Issue 3: Push - Nasir Roumou


I used to really like Barrier Kult...the second time I went to Stockwell, I wore a ski mask.

Photography by Rob Whiston


If you could travel back to any point in history, anywhere in the world, where would you go to skate, and with whom?

I’d probably go to (legendary Anaheim skate spot) Sadlands. Sadlands seemed like a sick spot back in the day, with all the craters and stuff. I’d skate with Neil Blender, Christian Hosoi…the legends.


Nas, how old are you?

16.


What are your ‘go to’ videos that you’d typically fire up before a session?

Definitely Ban This, that was a very good video. Any one of the Vision or Gullwing videos, anything from the 80s…Matt Hensley’s night session in Hokus Pokus is pretty sick as well.


Why?

(Laughing) I don’t know.


I’d imagine most 16 year olds would mainly be watching current stuff, whereas you’re fully immersed in skateboarding that took place 20 years before you were born. What made you start looking at skating from the 1980s?

When I used to skate House of Vans with my friends, all they would talk about were layback rollouts and all these other weird tricks names, and I didn’t really get any of that at the time, so I guess I wanted to find out more, to be a part of what was going on. Once I learnt a few of the basic names for tricks, I just started learning more for myself, to have the trivia, and over time I’ve found a group of skaters from that era that I really like.


Who would you say are some of your favourite skaters to watch?

Monty Nolder, the guy who invented the back smith, he’s really sick, he’s deaf as well. Rob Mertz is really good; he invented the Mertzplant, which is an indy fastplant. Todd Congelliere, and Allen Losi. The Losiplant is probably one of my favourite tricks; that’s a fakie ollie footplant.


How are you finding all of this stuff? Is it primarily online, or are you tracking down actual videos and magazines?

Certain stuff is just from YouTube, but I’ve had a few friends come up to me and tell me articles to find, like Todd Congelliere interviews. The Chrome Ball Incident is pretty cool, and the Skateboarder Magazine archive; I always used to read that in school, during lessons (laughs).


You were born in Atlanta, right?

Yeah.


Tell me a bit about life in Atlanta.

I was born in Gwinnett County. I can’t really recall much, because when I lived there, I was quite young, so most of my time was spent chilling in my cul-de-sac area. I lived in quite a small place; you need a car to survive because there’s just one fat lane from the cul-de-sac that takes you into town, so I’d get rides from my cousins on a weekend. There wasn’t much to do apart from hang out in the neighbourhood. I’d play basketball, dodgeball, climb trees, and get up to antics.


I get the feeling that Nas' board wasn't designed with lamppost dodging heelflips in mind.


What is Gwinnett County’s claim to fame?

I heard from my mum there was a thing called Freaknik, which was a huge festival that happened; a weeklong block party, pretty much (laughs). It sounded pretty sick.


When did you swap Gwinnett County for South Norwood?

I’ve lived here for nine, maybe 10 years now. There was only me and my mum in the States beforehand, so we moved mainly to be with my family - my grandmother, my grandfather, and my uncle.


Are your grandparents from London?

No, my grandparents are from New York. My grandfather was actually born in the UK; he’s part of the Windrush generation. They moved to London from New York, and then we moved over to be closer to them.


So you were born in 2004, during the last real ‘boom-time’ for skateboarding. Even before you started skating yourself, was skateboarding something you were always aware of?

Obviously I was aware of skating through songs and videogames, but one of the main first experiences I had was when I first moved to the UK. My grandfather would take me places on Saturdays. I remember we would always end up in Brixton, and we would walk by Stockwell skatepark; I would just go and observe. Then me and my mum went to Southbank one time, and we saw people skating there too. That was the first time that I thought skating was something I wanted to try. I was one week off turning 12, so that would have been towards the end 2016.

Most of the combos that I have learnt are from fingerboarding.

I know (Matt) Bromley and Ben (Broyd) said they saw you at Stockwell a lot when you’d first started skating. Was that your local park?

