Mitch is in the window right now: he has a crisp focus complete with the newfound power that comes with manhood. He is a skateboarding wildebeest who tackles gaps, rails and hubbas with a supreme confidence and warrior-like approach. Mitch has been steadily killing it over the past year: on the road, in the mags, over the internets, and in multiple comps. He easily won the 2012 Victorian Nike SbA Am Series Qualifier down at Clifton Hill, got second in the Final and an eighth in Stop #1 of the Pro/Am Tour. Just last week he also popped up in with a ripping Lurkville welcome clip. With only three sleeps till Shocklands we were stoked to get a hold of these photos (thanks to Andrew Mapstone) and catch up with Mitch to see what is happening in the land of Robertom.
Interview: Morgan Campbell
Photos: Andrew Mapstone
(click pics to view larger)
MC: So lets go back to the beginning. When were you born?
MR: Was born on May the 17th 1991.
Melbourne Mercy Hospital, I think it’s around Heidelberg… not 100%
I think you are right. Ha… looking it up now... yep, and you were born on Studley Street! Where did you first encounter a skateboard?
Well, my older brother and his friends always skated in the street when I was younger so I guess I just started with them.
How much older is he?
Two years older than me.
So he was probably a product of the late 90's early 00's... the era of the D3 and lots of handrails?
(Laughs)… yeah around then hey. We were into the Chet 4s (laughs) and yeah, just trying to jump down big stuff.
He he... I once was in an ad wearing a Chat 4.
(Laughs) They were super good.
They lasted that’s for sure.
churchside 180 the hard way over a kinker
So which year did you start in?
I think I was in 5th or 6th grade when I actually skated.
So that would have been around 2001? Or ‘02?
Yeah '02 I think.
What was the first video you saw during your gromhood?
The first video we had was a '411 Best of #7', but the first company video would have been Toy Machine’s 'Welcome to Hell', ha-ha pretty tight.
No way. That is a classic for sure. Did you catch any Aussie vids during those formative years?
Umm, I think we had FSBS videos: they were tight.
Did you see any of the Blank videos?
Oh, damn how did I forget I had the Blank 'Vandals' video.
Those boys were some of the first in Melbs to go really big; I figured that they might have been an influence.
I yeah I watched that video all the time (laughs) Will (Stoyles) and Jaffa (Curtis).
I can’t believe Jaffa Sal-flipped the Country Road set! Was that in 'Vandals'?
Yeah, crazy shit.
Yeah and I think he kickflipped it or kickflip melonned it. They were his last tricks!
Excellent. Yeah Jaff!
Did you ever see any of the Blank guys around while you grew up skating?
Yeah but I wouldn’t say anything to them they were like Tony Hawk to me. I use to see Will and Ronnie Roberts heaps.
Oh man that is awesome to hear. Respect.
Did you used to see the XEN guys around too?
Yeah all the time Mappas, Tom Cuthbertson is that right? Tristan Walker.
Talented units. I feel Tom is one of the most underrated Australian skaters of all time. Has the hardest tricks on lock.
Yeah he is super good, mad pop.
a grand 360 flip over a not-so-grand piano
So where else have you skated in Australia?
All the East Coast, Radelaide... have not been over to Perth yet though.
You might have to make the trek bro! Pretty sick scene.
Which of the other cities did you really enjoy?
Canberra is tight… but I think Melbourne is the place to be.
Have these travels happened off your own back or have your sponsors paid for them?
Both, like I have been away just with friends filming and all and we just drive for ages. We just use our own money, but if I’m flying I get my flights paid for which is super good!
I think one of the most important things skaters can do for themselves is to finance their own travel (initially at least) it makes you aware of the costs involved, and appreciate travel being paid for (if it does ever happen). I have travelled with skaters who have never paid for a trip and they are often spoilt brats.
Yeah that’s gnarly... its sick just to travel, and I guess if you are good enough to get it paid for you don’t abuse it hey.
Too damn right. Have you been overseas too?
