Interview: Mark ‘Trawler’ Lawer
- 27 September 2021
Issue 24 is with one of the UK skateboardings most dedicated lifers – Mark ‘Trawler’ Lawer. I first saw him back in the pages of RAD magazine in the 80s (by this time he had been skateboarding more than 10 years) and is one of a handful of UK skateboarders from around that time that are still doing it.
These days he is still ripping but has also turned his hand to documenting skateboarding by publishing a series of books (which are available HERE). I have all of these books in my personal collection and they’re essential reading for anyone interested in the history of UK skateboarding.
A huge thank you to Mark for taking the time to do this interview and for all the work you have done in documenting this unique and amazing time in UK skateboarding. His new book ‘Poolaroids’ will be out on 11th November.
Can you give us a brief introduction?
My Name is Mark Lawer, but skaters couldn’t say it right when I was on the early 1980’s contest series in UK so some wag knew I was from the West-country and nicknamed me Trawler. It has stuck throughout my life ever since. I started skating in 1976. I have had all the sponsors over the years, from local shops to Brand-X, Thunder trucks, Zorlac, Skull skates, Sector9, Alva and Santa Cruz Veterans Division in my 40’s.
I have had a lot of great times with skateboarding and cannot give up.
What are you currently working on?
Well since 2015 I started self publishing skateboard books. First was a coffee table 80’s skate book Sk8-80’s with my old mucker and Skateboard! Mag collaborator Paul Duffy, using his old photos converted from slides. It did quite well and I got the bug. Next I did Snakes and Moguls about the 70’s British skateparks and then book number three was 8ft Tranny tells the story of when we built our own ramps and made our own zines.
Next project was to go around the world in the span of two years skating all the coolest fullpipes. This is called Dam Skaters and has adventures in UK, USA- Wyoming- Colorado and California. We also went to Portugal, Gran Canaria, Greece, Germany and a short solo trip to the Philippines to a pair of never skated mega pipes in the jungle located 50 miles from where they filmed Apocalypse Now. I met jungle kids there who had never seen a skateboard.
After all that I went on a photographic course and got some secondhand equipment. This year I documented the skatepark and back yard pools in the UK from St Ives to Inverness, I photographed many riders and scenes and took some lovingly well thought out pool overviews too. I am proud of the results and it is out in October 2021 for Christmas. It is called Pool-aroids, “A snapshot of the UK pool riding scene”. I think it will be my last book.
Favourite skate related possession
My Favourite skate related possession is the Government sign I liberated from a fence near Mount Baldy Pipe in Upland Ca. 2003, my first trip there. It was hidden deep in my skatebag on the journey home.
Something about you that is not related to skateboarding that people might not know?
Sometimes I have tried to step back from skateboarding as I have had personal doubts about my age and the way it effects ability.
I sold my big OG 80’s board collection and got into Harley Davidsons while still skating. My bikes won trophies and big UK shows and I have been in all the national and international biker magazines. I still own a 1980 HD Shovelhead, it is 1340cc and kickstart only and will take your leg off!
What did you do yesterday?
You have caught me on the cusp of my 59th birthday. I went skating with friends at St Ives pool. It was amazing, great down there. The best place, so idillic. I did slam on a backside tail stall in the deep end and badly tweaked my knee but I’ll be back.
Favourite period in skate history that isn’t right now?
I liked the innocence of the early 80’s when it was nearly dead. I still had two locals skateparks- Plymouth and Barnstaple. We felt like the only skateboarders left. We hung on by the skin of our teeth for a few years until things picked up.
Favourite skate spot of all time past or present
Can’t name one, in the past I liked my first skatepark with its fullpipe in Plymouth on the site of the old zoo.
Now I like the pool at St Ives, we have good sessions there.
What’s next in skateboarding?
Skateboarding is so different now. It means different things to so many people, young and old, colour creed and orientation. More people understand it and It will never die.
As regards myself.
Just keep going, not many people have skated hard after 60, it is uncharted territory. I love travel it’s the best part of skateboarding, I went to mega long ditches in Spain between lockdowns.
I have many other destinations stored up to visit in the skate map in my brain.
I want to stay in the UK skate scene with my photography and also become a better surfing photographer although I aint getting in the waves with a water housing as a few friends have suggested. I am much happier from the shoreline.
Hopefully this little interview will inspire other people to keep going with skateboarding for life. If you really love it then there is no reason to put it down.
Follow Trawler on insta at www.instagram.com/trawlerrider