I lived 15 minutes away from the park at the time, so I’d go there every day. The first day I went there, I had the best experience. I was so surprised at how kind everyone was; the hospitality at the skatepark was really cool. Everyone was very generous, and they all helped me out. Honestly, throughout my first summer skating there, all of my food was funded by doing shop runs for people (laughs).


You’ve also been spotted down Stockwell with a fingerboard on occasion.

Oh yeah, I always carry that; it’s in my bag right now (laughs).


Do you use that to help visual some of the stall-to-stall combos you do?

I feel like over the course of lockdown, I got more invested in fingerboarding, because it was something to occupy my time with that was related to skating. It’s one thing to watch videos of skating at home, but to actually be able to visualise tricks using your hands, that’s a different process; it helps me figure things out. Most of the combos that I have learnt are from fingerboarding. Like back smith to rock n’ roll, and the one I’ve been trying recently is willy to smith to backside rock n’ roll. I figure them out with the fingerboard first (laughs).


You’re in college, right?

Yeah, I’m studying Creative Media. Hopefully next year I’m planning on doing Film and TV Production. I’ve been looking into university too, with my family.


Look sharp! There's an easy mammoth on the loose in South London.


You were telling me earlier that your mum wants to see more street clips out of you.

(Laughing) I don’t really skate street as much as I used to; I used to be really into it, and my mum wants to see me skate street a bit more. All of my favourite skaters back when I started were completely different to how they are now. I used to be a huge fan of Kareem Campbell, Harold Hunter, Karl Watson…Karl Watson’s famous front noseslide pretzel out down Hubba Hideout is one of my favourite tricks. Antwuan Dixon is one of my all time favourites too, but then House of Vans changed all that (laughs).


And now you idiolise 1980s vert pros (laughing).

I used to really like Barrier Kult. When I first started skating, I used to play Skate 3 a lot, and Deer Man of Dark Woods was one of my favourite characters because he looked so strange. I remember finding out he was a real person; I was so baffled, but I was so stoked on it. The second time I went to Stockwell, I wore a ski mask. I remember people trying to speak to me, but I’d be like, “nah, I don’t speak, I don’t speak” (laughs).


Were you almost trying to make yourself a Barrier Kult style character?

Yeah, even though I couldn’t skate back then.


What would Barrier Kult name have been?

‘Bastard’. That was my nickname. I remember a lot of people would ask me, “what’s your name?”, and I’d say, “just call me Bastard”. I guess it caught on, and I was called that for a while. ‘The Little Bastard of Stockwell’ (laughs). You know Paul? He said, “I don’t know if I can call you that, because your mum comes down here. I’m just going to call you Mr B” (laughs). To this day, he calls me Mr B.


Do you think it’s fair to say that you’re family are supportive of you skating?

They are. They were very stoked when I had photos in the last issue. Everyone in my house got copies, and they had me sign the pages (laughs). I felt really awkward, going room to room signing the magazine, and everyone was really stoked off of it, filming me; it was very weird.


You’re like a celebrity in your own household (laughs).

Yeah (laughs).


Have you got anything that you want to add, before we wrap this up?

I was just going to say how it’s obviously very surreal, watching people traveling on videos, and getting all of the stuff they’ve received over the years from skateboarding alone…actually having that happen to you is very sick, and I’m very grateful for it.


Who do you currently get product from?

Three Amigos, Blast Skates, Converse Cons, and Film Trucks, but a lot of people actually help me out. I wouldn’t say they’re solid things, but Nancy, Life is Unfair, my friend Ricky at Supreme, Loutre Co…I get a little support; people are generous with their products, (laughs).


Is there anyone you’d like to thank?

My mum, PITM Crew, Boat Crew, anyone that has supported me in the past, close ones, people in Metropolis, everyone (laughs).


Follow Nasir - @nasssquik


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