Philip Moore is one of the most interesting rollerbladers we’ve met in a long time. And lucky for us we got to blade, film and hang with him more than a few times the past twelve months, during which time the Issue #23 AM Hour spot was filled, a section for JUST BLADE was filmed, and all with enough heavy duty extra materials left over to dedicate the time and space necessary to bring more attention to this talented skater who has succeeded in carving out his own path within blading. So take some time to learn about this pizza loving Alabama-native and enjoy a detailed look at the many nuances of his technical skating, captured mostly by Sean Macgowan with a header photo by Erick Garcia.
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Okay Phil, I’ve been meaning to sit down and write this interview for awhile — so what better time to actually do it than when you’re riding bikes around Rotterdam. Ha! So, let’s start here: what are you doing in Europe?
I’m in Europe for the first time because I’ve always wanted to visit. It also timed itself out so that when I was lucky/blessed enough to get a signature wheel I was able to film some promos with homies on this side of the pond.
Who all are you traveling with, and what are you getting up to?
Well, I am traveling solo on this trek, but relying on the kindness of bladers and some non-bladers (mostly bladers).
So far my trip has consisted of lots and lots people watching and what I like to call “fashion staring” (looking at people’s clothing and commenting to myself mostly, unless it just has to be shared, or I’m lucky enough to have a partner in stare).
Also I have been skating as much as possible to film, and eating lots of pizza, as well as copious amounts of fish & chips.
Let’s back up about 100 steps. You’re from Birmingham, Alabama but just moved to Oakland — can you give people the quick-and-easy on how that happened?
I’m from Birmingham, Alabama, born and raised for a solid 29-ish years (I left when I was 30). I left Birmingham around June/July of last year after the A-Town Stomp. I went west to do some work in the horticulture field – ha! Then I travelled up and down the coast to skate and hang with homies for a few months before flying back East for some contests. I ended up pulling off 1st in the KY Battle and 3rd in the King of Cleveland (Don Bambrick dethroned me). I then just shuffled around in the Southeast and Midwest for a bit with the Anthony brothers, and they blessed me with a place to crash and good times galore. Special thanks to all the Indiana/Chicago homies and Tim Schmidt and his wonderful Ramp & Camp. After that we headed out west for The Blading Cup in their RV. When Blading Cup was all done and the boys were heading back East, I had very little money but an itch to stay coastal, so I crashed with friends and did a bit more horticulture work to stretch my stay financially. The whole time I was swiping Tinder and making some enjoyable connections. Then, finally in Oakland, I hit the Australian babe-pot and met my current partner, flew back to Birmingham, bought a car, and drove back to move in with her and sort out a new life.
Was staying in Birmingham ever in the cards? Or like me did you grow up dreaming of escaping your hometown?
I love Birmingham and I could see returning in the distant future, but for now I’d like to sort out being an Oakland/Berkeley resident. Plus, I already drive a Prius so they might not accept me back in Birmingham – ha.
As for dreams of escape, I’d always sort of been eyeing up a move West, and this last year was just a perfect catalyst.
What made you decide on Oakland? The job? The girl? Tell us about both! 😉
I would say I stuck on Oakland because of solid homies and a great scene (shout out to Swan, Brendan, Pat, ESG, Cameron, Keane, Noah, everybody). But a lot of it was because of Julia, the woman I met and fell for ha, ha (I sound super old). Finally, a fellow blader named Noah Neuber helped me find a job working with people on the Spectrum. It’s quite fulfilling but frustrating at times as well.
How about the differences in the scene between all the places you’ve visited. Got a favorite that you’d like to visit again?
I think the main differences are in the age of the skaters, which dictates some of the motivations of the group. But I think I would love to spend more time in Chicago, London, Amsterdam, and Paris. Though the crews I miss the most these days are Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, and Atlanta because I have a bit of history with them… so I don’t have to explain my strange eating habits which is always a pull for me.
I know you’ve been having trouble finding the right pair of blades. During JUST BLADE filming you were on two different pairs of Xsjados and a loaner set of Adapts from Russell. Did you finally decide what to skate? If so, what?
Well, I really love Xsjados, but I lost and broke my previous pairs while in the Bay Area. So I was gifted a pair of RBs by Cameron Talbott, which I tried to get used to for about a month or so and got a few clips in. The RBs ended up being too heavy for me so I tried a pair of Aeons next. Then I came to film a bit with you and borrowed a pair of too small Adapts from Russell Day, which worked very solidly somehow. Then on my next visit to SD I got the pair of Xsjados from you but I couldn’t get used to that pair (but was able to get a few clips obviously). So I finally buckled down and called on my longtime skateshop favorite Long at Oak City and went in on a pair of Aeons which I’m now settling into well and sorting them all out while filming with Leon H., Cavin B., Kenny O., Mike S., and many other homies with cameras.
How does the equipment impact your trick vocabulary and comfort?
I am 31 years old now, and after about 17-18 years rolling this way I feel like at a certain point if you can do a trick you can do it on any skates. I learned all my original negative tricks and balance on that side of my foot/leg on Salomons back at the park in Birmingham. What I have learned and had shared with me was the inherent connection between all tricks, and once you can start to see the connections better your movements become a bit more natural. So I will say that in some skates, like, say the RB New Jacks, I loved the solidness on landings — and the souls and negatives were more than sufficient — but there was a perceivable disconnect with my feet, so it was a bit harder to be certain when some tricks were locked or going properly. The movements were all there and the weight difference with Xsjados was noticeable but tolerable, but the feel of tricks was more distant than I would prefer. Now with Aeons the one-piece boot makes the connection that for me most resembles the Xsjados, so it’s where I’ve landed for the moment.
