Last month we closed our Fremantle Store after 23 radical years of serving the WA skate community. That’s almost a quarter of a century of broken kingpins, birthday completes, friendships and thousands of life-long memories. We thought we would compile some mini interviews with some of the team riders and OGs and preserve some of the experiences had as a result of our Freo Store from 1994 till today.
HOW DID YOU FIRST HEAR ABOUT MOMENTUM?
Kye Stanley: I was sitting in Kate Dick’s car with Morgan and Grantley, and we talked about what would be the best name for the new skate shop, Grant and Wendy wanted to open. Momentum was the obvious choice. I can’t even remember what the other one was.
Morgan Campbell: I was working in a grease trap takeaway spot on James Street in Northbridge and I got a call from Grant to see if I wanted to ride for and work at this new shop he was helping open in Fremantle. I was down and the best thing was that we were given the chance to help name it. I remember finding momentum in a thesaurus later that week. I ran it by everyone and they seemed to dig it. My good homie Dave Shaw drew the logo and hand painted the sign. Brett Margaritis had already been working with them in Claremont. Grantley was already on the team. Kye was about to be put on. Good friends were around from the get go.
Brendon Sim: As 15-year-old that just landed in Perth from Malaysia, I was in awe of the weather and the amount of people that were skateboarding (compared to Malaysia). I went to Applecross High and there I met Luke Francis and Jeremy Hickson. They rode for ‘Kinetic’ in Freo. Of course, they took me to Woolstores and my life changed. Seeing all of those guys was such a massive inspiration to skate faster and bigger. They all skated for Momentum and as a young solo Asian skateboarder, all I wanted to do was ride for Momentum. The best skateshop I’ve ever known.
Sophie Williams: Just after I started skating Woolies and met the other Freo groms and they would hang out there most weekend mornings.
Jarrah Rushton: Probably through Morgs.
Jonno King: I used to go past BladeSkate in Claremont on my way home from work and hang around Grant Eastland and Brett Margaritis. They were cool to us groms, and took Raoul and I ‘under their wings’ and let us hang out and skate with them.
Mitch Cunningham: Heard about the store when I first started venturing out towards Woolstores and needed a new kingpin!
James Whineray: I attended John Curtin Senior High, which was just up the hill from the Freo store. I used to walk past momentum every day after school to get to the train station. It only took six months of walking past after starting high school for me to pop my head in. Not long after that, I was saving up washing cars for a second hand 7.4 inch Santa Cruz blank – which Ben Bowring had put a nice chip in.
Robbie Partington: Either my mum told me about it or it or my friends told me it was there.
Harry Clark: I can’t even remember it was that long ago, probably one of the old vids, possibly even an ad for Sons of Bitumen in Liquid Pixel?
Karmen: I’m pretty sure I first heard about Momentum from a guy that lived down the street from me – I made friends with him when I first started skateboarding.
Ben Bowring: I’m pretty sure it was from Chipper (Clinton Walton).
Joe Bothams: I just remember crew rocking momentum boards and stickers, one day I must have asked someone what it is and they explained that it was a shop in Fremantle.
Dangles: I first noticed momentum as a kid when it was at the mini golf place on Essex St (Caddy Club?) From memory it was still mostly roller blades then and just had a few second hand boards. Me and my mates would go in there and just awkwardly stare at the decks and not say anything so that whoever worked there (I guess it was Wendy) would know that we were into skating, not blading. (editor’s note: this could have actually been the shop before momentum, which primarily sold rollerblades)
The first time I went in to Point St to actually purchase something would’ve been in 1997. I got an Alien Workshop deck with that slick coating. You know the thick plastic coated ones? I skated that thing for about two years until all the slick had cracked off and there were no kicks left on it. I remember being served by THE Raoul Willison! It used to be so good going in there as a grommie and hanging in the presence of dudes who you had stuck on your bedroom wall – and then trying to act as cool as you could while your mum told you loudly that size 34 Split chinos were definitely too big for a 13 year old, 40kg child. I can’t think of momentum in the 90s without picturing Split, Russell Athletic and Globe Steigers.
James Ahern: I grew up in Fremantle so when I started skateboarding momentum skateshop was all I knew.
Justin Lloyd: I first heard about momentum at the Joondy store (or BladeSkate at Warwick) but I would’ve first seen momentum Freo on my first few solo missions to Freo to find Woolies. (first time I came looking for it I didn’t find it ha ha)
Gabe Kovesi: Through one of my primary school friends when I was about 10 or 11 years old.
AT WHAT AGE DID YOU FIRST VISIT MOMENTUM?
Kye Stanley: Shit, 16 – 17 I guess. It was the Esplanade store.
