?
In three years i would love to be travelling around the world, racing in all the IGSA races, maybe set up camp in another country, and just be skating everyday.
What do you do when you’re not skating?
When I’m not skating I am catching up with friends from school, or outside of school, you might even find me doing homework… maybe.
Choose 3 numbers between 1-35.
2 – Would you rather have a hook for a hand or a wheel for a foot?
Hook for a hand, then I could make some sick attachments to make life easier! haha
25- Would you rather be a penguin stuck in a lions body, or a lion stuck in a penguin?
Definitely a Penguin in a lions body, nobody messes with a lion, and penguins are so chilled but can be feisty at times, they know what’s up!
32 – From Laura Hatwell – what makes you a happy skater?
Friends, and skating. If I am skating with friends, I always have a smile!
Thanks a lot Po, it’s been a lot of fun talking to you, best of luck with your upcoming races!
Cheers mate, it has been great! Have a good one!
Any thank yous?
Haha, many, thanks to my parents for being so supportive, all my sponsors for helping me in the past, present and to what I hope to be an awesome future. To ASRA and the IGSA, Leigh, Dani, Bow, Matty, Jagga and Will also. All my Adelaide groms and all the other groms out there, Yate Dawg, and Jacko. Also all the Aussies and global skate stores and companies spreading the stoke! I am sure there are many more but they are all I can think of right now!
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