What about your skating do you like the most? How about anything you’d change if you could?
I have a hard time liking my own skating outside of the joy of doing tricks I want to do on the obstacles I like. But I guess I like my ability to save myself, mostly — I really don’t like falling. What I would change, and am actively always trying to change, is any excess movements during tricks: no more wild wacky arm car sales blowup guy. I don’t always achieve the desired goal, but it’s in my mind. Also, the majority of the time I dislike about 95% of my clips because they don’t look the way they felt, so it’s my goal to get more of the feeling of the trick into the clip for the viewer.
What skaters do you watch with awe? Who inspires you to look for new and exciting things to try?
Chris Smith who is one of my friends and yet I fully gromm out skating with him. His skating is so emotive and fluidly stylish and yet effortless. Broskow obviously. Seba is one of my favorites. Sean Darst. Rian Arnold. David Sizemore, another homey who is hard to believe is real. More homies: Ray Kronenberg, Howie Bennett, and the future and present, Julian Garcia and Jordan Williams. Lastly, while I’m sure leaving out many, Geoff Phillip (pronounced Gee’hoff), James Bower, Neil Ingall, Tim Adams, Sean Keane…
Speaking of filming and capturing tricks — you have a two-minute section in our new video JUST BLADE! You have an okay time working with us to make it and shooting all these pics with Sean? Any highlights or lowlights?
Well, I can say that I had a great time filming with you guys and shooting with Sean. It was really relaxed and super productive, all in really small periods of time. As for highlights I would have to say hanging with BB (instagram: @_bb_thedog), and that one time we went to get pizza where sorting out splitting the bill ended up being a giant chest. Also, Jon Fromm is a nice guy and stuff, but he’s never given me the pizza he promised me for a trick in the Atlanta Open at the beginning of 2016… so that’s kinda clouding my thoughts on San Diego.
Changing gears a bit, not long ago there was a kerfuffle online because someone used some what people these days call “hate speech” in a FB conversation with you. I know it made me mad — how about you? I can only imagine you’ve been putting up with that stuff forever, not just as a black man in America, but as a black rollerblader in a community that skews so heavily in other directions. Care to say anything about those experiences and things skaters should be aware of to avoid being part of the problem?
I have a ton of thoughts on this but I feel it would be easier for me to properly articulate them verbally. However, I will say that it’s super lame that people that have a large platform, such as social media, and a bit of presumed or real fame, are not at least cautious in the wording they choose. Not to force political correctness, but to adhere to some sort of common decency that would be more beneficial to the reader as opposed to just spouting their ranting, raving, angry thoughts with no concern for how people might be affected by them. But yeah, basically people should think and research before making any broad generalizations publicly.
Tips for bladers that might be experiencing something like that in their blade or personal lives?
Never let them have your mind or heart, which is to say that you can’t focus your energy, time, or thoughts on their ignorance. When it’s happening feel it, take it in, and try to understand that it’s simply that ignorance, and no amount of you hating them will make it better. So, essentially, work as much as you can to educate the youth, and ignore as best you can the adults, but do not be complicit — state your side but do so with composure and kindness.
Thanks for sharing. I know that’s all important to share and more crucial to anyone that’s got an issue in their own lives and no idea how to fix it. Now onto more pleasant topics, like pizza and your pro wheel. Tell us about it!
I love pizza! It’s bread and cheese — what more could one want? Also, as far as the wheel, my partner Julia assisted me in designing it, based on my love of pizza and the ride which shall eternally roll!!!! Hail, Saban!!!
What is the best pizza you’ve ever had? And how often do people tell you “You’ll love this slice” but they’re wrong?
I always suck at this one! I guess the best pizza I’ve had in a while was in Paris, just a random spot, no clue what it was called. Next would be a place in Oakland called Nick’s — it’s sourdough crust, and they make amazing cookies and bread, and also a sea salt caramel topped chocolate mousse that is legit a sexual experience it’s so good. Then there’s the spot near the the Skook, Cybelles. That’s all I’ll say on that for now but always remember “any pizza can be a personal pizza, if you cry while you’re eating it.”
So Europe now then what? And what else are you working on?
I’m heading home in a couple days, and I think my main plans are to work, obviously. But for reals, I plan to go south at some point in the fall, hopefully compete a bit before the year ends. There is another section coming out from my time in Rotterdam and London filmed with Kenny Owens to match my Amsterdam bit with Cavin. I also have a mini part in Gumbys BARS which is out in the next month or two, I think.
Well, Phil, it’s been a minute and we should let you get back to fucking off around the continent. Any thanks to dole out or shout outs to deliver? Now is the time.
Long Tonthat. Brad Anthony & Chad Anthony. Tim Schmidt. The whole of London (Blake Bird, Stigg, Leon H., Neil Ingall, Mike Simpson, Bower, Crofty, the whole gang of mates), Michael Braud, Kenny Owens, Greg S., Atlanta, Memphis, Chattanooga, The Bay Area (Swan, ESG, Cameron, All of it), my family, Kaltik, SIC Urethane and Kevin for the support, also the Chicago scene (Dave depew, Colin Martin, Rory Melehan, etc)… and more I’m forgetting.
Photos by Sean Macgowan
Header Photo by Erick Garcia