The Follow Up: Adam Davies

Adam Davies Portrait Photo Paul Battlay 2000Photo: Battlay

Up until his part for 4 skateboards dropped on the Thrasher site, you may have never heard of Adam Davies. His coverage has up until now been centered around his home city of Melbourne, but make no mistake, this fella is world class. On the boxing day of his part premiering at Melbourne’s Fast Times City Store coupled with a surprise board with his name on it, I sat down with Adam to discuss the whos, whats, wheres, whys, and most importantly, that ender on the only handrail he’s ever skated.

Every clip brings some new facet of Adam's technical powers. Watch it again to properly appreciate

How did you discover skateboarding?
Just the classic way, really. My neighbors started skating and I thought it was cool. I skated for a bit, fell away from it, then got into Tony Hawks Pro Skater and the idea of skating. When I started high school I picked it up again which was around my 13th birthday. Twenty years on, I’ve never stopped.

I know you grew up with and were good friends with Tully West who passed away in 2020. Can you tell us a good Tully story or memory of yours?
Yeah, Tully was like a younger brother to me, it felt like. He actually started at my high school about a year or two before I finished, so it felt like we knew each other forever. Probably my favorite Tully memories are actually me filming him for my old iPhone video series Dork Squad that I did for The Skateboarder's Journal. He was always down to film some crazy thing, either some marathon line around Lincoln Square or some weird handplant gimmick. I remember he went through this stage of buying second-hand cameras from thrift stores, and if they didn’t work—which they often didn’t—he would bring them out purely to film a trick and then smash the camera in the same clip. That always had us both in stiches. I feel so lucky to have captured all of that footage of him at that time, both skating and being cheeky. I’ll often look back over them or the super part I made out of all his footage when I’m missing him. It feels good to remember and have a laugh, plus some of his tricks are legitimately insane.

Adam Davies Kickflip Backside Lipslide Photo Dave ChamiKickflip back lip across the emergency exit    Photo: Chami

You are born and bred Melbourne, what keeps you there and is there anywhere else you’d live?
Yeah, Melbourne is home. Although I did a couple of stints in LA on the classic 90-day visa thing, stayed with Mikendo down in Torrance and skated with Keith and Grant and the rest of the HUF or Weekendtage guys back in 2011-13. Between those two 90-day visas, I actually followed my girlfriend—now, wife—Steff to live in Vancouver. We weren’t sure how long we’d stay, but overall, it ended up being about 18 months. Once we did our second stay in LA, we were sad to leave but so stoked to get back to Melbourne. It really feels like home. I think what keeps us here now would be mostly family, but also the city itself is just so sick. And we have some of the best food in the world here because it’s so multicultural. There are just so many great options; I feel like we’re really spoiled.

After being distro flow on various US brands for a few years you found a home at Australian brand 4 Skateboards. What made you take that route and how is it at 4?
Yeah, I guess it’s quite hard to ride for a company when you’re not living in the same country. I’ve seen a lot of friends and others around the world make the same move. I’ve been a fan of 4 for so long, always loved their videos. The Perfect Amount of Lazy is such a good watch, and so many great Australian skateboarders have ridden for 4 over the years. Alex Campbell’s part in that video is so insane. But basically, I had been friends with Harry Clark from a few years earlier when we went on a Journal trip to China. I was also skating a lot with Morgs through our adidas trips at the time. I just figured it made so much sense, so I reached out, and they were down! It’s been really awesome. Plus, heading over to Perth while filming for this part was so fun, skating with all the guys and just hanging out.

Adam Davies Backside Nosegrind Photo Dave ChamiThe best back nosegrinds are measured in meters    Photo: Chami

We spent a lot of time travelling together the past six years when I was working for adidas. What is your fondest memory or a funny story from those times?
Something that stands out was on that adidas trip we did to Shanghai with the Japanese team. Teaching you, Hiroki Muraoka, Shin Sanbongi and Laurence Keefe the breezer game. I think it’s similar to “getting iced” in the States from what I hear. You guys were getting so into it. I have the best photo on my phone of you doing a puffer-fish face against the glass window of a Lawsons after a few too many breezers. But I found it so funny that you and Laurence got so into it, you were almost sabotaging your own team riders.

