Photos by Dougal Gorman
Raised in the suburbs of Thornton, Australia, Marley Rae grew up skating nothing but homemade ramps and a prefab skatepark he claims was ‘kind of the butts.’
At age 15, he began hitching rides into town with his sister who worked minutes from Newcastle’s famous ‘Bar Bowl’. Fast forward three years, and Marley is now a Newy local who skates the eleven-foot bowl as if it were a concrete curb. I caught up with Marley at Bar Bowl and, after a sweltering morning of crunching coping and laughing at scooter kids getting hung up, we hit the road for the next spot. On the way, I left Marley in charge of the aux. This is my version of the personality test. Being eighteen and all, I assumed he’d play some mumble rap bullshit, but then-BOOM-out of nowhere he plays ‘1979’ by the Smashing Pumpkins. This was a pleasant surprise to both me and Marley’s parents, who apparently couldn’t believe it either when he first played it at home.
As we approached Charleston skatepark, Marley explained how rough the area of Charleston is. ‘There’s been a brawl here that blocked traffic,’ he said. ‘Some guy had a shank. I’ve also seen about sixteen people get pepper-sprayed by the cops.’ Over the course of the day, I learnt that Newcastle has its fair share of troublemakers and a big, bad drug culture. ‘A lot of kids start causing trouble when they have nothing to do,’ he says. Which doesn’t seem to be a problem if you live and breathe skating like Marley does. As far as eighteen-year-olds go, this kid has his head screwed on, and his answers to the following twenty questions prove just that.
Are you named after Bob Marley?
Yes, sure am.
How old are you?
Just turned eighteen in October.
Where did you knock back your first legal schooner?
Cricketers Arms in Newcastle.
Different and unique.
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What do you do for work?
Delivery boy at Dominos pizza.
Weirdest shit you’ve seen while delivering pizzas?
Two blokes fighting with crutches at the housing commission.
Go-to pizza topping?
Definitely beef and onion.
Did 2020 cook you?
Yep, big time. I lost my old job and was meant to travel this year.
Most watched skate video?
Nike SB, Oski, Orange Label.
Most useless talent?
I can put my tongue up my nose.
Favourite local skate spot?
Either Bar Beach or Charlestown.
Something most people don’t know about you?
I lived in Thailand for two years.
Worst skating trend?
Coloured camo pants.
Most played song in the car?
‘1979’ by Smashing Pumpkins.
The best advice someone’s given you?
Do things for the love of it.
Over rotated a 540 and broke my wrist.
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A big shoe or clothing brand.
What would your pro board graphic be?
Damn … I’m not sure, hey.
Who do you look up to?
Skate and study!