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Joe Hinson portrait

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Check out Joe's Darkstar video below, Rugged Kingdom! @joehinson

 

Original interview from Black Sheep Store UK

Right then Mr Hinson – for those people who don’t know you – give us your vital stats please: how old are you, how long have you been skating for and where do you live? I’m 23 and I’ve been skating for around 10 years. I live in a small village just outside Ely in Cambridgeshire.

Am I right in thinking that you basically live in the middle of nowhere, at least as far as skateboarding culture goes? Yeah that’s right: all that’s around me are fields. The closest skate park is around 25 minutes from me.

I’m sure you once told me that you basically grew up skating on your own, is that right? Yeah pretty much, there were a few lads from my village that used to skate when I first got into it but they were a lot older and after a time most of them gave up so I mostly skated on my own as a kid and even to this day I’ll still skate on my one a couple of days a week. I was super lucky where I live as there’s so much room. There’s a patch of concrete where an old barn used to sit so I took that over and started to build DIY ramps out of old bits of ply and palettes.

Where was the first famous skate spot that you skated? The first famous street spot I went to was probably just Milton Keynes so The Buszy I guess, but that’s sort of a skate park isn’t it?

You love a handrail Joe – tell us about the first one that you ever skated… My first handrail was a really small 4 stair down the road from my dad’s house at a school. That was the first one I ever did a trick on although it was more of a board slide bonk than an actual slide if I’m honest.

What’s been your worst handrail slam? You skate some fucking big ones, you must’ve taken a few awful slams over the years, right? There’s been a few – it’s hard to name just one. Sacking isn’t fun nor is ribbing a rail and I’ve done both of those numerous times. I also broke my wrist skating the the famous MK rail and I did some ligaments in my ankle a few years back skating some 9 rail. I always wear an ankle brace now as I’m scared of hurting it again. Overall I feel like I’ve been really lucky so far, touch wood.

So what’s up with the handrail fetish? These days people are less and less keen to jump on the banisters but you’re still out there scouring Instagram for anything – what do you like about skating them so much? I’m not sure really, my first real skate video I saw was Stay Gold so that probably had a lot to do with it. You just can’t beat the feeling rolling away from something you were shit scared to try at first.

You have ADHD Joe, does time slow down and everything feel calm when you’re jumping onto some scary handrail? Is that part of the attraction in it for you? My brain’s on overdrive all the time pretty much so just going out and skateboarding helps with that. If I don’t skate I find I have so much energy that I don’t know what to do with it. I was a right little shit at school but I feel like I’ve mellowed out as I’ve gotten older, well a bit anyway. I’ve just not got the patience for a tech ledge tricks and also I love the buzz you get of trying a big rail.

Is your ADHD responsible for those Insta posts that you used to do with fifty hashtags? I don’t think I can blame that on ADHD, I just didn’t know what I was doing, (laughing)…

Derby Daz gave you ‘the talk’ about that too, right? What did he say? I owe Daz a lot, he’s helped me out no end. I’m basically where I am now because of his help. He just told me how everything worked with the industry and gave me advice that you don’t even think of as a young kid. The excessive hashtagging was just one aspect of me being a clueless kid with no idea about what I was doing.

You work a regular job too don’t you? Something related to gardening I think – what’s that like? Yeah sort of, I used to do tree surgery for awhile but now I just do like freelance landscaping/garden and other bits really, it’s good as I’ve got more time to skate as and when I want but because I’m self employed if I don’t have any work I don’t get paid.

Doing the kind of stuff you do, if it was 10/15years ago – you’d have been in every UK skate magazine all the time – what’s up with you not getting coverage really? I’m not sure, I guess people aren’t so keen to run a hand rail or stair set photo anymore? I get coverage from a lot of independent mags like Dogpiss Mag, they are super sound guys but I just feel like getting a photo in print is harder now as there less mags around and it’s more video focused in general.

You seem like the sort of person who doesn’t really care and will just go out and make it happen for yourself – is that how you’ve got to where you are – DIY coverage? Yeah I go out for the fun of going out and skating and just enjoy filming and pushing myself. I never had a filmer to start with so I just went out and bought myself a camera and got the boys to film for me. I’ve been filming with my mate Dave Hayes a lot lately, he’s a super sound guy always up for coming out, he’ll drive a couple of hours to a spot in different city in the middle of winter.

Didn’t you ride for Soft Trucks at one point? What the hell was going on with that? (Laughing), oh god, I’ll never live that down will I? I was a hungry kid looking for sponsors with no clue but they used to hook it up and help me travel to events from time to time.

You love a comp don’t you? What’s been your favourite UK contest over the years and why? Probably NASS, that’s always a fun time – a full weekend of skateboarding and four one four skate parks always build amazing courses for it as well. Also the UK Champs was fun this year as well.

