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Barney Page – Holidays from holidays

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Barney Page picks up the phone in Conil de la Frontera, a beach town in the south of Spain. During the off-season, the Sour team rented an apartment there to catch some sun and finish filming for Sour III. Even filming the last tricks for your part is not always fun. Barney – who is a traveling man – is enjoying the change of scenery after COVID regulations made it hard to go on trips for quite a while. But even during lockdown in his hometown Exeter, he came up with ideas to be on the road – even if it would mean pushing on a motorway. So we talked about filming parts on the road, pushing through the UK, and taking holidays from holidays.

How is it the filming going? What can we expect from Sour III?

I don’t know what to expect. [laughing] It’ll be similar to the last two videos, it’s VX again.

For how long have you been filming now?

People have been on and off filming for it for a while now, but there’s obviously COVID and people have other projects, and it’s quite hard at times with the VX. You can’t just go out and film with anyone, cause not many people have VXs anymore. I think the video has been in the works for two and a half years now, but if you crunch down the days I’ve been actually filming, I think it’s under a year. [laughing]

For somebody like you who is traveling a lot, it must be even more complicated to film parts. Cause if you don’t have a filmer traveling with you, you constantly have to hit up different filmers.

That’s true, but to be honest, I usually try to film with the same filmers. There’s my friend Jack Thompson I travel a lot with and he’s a freelance filmer. Sometimes I travel with a group of friends and they have different sponsors, and with the joint travel budget, we can get Jack on the trip. So you can make it work. You just have to be a bit more on point with dates and be a bit more organized.

What’s it like when there’s a new part to be filmed?

It seems like there’s always something. I don’t feel like there’s ever been a point where I didn’t work on something. Maybe a month, and all of a sudden, you’ll get three projects jugged at you, a clip for this or that. I’m always quite busy, and before you know it, somebody is expecting a part again. However, the last couple of months were pretty chill.

Does that mean every time you go skating, you work on a project or do you also go skating on your own?

All the time! I prefer doing that, and it’s important cause it draws the fun out if you’re just trying to film constantly. Also when you’re on a filming mission like now, you don’t go out to skate, you just go from spot to spot. If you don’t like the spot, there’s nothing else to skate and you just sit there for hours. You don’t actually skate that much, but when you do, you have to skate hard cause you’re trying to get a trick. It’s a strange way of doing it and that’s not fun if you do that all the time. Being in a metropolitan area like London or Barcelona is ideal cause you can just get off at some station and find something around the corner or go to a skatepark.

"When you’re on a filming mission, you don’t go out to skate, you just go from spot to spot"

If you live in a city, you can find the spots you want to skate, get used to them, and slowly get to your limits. Whereas when you’re traveling, random spots just get thrown at you and you have to try to get the best out of them even though you might not feel at your best that day. So is filming parts harder for people who travel a lot?

That definitely has a massive impact on your bucket list to film for sure. There’ve been moments where I thought it would be great if I could come back to this spot in a week, but right now, I’m not feeling at my best and there’s no point in trying if you don’t feel confident enough. If the spots you skate are just around the corner where you’re living, you can skate them whenever you’re feeling 100%. Traveling makes it harder, but sometimes it also makes it easier cause you might have a trick in mind for years and need a certain spot for that, and all of a sudden, it presents itself in the streets. Whereas you might not find the spot for it if you’re in your hometown all the time.

What is the ideal situation for you to get tricks? Because I know that you get distracted easily. Do you prefer going on a solo mission to a spot out of town with just a filmer or do you still like being with a big crew in the middle of the city?

A bit of both. If I try something that scares me, I don’t want to be with a huge crew, but if I’m just going out skating, I want to be with friends. Otherwise, it’s boring. Distractions definitely suck if you’re doing something scary cause then it gets dangerous.

Is there anything specific that photographers can distract you with?

Yeah, but I think that goes for everyone: flashes, especially at night. You get completely blinded for a second. And sometimes if you’re trying a trick the first few tries, you don’t want someone a foot away from your face. Sometimes photographers go straight away for it and I’m like, “I don’t even know if that shit is grinding yet.”

