Photo by Andy Simmons
Slim is a skater sponsored by Thames who lives in London. He shot to the attention of the London skate scene with his unique array of old school tricks delivered with a dynamic modern style, a seemingly stanceless approach and a sick style to boot. He’s also got great taste in art, music and film.
After blasting to online fame in the middle of lockdown with his 360 Boneless bail video at Southbank that was seen by hundreds of thousands of people he not only held the attention that he received but went on to further amaze his followers with a series of attention grabbing skateboarding videos and posts filled with his thought provoking creative perspectives.
After discovering that on top of all that he also makes art and photography we had to hit him up to see if he wanted to be a No Comply Member and after a short chat, he was down.
So to celebrate Slim joining we had this chat about how he discovered skateboarding , what it was like growing up in South England, London, Southbank, his thoughts on his bailing viral fame, Na Kel Smith, getting sponsored by Thames, Blondey, Fashion, adidas skateboarding flow, why he thinks passion is more important than skill, Bonelesses, London Bridge 10, how he’s been rolling through Lockdown, his upcoming video part, his favourite music, artists, photographers, skate videos, spots, cities and more.
Read the Slim interview below to find out for yourself.
What’s your full name?
Slim, just Slim
Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
I grew up in a small city sized town by the docks, called Southampton. I have been living in North London for the last couple years.
When did you first see skateboarding?
I’m not sure when the first time was.
The earliest memory I can remember is just playing THUG 2 on repeat as a kid not knowing anything about skateboarding but memorising all the soundtracks which wasn’t cool in my household, as any music with a guitar in it was considered dark, goth and emo, so just weird in my household growing up. I’m glad I stuck with it as I have such open partialities today.
When did you first get a skateboard?
I first got my own skateboard in 2012-2013 and it was from a geeza called Adam, a green Real Skateboards board.
Near around the same time I bought a purple Fracture setup..
Okay.Where did you first go skate?
First learned to skate outside my house, on horrible ground, with my best friend Nigel with a skateboard borrowed accidently from my friend Simeon.
Who else was in your skate crew?
Me and Nigel then often skated together sharing a board and soon after knew of the more skilled skaters from the other side of town, Jamie Boder, Bill Perry, Mike O’Keefe and Matt Hendley.
I thought and still think very highly of them and wanted to be in their crew so bad, eventually we could tag along hahaha.
Right.When did you first go to Southbank?
Probably 2014-15 on a day trip.
You do a lot of tricks regular and goofy footed but what stance are you naturally?
I’m naturally regular, I say natural but even then, I’m often very unstable. It depends on which ankle feels good that morning. So early in the morning my ankles sort of narrate what stance ill use more in the day.
You’ve got a sick bail technique. How’d you learn it or did it come natural?
It came natural, my background has some element of gymnastics, I suppose. Plus I just fall a lot, I think more than other skaters, so practice makes perfect?
Na-Kel Smith bails in a similar way to you, have you ever met or chatted with him about it?
I have not.
I don’t think I’d want to, I think Na-Kel probably already sees the clip and doesn’t appreciate some dude getting ‘celebrated’ for flipping up without arms when he’s been doing it forever hahah.
Love to Nak though.
Your backflip bail at SB went viral, what was it like to see your bail being shared so much?
Completely unreal it happened so fast, I undeniably went insane the first week. So mixed emotions, still to this day very up and down. However, it came with so much good that I cannot complain.
Like.. the right eyes saw it and I’m grateful for all of the positivity that has come from it.
To me however it is just how I fall, regardless of whether a camera is there or not – it is not like a big deal, respectfully. It’s cool that it bought light to my actual skating.
You’ve got a sick Boneless, what do you like about that trick?
Thank you! I love how it’s a trick that feels really natural for me, and also the controversial existence of it – which makes me laugh.
It’s either done completely awfully or it looks quite bloody good, no in-between. It also looks holy on transition, when Ishod Wair does them in bowls… incredible. Or Dylan. Amazing. And Gonz.
Mark Gonzales, FS Boneless Shot by J. Grant Brittain
How did you come up with the idea to Boneless off the Fin sculpture at London Bridge 10 and how long did it take?
Just looked at it and thought this is perfect for a foot plant and tried it, took like 4/5 goes?
Wanted to do a Nollie Flip in-between the 50 and plant but I guess I just didn’t want it enough.
The 180 Boneless you did was fucked, how do you tweak them out like that and how long did it take?
Thank you I truly appreciate that.
So as far as I can remember it is how I’ve always done them, they naturally go to that shape in the air because my brain tells my legs “You will clip if you do not extend those legs!” .. so I’d rather clear by a margin than clip by an inch. If that makes sense..
