crook on the sill (ewington)
Sam Giles is the nicest terminator you will ever meet. If you are a human that is. If you were a spot meeting him for the first time you would have every right to be terrified. To put it simply: Sam obliterates spots with no discrimination what so ever. Meanwhile, he is a lovely lad who wouldn’t harm any one being... ever. Regardless of the tumultuous last few years he has experienced, he’s popped out smiling. With more time ever on his hands than ever and a 100 percent skateboard focus you are bound to see some wild moves coming from Sam’s feet over the coming few. And like I said… to the spots reading this: you best be crossing the street if you ever see Sam coming your way. But then again… regardless of your location he will hunt you down. If you are a spot: termination is immanent.
interview: morgan campbell
photos: credited in captions
(click pics to view larger)
MC: So you were born in Wollongong right?
SG: Yeah I was born in Wollongong hospital.
When was that?
On the 20th of August 1990.
What is your first memory from the 'Gong?
I think my first memory altogether is rolling around in a little yellow plastic car, in my backyard in Unanderra (suburb of Wollongong).
outledges are gnar. long 5-0 off a fat set (jordan)
A bunch of good skaters have come out of the ‘Gong, what is it that’s in the water there? Why do you think the scene spawns so many greats?
It’s really weird that the ‘Gong has produced so many talented skateboarders. The street spots are really rough and gnarly and we only have two non-prefabricated skateparks: Dapto and Fairy Meadow. Both suck in comparison to today’s modern skateparks around the country. But yet, we still have young kids from Fezza (Fairy Meadow) like Dani Campbell, skating at a higher level than just about every other kid his age in the country, it’s bizarre! I honestly don't know how or why, but it’s awesome!
Bad spots do breed good skaters. In the early nineties the ‘Gong was one of the first places to get a 'modern' park. Fairy Meadow must have been an integral part of your youth. Is it dated now or what?
Yes, Fezza is definitely dated! I've spent a lot of hours (and years) skating there, and I still love skating there, but times have changed and skateboarding and skatepark designs have progressed. Wollongong has a population of almost 300,000 people; it's crazy that were still traveling out of the city and into the burbs to skate a 20-year-old park. Wollongong Council has got to keep up with the rest of the country, and start sending some money into a new park!
a high velocity canberrian kickflip (miller)
Did any skaters in particular help you out there?
I guess when I was young kid my mates and I were just hanging out there all the time, learning and feeding off each other's skating. So no one in particular really.
Did you grow up watching the older guys lay down street bangers?
Yeah I grew up watching Joey Dodd skate, and push the limits on big handrails for Aussie skaters. He's planning a comeback sometime soon.
Any particular trick you see go down in the 'Gong stand out in your memory?
Probably Barry Strachan doing a backflip thingy to frontside rock ‘n’ roll at Fezza. That guy is a freak of nature.
So you worked as a horticulturalist for three years or so, what did that entail?
Basically I just took care of a really rich dude's property. Pulled out the weeds, mowed the lawns, fixed the pipes, etc… it sucked! I was three years into my four-year apprenticeship and quit. I never want to put my gardening gloves on again.
How did you get into that?
When I first met my now wife: Miriam, I had just turned eighteen and her dad gave me some gardening work with him. Naturally I just ended up staying in that industry for years to come.
frontside flip over six wires. no one counts stairs anymore. it is all about wires (miller)
I guess the work must have been pretty varied and dangerous at times. Many people will remember your burns accident last year. Now I am not going to dwell on it but do you feel it changed your life path at all?
Having all the time off work after I got burnt, which was over two months, gave me a lot of time to think, and realise that I hated being a horticulturalist and I was never going to start liking it.
Did it change your outlook as to what you wanted to be doing for work?
Yeah, definitely. I love skateboarding now, just as much as I did when I was nine-years-old. And there are so many ways to work in the industry and stay a part of skateboarding no matter how old you get, which is exactly what I am going to do from now on: stay in the industry I love. Plus, I'm one of maybe fifteen or so guys in the country that are lucky enough to get paid to be a skateboarder, and I feel like I have really taken that for granted the past couple of years. So now that I have a lot more time to skate, I’m pumped to push my limits for myself and for my sponsors.
You are fully recovered now yeah?
Yeah I’m all-good now! Thank God! I still lather my self with sunscreen now though just to be safe.
boardslide to fakie (ewington) <click to animate>
How many jobs have you actually got at the moment?
As of last week: four. As of today: two.
What did they consist of?
Last week: Skate shop employee, paid skateboarder, Bi-lo shelf-stacker and casual gardener. Today: skate shop employee and paid skateboarder.
Must have been a bit of a juggle? Did you find it hectic?
Hectic sucks, I way prefer to have less money and more life, than the other way around. It is not hectic now that I dropped everything that isn't skateboarding.
You dominated a couple of big comps even before the SbA Pro/Am Tour began. How have you liked our 3 Stop Pro/Am Tour?
The comps are amazing! I get so excited for comps these days! I’m honoured to be among the guys that get invited to compete. There's just nothing else like the SbA Tour happening in the country, so the comps are something that skateboarders of Australia can get psyched up for, competitors and spectators alike.
Will you be around for Thunderdome?
Hell yeah! I wouldn't miss it for anything!!
Who are you hanging to watch?
I love seeing Dennis Durrant skate, and Rob Kenworthy is the man too! Both those guy's are all about pop and style. Oh and obviously Tommy as well, he's getting too good.
taking a break from spot hunting on a freeway (ewington)
Have you ever skated at Hordern Pavilion before?
Yeah I skated in a Mountain Dew comp there I think? I totally sucked in that comp, I think everyone was struggling a bit though, because the ground in there was sooo slippery! Dudes were pouring Dew on the landings to try get some friction happening.
You should see Cuzza's sketches for the course. They are pretty amazing: the place will be transformed. And don’t worry Sammy we will ensure you have enough grip at Thunderdome. Did you know that they used to hold comps there in the 90’s complete with jump ramps over cars?
Really? That sounds sick! Bring the cars back!!
Where have you traveled so far? I know you have traveled a fair bit in Oz, I remember actually thinking you were Tasmanian coz you had some many photos there from one trip?
Yeah we did an Ezekiel tour around Tasmania when I was sixteen or seventeen. Dix (Chris Smith) had an amazing route planned-out for the tour, we skated dams in the middle of nowhere, and camped and fished in some of the most scenic places I have ever seen. Plus (we) ended up with a mountain of skate photos by the end of that trip. That was by far the best trip I have been on. Other than that, like you said, I have just traveled a bunch in Oz. Mostly going back and forth to Melbourne for these comps though.
Who did you go to Japan with?
I went to Japan with Corbin Harris, Kieran Reilly, Andrew Peters and Bjorn Johnston.
Any plans for overseas trips coming up?
Nothing organised yet, but keen to go to The States soon and try to make a good impression on my sponsors there. And maybe go sit on island somewhere with Miriam.
What are you hoping to do this week?
Marty (Girotto) is staying at my house this weekend, so we'll go filming somewhere, and other than that, I’ll probably go shoot some photo's with my mate Trent Blackmore. Basically just skate!
See you in Sydney mate.
Sweet, thanks for the interview Morgs.
Sam rides for: Santa Cruz, Circa, Independent, Kingpin, Carve, and The Cream.
makeshift wallride to fakie (blackmore)