For those not familiar, where in Australia is this?
This is in the outskirts of Katoomba in NSW, at one of the many lookouts over the Megalong valley. We went up there on a Passport x Nike trip to release their new Dunk High collab. The shoe was inspired by a hiking boot and exploring the great outdoors; hence the idea was formed for two separate trips up to the Blue mountains and lower country NSW at the end of last year. We had a damn good time. Camping, waterfalls and country pubs, essentially the dream job. We found a lot of stuff. It doesn’t really get any better to be honest.
Did you know this rail existed before the trip?
My friend Dave, has been taking people there for a long time. Over the last couple of years, he’s mentioned to me “Bring Squish up here to the lookout” more than a couple of times [Laughs]. I can think of at least 2 times previous to this trip we had gone and looked at it, either in the rain or late afternoon with the insane sunset, so the idea was always in the back of our heads. While in the planning stages of the trip – it was discussed that this would be an incredible ender, as it essentially encompasses everything the trip was about. It had everything the shoe represented and the colour palette was spot on.
Pressure on for Squish…
He was very well aware that it would be a nice ender, I remember him saying he liked the rail, which is a good start, so we always knew there was a possibility. He definitely had a lot of pressure on him because we made such a big deal out of it, but he handled it like he always does. Always bet on Squish.
You’ve shot more than a few bangers with him, the Thrasher cover being the first one that comes to mind…
Yeah, we’ve had a good crack over the years for sure.
When you saw this rail, were you confident he’d be all over it?
I had absolutely no doubt he was going to do it, it just didn’t come easy and that wasn’t even down to him. Between rain, wind and having to put a lot of work into the spot to make it skateable it took a couple of missions, but it was just a matter of time. We even had to deal with snakes on the run up! [Laughs]
What was the process for him, did he just man-up and go for it?
Yeah, he always just goes for it, took some decent slams as well. Couple of roll-in grinds then just straight into it.
Did you consider any other angles or was this just on the money from the get-go?
To me, there was only one angle. Someone else might look at it differently, but for that trick and the landscape in the background it had to be shot like that. That angle also compliments the shoe, so to me it was a no brainer. There is a bench we are standing on but we also had a 6ft ladder, so it was a combination of standing on both. I couldn’t fit the spot in with a 24mm lens so I had to use a 20mm to frame it up properly – there’s a little something for the photo nerds.
“He definitely had a lot of pressure on him because we made such a big deal out of it, but he handled it like he always does. Always bet on Squish.
When did you realise what an epic photo you’d taken?
How do I say this without sounding like a dick?… I knew the photo was going to be well received but I had no idea it would take off like it did. The response I got was insane.
Didn’t Dustin say something like ‘the most importantly beautiful photo to ever represent my beautiful country…’?
Yeah, and then gave it an absolutely shocking crop on the repost [Laughs] Stoked he’s into it, he’s from the Blue Mountains, so I’m happy it made him hyped.
You also released a limited-edition book for the launch of the shoe – can people still get their hands on a copy of that?
We only did a small print run but there should still be a couple of copies floating around, They can be found at the Pass~Port Store & Gallery on Oxford St and Fast Times in Melbourne. I had a lot of people hit me up for prints too, which I’m grateful for. I’m picking the first batch up tomorrow actually, and sending them out. Get at me if you want one, I’m trying to buy a new camera [Laughs]
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