We’ll announce who wins Best Transition (official nominees are Rune Glifberg, Peter Hewitt, and Matt Mumford) along with the rest of the awards this Friday, June 12th, at the 11th Annual TransWorld SKATEboarding Awards in Hollywood, California.
From our May ’09 issue
Words and photography by Skin Phillips
Matt Mumford is one of those blokes who doesn’t like change. That, to me, is a good thing. It’s the reason why over the past fifteen years he’s become one of my dearest mates. He’s helped me out on numerous occasions without so much as a why. And friends like that don’t come around too often…
1. It’s been ten years since your last TransWorld interview. Can you break down some of the main changes that have happened to you in that time?
Ten years ago I rode for Zero, and I don’t ride for them anymore. I quit Zero and started Legacy, which lasted about a year, then the backers pulled out. I rode for Black Label for a couple of years, and now I ride for $lave. I bought a house and went through several girlfriends. I don’t know if they were girlfriends though. That’s about it.
2. In the last ten years, how much has skateboarding changed?
It’s changed heaps. Then again, I guess it hasn’t really changed much at all. The way I’m skating has definitely changed a lot—ten years ago I was hell-bent on skating rails. Ten years ago skateboarding was like that. Now skateboarding is about skating everything, which is great. It came to a point where skateboarding had nowhere else to go. You can only look at so many handrail photos until you get sick of it—like anything you get too much of. Skateboarding had to get to the point where everything was appreciated. When you see a video part today, most of the guys are riding pretty much everything, which is awesome.
3. What’s going on with the $lave video project?
We’ve been working on it for quite a while—it’s due out the end of April. We’ve been taking a few trips here and there, and it should be good. It’s definitely going to be different—it has its own feel.
4. How is it different from the last big video project you did?
We’ve been doing all these trips on smaller budgets, which has been cool. I’ve always done trips like that on Hoon Runs and through Spain. Lately there’s been a lot of camping and sleeping on floors. I prefer it that way—it changes the whole mechanics of the trip if you’re camping. A hotel is a stale environment—at night sometimes you don’t know what to do with yourself. When you camp and sit around the campfire and have a couple of beers it’s just a way better feeling.
Stalefish over the ladder. photo: Chami
5. What’s the next big thing to come out of Australia?
I don’t know, I need to be there to tell you what secret weapons they have down there. It seems like there’s always someone brewing to come out of there—I just saw the Skate Mental video and that kid Shane O’Neil blew me away. He’s one of those up-and-coming guys. There was a while there when the influx was really slim, but now it really seems to be motoring… with [Jake] Duncombe and those guys.
6. Are you getting homesick for the Gold Coast?
Yeah, I am. I just miss it down there—I miss the lifestyle. I’ve been here for fifteen years now. My trips back there are a little more frequent and that’s helped a lot. I couldn’t live here without doing that, but I am getting more homesick, and that’s why I’m always down there.
Backside lipslide over the channel.
7. How do you not get vibed at Washington Street?
Try and put on your meanest face when you get there so nobody f—ks with you. It makes me laugh that people think there’s a vibe down there and it’s locals only—it’s not like that at all. Burnside might have a vibe, but Washington Street is mellow. It may have had a vibe when it first opened. I go down there pretty frequently and have never seen it. Anyone can go down there.
8. Is there still a ban on The Saloon?
You better believe it. We put it many hours and many a dollar to make that place our own, and it was for a little bit. All good things must come to an end. The bums lost—our generation is over.
Frontside five-0. photo: Chami
9. Is it true that you only listen to four bands?
Who told you that?
So if it was four bands, who would they be?
The Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, and Midnight Oil.
Yeah, you’re close, I’ve got two or three others—Led Zeppelin and Bruce Springsteen. You’d be surprised at what I listen to—I listen to Bruce and I wasn’t even born in the U.S.A.
But you are from a land Down Under.
Yeah, I got that album. I get lazy. I just try and be Skin-friendly when you’re in the car, so I play the four that I’m pretty sure you like.
Backside Smith grind. photo: Allan
10. Is Barack Obama going to make a difference?
I hope and think so—he does seem like he’s educated. Unlike the last dude.
