Best of 2021: Dane 'Morph' Crook

The UK skate community collectively rejoiced in February this year, when - after a four year stint spent at Her Majesty’s pleasure - the unwavering force of VX wielding enthusiasm known as Dane 'Morph' Crook was finally a free man, was back on his board, and back following his crew around the familiar streets of London, camera in hand. In the two weeks following his release, he'd already racked up six minutes of footage, was on the payroll at Palace as a staff filmer, and had his own long overdue pro/bro/filming board out on the Waltamstow based Yes Fam! Skateboards. From there, he's released a short section with his four-wheeled sparring partner Chewy Cannon, worked on the heavy hitting London-Philadelphia Loupe video alongside Jack Brooks and Tracey Gorman, and put in shifts for several commercial and not-so-commercial film projects for the Triangle. As if that wasn't enough, he also shared a powerful and honest Free Skate Mag interview with Chewy, which can be read here.

I don't think we could have honestly found a better human to start our quick-fire daily rundowns of 2021 with, so enjoy his esteemed take on the last 12 months here, then keep an eye out for more brilliance from Morph as 2022 kicks in to gear.

Skater of 2021: I’m gunna be biased and say my boy Jak Pietryga. Jak makes no money from skating and goes out and rips everyday. Whether it be after work at the park or out shredding the streets, he’s consistently killing it. That’s my fucking bro! Trick of 2021: Kyle Wilson, switch heel at Southbank. You know what one!

Video part of 2021: Charlie Birch’s Third Wave part. I remember filming him for Albion and he was a kid ripping. Now he’s a man skating rails I used to tell my binliner mates about. G shit!

Charlie Birch - frontside smith, London 2020. Photo: Leo Sharp

Quote of 2021: “Try and do what makes you really happy; most times happiness gets replaced with other shit ‘cos we lost sight of what happiness actually means to us”. – a lifer in jail Song of 2021: That Drake song with Lil Durk. Is it Baby? No, Laugh Now Cry Later. I used to sing along to this in the morning on 4Music. I’d put the subtitles on so I got all the words right!

Favourite clip filmed in 2021: Charlie Munro, fakie flip up the kerb then fakie flip down the steps. Why I like this is ‘cos I had been away four years, and to me it seemed crazy to do two of the same tricks in a line together. I was a bit like, “what the fuck is that about, my guy?” It threw me, but it looked fucking dope. Also knowing that a fakie flip up a kerb is a completely different trick to doing one down some steps. But it was that moment I realised skating had changed and what I thought was right or good didn’t mean shit no more. It was really nice actually!

Favourite non-skating pastime of 2021: Doing boojee stuff with my girl like going to art galleries, or going for cocktails (laughs). This girl’s changed my life; I’m so happy right now. Road trip of 2021: Portsmouth and Bournemouth with the Palace boys. These guys are the best to do a trip with, you’re always gunna be living good; everything you need is gunna be sorted. No one’s got an excuse to not be on 100% ‘cos you have nothing else to stress about. You got food money, boards…just go and get shit done! They are always the most fun. Clips and Uncle Ernie’s Rum Punch…you can’t really go wrong can you? The thing you’re most looking forward to in 2022: Just continuing my pursuit of content from street fiends, Palace, Piff Sticks and loss of stuff I can’t even talk about. Keep your eye on me, you know mad stuff coming from man, I’m actually so excited for the future. Also my wedding! My girl would stress if I didn’t mention that (laughs). Skater to watch out for in 2022: I’ll be so real; I’m still finding it hard to work out who’s who! There are so many good skaters now. I’ll tell you who to watch out for - that little kid at your park who’s just learning to ollie, but you can see the way they push that they’re gunna be good. Watch him, encourage him, or her for that matter. Show them the ways. Not just how to skate, but how to act as well. Show them and watch out for them. That’s what Paco done for me and all of my mates. I thank him every day for it. Also watch Chewy (Cannon) getting back on his feet; that will be sick. I know everyone’s got their eyes peeled for that.

Chewy on the wing, as seen in Beyond the Third Wave.