INterview #9 - Dom West about Australia and Vine S

1. Back in the days the Aussie scene was really big and vivid, skaters like Blake Dennis or Josh Clark were famous worldwide, when did such icons disappear? Skaters from Australia never really had much exposure, what can you say about those times?

When I first started skating, it seemed that Australia was as big an influence as America was. I remember VG6 was almost half filmed in Australia, and the standard of skating was at the same level as the rest of the world. Even as late as VG20, it seemed that the Australian scene was still strong, with people like Dave Paine and Jon Julio making frequent visits on tours.

I think what happened was, during the early 2000s, as money became more scarce in the blading industry, it became too expensive for sponsors to send their riders on tours to Australia, especially when the majority of competitions were taking place in America and Europe. Even now it’s hard for the skaters over here to get sent to comps and events by their sponsors because the air fairs are so expensive.

In my opinion I don’t think the standard of Australian skating has ever fallen off since back in the day, it’s just the lack of exposure and the fact that the scene is so isolated leaves people thinking otherwise.

Charlie Ruckly - Fish

2. Blake Dennis was one of my favorite skaters, does he still skate often?

As far as I know he skates every now and then, but he is no longer a big part of the scene, which is a shame. He made an appearance on his blades last year when the Valo team was here, and he was still repping his pro Graal and was as stylish as ever.

CJ Welsmore - Rocket Fish

3. Right now it seems that everyone is dreaming about perfect Australian spots and its superb weather. Is Australia really an ultimate skating destination?

I can’t speak for Australia as a whole because I’ve spent most of my time in Sydney, but from my experience here, I’d have to say yes. The weather really is perfect most days, and even when it rains it dries up in minutes. There are countless skateparks which all have something different to offer, and the street spots are fresh and individual, making it perfect for both filming and sessioning.

However, what really makes the skating here so good is the people that have ended up here from all over the world. There are skaters from so many different countries who are all down to skate everyday and party every night.

CJ Welsmore - Roll to Mute

4. Tell us about living there, how is the life of an average blader who needs to work or study etc.

Life over here seems pretty relaxed for most people, whether you’re working, studying or just chilling. The standard of living is pretty decent no matter what kind of work you do, and because the weathers always good, you can skate whenever you want.

Dom West - Top Soul

5. What do you do together besides skating?

When we’re not blading we’re probably sleeping, eating, working or going out. Friday and Saturday nights you can probably find us somewhere on Oxford St getting hyphy. Other than that, I spend a lot of time sorting out stuff for the video like capturing, labeling, editing and getting ideas together. Rian is always riding his bike around the city trying to look cool and CJ can usually be found at the beach on his days off.

Jamie Knapp - Bank to Soul stall

6. From my experiences I know that houses with a bunch of bladers are usually 'open' and it is really rare not to have any guest all the time. Is Vine ST any different?

Vine St is definitely no different. In fact I can’t remember a day where I’ve gone downstairs and there hasn’t been at least one or 2 people sleeping on the couches. At the moment we have 9 people living here, and when it’s only a 4-bedroom house, it makes it hard to keep things clean and tidy. But it’s always good to have people staying as it keeps everyone juiced to skate and get things done.

Mass Alhattawi - Front torque

7. Can Hadrian still drink everyday for a month?

Haha yes Hadrian could probably drink everyday for a year if he had to. The frenchies are probably the hardest drinkers out here!

Rian Arnold - Sweaty

8. What do you do besides rollerblading - work, studies?

At the moment I work painting houses which allows me to work just a couple of days a week, giving me more time for filming and skating. Before I moved here I did a Physics degree in the UK so I will probably end up using that sometime in the future.

Rian is studying fashion design at uni, CJ and Jamie work at the skate shop, Simon works at a book shop, Mass also goes to uni along with Hadrien and some others, and Richie is a business teacher.

Richie Eisler - Zero Fish

9. Tell us more about the Vine ST DVD flick – what should we expect?

The Vine St DVD originally started out as something I was just going to make for my friends over here to give us something to remember the year by. It was mainly just going to be B-roll footage with some skating with a pretty relaxed feel, but then we started to take it more seriously as we got more footage, and as our friend Leo from Chile joined us with new ideas and equipment. It’s now shaping up to be a really good video to remember that people from all over the world should be able to enjoy!

Simon Dorabialski - Fish Out of the house