There is a good chance you haven’t seen a great deal of footage from Casper Brooker since his 2012 appearance in Slam City Skates’ “City of Rats”. However, if you attended any of the premieres of Isle Skateboards’ “Vase” then you will no doubt be looking forward to whatever comes next. Casper’s skating has matured over the last few years, which is evident from his first few tricks in the video and cemented by the time you reach his ridiculous ender. With Vase due in skate shops soon, I got in touch for a few words from Casper about how his year has been so far and what’s next now that this project has come to an end.
Portrait by James Griffiths
You were in Barcelona this summer for Street League, how did you find that? You don’t strike me as a massive competition skater but from skating Southbank I guess you are used to having all eyes on you.
It was Barcelona Am that was just at the same place and time of Street League. I mean it went pretty well, I came fourth which I was stoked on. I’m not really a big comp skater, but sometimes they’re fun and it works out. Skating Southbank one hundred percent helps with dealing with the “all eyes” aspect because you are being watched all the time. But I’ve also gone to comps and had a huge panic attack and not been able to do a thing! At Berlin Am I qualified and made it to the semis and in my heat I didn’t land one trick. I had to stop half way through and sit outside because my body just went into melt down. It’s strange how it happens time to time but it’s all fun at the end of the day.
What sort of aftermath has the Long Live Southbank campaign had on the London skate scene?
It’s brilliant! It’s amazing that skateboarders managed to save Southbank. There are a few individual people who really made it happen, especially Hold Tight Henry (Edwards Wood), he really put his heart and soul into the campaign. Also all the people who sat there day in, day out on the petition desk. It really did make everybody come together.
Do you think that all the publicity it created has made people more open to skateboarders throughout the city or has it had an adverse effect?
Actually, I don’t know. The classic kick out quote is “Why don’t you go to the place along the river?” But that has been the quote for years. The city police around St Paul’s and Southbank have mellowed out, on a weekend you don’t really get kicked out that much anymore. I’m not sure if that is to do with Southbank or they’re just coming to terms that there are always going to be skaters in that zone on the weekend. It’s funny, with that campaign, the public or people from wherever really felt strongly about it. The amount of times me and my friends have had huge debates with people who came up to us while we were skating and say that the campaign was ‘stupid’, ‘ignorant’ and ‘selfish’ but then the same day, we would have people in suits approaching us and saying that campaign was great and amazing that the Southbank community stood their ground. It was funny to see how much controversy the campaign caused even to the general public.
How has your summer been? When I bumped into you in Slam a few months back you had just got back from France, right?
Yep, I had just got back from Paris the day before; we went on a little filming trip for Vase. It was so hot at that time. We would chill in the day, skate later in the afternoon and end the day drinking beers on the canal. It was a productive trip as well and everybody had a really fun time, it was one of my favourite trips for sure.
I had such a busy start to the summer so I wasn’t really in London at all apart from a few weeks in August. While I was in London I had to concentrate on the Isle video with Jake. Everyone was pretty much done but I still had to get some more footage so I haven’t really had much time to do other stuff. I guess in my spare time I’ve been just hanging out with my girlfriend and going to the pub with all my friends in London. I’m going to do a few things while it’s quiet over December.
Did you spend some time with Donovon Piscopo and John Fitzgerald while they were over for London Am in June?
Yeah, those guys are super cool. We had an apartment for a week and went on street missions with them. John hurt his knee real bad on the first day but he seemed to have a great time still. Every day we would meet up with Dan Magee, Henry Kingsford and some of the other Nike riders. It was a fun trip; Vaughan Baker had just become TM and it was so sick to have him over for it. There are loads of good stories from that trip so it’s hard to put a finger on a specific one. We drank a lot throughout the day and got loads of footage, it was just rad all around.
50-50 up. Photo: James Griffiths
For those that might not know, can you explain what Shell Finger is, how it came about and who is involved?
That’s a good question! It’s a long story and slightly crude so I’m going to sugar coat it a little… It’s a few of us, mainly everyone you see in the videos. Rob (Mathieson) basically does all the edits though and he smashes it. It came about because one of us had hooked up with a girl and wouldn’t shut up about it. We have a little group chat and every time it came up someone would put the two emojis; the shell and the finger pointing in. It’s kind of self explanatory what that means, so figure it out for yourself…
Going way back, Paul Shier asked you to ride for Isle when you quit Heroin. As you are from London and so many of the other riders are from there, was Isle the direction you were hoping to go in anyway?