BARNEY PAGE FS 180 IN FINAL1

Frontside 180

How do you learn new tricks? When we met for the first time on this etnies trip in Innsbruck, you filmed a Barley grind and said afterwards that you just learned it that day. Do you really learn tricks while you’re on a trip?

It’s not that common that it happens, but sometimes there’s a trick you’ve been thinking about learning and you come to a spot that feels like the right one to learn it. Sometimes you don’t need a skatepark to learn it, but obviously it helps to practice tricks.

How do you choose the tricks for your parts?

Obviously you have your set tricks that you want to get, the ones you’re consistent with and you know you can do at different spots. That’s the platform where you start piecing your part together, at least, I do. Once you have that, you start working around those tricks, trying to come up with new ones, and fitting them in.

How do you come up with new tricks? Do you get inspired by others or by a spot or do you just think about new ways?

A bit of everything. You get your inspiration from watching videos or skating with your friends. And sometimes you kind of accidentally do a trick and you’re like, “Whoa, that works.”

Yeah, sometimes all of a sudden, a certain movement feels easy.

And a week later it’s gone again… [laughing]

"After pushing the 30 miles, I did a two-hour boxing class and wasn’t sore the next day, so I was sure I could do it."

I wanted to talk to you about a special journey you did. You pushed through the whole UK. How did you come up with the idea and what was it all about?

It was a spontaneous idea during lockdown in my hometown. There are two skateparks and the better one is probably two and a half miles away from my parents’ house. So I pushed there, skated, pushed back, and at some point, the idea just struck me. I kind of always wanted to do something like that, trying to push myself. I had this crazy dream years ago of skating around the world. So I had something like that in my head for a long time and since I couldn’t go anywhere during lockdown, I was thinking, “Maybe I could skate through the country?” I thought I could do it for charity, and after ten minutes of thinking (don’t know why it took me so long), it was clear that it was for the Ben Raemers Foundation. I wanted to do my part, no matter how little it is.

How did you then prepare for that?

It was long, man, even working out the logistics. I called a couple of friends and Ben’s sister Lucy, who is working with the foundation. Then setting up the GoFundMe, mapping out what I wanted to do, how many miles, the route… It was a lot of planning. As it got closer towards the start, I focused a lot more and pushed some miles each day. I was aiming for 40 miles a day on average, but I never pushed more than 30 for training. But after pushing the 30 miles, I did a two-hour boxing class and wasn’t sore the next day, so I was sure I could do it. Still, it was a bit of a shock when I went out there for the first few days and wished I would’ve trained a bit more. I talked to three of my friends and they jogged from John o’ Groats to Land’s End [Barney’s route], and one of them also skated from Wales to the South West, which is around 180 miles and he’s doing a lot of charity work through long runs. He said that there’s not really anything you can do to train yourself for long distances, a lot of it is just mental. If you are healthy, eat well, and can put up with the pain and the suffering, you should be able to do it. Speaking to him about that gave me a bit more confidence.

BARNEY PAGE FS BOARDSLIDE YANK IN FINAL

Frontside Boardslide Yank in

Were there a lot of moments of suffering and thinking about stopping?

No, but the first three days were the hardest. It was all uphill and against powerful highland winds, and my body was still getting conditioned. My groins got stiff, but it was mostly my Achilles. I stretched my Achilles too much with pushing uphill, but after I accomplished those days, it gave me inspiration to push on and made me confident to finish it.

Does it feel weird to push through the countryside since we’re so used to skate in urban areas?

I grew up on the countryside, so it’s kinda always been like that. Some days when it was sunny, it was really beautiful, endless hills of farmland.

That’s a different skateboarding experience. Did you use the time spent pushing to think about stuff or was it more like meditation and your mind was empty?

