Craig Brocklehurst interview: mates, beers, bunnies and blading in the Harbour City

Craig Brocklehurst
Known far and wide for his four great loves – good friends, brews, blading and the South Sydney Rabbitohs – Craig Brocklehurst is one of the country’s best known and most respected rollerbladers. From humble beginnings in Perth to life in an Asian mega-city or his current home of Sydney, where he is an integral part of the (in)famous Vine Gang, Craig’s stylish and technical brand of rollerblading has influenced the scene wherever he goes. Currently gearing up for another spring and summer of blading in the Harbour City, Rollerblading.com.au caught up with the man recently to find out more about his life, rolling, coming back from injury and the long-awaited sequel to Vine St.

Hey Craig… thanks for making the time to have a chat. I guess we start with the basics … Tell me about your journey with blading. 

Hey man. I first got rollerblades on my 10th birthday in Perth. I rolled around and played some roller hockey with friends for a few years until they built a small skatepark a few blocks from my house … that’s when I fell in love. My dad taught me how to drop in using skiing as a reference, so I owe it all to him!

Haha, that’s awesome … Go dad! How old were you then?

12, I think. Around that time, I moved to Singapore with my family and that’s where I really started to take it seriously meeting other ex-pat kids who were around the same age.

You don’t hear much about blading in Singapore… is it big scene or just the ex-pats?

At the time it was huge. It had a big local scene for such a small country. We had our own little expat crew with about 5-6 of us. We started off just skating park in our helmets and eventually started joining the local guys out street skating and a whole other world of skating opened up.

When did you move back to Australia?

When I was 19, to Perth for university.

What did you study?

Sports Management and Marketing but unfortunately wasn’t for me and I left half way through.

Craig Brocklehurst Photo by Dom West
I probably would have, too (laughs). What as the Perth scene like whe you got back?

It was great actually. Probably why I didn’t do so well in uni! Not the biggest scene but Outerlimtz Skate Shop created a real family vibe and organised multiple sessions a week. With a good mix of OGs and people eager to learn, throw in some of the best rails in the world it was a really fun time. I go back twice a year and always catch up with the guys … they still have a really strong scene.

Yeah I just saw the preview for W.Aliens… can’t wait to watch the full video. These days you’re pretty well embedded in Sydney’s skate scene… when and why did you move over?

I moved over at the start of 2010. I just needed a change of atmosphere really. I had been friends with Rian Arnold for three or more years before that and he always told me I should move to Sydney. Also in 2009, I spent three months in the US. Half of the time was with the Valo team and half was spent exploring Hollywood and Las Vegas with CJ wellsmore. He also mentioned more than once that I would love Sydney. I got back from the States and the first trailer for Vine St came out. Next move was leave my job in Perth and get a one way ticket east!

Speaking of Valo… how did that relationship start?

John from Outerlimtz has always had a good relationship with Rhonda (Australian Roces/Valo distribution) so I got to meet her a few times before even trying them. But after a long time on Razors I wanted a change, so I tried Valos and fell in love instantly. The next stage was being able to hang out and skate with the Julio and the whole team in Melbourne at the Australian Rolling Open. Funnily enough, I missed my flight home and got to spend the next day street skating with legends like Bailey and Broskow. I flew home the next day and a little while after that, I recieved an email asking if I would like to ride for them.

Sounds like the stuff dreams are made of… damn. You ride for Ground Control Australia too, right? Any other sponsors these days?

Yeah man. Ground Control frames are amazing, so I lucked out again! Shout out to Jenny (Logue) from Bayside Blades. No other sponsors, no.

Sydney’s scene is without a doubt the most visible in Australia… largely thanks to the work of Dom with Vine St and of course CJ’s success on the international stage… tell us a bit about life and the scene there from the inside.

Its been an incredible experience as far as skating and making mates that feel like family. From very early on from moving into the Vine St house, it can be a rollercoaster because when you skate, party and work with your best mates, you can get a bit worn out … but in the end you create relationships with people that will be strong for the rest of your life. Our crew has a solid view on blading and how to have a good time. With a brief break on filming when Dom West moved back to the UK, the last few years has been on as far as traveling and filming. The last six months I’ve seen some insane shit go down with a special shout out to RA (Rian Arnold), who has been killing it and smashed out a section that I think will be better than his last.

I think Chapter II is what everyone is hanging on… any word on when the rest of us will get to see it?

Yeah man it’s looking really good so far. Sometime early next year I believe!

Man I seriously can’t wait. If you reckon it’s upping the game on the first, I think we’ve got something special on our hands. I guess that’s one thing you always see in edits from Sydney … you guys look like you have so much fun. Not just skating but life in general. Tell us about a day in the life of Craig Brocklehurst in 2015.

Days not working will usually start off with a strong coffee and then see who’s keen to blade. Perfect days are usually weekends spent skating in the city while its empty with a couple of longies keeping everything fun and relaxed. It’s coming into summer so after skating is done head to the beachfor a swim and a barebeque … with lots of cold beer!

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie (laughs) …

Hell yeah! We have amazing beaches here, so it’s a must to try and get a swim in after skating.

I notice in your edits  and when I’ve seen you skate in person, you’re pretty solid on transition… is there a type of skating you prefer? Or are you just down for it all?

Yeah man, I love transition. Growing up I mostly skated park and was heavily into competing in park comps. I do love the whole aspect of street skating and filming for something special, but I think I will always prefer transition in the end. I’m looking forward to the Australian Rolling Open this year to catch up with everyone and compete for the first time after my ACL reconstruction two years ago.

I was going to ask about that… pretty serious injury… can be a career ender… was it daunting coming back? Did it change the way you skate, or the way you look at skating?

Yeah it was my worst injury by far, so it was a little daunting. But luckily two good homies (Gav drumm and Jamie Knapp) had both gone through knee reconstructions and I had seen them both recover, so I just knew if I took the time and put in the effort into proper rehab I would be fine. I probably don’t just chuck myself down a big rail as much without some serious preparation, but other than that I don’t think it’s changed my skating, no.

That’s a relief! What are the plans for the rest of the year and into 2016? Any trips or major other happenings we should know about?

My plan for the rest of the year is to enjoy summer and skate as much as possible for Chapter II. I’ve been wanting to do the European summer for ages and I want to say next year I’ll actually commit and do it … Roskilde, Summerclash, NASS, etc. Other than that lots of little road trips up and down the coast with me mates!

I think that will do us nicely. Any shout-outs, people you’d like to thank, etc before we wrap up?

Yeah man, my folks for constant support. Valo, Ground Control and Jenny Logue, Outerlimtz and all my homies in Sydney who are my family these days … love you all!

Thanks man, it’s been a pleasure. Looking forward to catching up with you at ARO. Peace!

Interview by Jesse Kuch. Photos by Adam Kola & Dom West. For more from Craig Blocklehurst, click here.

Craig Brocklehurst

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