NIXEN OSBORNE. Skateboarding's a family affair.
Have you ever found a music beat somewhere unexpected?
Skateboarder Nixen Osborne is part of a new performance that is unlike any other. Through the percussive power of four wheels and a deck, SKATE is a show that combines skateboarding, percussion and projection.
At the age of 18 years-old, Osborne is already making a name for himself in the skate world. Following a family tradition that spans the Pacific Ocean from New Zealand and now, Australia.
Osborne met up with the Pin amongst his busy schedule of preparing for SKATE performances.
MEET NIXEN KODHI OSBORNE.
NIXEN KODHI OSBORNE. I was born in New Zealand and grew up in the Pilbara in Western Australia, in a town called Karratha. There were lots of Aboriginal kids, white kids, Islander kids ...a range of people.
My family is really into our Maori culture and there’s lots of Islanders over in Western Australia, so I was always around it. My family are quite rich in it, music is a really big part of our culture.
THE PIN. What kind of music?
NKO. Roots music in particular. It’s a form of reggae, but Islander reggae. It’s like quicker reggae really.
What Roots musicians were you listening to?
NKO. Music like Six60 and Katchafire.
I did see in a profile somewhere online that you like to sing, is that the style you go for?
NKO. That profile is actually a really funny story. My drama teacher made me that profile when I was super young. She fully threw me under the bus with it, found a photo of me taking a selfie and put it up online. It now comes back to haunt me! [laughs]
But yeah, everyone in my family is musical. My mum is a really good singer and I grew up singing and playing guitar. I was around it all the time.
I’ve noticed your mum is a massive influence on you. Has she been really important to you forming a sense of identity?
NKO. Yeah, definitely. Her, my nan, and my pop. I grew up without my dad, it’s never been an issue and I don’t get sad or upset about it. I’ve always had other people being mentors and helping me along the way I guess.
You come from a family of skateboarders, can you tell me a bit about that?
NKO. My dad was a sponsored skater, he used to be sponsored by Vans and some other big companies and then my uncle Lee [Ralph] was one of the first pro skaters from the southern hemisphere. He’s quite renowned still to this day.
My cousin Lakyn pretty much taught me how to skate. He got me down my first ramp when I was maybe two. I found a VHS tape of it the other day. Pretty inspiring.
Was there a point when you realised it was something you were going to pursue professionally?
NKO. I guess you could say it was organic. I was having fun with skateboarding and it was never something I aspired to do professionally, but hopefully one day it leads up to that.
I moved to the Gold Coast and everything just started to happen from there. I met one of my best mates, Wade McLaughlin, he’s a really well known skate photographer and does a lot of alternative stuff too. He’s pretty much helped me get all of my sponsors and has been such a good friend the whole time.
You’re currently involved in Big hART show SKATE. What is it?
NKO. It’s a show that involves psychedelic lights, choreographed skating and percussive beats created through the stage. It’s all mashed together to create this really diverse, interesting show.
What the show stands for is really good. All of the money made from it goes toward supporting disadvantaged communities.
Is it challenging to perform choreographed skateboarding?
NKO. To me it’s really easy [laughs]! I know how to skate and they just tell me what to do.
Do you enjoy the performance aspect of it?
NKO. Yeah, definitely. The people us skaters work with have come up with really good ideas and it works really well.
THE PIN. If you could give your younger self one piece of advice about being in the skin you’re in, what would it be?
NIXEN KODHI OSBORNE. If I saw myself at 12 years old, I’d be like, ‘bro- just don’t be a fu- just don’t be an idiot. Keep fucking being a legend’. There isn’t anything I’d really change to be honest.
Find Nixen Osborne on instagram
SKATE is a free performance but you do need to register. Learn more about Big hART or SKATE the show
Photo credits: David Stefanoff [header image and black and white shot], Instagram
Published July 2019