An Interview with George McGowan
I, like many others, only became aware of George McGowan very recently. Somehow, this 19 year old powerhouse from Carrickfergus, Ireland who throws double twists more easily than most can backflip has been flying under the radar. The apparent downfall of the social media world is that unless you play the game of self promotion, you can be insanely talented & get little to no recognition.
So when George messaged me a month before our UK tour asking for details so he could make sure he could travel to & train at every event, it seemed like an obvious opportunity to bring him along & try to get him the exposure he deserves.
We were instantly met by people asking if he was going to be a new sponsored athlete but at the time it was by no means a certainty. Before the tour I had only met the guy twice!
Almost everyday we receive messages asking if people can get sponsored but it takes so much more than just being a good athlete. The bond that has developed between the current athletes is a strong one built around non stop training, ridiculous humour & a shared vision to push themselves & the sport forward.
To be honest I don’t think George knew what he was getting himself in for! There were moments during the first few days where I would look over & see him sitting in silence, staring into space (I like to imagine he was internally screaming) as Kelan, Max & Robbie were doing something such as gleefully spitting on each other.
By the end of the trip George had made a massive impression on the guys & everyone was eager to make him part of the team! I for one am incredibly happy to have him on board & can’t wait to see what we get up to in the future.
Below is a brief interview with the man himself!
So let’s start with the standard question everyone asks each other when they first meet. How long have you been training Parkour?
George: I have been training for 8 years. I started in early 2009 when I was 11 years old.
How exactly did you get into Parkour?
George: I first saw parkour on youtube when my older brother showed me a video titled ‘urban ninja’ this was in 2007 and I was instantly drawn in. I remember searching for other videos of people training and came across Phil Doyle’s early videos and also some urban free flow tutorials. Although interested I did not actually start training until 2 years later when I watched Scott Jackson's summer 2009 video I also remember watching Frazer Meeks training video and it was then my friends & I started.
You’re known for having an incredibly springy acrobatic style of movement. Has this always been the case?
George: I have always been into the flip side of training simply because I enjoy tricks and especially twisting! I haven't always been springy but have always aspired & worked towards being able to do those sorts of movements. Jenx and Will Sutton have been a massive inspiration for me in the way I move and I've always loved the idea of popping tricks out of anything easily!
I think many would watch your videos & make the assumption that you train much more the flip side of things and neglect Parkour based movements a bit. However since watching you train I would say you're actually an really well rounded athlete. Is there any reason you don’t seem to showcase your Parkour skills so much?
George: I feel I am better at acrobatics than I am at parkour and this is why most of my clips are lines including tricks. However when I am training I enjoy doing parkour movements a lot more and especially recently have been working on my cat passes and jumps so that I can balance it out more in future videos!
Travel & training seem to go hand in hand & you're over in the UK a fair bit purely for training purposes. Where else have you travelled to so far?
George: Apart from the UK I have travelled to the Netherlands twice for 4 The Love Of Movement Summer and Winter 2016. They were the first big parkour event I ever attended! My grandmother lives in Alicante, Spain so I have trained there & I have been to the US, France and Italy but unfortunately not to train.
To follow up on that, is there anywhere you are hoping to visit in the future?
George: I hope to visit Denmark for its variety of Parkour parks. They all look so sick as I love laches and swinging movements! The US is also somewhere I wish to visit for training, I love the modern architecture there compared to the UK and they have some sick indoor and outdoor facilities! I’d pretty much be down to travel anywhere to train as new spots and surroundings always motivate me to try new movements.
With regards to the future, where do you want to see yourself in 5 years time? Any particular goals?
George: In 5 years I hope to have traveled a lot and met a lot of the athletes that I've looked up to for the last few years! Also spread what I know about the sport and how positive and fun it can be! I know a lot of people have different views about competition but I want to try and compete in different events as it’s something I would like to experience and have not yet done! I hope to get my name out there more and more so that i can motivate more people to train and enjoy the sport!
A final question. Where do you see Parkour in 10 years time?
George: Parkour is rapidly growing and in 10 years i see a lot more big commercial events and competitions being introduced. It’s hard to predict the future of the sport as already so much has changed from when I started and I can’t predict what direction the sport will go in.
Follow George on Instagram: @GEORGEPKAY
Photograph by Somewhere.Somewhen