Adam Davies Pullquotes Snuck Past Security 2000

Oh, man, that’s some bad leadership on our end!
The other thing that stands out from that Shanghai trip, was just exploring buildings and seeing if we could get up to rooftops. I remember one night, we fully snuck past a sleeping security guard like in the movies, to get an elevator up to a top floor. We went through some business boardrooms, through some kitchens and onto the roof. Although then it had like a secondary roof that we could get up to if we climbed up this sketchy ladder, which we obviously did; we needed to get to the top! Anyway, we’re up there admiring the view and taking photos and all of a sudden this dude pops up the ladder. He had no English, so we thought we were fucked, like he was gonna be with the cops or something, but he ends up coming over to us and showing us photos of himself on other rooftops! He was there for the same thing! Anyway, we got him to take some group shots of us, then he wanted to take us to some other rooftops. We were over it by then, so we bounced back to the hotel.

I’ve noticed you don’t seem too involved on any kind of routine as far as diet or exercise, like I’ve seen you get plenty hammered on trips but still skate hard as fuck the next day. Am I right here? Do you have any kind of routines or things you do to be able to skate?
Yeah, I could definitely do more to help myself probably. But basically, I work Tuesday through Saturday full-time, so I guess my routine is: skate Sunday and Monday, and be real sore for the week ahead. By the next weekend, I’m good to go again. I guess throughout the week I tend to have pretty healthy days at home, eating soups, salads, super-healthy meals and no alcohol, which helps to offset the weekends’ drinks and more fun meals. Oh, and I ride my bike about ten miles each day traveling to and from work. When we’re out skating, we’re often clocking 13–19 miles on the bike, along with me probably filming a trick for a few hours. So that’s my main exercise, which seems to work out okay for me so far. Fingers crossed.

Adam Davies Switch Flip Frontside Noseslide Photo Dave ChamiIf riding your bike to work can help you switch flip front noseslide like Davies, then the war on cars is probably a good thing    Photo: Chami

When I am out skating or on a trip, it’s basically a holiday for me. Like my weekends, I’m away from work, so I’m just going to eat and drink whatever, skate as hard as I can. The first few days of any trip are always hard to adjust to, as I’m used to the few days off in between. But you just have to push through the sore legs and the hangover, ‘cause you’re only there for a short time. It’s always worth it, as I always want to be able to look back and feel like I did everything I could.

The Thrasher audience will have seen your part now. How did it come about, who was involved and what was it like putting it together?
Yeah, I hope everyone likes it. It feels weird to think it’s done and what the next project will be. Basically after we finished the 4 clip Holding Pattern which was a VX video, the first clip I got after that was the fakie tail half-Cab flip on Everest—the long ledge across the grass gap—with James James. Then we just had the idea to go full in on a part together for 4. His standards are always so high that I feel like he pushes me to get better and better footage. That does often mean a three-hour battle, or potentially multiple days of battles, which is incredible that he’s always there and down for—he’s the best. Of course, we had to give away some footage along the way to adidas projects and another little 4 clip, so it’s taken longer than we initially thought. But I’m really happy with how it’s come out.

Adam Davies Fakie Tail Kickflip 750You can't take a fakie tail kickflip this far with low standards 

You mentioned Everest. I love that all the Melbourne skate spots have these amazing nicknames, like “No Piss Plaza,” because there isn’t a bottleshop anywhere close. Do you also have a favorite name for a spot?
The spot names are always a crack up. I feel like I always hear them from Max Couling, and I think he’s come up with a lot of them. Probably the one that comes to mind straightaway was “Magnets.” I had absolutely no idea what he was on about or what spot it was when I heard him say it. It was this like natural street quarter that ran along this bike path, and it had a wall behind it that you could fly out and wallride or grind the quarter. It turned out Max named it “Magnets” before he had never even been there, as any street quarter is such a natural magnet for skaters. All of Melbourne had been there within the first two weeks of someone finding it! I think the funniest thing is that whenever he tells me the name of the spots, he says the name like it’s as normal as the sky’s name being the “sky.” It’s like, Of course I should know it, which makes it so much funnier that he named it that without ever having been there.

