Photo by Tristan Bonnomet
Martin Darragh is a skateboarder from Birmingham with a unique bag of tricks.
Over the years he’s nailed a series of sick tricks but he’s also got a dope taste in skate videos and footage.
So we hit him up for the first of our new favourites series, where we find out more about the moves skaters love to do and to watch.
Read Martin’s Favourites interview below to find out more about him and the clips, tricks and parts he just can’t stop watching.
Martin, Tre Flip to Fakie: Ideal Birmingham
What’s your full name?
Martin Darragh but my nickname is “Chunk’.
Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
I’m Brummie born and bred and still live here!
I grew up in an area of Birmingham called Kings Norton, but live just on the outskirts now in a place called Bromsgrove. It’s a lot more chilled here compared to the chaos of the inner city life.
How did you first see skateboarding?
I first laid eyes on skateboarding at a place called Birmingham Wheels which was at the old banger car racing and go-karting track I used to visit frequently.
It had some ropey mini ramp there and a few other ramps laying around..
Honestly, the thing that made me want to try skateboarding was the fact I was a fruit booter and I was picking up tricks easy and getting bored of it personally.
I saw skateboarding as way more technical and was dumbfounded by the physics of it. That intrigued me and made me want to give it a go.
What was your first setup and where did you get it?
Ah I’ll never forget it, I got it from Ideal Birmingham -175 is love.
It was an Ideal Birmingham chain linked logo board with Gullwing trucks, which I was told by Bob Sanderson that I need to ride loose, with bog standard bearings and Ricta wheels.
Who was in your first skate crew and where did you go skate?
FFC was my first ever skate crew. There was about 15 or so of us.
There was Me, Jamie Bloody Whiteshaw, Sean “Bogus” Powell, Alex Bartram, Tom Whitehouse, Jon the Lad, Tim Green, Leon “Riot” Armstrong, Mikey P, Ben Ryan and his brother Joel, Haydn Watkins, Harry “Houndini” Dunne and his brother Jack, John Bell, Jim Pope, Jamie Smith the list could go on haha.
But I also grew up skating with so many people at Epic skatepark, that’s now called Creation too.
We were proper little town rats mainly, skating all the car parks we could find throughout the winter and hitting up any spot we could around Birmingham that was possible to skate.
When did you first skate Kings Norton Skatepark and what was that like?
Ah the home away from home. I skated Kings Norton Skatepark before it was officially opened, so probably like 2004 maybe.
It was an absolute vibe down there.
Even better that it was on my doorstep.
What’s your favourite trick you’ve seen go down at Kings Norton?
That’s a tough one as there’s been so many bangers thrown down there, but the one that stands out the most was when Kris Vile was having a session out the bank and over the stair set and I remember him throwing down the steeziest Tre Flip followed by a back 3 after he landed the Tre.
Who’s your favourite skater to watch at Kings Norton?
My favourite skaters to watch flow the place has to be either Dave “Greenfingers” Pegg, Jake Smith AKA Smithy or George Thompson AKA Nugget as they had such mad lines around a park that’s pretty limited.
You’ve got one of our favourite Bonelesses. But who has yours?
Ah much appreciated man. But shit, another tough one.
Moggins has to be the one that stands out the most to me I’d say as he was the only person I had seen do them in front of my own eyes and the way he was throwing the Sweeper Fakies on the mini ramp was too steezy.
How did you learn Flamingos on transition and what’s the secret to doing them with style?
I was just messing around and I remember doing them on the flat as a joke in a game of skate and thinking I could blatantly do that on a quarter pipe.
A few slams later and I had the trick dialled. I suppose the secret to style comes into how comfortable you are with doing the tricks you love doing isn’t it.
The more you bang out a trick the more comfortable it becomes and then the style naturally comes with.
How did you learn 540 Shuvit Bonelesses?
That one came as an accident when I tried to do a Backside Boneless pissed up and missed the grab and my board started spinning.
And my mind working how it does was like fuck yeah I reckon I could do what I thought at the time was a Bigspin Backside Boneless. Turns out it was a 540 Shuvit Boneless!
I couldn’t tell you the time scale on that one though but I’d say it was definitely a fuck load of tries if I missed the grab on the boneless haha
What’s your favourite trick you’ve ever filmed?
My favourite has to be the Flamingo to Back Disaster 360 Revert Out I did at Kings Norton and it’s because I was having a little phase of trying to put the 360 Revert I’d learnt onto the end of every trick I could possible haha
One of our favourite tricks of yours is your Switch Tailslide 360 Outs on Ramps. How did you learn that trick?
