John tells us all about riding his own wood, his super powers, Club 54, some Greener Pastures Shenanigans that never made the screen and the secret to skating fast.Hey John! Where are you from?
I’m from the T dot O. Living at the infamous Club 54!!
What is Club 54?
Club 54 is a house located in downtown Toronto, over time it has been taken over by skaters. It’s in a really nice neighbourhood and we really don’t fit in. Ask our local police department who showed up to our party on a gun call (we were playing with airsofts), and left after we showed them our sick ass tesla coil!
How many of you inhabit this residence?
There are lots of us:
Evan Harris aka Dr. Casual Smooth Chicken aka Smooth Chicken
The infamous McLovin, need I say more
Seb aka DJ Dirt Stash and his trunk of funk
Tasha the random non-skater aka upstairs girl (with friend tub girl)
Frequent living room people:
Mishca Chandler aka smelly living room guy
Pat Switzer aka PSwiss
Ramon Konsinghaasdfja aka Rambone
101s, Johnny Barney, Johanne Barniclese, Bohn Jarney, Spiderman.
Stop the press. You have a tesla coil!
Of course we do. Doesn’t every skate house? One of the older house mates, ADAM WINSTON aka JOKER, was hired to work at Tesla Motors in California (bitch). A friend decided to build a tesla coil for his going away party and then the police showed up. There is video and photos of it somewhere. We told the police that we were over excited about science and the sweet coil and wanted to see if they would play with it. One cop said that having been tasered he wouldn’t touch it, but the other cop tried. They told us to take it inside.
What’s the skating like in your city?
It’s so awesome that you must hear about the sick mountains in Toronto all the time! Vancouver, ha.
When did you start skating?
A long time ago in a galaxy far far away. I’ve been skating a long time. I grew up outside Toronto, St.Catharines. Started off skating but I had a hill in front of the house. When I was 16, I tried my first longboard and I got hooked.
What’s the longboard community like in Toronto?
It’s an awesome community. Friends are like family. It’s getting way bigger. It’s pretty crazy, the changes over the last number of years. Ontariolongboarding.com has really helped build the community and have created lots of events, both races and fun ones, including the Boardmeeting which is celebrating its 10th year this year. Hopefully over 1000 skaters will show. The groms are getting crazy and certain hills are turning into skate parks, like the Poop Chute. Shout out to THE ESCARPMENT SURFERS and the SKATE INVADERS for putting their time, energy and effort into putting on events. FUCK! Lots of typing. It’s all good. Who set up Ontariolongboarding.com?
Ontariolongboarding.com was set up over 10 years ago by Smooth Chicken, Adam Winston and Chris Barrett. It’s played a huge role in building the community by creating a forum for skaters to meet. There are regular Wednesday night sessions at several of the car parks in the city. Since Toronto is so hilly and all.
What is the Board Meeting?
Its the biggest Non-Race in Longboarding. It was started by Ben Jordan for an art project or something 10 years ago. Longboarders meet in a park in the north part of the city. They must be properly dressed for a Board Meeting, wearing shirts and ties (helmets are encouraged). Basically an illegal critical mass through the city with no purpose other than to spread stoke. It’s one hell of a good time and most of my housemates help to organize it. There is a huge after party at CLUB 54 and a bar around the corner. Last year we had about 200+ people show up, when the cops came in through the back all the housemates left the through front to go drink at the bar.
Have you been to every one since it’s inception?
Nope. I showed up to Toronto somewhere around the 5 or 6th one. I was coming home from work and watched my first one go past me in my car. I did start going to them before I was wearing a helmet.
Who are the skate invaders and escarpment surfers? Local skate crews. The Skate Invaders are a Toronto crew that really spread the stoke. The Escarpment Surfers (ES) were the original downhill riders in Ontario. Pat Switzer, Chapman and Dasha are some of the better known ones. We put a lot of time into finding different hills in Ontario and pushing each other to the limit, then back a bit after too many trips to the hospital. In one year we had Adam Winston hit a guardrail at 100 km and break his leg in 5 places, Mitchel hit another and broke his femur in two! Chris hit a rail and broke his collarbone, and I hit a patch of gravel and went head first into several guardrails and went into a seizure for 7 minutes, but came outta it right after and can still make sentences. And people say Icaros aren’t safe, ha! Latest ES vid, best skating in Ontario! Too bad its flat. ES: Game of G.O.L.F Check out videos from The Escarpment Surfers and The Skate Invaders online.
Is that how you gained your spider senses?
I’m pretty sure that’s how I lost them. I have some awesome RED CAM footage of the crash. Still don’t know how I walked outta the ER that night. No broken bones, bruises etc and I should be dead. After being unconscious for 1 minute there should be brain damage but I was able to pass my Osteopathic Exams after the crash so all is good. It happened on remembrance day… I think.
Are there any side effects from the crash?
Yup, but now I always break my tuck a bit riding open roads.
How bad was the damage to your helmet? I was actually surprised with how well it did. The outer shell cracked but there were no soft spots. I slapped a skatehousemedia sticker over it and use it go karting. How did you get into downhill?
I had a hill in front of my house. Natural progression. So progressive, haha. I moved to Toronto and found out about Ontariolongboarding.com and started going to the sessions where I met Pat, Chicken and Adam. At the time I was riding Abec11 101s and my user name on ontariolongboarding.com was 101s. So that where the name started and that’s why I have 101s on the back of my leathers. At a session Pat saw these wheels and wanted to try them one night, and I said okay but just don’t turn too hard, after he got chucked he made me get on a real board. I’ve been riding Kebbeks ever since.
What do you ride now?