Well, when I quit I didn’t really know what I was going to do. I hadn’t thought about it too much due to the fact it was really hard leaving Heroin, I had been on there for a long time and Fos (Mark Foster) is my good friend. I had changed a lot and couldn’t really see myself riding for Heroin in the future so I quit. About a week afterwards, Shier hit me up and I really liked that most of the team was in London, because for a long time it was just me representing Heroin in London as the team was living all over England and the world. I’ve known (Tom) Knox for a long time and had been a load of trips with him when we both rode for Emerica, so him being on was a big part for me. I’m now super close with everyone and love everyone on the team.
Korahn (Gayle) mentioned that you “used to be a tight jeans mosher” – anything you would like to say about that?
Yeah, it’s true! I used to wear the most ridiculous jeans and do mosher tricks! I was a kid and suppose I had a significant look, whether people liked it or not… I was into how I looked at the time. I got a lot of hate which was pretty funny, it really wound some people up. I can understand why, I looked like a prepubescent girl. Now I wear clothes that are too big for me and look fat.
Jacob Harris filmed and edited the video with Nick (Jensen) being quite involved too. You didn’t have a section in Eleventh Hour, so is this the first project you’ve worked on with Jake?
I filmed a few bits for it but no, I didn’t have a full part. This is the first project I’ve filmed with Jake and it’s been great. At the beginning of filming I think he got really frustrated with me because I was having a weird time with skating and wasn’t motivated. I was pretty unreliable, which I regret so much now as I should have put all my effort into the video for the whole time, not just the last nine months you know? That stuff happens when you’re nineteen/twenty; you just go through a phase of having your head elsewhere… It was a good thing for me though, I really have learnt from it and really want to put all my efforts into upcoming projects. Me and him have a really good friendship, through filming, after spending a lot of time together over the past year I’d say he’s one of my closest friends now.
This is going to be your first part in a full length video since Slam’s City of Rats. Aside from having different sponsors now, do you feel the way you skate has changed now you are a bit older?
Yeah completely, I don’t really think of that as a part because I was still a kid. I’m sixteen/seventeen in that video and even though it isn’t as ‘kiddie’ as my other footage, if you look at it now I’m still pretty small in that and have a lingering kid style. I was definitely influenced by guys on Emerica and was more into handrails and stairs. Whereas now, I look at guys like AVE, Bobby Worrest, Donovon Piscopo and Karsten Kleppan. It’s not all about the amount of stairs they can 50-50, its more exciting to watch powerful and interesting lines as well as gnarly stuff.
Gap to Frontside Wallride. Photo: Callum Painter
Did you have any involvement with editing your part in Vase?
I had no input at all! I’d seen some of my footage, not all of it. I hadn’t even seen the playback of my ender! I liked it that way though. I trust Jake, he knows what he is doing. I would have loved to have known what song I skated to too but that was a nice surprise at the premiere.
Were you into the song he chose for you then?
I was actually really happy with the song choice. I kept bugging him, asking him what I skated to, I’m glad he didn’t tell me because I would of been a little iffy knowing it was Morrissey. I love Morrissey but it is quite hard to make work in skate videos but I love it, I’m so glad he chose that song.
Vase is out on DVD soon. Whose part do you think people should really look forward to?
Tom Knox and Chris Jones are going to blow some socks off! Everyone expects Tom to kill it, which he does, so much face melting stuff. Chris is going to surprise a lot of people, that boy loves a roof!
After the London premier, you travelled around for demos and premiers in Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool and Bristol. Had you visited those cities before?
I’ve been to those places a bunch of times. They’re all super good, got great spots and all the locals are amazing. I love visiting Liverpool and seeing (Dave) Mackey because he’s the best! The mentality is a bit mellower in those places I think, everyone is a bit more chilled. It’s nice to go to spots in England that you haven’t been to a thousand times too when you’re up there. I guess because I skate London all the time the spots can get a little repetitive.
Could you see yourself moving outside of London or do you feel that you’re pretty set there?
I love London so much. That is where I imagine I will always be based but I really like Paris and New York, those are the only other places I could see myself living. Guess I’ll see in the next few years.
Are you going to be working on anything now that Vase is finished?
Yeah, I’m going to be getting on with a new project, probably get that started in the New Year because it’s hard to be productive in December. Hopefully I’m going to be filming it with Jacob because he is now a really close friend and I think he is one of the best filmers out there. Good to have a drink with too…
Thanks Casper, anything you want to end this on?
Sorry I was a shit head for a while Jacob! Thanks to all the Isle boys, Colin Kennedy, Vaughan Baker and everyone at Nike SB. Have fun skating.
Interview by Farran Golding.