I went to the States the start of last year to skate San Diego.
Who did u stay with?
My friend Waylon Hendricks, he was just over here.
Oh he is amazing on a board. I first saw him at Belco.
Yeah: fool’s super good.
What is his story? Does he live here now? Or was just travelling?
He was here for three months he has already gone home… but yeah (he) just came over to skate and kill it!
Where did u meet Waylon?
Well Bibby and I went to the States with no real plan, stayed in Santa Monica for a night, called a friend back home and he put us in touch with ‘Way’. And yeah... the rest is history.
No way. That’s pretty lucky.
Yeah, got super lucky: he is the man!
float time in hoppers crossing
Was America how you imagined?
Yes and no... super good weather, spots are insane everything is super cheap… it’s pretty rad!
Did you get kicked out a fair bit? (from the spots)
Yeah everyone was saying that the cops are super crazy, but lucky for us we didn’t get into much trouble.
Damn, you had some skate gods helping you out on that trip I reckon.
Yeah I reckon hey.
Where do you prefer skating? (Oz or US)
I don’t know hey, hard to say the spots over there are insane but here is home so…
I hear you. Which of the Aussies killing it overseas get you super psyched?
Dude they’re all killing it… Joel (Mcilroy) is the man!
Correct! Who are you riding for at the moment?
Vans Shoes and Apparel, Lurkville Skateboards and Theeve Trucks.
I saw the Lurkville clip. Nice work! Who is behind Lurkville? Is it a US company?
Yeah they’re from San Diego, they are distributed by Antics.
wondering how he exists the tail slide? check the sequence for a big spin out
Since entering Shocklands last year, I have seen you destroy multiple courses in jam format environments. One session that stands out was Clifton Hill. How were you feeling that day? You had to be stoked right?
Hell yeah man, I was super stoked. I never skate that park so I was hyped the comp was there. But yeah I can remember that day was super hot.
In the Am Series Final you looked like you were going to win it quite easily. But there was a shoelace malfunction yeah? What happened exactly?
Oh yeah I was skating this new shoe and the laces just started to rip. I thought it was all good until the finals (when) I had one lace in... It’s all sweet though, it was a super fun day and all the other dudes killed it.
Did it fall off mid handrail attempt?
Yeah one time it did, it sucked, hurt pretty bad…
I honestly thought that you were out, as it looked pretty horrible. Next minute I was maybe watching Gunti execute a nollie front crook, then looked around to see you stomp a face high 360 flip over the hip.
(Laughs)… damn. Sam Tran is the man… Didn’t mean that to rhyme (laughs)
Poet without knowing it. Have you had a look at the course plans for Shocklands?
Hell yeah… yeah man looking super fun.
Are there any obstacles in the lay out that you are particularly excited about hitting?
That wheel chair ramp looks super good... and that A-frame rail.
Should be a pretty epic weekend. You are going to slay it tiger! There might be a couple of extra bits and bobs too ;)
Oh yeah? Yeah I’m hyped just cant wait to skate there.
Judging from the photos I am looking at, you’ve also been pretty busy slaying the streets. You been out shooting with Mapstone a bunch yeah?
Yeah heaps he is the Vans TM so always out shooting photos.
Has he shown you a few spots or what? Or have you been showing him spots?
Yeah it's crazy he knows everywhere. I’ll show him a spot and he would know it (laughs).
frontside flip with a deck check upon reentry
Are you working or studying at the moment?
Nah man just skating...
You still living with the folks?
Yeah still living at home, it works pretty well.
Especially if you start travelling more. Which will happen no doubt. It is lame paying rent when you are away all the time.
Yeah I don’t want to have to spend heaps of money (laughs).
Got any travels lined up for the rest of the year?
Not sure, might be going to the States but just might hold it out and go next year for longer.
All the best Mitch... see you on the weekend. And make sure you check your shoelaces this time!
Mitch rides for: Lurkville Skateboards, Vans Shoes and Apparel, and Theeve Trucks