WORDS BY BRYCE KANIGHTS, BUDDY NICHOLS, MATT HOWE, PETE “THE OX” COLPITTS, ROYCE NELSON, ERIC WHITE AND STEVE ALBA
PHOTOS BY BRYCE KANIGHTS
A few months back, when I first presented Farmboy the idea of this feature in the pages of Juice Magazine, he wasn’t really so warm to the idea. It wasn’t that he didn’t like the mag, he’d just prefer to go about his way of life unobserved by the skating public. He didn’t want to submit to a flurry of questions and answers; he’d rather just skate. I had documented numerous celluloid images of him at various spots over the past year and I thought it would be cool to disclose his uncanny skating talents to those who are stoked on skating pools, bowls, pipes, ramps, ditches, parks and other formidable terrain, but Tony wasn’t having it. One way or another, we both came to an agreement that there would be no interview process – just random words of acknowledgment and experience from his friends and peers. So here you have it – Tony Farmer in pictures (with thoughts from a few of those with whom he’s shared a session or two).
Farmer is one of those guys who’s passionate about unearthing pools and sharing those first sessions with his close crew of friends. When he first moved up to S.F,. we met at the Sanctuary pool in Morgan Hill and skated there every so often. At the time, I couldn’t quite understand his bearded face, bowl-shaped haircut and oddball attire, but nonetheless, he ripped those sessions and soon became part of the Nor Cal pool crew. Over the years, we’ve shared many notable skate missions with many crazy circumstances and, by good fortune, we’ve never ended up in jail. All the while, Tony has progressed with a keen perception of locating and riding backyard bowls, often calling or emailing me and others with info on the discoveries and subsequent sessions that had gone down or are about to. There is no pool I know of, past or present, in which Farmer has not conquered its unyielding obstacles. Oddly-positioned love seats, looming death boxes, invisible kinks, mammoth sized coping and rock ledges, filthy scum water and even holes with rebar sticking out cannot hold the Farmboy back for very long. While we struggle to dial in a good line, he quickly adapts to every unique situation and rises above it all with the finesse of a rugged and scabby ballerina. Generating speed off a shallow tranny to hit the box within a line or double pumping a deep pocket to smack a carve grind over the shallow end steps, Farmer’s antics are spontaneous as they are calculated. In truth, he’s one lucky fucker though; his job enables him to regularly seek out and skate pools (and other terrain) while out on location throughout the Bay Area, the Pacific North West or even to the far reaches of the Eastern states. Hell, I don’t know if we’ll ever see the day where he’s not doing recon work, making connections and skating for pure stoke. Farmer’s love and addiction to skating is very genuine and not primed for fame, money or glory. Hell, he’s too old for that anyhow. He’s one of the all-time greats of bowl riding, pure and simple. Sure, he can’t really ollie, but Farmer rips where others cannot and it’s about time we take notice.
— Bryce Kanights
I have probably known Farm for the shortest amount of time of anyone writing these words, but with my limited knowledge of the slash king, I will try to relate some of the magic that is “the Farm”. The thing I like best about Tony’s skating is that if the spot is not super gnarly, I mean, like, practically unskateably gnarly, then you will not see Tony shine. Take him to one of California’s public skateparks or anything else built to skate and he will rip, but you could easily mistake him for a run of the mill barney/ trog who still has a few tricks in his bag. The next time you see him skate, you’re riding a pool – you (and me, for that matter) are struggling to get over the light and squeaking a cheesy grind where you have to ask the boys in the shallow end “was that a grind?”, while Tony on the other hand, is grinding the coping that sticks out about three inches and has the consistency of chalk, going over the box and “Oh, no!” He did a crailslide to boot. By the end of the session, he’s grinded over the light and death box (on the same grind), carved a loveseat that could have seated the whole Brady Bunch and basically made you rethink your idea of what is possible on a skateboard. Every run has people hooting and screaming and laughing and shaking their heads in disbelief (or biting their tongues and silently looking at each other as if it is one of his high profile mega busts in some rich ‘hood in the south bay). If you ever want to see a pool skated like a pool - lines and slashes and grinders in the shallow end (not a quarter pipe gary squeaking tricks on the loveseat for a shoe ad), then try to hook up with Tony. The guy is like an artist, a rare breed, a real pool skater in a league with about five other people on the planet. That’s my ramble and I’m sticking to it.