Tell us a memorable story of a day you had skating at Southbank that stands out to you
So many stories, one that stands out was on a summer’s night.
I’d basically been skating the whole evening and most my close circle had gone, so I’m by the ledges where people sit and so I spit on the ground and next to me is some typical looking fella wearing a Nike tracksuits, looking at me in the eyes whilst I spat..
I’m slightly on edge wondering what his energy was, and he mutters “what you staring at cuz?” Naturally when certain homies are not around I will perhaps avoid any violence and I’m very reasonable hahah.
But this one geeza was persistent, repeated himself.. “what u staring at cuz? You think you can spit in front of me like that”
I tried to move myself from the situation after seeing he was probably using drugs and was unpredictable then I saw his hand lower to his waistline. I said “Relax b” and all of a sudden we are in a fucking Knife vs Skateboard dual and couple other homies got involved too.
I was slightly startled trying to process what was going on but it had escalated he swung a couple times and eventually the homies got in control of the situation and they chased him off.
What’s your favourite thing to shred at Southbank?
How have you been passing the time over lockdown?
It is hard I cannot lie, reading, art, and designing and programming. Replying to my followers, so many cool individuals follow me. I’m quite blessed.
You’ve got a dope FS Flip who’s got your favourite?
Thanks! Simply Andrew Reynolds!
You’ve said passion is more important than skill and it shows in your skating but why is determination important to you?
Skill without passion is soulless. I’d much rather see someone’s reaction after landing their first Kickflip as opposed to someone who has landed a 20 stair flip thing completely unaffected haha. It has so much life! Besides, ultimately people who are truly determined will naturally develop so called talent.
But I am also aware that everyone has their style too and I respect that…
Like Ben Kadow looks terrifying and straight faced in videos but it’s a great pleasure watching him skate, and he clearly has a lot of fun.
Why is creativity important in skateboarding to you?
To keep it fresh and fun!
I think a lot of the skaters I see are truly creative people before skateboarding so why shouldn’t some of that creativity come out within skateboarding.
Who are the creatives in skateboarding that you look up to?
Gabriel Pluckrose doesn’t miss, including all of other creators at Palace.
Nick Jensen is a great designer,
Atlantic Drift videos are so creative
How did you get sponsored by Thames?
I suppose it is very informal more so just a friendship than anything else.
Blondey messaged me on IG and showed interest in my skating, he gave me his phone number and he’s been super nice and supportive ever since, I just hit him up when I need something and head down to his studio in Soho.
Additionally, he wanted to film the boneless foot plant on the rail at South Bank. I joyfully said yes, soon after he posted the clip onto Thames Instagram and website.
How did your Boneless Footplant on the fence go down?
So I got my first Thames board and I didn’t put it on straight away but instead hung the board on my wall.
I met Blondey at Southbank to film the Boneless and , obviously, it did not make much sense to film a clip for Thames with a non Thames board hahah. So he offered me his board to do the trick.
So that clip on Thames is actually on his setup! Blissful
Blondey runs the company, what’s it like working with him?
Yeah he’s so laid back and cool, and busy!
He’s quite passionate about showing his latest bar badge designs hahaha “slag tits”.
Funny before he got in touch I’d seen his Out there 1 & 2 on YouTube and it was truly divine timing how he hit me up a week after, he is exactly as he appears on that video. Lovely and charming.
Do you have a favourite trick by Blondey?
Massive fan of his skating as a whole to be honest, he’s a bit of wizard.
Has to be his Backside Nosebluntslides, the long one he did in Milan?
Do you have a shoe sponsor right now?
I never understand quite how sponsoring works in the skate world it makes no sense.
Like I’m not sponsored by adidas but I’ve had free stuff from them before.Blondey never said he’s sponsoring me with adidas but I get free stuff from them?
What kinds of music are you into at the moment?
My music is sporadic as it gets I love everything.
Classical/Jazz, synth pop, Drill, Soul, Dub, House, Metal – some Thrash, afro beats. The 80/90s era had incredible music from all genres.
Who are your favourite artists?
I love art and some of my favourite artists at the moment are
Lola & Pani Paul
Keith Haring’s a bit of a legend too.
Nicole Mclaughlin is really fun.
And various artists I find on Instagram.
But to be honest I don’t have any all-time favourites I just go through phases of enjoying loads of different people’s art depending on where I am in life.. Ask the question again in a couple months it’ll be a bunch of other artists.
You’ve got unique fashion sense. Why is a good fit important?
Look good feel good, modestly.
Do you make any art or shoot photography?
