TEN THINGS YOU DIDN'T CARE THAT YOU DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT TOM PENNY, AND TEN UNFLATTERING PICTURES OF HIS FACE.
During the four years after he landed in America, Tom Penny was hands down the greatest skateboarder on the planet.
Sure he was good before and after that period, but during that window he was untouchable. Rumours of him switch frontside flipping down Carslbad straight out the car (no camera) would be unbelievable with anyone else, but during that weed fuelled haze, anything was possible - and judging by the one he did bother to film, you'd be a fool not to believe it. From the kicky, frontsy, switch frontsy and switch flip (still the greatest swicky ever done) over the rail in the hallway, the chain, Tampa and Radlands comps, Downhill School and everything in between, Penny was unfuckable with.
Long before he was addicted to mushrooms, Tom was addicted to 2p chocolate banana sweets - his catchphrase was "Tom Penny, always got a sweet in his pocket"
Tom once (a long long time ago) took an illegal ride bare headed on the back of a moped halfway across the home counties to get to a mini ramp lip trick duel with Leighton Dyer by sunset. He lost. Just months after this frantic no-comply to tail session, Tom sold his soul and swapped his micro ramp lip trickery for frontside flips over the moon.
Tom has a sister called Jenny. Jenny Penny.
Tom's game changing run at Radlands in 95 was carried out under a deluge of spit from the Girl/Chocolate team. Despite this, Tom wasn't "motivated by the haters"... he was motivated by a 4 pack of Scrumpy Jack.
Tom was expelled from school after stealing some canoes from Oxford University, as he went on to become the greatest skater in the world and fantastically wealthy (despite never really filming a proper part) this wasn't much of a punishment. Years later however, he was suitably punished by the universe by becoming sponsored by Supra and is now forced to wear canoes on his feet.
During his missing years when he lived in Bordeaux, France, Tom was twanging so hard he forgot how to speak English for an entire year.
After staying round a friend's house in Swindon one night, Tom annoyed everyone all morning by repeatedly telling them it was "Sunny as a honey", little did anyone realise at the time he would go on to become the worst rapper on the planet. Honey isn't sunny.
Tom is a parent AKA he has at least one child. Think about that for a bit.
After smoking a firecracker laced cigarette in Munster - sparking off a chain of mayhem resulting in a fraulein's hair getting set on fire while an LA blood stabbed her boyfriend in the neck with a Biro - Tom didn't open his mouth again for 11 years. Or maybe this was because of Whiz gob. Scientists are still baffled as to which was the true cause.
Whilst skating the Amsterdam skatepark better than anybody and dressed to perfection - Tom slammed and ripped a pocket off his jeans. Our friend TMH found it and used it to mop up blood from his head wound (he also slammed). Years later - thinking it would be his retirement nest egg - it seems he unfortunately waited too long, as during 2010 (Tom's dark years) it didn't sell on eBay at one dollar reserve.
In summary, pretty much every skateboarder on the planet tried to emulate Penny, and rightly so. He was ridiculously good - immaculately dressed, relaxed (almost to the point of dead) style and a great (slightly limited, but through choice) trick selection. Fuck, he even ripped on vert.
Most UK skaters are rubbish (I can say this, I am from there) apart from a select few (article about that coming soon), but when one gets good, they get REALLY good and Tom is a prime example of that. Oxford's finest to the world's finest.
Tom Penny, we salute you.