Cameron James Barr is half Scottish, half Oxfordian and unlike anyone else you will probably cross paths with in your entire life.
He carries himself like a cartoon character; in his teenage years he picked up the nickname ‘Carrot Boy’ thanks to the fact he closely resembled a carrot in human form, and I believe that this cartoon like persona has actually slowly eroded ‘Cam Barr the Normal Human’ and replaced him with ‘Cam Barr the Cartoon Carrot’.
Like most people who are talented on a skateboard, real life is something of a mystery to him. Despite being 21, his diet is primarily made up of cheap lager and sweets, though he can occasionally be found with his resident squatter/housemate Charlie Birch, sitting down for a meal of steak, hash browns, mushrooms and cucumber, accompanied by a slice of toast and a glass of milk. How he finds the energy to get through an average day is beyond me. He currently works for his dad’s online shoe empire The Drop Date, though previous roles of employment include building conservatories, labouring in East London basements, he was sent to Mallorca to work with his uncle on a building site for six months once, and he also miraculously held down a job in a bar in Shoreditch for a brief spell.
Cam allegedly found his way onto a skateboard aged 7, though I thankfully didn’t meet him until a good few years later. I remember meeting his dad though – a legend by the name of Ryan Barr – at some extreme sports/awful dance music festival in the summer of 2013. We were both steaming drunk and Ryan was telling me about how good Cam was at skating. I foolishly declared “when Cam is old enough to be sponsored, there’s a spot for him on The National Skateboard Co.”, which was quite a bold claim considering I’d never seen this carrot child so much as stand on a skateboard before. As luck would have it, later that same night I was in a caravan with Denis Lynn, when in walked Cam and Charlie Birch…and they instantly started fighting. They had a falling out about something and were fully punching each other in the face; they must’ve been 14 years old at the most. I remember thinking then “this kid is an absolute nightmare, I hope I never have anything to do with him”.
Fast-forward two years to the summer of 2015. Cam was spending his time living between Oxford and London, riding for an Oxford based company called Would* Skateboards. Slam City held a filming competition in the summer holidays entitled ‘Summer in the City’ and Austin Bristow got a crew together that consisted of Cam and a few other Southbank locals. In their edit, Cam stood out; he’d gotten quite good, and whilst he still resembled a carrot, his skating and style had clearly progressed. Neil Smith and Tom Tanner were with me at the ‘Summer in the City’ premiere and both insisted we needed to have him come ride for The National Skateboard Co. So, at their wish, I sent him a message to see if he would be down to come skate for us as a flow rider. It turned out that he’d just accepted an offer from Alex Irvine to ride for Witchcraft Skateboards. Now, if you know anything about Witchcraft Skateboards, you’d probably be thinking “that’s a strange move”. Witchcraft was gnarly. Funeral French did the graphics and they were all black metal inspired. The team was full of hesh guys with tattoos that absolutely destroyed bowls…and Cam was literally about to embark on a roadtrip to France with them all. I said to him “well, if that doesn’t work out, give me a call” and we left it at that.
When I spoke to Alex Irvine a little later on, he said Cam was a nightmare on that Witchcraft trip, from start to finish. He was unbearable when he was drunk (which was most of the time), couldn’t take a joke, was telling everyone after a few days on the trip that he’d quit Witchcraft, and I was driving to Dover to meet him off the ferry and take him back to London (that was a lie – I didn’t speak to him at all whilst he was on the trip). He would compose himself quite well whenever I saw him, but it sounded like he was still the same nightmare child I’d met in the middle of a caravan fistfight a few summers previous. Regardless, the day Cam came back off the Witchcraft trip he called me up and asked if the offer still stood. He said he didn’t quite get along with the Witchcraft guys and thought he’d be better suited to The National Skateboard Co. So that was that, he was on the team, for better or for worse. And it’s been a rollercoaster of emotions ever since. Throughout all the trips, filming missions and general days out skating we’ve had, there’s been highs, there’s been lows and there’s been everything in between, but he’s part of the furniture; I couldn’t imagine our company without him.
One thing I learned very quickly about Cam is that he puts a lot of pressure on himself, which doesn’t always work in his favour. If he’s on the trip with all the boys and he’s trying something, all it takes is one remark from…lets say Denis, and his confidence is completely gone. Then he gets stressed, has a meltdown, and maybe an hour or two later he’ll finally land whatever it is he’s trying. Because of that, the process of shooting photos or filming tricks is often something that Cam usually shies away from. Unless it’s for instant disposal on social media, anyway.
But when Cam and I came to Warsaw in March 2019 – to skate with Michal Juras after he joined the crew – for the first time ever he seemed to relax and simply get on with it. Filming clips wasn’t an issue; he got lines, singles and bits for Instagram without so much as breaking a sweat. He shot more photos in two days than he’d actually shot in his entire life up to that point. I genuinely think Michal and the two Kuba’s were actually impressed by him. It’s like Cam had finally turned into the sponsored skateboarder we’d wanted him to be since we first put him on the team…it only took him four years and a weekend in Poland.
I guess what it all boils down to is this – Cam is a character, he’s got a heart of gold and he’s genuinely quite good at this skateboarding malarkey when he wants to be.
You might even see a video part out of him one day.
Cam would probably like to express his gratitude to The National Skateboard Co., New Balance Numeric, Ace Trucks (Rock Solid Dist), Modus Bearings (Keen Dist), Stance Socks and Reup for their continued support.