Recently I’ve been trying to slow down time. The last years working on Jenkem have been incredibly rewarding, but they’ve gone by way too fast and most of the time I was worried about the business, if I was a kook, or what the next thing we could do was to really be present and enjoy it.
As a result, I’ve been trying to cram in as many novel experiences and meet-ups over the last year as I can to get off of auto-pilot and experience all that the skate community has to offer, warts and all.
These are some highlights from this very nomadic and contest-filled summer. Hopefully, I can shed some insight or little tidbits that will make reading this rewarding enough for you to stick around. I know these sorts of articles are more for the real heads: no algorithm pushing you here, no YouTube tourists invited. Let’s just keep it like that. You and me, baby.
I was in Paris back in May and met up with the boss man himself, Pontus Alv. It was great to finally meet in the flesh after years of texting and doing interviews and following each other’s work. I don’t wanna air out Pontus’s life, but it seems like for the time being he has relocated to Paris and is living his best life. While there, he scribbled a little doodle for me which I put up in the office, and after chatting a while he mentioned that he could retire tomorrow if he wanted. Sounds like Polar is crushing it.
Just a classic Paris shot. I don’t really have anything to add, so I’ll let you know what’s been going on at the office.
We’ve recently been discussing having a Jenkem “Required Viewing” sheet for new interns to get them up to speed by giving them some classic Jenkem-inspired videos: Eastern Exposure 3, Destroying America, The House Vid, Illigitimate Bastard Child, Horny Mom Busts a Phat Tre Flip, etc.
Now that I think about it though, it may not be a good thing, because IMO what makes good content or art is people having different views and influences and building them uniquely into their work. If we all were inspired by the same five videos and artists, the site would get pretty boring pretty quickly.
This is Vitoria, who we met at the beginning of her journey in The States. She was very green when we met; her English was limited at that point, but she kept a bright personality and was always laughing. Several months later, I saw her at the Vans Huntington contest and she was connected up and in the fray, like she had been around the US Skate industry for years.
I gotta say, it’s definitely “cooler” when people stay in their home territory and remain a bit mysterious, like Casper Brooker or Tom Knox, but if you are a budding skater and really really want to make it (meaning, get more money), you’re gonna fast track yourself if you spend some time in New York & Los Angeles to access those global budgets instead of just the localized ones.
Billy Rohan always has an idea. He’s a mad genius, and he’s been on the cusp of so many potentially game-changing breakthroughs that ultimately fizzled. A couple I remember off the top of my head: (almost) getting Clarks to make skate shoes, dropping shipping containers with helicopters into Iraq and Afghanistan filled with skatepark materials, and various other projects that actually did transpire.
He is so passionate and always full of big-picture ideas that most people would never even dream up. Although he’s from Florida, to me he embodies the original New York “anything is possible” spirit that was commonplace before the city got overrun by tech bros and shitty corporate culture.
Tompkins these days is sort of like the dinky but lovable pre-fab park in your hometown town, except rather than being on a dead-end cul-de-sac, it’s smack in the middle of NYC. There are also tons of random stoners, passer-byers, kooks, and any obstacle that shows up there is blown out within two weeks.
Anyone would get bored of skating the same shit on loop, especially once it starts to disintegrate and get weathered. Once they hit that point, the locals usually repurpose them in more creative ways, like this drop-in that looks more like a WWF top turnbuckle contraption than a skatepark obstacle.
This dude sort of looks like a mad scientist or the owner of a CBD company, but he’s a photographer named Charlie Samuels who took this photo of Harold Hunter skitching on a taxi cab back when they had that classic boxy yellow look. You can see the Twin Towers behind him, and it’s overall just an absolutely iconic shot.
We were in Helsinki for a week and I feel like we really maxed out on footage. Every single day we were filming, seven days in a row, and were super burnt by the end of it, but were able to produce the Eetu, Marius, and Helsinki recap videos, as well as a social post that got 5 million views on top of everything. It was just Greg and me, which shows you really only need a two-person team to get stuff done. Everyone just has to be motivated, responsible, and in control of their binge drinking (which is harder than you think.)
Here we are celebrating Nicole Hause going pro at the Wheels of Fortune event in Seattle, Washington. Nicole is so drunk she looks almost like a parody of a drunk person, with half-open eyes and a vacant stare. I know everyone from the REAL camp was relieved once it happened since they flew out her parents and several teammates, who had to hide and go unnoticed until the big announcement where they popped out like that scene from American Pie 2.
Just kidding, it was nothing like that, I just wanted to rewatch that scene.
I was thinking about this the other day: What other activities can you partake in besides skating where you easily have access to some of the best in the world? You can go to a popular street spot in a major city and consistently run into a top skateboarder, sitting on a curb, right in front of you. You can talk to them, interact with them, and be around them. Can’t say the same for basketball, or artistic endeavors like painting or sculpting. I can’t just show up to a popular basketball court in Brooklyn and find Kyrie Irving playing pickup with some friends, drinking a tall boy.
Here’s Myles, AKA @lilshirtbigpantsgirl, getting surprised with the cover of the newest issue of Mess Magazine. If you’re not familiar, Mess is a new print mag putting on for the underrepresented scenes in skateboarding. They’re on their second issue now and are churning out a high-quality product, giving shine to some really rad people who wouldn’t usually get mag coverage, so be sure to check them out if you’re tired of the typical hell ride content or our site.
I can’t say enough good things about Sheezy which is rare because like you, I’m an overly critical, gossipy skater. She has a great sense of humor and a kind heart and brings an outside perspective (she’s from Australia) that is desperately needed in the American skate scene. Since making a living solely off of skateboarding in Australia is so challenging, she is incredibly thankful and down to earth when approaching it all. I mean, there are people in our industry that genuinely don’t know how to book a plane ticket because someone else has done everything for them their entire lives. This is not an exaggeration.
Sheezy had the idea of hitting a shooting range because we both had never fired a gun outside of Counterstrike before. You’ll see the experience in our upcoming Hanging Out With episode, but it was definitely uncomfortable – Some people to the left of us were shooting a shotgun, which you felt vibrate through your entire body when it went off.
The ease at which they just handed over guns was on par with what you hear about in the news. You really could be anybody and they’d let you in to shoot guns. Once I got used to it, it was clear to me why so many Americans go on power trips and don’t want to lose their rights to own them. They’re like an ultra-deadly and totally unnecessary security blanket, and there’s nothing more American than that!
Kelly Hart shot me an invite to his birthday, which was a nice surprise. I showed up expecting a who’s who of the LA skate industry to be there, but Kelly went more family with it and only invited a handful of his closer friends, which made the invite feel that much more special. I wasn’t stuck talking shop with some marketing director the whole time and felt like I was around real genuine people who had no ulterior motives talking to me (or me to them). Respect to Kelly for a pleasant surprise.
RAW TAPES: NOT ANOTHER SWAMPFEST EDIT
Somewhere in between Woodstock 99 and a redneck civil war re-enactment.
AN ORAL HISTORY OF THE SKATE PARK OF TAMPA
"It was a young person's dream. Nonstop fucking chaos."
BETTER OFF DEAD: BRANDS THAT SKATEBOARDING DIDN’T NEED TO COME BACK
"Just because you can doesn't mean you should."
A GLIMPSE INTO THE BAKER HAS A DEATHWISH II WORLD PREMIERE
16 long years later, the second coming of Baker Has a Deathwish has arrived...
A CHAT WITH LUDVIG HAKANSSON, THE OLDEST SOUL IN SKATEBOARDING
The man loves to read Nietzche, skates in some expensive vintage gear, and paints in his own neoclassical-meets-abstract-expressionist style.