The Europeskate site is heading more and more in the direction I’ve always wanted it to – getting skaters, musicians, generally people with the same mind-set as myself to hook up and exchange thoughts and information. That’s why when Chris W. Smith contacted me offering an interview he did with Karma Skateboards team member Owen Hopkins, I gladly accepted – and here it is, enjoy!
You know what the best part of being a journalist is? – I have the freedom to write about not only myself, but the dudes I look up too – In this case we have an interview with a true urban legend, may I introduce to you (just in case you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years!): Mr Owen Hopkins.
When I was younger I used to get the oppourtunity to watch Owen skate a fair bit. Two things made Owens skating instantly recognisable: 1) The pure speed he would hit his tricks at, and; 2) The enthusiasm he had for skating (probably the most enthusiastic skater I’ve ever met!)! Ten year have passed, and Owen shows no signs of slowing down, in fact he goes from strength to strength.
In recent years major mile stones for Owen include obtaining sponsorships from established UK skate labels, filming video parts, and getting his first major (10 pages!) interview in SideWalk Surfer… The future can only get even better!
Â» Man, myth, urban-legend… But who is Owen Hopkins?
I’m Owen Hopkins, also known by many nicknames! I’m 27 years of age and I’m from Newtown, Powys (Wales, UK) originally, but currently reside in Bristol (UK) – it’s a good place for skating.
Â» How many years have you been skating? â€“ What do you think inspired you â€“ Like, the initial kick-start?
Â» Back then, who were your role models?
Definitely some of the older locals of the scene â€“ Toby, Sam and Wylie in particular, when they came out street skating it was like Christmas had come early… Slightly later, Danny Jack was definitely one of my biggest influences – We used to push each other a lot when we first started skating together.
Â» When was the first time you tried something big/scary/risky?
Hard question, I’m sure everything was scary back then – Maybe the first time I ollied the five set at my old primary school, it was quite long with really rough ground. The first time I did it was on a board signed by Chad Muska, maybe I was inspired!
Â» With reference to skating, how important is music to you?
Music and skating go hand in hand I feel – the blend between a good song and good skating is magical – a lot of my music taste is down to what I have heard on skate videos over the years. That said though, I don’t really like it when people plug in during a sesh, I find it very anti-social. I like it when there is interaction with the people around when you skate.
Â» Whatâ€™s your most â€œplayed-outâ€ record?
I’d probably say Ready to Die by Biggie or maybe Dark side of the Moon by Pink Floyd – they are both quality.
Â» How do you rate the scene in Bristol for live music?
Itâ€™s very good but I don’t get much of a chance to sample it at the moment.
Â» At present, whereâ€™s your favorite skate location?
I don’t really have one, there are a lot of good spots in Bristol and everything has been done everywhere, so I am making an effort to find some new stuff to skate in the city – I have found some new stuff lately – just need to drag a filmer or photographer out there sometime soon. There is a new bench and stair spot which I have skated near Temple Meads lately, that is really good but a lot of security. I skated Hereford skatepark yesterday – I would definitely recommend that to anyone.
Â» Have you ever had any bad experiences with security/the-law/random crack-heads? … Or perhaps, even a turbulent time involving a combination of the said nuisances? (Again, with reference to skating!)
Yeah a few, the worst was when a bunch of guys tanked up on cider and lighter gas rushed this skate-spot in Edinburgh to beat my friend up, because he beat them up earlier for trying to beat him for not giving them a cigarette – He didn’t even smoke! I defended my friend by rugby tackling some guy that was taking him from behind. I held him down but someone stamped on my head and I was out cold until the next day…I can’t remember anything from that day. Apparently skateboards were connecting with a fair few heads after my head got stamped on though!
Â» What did you have for breakfast this morning? And, is this a fairly typical breakfast for you?
Weetabix! That has always been my breakfast since I learnt to chew!
Â» When was the last time you read an interview that made you cringe?
Probably mine to be honest…
Â» On the subject of interviews (insert evil cackle here), how did your interview with â€œSidewalkâ€ materialise? â€“ And did they exaggerate you enthusiasm for fame a little?
Oh yeah definitely!!! I was keen for photos from more of a personal perspective really – to have something nice to look back on, always a dream to have photographs in the magazines. Definitely wanted some sort of recognition – it’s just nice when someone likes what you do. The interview came about because I sent a link of footage to Ben and Leo at Sidewalk… I think they either liked it or Ben didn’t want me to hassle him again because I had hassled him for some magazine coverage a couple of years before. Always feel like a prick when I see him!
Â» In terms of â€œskate-lifeâ€, how many years you got left in you?
I want to skate for as long as I can. I’m not sure how long it will last at a sponsored level, but I’m still learning new tricks, and can just about throw myself down stuff from time to time.
Â» In this day and age, what do you think about the relationship between skaters and bikers?
I’m not sure – it’s a hard one to gauge for me. I think in rural areas the relationship is a lot closer because I think they are both kind of outcast people in that environment – I used to skate with BMXâ€™ers and go on trips with BMXers a fair bit when I was younger. I do notice in the city that there is a vibe when BMXers rock up at a street-spot that is predominantly more of a skateboarding spot. I think the relationship is generally ok though, scooters definitely get the most hate though.
Â» From all your travels, what is your most cherished (or one of them!) memory?
Barcelona 2006 – The whole five months were amazing, good times, good friends and much partying… Oh and some skateboarding, ha ha!
Â» Tell us about the most â€œRock & Rollâ€ week of your life (or at least the printable bits)?
Ahh man, I’m from the country, we don’t do rock n’ roll, ha ha. Let’s just say it was very messy because I can’t remember it.
Â» I nearly forgot to ask the most obvious… Who do you skate for?
My sponsors are Karma Skateboards and Who? Clothing – check them out at karmaskateboards.com and whoclo.blogspot.com
Â» Cheers Owen… Before we wrap things up, do you have any shout-outs, thank you’s, etc?
I’d like to thank my sponsors Karma Skateboards and Who Clothing, and all my friends and family and anyone who is helped me along the way. Peace.
That’s a wrap! – CWS
Photography by: Leo Sharp, Nathan Rutherford and Tristan Bonnomet