Zero Club | Jan 2023 | Rick Bailey

1. Name / Instagram Account?
Rick Bailey / Surfvan76

2. Age?

3. Where are you from?
The centre of the Universe, AKA Blackpool, England

4. What’s your history with skateboarding? What role does it serve in your life today?
First and foremost, I was a surfer, however, living in Blackpool the waves are ridiculously fickle. My Dad was a teacher, so we visited Devon and Cornwall every holiday to hit the waves. In 1984 I walked into TIKI surf shop, in North Devon, and blew out my holiday money on a £5, plastic piece of magic. "A Pro Class Hotdogger" Like a Penny board but shitter.

I took that board the 320 miles back home and that was it. I was now a skateboarder, the only one on my street and in my entire world. I spent the next couple of years doing the Dogtown thing, without realising the existence of it, emulating surfing techniques on the streets, pavements, and hills, in my very limited world of how far away from home I was allowed to play out.

In 1986 I went back to Devon on holiday and saw it there in the window of the surf shop. An Alva Santa Monica Pig, 10 inches wide, heavy as an ocean liner and completely unsuitable for an 8-year-old child. So, obviously I bought it, but now I could ride faster and further than ever. Also, the guy at the shop told me about the old Ilfracombe bowls that had been buried and then dug back out. That was the new place to be if the waves went flat, when on holiday. Amazing Clover bowl and finally I could practice my surfing technique properly. I was really lucky in that I have many photos of that place, my Dad was very supportive of any sporting activity and took loads of quality photos.

In 1988, I finally got a suitable setup, a BBC Monty Nolder Mini. This meant that I could finally learn to Ollie and open the gateway to endless possibilities.
That also marked the point when I was finally allowed out. When I say that I refer to being old enough to experience the no-restrictions childcare strategy of the 80's / 90's.
Tragically the next summer skateboarding died completely. It was so rare to meet another skater in Blackpool it was ridiculous. there was about 10 of us in the whole town. No skateparks and skateboarding banned on the streets.

Fortunately, the no childcare strategy meant that me and the boys would go on trips to go skate. We would often catch the train to Manchester by ourselves aged 13. Basically, spending the entire time being chased by Police and Security guards, whilst causing havoc with the public at various locations, (food fights in McDonalds were alarmingly frequent).

The thing with skateboarding back then is being in Blackpool we may as well have been on the moon. It took ages to learn new tricks because you would be learning them from a description from someone or using a photo sequence from a skate mag. When we finally got a grainy pirated copy of a skate vid, we all made a copy and watched it to death. Then all had the trick list of the pro we’d all just watched.
By 1995 the Blackpool skate scene had grown significantly, and the Council had accidently provided a Bandstand on the promenade. This was like an EMB to us, the first time we had a spot that wasn't neolithic crust. I would say that during this time, I could only have been described as a street skater, and whilst all I wanted to do was ride Pools, there simply weren't any in England.

In September 1995, I went to Bangor University, North Wales. Where to my horror I discovered the world’s most non-existent skate scene, but I had consistent quality surf, Mountains to snowboard on, so I did a lot of that instead. I returned to Blackpool for the shortest period in the summer of 98, I went down to the Bandstand and saw absolutely loads of kids who didn't know who I was. I would hear them talk about Scall and Brady, how amazing they were, and how they were the best. When I left to go to Uni, I was the Gnarliest skater in the town, everybody knew me, 3 years later and I’m not even a memory. Forgotten just like that!

In September 1998 I moved across the country to Leicester, where I quickly discovered no skateparks and some excessively clicky skaters. During this period, I did a lot of Snowboarding and Surfing. (Doing competitions, sponsorship, photos in Magazines etc) Still skated as and when I could, but never enough to really learn anything new. Then in about 2010 skateparks started to pop up in the UK, obviously, no good ones where I lived, but a 40 min to 1hr drive could land you somewhere with a bowl or pool. For me, it was finally on, a chance to properly learn how to skate then one thing that I’d always wanted too.

By a stroke of luck, one of my original crew, and the only one who still skates, ended up living in Leicester as well. This meant I was skating enough to get good again but on a different set of terrains. I finally learned airs aged 39. Today I’m back in Blackpool, there’s loads of new skateparks nearby and I’ve got a whole new set of friends to skate with.

5. What’s your set-up, including shoes?
I have several, but anything between 8.5 – 9.8 wide, Indy 159 or 169 depending, Bronson Ceramics, Spitfire formula 4’s (58mm, 99a), Rails any type, 1/8 risers.
The shoes are Nike SB, I got some second-hand, worn once O’Neil’s for £15.

6. What terrain do you like to skate?
First choice is Pool, but I’ll skate anything from curbs to vert and everything in-between.

7. What stokes you out in skating?
Going fast, doing airs, and generally putting myself in mortal danger. Plus, all the friends I’ve picked up through it over the years.

8. What could be better in skateboarding?
Just be nicer to each other, remember that it’s nice to be nice.

9. What inspires you, in skateboarding, and life?
Going fast and laying it on the line, do or die trying. I have somewhat of an all or nothing kind of personality.

10. What bands/music do you like?
RATM, GnR, Metallica, Led Zeppelin, Pennywise, Dr Dre, Snoop
All the usual skate-related stuff

11. What makes you laugh?
Though highly subjective, things that are funny, satirical comedy

12. Favorite books/movies/tabloids?
Favourite Books are anything by Irvine Welsh.
Movie, I’m going to have to stick with Big Wednesday.

13. Major injuries?
Nerve damage to lower back, landed on a wall and nearly snapped myself in half aged 14. Snapped PCL and MCL, melon to fakie went wrong, put the knee joint at 90 degrees sideways. I’ve never had this repaired and every so often I snap it out of it’s socket again. My knee pads help to stabilise and hold my leg together. Broke my humerus and had an anterior dislocation of the shoulder this summer, got snaked by a chav. It was out of its socket for 2 hours before the surgeons put it back. Spent the whole time trying not to pass out as the bone was pressing against my lung.
Multiple bruise’s, the sort where you land over a rail and nearly die.

14. Outside of skating, any other passions/interests?
Surfing, Snowboarding, learning new stuff such as recently Playing pool and doing Art.

15. Skating as a kid vs. skating as an adult over 40…talk about the differences and similarities.
As far as I can tell there are only a few differences:
-Way better spots / parks
-Better equipment
-Much easier to learn new stuff
-I’m a better Skater than I was as a Kid.
-I have the skeletal wear and tear of a 200-year-old.
-Similarities are that it still feels so good.

16. Favorite skate videos?
Hokus Pokus, taught me to handrail. Useless Wooden Toys, my street tricks are basically Ed Templeton’s. Plan B, Questionable, Game changer at the time.

17. Favorite skaters?
Cardiel, Sheffey, Grayson Fletcher, Pedro Barros, anyone who is excessively Gnar

18. Favorite skate graphics? Worst skate graphics?
Favorite graphics, anything with attractive ladies on it.
Worst Graphics, so many to choose from, Heroin, Baker, Pizza

19. Who should we interview for the next episode of the Zero Club?
William Nguyen

20. Last words?
Go Faster!