CCS Customs X First Thursdays Interviews: Jay Howell
November 05, 2021 - CCS launches the Customs X First Thursdays program with one of our favorite artists: Jay Howell.
Kingsley Atwood hales from the country everyone wishes they could visit or live in but never can seem to find the time or money for, New Zealand. For a guy that lives in a part of the world known for Lord of The Rings, Rugby, and Kiwis, Kingsley’s killing it when it comes to putting the New Zealand skate scene on the map. Kingsley is the February Back Light Winner regardless of what day today is. We blame whoever shortchanged February by three days.
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Ayrton Boot - Kickflip in Albany, NZ
Ayrton Boot - Kickflip in West Auckland, NZ
Ayrton Boot - Roll On Front Smith in Browns Bay, NZ
Ben Gibb Slappy Frontside Smith in Devonport, NZ
Kyle Svensen - Ollie Frontside Wallride in Auckland, NZ
Lenard Tejada - Kickflip BS Tail in Auckland, NZ
Oliver Duben - Backside 180 Nosegrind in Sweden
Yorlin Phillips - Frontside Nose in Auckland, NZ
How'd you first get into skating?
I can't remember exactly when I first got interested in skateboarding - but I was probably in intermediate school around the age of 12-13. I think the first time I saw someone skating it might of been Bam on one of the Jackass Movies that was playing on TV here in New Zealand. It looked pretty crazy to me and I immediately wanted to try it. I remember trying to build a skateboard out of wood with my dad and it completely failing. We ended up buying one from the Warehouse ( kind of like Target or Wallmart ) and it was all go from there.
How'd you get into photography? How long have you been shooting?
I got into photography in Year 11 at school ( Around 16 years old ) I was skating a lot with a few of my friends that had DSLR cameras. They were always filming videos and eventually started taking photos too. I got the chance to shoot a photo of my friend Simon kickflipping a pretty legendary spot here in New Zealand. I pretty much fell in love from that movement and have been chasing that feeling ever since. I'm 21 now so I've been shooting almost 5 years, not sure if the first two years counted as I barely knew how to use manual settings.
What was your first camera? What camera do you shoot with now?
The first camera I ever got was a Canon 600d with the kit lenses. My dad got me this as a christmas/birthday present. Hands down the best thing anyone has ever done for me. I can't thank my Dad enough for doing that. If I didn't get into taking skate photos I probably would have ended up getting into cars or drinking too many beers every weekend. Right now I'm shooting with the Canon 5D III and a bunch of lenses I've purchased over the years. I take my camera bag pretty much everywhere, it's like a child.
What are the challenges and advantages of skating/shooting in New Zealand?
There's a lot of positives and negatives of living in New Zealand. It's a super beautiful country with amazing landscapes but it's probably the furthest place you could go from any major skate scene. I've been super lucky to find a great crew of dudes here to get out and skate with every weekend. Shout out to the Crack homies! The challenges are definitely finding spots - Because New Zealand is so small almost every 'spot' has been skated at least 40 times. You really have to venture out to new places or start to think completely differently. It's a blessing and curse.
How long have you lived in New Zealand?
I've lived here for the last 21 years - I did my first overseas trip last year to Europe and it was one of the sickest experiences, so many talented skateboarders in Europe. I've got a bunch of plans to hopefully get over to the states at some point this year and give this career path a really good crack. We'll see how it goes.
What do you do when you're not skating/shooting photos?
Lately I've been getting super into the Fortnite game that everyone's been playing. It's definitely the buzz right now. Otherwise, a good sauna session is definitely a go! Shout out to the ACSC Boys!
What do you use to edit your photos?
I've played around on both Lightroom and Photoshop, they both have really good benefits - If I'm shooting a skate comp or something I have to shoot a lot of images and get them back to the client ASAP I'll use Lightroom but I definitely prefer Photoshop for skate imagery. There's so much freedom and I feel a lot more comfortable using it.
What's in your bag?
5d Mark III, 2x Godox Strobes, 2x Batteries, Canon 8-15mm Fisheye, 50mm 1.4, and 85mm 1.8. Wax and a skate tool. You always need wax!