As social media continues to bring bladers from all corners of the planet closer together, so too did it bring Matt Ford to our attention. Regularly posting on Instagram under the handle @mattford88, it wasn’t long before we found ourselves searching for his page to see what new clips he’d posted, and what new style upgrades he’d unlocked along the way. Because if Matt’s IG videos make anything clear, it’s that dedication to the small details is what elevates stylish rollerblading above that which most of us can achieve. Armed with that information and a desire to know more about the man behind the feed, we sent Sam Cooper out into the streets to capture some Matt in action while we convinced our subject to answer these questions. Now experience the vibes for yourself.
* * * *
Hey Matt, thanks for putting the time in with Cooper to make all these great images. Well done!
But I like to start at the top with you telling everyone your name, age, and where you live. So go for it.
My name is Matt Ford. I’m 30 years old from Peterborough, England.
And how long have you been blading?
Been skating for around 16/17 years. I started when I was around 13/14 years old… Just rolling around playing with a hockey stick to start with, like most kids.
Who or what got you started on skates?
I think my mum had just got me a set one year, maybe for my birthday or Christmas and I was doing the hole hockey thing with the local kids that lived nearby. I remember me and my friend climbed into the school one summer, up to no good probably. Two guys I knew were back there grinding the ledges and jumping the stairs. That was the day I put my hockey stick down… haha.
Besides that, what were some early influences?
Earlier ones, Sean Kelso, the slider bar edits used to be my jam! Chris Cheshire, Brian Aragon, Mike Johnson, Alex Broskow. I’ll try to cap it at those five…
What about your influences today? How have they changed maybe from the early ones?
Kelso and Broskow are here to stay, it’s kinda changed now in the sense I like to watch the people I know more, so I can be like “Yo, you crazy bruh” haha. Bobi Spassov is up there now, always puts something cool together, style too! Eugen Enin, technically insane. Leon Humphries is a swag dude from the UK, he’s getting shout outs for sure.
How would you describe the UK blade scene to an outsider like me and most of our readers?
It’s pretty good, everybody knows each other and everything is much closer together than other places. So everybody is pretty good friends and it’s not too far for everybody to travel to get to contests and stuff so in that sense, it’s pretty cool. And there’s a bunch of sick skaters too, the levels are kinda high…
And you’re about to come to the States this week, right? First time?
Nah not my first time, I’ve got more family in the states than I do in England actually. In Arizona, Baltimore, Virginia… But first time in California. I landed four days ago. We’re actually driving down to Santa Ana from San Francisco to Blading Cup as I’m answering these questions.
What are your expectations like?
It is dope! Already here so, me and my friends have just been chilling. We hit a couple of parks in San Francisco, all the London homies start arriving in the next couple of days… so looking forward to linking up with those guys after the Blading Cup finishes. Then also hoping to get across to Arizona to see my uncle. So it’ll be a bunch of traveling and skating.
How important is social media to your blade life?
Not too important, but I enjoy making videos for sure. Also, I find it pushes my skating a little. Trying not to do too much of the same stuff and so on… I just like to stay productive more than anything else and I’m still learning to use my camera, to say the least.
What principals direct how you approach your own IG feed? I know that I find it super fun and inspirational!
No principals or rules honestly, if I get one clip when I’m out, I’ll upload it, or if there’s a track I’d like to make an edit too I’ll try to get it out myself with my friends. I just love the video process to be honest… I try to make them as cool as possible, but whatever happens really.
On there you are the finesse master and it blows my mind… tell me about the approach you and Cooper had putting these images together. Was it different at all from how you blade for the Gram?
Thank you bro!! Appreciate it! I just learned from watching others — you can make a soul look good… or you can do something difficult and make it look bad y’know. If it looks cool, I’m usually into it. The photos came together too easily honestly. Sam Cooper is kinda close by and has really good knowledge of our local spots, probably better than me, so we both just threw a few ideas out there each time, like photos he wanted to shoot, or ideas that I’d had of tricks to do. It was a fun process. There’s one spot we didn’t get to shoot but once I’m back we plan to get one more, just because he can’t let things go… haha.
Got any favorite feeds people should check out?
I don’t know why but I hoped this would come up haha, okay, so… @bobispas @bathingwookie @burst.1 @sam_crafty @cidyspary @moooopi @cheers_god @jkabbath @seankelsofilms @holstenpills @xavieguino1 @kizerclone @josiahblee @austincoopr @skeane @francis.aliii @iguessillthinkaboutit @damon_franklin_ @battysmella @aritzortega @eugenenin @scottriddles @samcooperphoto @markree92 @_connorpearce @eliot_stevens @iamstephenswain @chris_goldie and my homies @ianwing @d_j_wing @roll4life82 @eliot_
What’s your setup right now and what do you like specifically about the components you choose?
I just switched to some Ground Control FLT 3 frames recently. Been skating them with an anti-rocker set up and some BHC wheels. I had the White m12’s for the photos but right before I got the flight out here, Sam Hand, who runs the UKBC Instagram, actually sent me a set of the maroon Valos. They’re basically brand new, and I’d been looking for a while, so I’m skating those at the moment.
Favorite setup you’ve ever skated?
I’m a visual guy, kinda think the m12 boot is a vibe…
How about off skates — what kinda stuff do you get into? Tell us about work and any significant others, hobbies, etc.
A few of my local friends are into music and stuff so I’ve been trying to dabble with making some videos for those guys, nothing major. Yeah, my girlfriend, Tinikka, we’ve been together 4/5 years now. She’s over here in America at the moment with me. I guess you’ll meet her at Blading Cup? And when I’m back at home I deliver furniture, sofas, beds, wardrobes, all that kinda crap.
What about work; what kinda work do you go? Does it affect your ability to blade or how you think about blading?
The job’s kinda physical, but once the deliveries are done for the day, we get to go home. I just work hard while I’m at work so I can get home to skate. Usually I’m lucky and one of my friends will finish early too, or it might fall on their day off and a skate session is good to go. On most days I’m back by 12/1 o’clock in the afternoon, it’s like the perfect job for me really.
So what’s next on your schedule? Besides here in the States, where can people find you?
I think we’ve got a gang heading out to Winterclash this year, so I’ll be at wWinterclash for sure. Other than that, I’ll be around the UK.
Okay then Matt, fire off any parting words…
Shout out to everybody I know, except Harry Maynard. He’s a goth.
Thanks again! See you in Santa Ana.
Thank you bruh! Appreciate it!
Photos by Sam Cooper