How about top five Melbourne spots of all time?
One: Lincoln square, for sure. Two: library. Three: No Piss. Four: Quick Stop, before they cut the tree down. Five: The Melbourne drains, as jacked as they are.

Flip in, flip out or both? How do you decide?
That’s the toughest question. No, actually the toughest question is, Should you do either? It’s so easy to do too much, and I probably already do. I find there’s a lot of tech tricks that I think I could do that just aren’t tasteful. There are some that even though I know it’s a bit much, I just need to do to get them out of my head, to see if I can actually do it. And also sometimes when I try to do less, I just feel like it’s not enough. So, I dunno, probably flip in—more options and more tasteful.

Tell us about your secret wedding and then the fake wedding?
Oh, man, it was the best! We planned our wedding to be here in Melbourne with all our friends and family, but were never interested in doing the big ceremony in front of everyone and all that. Our plan was just to go to the town hall, do the official stuff and then have a fun, almost like an engagement-party-style wedding reception. Anyway, we were headed to the States to visit Steff’s sister and brother in law for her nephew’s 4th birthday, and they live in LA. We just started to think, How much more fun it would be to detour up to Vegas and get married there instead of the town hall? So we did! Little White Chapel, married in a Cadillac by Elvis, the whole deal, it was so much fun! Obviously, we had to let our immediate family know the plan. For the rest of our family and friends we just kept our mouths zipped and surprised them at the wedding in Melbourne. It was so fun, best day ever.

Adam Davies Switch Flip Photo Dave ChamiNo passport, no problem, Davies takes a trip over the channel with a switch flip    Photo: Chami

Tell us about the honeymoon that nearly didn’t happen?
So it had been ages since we’d had a proper holiday together, ‘cause of COVID and everything. So we had tacked on a week in an all-inclusive resort in Mexico, which would have been like a mini-honeymoon after Vegas. Then we had a week in LA with our family. Anyway, to sign our wedding documents and everything, we needed all our documentation to prove who we were. Being from Australia, everywhere in the States needs to see your passport. So we had a little bag with all our documents and stuff we’d need with us. Cut to us getting our just-married wedding photos taken out in front of the Little White Chapel. Obviously, you don’t want to be holding a backpack in your wedding shots, so we put it down within eyesight, right where we were out in front. Anyway, next thing we know, the bag’s just fucking gone. They didn’t touch the bottle of champagne or the flowers, just snatched the bag. We were right there and didn’t even see who did it, but its’ South Las Vegas Boulevard, where there’s a lot of sketchy people around. Luckily, I had both of our phones and my wallet on me, but yeah, both our passports were stolen. We look around for a bit, in case they ransacked it and ditched it anywhere close, but no luck. I thought, It’s fine, we’ve got travel insurance. Let’s just continue with our night. We cancel all of Steff’s cards, and just say, Fuck it, let’s have the best night we can. Remember, we’re halfway through getting our wedding photos done, and we won’t get another chance to do that again. Anyway, we suck it up, get a drink, shoot the rest of our photos and it was the best. Walking around Vegas, just married, it was like a movie.

Adam Davies Kickflip Backside Noseblunslide Photo Paul BattlayPicture-perfect kicky back noseblunt    Photo: Battlay

Here’s the thing, though, when we get our emergency replacement passports once we’re back in LA, they tell us, If you go to Mexico as you had planned, the USA will not let you come back with this emergency passport, even if only to transfer flights. Cancel Mexico, stay in America and fly straight home. What was great, though, was that in the case of lost or stolen passports, the travel insurance we had is designed to keep you having the closest trip to what you had originally booked. So we changed the Mexico trip to Hawaii instead, which was so nice and even more on-brand, as there’s so much Elvis lore in Hawaii! It ended up being perfect. Due to the insurance, we got to do Hawaii on a Mexico budget, which worked in our favor! Although, we still can’t wait to get to Mexico.

