From: Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England
Division: Pro Division
Sponsored by: Moonshine Skateboards, Jimmy’z, Seismic, Synopsis Bearings, WORM App
Skating: 17 years
I started skating in Britain in 1999 when few people were skating and no one was freestyling. I always wanted to skate ramps, but lived in an ex-mining village with no parks for miles around, so just raced down hills and did lots of wheelies. It was only when I saw Dan Gesmer on a Saturday morning TV show about skateboarding that I found freestyle and started doing tricks. Gesmer has a unique style of skating, more derived from ballet and figure skating than your average skateboarder, and this one random TV appearance literally changed my life – and now he gives me free wheels and I get to consider him a good friend. I’m a lucky bloke. Soon after, I stumbled upon Lillis and Bob Loftin’s websites and started learning kickflips, finger-flips and other basics. I consider Bob, Dan and Lillis to be my good friends and mentors. They’ve helped form my skating a lot over the years, even if they don’t realize it.
As a kid I was basically dirt poor, and back then it was hard to get gear in the UK. I’d often have to skip dinner to save money to be able to buy new boards from the US. It was rough. Nevertheless, over the next few years I was one of the first members of a small but steady British freestyle scene, became British champion twice, picked up a few sponsors, and got a job driving round in a van teaching kids to skate in small working class villages in the middle of nowhere. And then, in 2007, I quit – for a whole bunch of reasons. I listened to people who told me to get a “real job”, struggled with depression, drank too much, and moved to the very end of this little island to get away from everything.
At the end of 2010 I realized what I’d thrown away, dug out my old freestyle board, and started relearning everything I’d forgotten. Dan Gesmer started sending me his new Seismic wheels, Bob Loftin and I started the Freestyle Podcast, and Alex Foster dragged me out of pseudo-retirement to start doing demos for LateTricks. Thanks to that, I’ve returned to competition, reclaimed the title of British Freestyle Champion, picked up a sponsorship from Synopsis (run by one of my biggest early influences, Darryl Grogan), started working in “the industry” for Jimmy’z and Maui and Sons as a content manager, web designer, photographer, stock controller and general dogsbody (I wear a lot of metaphorical hats in the office). I also became Moonshine skateboards’ first freestyle team rider and team captain, and over the last year or so I’ve helped Moonshine build a world-class team and put out some top-quality freestyle boards. I’m also working with Alex Foster to build up the British freestyle scene to make it bigger and better than ever. I’ve never been more excited (and passionate) about the future of freestyle than I am now.
When I’m not out skating I like to play stringed instruments. I started on acoustic guitar, and went from there to 5-string banjo, then went a bit mad. Over the next few years I also taught myself mandolin, Irish bouzouki, tenor banjo, and dabbled with the Appalachian dulcimer a bit.
I am looking forward to going back to Round-Up to boss the Moonshine team around, verbally abuse Mike Osterman at any given opportunity, introduce Americans to some choice British insults and swear words, and generally have a good time. I might even do some skating at some point.
RECENT CONTEST HISTORY:
2016 Stockholm Freestyle Contest: 1st Place Pro/Am NOTE: Tony broke his elbow just prior to the finals, competed anyway and took 1st Place, talk about dedication.