What’s the best thing anyone has ever said over the mic about you when you’re skating? And is it true that ‘you can’t rinse the Hinse’? I think you said once that I was “the king of the hashtag” on the House Skatepark Comp live stream a few years back – that was a good one. Also anything that Churchill, Powley or Nathan who does the VHS Show come out with is normal pretty funny. I can take it, (laughing)…

Talking of comps – you recently won the UK Champs, finally taking Nick Remon’s trophy away for him after 5 years of no UK Champs – did you have a good time at that one? That was a really good weekend actually. I wasn’t expecting to win it at all, it was crazy. I just went up to skate the park and have a laugh. I thought Jordan Sharkey or Aaron Jago we’re going to take it – those boys killed it all weekend. It must’ve been pretty crazy to win that comp knowing that it was being broadcasted live on the BBC… I couldn’t believe it, to be honest with you. I only just made it to the semifinals by a couple of points too. It was only the top 20 who made it into the semifinals and I was 20th by the skin of my teeth. I’m still stoked on winning but to me Nick Remon will always be the UK champ. My family were pretty stoked though, my dad was watching it live.

Who are your favourite UK skaters? That’s a hard one there’s so many out there… Ben Grove because he’s just going for it all the time. Always been a fan of Harry Lintell, always got those hammers on the rails. Eddie Belvedere because who doesn’t like Eddie? He always does something gnarly. Gotta add Geoff Rowley to that list as well for obvious reasons.

What about your three favourite UK video parts? That’s a hard one too: Kris Vile’s ‘Get 3’ part. Harry Lintell’s ‘True to This’ Volcom part Neill Smith’s ‘Make Friends with the Colour Blue‘ part.

So you rode for Rollersnakes for a long time but have recently joined the Black Sheep team – what the story there? How did you get yourself hooked up with the Manchester crew? Well Rollersnakes always had my back but basically Daz left to be the Skateboard England team manager which I was super stoked about but I felt like it wouldn’t be the same without him being there. I left Snakes without anything else being lined up and I was just thinking who’d I really want to ride for and rep and Black Sheep always had a lot of my favorite skaters on the team so I just sent Harry an email to see if he’d be been keen to have a southerner on the team and he was. Stoked!

You’re about to go over to California aren’t you? What’s happening? Yeah man I’m super stoked: Matt at Dwindle hit me up and asked me if I wanted to go on the skatecation trip they do every year with their flow riders where they just take us out there to film a video. It’s always been a dream of mine to go to America and skate so I couldn’t say no to the opportunity.

Aren’t you going to have footage in a Darkstar video with all the pros despite them never having met you? That’s pretty heavy Joe… I know – I can’t believe it man. I was just filming for another solo part and Matt at Dwindle sent them my clips to ask if it was okay to drop it over here and the next thing you know they are up for having me in the video. I couldn’t be more stoked to be involved, being some UK flow rider having footage with the big boys is an honour.

How long are you out there for? Aren’t they paying for you to go as well? I think I’m out there for around 10 days and yeah, Dwindle are paying for my flights and stuff – I still can’t believe it. It definitely won’t feel real until I’m on the plane! You’re going to shit yourself mate – loads of handrails but with actual run up…

So are you keen to pursue this skate thing as far as it can go? I’d love to do something with skateboarding for sure. I just wanna skate everyday and travel around filming and seeing new places, if it doesn’t work out I’ve still enjoyed every minute of it no matter what happens.

You were at Street League recently – how was it? Did you enjoy it? Yeah it was crazy. The level was so high, you can’t beat a weekend of skateboarding. Everyone is so good – the stuff they can do every go just blows my mind.

Right then – that’s enough for now boss – last thing – what’s the secret to clearing your mind before skating a rail where you might actually die? Do you have any rituals that you go through beforehand? I’ve got this thing where I roll up three times: I have to do that twice, so I roll up six times all together and then jump on the rail. It’s crazy I know, but it helps to clear my head. I also drop in the rail and just grind down it before trying to ollie onto it so I can get the feel of how it’s going to grind.

Who would you like to thank? I’d like to thank Derby Daz, Harry and Tez at Black Sheep, Matt While at Dwindle UK. Darkstar, Tensor and Phil Harvey at TKC for Pig Wheels, Smithy and everyone one at Form Distribution and Lakai UK and FP Insoles, Chet Thomas at Darkstar skateboards, Graham from Billy’s, Dave Hayes, Jason Emory for helping me stack footage, Scott Howes, Forde Brookfield, Tom Quigley, Swampy and of course you Ben for always helping me and everyone else who sponsors me or who has helped me over the years. RIP Ben Raemers – we love you!