In this epic catch up with the moustached Australian, we follow Jacko’s adventures as he pushed himself back to the top of his game, falling in love in/with Vancouver and missing Vegemite.
Hey Jacko how are you?
I’m doing great my friend, living the life over in BC at the moment. I can call Vancouver Island my home right now. Things are epic.
When did you get over to Canada?
I’ve been in Canada since about February. I met a pretty epic lady here and wanted to be closer to the skateboarding world and my sponsors in North America. I went to race in Puerto Rico and then came up for a quick visit, was planning to come home and train up for 2 months then return after Newtons, but I loved life up here so much that I extended my trip and fast-tracked my move. I’m going home for Newtons next week and coming back here after that.
Of course! We met in Australia last year when she was visiting friends, then met up again at Calgary and hit if off.
Last time we spoke you were working hard on rehab and trying to get fit for the world championships – did you manage to?
I didn’t manage to get racing fit for the world champs, my injury turned out to be mondo hectic and it still gives me grief. I’ve been working hard with personal trainers at least 3 times a week since and have only just started skateboarding and competing around Dec/Jan.
When did you finally feel healed?
I still don’t feel fully healed. My push is weak and I get a lot of pain in my leg still, it is stable but not as strong as it used to be. It will take some more months for the tissue and muscle to fully regenerate as well as the bone deep within. Its enough to skateboard and race but I still have trouble walking and can’t run at all without getting tired and sore.
What was your first skate like?
Amazing as always. It was a slow progression. I started off with just getting a Kahuna Big stick and just land-paddling around, getting down to the beach to swim and what not. Then I went to a slalom race and paddled-in to the course instead of dropping the ramp and ended up making my way through to 4th place. Then slowly worked on pushing around a bit more and bombing some easy gentle hills and did more slalom racing and got back to winning them. It felt great and was a huge confidence boost.
How did you do in your first race?
The first time I felt back in a solid competitive mode was a slalom race up on the Central Coast of NSW. I built up the courage to drop in on the start ramp and felt pretty confident on the course, managed to keep the top times all day and won the competition.
Slalom remains your secret downhill weapon!
Its my roots for skateboard racing, it teaches power and balance. I would say its the perfect training for downhill speedboarding for sure.
How did winning that help in the next contest?
It helped a lot, I felt back in the game and ready for the next one.
What was your first downhill race?
I went over to Western Oz for the Jack’s Attack Downhill Challenge late November (I think) and went pretty well, but my push was so damn weak it really hindered my chances to win. It was a pretty flat start and everyone would just push way ahead. I managed to draft my way through the rounds and made it to the finals but when I got there, they all just left me in the dust off the push and I got 3rd.
How hard was it watching last season from the sidelines?
Its tough, but its not the first time. I watched Newtons from the sideline for the 3rd time in a row. But I manage to keep busy and stay focused while all my mates are out racing. When I watch the guys I wanna race with and beat win the races I wanna race, it just drives me harder to get strong again to be up there racing with them.
Was leaving Oz supposed to be for faster healing?
Either in Oz or out of Oz, I had it set up so I was still working out in the gym and being healthy. I left Oz to be closer to the things I love the most to progress further in life.
When did you start feeling skate progression?
Quite recently I felt a lot of progression in my skateboarding, after a lot more intense training with my PT we have worked on the flexibility and power in my leg, its really loosened up a lot. About 4 weeks ago I started really getting back into stand up slides and going in and out of switch again, putting all the weight on the back leg and feeling more nimble in my skateboarding.
What adventures have you had since you got there?
I could write pages about my adventures! Better yet take a look at the hopkin blog (www.hopkin.com.au/blog) for most of them. There have been races nearly every weekend here, outlaw races galore. I’ve done a couple trips to the mainland to skate with K-Rimes in the BPs, and a few trips over to Salt Spring island and up to Nanimo to skate with the crew there.
I managed to win the Outlaw Key 3 times in the past month, and plan to defend it this weekend at an Outlaw race I’m hosting and then take it back to Oz!
What is the outlaw key?
A perpetual ‘OG’ trophy that has been around for a couple years. Its a filthy wooden key fashioned out of an old skateboard deck made by Mike McGoldrick. It’s a trophy for outlaw races in BC. If you win, you get the key and are required to attend the next outlaw. I just did a quick blog post on it if you wanna read more check out the hopkin blog!
What have you been riding recently?
I’ve been working with Sector 9 on some new shapes, something that really suits me and my style. I had been riding the Roxane beforehand and then made some modifications to the over-all shape and then worked on some different concaves when I was in the Sector 9 factory in Feb. So far I have two different shapes I’ve been swapping between for freeriding and racing but once we get the concave and moulds sorted we can work on some production boards.
When will the Jaquiline/Jacky? be available in the real world?