Morgan Campbell: I was already old back then. 20.
Sophie Williams: Around 13 years old in 2008
Jarrah Rushton: 18
Jonno King: Probably around 1993. When the Freo store I opened, I naturally started to hang there on weekends and going to Woolstores.
Mitch Cunningham: I was about 13
James Whineray: As above first year of high school which was 2000 when I was 12 years old.
Robbie Partington: 13
Harry Clark: Probably 14
Karmen: My first visit would be roughly age 14 – so around 1996
Ben Bowring: I would have been around 14 when I was visiting Perth on school holidays staying with Chipper and his family. It was a life changing moment for me for sure.
Joe Bothams: I’m guessing I was about 11-12
James Ahern: Probably 8 or 9
Justin Lloyd: I would’ve been about 15
Gabe Kovesi: About 10 or 11
REMEMBER ANYTHING ABOUT YOUR FIRST VISIT?
Kye Stanley: Only that it was nice and new, plus it was an exciting time, new things happening.
Morgan Campbell: I helped do the first order for the initial board wall. I remember being so stoked seeing all the boards come in. My first ‘visit’ was actually my first day of work… I was pretty lucky.
Brendon Sim: I believe Ronny was in there in all his 3/4 shorts glory. Brett and Morgan as well. I just stood in the back and watched a 411VM on the TV. Just so stoked to be a fly on a wall in the coolest place on earth. Smiles from ear to ear. 🙂
Jarrah Rushton: It was the OG Freo location (Essex Street).
Jonno King: Essex Street. Seeing Kye Stanley in the flesh looking ridiculously fresh rocking an all white kit. I had only seen him on videos that my crew (probs maglocks) had dubbed for me. He was intimidating and didn’t talk to me at all. In years that followed, we became good friends. In hindsight, it is funny that I found him intimidating, as he is kind and quite well natured guy.
Morgan Campbell was also working behind the counter. As a grom, it was pretty nervous being around those dudes, because at the time they were already pretty legendary in Perth as they were really good and did super-burly shit. I looked up to them.
Mitch Cunningham: It was packed out with skate crew everywhere.
James Whineray: Jonno King did a switch 360 flip on the carpet in some Emerica Templetons.
Robbie Partington: I remember being very nervous, I went in to get a new board and looking at the guy serving me and thinking “woah man” this guy is probably so good at skating, I used to also tell my parents not to come in so I could look cooler to the older guys ha ha.
Karmen: I remember walking in there and thinking that I was on another planet, it was around Christmas time and my dad said he would buy me a ‘deck’ for my Christmas present so he parked and gave me some money, I went inside and I saw a red board with a Bruce Lee graphic on it so I got that one straight away. It may have possible been a Blind graphic. I think Ron was working.
Ben Bowring: YES. I watched Merry Pranksters for the first time and my skate brain almost exploded. I was so hyped. From that point on I knew I wanted to one day live in Freo, be a part of the local scene and skate with Morgan, Kye, Grantley, Brett and all of the other Perth crew.
Joe Bothams: I got a Zac Wilmore pro model board because I though his part in Attempted Depiction was rad. Harry Clark and Nick Boserio then rode it in the rain because they didn’t want to water log their boards. I knew better but they guaranteed me it wont loose its pop because it’s a Zac Wilmore pro model. Maybe I can do that to some kid next time I see them riding Harry’s pro model ha ha.
Also not sure if it was the first visit, but close to it, there was a Almost, Blind and World Industries signing. James Craig was balancing a board vertically on his toes whilst the rest of the team where drawing dicks on Sheckler’s part of the poster, seeing if they could get a young kid to snap in front autograph seekers.
Dangles: Momentum was where you were educated on all things skate pre-internet. Clothes, music, style, videos, history and, if Jonno was working, Clarks Wallabees.
James Ahern: No, maybe a weird Jezza. I also remember seeing the Momentum crew skating Melville ditch back in the day and frothing out.
Justin Lloyd: I don’t remember much about my first visit but I do remember I always liked the vibe and setup of the shop at that point.
Gabe Kovesi: I was super stoked on all the skate videos they had at the time because I’d never seen anything so I wanted to buy them all ha ha.
WHO WAS THE MOST LOYAL LOCAL OF YOUR TIME HANGING AT MOMENTUM? (staff members don’t count)
Kye Stanley: I would have to say Grantley especially, but also Morgs and myself.
Morgan Campbell: Grantley, Kye and Mikey Gee.
