We had a chance to talk to one of the East Coast’s biggest lovers of sideways, hard wheel skateboarding. It was a lot of fun. She tells us about the Earthwing family, the joy of techsliding and the elbow 1080 flat spin.
Hi Jess, how are you?
I am very well, been married for two months now and I am extremely excited about it.
Congratulations! Did you skate down the aisle?
I wish I did. Maybe next year when we renew our vows, it was a shotgun wedding.
Does your other half skate?
What’s been the highlight so far?
Living in the same country. He is from France.
Are you planning to skate in Europe in the future?
I already have! I plan to skate EVERYWHERE in the future.
Where in Europe have you ridden?
Just some local hills I have found in the South of France. I am excited to skate in the Alps next year, I saw a picture of where his family had an apartment and the hill was just insane, hairpin turns and everything.
My favorite kind.
When did you start skateboarding?
I have always skated as kid, but I got really into longboarding in 2005. I would skate around Manhattan just because it was cheaper and easier than a cab or subway.
What changed in 2005?
I discovered Prospect park, and shortly after that I stumbled upon the Friday Night RIPS hosted by Earthwing.
Had you met anyone else prior to that?
Yes, I learned my first slides believe it or not by a Brooklyn skater named Harrison.
What is prospect park?
A mild hill in Brooklyn, a great spot to learn on and meet people.
What kind of people would I meet there tonight?
I met all kinds of skaters at that park, from short boarders, to kids going down hill, tech sliders, board dancers… they would even set up slalom cones. Friday night RIPS, the best.
How has prospect park shaped the skater you are today?
In so many ways. The thing about that hill was its small size. It would give me ideas for slides that wouldn’t even cross my mind on a super fast hill. It was a confidence booster that helped me dial in my tricks to eventually learn them at speed.
What sort of skating did you do in the early days?
Like any other New York skateboarder… getting from point A to point B
How does New York shape the skaters within?
It’s a family, when you skate in New York. You just have to get on a board and go down times square at night to see what I’m talking about. You just run into skateboarders all day long, next thing you know you are rolling in a little posse.
You’ve used the word ”slide” 57 times already, I’m going to guess that’s what you love to do on your skateboard?
100% tech slider that’s ALL I ever want to do when I’m on a board now.
What led you down the tech slide path?
Watching Mike D! We were at the RIP and he just came back from California where he met Kai and Will J. He was doing some serious shredding, so I got a pair of Earthwing Superballs and went for it.
Who is Mike D?
Mike D. is skater from Brooklyn. Back in the day we would do a lot of skating together. We were always looking for new hills to ride, just trying things out. He was really inspirational for me.
How did bumping into EW that day change skating for you?
Brian Petrie (owner of EW) made me feel like family from day one.
Has your skate crew changed since you’ve been skating?
It did. At one point I was the youngest in the crew, now I’m the oldest. Everyone I have met through our team has just been amazing.
Where are the OGs?
They still skate, just not as often as we do. I mean sliding, not parks and pools. I know Mike D is rocking his mini ramp all the time. We are always travelling to new places and meeting people. We skate down hills a few times a week no matter what.
What were your first tech slide lessons?
First slide I learned was a Coleman, then later that day I figured out a toe side. Once I dialled them in I would go for speed.
How often were you meeting with the gang?
As much as I can. I keep Fridays and my weekends open for skatebaording.
What did you enjoy about sliding?
Going fast sideways, touching the ground and going fast, something about being low to the ground. It just feels amazing to me.
How does the stoke differ from riding a bowl?
To me skating is wild and reckless, so I get the same stoke from watching someone shred a bowl that I do seeing someone slide down a hill.
Are you wild and reckless?
All the time! Well to a point here…
What do you ride?
I ride the EW Corchia model with indy trucks and Superball wheels. However my favourite go to skateboard that I kick around town with is the Supercharger. I have had that thing for like eight years now, and I always come back to it. I’m rocking randals trucks and EW floaters for the wheels. It carves like a dream
What’s kept you in it for so long?
Addiction. I LOVE to skate and I always will.
Who else was on the team back then?
It was Mike D, Jonathan, Brian Peck, and Brian Denklau.. The following year or maybe the year after that I went back with Steve Kong.
Was getting sponsored a priority for you?
