If you didn't already know, this is beau.
It’s Autumn 2015 and the Etnies US Skateboarding Team are grinding across Adelaide’s Victoria Square. Their host, SA based skater Beau Hinge, is approached by a dishevelled roustabout; later identified as Lewis Maschmedt - an avid deck head and rogue craft brewer from out west.Lewis had recognised Ryan Sheckler (US Skateboarding royalty) and offered up some beers in exchange for a session with the lads. In no time, Beau had 'em all skating his favourite location up North with an esky full of Pirate Life.
Beau and PL have been tight ever since. And in 2018, we took him on board (no pun intended) as an official ambassador. In this ale fuelled interview, he talks social media, growing up coastal and that ever challenging work life balance. So grab yourself a tinnie, cause we’re going in deep…
Hey Beau! So, let’s kick this off. You have 108,000 followers on Tik Tok. What’s all that about?!
I wish I could tell you I understood it! I literally just post what I would usually put on Instagram and sometimes, the stuff that I would never post. That’s the stuff that goes viral. It’ll be me gripping a board or stuffing up a kickflip, then all of a sudden it’s got 7 million views and I can’t understand why.
So you find the content people respond to the most is you being a goof?
It seems to be, yes. It’s the absolute bottom of the barrel. Tik Tok’s weird, it's mostly people mimicking or mouthing to songs, then they make a career out of it. I don’t even know if they get paid. I don’t know how that works.
In spite of the platform, it’s a pretty impressive online following you’ve accrued. Is that something you’re proud of?
I think so? It wasn’t even my idea to begin with. I got a message from a mate saying ‘hey I think your content would do really good on Tik Tok, try it out’. So I got it. I think I posted three videos, completely forgot about it and didn’t really use it.
My bud Chris Wilton came over from Melbourne (just before all the COVID stuff happened) and we went for a skate. He changed my bio and posted a fresh video of me. It got a little bit of traction so I figured I’d stick with it.
At the three month mark, I posted a video of me kick flipping on flat just before gripping a board. I was trying to punch the holes in the grip tape from the top without looking (which I do all the time) I just couldn’t get it. I posted it anyway. It ended up being millions of people commenting, ‘can’t find the hole’ ‘can’t find the hole’. And here we are…
Tell me about where you grew up.
I was born in Wallaroo Hospital and lived in Moonta for two weeks as a baby. Both my Mum’s mum and Dad’s mum were in Victor Harbour so we moved down that way. I grew up in Port Elliot. I’m a Port Elliot’n through and through. I love that area.
I went to the original Port Elliot Primary School, which got knocked down, I think it’s a retirement village now. I started a bit of surfing and BMX, we had a great school vibe. As much as Mum and Dad probably didn’t like it, we would wander the streets – but it wasn’t an issue. It was a small town, everyone knew each other. I lived there till I was twenty one.
Is that where you met Em, your wife?
Yeah. I met her at Port Elliot Primary when they moved down from Port Noarlunga. We’ve been together fourteen years.
As well as being a devoted family man (with three kids!) you're also a pretty decent skater. Fair call?
I’d like to think so. My ego wants me to say yes.
- Manual Fakie at Hardy's Wine, Reynella, 2020
I’m assuming that journey kicked off during your youth in Port Elliot? What was the skating culture like down there and when did you pick it up?
Well, I only remember bits of it. My little brother had a skateboard. It was an old fish tail, a cheap K-Mart thing. I remember messing around on that heaps before I actually started skateboarding but that’s my first kind of memory of being on a board - I guess I was probably around the age of 11. I thought I was really cool. I’d be out the back and I’d take my shirt off and try and do things and (pauses)…suck!
Hahaha, but you were aware a certain ‘scene’ existed?
Yeah, there was something there. To be honest, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater helped draw me to it but our interest grew together. Me, my little bro, his friend Luke (who was always skating) and the guys from school. I still remember that hype feeling of ollying over a broom stick we’d set up on the ground. We all did it on the same day.
I started borrowing my mate Casey Vanderstelt’s deck and would head down to the old Middleton half-pipe. This was over fifteen years ago. That thing was (and still is) a cheese grater, smashed from years and years of sea spray. It was the perfect height…but everything hurt. I learnt to drop in there, learnt to rock to fakie there, you know, it was good.