A bit of both. There are a lot of emotions when you push that much. On a tough day with rain and the wind howling in your face, it gets miserable and you just have to try to stay positive. On certain days, you’re pushing and the sun is shining and you have a clear mind. However, you couldn’t get too deep into thoughts especially when you’re on main roads where cars are going 70 miles per hour. You have to think about the oncoming traffic, you don’t get much time to relax.

So there were no bike lanes, you were just on the main roads?

Yeah, I was on the road probably 80% of the time. There are the motorways, the A roads, and then you have the B roads.

BARNEY PAGE BS 5050 FINAL

Backside 50-50

Did you get something like the runner’s high from pushing?

Definitely. I definitely felt the runner’s low as well. [laughing] However, when you’re pushing through it, you get this weird feeling inside of your body, like you’re on drugs or a big sugar rush. Sometimes I would hit 30 miles and be really tired, and then all of a sudden, I got this burst of energy and I pushed 10 or 15 miles more with twice the speed.

Did people join you or did you just push on your own?

I did announce that people could push with me, and in the beginning in Scotland, a few people joined, but I had to pull out of that. Because as nice it is to have more people involved, it got kind of dangerous. It was dangerous for myself with just a van behind me on those roads, but if you have people behind you who are slower, cars are overtaking and a lot of drivers are quite aggressive behind the wheel, so it was dangerous for them as well. It was too much pressure on top of me.

And after finishing this, do you have a mean switch push now or grown a lot of leg muscles?

They feel the same, maybe a little tired out.

What was the outcome of the whole thing, are you happy?

The GoFundMe was directly linked to the Raemers Foundation, so all the money went there and the foundation has to decide now what to do with it. If it’s for helplines or classes, there’s a variety of things they can do to help people struggling with mental health.

Especially in times of COVID, I think mental health issues have grown even more. What was it like for you to have to stay at home since you’re so used to traveling?

To be honest, it was not the worst position to be in. There was an early summer the first year, and in my hometown, I have the freedom to go down to the canals and rivers, swim, and be in the back fields where no one’s around – or illegally meet up with some friends and have beers. I was working on this project to go on a skate trip with a van that I bought and was working on at that time. But everything gets a bit boring if you’re not doing what you usually do. That’s what everyone felt. When I finished my van, you couldn’t go anywhere and when the country opened up, I was going to London to go skating, then I was in Spain, and then it would’ve been possible to do the trip, but everything got a bit more pricy and you’d have had to quarantine in certain places. So I used the van for the push through the country. My friend drove it as a support vehicle and then I sold it a couple days after. It would’ve been possible to still do the trip, but it would’ve been 8,000 miles and you can’t drive from border to border still. So the van was just in my grandparents’ driveway. If I want to do it in the future, I’ll just do another van.

BARNEY PAGE BS BOARDSLIDE FINAL

Boardslide

Which trips are still on the to-do list?

I really want to go to the southern states of America, explore the hick towns.

There are different ways of traveling. What’s your favorite one?

Each place is more convenient to travel in different ways. Sometimes it’s better to go public transport, sometimes you’ll rent a vehicle.

What was the most unplanned trip with the lowest budget you somehow made happen?

They’re kind of all makeshift, to be honest, unless you’re going with a company. You sort of wing it and usually it does work out.

Do you have some travel life hacks?

Mine would be getting away from the winter, but some people want to explore the winter and go on snowboard trips.

If you go somewhere, is it important for you that there will be good spots?

Usually wherever you go, there’s something to skate. I’ve been on some trips where I thought I wouldn’t find anything, but then you find really good spots. However, I definitely go on trips where I don’t have my board with me. Sometimes I like to make a point of not having my board cause I always use it, so it’s just nice to not have one – but that’s very rare.

So you go on holidays from skateboarding.

Exactly, holiday from your holiday.

What is planned next?

I’m going to London for a few weeks, then I’ll try to go back out here cause I have a trip to Portugal in March, and then mid-March I’ll try to go to Mexico with some friends to film some bits with the crew.

Quite busy beginning of the year.

Yeah, I love it.

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