I do both, both in the process of reinvention however, I go through cycles of liking and disliking ‘types’ of art so quickly, it’s hard to put out art I like for a long period of time.
I need a Hasselblad XPan so if you are reading this and have one let me know!
Who is your favourite skate photographer and why?
My guy Andy, his photos come at an emotional cost hahaha it makes me laugh even thinking about it, everything has to be perfect in the frame like no one in the back, timing, everything.
He’s also a bit older so will moan for fucking hours if everything isn’t right which I love it’s deeply entertaining and when he gets a good shot it’s fucking consecrated, authentically talented guy.
Lucien Clarke, Half Cab Flip, Wandsworth, London: Shot by Mike O’Meally
Where’s your favourite skate spot in London?
SB!! And Viccy ledges were good..
Where’s your favourite skate spot in the world?
I’ve only skated in the UK primarily in London.
I really enjoyed Bristol when I went there, especially Lloyds.
Slim, Switch Kickflip down Lloyds, Bristol: Shot by @bigwooood
Do you have a favourite photo of all-time?
So, it is actually a photo Andy shot of me it’s not a trick or anything it’s just me pushing but simply because of how the picture tells the story for what was happening at the time so well and the scene I can assure can never be recreated ever again, so it’s a shot for the history books.
It is truly a miracle how some artists can capture life. I’ve got to keep hush though; it is not out yet!!
What’s your favourite skate video?
Shit this is hard younger me would have said Emerica Stay Gold, but as I’ve grown older and gotten more in touch with my immediate surrounding I would say UK videos.
Palace/Bronze edit or Palasonic, so many years of hard work and incredibly gifted skaters who you cannot appreciate fully until you skate London and realise the spots in the video are fucking cobblestone or mossy brick or just completely fucked.
And most importantly music, music makes or breaks a video. The Atlantic Drift videos are all a hit.
Who’s your favourite skater?
More recently he’s shifted the entire skateboarding culture and I do think skaters should be on a higher pedestal, we work so hard so why not sit at the bigger tables, other athletes may crumble taking the hits we do.
But more importantly he’s so bloody talented his early clips of skating in London are incredible, he has so much footage buried – the stuff he has filmed with Henry Edwards Wood aka Hold Tight Henry over the years… He has come a long way from Supra days and inspires me loads.
It’s a hard question though…
Kyle Wilson is another, raw talent – kindest human.
Who has your favourite style on a board and why?
My dear friend Tommy Couzens.
I’ve yet to see anyone skate like him and anyone would agree in saying his style is suitably poetic.
And I love Savannah Keenan’s Clips.
Do you have a favourite piece of art or artist and if so, why is it?
And again, actually my friend Tommy Couzens might be one of my favourite artists right now, his paintings make me think about painfully normal things asymmetrically.
Julie Mehretu, I love her work profoundly she calls her work “story maps of no location”. And of course, the other artists I previously mentioned.
Any upcoming plans or projects you would like to mention?
So many that I cannot share yet.. but I can share that I have been filming with my brother Chris and we have two projects one still in the making and one out soon. Divided into purely Southbank clips and London Street Footage.
I feel Southbank is its own entity and deserves light on its own, Strictly VX1000 GG!
What do you think about The No Comply Network?
Damn you guys are cool, very knowledgeable in skating and it’s good to see real skateboarding kept alive and supported especially in the UK where skaters are somewhat under-appreciated.
The questions were also good and personal looks like you guys took the time to invest into my image beforehand.
Any shout outs Slim?
Shout outs to my friend Anou for keeping me sane.
Curtis Scorey for inspiring me and looking after me when it felt like no one was there.
Koncise my filmer, so many hours of untainted hard work, he’s kept me on point on my filming journey.
Ash for filming that viral clip !!
All my skate family, you know who you are – and you are all loved.
– SMMB -.
Thames and Blondey, the first skateboard company to show interest in me and my skating.
Cameron Gooden aka Twiggy, he’s my day one!
Vinny at @SBskateshop
Atlantic Drift and Homies
Any last words?
I love skateboarding! Thanks for the interview I thoroughly enjoyed answering these questions. Keep up the good work over there!
Briefly, my parents did not like me skateboarding and I’m almost certain they don’t know I still skate to this day… I stuck with it anyway – if you are in a similar position I hope you find peace and can do the things you love to do sincerely and intrinsically for yourself.
Lastly, sorry to all those suffering during lockdown who have lost loved ones or can’t see family I sympathise and pray times progress. If you are reading this and feel down I promise times will mend and heal, this is not forever, you are loved.
We are all worthy, we are all worth. Thanks for reading.