Tuesday, February 19, 2013

INKED: Tawa Hayes - Skateboarder tells his story

Welcome to my new art project INKED: an ongoing series of illustrations based on people that have instantly inspired me. To kick start I'd like to introduce you to Tawa Hayes - he's an awesome pro skateboarder sponsored by Zoo York. I came across his Instagram feed @Tawahayes saw the photo below & the rest is history.
Tell me about yourself. I come from a small town in the lower north island of New Zealand called Martinborough. This is where I grew up as a young child - surrounded by my eight brothers and two sisters, and many other neighbourhood kids. When I was ten years old I made friends with the new kid at school 'Fraser'. He and his younger brother Robbie both had skateboards, so we used to hang out alot at the park in Martinborough where there was a mini ramp. Fraser and I were very competitive in our nature so before long we had grown a strong passion for skateboarding. That was around fourteen years ago now. Soon enough there was a group of us at school all with our own boards about six or seven deep. That was almost one tenth of our whole shcool of a hundred kids. By this time - age ten or eleven I went to school and lived in the countryside not far from Martinborough. My friends and I were pretty outgoing - making dirt jumps for our bikes, rabbit hunting, eeling from the ponds at night and occasionally going pig hunting with my friends and their countrymen fathers. All the way through though I always stuck very close by my old rattly skateboard. When I was 15 or 16 my father found me responsible enough to let me hitchhike to town on the weekends to go skateboarding with my friends in Masterton, a place with more things to skate than just the primary school with a netball court down the road from my house that was surrounded by extensive grasslands and rolling hills. Later when I left high school I moved to the city of Wellington to study.It was there where I grew a very strong love for skateboarding and my skateboard really became a part of me.
afends, tawa hayes
Photo Via Afends
What were the first designs you had on your board and what is it now? Is it important to
have a board that reflects who you are? The first board I had was given to me by my neighbour called Richie, whose board I think may have been his older brother Aaron's before that. It was an old hook ups board. Hook ups are well known for their anime/hentai graphics of big booty Japenese girls. Haha and all over the griptape in twink pen (white out) were all kinds of words teenage boys in the 90's would love. The ones I can remember were "Korn, Slayer, Pantera, FUCK, Nirvana and Porn"
I had that skateboard until it was dead. Boards were hard to come by back then being a kid with only spare change enough to buy a few five cent lollies once in a blue moon that I'd always have to share with my older brothers if they hadn't found a way to take the money from me already in the first place, hahaha. A board that reflects who I am though - thankfully now I am sponsored so boards are given to me from Zoo York. I don't always get to choose exactly the boards I get, the important thing now is that I have a board that is in one piece.I have for a long time liked Zoo York boards so I do appreciate alot being able to ride the boards.But if I have a board that has a graphic I really like, I will become attached to it and try look after it as much as I can so that it will last longer.

Can you summarise skateboarding for a person like me who thinks it looks awesome but doesn't have a clue? A summary of skateboarding alone - one skateboarder to another would probably always be explained very differently. For me personally though, skateboarding in a nutshell - I would say. It is moving through a space, gracefully, articulately, like dance and like music. That is where I appreciate skateboarding most for myself, moving fast and turning fast. Like race car drivers we share that same feeling. Like musicians we try to perfect each movement. It never becomes old and boring, there is always so much more to learn. We are always trying to get better. We judge better by how dangerous or difficult each manouvre may be. That is only one aspect of skateboarding. There is another side too. The culture behind skateboarding is very social. Almost every single skateboarder will only go skateboarding with other skateboarders. A youthful lifestyle or many public viewers generally speaking, would say alot of the time 'immature' in the way many would act. Where skateboarders would say best of times, day in day out we will always cherish brotherhood.
afends, tawa hayes
Photo via Afends
Is it ever too late to learn how to skateboard? Never too late - if you harbour qualities of patience and persistence. Without these traits no skateboarder would have got very far at all. To become skillful at a level where you can do tricks and things can take a couple of years for most people. To just get around on a skateboard though I believe most people could learn to do that with
a good amount of practice.

What's the worst injury you've had? The worst injury.. There has been many but probably the worst would have been when I ripped at the same time the ligaments in my ankle and my tibialis anterior muscle which is the muscle on the outerside of your tibia. It took a long time for that to heal properly. Luckily though I have never broken a bone.

I read you were a regional skate champ! So what are your achievements to date and what plans/ambitions do you have for the future? I used to go in a few skate competitions when I was younger. Nowadays I've been putting alot of time into being filmed for various different video clips for companies that held me out with sponsorship and also going out with photographers too. So that has been really great, I really enjoy it. My ambitions with skateboarding at the moment are quite free. I just like to enjoy skateboarding for what it is as much as I can each day.

What happened in this photo that inspired your portrait? On this day if I can remember correctly, it was a really hot day and I was skating with my friend Coleman I'd fallen and was laying down on the ground to rest. I asked Coleman to take a picture of me with the blood from my arm in it and to make the picture more interesting I thought I had better put my mouth to it.
I want thank every good soul that has helped me along the road. It has been a pleasure sharing these words so thank you for reading. Peace and Love
Chrissy: You've got to admire someone who follows their dreams and loves what they do. Thank You Tawa for inspiring me!

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