Lucy Adams Interview

Pole Jam / Photo by Sam Roberts

Lucy Adams has been a firm staple of the UK Skateboarding scene for practically the whole of this century. Coming out of the boom the UK skateboarding industry enjoyed during the early 2000’s, she’s evolved to become one of skateboarding’s hardest working individuals, and one of it’s biggest advocates. She’s also spent time butting heads with Olympic officials and governing bodies as the Olympics drew near to ensure skateboarding’s representation remained authentic, and it’s fate rested in the hands of real skateboarders. 

Honestly, Lucy is so rad, and getting to know skateboarders like her is exactly why I run this blog – people who are humble, love skateboarding, want to always make it better, and have got time and respect for all skateboarders of any description. For someone who is a true pioneer in UK Skateboarding, with such a high profile reputation, it was awesome that she treated an interview with this little skateboarding blog with so much attention and care, and she constantly messaged me to apologise for taking (what she felt) was a long time to answer the questions. Truth be told I was just stoked to hear her thoughts on skateboarding, including such wide reaching subjects as BBC Commentary, Tea and Representation in skateboarding. – Ade

The first question I have to ask, which I have been dying to ask you for a while now: How does it feel to be an official BBC Sports commentator?

Ah well, I think I’m a long way from being official! I’d like to learn more about it though, and would be up for it again if the opportunity arose. It’s a tough club to get into I believe, but Ed Leigh has broken through and he’s a top bloke – hopefully he can open some doors for us.

Was it strange having the BBC broadcast the UK National Championships?

Yes, totally. It was quite nerve wracking being live and also trying to be appropriate / sensitive to other audiences!  Normally when I MC a skate event there’ll be the odd light swear word and little bit of gentle piss-taking sometimes… but not that time. I think it was really good though, in terms of showcasing some really good British Skateboarding to a wider audience, especially since they covered it during it’s debut at the Olympics, so it was a nice little taster. We were a bit hit by the fact there were some other big sporting events that clashed – I think it was the Masters with the return of Tiger Woods or something. 

Do you think we’ll see more televised skateboarding competitions post Olympics?

I’m certain they’ll cover the Nationals every year because there’ll be an appetite from the BBC to put out more content that reaches a younger audience and yeah, I think it’ll follow the Olympic Cycle. As we approached Tokyo they showed the World Champs, and then as qualification begins again for Paris 2024, we’ll start to see coverage of those events. 

You’ve just had a rad new pro board come out on Lovenskate – what’s the story behind it?

Yeah well hopefully it will be in shops by the time people are reading this! It’s my fourth board: the first two were in the theme of ‘Master of Camouflage’ with the third being a bit different – collaborating with artist Aida Wilde.

Lucy’s new “Master Of Camouflage” board / Art by Lizzie Heath

How long have you skated for Lovenskate?

This one’s hard… I think since about 2009/10 – around the 10 year mark! 

What’s been your favourite graphic from Lovenskate?

I really love the ‘Storm in a Teacup’ one by James Callaghan. Such a good graphic, so involved and intricate. I think Stu should put that one on a T-Shirt for sure! I also really love the first graphic James did for me too, the original Master of Camouflage with the Owl on the white dip. So fresh, that one. 

The Lovenskate mantra is “Drink Tea, Get Rad” – do you like Tea? Or are you more of a Coffee person?

My god… I don’t drink hot drinks at all! It’s all a lie on my end! I’m an out and out coca-cola drinker! 

Who’s your favourite skater on the current Lovenskate roster?

Well that’s a toughie, everyone has a different flare that makes them unique and loveable! Can’t not mention Diggs and our newest flo sista Alice Smith… both are on a killing spree right now and gonna be helluva year for them I think!

You had a rad Documentary come out earlier this year, made by the legendary Andy Evans. What’s your favourite Andy Evans vid?

My favourite is As If, or maybe Straight to Video/DVD – for the soundtracks, for Greg Nowik, for Churchill, for Bob. Just absolutely hilarious videos. Definitely give them a look if you like skateboarding and funny, little skits. 

Krooked Grind / Photo by Sam Roberts

What’s the best flyout trick you’ve ever done?

Ooh Melon Late shuv or Beni flinger flip maybe! I really love flyouts… need to get down The Level for a dawn raid flyout session this summer for sure! 

In the mid-2000’s you were part of the teams for female-centric companies like Gallaz or Rogue. Do you think companies like these paved the way for modern brands run by women like Salon or Artemis?

Yeah, I definitely think being part of those companies – Gallaz, Rogue – paved the way for this new gen. Kudos to those brands for trying it, and pushing for where they thought there was a gap in the market, but I guess the market wasn’t big enough at the time to respond. 

Definitely in the case of Gallaz: they were trying to push it to surf, and skating, and even snowboarding. It was good that they were taking female skaters, surfers and snowboarders, and photographing them for adverts, instead of using models, and trying to make the same kind of marketing that they did for men in skate magazines. 

Essentially, it was tried and tested – just not the right time. But now, obviously, it’s a much better time for those brands you mentioned, like Artemis and Salon. They’re able to get that corner of the market that is now growing, and I’m supportive and have lots of respect for those brands trying to do what they’re doing. 

