Smoke Beer Bluestone 2.0
Marcello Guardigli or better known as Nello moved out from Italy to Australia years ago and qucikly became a part of the Melbourne Skate scene. Nello has filmed, edited, taken photos, built and most recently become a company owner after starting Smoke Beer (@smokebeerskateboards). Nello and the crew got their hands dirty again recently and we were lucky enough to be invited to the opening of Bluestone 2.0 and the latest Smoke Beer launch. While we were there we caught up with Nello to talk all things DIY and Smoke Beer.
Pics- Cameron Markin (@itsapiratelife) and Nello (@mguardigli)
Filmed by - Albert D Urbano Edited - Nello and Ryan Scott
Doctor Anger putting on the finishing touches Pic: Cameron Markin
So Nello, you have been doing Smoke Beer for a while now, what made you start your own company?
We have been doing Smoke Beer for 2 years now. I'm saying we because in the beginning there was also Josh Kotlega, Ale Cesana and Bretty involved in the project. It was my idea of course, who else would think to open a skateboard company these days? Honestly opening a skateboard company wasn't one of my priorities. But due to the current situation in the skateboarding community I realised that there are a lot of good skateboarders out there who deserve more consideration, motivation and support. It's a lot of hard work, but there is a lot of satisfaction too. Especially when people appreciate what you are doing for skateboarding and when you see skaters you've never met before riding one of your decks.
Crew enjoying the ambiance of Blue Stone 2.0 Pic Cameron Markin
Who is on the Smoke Beer Crew and whom should we be looking out for?
You said the right word, Crew. We are not a team as yet. We are a bunch of tight friends who have fun, inspire other people and don't care about what's cool and what's not. There are too many to name but Ale, Bretty and some locals from Newport are part of the crew. Nick Bright is an amazing skater and all round good bloke. Probably one of the most underrated AU/NZ guys, He can skate absolutely anything. Since we started Smoke Beer Josh has stepped up a lot and his progression is out of control. Cam Markin is also a bloody legend, very talented and a super motivated person. We have two new entries from interstate. Jackson Bogaerts who's a bowl destroyer from Newcastle and Shem Bragg super stylish guy from Ballina.
Jacob Martin 180 to the rubble Pic Cameron Markin
The graphic for this series is amazing, who did it and what is the back-story?
Andy Murphy is the man behind this series; he also did our first Flasher graphic and our Beer Can Logo. He is an amazing artist and we try to collaborate with him as much as we can. Andy drew the main graphic that is positioned at the centre of the board, about 3 years ago. The initial idea came out for a tattoo in memory of the Bluestone, a DIY we built in 2013. In the end I never got the tattoo but Andy suggested having a tribute board graphic instead, and here we are.
Line up at the launch party Pic Cameron Markin
So everyone knows of the original Bluestone build - can you explain how it all came about and who was involved in the build?
One day we went to this empty warehouse to see if there was something skateable, there was nothing more than a couple of round rails and a lot of dust. But I realised that there were a lot of potential for the creation of a DIY. In the beginning there was some of the Grim Creepers and Nick Maughan keen to help out. But in a months time everyone disappeared and I used to go by myself during the weekends, trying to put together the foundation for the obstacles. One day, the old local crew from Newport skatepark rocked up and they were keen to help. From then on the project started moving forward. The day of the pour arrived in January 2013. Tom and Martin Rees, Craig Cole, his brother, Anton and Tom Flaherty were the men. Their help was crucial for the birth of the Bluestone.
Bugs flippin at the original Blue Stone Pic Nello
Who was the king of the original Bluestone?
The people who skated there most were Josh, Nick, Bretty and some other locals. I don't think there was a king at that time. We all enjoyed having sessions with the beers flowing as often as we could. There was a much better vibe there than in some skate parks, where people would judge for every move you made.
Nick and Josh double feebles - Pic Nello
Gnarliest thing you saw go down at Bluestone?
A lot of gnarly things went down at the Bluestone. From my point of view the most impressive tricks were the Kicky that Bugs did from bump to bump and the front side wall ride that Cuzza did on the big wall. James Hall, Scott Standley did some fucked up things too. I still love the double fs feeble Josh and Nick did in the horseshoe. Koston came over one day too and pretty much destroyed the whole park like he'd skated it 50 times before.
Andrew Currie frontside wall ride Pic Nello
Eric Koston front feeble - Pic Saari
Australia does not have a DIY culture like Europe and the States. Are we just too spoiled with good parks or are we just lazy?
Even though the Australian DIY culture hasn't been around for as long as Europe and America, there is still a pretty good movement and a few crews around who build DIYs and they are bloody good at it too. We have a lot of good parks just like the rest of the world. Without having a go at the Australian skaters (because the same thing happens in other countries), most of them can't be bothered spending time/money and putting in hard yards and getting dirty to build something different that you can call yours. But of course everyone wants to skate it when it's built!
Andrew Currie Boardslide to fakie - Pic Cameron Markin
Whats the key to a good DIY project, apart from secrecy?
Having a tight crew is fundamental. You have to give up a lot of skating time for it.
Anyone can build something good; I never did any concreting before the Bluestone, you just have to be very motivated and believe in what you're doing. In our case we had to keep the place as low key as we could because we didn't want the spot overpopulated which would draw attention from the neighbours and shorten its lifespan. Everyone is welcome to skate what we build. Just respect the spot's couple of rules and you'll be fine. We've never kicked anyone out... except for scooters
Steve creeping - Pic Cameron Markin
What happened to the original Bluestone?
The first owner we were dealing with didn't care what we were doing in there and said we were allowed to stay until they started construction which was a few years down the track. Then he sold the property and the council convinced the new owner for the building to be torn down. But all they did was come in and tear the park down and leave. Then the building just stayed the way it was for 3 years.
BBQ Time - Pic Cameron Markin
What made you go back for Blue Stone 2.0? Many would say why build in the same place?
When Andy came out with the idea of having a tribute board graphic, I thought it would be sick trying to rebuild it. I had no idea what the go was, but we went to check it out, the rubble was still there from like 4 years ago, so we didn't need anything else other than man power, so we thought why not give it another crack. Gotta love the madness that comes with building a DIY.
BOOM! Shoota - Pic Cameron Markin
So what is the next DIY project, I appreciate you can't tell us where but we are all hoping you and the crew have something brewing?
At the moment we dont have a project or location to build a new one. We are probably going to add more obstacles to the current Bluestone and hope it hangs around for a while longer. But first we need to replace some coping and transitions that were ruined by some vandals a few weeks ago.