During the late 80’s Blake Convey was getting street photos published in mags like Five40, Slam, Skatin’ Life, Speed Wheels, Skateboard Australia and Perfect Transition (which was still a ‘zine at the time). There were only a couple of other guys really repping the streets in print: Tom Flew (Melbourne) and Dominic Gonzales (Sydney). The difference between Blake and these other published street guys was that he was four to five years their junior. Yep, he was high-voiced, pint-sized and was light years ahead of the masses. If you were an aspiring young skater in Australia at that time: you yearned to be Blake.
In 1991 I was fortunate enough to visit Canberra and to stay with ACT street pioneer Louis Page. He graciously introduced me to his crew and they all ripped. I had never really heard of any of the guys, except for Mr. Convey. I remember when I first saw him skate mini-ramp I was blown to shreds: he was doing the tricks out of the videos that were not even out yet. I think it was the first time I had ever skated with someone from ‘the mags’ and it was humbling to realize he was a friendly, regular bloke. During my stay we hit Tradies curb, the brand new (old) Belconnen park, Woden, Ainsley Drains, Erindale and of course Civic. It was Civic that made Canberra so amazing for me: all the perfectly smooth street spots. It was actually the Civic Bus Station that was the location for this classic Dave Pang shot of Blakey doing a layback wallie boardslide. I recently spoke to Blake about his cover and he called the trick the Tim Jackson* after a Venice Beach local. At the time he Blake (aka Ducky**) was sponsored by Skateboards Only Distribution who had the distro rights for Alva at the time. Thus the Alva board, Alva stickers and awesome Alva shorts. The whole ensemble really is sensational: yellow grip (complete with paint pen alterations), grey suede Vision Street Wear hightops (note the ollie pad), the frat boy hair, and the icing on the skate cake: taped up Smith gloves. This photo is such an epic embodiment of the time. Even the magazine masthead and the graphic design reak 80’s: I mean look at those fierce fonts! Blake reckons he was about fourteen when this was shot and he was out skating with Patch 'Nugget' Nugent, Duane Fogwell and of course Pangy. Afterwards they went and skated the infamous keyhole marble banks but that is a whole 'nutha chapter in Australian skateboarding history. If it wasn’t for people like Blake and Dave Pang Australian skateboarding wouldn’t ever have reached the level it has. A big cheers to the pioneers who got in front of and behind the lens. And thanks so much to Dave Pang for providing the scan. - mc
*Tim Jackson’s part from Speed Freaks is home to many tricks like Blake’s layback, but it didn’t come out for another year!
**Blake is to this day known by many as Ducky. This was because he had an Erindale photo in the long since deceased US mag Power Edge that read Blake Conroy, Duck Ponds. Amazing how a mis-caption can change lives!