It’s my go to trick. I learnt it after I saw Daewon Song bang out the Frontside Tailslide 360 Revert Out version and I was like fuck I want to learn that but weirdly I could only do Switch Frontside Tailslide Reverts on ramp and not normal Frontside Tailslides, can’t do them regular still to this day, so at the time I was like shit why not just learn it switch?
And to add to that my favourite part about Daewon is the creativity he puts into all aspects of his skating. It’s just ridiculous some of the obstacles and combinations of tricks he puts together..
What’s your favourite skate video?
Cheese and Crackers!
That video to me is just everything skateboarding is to me.
Mini ramp skating, mates fucking around, creating new obstacles to add to what you already have in front of you and trying to push the limits of what you know is possible on a board.
Where’s your favourite spot to skate in Birmingham?
It would have to be what was the Bullring 3 and 2 blocks. It was where I first learnt to do tricks down stairs that were not just off a little ledge so to me it was definitely one of the best spots.
Also the Hillbomb down to it made it one of the more adrenaline fuelled spots to skate to.
Do you have a favourite spot to skate in the UK?
Weirdly it’s a boulder in Croyde at the top of a boat ramp, that’s one of my favourite spots to skate.
It’s definitely because of the memories that were made just skating something so random into a little hill bomb onto the beach, so that makes it what it is for me.
Who’s your favourite skater?
They also have such an influence on the way I skate and they’re who I grew up watching in the cinema room at Epic. If it wasn’t for them three my skating wouldn’t be the way it is I don’t think.
They just made me realise anything is possible when you put your mind to it.
Why is Rodney one of your favourites?
He pretty much invented what we know as skateboarding today which is why he is such an idol to me. Also I just love the way his mind works and figures things out.
One of 2 of my favourite clips of him has to be his intro in Almost Round 3 where the camera pans in on him spinning around and pans back out to his next trick I’ll never forget the artistic aspect of that footage..and in 411 where he doesn’t talk and has a sign written on his skateboard, hand and tee shirt expressing how much he loves skateboarding.
You also mentioned Daewon Song as one of your favourites. What is it about his style of skating that you think is rad?
His style is what stands out to me. Everything he does just looks so effortless. It’s like him and his board are at one with each other an it’s just so easy to watch him skate.
As we mentioned a couple questions ago it’s definitely seeing the clip of him in Cheese and Crackers doing the Back Tail and Front Tail 360 Revert out on the mini ramp.
Haslam is in your favourites too. What’s your favourite Haslam trick, clip or part and why?
Definitely his Kickflip to Fakie at the start of Almost Round 3 just as the songs kicking in. I’ll never forget watching that little snippet from the whole of his section.
It’s because it just left me in awe and also the fact that a Kickflip is still one of the tricks I haven’t managed to master yet, so that’s one of the reasons why it will forever stick in my mind.
Daewon, Chris Haslam and Rodney are all in Almost Round 3. So, who has your favourite part in Round 3?
Ah man you can’t ask me to pick a favourite part. They’re all amazing in their own ways so I’m going to put them all on par with each other.
But on a visual appealing aspect the intro for Daewon’s section is the best for me, you know where he’s just chilling in that, what I assume is a boat, with the sunset in the background and when he does the Tre Flip over the roof gap in the same silhouette style all in slow motion.
What’s your favourite trick in Almost Round 3?
Ok so there’s two an this is because it shows that skating is what you make of it.
One is Daewon’s ender where he does the Tre Flip Noseblunt to Manual on the bench and block off the shipping container.
The other is Mullen’s Kickflip Nosemanny on the trolley that rolls towards him and he is stationary.
They’re definitely my favourite as it is what taught me you don’t have to listen to other people who say you need to learn tricks in a certain order etc an that actually it’s all about opening up your mind and listening to your body to see what you as an individual as personally capable of doing on a board.
Any shoutouts you would like to make?
Yeah man, Ideal Birmingham for always keeping a board under my feet. Definitely kept me going through tough times.
There’s too many people to mention but just a big thank you to everyone I met through skateboarding. You all made it what it is in the Brum scene. We’ve made memories I’ll never forget.
Any last words Martin?
A massive shoutout to the man behind The No Comply Network for giving me this opportunity to reminisce on all the things that keep me connected to skateboarding.
It’s much appreciated to be reminded of the joy it brings to m