– words by Tommy Watson
Skoa Team Rider Connor Ferguson has been getting in his miles this season traveling from Australia, out to Europe, back home… back out to America and back home. He’s also been racking up the points and consistently getting on podiums in both the Junior and Open classes. I got to sit down with him across the internet after we both got back from Angies and get the details of how the season’s gone and get to know a little more about how Connor started off longboarding back home.
Tommy Watson: Hey Connor, what’s good?
Connor Ferguson: Yo Tommy! Just got home to Australia from about 3 months overseas. Summer’s coming so time to chill and enjoy the weather.
TW: You just got back from the Euro tour and North America, eh? How many countries did you end up going to?
CF: Yeah man, I flew into Prague, CZ for The Kozakov Challenge, and then to Toulouse, FR for Peyragudes Never Dies then back home for a bit and then back to North America for Pikes and Angies.
TW: I’ve heard that the freeriding is better than the racing in Europe. Did you do more mountain pass skating than race runs?
CF: I’ve been lucky enough to have a parent come with me both times to Europe over the last 2 years so freeriding has been kept to a minimum due to flying in between the races.
TW: What do you get up to between races?
CF: The usual tourist activities.
TW: Brie and cheese and what not… How many times have you been to Europe now?
CF: That’s it! This year was my second time.
TW: Any huge cultural differences from OZ?
CF: The bread tastes good and the english language isn’t very prominent
TW: Did anyone try to speak Australian with you?
CF: Surprisingly no, but in Las Vegas this lady was convinced Australians don’t speak english.
TW: What event did you have the most fun at?
CF: Kozakov Challenge for sure. Managed to score first in juniors and take second in opens behind Sebastian Hertler.
TW: Yeah! That one looks like the best to me. I’ve wanted to go since I first saw the course!! Outside of fun, how do you rank the track against all the others you’ve skated?
CF: My opinion is pretty bias because I favor the track a lot but I would say it’s more of a race course. It’s got everything, fast corners, fast straights, and lots of braking. It’s similar to Pikes Peak with the race track side although I personally think it is gnarlier. The party is killer too!
TW: Who did you take your best run with and what went down?
CF: There was a super sweet run with all the sector 9 guys where we were making sketchy passes and kept hella tight.
TW: I saw some pictures of the run with Kevin at Kozakov. The look on your face was priceless. Haha. Can you walk me through that section of the course? How did you manage to get out of that without crashing. In one shot it looked like you were basically sitting on Kevin’s board!
CF: Yeah that is the top section of the course. The first corner is a 90km/h double apex right hander that you have to slow down for and then quickly goes into a left hairpin and then into the forest section. I have no idea how I even stuck that outside line without crashing. I had no idea that his board had been there until afterwards when I the photos. haha.
TW: What happened afterwards? You got second at the event but they took it back?
CF: Nah I was just messing around. There were a few people hating on the whole situation with Kevin, and yeah it sucked. I just made a post making fun of the haters saying that I had given up my second placing.
TW: Haha, well you got me. You’re sitting pretty good in open and have a commanding lead for Juniors. Are you doing South America and Hot Heels?
CF: Yeah Im pretty pretty stoked with where I’m sitting at the end of this season. Not going to any South American races but I just attended Pikes Peak and Angies Curves. At Pikes I had to decide which class to race because of the transport back up the hill being an issue. So i chose to race opens and crashed myself out in the quarter finals with a pretty big lead. hahah. We drove to Angies from Pikes and hit up some real rad roads in Salt Lake and spent a night in Las Vegas. Im pretty stoked with how I went at angies. I somehow qualified 6th in open, rode in the top 10 shootout and crashed myself out, qualified 1st in juniors, placed 9th in opens and 1st in juniors.
TW: Yep, I saw that crash at Pikes. Chilling in to the last corner and then just off your board. Being in Juniors, you’re still in school, right? Is it hard to balance all the traveling with that?
CF: Yeah pretty much. I have to work really hard over this next term so I don’t fail my final year.. haha.
TW: After this final year, are you going to be focusing more on skating, or do you have college plans lined up?
CF: After I’ve finished school I don’t plan on going to university. I’d like to get a job and do some real world stuff for a while and save up for travelling again.
TW: What are you doing when you’re not skating?
CF: Spending time with my girlfriend, hitting up the beach, and sleeping.
TW: What do you look forward to about the Ozzie scene when you get back from a trip?
CF: Just skating with all my mates and having some rad skate trips.
TW: That’s the best for sure. What’s your favourite spot back home?
CF: Ooh I have a couple. They are mainly fast with minimal braking.
TW: Secret runs 🙂 You’ve got to protect them from the local groms, or is skating pretty chill in Australia?
CF: Gotta keep the gem spots secret or groms will hit them up every day, litter the place and blow it.
TW: Yeah, we’ve got the same problem here: groms kooking out and leaving wheels and trash all over the neighborhoods we skate. We’ve gotta run in with a clean up crew every once in a while.. Super frustrating.
CF: In some ways it’s good that groms here are all about the 180 stand up slides so they don’t blow the fast runs we love
TW: Who are the guys that you looked up to in the scene when you were starting out?
CF: Jamie and Pokie/Paul Gwillim, and Stephen Daddow
TW: I know who Steve is, but who are the other two guys?
CF: Jamie and Pokie are brothers and the guys that brought me into the sport. They organised the first race I ever attended and have taken me under there wing ever since then, taking me skating almost every weekend. They also started Team Monkypig which is what’s up with the monkypig on the back of my leathers.
TW: Haha, awesome. I’ve always wondered about team Monky Pig.I hear slalom is pretty popular over there. Jacko and Daddow seem to get on it a lot. Did you ever do any slalom?
CF: A few years back I set up a real sketchy slalom setup from a board that got run over but never competed in any competitions.
TW: Kind of glad that it got taken out? The bails in slalom are gnarly! Full grip commitment to BAM… on your side or whatever.
CF: There are still a few slalom competitions happening every now and again in Sydney but yeah, I don’t think slalom is my thing.
TW: Can you talk to me a little bit about your current downhill set-up?
CF: First of all you gotta have those Skoa Trucks. I ride the Vapors which came as 47 degree but I threw a 40* plate on the back. Inside the Vapors I rock Riptide bushings. 90a Fatcones boardside with 3 washers underneath to have the same height as a tall bushing, and 95a tall barrels roadside. I ride Zealous bearings inside my RAD wheels. All of this is mounted onto a Sector 9 Javelin with RDVX griptide to keep my feet on there. This board goes seriously fast.
TW: What is it about the Riptide formula that you like? What’s the added benefit of that fat cone?
CF: I’m not too sure. I’ve been riding Riptide bushings, the exact same duros and almost the same shapes, for almost 3 years now. Its just what I’m use to and what I’m comfortable with. I don’t really know my thinking behind it either. I like to think that having a softer and more restricted shaped bushing on the boardside adds stability but still allows a real smooth turn. But I’m constantly reminded that I have no idea what I’m doing. Go with whatever works and feels comfortable for you I say.
TW: Rad. That’s a bit different from the standard thinking, but the softer on bottom setup is something I run with my Venoms sometimes as well. I think it gives that soft bushing dive but with the harder rebound from the top bushing.Well cool. Thanks for taking the time to catch up with me, Connor. Anything else you want to say or shout outs to make in closing?
CF: Huge thanks to Skoa for helping me out and supplying me with the lightest and best trucks on the market. Shout out to Team Monkypig, Rad wheels, Sector 9, Riptide bushings, RDVX Grip, Zealous bearings and Shredders boardstore.