Adam Davies Pullquotes We All Have Jobs 2000

Man, that whole situation sounds so stressful, but amazing that you came up in the end! You work at your family optometry business full time. How do you manage to hold down what seems to me like a damn-serious job along with a relationship and still churn out footage?
Yeah, it’s awesome and something I never thought I’d do or be into. My mum opened up Carlton Eyelab in 2013, and I joined in 2014, just basically helping her out with a day here and there, greeting people and stuff. Over time, I learned more and grew to like the work, eventually transitioning to full time, and then studying to become an optician. Now, we’ve basically been running it together for the last 5 years, I’d say. It’s more of a high-end store, where we import handmade frames from small businesses around the world, so we travel a bit to find new brands that aren’t here in Australia. We design our own collection of frames as well, which I really enjoy. I think that really keeps it interesting. If it was just your run-of-the-mill optometrist, I don’t think I’d ever have lasted. With my wife Steff, we always try to either head out for dinner or make a really nice dinner and some cocktails at least once or twice a week to have some quality time. But really, I’m just so lucky. After 12 years together, she knows the time it takes to get these projects done. When it comes to getting footage, I just try to use my time wisely. Like I said about going on trips, I know the time I have, so I try to make the most of it. Hopefully I come with an idea already, not just spending time at skateparks and stuff. But to be honest, I feel like most skaters out there who are putting out parts all work full time. I feel like the, Whoa, this guy filmed a part while working full time kinda thing is a bit redundant these days. We all have jobs. You either get out there and make the most of your time, or you don’t. Which is also fine, as we’ve all got bills to pay and life happening. For those who grew up filming parts and wanting to continue doing it, it’ll probably take longer than if you got to skate every day of your life. I feel like it’s almost more rewarding when it’s not your full-time job.

Adam Davies Switch Ride On Crooked Grind Photo Paul BattlayMight not be an all-time spot, but Adam makes it work with a ride-on switch crook     Photo Battlay

You’re one of the few Melbourne skaters that I know who owns their own home, which I find super impressive. How did you pull that off and can you give us any tips to financial freedom?
Financial freedom? I’ve never been more in debt in my life! Nah, I think a lot of people talk about it being impossible to buy a home these days. It’s certainly hard, but saving as a couple with two incomes and having a goal to save towards makes it doable. It just takes a lot of time to save up enough for a deposit, and then a lot of stress going to auctions and shit. Glad to be on this side of it, and to be able to work on the house and not have the fear of having to look for a new place again in 12 months. These interest rate raises are pretty scary.

Favorite Australian skater?
First that comes to mind right now is Jae Overton—fast lines, tasteful mannys and he will always make you laugh.

Favorite Australian skate video?
I would have said Part and Parcel or Burbs 2 or something, but Cam’s new vid Arcadia is pretty amazing. Have you seen it yet?

Adam Davies Nose Wheelie Photo Paul BattlayTight lines and sketchy nose manuals are sick too    Photo: Battlay

I haven’t but I want to see it bad! Favorite fellow bespectacled skater?
Man, theres a few that come to mind: Sean Ryan, Lindsey Robertson, but probably my fave would be Dom Henry.

Favorite skater balanced on two wheels?
Shit, man, Dom could take it out again, but I’d have to say either Daewon or Bobby De Keyzer.

Adam Davies Pullquotes Dried Out Boards 2000
Adam Davies Backside Flip 750Precision backside flip with the hottest board in the streets

One of my favorite tricks in your part is the backside flip over the super skinny water gap. Can you take us behind that clip?
Man, what a saga, a fun one, though. That spot has been there forever, and I used to ride past it on the bike track thinking I could do something over it, but it’s so skinny. It’s just barely over a board-and-a-half width, which limits your options. Anyway, I was out skating with Paul Battlay and Max Couling, reshooting the slappy switch crook. When we were done with that and thinking about what we should do next, Paul suggested I skate the water gap. We went to check it out, and I thought maybe I could backside flip it. But James wasn’t with us that day, so we came up with a bit of a game plan, as it was a guarantee that my board would go in the water every shot. So the following weekend, it was on. I brought two setups, and Corey Leso brought his little blowtorch thing to dry off the landing, the grip and the tail of the board that fell in. He’s doing that while I try again on the other board and then swap them over and repeat. There were a few times when I caught the board to stop it from falling in, and I swear just that felt almost as good as making the trick! The dumb thing I did was bring two different shaped boards like an idiot—4 has been swapping across to a new shape, which was the one I prefer, so that made it hard to adjust for a different backside flip. On each attempt, I would basically try to do a backside flip along this painted line on the bike path where I was rolling in, and try to pop off and land on the line. Once I got it, I would roll in and try it. I reckon the whole saga was around three hours, which is pretty standard for me. Once I landed it, we dried out the boards a little too much until they were just smouldering dust, then we topped the afternoon off with dinner at the pub. I made sure to buy Corey a bottle of whisky the next weekend for being on the clock that long with the blowtorch. Couldn’t have done it without him.