Tell me about the first day dropping in, cause that’s real commitment right?
You don’t know what you’re doing. Casey was there, my mate Travis Gregory too. They were like “Just do it!” I kinda had the gist - stand on the board and push down flat. Essentially that’s it, but you gotta lean forward when you’re on a ramp. I mean, it was only three and half feet high and really mellow...
- Middleton's very own 'cheese-grater'
I remember falling over again and again in a pair of crappy old knock-off Slazengers but eventually got it. I must have been twelve or thirteen at the time, after that, I really wanted a board of my own.
And to think, a few years later Elan Skateboards would put one out with your name on it.
Skate culture has always been synonymous with rebellion. Did you subscribe to that growing up or were you a ‘good’ boy?
I was a good boy, but I guess it depends on what point in my life and from what angle you look at it. I’ve always kept my manners. I was never really in trouble in school – maybe for wagging. I mean, I wagged heaps…but I knew I could get away with it.
My Mum’s name is Barbara, I’m Beau. Do you know how easy it is to sign something ‘B Hinge’? I got in trouble for forging signatures but if you really look at it, I never forged one. I just wrote ‘B Hinge’. If the teachers fell for it, that’s their own fault. It’s still my signature to this day.
I don’t like being told what to do unless I ask. I can’t shake that. I can’t handle being micro-managed. I’ll do my best at what I need to do, but if you’re over there looking at me, at a point, I’ll stop doing it. Call it a tantrum, call it rebellious. I definitely was a shit at times, I can’t deny that.
Right, so the Hinge fans are dying to know, what’s the naughtiest thing you did whilst out with the crew?
There’s one that comes to mind but I was a little younger. Me, my brother and Travis (who I mentioned before) were out and about in Port Elliot. I was probably 17, my brother 14 and Travis nearly 17, he was a bit younger than me. We were skating at the old Port Elliot Primary School and Travis was taking photos. At the time they were getting rid of the building, it was derelict.
So anyway, my brother lassoed an antenna while I was skating round the corner and ripped it off the roof. The neighbours across the road rang the cops, and we were like, totally unaware that they’d rocked up. As we were leaving (being cheeky teenage shits) we threw a few rocks and broke a couple of windows, but we didn’t get pinged for that.
On the way out we hear this “Oi!” and my little brother says, “We can get away here, let’s run.” And I’m thinking in my head, “How? This is the middle of town, there’s nobody else here?” But I said “Fuck it, what else are we gonna do?” So we started hooning down North Terrace on our decks.
Soon after, we hear a bellowing “Stay right there!” and this lady cop (who I remember had a crazy eye thing going on, and was really intimidating) had her hand on her gun on her hip.
“Get on the ground!” she says, which is big talk for Port Elliot. So here we are on the turf, hands on the back of our heads…but we’d stopped, we’d listened, we weren’t being mouthy and she figures out pretty quickly that we’re kinda harmless.
It was all about the bloody antenna. I got pinned for being the ‘big’ one who encouraged it (even though I was skating at the time) so they let Travis go and took me and my little bro home in the cop car.
My main memory of that is Dad being really pissed off cause he’d bought a new kitchen table and the cops came in and put the forms down and etched their signatures right into the surface. He was so pissed off with the coppers, like “You’ve just dented my new fucking table.”
So it was kinda funny, but I got grounded for a week.
- Nollie Knee-tuck at Rumble on the Reef, Mackay, Nth Qld, 2018
Let’s get back to your social media following for a minute, how did those initial COVID restrictions back in March impact your online presence? I get the feeling that's when you started accumulating the bulk of your followers...
Essentially yeah. It made everything grow. Some videos I posted ended up getting shared hundreds of thousands of times – from Facebook to Instagram to Tik Tok and Twitter. In my opinion, for me, it was like, holy crap, this is a lot…
You mentioned your ego earlier, did this affect it?
It did a little bit. But I think that’s cause I also wasn’t around friends. I was by myself getting all this attention…it was weird. Now I don’t really know where my ego sits. There’s one there. I’m never gonna lie, I believe everyone’s got an ego. But yeah, it was hyper sensitive for a bit and now it’s not.