I ride a Kebbek John Barnet. Its pretty weird to ride your own wood. After riding the Euro Tour in 2010 I decided the Max Erwin was too big a board with too much drop. I wanted something a little smaller with less drop so it would stick the corners better but still have some drop to lock your feet into. I’m still too scared of top mounts. I would always put gravity foam kicktails on my Erwin, so I wanted a race board with kicks to make it more usable.
When did you join the Kebbek team?
Well I’m not really sure. I went to some of the Quebec races held by Fast Freddy were I first met Ian Comishin, the owner of Kebbek. He came to Toronto a couple time and he gave me some boards, took me out for dinner, and gave me a long talk about never asking to be put on team Kebbek. So I have never asked.
Do you have admirers making suggestive jokes?
Nope. I totally started to feel like a “pro” (lol) when people started asking me what bushing combo to use etc. I don’t really know anything about duro. I know that I use red or green or yellow bushings and orange wheels for racing.
Was 2010 your first year competing?
In the IGSA yes. Before that I did several outlaws. I had the final exams for my Osteopathic Studies in April of 2010, so I said that if I could pass my exams then I could go on the Euro Tour.
How was your first Euro tour?
Interesting. It was super hot. I found out the IGSA means that It’s Great To Stand Around. Germany was super hot as were some of the other races. Qualis suck and take forever, I am also the worst qualifier ever. I need people to try to be faster than.
What was the highlight for you?
All of it. Getting to spend over 6 weeks and 11,000 km on the road and skating around Europe. Every day was a dream.
Did you do all of it last year?
I went out for Greener Pastures last year. Pat had asked me to go but I said no way. I was working on my thesis proposal to finish school and didn’t think I could do it. Two weeks before Greener Pastures started Pat called me and said that there was a ticket for me to Switzerland and that he had talked everyone into it. I got my life in order and went out somehow. I didn’t have time to pre register for the races and only had time to race 2. Also Pat did this knowing that I wouldn’t let his broke ass actually buy me a plane ticket. You have Osteopathic powers now?
I guess so. I have been fixing Pat for years and have to fix skaters all the time. I think that this is the main reason I was asked to be part of Greener Pastures.
What superpower do you possess?
I don’t know. I can find out what’s wrong and fix it. Sometimes I can even tell what and how you hit things. I do bone and organ manipulations similar to a chiropractor. Doing a good job of selling myself and what I have been studying for the last 7 years.
Did you have to do any healing during Greener Pastures?
Yes. I tried to put Pat back together after he hit the rock wall. After he bled through the bandages I knew he had to go to the hospital. Had to fix Gmack a bunch, he had hurt his ankle I think. James hit a car before the trip and his back was a little hurt. You can see it in some of the shots in GP.
What was the highlight of that trip for you?
Again getting to play pro skater and getting to skate with those legends. They are like rock stars haha. But ya I work in Toronto so I was stoked the whole time getting to skate. I knew most of them before the trip so was stoked to get to skate with them again. Gmack is outta control and is always good to be around. I think the part I hated the most of the trip was filming. I just wanted to go and shred some crazy mountains. But I liked the Czechs and they did a great job.
Blue wheels eh?
I guess its a little expression that is starting to catch on. There’s nothing worse then getting to the top of a sick mountain pass and having the rain start, or having to wait around for the set up or take down. You just need the urethane release! One of the best hills on the trip we could only ride in sections. Never got to ride it from the top and I WANTED IT SO BAD!!!!
Why didn’t you just spot ride the best hills?
Would you do it again?
Of course, it was a super fun time. Pat had the film crew bring 400 tall boys of Kozel, there were some good times for sure. Also would be stoked to get to try some center set wheels on some of those roads.
Any particular hilarity that didn’t make it to the screen you care to share?
Do you mean like James and Gmack getting robbed? Oops..I mean nope, nothing at all.
Why are you obsessed with Spiderman?
I used to be a competitive rock climber and when I was in high school I got a Spiderman halloween costume. Then instead of wearing leathers I would race in them. So when it was time to get NJK’s custom leathers, I asked Kelsey, the owner, if he had made any yet and I got them made. Differently than I ordered of course which he is notorious for.
You have your own board, why isn’t is spider themed?
Don’t ask me. From what I heard Niko picked it. He might have a been a little upset with me so he gave me crabs? I tried to take an inside line which didn’t work.
What’s your role in the Kebbek family?
My first speedboard was a KebbeK JimZ. I loved that board and was stoked to have the opportunity to ride for a company that I would buy anyways. I still think its crazy that they gave me boards to ride. Ian Comishin is the shit, I have so much respect for him and what he has done for longboarding over the years. Still don’t know why he put me on the team.
What do you do when you’re not skating?
Work, living at Club 54 which is always a circus. The other night we decided to skate 8 decks on top of one another and then stand on all of them in our house. Its scary but a lot of fun. When you come to Toronto you will see.
Only if you offer bacon.
Peameal or Canadian Bacon isn’t where it’s at. Its all about Maple Bacon bro. Ramon makes me bring him maple syrup each year so I can make it for him.
WTF IS MAPLE BACON?
FUCK YA only the greatest thing in the world. You fry bacon then add maple syrup and caramelize it over the bacon. So good. It’s the secret to skating fast.
Choose 3 numbers between 1-26
I’m scared of numbers. Math is bad haha. I’m not following your rules man. I have already said too much. I’m mclovinmyliferightnow.com
Do you have any thank yous?
Of Course. Shout outs to Ian and Kebbek Longboards, Darren at Orangatangs wheels, Les at Vicious Grip. McLovingmyliferightnow.com, (the love of my life) Vina Danger, Cam Brick and Luke Melo.
Thanks for your time bro!
Thanks for wanting to interview a has been like me. Have a good night Gbemi, was good talking to you, sorry for keeping you up all night. Looks like I’m leaving you with some blue wheels.