Smoker’s Minute: Skateboarding in Hong Kong with Victoria

Smoker’s Minute: Skateboarding in Hong Kong with Victoria
July 11, 2016 HT

VICTORIA – named after Hong Kong’s harbour – brings something fresh to a city that is often remembered for it’s cookie cutter brands and mega skyline. Having lived there myself, there are far too few local brands that are really hitting the mark (when considering the scale of the city). It’s funny because Hong Kong is a place renowned for its retail – yet there are few brands that we can celebrate. Not the case here.

Victoria is led by skaters and friends Piet and Arthur. Two genuine good dudes trying to pave there way with skating and making clothes for a living. So far so good. Recently, we caught up with them both over at local skate shop 852 Shop…

Who are you?

P: Piet Guilfoyle

A: Arthur Leung

C: Chris Bradley 

What is VICTORIA to those who don’t know? What is VICTORIA to you?

P: Victoria is a brand that is deeply rooted in skateboarding and Hong Kong, most of our lives has revolved around this wooden toy and its been something that has shaped us, connected us, educated us, made us take a closer look at our surroundings, enabled us to see parts of the world we had never dreamed of visiting and just made us step outside of our comfort zone, take the extra step and see what happens. Its hard to pinpoint what VICTORIA is to me, but simply put, a reflection of our ideas, our work ethic and our culture, in skateboarding and in Hong Kong. 

A: Victoria is an idea that Piet and Alfie and Myself came about to bring more character and inspiration from Hong Kong to light. We noticed a lot of local brands attempt to emulate the hottest brands in the west or other cities like Japan, when instead tons of ideas and inspiration are right in front of you. Victoria is also what we like and what we are about so we draw alot of ideas from all the people that are involved and their different backgrounds and try to come up with something that we are proud of, but mainly we are all about getting people together and have a good time, go on trips , skate and being young hearted.

C: It’s a homie brand started by Piet Guilfoyle & Arthur Leung. At the time the Hong Kong skate scene was and to this day is still lacking in some aspects. So they pretty much just decided to fill the void and throw their money into a fun little project that turned out having a great response. To me, it’s just a group of friends doing the shit they want to do and making it come to fruition. 

When did the brand start?

PAC: It started about 2 and half years ago and we have been learning something new everyday since. None of us have any experience running a “business” and its been a fun experience.

You are a sponsored skater? Are they cool that you rep your own brand?

P: Yeah, and Yeah they are totally cool, they are down for skateboarding to grow organically and for us to have a creative outlet, were just a minor threat, nothing to be worried about.

C: Yes I am and I don’t really care if they are or aren’t, to me it’s not a company it’s just a homie thing.

What’s it like to skate in Hong Kong? Do you get any problems with Police/Pedestrians?

P: I think skateboarding in HK is awesome, it depends what you make of it, we have 13 skateparks in 80sq km’s and two very well stocked skate shops, I don’t know another place in the world that is that densely populated with parks. Skating the streets is hard work, but rewarding, there is security guards in every building and on every piece of land. If your trying to film or work on a video project it can get stressful very quickly but its all about what you make of it, im over stressing on skateboarding, I got better things to worry about, I just try to enjoy it.

C: Two words: High Stress 

What is the youth skate culture like in Hong Kong? What’s the future of HK skating looking like?

P: It’s a strange scene at the moment, there are a select few of kids that have potential to grow into some amazing skaters but lack direction. Its all a matter of what they want to do with it, they know how to do it, they have examples from all across the world and locally in HK, it is now possible to make a living skateboarding here in HK and in Asia, and as long as kids skate I think the opportunity is only going to grow from here, I cant wait to see where it goes.

C: Kids these days are kind of veering off to a weird path with skating here in Hong Kong. Nobody is out in the streets. At their age in HK my friends and I did nothing but skate all over the city. Exploration is a corner stone in skateboarding. Hopefully in the near future the kids will turn back onto the right path.

A: It is quite interesting to see the new generations of skaters in hong kong , theres so many of them now but I definitely see a lot of the same skateboarders and not enough that stand out from the rest, not enough of kids exploring the city and skating what Hong Kong has to offer, they are comfortable at the skatepark. Skateboarding to me when I was first started was cruising around the city, getting lost with your friends and skate whatever is in your way. skateparks are great but you get tired of skating the same things over and over again.

All time favourite skate video?

C: Currently, the Polar video. 

A: Tilt mode-man down; that video hands down captures what skating with your friends is all about.

P: Alien Workshop’s Photosynthesis

What’s next for Victoria?

P: Get some new gear, expand our product line a little. Hopefully our annual getaway with the homies, make a clip and do more stupid shit.

A: Theres too much we want to do. Keep learning, bring better products to offer to everyone..Go on more trips and possibly do some events for the skaters and the community. 

C: Hopefully get a trip to Taiwan in order and make more funny shit.

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