I’m not looking at numbers anymore. And I was. I will admit this as well (cause people just don’t) when they stopped going up, even just a bit, I was like “Why?” Which was actually a good point of self-growth. I’ll add, I don’t really understand it (social media) enough, which I think works well for me.
A good friend of mine with a prominent online presence said “Sometimes you gotta conform a little bit to get the attention and make it work.” And you know, I appreciate the advice, but it’s just not something I’m gonna do. I don’t like the idea of conforming. I like constructive criticism, but if it’s the outside world controlling what I want to film on a skateboard to put on the internet, that’s weird. That changes it from an individual thing to the Truman Show.
I’m keen to get your thoughts on how those restrictions impacted the broader skating community, as ‘freedom’ is a huge part of that movement.
Yep. The good thing about it is it’s something you can do on your own, and everyone all of a sudden had the time to do it. They were losing their jobs, they had spare time. So a lot of people bought a deck. You could still get out there and skate.
Skateboarding was booming pre COVID. Now we’ve had a prolonged boom, and there’s a world wide skateboard shortage due to sales. If you want something for Christmas, get it now. It’s become for lack of a better term, a ‘shit-fest’ of a fight for stock.
So you’re telling me the impact of COVID on the skating world has been…
The opposite. It’s insane.
- Kick-flip on shift, 18 Baker Street, Port Adelaide, 2020.
Your mate Nick Pinfold built you a half pipe for your birthday. In your back yard. Which is pretty bloody dope. Have your skills improved since?
Transition skateboarding, ten times better. I could already skate a mini ramp but now I’ve ticked so many things off my bucket list. As a skater it’s been amazing for my ability but going back and forth, even just for ten minutes a day has drastically improved my fitness.
You gotta fill me in. How do you balance fame, family, skating, work and still remain so god damn chipper?!
It’s a big juggle. My wife Emily is always really supportive. There are somethings that you miss out on, but you don’t miss out on your children. I think it’s about being in the moment.
Balancing all those things? You just fit it in. You find a way. Yeah, I get tired, mentally, I go through periods. Sometimes, depending on the day, it’s like ‘man, I gotta get out of the house’. But for the most part, I’m a person who likes to face things head on.
I like to logically think about things and not emotionally react. That’s something I’ve practised to do for many years. Everyone’s gonna have their dark moments, you’re gonna feel shit at times. It’s how you deal with that.
You’re not just sponsored by Pirate Life, you’re on the books too. What’s your role down here at the brewery?
I started out in the merch side of things, and I’m back there again now. I’d never worked behind a bar or even really poured a beer before I worked here. I can work confidently behind the bar and that’s something I’m proud of. I feel I talk a lot more shit to customers than other bartenders do – which is my power move.
Favourite band at the moment? Do you still listen to music?
What’s music?! I have not been listening to music what so ever. I’ve been listening to podcasts. Missing person mysteries mostly, and threads on evolution. I’ve always been into human evolution.
Hardest trick in your repertoire?
Nollie big-spin kick-flip, that’s the hardest trick in my repertoire. I suck at them on flat, but I can do them out of nose grinds and nose manuals pretty consistently – which makes no sense to me, but that’s just how it works.
So, this might sound stupid, but are you a pro skater?
I am. But I don’t really know what defines a ‘pro’ skateboarder. I think it just comes down to the fact that I’ve been around for a long time, I’m still doing it, I’m still landing tricks I’ve never done before and I think Andy Walker from Elan recognised that and sorted me out. He’s been amazing to me. As a kid I thought “It’d be really cool to skate for them”. They’re coming up on their twenty year anniversary. They’re a small, Adelaide born brand. I love that stuff.
- Switch ollie at the Reynella Drain, circa 2015
Speaking of Adelaide brands, what do you like about Pirate Life?
Well for one the beer! I like a lot about it. You know, I really like the people here. I like the branding, I like the way they execute things. I like the way they enabled my bullshit during COVID. They opened the brewery up when I lost my job for those few months and let me set ramps up and skate. Fingers crossed you’ll see some of that footage soon.
Well, just for the record, we like you too. Let’s wrap this up. Thankyou for sitting down and talking to me.
You’re totally welcome.