Skate Gnus: Check in – Casey Foley

Melbourne’s Casey Foley is known the world over for his flowy ledge game and almost baffling productivity.

On top of filming for his long list of sponsors and posting daily clips on Instagram, the 30-year-old NZ transplant is an accomplished photographer and publisher and even distributes used boards to underprivileged Melbourne kids through his Second Try ProgramI caught up with Casey over the old Instagram chat while he was out for his morning stroll. 

I guess Melbourne’s lockdown was pretty intense, but also an interesting time to document. How did you handle it?

I was lucky enough to be working four hours a day, so I’d bike into Fast Times every morning at nine-thirty, get there and pack some orders until two or three, then go skate for an hour or so before heading back home. I’d be the only one on the bike track from Brunswick East all the way to the city; it was really eerie. 

It was pretty gnarly but I was lucky enough to have a schedule that involved exercise, work and a bit of skating. I just skated IMAX on the way home, and because I was skating there so much and filming myself selfie-cam or whatever, I was doing all this shit that I was super stoked on. I showed Josh Roberts and we were like, we should film a little clip here. So as soon as restrictions eased a little bit, we went to IMAX and filmed everything again on a VX and made a little part. So I don’t know, because I was skating IMAX so much during the lockdown, I got better at skating. 

And skating by yourself is good; you kind of go into training mode.

Yeah, you start trying random shit and remembering old tricks. So, it was pretty grim but it worked out pretty good. We filmed that clip when you were allowed to skate with three or four people and leave your five-kilometre radius. But that didn’t last long, maybe a month, then we got back to the second round of lockdown and I was like, fuck I’m over IMAX! 

Congrats on getting married. Was that something else that happened during lockdown?

I proposed in New Zealand on a trip we had early last year, and we locked in a date for the next year: 5th of February. We didn’t cancel any vendors through all the lockdowns, we just kept it booked in and hoped it would work out. It turned out to be perfect timing. The following week, we went into lockdown again for five days.

You’ve included a portrait of Morgan Campbell, a well-loved character in Australian skateboarding. Can you tell us a bit of your history with Morgs, as well as the background on that photo?

I’ve known Morgs for close to ten years now. The first time we met I was skating 45mm wheels with flatspots and he was like, ‘I’ve got so many sets of wheels, come to the bar I work at one night and I’ll give you some.’ I was too scared to go because this guy is a legend and one of my favourite skaters, and I was too shy. It’s funny because now we’re such good friends and have gone on so many trips together, but at first, I was too scared to even talk to him.

If I go skating with him and I’m sore and complaining it’s like, shut the fuck up, this dude is 47 and he’s chopping. He helps me check myself. 

The day of this photo, it was our first skate without two-hour restrictions, and you could hang out with five people. It felt like complete and utter freedom because we’d been locked down for a long time. Unfortunately, Keith Hufnagel passed two days before that, so we decided to skate the drains out of respect for his bank skating and his skating in general. The drains are somewhere I don’t usually have too much fun, just because I skate 49mm wheels – but we were just doing wallrides and ollies; it was super fun. 

I didn’t know Huf, but the one time I met him was in LA with my friend Philly Santosuosso. We were getting a meal and Philly was fanning out, like, ‘Yo that’s Huf over there! I’m gonna buy him a cupcake, man.’ So this New Orleans gangster goes up to Huf with a pink cupcake and says, ‘Yo man, I appreciate you. Thanks for the inspiration, have a cupcake.’ I think Huf was stoked, but I was like dude, you just bought Huf a cupcake. 

photo: Tomoki Peters

What’s it like being part of the Western Australian mafia, aka Butter Goods? 

To be honest, it feels about the same as it did in 2012 when I first got on the team. Garth and Pidge are two of my best friends. They’re a bit older than me, but we all grew up nerding out over 411 videos and they’re ultimate skate rats. When I got on, they were just making tees and hats, but they were always thinking outside of the box and had all these rad ideas. Pretty early on, they paid for me to go to San Francisco, which was amazing. They helped me go to New York, Barcelona, London, Italy, and Sydney in between. These guys are running a small clothing company from Western Australia, the most isolated spot on earth, and they’re putting money into me skating all over the world. That’s fucking rad.   

They’re obviously a lot bigger now, but through collabs like the Mingus one and allowing us to do our own product, you can see where their roots in skateboarding are. I feel like you could be the biggest brand on earth, and if you stay true to your roots and the underground scene you came up in, then people are going to keep wanting your shit.

Speaking of travel, you included some of your travel photography in the photos you sent through. How do you feel about travel in 2021?

To be honest, I’m at an age where I’m content with what I’ve got. I feel super lucky to be in Melbourne, one of the best skate cities I’ve ever been in. The size and the landscape, the free public transport, you can bike A to B… in terms of skating, I’m happy here. Also, the last trip I went on, I was super sore. I’m not trying to be that guy, but I’m 30 now and you can’t really walk for a couple of days if you try a trick for two hours. 

