Photos: Thomas Robinson
All the way from Wanaka via Wellington, a young Digby Luxton ventured over the ditch eight years ago to join the ever-expanding Kiwi skate contingent in Melbourne.
He quickly established himself as one of the most productive and well-rounded of the crew, with a knack for unlocking non-spots and making it all look infuriatingly easy. After a surprise introduction to the team in Hoddle’s recent Heavy Mayo and an upcoming part in a global Vans production, 2021 looks to be the year of Digby. I gave him a call and interrupted his precious after-work roll.
How are you doing?
I’m doing good, just down at IMAX having a wee skate this afternoon.
Oh, nice. Is there a big crew there today?
Nah, everyone went out on a mission today. My friend Eli is in town from Sydney, and on his story, they were kind of raving in the van and going out to a spot. I was stuck at work like, awww! I was jealous, but they all just rocked up now, so we’re having a roll under the lights.
I miss that place.
IMAX is actually popping off at the moment. Heaps of people skating, heaps of rollerblading, people set up cones and do slalom, freestyle dancing and random stuff. A few of the ledges are uncapped, and all hours of the night someone will be doing something down here. It’s pretty cool.
It’s got a bit of that MACBA vibe.
That’s kind of how it seems. It’s funny, we’ve got our little zone in the summer by the grass; then the winter one under the lights.
Is that where you did that frontside noseslide all the way along one of those benches to switch heel out?
Yeah, that was a nightmare.
It didn’t look like one.
Well, it was in the middle of lockdown when we filmed it. I would go skate that ledge with LC (Lincoln Child aka Ben Lawrie); he uncapped it all and got it nice and slippery because the movie theatre was shut. It was the best thing to front nose, so we were just trying to learn any trick out of it. That one was tricky.
I remember Callum doing a really long front nose to fakie on another ledge there ages ago. It was the longest one of those I’d ever seen, but now all you guys have got them.
He did the blue block, which is probably the longest one here. So he still holds the trophy. But I don’t know, I think because the ledges are a bit higher, they’re that perfect height to lock in and just sit on it. And they all grind and slide so well, even though it’s the oldest concrete ever.
Maybe if I make it over there you can show me how it’s done.
Hell yeah, take advantage of that trans-Tasman bubble! It’s nice to know we can pop between each country now. My parents are on my case to get home for a visit but I’ve just got too much on at the moment.
You do have a lot on at the moment. I was walking down the street the other day and saw a huge poster of you stuck on a wall.
Haha, the Vans ad?
Yeah! How does that feel?
I’m stoked, to be honest. I like that the footage came out in the Hoddle vid and that was the photo to go with it. It was at a spot where we all hang out during the summer, so it’s a bit special. I didn’t realise it was up in New Zealand. I knew Elijah did one up in Auckland, his one is really sick.
And of course we should talk about your surprise ‘welcome’ part in the Hoddle video. Everyone was pretty excited about that one.
Oh dude, I couldn’t be more stoked.
How long was that in the works?
I think it must’ve been in January. Caeylen rang me one day, and was like, ‘Look, we’ve been chatting. We want you in the video and we want you to skate for Hoddle,’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, of course!’ I’d actually been buying all the Hoddle gear and Bryce would run over and drop it at my house after work and refund the shipping. I kind of bought my way onto the team. Haha! Yeah, I’m over the moon, it’s so cool.
Was Mappy pissed at you for leaving XEN? How did that go down?
Nah, I didn’t want to have that conversation, but he understands. He’s a big supporter of Hoddle himself. Anthony has helped me out with so much stuff, both him and Andrew.
That’s good. It seems meant to be, like it was written in the stars.
I’m stoked, and the video is amazing. I’m really proud of all the other dudes involved.
Obviously, everyone was going all-out for it. It has a lot of heart, that video.
Absolutely, and Fiddy put it together so well. He spent a lot of time on it and the effort paid off, I’m stoked for him.
Your mate, George, told me you’re working on a Vans part?
Yeah, that started before I knew about the Hoddle vid; George and I have been chipping away at it for a while. We started around the end of last year when he was living down here, but then he moved back to Sydney, so I’ve been going up there every weekend so I can film with him.
Cool, so do you know who else is in it?
I’m not really allowed to say, haha! There are a few people around the world involved, so it’s pretty exciting. There will be a little Australian section, then a European one, then the US as well. It’s supposed to come out in September. I’ve been on a few trips to Sydney recently with Simmo and Adelaide to skate and film with George and Chima. It’s been really cool; I’m heading up there again on Friday.
So most of the footage in the new part will be in Sydney?
A big chunk of it so far. I’m going to knuckle down and try to get a bunch of stuff here with Fiddy over the next few months. But it’s kind of refreshing to get footage in Sydney after the Hoddle stuff. It’s a change of scenery and the spots are way different to Melbourne.
In one of the pictures for this interview, Adelaide is holding up a big hazard tape so you can get a good run-up I think?
Yeah, they were cleaning the floor. The main guy from the building was trying to kick us out the whole time while we were mucking around. They put that tape there and I couldn’t duck under it because my knees are too fragile at my old age. So she had to hold it up; it looks cool in the photo.
You and Adelaide work together at Hemley skate shop, right?
Yep, we’re in the office together. I do all the online stuff, like the packing and the website stuff, while she gets all the stock and does all the social media work. It’s cool, there’s lots of flexibility. We finish at three every afternoon so we can go skating. It’s a good gig.
I hear you have some dental bills you’re taking care of at the moment?
I’m all done now! My final payment has gone through, we’re finishing up tomorrow. I pretty much let my teeth rot over the past few years. I’m a big fan of chocolate, and it got to the point where I couldn’t take the pain anymore. I had to get one tooth ripped out but I didn’t like the look of it so I got an implant, and tomorrow I get the new tooth. So for the last year or so I’ve been smiling with a big gap in my teeth. It isn’t a good thing.
You seem to be doing quite well without it.
It’s funny because Ben Lawrie knocked his same tooth out skating, so he has to go through the exact same thing. We just laugh about it. It’s so expensive and time-consuming. Going to the dentist is such a traumatic experience. So tomorrow I get my new tooth, they can screw it in. The dentist is like, ‘Alright Digby, I’m going to see you every six months for the rest of your life.’ She’s going to be on my case.
She thinks it’s going to happen again?
No, it’s because she doesn’t want it to happen again. She’s an older lady and she said when she retires her daughter will take care of me. I’m like, cool, I’m more than happy to do that.
She’s got a nice little earner there. Did you send LC there?
No, but I did send another mate to her. She didn’t acknowledge that referral with a discount or anything, though.
That would be an amazing sponsor.
Oh god, it would be perfect.
Digby is sponsored by Vans Australia. Check out the skate classics range here.