Adam Davies KF Back Tail KF 750Is flip in, flip out too much? We think it's just enough

Lastly, your ender is, as far as I know, an NBD on a handrail. I’ve also heard that it’s the only handrail you’ve ever skated. Can you tell me about it and what went into getting that trick.
Yeah, I’m a pussy when it comes to rails, but that one is so perfect for those tricks in my mind—low to get onto and mellow enough to flip out of. I skated it back in 2011 and did a back tail flip and back tail bigflip. Although looking back, I should probably have done the bigflip again, but fuck it. Anyway, we went to that area to look at another spot and Gabbers started messing around on the rail, caveman-flip boarding it and caveman crooking it, which is so gnarly. Anyway, I sussed it out again, thinking, What else could I do? It only has like a one-push run-up so it hasn’t been as destroyed as it could have been otherwise. Anyway, had the idea, but thought I need to dust off the cobwebs, so I started skating the small rail at City Park, as I hadn’t skated a rail in 11 years. I just wanted to build my confidence up, and eventually was like, Let’s go! We rode over to the rail and, of course, that’s the day they’d ripped up the entire landing—Murphy’s Law. Anyway, when they repaved the whole landing, which probably worked in my favor, we went back for me to try it. I think each session I slowly got closer, but I reckon I was jumping on that thing for around three hours each time. All up, it took three sessions, all about three hours long to make it with varying crews coming to watch each time. But Gabbers and James were there every session, which was so nice to have that consistent support through that. And when I landed it, that glory ride down that hill felt so damn good!

Davies Pro Surprises 2000Adam gets the well-deserved two-by-4 pro surprise

I saw you got surprised by the guys at 4 with your pro board at the premiere of your part at Fast Times. Just wanted to say congrats! How did that all go down and how did you feel?
It was insane! They actually surprised me first thing that morning with the white-graphic board, very casually and with less hoo-haa. I was a bit startled by it all, I think—super surprised and a bit hungover. It felt quite surreal seeing my name on a board. I don’t think I gave the best reaction, ‘cause I was just stunned. Harry, Rowan and Ben had already all set the boards up. It was wild! I didn’t really know what to do with myself, just glitching out kinda. Basically they told me there were going to be boards on the wall at the premire, and they knew I’d see them then. They figured they’d surprise me earlier, so it wasn’t weird before the video played or whatever. Little did I know it was all a bloody double bluff! The video ended and I just remember everyone rushing up with boards, and I was like, Wait, what’s going on? That’s not my board! And then I saw it was a second board with my dog Wade on it! Everyone was screaming, cheering, handing me boards. Then Steele came out with a box of Sure Ts that he had made for the night, also with Wade on it. All a massive surprise, I was blown away. Definitely an insane moment, and more of the classic board surprise you see online. They were so stoked with the double bluff, it went off so well and I was genuinely shocked every step of the way. It felt great to share that with James after all the hard work we both put into the part. I seriously owe him everything for his patience—and you! I Wish you were there for it, Dave. After helping, shooting and organising so much of this part, it would have been so sick to share with you, too.

Thanks, Adam. Always good to chat with you and congrats on the part. We love it!
Thanks, Dave. I love you and thanks to you, James and Brett for making this all a possibility!

Adam Davies Kickflip Backside Tailslide Kickflip Fakie Photo Dave ChamiOne more time for the people in the back, as seen in our October '23 issue of the mag. Well done, Adam!    Photo: Chami
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