But in terms of general travel, yeah, it’s going to suck for a while I guess. Me and my partner would love to be able to go wherever. We went back to New Zealand in February last year and had the best time ever hiking up all these mountains. New Zealand’s the best; we love going to Bali… but yeah, what do you do? I’m content with what I’ve got here; I just try to see that side of it.

I like seeing people skate in their own cities, too. Flying all around the place to film yourself skating seems kind of lame, almost.

For sure, I like to represent my city in my footage. And I like seeing Ben Gore skate in San Francisco, you know? He lives there, he knows how those streets work. It’s just a setting, and if Melbourne’s my setting, then I’m into that.

Photo: Tomoki Peters

It’s also cool that you’re now part of Magenta—a brand based in France, but with team riders all over the world, and it still feels cohesive.

Yeah, I’m so stoked. It’s funny how that came about, actually. It was in the middle of lockdown and I was at work just staring at the Magenta boards, and feeling like I really wanted to ride one. I hit up Soy Panday, one of the founders, just saying, ‘hey bro, it might be a bit out there and I’ve got a board sponsor, but would you look at putting on any Aussie flow riders?’ and he replied, ‘Dude, I wish you hit me up five years ago.’ I was like, fuck! ‘What does that mean?’ and he was like, ‘Of course I’m keen.’ 

It was a very hard decision to make because I was with Four forever, but Brett Margaritas and Ben Maclachlan are OGs and they know how shit works. You get an opportunity that’s better for you, then you take it. So then, Soy was like, ‘You and Morgs can film a part for the next video,’ and I’m like, ‘What do you mean, me and Morgs?’ and he told me Morgan was going to ride for them, too. I called Morgs straight away, like, ‘What are you doing, you cheeky dog?’ So it was completely out of the blue, but we both made the decision separately and it worked out really well.

You’ve included some photos of Izaak Ashley, what’s his deal?

Oh yeah, he’s the homie. He instagram messaged me like two years ago, he must’ve been about 18 at the time, to say he was into my skating. It’s sick when people reach out, but you don’t really expect the kid to be a super sick skater. I don’t really message random people on the gram, you know?

Well, it sounds a bit like you messaging Soy Panday out of the blue.

Yeah, you’re right! So I checked out his Instagram and he’s shredding. Like, who is this guy? So I messaged him back and we arranged to go skate. He lives out in Balnarring on the Mornington Peninsula, literally the middle of nowhere. He would take three buses and a couple of trains to get to the city. He has so much style and is really photogenic; he’s a really nice kid. I took some photos of him, shared them, put them in a zine I made. People were hyped on this stylish tall guy from Balnarring, and now he’s getting flowed boxes from Butter Goods. He was just in the Mingus edit doing some lines at IMAX. How sick is that? I like those photos and I think he has a cool style.

What do you think your responsibilities are as a sponsored skater these days? How do you do a good job?

I like the feeling of filming and getting tricks, then putting them out there for people to see.  I don’t feel any responsibility, because it’s something I’d be doing anyway. If Butter want something, I’ll do it; it’s a respect thing. They don’t even post iPhone footage, you know? They don’t even want it. I think people know that I’ll just do my thing, and I think that’s enough. 

Just let people see you doing your thing.

That’s a good way to put it, yeah. I like seeing clips on Instagram, the more the better, but there are also some skaters where I’m like, that was gross, I didn’t want to see that. Like their parts are great but their iPhone stuff is pretty bad. I don’t know, people probably say the same about me.

I doubt it.

Ultimately, I think you should have fun and keep doing it. If you feel responsibility, it takes the fun out of it.

Maybe you’re with the wrong sponsor if it feels like that.

That’s exactly right. When me and Morgs got on Magenta they asked us to film a clip. There was a bit of responsibility because we had to go into the city and actually get decent tricks and all the b-roll stuff; but I was just skating the city with Morgs, filming a clip for a brand I really love. It was exciting. 

That’s rad.

Yo, I just thought of another funny Morgan story! 

I’m listening.

I was in hospital around 2010 with a broken ankle. It had gotten infected and I was getting surgery to get metal removed, it was a whole ordeal. I hadn’t met Morgs at the time, but because I loved his skating so much and what the brand Four was doing at the time, I snuck out of hospital on crutches and with a drip in my arm to go to the premiere of the Four video. I had a few beers and made it back to the hospital at like 11 o’clock. He talked about that in his speech at our wedding; I’d kind of forgotten about that. 

So Morgan was a groomsman at your wedding?

Yeah, he was.

That’s so heartwarming.

Yeah, I know. Haha!

Casey skates for: Buttergoods, Magenta, Nike SB, Fast Times, Venture Trucks, Palomino and Picture wheels

Sign up for the Monster Children Newsletter