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Push: Oscar Evans

Interview by Dan Bunn - Photos by Mike Ridout

Safe Oscar! First off, do you want to introduce yourself for the people who don’t know you?

I’m Oscar Evans. Or Bughead. Or Foghorn. I’m 24 and living in Cardiff.

I was going to ask about them later, but seeing as you’ve already brought them up, can you tell us the stories behind your nicknames?

Well, Bughead’s pretty exciting init? On the Cardiff Skateboard Club Mallorca trip, Bug vs Snake, a bug landed on my head. It’s as simple as that (laughs). I always think I should come up with something more extravagant though.

Well I did hear that when you had your dreads, you did have bugs living in them, so I guess that’s an extra layer.

Yeah, when I cut them off there were quite a lot of creepy-crawlies living in there (laughs).

So you’re originally from Norfolk, right?

Nah, I’m originally from Essex. I lived in Chelmsford until I was about nine, and I had just started skating in Chelmsford when I moved to Norfolk.

What was life like in Norfolk?

It’s fuckin’ horrible during winter, but it’s kind of nice in summer as long as you have a car, because there’s a lot of rivers, beaches and woods that you can chill in. It’s pretty bliss in summer, but horrible and depressing in winter, but that’s the same with most places. If what makes the place nice relies on being outside and by water or in fields which are going to be boggy, then yeah, it’s shit during winter. It doesn’t hit as hard when you’re in a city.

What about the skate scene?

In my little town, Aylsham, basically every two or three years I’d have a new set of mates that would start skating and stick around for a year or two, and then normally there would be a dark winter and that would be enough to put most people off. But my brother skated and he was what got me into skating in the first place, so until he went away, we skated together quite a lot.

Central Cardiff's most cherished kicker to pole gets dealt a Foghorn backside flip.

What brought you to Cardiff then?

I came here for uni but it didn’t go too well so I dropped out, got a cat, and haven’t looked back since [laughs].

And what were you doing in uni? Because I know you’re into your art outside of skating.

I was doing ceramics, so like pottery and sculptures and shit, which I still do now, but at uni, I moved here during lockdown, so we had a whole year of basically not being able to do anything and having online lessons. And then in the second year I was like, “ah sweet, we’re going to get to catch up on the first year”, but instead they wanted us to go outside of our subject and do other stuff, which would’ve made sense if we’d spent a whole year doing ceramics, but we hadn’t. So I had like a year of kind of experimental bollocks but without any of the practical skills to be experimenting with. And then when it came to doing my dissertation prep I couldn’t do it, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it, so I thought, “if i can’t even do the dissertation prep I stand no chance of being able to do the dissertation”, so I sacked it off.

For anyone who doesn’t know, you make a lot of sculptures of hands and stuff. What’s with that?

Oh yeah, hands - well they just look sick. I like the ashtrays; everyone knows smoking’s cool, even if you don’t smoke, everyone knows it looks cool and you can make it look even cooler with a sick ashtray (laughs).

So it’s got nothing to do with Santa Cruz then?

Nah, although I have made some inspired by the Santa Cruz hand. I did like the classic Santa Cruz one, and then I’ve got one at home that’s like the Santa Cruz hand but it has the Nike tick stabbing through it, so a bit of a metaphor for what Nike do to skating there [laughs].

I’m not going to be like, “I fuckin’ hurt”, when he’s sitting there with a broken camera and a black eye

How did you find the move to Cardiff?

Yeah, bangin’. The skate scene here’s so friendly. The weather… when it’s alright, it’s good. I always said that I don't think it rains here as much as people make it out to, but then I think from saying that, I’ve been punished this year with the seven, eight month winter we’ve had, until now. But now, as soon as it got good it’s stayed good so far… touch wood.

(Laughs) Yeah, fingers crossed. Ok, on to some skating stuff now: despite low-impact skating seemingly being more popular these days it always seems like you’re trying to bring hucking back. What is it that inspires you to damage yourself so much?

(Laughs) I was thinking about this after the Black Mass event the other day, to be fair, because I was fucked. I got up the next day to leave my house and I was likem “right, wrists: fucked. Elbows: fucked. Shoulders: fucked. Back: fucked. Knees: fucked. Ankles: fucked”, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s just what I’ve always preferred doing: just go fast, go hard (laughs). I like tech skating as well, but I’m not very good at kerbs. I’m going to the kerbs after this but I’m not bringing my board, I’m just gonna sit on the kerb; that’s the only use for them.

You might upset a lot of people with this…

Yeah that will upset a lot of people (laughs), going to get canceled after this. Weirdly, I think kerbs actually hurt me more because the main problems I have is with the front of my ankle and knee, and slapping into the kerb like that bends them both inwards and kind of jolts them, and that hurts more than just taking a gnarly drop onto your back and rolling over. Like, I’d rather take a slam than roll an ankle or jolt my knee out of place.

