FORM – KYE STANLEY

kye stanley | front crooks | 1999 | photo andrew currie

If you have been checking out the site over the past year or so, you may well have seen a tonne of dynamic footage from one of Perth’s street skating pioneers. A cat called Kye Stanley. Cat is an appropriate word as no matter how treacherous and gravity-based his situation was he would land on his feet. This frontside crooked grind photo shot by Andrew Currie embodies everything that was right about seeing Kye on a skateboard. – MC

Have you ever heard of the ‘push-me-pull-you’? It was this double-ended llama-type animal in Dr Seuss books. The push-me-pull-you was an interesting unit: because it had two brains and two heds facing different directions it never knew which way to go. Kye became a little similar once we all discovered the existence of switch skating. Initially we would get to a spot and Kye’s regular head would be looking at maybe a backside 180 or a kickflip. But his goofy head would be contemplating an ollie. Before too long the regular head and the goofy head had similarly strong mindsets – he was pedidextrous or as they sometimes refer to it in soccer: two-footed.

“Before too long the regular head and the goofy head had similarly strong mindsets – he was pedidextrous or as they sometimes refer to it in soccer: two-footed.”

During the mid to late nineties there seriously were only a few such push-me-pull-yous on the planet. As his two-footed skating progressed so did his one-footed skating. His pop grew and grew. Before long he was eyeing up ledges that we would merely skate past, thinking they were walls. During the mid nineties Kye and I were skating together regularly. I owe almost everything to skating with him (and Grantley) during this time as when we formed our triangle of shred we would borrow bits and bobs from each other’s technique. It is the same for any crew right? Towards the end of the 90’s we had grown apart a little, mainly due to our conflicting travel aspirations. By ’99 I had moved back to Perth but Kye had boarded a jet and moved to Sydney. You know what delighted me about this: finally the “East Coast” would get to witness the push-me-pull-you in full effect. Before too long he was melting the eyeballs of the likes of Sydney luminaries such as Michael Davidson and Steve Tierney. After seeing Kye nollie flip up a three stair first try Steve made sure that he got picked up by Converse. I was rocking a serious ear-to-ear permagrin when I first heard this.

I’ll never forget the moment I picked up the Slam Magazine containing this frontside crooked grind photo. Finally his true greatness had been embodied in one photo. This was shot on a Sunday. But the story begins on a Friday night. There was a restaurant where Kye, Davo, Steve and Chad Ford would gather to eat. It was an underground restaurant called Ju-Jus. In 1999 they spent every single Friday night there. Amazing food and maybe the odd bevvy was had and before they knew it, it was Sunday. Kye and Davo were skating down near New Old, which is (an OG spot only stone’s throw from Circular Quay). They ran into Andrew Currie and crew. Currie threw it out there that they should shoot a pic. Davo took them to this double set that landed into a curb cut. Davo had nollied it in 411 but was feeling so haggard, it simply wasn’t on the cards to kickflip the bugger. He submitted a few humble words of defeat to Cuzza and before you could say “onto the next spot” they were on their way.

They headed up Pitt St, and just after Martin Place, right before the Pitt Street Mall they came across an array of road barriers. They were all lined up in a perfectly symmetrical formation except for one. It was partially submerged on one end, meaning the other was protruding. There were no marks on it, but for those with snaps a spot was apparent. Yes, Davo and Kye both had snaps. Davo opted for some noseslides. Kye’s push-me-pull-you brain opted for a regular footed approach and he went in for some front noses. Before long Davo made a nose slide up it, albeit one he wasn’t that happy with. Kye slid some front noses and then shrugged at Davo: “I might just crooked grind it”. I would have wondered if his goofy push-me-pull-you brain was thinking switch k. But no, this was his regular push-me-pull-you brain thinking frontside k! In between one of Kye’s first few attempts Davo did what he understatedly describes as “a nose slide bigspin tailscraper”. Before long Kye nailed it. The classic thing is that in his own mind it was sketchy. Though it seems that maybe far from the truth. Mr Davidson fills us in. “It was waist high to get on with an uphill run up. He did it really fast. It was four or five tries max. He shot out of the end on every single one. On the one he made he shot out a foot above the end. As he rolled away he claimed it was sketchy. I mean he dropped his knee, but not like Jerry Hsu. Cuzza who was lying down in the street, got up and put his lens cap back on. Kye acted like it wasn’t a big deal. But it was a massive deal. It is one of the best things ever done in Sydney. Just try and pick something bad about it… apart from the outfit.”

“He shot out of the end on every single one. On the one he made he shot out a foot above the end.”

We were also honoured to get some light shred on the subject by the one and only Andrew Currie:
“I remember white bucket hat. It is a telephoto shot from behind. It was on… what street is it? Is it George Street? No it’s Pitt Street.
So I have been thinking about skateboard photography a lot lately and in hindsight, you know looking back at all the great skate photos, the thing that I am adamant about is that. You know, great photographer, beautiful composition, sharp… whatever man… the reality is that you know all great skate photos are great because of the skateboarding. It is a very basic photo man. It is black and white. It is straight down the line. There was no flash. It is just the obvious spot I thought to shoot it from. There wasn’t really a lot of work on my behalf. I probably just sat down on the ground, crossed my legs and pushed a button. But what Kye Stanley did was amazing you know. It was a great moment of skateboarding. The way he did it. He did it as good as Danny Supa would have done it or any top level pro at that point of time. Kye Stanley could have done it as well as any motherfucker in the world could have done it… and I just remember having pushed the button and you know sometimes after you have pushed the button you just know: ‘Oh man that was a good one!’ You know!? On that one man he launched out of that thing. He literally used that thing as a jump ramp. He front crooked the living… yeah it was amazing. So off track a bit but my point being is that the reason it is a great photo is because great skateboarding is great skateboarding.”