“I’m an average joe…a father of one and a loving partner.”
Chima Ferguson is like you and me. Apart from his gifts on a skateboard, he’s just another Sydneysider navigating the twists and turns of life in lockdown. For as long as I can remember, Chima’s been a shining light of the sport. A special talent but, above all, a great person. Chima rides a board like he’s laid out on a deckchair, super relaxed but with unparalleled style – professionally doing so for the last 11 years.
Seeing as empty streets are conducive to someone who skates for a living, I thought I’d check-in and see how he’s travelling and what it’s like shredding a ghost town. “Lockdown’s been cool in that regard. A lot less resistance from security and no traffic on the roads.”
Below, Chima speeds down Cleveland St in Redfern (one of Sydney’s busiest streets) before popping a thunderous ollie into a carwash. This would be almost impossible in the life we once knew. Contending with power tripped security guards, disgruntled passersby and hurtling vehicles have forever been the bane of a skater’s existence. At the moment, they’re few and far between.
Recently drip-feeding us clips like this via Instagram, Chima is happy to share that the best sections will find their way onto an upcoming Pro Part he’s shooting for Vans. “We’ve been working on the current part for over a year now. It’s being filmed by Leigh Bolton and Colin Evans. We’re the dream team!” Lately, Chima’s been tearing up Sydney’s Green Square, an urban renewal in the city’s Inner East. The recent development is a playground of smooth tiles and grindable wooden benches. There’s also an undisclosed new spot that is “all downhill with all sorts of ins and outs” which the dude can’t wait to film something at. While it’s obvious he’s keen to release the finished product, the pro skater is keeping things close to his chest until then. “I guess you’ll see what I come up with once it’s out.”
Over the last year or so, Chima has gotten to know the Sydney streetscapes a little too well. “I haven’t been able to leave Australia nor my state for that matter really…It doesn’t affect my income yet it’s been so harsh for many others out there. For me, it’s just general boredom, I think.” Although being confined to the harbour city has been somewhat of a pain, the father and husband is grateful for the extra time he can spend with his family. Plus, I bet he’s discovered a bunch of sweet spots that he’d otherwise have glazed over if he wasn’t forced to sit tight. Right, Chima..?
Thanks to the extended stint indoors, he’s also spent time buried in a novel or two. “The Great Swindle was an amazing book I read recently. The film adaptation is called See You Up There. I highly recommend both!” Centred around the mysterious killing of two French soldiers after World War 1, it sounds like an enthralling tale.
Like most of us, the Tokyo Olympics has been another welcome distraction from the madness. And for the first time in its 125 year history, skateboarding made the cut. “I loved watching Frenchman Vincent Milou. I’d never seen him in a contest. It was so rad how he went about it all. I’m so happy for Yuto winning in his hometown in front of the world as well. He is undoubtedly the most composed skateboarder I’ve ever seen in a contest.” If you haven’t seen footage of the 22-year-old Japanese national and recent gold medal winner, suss the Yuto Show.
As lockdown continues to roll, Chima does too (within 10km of home, of course). From clearing huge gaps in Paddington laneways to polishing off crispy lines in the CBD, he continues giving skate nuts a whole lot to smile about. Vans video drops in September. Eyes peeled folks.
The Sydney Underground Film Festival is a truly unique experience that showcases obscure, thought-provoking cinema or as I like to say, films you wouldn’t take home to meet your parents. It’s a one-of-a-kind festival that features eclectic storytelling from across the globe as well as our own backyard.
What starts as a stroll through the English countryside, soon transforms into something otherworldly. After donning outerwear from the luxury fashion house, four friends are swept up by a magical breeze that carries them across golden fields and lofty woodlands, destined for the coast.