Push: Cameron Lenton

Interview by Neil Macdonald - Portrait by Simie

How did you discover skateboarding, back up in Aberdeen?

I guess it would have been because of the indoor skatepark, Transition Extreme. I think I just went for lunch there one day, to the café, and just got interested from seeing people skating. I can’t think of one particular reason that made me start…I think I was eleven or twelve when I got my first board, which was from JJB Sports. That would have been 2008 or 2009.

Which people or companies were you first aware of? What did you start to notice when you actually got into it?

I started hanging around in Boarderline, which was a cool shop, and I guess I was mainly interested in the board graphics, rather than the actual skating at the time. enjoi and Chocolate were the boards I liked, mainly for the graphics, and then those were the first videos I watched. Although I think Habitat Origins was maybe the first DVD I had.

When did you notice UK skating?

A bit later on. I just rinsed the American DVDs and bought the graphics that I thought were the most appealing. It was a bit later on before I started appreciating skateboarding that was a bit closer to home.

Who were you looking up to in Aberdeen?

To be honest, most of the skating I saw at the start was mainly through YouTube, so one of the main inspirations was Simie [Aberdeen-Glasgow transplanted filmer/photographer] and the videos he was making at the time. Callum Barrack too; I liked his skating a lot. He was one of the first people I saw skating the park that made skating look really cool.

Is there much to do in Aberdeen if you aren’t riding a skateboard or working offshore?

To be honest I didn’t do much until I started skating. There’s nothing much else to do. Taking control of everything in my life is all I wanted to do when I was growing up, I guess.

You did that by moving away?

Yeah, I did that at the start of this year when I moved to Edinburgh.

That can’t have been easy during lockdown.

Yeah. It got to the point in Aberdeen where skating was a bit stale for me. I’d done all - or most of - the things I wanted to do in skating. Outwith skating too.

I’d just finished college and a lot of my close friends from that time had started to move away, and I think the only thing that was keeping me there was my friends - and obviously my family as well - but as soon as that started to change, there wasn’t much of a reason to stay. I was already going through to Edinburgh about every month or so anyway, just to skate with the Garden Skateboards guys. Miles (Kondracki) and that.

Unlike M. Hancock, Cam evades CCTV and claims crook victory in central Edinburgh.

Photo: Leo Sharp

Were you on Garden from the start? How did you get on?

I think so, yeah… It was from the beginning. It happened through Miles, who I’ve known for a long time. I think we were actually in Barcelona, and we were out drinking one night and Miles kind of briefed me on what him and Kieron (Forbes) had been working on starting for a while. Obviously I was pretty excited to be a part of whatever was going on. I knew I’d value what they created; I knew it would be something good, especially after Harvest came to an end. I was excited for something new to come out of Scotland. Something different.

Where’s good that you’ve travelled to? Is there anywhere you’ve been where you’d like to live?

I’ve been to Copenhagen a bunch of times, and I’ve also been to Paris. I think Paris is maybe my favourite city to skate, for the way it looks and feels…just the vibes there. It feels cool to skate there, and it feels like there’s always something going on. I do like Scotland a lot, at the same time.

Have you got a job?

I’m just doing Deliveroo at the moment, but I’m looking for another job, currently.

You make zines and t-shirts, don’t you?

I’m just into making lots of things, really. I like t-shirts and posters, graphics in general.

With a lot of the stuff I do I like to kind of combine more hand-drawn elements, more raw elements. I’m inspired by skating, adverts, hardcore posters and album covers, and less commercial design. More like DIY, folk-art kind of stuff.

I’d like to do more; I’d like to print stuff myself more. Making stuff by hand is something I think is exciting.

And that’s what Catcher - @catcher.01224 - is? How did that start?

I guess I was just doing t-shirts for other people, like Seed Skateshop, Habibis, and Garden, but I wanted to have a name that I could make things under. Whether it be t-shirts, little zines or posters. I’ve been trying to get my friends who make things involved as well. It’s not specifically a brand; it’s just something to do things with.

Have you done any graphics for Garden?

I haven’t specifically done a full graphic, but I’ve assisted. I’ve sent bits over and added my input with what Kieron does with the graphics. It’s something I would like to do with those guys in the future, for sure.

5050 pop down, exiting the situation not with a resignation, but via a 'no room for ever' ride on 5.0. Photo: Leo Sharp.

Who do you rate, who does that stuff? What inspires you?

I guess a person who’s into similar stuff to what I find inspiring is this guy Ed Davis. He does all the graphics for this brand Brain Dead. It’s not a skate brand.

He came up making bootleg tees in his own style, and it’s pretty unique. I feel like I really enjoy everything he puts out.

Other than that, it’s just all looking through old magazines and trawling the internet looking for weird posters or graphics I can repurpose into my own things.

You do tricks that people don’t see very often. Is that conscious? Are you looking for NBDs or are you just into lots of different types of skating?

I don’t know. I was thinking about this the other day. It’s just if I see a spot, I try to think about what I could do there without it being too weird or whack. Not always something different, but just what I feel looks good on film or connects together nicely with another trick in the video.

Do you watch any old videos?

I’d definitely say I’ve been discovering more skating as I’ve gotten older, just through YouTube. I like older stuff that’s not too technical, like the old Toy Machine videos. Welcome to Hell and Jump Off a Building, where it’s simple tricks done well, and fast, and looking cool. Rather than where they’re pushing it to be too technical.

Did you skate much during Lockdown?

Yeah. To be honest, that’s probably the most I’ve ever skated. Obviously, it was a bad time, but it felt like it was a good time to be a skater. I know it’s not good to hang around in large groups but my friends were all off work, and at all the spots that were usually busy, you’d be the only ones out so you could make something good out of it, you could say.

What are your favourite tricks that have been done in Edinburgh?

I’ll go for one that I was there for, and one that I saw later on.

You know the Standard Life spot? Tom Shimmin did a kickflip off it for the cover of North. I’d say the Lizard King tuck-knee photo on that. I always find that funny to think about.

The other one; it was a while ago, but I think seeing Freddie Lusk heelflip the Dynamic Earth triple was pretty cool.

How come you’re so interested in monkeys?

There was a TV show on last year called Primates, a monkey documentary, but since then I’ve been following a few Instagram accounts that specialise in monkey videos.

Does anybody else hook you up, other than Garden?

I get stuff from Converse as well.

What’s happening for the rest of the year?

I actually just got into Napier Uni, so I’ll be doing that in September, which I’m excited about. I’m doing digital media, design, that kind of thing. I’ve been out of studying for a few years, and just skating, and it was something I wanted to get back into. Learning about something else, in depth.

Is this your first time at uni?

I went to uni straight out of school, when I was 18. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do and I ended up studying Business Management. I did a year of it and just didn’t like it at all. It wasn’t what I wanted to do, and it made me realise I didn’t want anything to do with that kind of area, and I’d rather be doing something creative.

Follow Cameron - @c.lenton