Never in a million years did I think I would be a pro skater. It has changed who I am, giving me confidence, and it has giving me motivation to keep going. It’s all about inspiring each other to try new ideas and new tricks. Being on a team, having my little brothers (Steve and Ed) just keeps me wanting more.
How has it changed who you are?
It made me surround myself with the right people, good people. Friends I will have forever in my lifetime.
What’s the most fun thing about being an EW rider?
There are many fun things about being an EW rider but my favourite has to be how close we are. Like I said we are a family and spend a lot of time together.
Steve is your naughty little brother?
Man, we have so much fun together. Once Steve starts laughing, I just can’t stop. It’s contagious. There was one competition, I don’t remember where or when but we had these little colourful smoke bombs that we were throwing out the van making the skaters scatter everywhere. It was pretty funny.
You guys are pretty rock and roll!
Rock and Roll is my middle name. I don’t have ANIMAL tattooed on my shoulder for no reason you know.
Legit! Got any skate ink?
Soon, very soon I’m getting the EW logo. I have the perfect spot for it.
Dare I ask where?
On the top of my shoulder next to ‘animal’.
What is tech sliding all about?
Tech sliding is a little different then just sliding on big soft wheels. In Tech sliding you use much harder wheels that break faster into slides. It’s better for flat spins, pendies, holding out a slide, or manuals. You’re in control, you slide for much longer, like glass on ice. Then I like to get creative and incorporate my knee pads for balance. There is even a slide I use my elbow. And none of THAT would be possible if it weren’t for Advanced Slide Labs.
Do you have a favourite slide?
The one I’m still working on, Elbow 1080 flat spin.
Are you ever on soft wheels?
Yea, when I’m riding to the session. Once I’m at the hill, I’m popping on my hard ones. I have a saying… “ Stay Hard “
What is an advanced side lab?
It’s brilliant, a company that makes custom pucks that go over your knee pads and elbow pads. When using them, it saves your gear from ripping to shreds in two sessions. John ‘jerzey’ Jackson is the owner of it and he is just a great person and an amazing rider. He is also apart of our EW family. You should talk to him as well.
All your sponsors are local?
EW and Triple 8 are. Timeship flows me gloves, and Advanced Slide Labs is out in Arizona.
What is the Corchia pro model?
It’s a deck made for downhill tech sliding. However because of the shape it works wonders in parks and pools. It has great pop to it. It has a huge nose because I like doing nose manuals. It’s a big boy, 35” long and 9.5” wide.
Why are there so few women in Longboarding with their own board models?
There are other downhill female racers that have pro models, but as far as I know, I am the only female slider with one in the states. I don’t know why there are so few, companies need to start putting more ladies on their teams I guess.
When you started, were there other women sliding?
Of course there were and are. Got my girls in Brazil, we met at Slide Fest and Danger Bay. Reine Oliveira, she is a good friend of mine and she shreds. So does Miku, she’s in Cali now last I heard.
Why aren’t there more women going fast on hard wheels?
There are a few of us. My girl Jenica Davenport, the bionic women but there should be more everyday. But my question is why aren’t there more guys out there on hard wheels as well. Tech sliding blew up, then took a back seat these past few years, but it’s coming back. Tech sliding is just too much fun and too creative, people need to get on hard wheels again.
What made it blow in the first place?
When I first got into sliding I felt like it was huge, It was all about hands down slides, now it’s more about stand ups. More people are riding soft wheels, it’s just a different style of skating. The Gravity Flow video was the thing to watch back in the day. I still watch that all the time.
What’s your favourite slide?
I have many favourites, but if I had to pick one the helmet down backside is super fun to do.
When did you start competing?
I started in ‘07 and have been competing ever since.
What’s been your most memorable season?
The summer of 2011, I remember every single weekend we were somewhere else, for like two or three months in a row. It was a blast going up and down the East coast.
Highlight of that period?
The slide comp in Baltimore. Sergio Yuppie was the judge, he is a good friend of mine. It was awesome to spend the weekend with him. The Baltimore skaters are good good peeps. Also that was the team’s first time meeting John ‘jerzy’ Jackson from Advanced Slide Labs, and boss-man put him on Earthwing that weekend making him officially part of our family. So I will never forget all of that. We were all staying in a skate house and as soon as we got there everyone went to skate a parking garage. I was pretty tired from driving so I stayed behind and made pop corn with Sergio Yuppie.