Bughead exits round two at The Ring with a concussionless indy to flat.

I did hear that you used to enjoy launching yourself off the top of the climbing frame as a kid, so I guess not much has changed.

(Laughs) You’ve been talking to my mum or something.

You seem to have a knack for breaking cameras as well as yourself, is that a personal grudge or just bad luck?

(Laughs) I accept full responsibility for Trix’s (Mike Ridout) camera, lens and black eye. Leo’s (Comanescu), I’m gonna maybe say he had a little bit to do with it as well. Poor technique (laughs).

I think what you’re referring to there is the time that you knocked Trix out while shooting a photo?

Yeah, the first time I met him. He’d seen an Instagram clip of me skating the ring [outside Cardiff Library] and messaged me asking if I wanted to shoot a photo of it. We got there and he wanted to shoot it long, but I managed to persuade him to shoot it fish, and then basically just fell straight back onto him, landed on the camera, smashed the lens into pieces and gave him a black eye. I fell back onto my spine on the ring and then rolled over onto him from above, so I also like cracked my back on the ring and then fell almost to flat, just with only him to break my impact. I smacked my elbows on the floor, so I was in agony as well, but it was the first time I’d met him and the first time he’d asked me to shoot something in Cardiff, I’m not going to be like, “I fuckin’ hurt”, when he’s sitting there with a broken camera and a black eye, so I had to just bite my tongue and be like, “yeah, fine”. But I was hyped that he still wanted to shoot it again after… long.

Well at least it didn’t put him off shooting photos with you.

No, but we’ve actually only just reshot that photo. That was the first photo I shot here, like over two years ago, and we’ve just gone back to redo it because it turned out he must’ve been feeling a bit foggy after the knock to the head and it was out of focus. I only asked him this a couple of months ago, like, “why did we never use that picture for anything?”, because yeah, it was out of focus, but I’m hyped to get it redone.

On the subject of that, you’ve racked up a pretty impressive amount of ads for CSC over the last year or so. Have you got any plans to put a part together or are you strictly print?

(Laughs) Yeah, definitely got plans. I’ll basically film or shoot photos with anyone that wants to and is doing cool shit. I’ve got footage with Trix, Harry (Deane) and Leo at the moment, whether that’s going into different projects or whatever. I know Leo wants to make a full-length, and I know Trix wants to make a full length but is putting out a little promo first. So yeah, definitely, but I’m not going to say any sort of timeframe (laughs).

Are you still sat on any footage from back in Norfolk?

Fuck, it’s hard to say. I don’t want to bitch, but the workrate there’s pretty slow (laughs). There was a video that came out the other day and the footage was from about six years ago (laughs). But yeah, there’s definitely still some footage waiting to come out.

Bughead's quest for Butetown bounty leads him to the County Hall for a beanplant bluntslide.

So you’ve volunteered with SkatePal as well. What was your experience like with that, and did it affect how you look at skating?

It was really inspiring to see how hard as nails the skaters are. You’d see them trying something that’s kind of well above their skill level, or should be, and would be like, “ah mate, you probably don’t want to do that”, but then if you’ve grown up with it being life or death then jumping off something on a skateboard probably doesn’t seem like that much. It definitely makes you grateful for everything you have here as well. They showed the best hospitality of anywhere I’ve ever been in the world, so friendly that you couldn't walk down the street without people inviting you into their homes, trying to give you food or tea or whatever. I’m really excited to be going back in September because I was only 19 when I went before and it was like the first time I’d left my parents’ house for more than like a week, so it was cool, but I feel like I’ve got a bit of a better understanding of life now. I’ll be going back to the same village as well so hopefully I’ll be able to meet up with some of the same people, which would be really cool.

What’s next for you?

Well I’m going back to Palestine in September, but until then just saving, skating, trying to keep healthy. My mental health is in the best place it’s ever been in my adult life at the moment, and now I’m thinking it’d be nice to get my physical health a bit better too, but it’s hard when you refuse to quit drinking every day, you work in a pizza place and you refuse to go to the gym (laughs). The combination of those three things looks to be a bit of a brick wall to me getting in shape any time soon. The cost of living crisis might keep me slim though.

(Laughs) I think that’s a pretty positive note to end on. Who do you skate for at the minute, and is there anyone you want to thank?

I skate for Cardiff Skateboard Club, best shop in the U.K. and beyond, and Fountain Clothing. Massive shoutout to you and Trix, Leo, Jim, everyone at CSC. Can’t thank you all enough for the support that I’ve got since coming here, it’s been mad. Big love. And obviously thanks to the legends at Companion for having me!

Follow Oscar - @0scarmasprime

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