Benny Fairfax and Chewy Cannon on the Year That Was

Words by Anthony Pappalardo

What started in the mid ’90s via 411 Video Magazine and the Flip team can be considered the ‘First Wave’ of the British Invasion of America.

This, in part, opened up the pipeline for international skateboarding at large to become a part of the ‘De-Californication’ of the industry. Part of that was the colourful skating of Tom Penny, Geoff Rowley, and the underrated Carl Shipman.

In 2017, the global market has expanded to such a degree that European brands have taken significant market shares in the skate industry, the most recognizable being Palace. When you see a park clip from Texas of a kid in track pants and a football jersey set to house music, that’s because of Palace, pretty much.

Here’s the thing—despite whatever exists in the sphere of streetwear, Palace remains a skateboarding company, entirely. Regardless of the collaborations, elaborate storefronts, or celebrities that don their gear, when they put out content, you’re instantly reminded of their skate in skating, as well as how they involve themselves with the culture of it.

2017 has been another productive year for the brand, releasing two videos, adding Lucas Puig, opening a store in New York City, as well as a temporary indoor park in London, and plenty of other shit I’ve probably forgotten. It’s a lot. Team riders Benny Fairfax and Chewy Cannon recently caught up with us to chat a year of Palace and their new colorways for adidas Skateboarding.

The release party for the new Palace video, Palasonic, at the 40/40 Club was quite a spectacle. You guys able to remember anything from it?

Benny Fairfax: Showing the video in Jay-Z’s private sports bar in New York was pretty mental! One of the boys woke up in broad daylight on the side of the road next to his wig from the night before. That was a favourite moment for him (laughs).     

Chewy Cannon: The whole tour was a bit blurry but I remember being shitfaced in New York! I can’t tell you what happened, though, but the good times rolled! And Nugget (Palace designer) can ride a bull!

Is it a more arduous process filming VHS?

Benny: It’s pretty much the same, to be honest. We use the same century fisheye and like with the VX1, there’s no fold-out screen. So, to watch back footage you have to film it through the viewfinder with an iPhone camera. Sometimes, they stop working when it’s cold as well.

The shoes, the video, and now an indoor park in London, The Mwadlands. The original park had a lot of history, did you get to frequent it?

Benny: Yeah, I used to go to Radlands every year for my birthday and to all the contests. I knocked myself out on the first trick of a contest run once. My mate Jake fell off the side of the vert ramp straight onto a can of Coke. I got to see Penny skate a few times. He’s the fuckin’ best.

Chewy: RADLANDS. Yeah, I met Benny there when I was 16 (laughs).  Good times, good memories. Long live Tom Penny!

Ted Barrows recently talked about “Anglophile skaters,”— kids who emulate British culture. It’s a testament to how impactful Palace and UK skate culture is now, compared to say, 10 years ago. The Menace team used to say how they’d be on tour in Europe and see people in the ‘Fabian Costume,’. Do you notice that touring around?

Benny: I don’t know about a Chewy outfit, but I saw a grandma wearing the adidas x Palace shoes once.

The Palace Pro is a really unique silhouette. What are your favourite parts of the shoe?

Benny: I love everything about the Palace Pro. They’re good to skate in, straight out of the box.

Chewy: I really love the whole shoe. The Palace Pro is good for chilling and skating. It looks banging! But the sole gives the shoe a soul, I reckon.

Do you ever trip out that the brand you ride for has an entire shoe devoted to it?

Benny: It’s mental they’ve brought out loads of shoes already.

Chewy: Yeah, I prang out all the time about that shit!! I’m gassed!

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