What’s East Coast skate flavour like?
Not so different to the West Coast vibe. Skaters riding fast down hills. I mean, the ones we have are nothing compared to those mountains they get to ride everyday. But the cool thing is we make do with what we got. Maybe it’s the water but, we are a little crazy out here.
What are your favourite East Coast events?
Not to toot my own horn or anything, but any event Steve Kong runs, always goes swimmingly. Organized, everyone’s happy, everyone gets a fair chance at skating. There is no pressure, run more like jam sessions. I love when all the money raised goes to charity. It’s a great feeling helping people.
What charities are you guys involved with?
Cystic Fibrosis research, Steve Kong ran the “ skate for life “ slide jam. We also raise money at competitions to help out fellow riders. There was this downhill skater who was injured badly during a race, so we raised some money to help him out a little.
What do they mean to you?
It means everything to me. If we can help people through skateboarding, that is just the best. This one time my van broke down, the one I take the team to all the competitions in. We held a “save the van slide jam” and raised enough money to fix it up. I was beyond grateful for all the help I got there, and it made me want to give it back.
How has this year been for you?
I guess I had my ups and downs. There is more to go however. I guess lets see how I do. Just have to keep learning, keep improving, keep going faster.
Have you skated much outside NY?
When I toured with my rock band Blood Red Sun, I would skate at every state we played in. All I would do was go on the Silverfish longboarding web site, and ask around for locals to come pick me up and take me to their spots. Not counting up and down the East Coast, I have shredded in Cali, Vancouver, Toronto, Arizona, Nashville, South of France and hopefully in the next few years I will make it to Brazil. That is my big goal. The tech slide scene down there is exactly what I’m looking for. It’s all about travelling and meeting other skaters from around the world.
Another place I would like to go is England, and skate with Mark Short. He was another huge influence of mine. When you get to meet the skaters that you looked up to, and become friends with them, and skate with them in real life, not just watching their videos on YouTube, you learn so much more. My legends are Cliff Coleman, Sergio Yuppie, Mark short, Will Edgecombe, Will J, and Chris Dhal. Those are the guys that made me fall in love with skateboard sliding. I have met them all, so It would be cool to visit them where they live and skate the hills that they have skated.
What instrument do you play?
Drums are my main instrument. I have literally been playing the drums since I was able to walk. My parents met in a rock band so I grew up in a musical home surrounded by instruments. It all came naturally to me so I picked up guitar, bass, piano, and vocals as well. Once I got a degree in music, I became very serious about it.
Mark and Will Edgecombe kill it with style!
Oh yes they do. Will is a great skater and he is soooo tall. I love watching those guys shred.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Skate on every nice day until we get hit with winter.
What do you do when you’re not skating?
Animal play drums! (and x-box). But seriously, I like to go out with my husband on the weekends bar hopping and things like that. I love to cook, and I’m pretty damn good at it, but I’m no Andriy Dash. He keeps the team fed on all our trips. The boy is an amazing chef but beyond that I would like to talk about his skating. He is quiet possibly the most amazing, talented skater I have ever met. I’m honoured to have him on my team. You know how some people progress then they hit a wall… he doesn’t. He just keeps getting better and better and better. Andriy pushes the box in ways, you wouldn’t think is possible. He deserves all the credit in the world. Any skater should be privileged to watch what he can do. Beyond that he is a great guy. Go team Andriy.
What does he do to them?
He pulverises the walls into bits and pieces.
It’s been fun doing this Jess, hopefully see you when you come to Europe!
Totally! I am all about travelling so that is definitely a possibility. I’d like to take some time off music, and just go skate EVERYWHERE.
Any thank yous?
I would like to thank Brian Petrie, the bossman from Earthwing skateboards. Not only for putting me on the team but for believing in me from the start. I would also like to thank Cliff Coleman and Sergio Yuppie for inspiring me and giving me the confidence to be a great female skateboarder. Also big love to my little brothers on the team, especially Steve Kong for always being down to meet up and have a session, and just being the best friend anyone could ever ask for. Also I would like to thank John ‘Jerzy’ Jackson for making my custom elbow and knee pucks, making all the tricks I do possible.