We really can't get enough of Elliot Stevens at Select these days! He is possibly the coolest thing around. As a follow up from Cecilie Harris' editorial "Leave The Boy Alone" with him last week, we wanted to talk to him about his skating.
Being labelled as one of the top skaters in the UK, we can't help but being massively impressed by his talent, and we wanted him to share some of his stories with us all.
Hey Elliot, in our latest editorial with you we see you with skates on skating up trees and walls. Tell us a bit more about your skating!
It's my main hobby/ lifestyle that I've had for the past 10 years. Recently when I've not been modelling I'm most likely skating. I ride for a distribution company in the UK called Shiners who distribute the American skate company Valo Brand, ran by rollerblading legend Jon Julio. I basically represent Valo Brand in the UK and skate for Locoskates skateshop and Dirt box Clothing.
How did you get into it in the first place?
I played for a roller hockey team called Turton Tornadoes and basically would skate on my front drive playing hockey all the time. After watching my first skate video (coup de tat) which I got off my friend Mike Waring, it wasn't long before me and my friends Jack Coleman, Ben Mckay & Kyle Hall Started making our own homemade D.I.Y ramps and grind rails. Those guys all eventually gave up but I stuck with it -which I am glad I did. I then met other skaters from Bolton and Manchester and pretty much grew up skating with all those guys. I would start listing off names, but there's too many to mention, they all know who they are! But ye I basically carried on. I started entering competitions, meeting new people and travelling more and more.
Elliot at the recent Winterclash in Amsterdam.
You recently went to a skating event in Amsterdam, tell us a bit more about your experience there.
We flew from London Gatwick to Amsterdam, Dave Chappelle, Leon Humpries and myself. We walked around Amsterdam and hit up a few coffee shops, bumped into other skaters Montre Livingston, Brian Shima and Dave Lang and basically chilled out for the first day. Later that day we met up with a few other American guys Jon Julio, Alex Broskow, Ivan Narez, Erik Bailey and my friend Cavin Brinkman who lives in Amsterdam, to hit up a few places for drinks. The Winterclash was amazing as always! Props to my friend Jojo for organising the Event. It was my 4th year in attendance for the clash. Basically imagine a room full of people with the same passion for skating from all over the world. It was really cool to meet new people, see old faces, get drunk, watch the competition and party!
We hear you're pretty good! What are your proudest skating achievements?
I guess one of the proudest achievements I've had was when I got sponsored by Valo. Rollerblading had been my passion for so long so it was really cool for someone to notice the hard work and effort that I had put into my skating and to be offered a position on there team… especially by someone like Oli Short who at the time was a UK rollerblading idol/legend that I looked up to. This was definitely a big achievement and a personal goal achieved. Apart from that, I'm proud of doing well recently in major UK competitions, going on skate tours with my good friends and travelling around the UK and Europe.
Video source: Rampworx
Why is skating so cool?
Skating is cool because it's creative, there isn't a day that goes by when I walk past a hand rail or a ledge or a stair set or just some kind of obstacle and think "could something be done on that?".
Skating has definitely changed my outlook on life and also helped in similar situations like modelling. If I've ever been nervous for a photoshoot it's kind of the same nerves before a skate competition. It's like I already know what I need to do and I know it should go well, but it's just a matter of getting into it...but I don't think I would think like this if I didn't skate, which is why it's so cool that I've fortunately fallen into this sport and learnt these skills that have helped me break things down. Of course skating is cool because of all the different kinds of people I've met. Some of which are really good friends of mine and probably will be for a long time to come. Also places I've been lucky enough to had chance to travelled to and see.
What is the skating crowd like?
It's weird because at first I started off in Bolton with just a few group of friends that skated, and gradually over the years as I've grown older and travelled more I've met so many new people from different areas of England and from all over the world. But generally my closest friends are the Manchester lot because I grew up skating with them throughout my teen years. The skating crowd is quite funny. Everyone is different in there own ways, and they all have different jobs outside of skating like builders, painters and decorators, sales assistants, photographers, online casino gamblers, t.v and media editors, art illustrators, nurses etc. So just looking from these kinds of jobs that they do, you already know there is quite mix of people within this sport. Unlike footballers that are generally quite slim and fit or like rugby players that are usually pretty big and stocky, you can't really put a body shape on a skater. I guess most tall and skinny, but in skating there's quite a mix of people who you probably wouldn't think looked like a skater if you just saw them in the street. One thing they all have in common is that there usually quite lairy. I always have a laugh with them all, cracking banter between us, drinking, smoking and chilling.
What are you favourite tricks to do, and how do you keep challenging yourself?
A lot of people ask when they find out I can skate is " oh, can you do a backflip or can you go upside down?" Doing these kind of tricks aren't cool, skating is about style and about how you do a trick and how effortlessly you can do that trick. I like to do a lot more grinding tricks, mostly because they are definitely the most difficult, because you need to think about your foot positioning, your balance and speed, and work out how your going to get from A-Z. You also need to not think about it and just be fearless, other wise if you overthink things you'll just end up getting yourself hurt.
I keep challenging myself usually by finding different spots that I walk past when I'm walking around London or by watching other Skate edits online for inspiration. Recently I've even been watching skateboarding and BMX videos to see how they do certain tricks and how they've filmed certain camera angles because even though we share very similar sports they also have different perspectives on how they want things to look which is cool, because they may have a different view to how I would film something, which can be inspiring.
Tell us a couple of random skating stories we might enjoy.
Recently when I got to the airport the woman behind the desk looked at my confirmation and said " ye, Mr Stevens actually your flight was yesterday....!?" that was obviously a nightmare come true, I luckily had money in my account to pay for the flight, thank god.
It was such a good trip, on the last night they had said they were going to have the after party in this strip club... I remember heading down, my friend Nick had won the competition so there was good vibes going all round, we were all pretty drunk and I remember just being in this club 16 years old just thinking "this place is crazy!"
What sort of practice do you do for it?
I regularly skate at least two maybe three times a week recently. I've never really had a problem with staying in shape, because I've always been active. Even from a young age I use to play football up until I was 16/17. When I was younger I use to skate my homemade grind rail in front of my house, and I would get told off for waxing the curbs on my street, but now I just try to skate as much as I can when I can.
Is there any way that you would be able to compare it to the modelling you do?
I definitely find modelling equally as exciting as my skating now. I think I get the same feeling when I'm going to a really important casting or photoshoot or show that I use to get when I would go to a big skate event. The same nerves and excitement for sure. If I'm ever asked to jump around or climb things obviously I'm in my element.
Do you skateboard as well, or focus mostly on rollerblading?
I focus mostly on rollerblading but if you gave me a skateboard I'm sure I could drop into a halfpipe or bust an 'Ollie' or 'kick flip'!
What is some cool skating techie talk that we can learn to impress our friends?
Well all skate tricks have pretty wierd names like fishbrain or mizou or soul grind, and going backwards means allyoop for some reason...so I guess allyoopfishbrain 540 out can be your crazy trick... I'm sure you can manage that.
Thanks Elliot, you have possibly turned us into massive skating fans and probably helped make us a little bit cooler. We can't wait to dish out some fishbrain talk to impress randomers!
Images and second video courtesy of Elliot Stevens.