Brendon Sim: Wow. There are too many! DIAS crew (Spaks / Whinerozay / Stef / Alex Campbell). TK. Lil (Not so little now) Johnny. Doodles. Woolies Crew (Ollie / Shaz / Oteece / Caspar / Frodo / Mikey G – THE MAYOR). North Freo Crew (BVD / Straker / Andy P / BP / Poshy / Dangles).
Sophie Williams: For sure Rin!
Jarrah Rushton: Prob me or Hunter but we both ended up working there! Grantley would come and hang out a lot.
Jonno King: In my day working there, Mikey Kordas used to represent pretty hard. He was always happy helping out and running errands for guys working in the shop.
I remember when James Whineray arrived on the scene. He was in the shop 7 days a week. He went from a little grom to one of the sickest skaters around in what seemed like a matter of months.
Mitch Cunningham: I wasn’t there too often but Luke Breen I’d say was probably there the majority of the times.
James Whineray: Most definitely myself. I must have spent a couple of hours watching videos every single day after school for the entirety of my high school education. I would bomb the hill past CBC after school, watch the new videos and then skate Woolstores till dark.
Robbie Partington: I would say John John he would lurk harder than anyone.
Harry Clark: Biggest lurkers I can think of would be James Whineray and/or Mikey G.
Karmen: Hmmm not sure – so many to choose from and so many from different “eras”
Ben Bowring: Throughout different time periods there have been different people for sure. James Whineray would be on top of the list for sure, in every day after school then on weekends too. Frodo too.
Joe Bothams: I’m guessing John John. If he wasn’t there he was probably at Chooks (RIP) or Woolstores.
Dangles: Pretty sure while I worked there James and Alex were the most regular. At that time Smallie Biggs was very very regular as well. More than most because he never actually skated so the little fucker was there all day, everyday for a while.
James Ahern: Can’t remember too much, but maybe Bevens or MRS?
Justin Lloyd: I remember Wes being in there all the time back in the day
Gabe Kovesi: I feel like pretty much all the locals who hang there pretty much did work there at one point or another but key standouts are Noddy or Aids. I remember everyone used to think aids was the owner of momentum.
Couldn’t name one but was just always good to know that even if there wasn’t crew out skating we always had a place to go hang out, talk shit and steal the free wifi and watch skate videos.
BEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO YOU AT MOMENTUM FREO?
Kye Stanley: getting sponsored by momentum! Everything that happened after that was amazing, but that was definitely the trigger!
Morgan Campbell: Just being involved was rad. Making the early videos was a life-changing experience. Getting Kye on the team. Seeing kids turn into adults. Seeing Kye switch ollie a full size chair inside the shop and fly out the door blindly into the street is unforgettable. Daewon pretending to car jack me out the front before the Freo Passenger Terminal? Too many memories. Forever grateful.
Brendon Sim: Being hired. Being Sponsored. Being Drunk. Being Hungover. Hangs with all the homies. 411vm. Momentum Staff Parties (Banned from everywhere!). Meeting all the legends. Game of SKATE in store. Some 10 year old kid told his Dad to F**k Off when he wouldn’t buy him a cap and bought it for the kid anyways. Watching skate videos all day. Baker 2G non-stop on VHS. Daewon. Kye Stanley.
Sophie Williams: Getting a job as a grommy and getting on the team. As a kid you always have second hand stuff special when your old brother skates so my mum would just make me scab of Harry. Working there gave me an income and being support gave me team benefits. I went from having broken tails to having a fresh momo board every couple of weeks. And working in a skateshop life is skating I watch skate movies, talked and worked with skate stuff all day it kept me so hyped!
Jarrah Rushton: Getting a job there was like a dream come true. Meeting so many good people – met the Welshies for the first time when they came in when I was working there. Also meeting Kareem and Daewon when they did an in store was pretty cool.
Jonno King: I remember once showing up late to work because my GF and I were shagging. Grant said to me, “Mate, that’s the only excuse that I will always accept. no worries!”
Once we were having a flat ground sesh during work. I was on the brink of landing my first switch tre, when a customer came in. I ignored them and kept skating cos I wanted the make. That customer turned out to be Wendy’s brother in law (or something like that) so she found out and busted me the next day.
Mitch Cunningham: I got a really decent discount on some shoes when I wasn’t hooked up on any sponsors so I was hyped.
James Whineray: Jeremy Sheehan was closing the store one day and trying to learn nollie flips in the store (this was a certain era where Grant turned a blind eye on the games of skate). Just as we were about to walk out the door he tried one last one, which somehow sent the board for his mouth and knocked out his tooth, which is still missing. It was just Jeremy and myself and I remember not knowing what to do. Funny in hindsight.
Robbie Partington: Winning the momentum gift voucher!!! Hands down I can’t remember how much it was now. But it was a lot I was so stoked.
