FLASHBACK: LEWIS MARNELL
28 June 2013 • 1217 Views
I scoured my brain, mags and the internets for a photo of Lewis Marnell (Rest In Peace) to examine in this round of Flashback. After many raids on the archives I settled for this ripper. This kickflip shot by Joe Brook in the Perth suburb of Burswood was scanned from the June 2007 issue of Slap Magazine from a tour article called ‘Out of the Blue’. This was one of the last print issues of Slap, and given how hard it was to find the mag in Oz, I figure many of you haven’t seen it.
The tour’s mission was to get a bunch of Nike’s top International guys and some of the Australian team together for a West Coast sojourn, their may have been one demo but the focus was on getting photos with Joe and footage for ‘Nothing But the Truth’ with Midds and Joey Digital. We found this particular spot on a trip prior, one with only Aussie guys. Since I grew up in Perth I, along with an already explosive, yet, beardless Nick Boserio were calling the spots. As we pulled into Burswood’s industrial area I thought I would stop by and visit an old one from back in the day. I had just shown them a pretty much unskateable, heavily frumpy kicker spot behind and IGA, so the pressure was on.
This next one was a gap from car park to car park over a rail that I remembered Perth legend Kye Stanley backside 180-ing in 1993. We pulled up. Handbrake on. Sunglasses on. Belts off. The doors of the people mover slid open and the amalgam of misfits perused the location. I had run over there instantly to make sure it was OK but to my dismay the run up was cactus. What once was a decent bitumen approach had turned to rubble and sand. Admittedly it had actually been fourteen years since I was there! Everyone laughed at me for showing them another terrible spot and we headed back through the lower car park to the van. Lewis had not followed us over there to the gap; perhaps he knew that I was going to show ‘em another real fizzer? Wait I remember now: Lewis had a freshly rolled ankle, which was sustained on the very first day of the trip. But his latest discovery had put a new air of awesome across his face. “Look at this guys!” He presented the wheelchair ramp on the opposite side of the road like a really proud primary school student doing a show and tell: “This thing is tight, I wish my ankle was better, I would love to skate this puppy.” This thing was unhit and no one else was “feeling it” so we piled back in to the Tarago. Lewis saved his ankle for the rest of that trip, from which he bailed halfway to have a birthday (and another half a tour) in Japan. Despite the cactified foot he put down one of the most visually pleasing 360 flips to fakie on his last day in Oz. If you check the tour vid from that Almost Japan trip you will see that his ankle was back in full effect only days later. Speed healer!
So back to the wheelchair ramp. Sadly unable to call Lewis just now to get the breakdown on what it is like to actually skate the spot, I got on the blower to Harry Clark. Harry has nosebonked and switch ollied the wheelchair ramp in the years since Lewis found it. Turns out he had gone back there for a squiz last week. “So they have fixed it up now, but before there used to be this double drop down in the footpath on the way into the carve in. So yeah it made it pretty hard, you had to either ollie both of them, or do the double drop down. Then take the carve in and then hit the kicker. It is pretty hard to get your feet ready. But yeah, that thing is sick! Oh yeah and the roll away is awesome. You land into a slant, roll for a bit on the bricks and then you get to do this grass skate back to the road to bomb the hill.”
“Sounds like quite the all terrain glory ride.”
“Yeh sure is mate. ”
Rewind to that ‘Out of the Blue’ summer tour of March ’07. Perth which was definitely the Aussie hotspot of that era. Something like five or six international teams came during January and February alone. The SB massive was back in town, the lads had a long day and light was waning. There was possibly enough time to hit one more spot before night prevailed. Middsy drove and DJ Lewis blasted out reggae jams from the shotgun position.
He had clambered into that front seat a few days prior right outside the airport and had manned it ever since. Driving down Canning Highway and Lewis remembered the ‘wallchair’ ramp so they hooked in to Burswood. The rest of the guys piled out, whilst Omar Salazar let off smoke bombs, shot off his cap gun and probably searched for things to climb. Meanwhile Lew navigated the double drop down, carve in and nailed a warm up ollie. King-of-all-kings Mister Joe Brook set up his flashes and Middsy assumed his long lens position. Just before the skies opened in an unusual summer shower Lewis popped, this humdinger of a karate flip over the wall. Lewis with his superior technique naturally harnessed it and boned out beauty. It wasn’t one of those deliberately over tweaked flips that you sometimes see today. Style can’t be pushed or forced. This is just how Lewis rolled. Snap, bone and catch complete Lewis took his board into the brick incline, took to the grass and then bombed the hill.
The way Lewis cruised away from tricks was second to none. Something about the way the feet would be so firmly planed over the bolts and his relaxed arms wrapped around him, his spider fingers always dripping with class and mastery.
Lewis mate. We still can’t believe you are gone. Thank you so much for sharing your gift with the masses; leaving a water mark for style, kindness and power that is eternal. Jah Luv.