Joe Townsend Interview

  • Joe Townsend Interview

    I worked out this day how to properly pop them on a flatbank. 180 No Complies have to be one of the simplest pleasures in skateboarding. Photos: Ashley Fletcher.

    Hey Joe, could you introduce yourself please?

    My name’s Joe Townsend, I’m 32 and a primary school teacher in London. So I spend most of my days trying to get miniature humans to jump through hoops both literal and metaphorical. 

    I first got to know you through Instagram, through the somewhat unique name of @lastingeyedamage. Where did this name come from?

     I had a tumblr account for a bit called LED, lowering expectations daily, and lastingeyedamage came from messing around with words which fit LED. Love eating dirt was another. 

    You and photographer Ashley Fletcher seem pretty tight, how did you guys meet and have you ever shot a photo with anyone else?

    Fletcher is rad! I went to Uni in Sheffield and met him skating there, then years later randomly bumped into him skating Meanwhile 2. He’s always down for missions and has a great eye for an angle / timing. Unfortunately for him he keeps ending up taking pictures of me wall riding something. 

    How can you convince your mate to take a picture of another wallride... Do a grab? This Greenwich DIY is so well done, I just wish there was more landing! Great spot and in classic British tradition it’s under a dust and glass covered fly-over. Photo: Ashley Fletcher.

    You've done a couple of monthly challenges for yourself, most recently no comply November, but most relevant to us was the miniramp May one! Which of these challenges has been hardest for you so far? How do you decide on what tricks to do (tricklist?) and do you have any plans for future ones?

    The monthly edit challenges are just a bit of dumb fun. I like trying new tricks and one-off makes rather than practising 1000 kickflips (which is why I suck at skating). Having a little project makes it interesting to go try something you haven’t done before. I write down every trick I reckon I’ve got a hope of landing and go from there / make it up as I go along. The February one was pretty hard to get 28 different flips, or flops! But 31 tricks out of the jump ramp was bloody difficult. 

    Some of the photos from this interview and alot of the clips I see of you are at this one park - where is it and why do you love it so much?

    Ah, Stonebridge Park... my private TF. Basically it’s the best park in London. No one goes there, which is why I like it. Except for the exact same weed dealers I see, any day, any time I’ve ever been. It’s up the road from where I live, has a mellow mini, spine and jump ramp... where do you ever find one of those! I like small stuff and it’s chilled. Aside from the broken glass everywhere, it’s perfect. Could do with a wall and a curb though. 

    Hadn’t done this before but was looking around the park for something to hit and seemed doable. Took a while to roll away and pretty comprehensively delammed my nose. Stoked. Photo: Ashley Fletcher.

    What are the benefits + disadvantages of heavily localising one (or a couple) of parks?

    I think localising a place is great for getting to know people and becoming part of a scene. Sometimes it can be hard to pull people out of their comfort zone though. I like wandering around finding spots and I like skating by myself too. Taking a million goes to land something is more tolerable when you don’t have people there! 

    Top five Miniramp tricks? 

    Nosestall frontside revert because the shape feels so fun.

    Krooked grind, any krook on anything always feels good.

    No comply 180, I like the way the transition scoops it up and when you catch it it feels rad.

    Kickflip fakie, I can pretend I have pop.

    Frontside rock, they are the best. 

     I genuinely love this jump ramp and early grabs are a favourite. Just hold on and pretend it’s the 80s! Photo: Ashley Fletcher.

    Top five parts and why? 

    Gonz, Kicked out of Everywhere - My favourite Gonz part, so quotable and contains all the magic / stupidity of skateboarding. 

    Dan Drehobl, Free your Mind - My favourite Transworld video. The intro with Tony T driving and The Zombies song goes perfectly.

    Tim Jackson, Risk it! - So unique, unlike anyone else. I challenge anyone to land any of his wall manoeuvres! Riding down the alley knocking bins over to cheers from a family.

    Natas, Streets on Fire - Perfect. Jason Jessee with the prison intro, the song, the frontside wallrides and that backside nocomply about two minutes in might be the most stylish thing ever done on a skateboard. 

    Louie Barletta, Tiltmode Man Down -  I watched this video more times than was probably healthy when I was young. I bought it from Ideal Birmingham on VHS because I saw Louie’s part playing on their TV. Ah-Ha soundtrack and goofy tech! 

    I could go on forever but sneak a last one? John Lucero, Label Kills - I used to fast forward the whole tape to get to this hidden gem, tequila! 

    The poorman’s handplant but the only one I can grab the coping on. I’d love to be Eric Winkowski but I’m a wuss. Photo: Ashley Fletcher.