Harry Clark: I think I was doing work experience there at the time, had a completely thrashed board, like proper fucked and had no money to get another. TK got me a hardcore blank. I was stoked.
Karmen: Way too many “drop a pin in it” moments occurred at Momentum Freo. I think perhaps going into the shop when I was a grom on a Sunday and seeing the SKAWA crew i.e. Morgan, Brett, Jonno, Grump etc and then being asked to go out on a skate with the crew – pretty awesome feeling!
Ben Bowring: Momentum Freo was a special place and there are so many best things that happened to me there. Watching Merry Pranksters for the first time and being introduced to how f**king good the Perth scene was.
Meeting Grant, Wendy and all the Perth crew who worked there and going skating with them, people like Morgs, Jonno, Brett, Raoul, Gloks, just going in there and talking to them about skating, life, going skating with them after they finished work.
Getting a job there was a dream come true. Just being part of Mo’s family and surrounded by such rad peeps was life changing. I can honestly say that everything I have achieved in life has in some way been made possible thanks to the inspiration and support I have gotten from everyone at momentum. I’m forever thankful to for that. Much love to Grant & Wendy, and all the staff and team riders past and present.
Joe Bothams: I scored a momentum jumper once. It lasted long, kept me warm and although a little big I enjoyed the fit. I lent it to some chick in Japan hoping that I would get a similar review. But some things get lost in translation.
James Ahern: I actually did my high school work experience at momentum Fremantle. Once I won a game of rock paper scissors, which meant I didn’t have to clean the toilets! Also the Girl Skateboards and Juice Clothing signings highly stand out.
Justin Lloyd: getting hooked up on the shop and GMTA at the same time thanks to big Bowow.
Gabe Kovesi: couldn’t name one but was just always good to know that even if there wasn’t crew out skating we always had a place to go hang out, talk shit and steal the free Wi-Fi and watch skatevideos.
HOW IMPORTANT IS A LOCAL SKATE SHOP?
Kye Stanley: Extremely! I mean that’s what contributes to a great culture & community. I imagine it contributed greatly to business also, knowing the people who supported your passion were also people who were passionate about the same thing as you. Skateboarding!
Morgan Campbell: It is a place to learn about your culture. It is a safe house. It is a melting pot. It is a family. Before the net there wasn’t really any other place to learn about skateboarding. But now as the Internet becomes ever-encompassing it is super important for a human to still have face-to-face relationships and make real friends.
Brendon Sim: For me, it was the best. As a young skateboarder, the person that worked behind the counter had a huge impact on me. You were the one us kids looked up to and showed us the way (the proper way – mongo is NOT the way). Momentum Freo and Woolstores played a giant role in WA Skateboarding as well. It bred the some of the best skateboarders and the best scene ever. It gave kids an aspiration to skate better for a chance to ride for the shop. It was a place for us skateboarders (all from different walks of life) to congregate and have a sense of brotherhood. Team sport is not in our blood and most of us were outcasts in a sea of AFL lords. Our local store was our HQ. The guy behind the counter was our coach. Our homies were our team mates. Woolstores was our court.
Sophie Williams: Its so important it gives a place for kids to hang, I feel you learn heaps hanging at the local shop like having a good attitude you hang with the older crew and the staff and you hear about the skateboarding world what is good and not good, creates a local scene around that area. Shop local product not shop online keep your local shop open.
Jarrah Rushton: So important, but only if it’s a good one. And momentum Freo was the best!
Jonno King: Many of my most important friendships grew from that scene. Kicking in the shop kept us out of trouble.
Mitch Cunningham: There’s a lot of reasons a local store is important but I think one of them is it keeps people who don’t know about the scene interested in what’s going on.
James Whineray: A local skateshop is the backbone of the local scene, especially now with the rise of online shopping. These huge online retailers wit the buying power of bunnings are closing all the stores. You don’t get someone to talk to about your new board and how it should be gripped when you buy online, you’re also losing all the mentors and friends you might have if you were to visit a local skate store. Skate stores are not like supermarkets they are a community hub for skateboarders. A meeting place as well as somewhere to talk about your life outside of skateboarding.
Robbie Partington: Extremely, it brings people together; you don’t get that from an online store
Karmen: So important! For me – it was a place where I could feel at home, feel safe – I could go and talk to people I looked up to and also gain knowledge about what was going on. I made many lasting friendships and even married one of those guys that I originally met at Momentum Fremantle. I really think brick and mortar is vital for skateboarding as it still incorporates the “human” side to skateboarding in the local scene. Nothing beats local knowledge and experience, as well as probably teaching a lot of people skills with communication and social aspects of life – not just Google everything. It helps shape the next generation of skateboarders.