Are there any brands out there that you feel have done a fantastic job at representing marginalised folks in skateboarding?

At the moment I definitely see a lot of good stuff coming from Krux. I think the appointment of Alex White over there has meant that the team is really diversified, and the stuff they’re putting out is really refreshing to see: All different types of skater, and well put together stuff that I get excited about. I think Vans are making a good push to cover lots of different types of skater and do things a bit differently. There’s a lot more diversity on the team now, and representation from different genders and so on. 

It’s nice to see UK brands out there moving towards it, I think there’s still a bit of tokenism, but it’s good to see. Savannah Stacey Keenan’s on Skateboard Cafe, you’ve got Karma with Jess Russell, obviously Lovenskate with myself and we’re flowing Alice as well which is incredible, because she’s absolutely dope! Yeah, there’s movement towards that and it’s exciting. 

Fakie Post Jam / Photo by Lex Kembery

You recently chose to retire as Chair of Skateboard England – What led to you stepping down?

So last July, in 2020, I stepped down as Chair of Skateboard England and Skateboard GB. What it boils down to is volunteering has a shelf life and it’s incredibly intense, and especially in that role where we were trying to build something from the ground up that was new and saw some hostility amongst some people in skateboarding. We also had to learn pretty fast because we’d been accepted into the Olympics, so there was that element to it too.

It was kinda wearing. It never stops, it doesn’t matter what hour of the day, there’s always someone asking about something, whether that is “Where can my son do some coaching?” or “What board do I need?” or “Can you help us get a skatepark?”. Those enquiries never stopped, and with minimal staff, and me obviously being in the chair role, and other directors, on a strategic level we were very, very operational. 

I’d just done so much, and my wife and I had gone through some IVF and it was successful, so we were expecting, and we knew that was going to be the biggest thing we had ever done in our lives. I knew that if I was going to have any spare time in the future, that spare time would be doing actual skateboarding and not just chatting about it on the internet, or on the phone, or via email. 

So yeah, I needed to call it a day and not just be giving up my time anymore, and hoping I’d got it to a place that was good! I was also hoping that if funding became available, because of all the funding bids we had put in, that a role might become available that I could get one day and do full time. 

What outcome do you predict from skateboarding’s recent inclusion in the Olympics?

This Olympics is obviously very different from what has gone on before, and I’m sure there’ll be the same amount of coverage based on what went down in Tokyo and how successful it was. It’s across the world, so the skateboarding will happen in the evening, but I still think there will be a huge buzz about it.

I think that it was really good exposure for a wider audience to see that skateboarding is a really positive activity. Just to show that the people involved with it are just really very cool, very resilient, very active, and very well respected people, and not to hold onto that old stereotype of it being anti-social. That attitude might change now.

And then there’s the other things that are always muttered about the benefits of skateboarding being in the Olympics – the hope that we get an injection of funding to be able to do better things in this country. We know some of the other areas in Europe are moving up, and places like Australia and America have got facilities that we could only dream of. Skateboarding is obviously done in the skateparks, so it would be really cool to get some better facilities because, let’s be honest, we all enjoy going and having a razz around the skatepark, whether we think we’re the coolest of cool street skaters or not. 

But, even then, projects within Skateboard GB to develop more skateable spaces that aren’t necessarily just skateparks, like DIY spots or community led projects. We know there’s an absolute drive to do something like that within skateboarding, and we know how harrowing it is when you put effort into something and see it get smashed down way before it’s time. So if those places are allowed to thrive with support of local authorities or landowners, that’d be great. If Skateboard GB can contribute toward that, or even just people being looked at more favourably when doing those things, then that would be great and a positive outcome.

I mean I also hope that skate shops can thrive. We obviously saw it during lockdown, and some people found it hard to get hold of some hardware, but the increase in people wanting to buy setups, or decks, or wanting to get back into skateboarding, or try it for the first time kinda blew our minds a bit. Off the back of the Olympics, if that happens again, which we hope it will, then that’s really good for the industry over here. Like the original Tony Hawk PlayStation boom, that could all happen again and that’d be great. 

I know you enjoy a good curb sesh. What’s your favourite curb trick?

I like to keep it simple – I enjoy a long slappy noseslide! Feels good when you get in and just glide along that buttery curb. 

Here’s the big question: Slappies or flyouts?

Oh Flyouts for sure! I only just learned real slappies and although they’re very fun, nothing touches the feeling of ‘getting air’!

Anyone you want to thank?

Thanks to my Fam – Em and Sonny xxx and the rest of the Adams Rafferty clans. Thanks to Andy Evans, Jenna Selby, Danni Gallacher for everything they’ve done to support me but also support the British scene to be more diverse. Thanks to Stu and all the team at Lovenskate, to Viktor and Johana at CHPO, To Joseph at Carhartt, To Jim and Nate at Thunder / Spitfire and Alex F and Pfanner for supporting me at Vans. Thanks to Vague Mag, Grey Mag – all the mags that showcase what’s going on. Thanks to all the homies I skate with on the regs, #nodaysoff, Crawley lot etc…

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