11. If you could take three elements of the Australian lifestyle and incorporate it into the American lifestyle, what would they be?
Pubs—I don’t understand how every bar in America is geared to look like it’s nighttime. In Australia we have beer gardens, so if it’s a beautiful day outside, you enjoy your beer outdoors. Or you let light in—I always want to open the windows. Pads in skateparks—that’s the most ridiculous thing ever. All parks should be free with a no-pad rule just like it is in Australia. Topless beaches—if women want to tan their bosoms, that’s their right and they should be able to do it in front of everybody.
12. You’ve been spending a lot of time up in Portland—why is that?
Portland has great parks. To me, Portland is a lot like Australia—it has free parks and the best parks. The whole lifestyle and feel up there’s so much more laid-back that it’s almost like another country. The mentality is so different—people up there have a different way of doing things. They have a lot of rain up there and they really appreciate the sunlight. Chet [Childress] is up there and Dorfus is up there and I’ve been skating a lot of parks and having a lot of fun with that, so any chance I get I’ll be up there.
13. Has the recession hit professional skateboarding?
Definitely, you see from travel budgets being cut and riders being kicked off. We’re in uncertain times, not only for us in skateboarding but for everybody. In the fifteen years I’ve been pro, I’ve never seen it like this. It’s hard right now, seeing good pros lose sponsors. It’s all relevant to what’s going on. I think we’ll get through it.
14. Do you want to talk about Shane Cross?
It was really gnarly for me—I’d just lost my best friend Josh before Shane had passed. We were all on this Globe trip—me and Jake, Haslam, and Shane. We were cruising around Oz and it was the first time that I’d felt that I had room to breathe. It felt great to be around good friends and then that happened—it was the gnarliest time in my life. It’s unexplainable—losing two friends that close was rough. Shane was almost like having a son when he first came to the States, him being so young. It was just wrong that he got taken away from us so young.
15. Isn’t it time you settled down and got married and started a family?
Some people would agree with that and some wouldn’t. It’s all about your perception and where you are in life. I don’t think so, I just haven’t met that special person yet, but I’ve been trying. I’m good. My mother would like to see me married, but I’ve got plenty of years left in me yet—I’m all good.
16. Can you live in Australia and still maintain being a pro in the U.S?
Yeah, definitely. When I was coming up as a pro you couldn’t really do it, but now you can. Jake Duncombe does it, Dustin [Dollin] does it. You can’t do it without coming to America, but you don’t have to move out here by any means—you could do it coming once a year. I’ve thought about moving back there ’cause it is possible and it’s so easy there. You’d probably get more done there than sitting at home in San Diego.
17. What do you and Rodney Mullen talk about when you’re on Globe trips?
That’s a funny question because when we did Opinion way back it was just Rodney and me that flew to Australia to do some premiere dates. Rodney’s really easy to get along with—he can relate to anyone, he finds your quirks and what you’re into and somehow relates to them. We were sitting on this flight and he had this book and he was doing some kind of mathematics. I remember thinking, “Wow, there’s Rodney doing his math and here’s me hungover listening to Metallica.” Every time I’ve been on a trip with Rodney he’s always been friendly and cool.
18. Why do you feel the need to lay on a heavy Australian accent when there are ladies present?
What? I don’t thicken it up. If someone was to ask me if you thickened the accent up around American ladies would it be to your advantage, then sure. You know what? Sometimes I do, even more so for a laugh. I must admit it’s been a bonus havingan accent in a foreign country. It’s helped me out more often than not.
Padless loop. photo: J-Hon
19. What is the one thing you’d say to yourself, a married Matt Mumford with children in 2029?
This is not my beautiful house and this is not my beautiful wife.
20. You got any regrets?
I don’t think so. That’s what life is about—trial and error. I don’t think anything has happened that’s been too serious in my life that I’d want to undo. It would have to be something pretty serious to have a regret. If I could do things over, would I do them different? Yeah, sure. Everyone has that—you live and you learn. My old man always said, “Show me a man who hasn’t made a mistake and I’ll show you a man who’s made nothing.”