Tom Knox just released his first signature model 600 from New Balance Numeric. He also joined Krooked and released an apparel collection for Dickies. He looks back at the amazing year 2023.
──TOM KNOX (ENGLISH)
[ JAPANESE / ENGLISH ]
Photos courtesy of New Balance Numeric / Jake Darwen
VHSMAG (V)： You got a new board sponsor, you got your signature collection from Dickies, you have a new shoe from NB Numeric. This year must have been a big one. How are you feeling?
Tom Knox (T)： I feel fantastic that I was able to do everything successfully. At the beginning of the year, there was a lot I had to do, from designing to filming and traveling. So I guess I feel quite proud that I managed to do it all, and still being healthy, happy and enjoying skating.
V： So you joined Krooked earlier this year?
T： Yeah, that'd be February this year. I did my first trip out there to SF.
V： I heard Jacob Harris was going to make Atlantic Drift a board brand. Were you going to be a part of it if that happened?
T： Yeah, I absolutely was. We were going to do the board brand and then a couple things happened with Jacob. He got long covid and he just didn't think it was going to be the right time to put all his effort in. So he had to let it go, but he's still doing all the stuff with Atlantic Drift. All the videos and doing some clothing and stuff like that. In the end I'm happy he made that decision because I think at that time he was feeling quite unwell and I think it would've been really hard for him. I think it would've been really successful, but I'm also happy I found a good home at Krooked.
V： What's it like working with Jacob?
T： It's the best. I mean, I've been filming with him since we were like 14 years old. I feel we still manage to keep things fresh and exciting. It's great, especially going on the Atlantic Drift trips. It's just a load of friends traveling. Can't ask for any better trips than that. It's pretty rare. I think not many people in skateboarding get that. True genuine people and friends, get to travel wherever they want and make videos and everyone wants to do it. Everyone who's there really wants to get out, film stuff and explore the different cities.
V： What do you like about the Atlantic Drift video series?
T： In terms of the edits themselves, Jacob is such a creative person and he has so many good ideas. I think that's his outlet to get all of his ideas out there. He's created a very unique style and he represents us all very well in those series. I think we're all very lucky to have him.
V： I loved the Saint Tom Knox edit.
T： Thank you. That one was quite special to me because when I first met Jacob when we were 14 years old, that's where we'd meet every weekend at 11 o'clock in the morning. We'd meet at that spot. So we spent a lot of years as kids skating it, and then it was only until Covid and all the lockdown stuff, we were like, "Let's try and film something here." We always wanted to film the whole line from the top to bottom. We'd spoken about it for the last 20 years. We never did it and in Covid there were no tourists, so we thought, "Let's just do it now." We did that and then we thought, "Actually while it's empty, let's try and film a whole part". It worked out.
V： Then you have the signature collection from Dickies.
T： Well, I guess it was a long process. I always knew when the collection was going to be out, so that inspired me to try and make more winter pieces. That's why I have a thermal, a jacket, a couple hoodies, and long sleeves. I wanted to make things fairly resistant to the weather, especially in London and Europe, anywhere that gets cold. I wanted to represent that kind of autumnal clothing line. And then from there, I just wanted to try and create products that I wasn't able to have on Dickies. So I tried to make stuff that represents Dickies, but also something they haven't done before. For instance, the pants I made, they're classic Dickies fit, they're relaxed fit, but then instead I put a good stretch band on the top. It was a really fun process.
V： And you spent three weeks in Paris for the promo video.
T： It was great. It was the first trip where we had a van in Paris. That's kind of rare, so we got to skate all the spots in the suburbs. There was a lot of rain so it was a lot less than three weeks, but we still had enough ideas. There weren't many skaters on the trip, so as soon as it was dry, we'd get to a spot and try to do something. It worked out really well.
V： Then you have your first signature shoe called the 600 from New Balance Numeric.
T： Yeah. I've been kind of asking them to create a good thicker cupsole sports shoe. And then Sebastian, who's the boss at New Balance, found an old shoe on eBay and that became the 600. It was called the i600. They think it's from the early nineties from what they gather, from the way the treading on the bottom is, or the logo or something like that. They said they can tell it's from the nineties, but they have no real recollection or history on it. So we took that shoe and tried to essentially create something that looks the same, but is skateable, which Jeff the designer did a very good job at.
V： It says "indoor" around the heel part. Was the i600 an indoor soccer shoe or something?
T： Yeah, it's an indoor court shoe. So it's either for soccer or for squash or something. So we kept that only on the white one just to give a nod to the history of the shoe. On the black colorway, there isn't that written on it. I wanted to keep it in just to make it really look through to the original they found, and to give it that extra bit of the story. I think it adds a nice little dynamic to the shoe.
V： And you have a promo video for the 600. I've noticed it in the Dickes video too, but it seems like you're hitting really skinny spots.
T： I'm not trying to go out and try and find skinny spots, but I guess a few of them in that video have that theme of skinness. I guess I try to find the spots that maybe no one's skated or try to skate in a different way. And then maybe sometimes you have to do something where you're squeezing through two walls or you're doing something on a thin ledge or something. I dunno. In terms of practicing that stuff, you can't really do it. You have to just go to the spot and try it. It's fun though. When we skate at spots, there's a little skinny pathway next to it. Me and the Atlantic Drift crew, we often tried to skate flat to see if we could stay in the skinny lines. And it's funny, because finally I could use that skill.
V： How much did that tail slide shuv-it out take?
T： I guess I went there thinking it was going to take a long time and it worked out really quick. I didn't think it was going to work. It just worked perfectly.
V： I also need to ask you about the last trick. That ollie down the super skinny stairs. That was skinnier than your board.
T： Yeah, I guess I've been wanting to skate that spot for quite a few years. And then when we were going to shoot the campaign, I thought, "Let's just try and check it out and see." I didn't think it'd make a photo. So I took Jake Darwin, the photographer there, and he said, "No, this would be great." So the next morning we went and I knew it was going to be scary. I just jumped down it a few times on my feet and then rode my board and jumped off my board a few times. Then I just stuck a couple and then luckily landed it. I didn't hit my face or my knees or anything like that. Then I tried it in the line and it got a lot harder to get the right angle, essentially. If you go one inch to the left, your face is too close to the wall, you go one inch to the right, your ass hits the wall. So it's finding the perfect line, but you can't really judge. You can't look down and see it. You just have to guess. I was glad to roll away from it.
V： And you got the Thrasher cover. It's your second Thrasher cover, right?
T： Yeah, exactly. I couldn't believe that. Honestly, I never thought I would get one. So to get two is just out of this world. It's amazing.
V： I saw your IG post and you mentioned Jacob did a surprise for you with the cover.
T： He got me out skating that day and we spent the whole day chilling around. And that evening, he was like, "Oh yeah, we've got to film a runup shot." So we went there, I walked up the stairs and it's all my family and some friends and one of my daughters had the cover in her hand. It was such a cool surprise. I couldn't believe they did it at the spot. My dad and my wife were there with the kids. It was sick.
V： Congratulations. So it's been a hell of a year. What's next?
T： I want to keep skating. I have video parts I want to film. I want to keep busy, keep enjoying it and try to keep the fire burning.
Born in 1991 in London. A leading UK street skater known for his refined skate style, he has just released his 1st signature shoe 600 from NB# and a collection from Dickies.