VIDEO VAULT: MORGAN CAMPBELL

‘Theory Of Balance’
Momentum Skateshop
1997
Words by Andrew Currie

Prior to the late 1990’s, due to it’s relative geographic isolation, and well before the advent of internet, the Western Australian skateboarding scene was sadly neglected in terms of exposure. All of us on the East Coast knew that guys like Brett Margaritis and Morgan Campbell were over there, doing it, but to what extent was for the most part a mystery, until Momentum Skateshop’s Merry Pranksters made it’s way to our clunky old VHS players in 1994. Pranksters was shortly thereafter followed up by Fox Force Five when the standard of Australian handrail skating was upped by Morgs’ destruction of the Forest Chase 10-Stair. The only other person really stepping up to lipslides and front boards on that size rail at the time was Matt Mumford.

Whilst the ’93 to ’95 period had seen skateboarding thankfully evolve out of it’s ultra-tech small-wheeled baggy-panted phase, reintroducing basics done well at speed, it was around 1996 (with due credit to guys like Fred Gall and Matt Reason in the Eastern Exposure and Sub Zero Videos, and likewise Matt Rodriguez and Ethan Fowler in Stereo’s much under-rated Tincan Folklore) that street skaters really looked beyond just the advancement of tricks, and more to how they could best utilize the streets to create.

Cue Morgan Campbell in 1997’s ‘Theory Of Balance.’ At the time Morgan was riding directly for Invisible Skateboards from the States and featured in a double-page ad published in Transworld (impossible lipsliding a 10-stair rail as seen in the ‘Friends’ section of Zero’s ‘Misled Youth’). Morgs actually informs me that his ‘Theory’ footage is in fact the leftovers from an Invisible video that never saw release. I for one look forward to that ‘Lost Tapes’ seeing the light of day!

From the outset it’s the subtleties that make this section truly original. Landing in manual out of a nosegrind, the legit mid-line pole jam, the ollie into the Mill Street marble bank weaving between the cars… all seem stock by today’s standards, but in 1997 I can assure you these were the mark of a street skater’s street skater.

That’s not to say that Morgan was by any means, what do the kids call it these days… ‘larking.’ Far from it: fifty to smith on the now famous Melville High square rail, balance-beaming the Balcatta 16, and closing curtains with a heelflip indy (in a line!) over the City Beach wheelchair ramp, were all well and truly ground breaking.

This video part shows a Morgan Campbell who had undoubtedly found his feet, skateboarding with speed and confidence, mixing legit hammers with a unique approach to creative skateboarding.

Soul-rider, gentleman, poet, whirlwind world traveller… Morgan Campbell, it’s always been, and always will be, an honour. Keep doing what you do brother. Truly one of Australia’s finest.

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