Tony Farmer drives like an asshole when he’s loaded. His wife is cool, his cats are fat, and, musically, he’s in touch with his feminine side. Oh, yeah, he’s also one of the best to ever roll the danger stick in a backyard bowl…’nuf said. — Matt Howe
I‘ve known Farmboy forever, and one time had his back heavily at the La Mesa Roman, but that’s a story for another day. From then on out, it’s been on every time I see him. Nobody really knows about Farmboy outside of the gnar skate underground and I am sure that ‘s alright with him. The real people know, and it’s those real life scenarios that bind the skate brotherhood of pool riders together as one big happy family. Trading spots and knowledge, sharing history being made and remembering only the good times and not dwelling on the bad, though there has been plenty of that within the last five or so years. Time marches on, and so does Tony. He is in the group of only a handful of skaters who actually look for pools all the time…driving around during his location work, he scopes everything with an eagle eye. While flying, he’s looking…he scours the internet using the system against itself…and his scope reaches from the city all the way across America and everywhere in between. It’s nice to know somebody is as dedicated as me. Farm grew up in the valley and has a vast amount of knowledge in that area, but also in San Diego, where he went to school. Now residing in San Francisco with his beautiful wife Stacy, his girl and my girl often face the same dilemma. We have Skatitis on the brain, where every move is calculated to conspire the realm of skateboarding. For instance, when camping in the mountains, we always venture to where cylindrical cement spillways are located on the sly. Why don’t we go for a hike, honey? Or when going on vacation, we bring the skate, getting those looks from the woman you love, secretly hoping (knowing) that one of the boys wherever you’re going has something to skate (at least a park, but preferably a pool). Whenever we get together, we always skate something rad and always push each mentally and physically like no other. I can actually say that I made the first shallow end stairs that I know of (and backside is a pretty good standard), but Farmboy was one of the first I ever saw do it frontside! That’s mind-blowing to this day and Farm stands out with Christian, Royce, Hewitt, Slide and Reuler as some of the only guys who I have seen do frontside shallow stairs on a regular consistent basis. Pool riding is all about lines, connecting the dots over the obstacles, and no one does it better than Farm (except me, of course!) Whether it’s the pretzel line at Dodger or killing the Elvis pool loveseats, then doing the stairs and death combo; whether it’s a tight-as-shit square with four feet of vert or the butter tranny of Riverside, Farm kills them all with authority, style, guts, speed and pure anarchy. He is a true friend who will drop what he is doing to rescue you on the freeway or drive you to the airport or take you to killer Mexican food! Farm, you fucking rule man! Keep on charging !
— Steve Alba
These are some things I know about Tony Farmer:
He’s working on his road rage.
He has an awesome wife named Stacy.
He sometimes goes deep sea diving for shipwrecks in his spare time.
Tony has crazy skateboarding abilities in backyard pools, and can grind just about anywhere: deep, shallow, over (and under) any obstacle. He seriously can grind and do tricks in parts that most people can’t even get to. You gotta see it to believe it.
Tony is the best mover and shaker. If there’s a trip or party being planned and Tony’s involved, next thing you know there’s a van and reservations are made. Thanks.
He jumped the gap at Brookings.
I think Tony’s lips are partly numb because whenever he eats, there’s always shit all over his face.
He once dated Cameron Diaz.
Tony is dedicated to his trade. He once drained a full pool in which he had to drive 20 miles from his house, get to the pool at 6:00pm to put the hoses in when the workers left, and then return to the pool at 5:00 am to take the hoses out, so the workers would not catch on to what was going on. This went on for five days.
Tony loves Morrissey and Oasis, but will surprise you with his obscure ‘80s metal knowledge. They didn’t call him Hair Farmer for nothing.
Tony is a good friend who has helped me out in times of need (thanks), and is WAY overdue for this kind of coverage and such. He rips.
— Pete “The Ox” Colpitts
I’ll never forget the first time I rode with Farmer back in 1990 at a La Mesa pool party in San Diego. He had long hair tied into a ponytail that was sticking out of the side of his head at a 45-degree angle, never-mind the headband. Decked in full pads, with a bunch of random “I’m sponsored” clothing. To top it off, he was riding some sketchy ass long board. Although Tony looked like a complete goon, he tore the shit out of the bowl that night. I think that’s where he got the nickname “slasher”. A couple of years went by and then we met up to skate some of the Oakland and Berkeley Hills pools. This time, he sported one of the nastiest heads of stinky, lopsided, purple dreadlocks. Although he had discontinued the use of his pads, Farmer was still draped in some even more random clothing sponsors and riding a regular board. Once again, Tony pulled off some crazy shit. Like taking brick sections out of the rubble and creating a death box where it used to be. He took some serious abuse until he grinded over it. I think another three years went by before Tony decided to move north to San Francisco. Yet again, he displayed another fucked-up hairdo; a “Friar Tuck” style with a Captain Ahab beard and an Oasis shirt. But no matter what he looked like, from then on Tony was a part of our crew, bringing his non-vert style to Northern California pool skating. Now it seems like every time I see him, he’s got something new going on with his hair or face. It all makes for great heckling at the pool sessions. As for his skating, I’ve yet to see him slow down. He seems to be getting better with each session, (which sucks for us nine-to-fivers who can’t keep up). He seems to make it to every new pool or pipe session, every road trip, etc. Fuck that guy! Did I mention his flare for drama?
— Royce Nelson
Somebody said that Tony Farmer simply cannot stop searching, finding, draining and skating pools. It’s true. He’s got the pool jones worse than anyone I know. Some play music, some paint, Tony does his pool thing. It’s his art and his escape. Tony rides pools like waves. He doesn’t get really tricky. The pool dictates his lines and he just lets it all happen. Because of that, he adapts very quickly to a new pool. He’ll usually be the first to slap a grind ‘cause he finds all the speed pockets right away. He stays on the tranny as much as possible and just works it down the line, milks it for speed, then cracks the lip when he’s hauling ass. That’s how he grinds in places nobody else can. I’ve tried half a day to get the speed he got for a side-wall grind on his first run. Tony’s got zero fucking attitude. If you’re down to skate a pool, no matter how skilled or unskilled you are, Tony’s right there with you, pushing, coaching and slapping high fives. He stays in the moment and he skates for himself. He knows this addiction isn’t gonna get him rich and it’s not so good for him physically. Ask his wife Stacy and she’ll tell you it’s like waking up next to a seventy-year-old man with all his aches and pains and groaning, but he simply cannot stop. He’s a lifer if there ever was one. And there’s no one I’d rather tilt a pool-side Tecate with in the hot Fresno sun. Here’s to you, Barn Yard. Side note: Tony can’t ollie. If you want to embarrass him, bring him to a pool with perfect transitions and no vert. It’s pretty weird.
— Eric White