Slam Names Ben Lawrie Australia’s Skater of the Year

While Thrasher’s SOTY is the gold standard in terms of skateboard awards, Australia’s Slam magazine has a rich SOTY history of its own. It started giving its award to skaters from Down Under back in 2004. And the list of alumni includes: Chima, Shane O’Neill, Nick Boserio, Jake Hayes, and Jackson Pilz to name a few. This year, Ben Lawrie joins this illustrious group.

Ben popped up on our radar via recent Nike SB edits, and is clearly someone to look out for on the global stage moving forward. Get better acquainted with his skating via the above mixtape put together by Geoff Campbell. And Slam has an interview that provides some interesting insight into what skating has been like in Australia during lockdown.

Are you rocking a mask when you’re skating? 
I’ve been rocking a mask sometimes – if I’m by myself or if I see that there’s been cops around – but a lot of the time I’ve just been skating with my mask in my pocket and making sure I’m not near people. Some random civilians have come up to me and told me that I should be wearing a mask, but I think skating is exercise and you don’t have to wear a mask when you’re running. So if I can’t breathe with my mask, I’ll take it off. Also, if you’re drinking a coffee or smoking a cigarette, you don’t have to wear a mask. I was drinking a coffee before and talking on the phone, and some lady came up to me and was standing in my face, holding her mask, trying to make a point that I didn’t have mine on. I was like, “I’m drinking a coffee. I don’t have to wear the mask.” Some people don’t want to see other people not wearing a mask when they have to wear one, which is fair enough, I guess. 

Has it been pretty tense in that respect? Are people on edge?
For sure, I’ve noticed people taking photos and filming other people without masks. I get it, they’re bummed that they don’t have something that they can do that adheres to the rules. A lot of people can’t do the thing that they love right now because of COVID, and they’re bummed when they see someone like me having fun. So they try to stop you. 

Read the rest here.