Depth Charge: Kieran Woolley Interview

Written by Niall Neeson

Oasis founder and life-long Manchester City fan Noel Gallagher once said of Italian footballer Mario Balotelli that every time he touched the ball you sat forward in your seat.

In a skateboarding world where everyone is good- and at the level we are talking about, even last place rips- Kieran Woolley has that same spontaneous electricity.

The very mention of his name on the mic and everybody leans in, including everybody he is skating alongside.

Currently lying 7th in the OWSR rankings, the twenty-year-old Australian had an unbelievable showing at OQS Shanghai and has plenty more in the tank.

Always on the sunny side of the street, we tracked down the twenty-year-old on the road through Europe to hear about the perils of skating handrails in the rain, nosegrinds into the deep end, and riding down trees- for a laugh.

Kieran Wooley WST Street WCH OQS shanghai Kenji Hurata 4

Ph: Kenji Haruta

Hi Kieran, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. So: you basically seem to already be a complete skateboarding package by the age of 20. What’s the story there? Can you tell us a bit about your skating background up to now?

(Laughs)- thank you… I guess I’ve been around board sports all my life; I grew up in a small town called Minnamurra on the south coast of New South Wales, Australia- surfing most days, and going snowboarding in the winter. When I was about ten, my Dad broke his neck surfing our local; I was at the age I couldn't surf by myself, so I just started going to the skatepark more… and it all went from there. 

Kieren Woolley front feeble WST Street WCH OQS shanghai Atiba Jefferson 15 Ph: Atiba

You are back off what I believe was quite a bad elbow injury mid-WST. What happened? How’s it feeling now?

Yeah- I smoked my elbow pretty good out in Helsinki last year, trying to grind a decent-sized handrail in the rain. It wasn't my smartest moment. I ended up dislocating my elbow and had to get my radial head and the surrounding ligaments reconstructed. I was out for a good five or six months, but did a lot of PT and physio in that time; my elbow is feeling really strong now, basically 100 percent. 

 Kieran Woolley invert WST Street WCH OQS Dubai Bryce Kanights 15

Ph: Bryce Kanights

Where does this whole Olympics business fit into your wider skateboarding life?

The Olympic side of skateboarding has definitely been hard to juggle for me. The last six months I’ve just been focusing on the contest stuff, but I'm super keen to get back in the van with the crew and get filming as soon as it's done. I have a bunch of trips planned already. 

For someone who is already in the top flight of international skating, are you worried that you will run out of challenges and burn out?

Not really- I'm most excited to keep travelling, going on trips and filming parts!

Kieran Woolley back smith 2 WST Street WCH OQS shanghai kenji Haruta 9

Ph: Kenji Haruta 

A lot of skaters who represent their country internationally tend to specialise, but you are out there smashing it up on the street, too. What are your thoughts, there? What do you think about street skating versus transitions?

Where I grew up, there isn't much big transition- so I would just skate everything at the park. That is what I love the most about skating, just being able to be anywhere in the world on a board and have a good time.

Kieran Woolley WST Street WCH OQS Dubai Bryce Kanights 17

Ph: Bryce Kanights

One of your signature moves is to frontside nosegrind off hips into the deepest deep-end you can find. How do you resist the temptation to panic? It’s not something you can practice, really, because bailing is more dangerous than hanging on…

I don’t know, I guess I just hang on and hope (laughs)! 

Kieran Woollry nose grind WST Street WCH OQS Dubai Bryce Kanights 11

 Ph: Bryce Kanights

You’ve recently got on Asics’ skating programme. What can you tell us there? Kaspar Van Lierop has done a lot for skateboarding so far…

Yeah, Kaspar is the man! It's a super sick program, the team is so dope and the trips have been mad fun. Stoked that it's just been launched in Australia and France- there should be a Euro vid dropping any day now; make sure you check it out.

Who do you rate in Australia these days?

Everybody is killing it in Oz... Nixon Osborne is definitely one of my personal favourites, though!

What about internationally?

Obviously Grant Taylor… Simon Bannerot is definitely a favourite, too. 

 Kieran Woolley 5 0 WST Street WCH OQS Dubai Bryce Kanights 16

Ph: Bryce Kanights

Do you ride the same set-up for all terrains?

Yeah- for sure, I run the same for everything… maybe switch the wheels, if it's a crusty spot. 

The tree ride off the roof at the end of your Indy part- was it worth it? The slams looked awful…

One hundred percent worth it! The slams just made it feel even better riding away.

Kieran Woolley invert WST Street WCH OQS shanghai Kenji Hurata 16

Ph: Kenji Haruta

For the last question we always ask: if the floor is yours, what would you like to say to anyone reading this interview?

Jump on ya board and have some fun. That's all that matters!