Ben Bowring: Local skateshop’s are the life blood of skateboarding and help create and support the local scene. The grommies get schooled in skateboarding and learn a lot of important life lessons hanging out in a skateshop. How to act, how not to act, respect for the older crew. A local core skateshop is basically family. But a family that’s into SKATEBOARDING !
Joe Bothams: Pretty important! It supports a scene and provides Skateboarding and Skate related products, what more could you want? Also where else would teenage girls aspiring to be Instagram models get their Thrasher T’s from?
Dangles: I can’t think of the best thing that happened because it wasn’t anything particular that made it great. It was just knowing that you could roll up there anytime and even if none of your mates were lurking, one was usually working. Freo had an epic skate scene, and it wouldn’t have been the same without Momentum. Cheers G Man and Wends!
James Ahern: Upmost importance; for me Momentum was the starting point, it was where I would meet up with friends, get advise and inspiration from older skaters and just feel apart by the skate community. And now as an older skater it provides opportunities for sponsorship and events such as competitions, premieres and professional demos. Most importantly, local shops support local brands. If not for Momentum, I wouldn’t be getting my local goods out to my local skaters.
Justin Lloyd: the local shop is essential especially for the younger groms to grow up with. Without a local shop there would obviously be less people on boards and less getting into skating so it’s a must if you want a solid local scene.
Gabe Kovesi: a local shop is more important than a local skate park. Its what makes everything possible. right now if you go out skating in Freo and your board snaps or you pop a bearing its game over and you go home. but with a shop you can easily sort yourself out and get back to skating.
Matt Archer: Am more of a Claremont local so don’t have too many stories about Freo unfortunately. But, I first went to momentum when I was around 8 or 9 with my brother who was buying a complete. I remember knowing momentum as pretty much the only real skate shop in Perth so went there to buy my first complete when I got into skating. A local skate shop provides a place to ask questions and really increases the sense of a local skate community. Such a big part of skateboarding is people coming together and without the support of a local shop there could be none of the comps and events which help to progress skating in the area.
ALSO FOR THE ELDERS OUT THERE: DO YOU REMEMBER THE ESSEX STREET STORE (NEAR THE CINEMAS)? IF SO WHAT CAN YOU REMEMBER ABOUT IT?
Kye Stanley: Do you remember the Essex street store (near the cinemas)? if so what can you remember about it? For me, it was the beginning of an amazing journey, meeting great people, pushing boundaries both mentally and physically for ourselves. This is where it began. Momentum was the fireplace and it seemed all it needed was sparks like us to get a bonfire going! It was a safe haven and a place to energise, watch a new skate video, set up a new board and go kill some terrain!
All the best to Grant & Wendy, I hope you and your family are well. Thank you for making such a huge difference to all our lives. We literally wouldn’t be where we are without the shop to support and encourage that fire when it was needed most!
Morgan Campbell: I do remember Wendy and I being extremely forgiving to each other if there was a somehow some kind of hangover involved with our shift. I also remember Jonno King being there from early on, being cool and being able to help him get a job.
Bredon Sim: Sorry. Too young to know! I’d like to say THANK YOU to Grant and Wendy for the opportunity they’ve given me and the love they’ve shown all of us through momentum and skateboarding. Much love.
Jarrah Rushton: Not much, just how exciting it was that a new shop had opened in Freo – also that the cabinet from Paul Jarrett’s surf shop was in there.
Jonno King: I remember Morgan working there and to us groms, he was a celebrity. I remember being a bit nervous when he first started talking to me. I somehow got a job on Saturdays, which I was so amped on.
James Whineray: My first ever skateboard was made for me by an old tradie boy at Port Hedland caravan park. He cut an old banana board in half and bolted the trucks to some plywood and bolted more plywood on the ends and shaped kicks with a planer. I also showed him an old workshop gas mask graphic I had ripped out of an old mag which he painted on the bottom of the board. One of my few regrets is letting that plank of ply go. Anyway, I was pushing around Luna cinema back in the 90’s and I remember a bunch of guys borrowing my board to ollie over it. That was pretty cool at the time. They were also super stoked I was skating this lump of wood with the workshop graphic. It was probably you Morgan.
Ben Bowring: I just remember going there with chipper when I was visiting on holidays. Chipper needed a new board and at the time he rode for Star but for whatever reason we were in Freo at Momentum. Chipper spoke to Grant and he hooked up a board for him!
Massive thanks to everyone who ever worked for, rode for, visited or supported the Freo store in any way. And just to set the record straight the Claremont Store is remaining as is our website and online store. See you soon!