Grantley Miller was blessed with one of the finest, most nonchalant styles; this came free with an absolutely flawless kickflip. Today, (much like a few of our OG’s will this year), Grantley is clocking over to the big 4-0. To celebrate we have scanned some Grantley Miller gold from the mid nineties – these were all shot by Aaron Brown. Aaron was the first “East Coast” photographer to come out and shoot our skaters for the mags. Some of Grantley’s only photos were published as a result. Thank you AB.
Several rad things came into unison for this moment. The amazing loftiness of the Easy Living Bump, Grantley’s backside shifty prowess, and the eye of Aaron Brown. This was shot in the last year of the bump getting sessioned. Believe it or not it was one of Perth’s hotspots during that late 80’s and early 90’s. There was nowhere free and outdoor where you could skate undulating surfaces. That’s correct there were no parks at the time. The sessions at Easy Living would happen on a weekly basis. These sessions would have been daily, but the store was open six days a week meaning that there was only Sundays when we would hit it up. Sometimes there would be a line of over ten people waiting along the fence for their go at the main bump. You would get a throw down and then a couple of pushes before you would have to compose yourself for the whippy, yet powerful kicker. Grantley’s shifties were always a move that baffled bystanders with their magical 90-degree tweaks and his general effortless gluefoot technique. We are very grateful for this one being captured as we will be able to celebrate his shift forever.
This was one of the first proper shoots (if not the first) that happened at Woolies. At the time the ledge was already generally thought of as a little low for photos, but Grantley’s back smith definitely cut it. Back then barely anyone could do back smiths let alone one this dipped. Amazing how bare Woolies walls are looking at this point in time (Jan 1997). There are few early signs of tagging but the majority of the bricks are left bare. This is performed on the section that is still the main section skated today. Grantley also shot a back tail that day, one that ended up in staple mag. One thing to be remembered about this shoot was that Aaron Brown got so hyped after shooting Grantley that he wanted to try and back tail it himself. The ledge decided to be particularly slick on one particular attempt and after whipping out he landed on the full on his chin on the ledge. Yes stiches were had.
Much like the Woolies shot that we ran further up the page, Fremantle’s original janky Skate Park – Munchies was much a much cleaner slate when this backside 5-0 was shot. The park was basically designed pretty well, but built not so well. Over time the imperfections have led to Munchies being a legendary Freo spot. Knowing Grantley: his tail didn’t scrape once on this. He had that Kareem-style perfectly balanced backside 5-0.
Before Momentum Freo’s main skate shop was Fremantle Surfsports, which was just at the end of this Mall. From 89-91 The Edge indoor park was also placed just up around the corner. The placement of these two skate magnets meant that this Freo Mall was scrutinised by many an inquisitive skateboarder. But few would choose to ride there due to the hideously chunky ground. Grantley was different. He always had good ideas for the Freo crust. This ollie was one such gem. There are so many rad things about this photo. His perfect arm span is rad. That Prime board (possibly a Mike Crum) is rad. The fact that the items in the two-dollar shop are actually two dollars is rad. The classic WA sky blue is rad. Even the old Fremantle pavers look rad. This is not just an effortless waist high ollie; it is an amazing documentation of a distinct Freo era depicting a definite Freo legend.
We went on a bit about the Easy Living Bump up top. So lets talk about Grantley’s kickflips instead. They were and are still so iconic. They were the first catches we really saw first hand. Sometimes it even made a noise when the grip was reunited with his feet. Flipping into grinds was no problem as he already had the board on his feet prior to reaching his peak. What you will see here is the colour sequence (shot on film) of a textbook kickflip as well as a black and white still that ran on the letters page. Remember when you had to send a letter rather than an SMS or a DM on instagram to get in touch with someone? Probably not.