So tell me how you've been since you've moved. How long has it been since you left?
At first it was a struggle. This is a city where I had no family or friends, but after a year I got settled in. I now have a pretty cool group of close friends and am starting to lay down some roots here. I have been living in the ‘Nati for a little over two years now and love it!
What’s the biggest thing you miss about Jacksonville, and one standout thing about being in Cincinnati that you really appreciate over being here?
I miss the Southern hospitality bad. I miss sitting in line at the store, and some random dude just sparking up a friendly conversation with you. That just doesn’t exist here. I miss the always warm weather. I also miss Burrito Gallery, Bento, Emerson Skatepark, and all of my family and friends there!
With that said, Cincinnati has so much more to do. Everything is only 15 minutes away, you can watch Reds games for hella cheap, and the job market for marketing professionals is so much more developed.
You seem pretty successful now. Maybe that's because of your photos with you in suits. Why did you move?
Success is all relative. Skateboarding definitely taught me to look at things from a different perspective. I chased money straight after college, but discovered that I really should have been chasing happiness instead.
Funny story, I was actually interviewing with a company in Chicago and San Francisco, but the only opening they had was in Cincinnati. The job I was offered in Cincy was literally a dream job to me (I got paid to learn about some really cutting-edge store brands). I googled the city for a few minutes, saw they had a football team and a baseball team, and took the job without ever visiting.
What's skateboarding like in Cincinnati, and how is it different from here?
The skate scene in Jacksonville is so much more developed. The park system, the spectrum of skateboarders (beginner to pro), the companies, and the environment in Florida makes for a much better skate scene.
Cincinnati is actually a really conservative city, and skaters aren’t really looked at positively. Skateboarders in Cincinnati just try to learn tricks but they don’t focus on style. Jacksonville has so much more steez. Finally, the skateparks in Ohio are pretty poorly made. There is quantity here, but little quality.
The BMX scene in Cincinnati is actually really big. There are more BMX bikes at the parks than there are skateboards most days. Oh and for those cats trying to skate that DC plaza in Kettering, It isn’t some little kid park where you just do warm-up tricks. Everything there is pretty gnarly, lol. I got broke off trying to skate there!
Tell me about Skatejax.com. It was going pretty strong for a while! What's the most memorable thing you got from that experience?
Skatejax.com was really just an attempt to capture the amazing skate scene that Jacksonville had going for it. I was really psyched to see so many skaters using the site. The site actually crashed when my friend’s webserver went down. I didn’t have anything backed up so it went away forever. You can actually still see all the Skatejax montages on YouTube though!
One of the most memorable experiences was definitely being a part of the city’s first Go Skate Day. Channel 12 News ran a prime time story demonizing skaters for the event, so we encouraged users to voice their opposition to the propaganda on the website. Tons of people showed support, and the news reporter actually went on the Skatejax forums to try and defend himself after getting so many emails! The site also showed everyone all of the talent we had across the city (Nick Blanco, Jake Sykes, Bruce, Ty Butler, etc…)
So you came back to Jax recently, and I was wondering, did you do any skateboarding while you were here?
I HAVE to get a session in whenever I hit up Jax! You guys take that winter weather for granted man!
Since skateboarding isn’t as big where you are now, do you find yourself not doing it as much? Or is that more of an issue with your work schedule?
I definitely don’t skate as much. I don’t have the RLC (Red Light Crew: Ty Butler, Mauree Thomas, Jason Whittington) to push me out here. The older I got, the more I’ve become a filmer/photographer, rather than skater.
The weather and the parks here are also not as good. You really can’t skate here from November till March, and we don’t have any good street parks besides Kettering which is an hour away. With that said, I still get about 3-4 good sessions a month here. There are some nice bowls out here, and I definitely morphed into a bowl skater out here.
What spots do you miss most in Jax? If I had to guess I’d say it would be the skatepark on Emerson.
#1 Emerson Skatepark
#2 Monument Skatepark
#3 TIE: (UNF Campus/Hemming Plaza/Main St. Underpass/Kona)
Anything you want to say to your friends in Jax as we wrap this up?
I wanted to give a shout out to the Red Light Crew, my brother Ibrahim who still shreds Monument, my mom who always supported my skating, the new generation of shredders (Pat Schaefer, Jake Sykes, Nick Blanco, etc…) who are carrying the torch, everyone I skated/filmed in Jacksonville, and all the groms trying to get better.
The one thing I love the most about skateboarding is that it encourages individual creativity, but also has a great sense of community. It really brings together people from all walks of life. I encourage all of the skaters to work hard to protect that in Jacksonville. Some of those people you see at the skatepark will be with you for the rest of your life.