It will probably be a while. To get my own pro model I will have to earn it. It’s not as simple as making a shape and slapping your name on it. I’ve been putting a lot of effort into helping with board designs, I can ride my own custom shapes and what not, but to have a pro-model you need to be a real pro, be a world champion, something huge that you can really slap on the name. Too many people have ‘pro-model’ this and that right now but its hard to say they are really ‘pro’.
What makes a racer ‘’pro’’?
I would say something that is making a full career out of it, a real winner and a go-getter. Someone that puts in the hard yards and also gives back to the community. Treats skateboarding as a job as well as a lifestyle. Someone that can dive into every aspect of it be it riding your board or working within the industry and someone who actually achieves their goals instead of having them and never making it big.
Is it possible to live comfortably off downhill skating?
It is very possible, its extremely hard but nothing comes to you unless you work for it. Its like anything in life, if you want it bad you gotta work hard and make it happen – there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
Still on K4’s and RADs?
Yep, I love my Aeras and RADs are by far the best wheels I’ve ridden for racing and freeride alike.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Racing and traveling. Lots of it. Next week head home to Ozzie for a huge Outlaw and Newtons Nation, then back to Canada to begin the BC race season. I also plan to travel to Europe and South America again.
How do you think the locals will do?
The boys back home are solid riders. The Hopkin Skate team especially are quite confident in their racing skills. They know the track (now a little better than I do!) and are always a fierce force to be reckoned with.
How do you think racing under the new regime will pan out?
The IDF are a solid crew, they know how to run their races. Mainly because they are guided by ASRA which is by far the most organised racing association on the planet today. Every ASRA event runs smoother than a babies butt, and with every year comes progression. The IDF will truly shine this year.
What do you hope to achieve this year?
Same thing as I try to achieve every year Pinky – Try to take over the world!
I just want to do my best at races, stay focused and continue to progress as a skateboarder. I’m also really getting into organising events right now, trying to bring something more to Vancouver Island and push the scene here a little further. We have big plans for some big events coming up that I think will bring a lot of people to the island.
Who is ‘’we’’?
We would be first and foremost myself and Kelsey (my lady). She has been putting in a lot of effort to help me with this event coming up this weekend. Also I’ve been heavily involved with the local shop Regular.
The scene there is one of the most seasoned in the world, where do you see it going?
The Vancouver scene is definitely a seasoned one indeed, but the Island scene is still a growing community. There are some amazing skateboarders and the numbers are growing, but I see that there could be a little more structure to the scene to bring everyone together. Once people get organised and associations form, then the community here will flourish. I plan to make that happen.
You’ve really fallen in love with BC. How is it different from Sydney?
I’ve always called BC my second home. It was my first overseas destination for skateboarding and I returned every year for Danger Bay and other events. Last year was the only year I didn’t get to Visit BC due to my leg. I made it to Canada to film the Winsport World Championships however that was just a one-week trip only to Calgary.
I do see a lot of similarities between Ozzie and Canada, the people and what not, but in a way its quite different too. I like change in my life and new adventures, I will always call Sydney and Australia my home, but now I feel like I’ve made a new home over here too. It’s quite an amazing feeling.
What sort of events would you like to put on?
This weekend I’ve got a two-dayer happening. Slide jam and a race. I’ve had a bit of experience organising events back home for the groms and the big boys alike and get a lot of joy from doing it. It’s fun to bring people together and stoke em out and give the people a well run event. Something they can tell their mates about. Anything from Outlaw races to slalom races to just chilled jams, I like being organised and making sure the community is stoked. It’s all about giving something back to the people that support you.
Future IDF president?
Haha, maybe one day? I definitely don’t have time for that right now!
Will you race at the IGSA World Champs in Brazil?
I would love to race Teutonia again. That hill was an amazing challenge for me and I really want another stab at it. Unfortunately the IGSA is blowing it hard and the schedule barely lines up.
There is too much time between the IDF south american races and IGSA Teutonia, so they are making it hard for international people to do both. and I reckon most peeps will wanna just race IDF. If I can make it happen, I would definitely love to race Teutonia again but will have to play it by year.
Since you’re in Canada, have you got a new favourite bacon?
Bacon is Bacon. I miss Vegimite and Meat Pies.
Have you kept up your work behind the lens?
As much as I can. I made a few videos while I was on the mend last year but recently not so much. I don;t have a camera with me here in Canada but will be investing in some equipment soon.
It’s been really rad catching up with you bro. Stoked to see you going hard. Good luck taking the key back and in the World Cup series!
Thank you for your time my friend!
We just set a record for fastest interview ever.
It is my job to be fast… Have a fun day! And keep in touch!
Any thank yous?
As always big thanks to my sponsors – Sector 9, RAD, Hopkin Skate, Aera. Without these brands I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Shout out to Mumsie, miss ya and love ya lots!