103: Phil Young/Shaking The Tree

Phil Young, Kendal, November 2019. Photo: Tozer

“When you’ve got gang violence and environmental issues, if you give someone the opportunity to go for a 20 mile hike in the mountains and reach the peak… the fact that his mate scuffed his shoes the day before vanishes. There’s a bigger world out there. The issue is that a lot of young people in cities don’t have that world view that some of us have.”

Phil Young has had one of those varied and fascinating careers I’ve documented a lot on the Looking Sideways podcast. He’ll be familiar to listeners of a certain age as the presenter of a much-loved mid-90s TV show called Board Stupid, which unbelievable as it sounds now, was a primetime TV show totally dedicated to snowboarding.

Photo: Tozer

From there, Phil used that experience and the most bulging contact book in UK action sports to carve a career as one of UK skating and snowboarding’s great unseen influences, working with brands to shape the way our cultures have been seen in the mainstream, and doing it with great subtlety and sympathy.

Today, he is bringing his considerable insight and experience to bear on one of our industry’s great unspoken issues – the lack of diversity that characterises our cultures at all levels.

Phil’s a man of principles and opinions, and there are plenty of layers and themes to this wide-ranging conversation.

Listen to the episode here:

Connect with Phil

Show Notes

  • Westmorland Shopping Centre.
  • First time at Kendal Film Festival.
  • ‘Nebula’.
  • The Orion Nebula.
  • Solar Eclipse shot.
  • 4th wave of sports.
  • “One man’s beautiful air is another’s stinker”.
  • Body language.
  • Snow Night.
  • “Essex gets a bad rep”.
  • Brought up by grandparents.
  • Joining Ski Club of Great Britain.
  • First discovering skating.
  • Future Primitive.
  • Do It All advert.
  • “This new thing snowboarding happened”.
  • First makeshift snowboard.
  • Burton Cruzer.
  • Buying his first board from Martin Drayton.
  • Discovering the small snowboarding community: “it was like going to the record and finding a white label”.
  • “Snowboarding isn’t that small club anymore. People need to realise things develop. You can still have your little club and do it the way you did it before, but the secret is out. You can’t feel bad that other people get the same joy and pleasure as you just because they accessed it in a different way to you”.
  • Trying to put a name to his job title.
  • Worked in the City and his break from the mundane 9-5.
  • Radlands skatepark.
  • First meeting with Nick Hamilton.
  • His ‘big trip’ to Donner Summit.
  • Season in Chamonix.
  • Storm magazine memories.
  • Door-to-door PR.
  • First TV gig.
  • “It turned out I was the presenter for the show, completely out of the blue”.
  • Interviewing Craig Kelly in a jacuzzi.
  • “Alaska… so many stories from there”.
  • Polar bear mittens.
  • King of the Hill
  • Six massive rottweilers and lots of guns.
  • Snowboarding characters.
  • Full pipes with Jake Phelps and Terje Hakaanson.
  • 4 years of Board Stupid.
  • Bringing musicians out to the mountains.
  • Roni Size & Reprazent live set with orchestra.
  • “Giving access to this thing I found”.
  • Voiceover work.
  • “I have no idea what I’m doing, but if somebody’s going to get paid for this job it might as well be me”.
  • “When clients are difficult it’s probably because they feel out of depth, or that you’ve really f**ked up”.
  • Pride parking.
  • “Life is too short to be too angry with people”.
  • Agency work.
  • Trip to SF with Dan Magee.
  • ‘Cover Version’.
  • Perspex Ramp: The Bowl at Selfridges.
  • Supreme’s San Francisco store opening.
  • Epiphany at UTMB.
  • Being the minority in action sports.
  • Understanding why the BAME don’t engage as much with the outdoors.
  • “If you’ve grown up in Yorkshire as hill walker, surrounded by people who look and talk like you, it’s difficult to reach out in a language that a kid from Hackney can understand”.
  • Windrush.
  • “If you don’t have more people emotionally invested in the outdoor space, why would they give a damn if your icebergs are melting?”.
  • The bigger social issue at play.
  • “You can’t be what you can’t see”.
  • Editor’s Note: Brutally Honest Skate Journalism.
  • White saviour syndrome.
  • Climbing community’s outreach.
  • DNA Test.
  • Plotting ancestors.
  • Scuba diving in Borneo.
  • Being an only child.
  • “I don’t think I’ve ever been ready for anything, but I do it regardless”

People Mentioned

Places Mentioned