The first time I saw Jak was whilst skating through the City of London many moons ago. Straight away you could tell that skateboarding was coming naturally to this youth, and it didn’t matter if it was stairs, manual pads or ledges- Jak was on it.
Obviously oblivious to lazy fun skating can procure, Jak strived to progress and went straight for the sponsorship counter. Needless to say, this caused a small wave of mockery and head turning among other amateurs and bitter folk.
However, the proof was in the pudding: Jak knew how to skate. So, after a little introspection and hair on his chin, the young squire gained his recognition and left the bighead at home. Today, Jak is busy getting things done notably for The Harmony’s debut video, and more importantly enjoying himself. With skills like these, Jak deserves everything he’s got.
Interview and intro by Ralph Lloyd Davis & pics were taken by Andy Hulbert
I’m British/Polish, and I think I’ve got a bit of Irish in there (Laughs).
How long have you been skating?
I’ve kinda lost count… I think it’s coming up to 7 or 8 years.
How did you get into it?
My brother got me into it. He got a board for his birthday and I thought it looked cool so I started trying to skate. I didn’t even bother trying to ollie for the first 3 months, just riding around on my Santa Cruz fish board was fun enough for me. In fact, I’m gutted! I gave away that board years ago, it would be a good collectable now… (Laughs)
The first time you were spotted was in London ripping up Shell and SB. Who were you skating with back then?
Pretty much the exact same bunch of people I skate with today, give or take a few. Always had Morph filming back then with his handy cam! (Laughs) Ahh… The good old days! I don’t think I really stopped filming since back then – No wonder my shins are so battered and brittle!
Who dropped off your tape in Cide? Was it done on purpose to be 10 minutes of sick footy?
I think I dropped it off in there. I think I dropped off about 4 before they sponsored me! (Laughs!) Looking back, I was really sponsorship hungry, like most kids I suppose. I definitely don’t think its the right way to go though, it doesn’t help matters (Laughs). Yeah, so one day Morph just decided to make an edit of all the best footage he had filmed of me and put it onto a tape to give in to Cide, and seeing he has been filming me for so long it jus turned out to be really long I suppose.
What’s the atmosphere like for a young buck trying to come up nowadays?
(Laughs out loud!) Buck’s a funny word! I don’t know really…? I’ve always just skated and things are just seeming to fall into place now, apart from when I was that kid handing in all those tapes into Cide! So I guess the atmosphere is good, just really relaxed at the moment.
Who sponsored you first? How was that?
There were a few others before but not worth mentioning for several reasons like giving me clothes for a comp then not hearing from them again after the comp, and getting me to film a full section for a video and then not even bother producing the decks and then buggering off to Spain… But yeah, Cide were the first sponsor to properly sort me out and not just long me off, and I am very grateful!
Nothing’s really changed in my eyes. I try harder to get footage nowadays but it feels more like a good will gesture for sorting me out so well than because I have to. I like it this way, I think it actually helps me to get things done.
Do you think the level of skating is going to rise again now that kids have all these street plazas to go to?
Yeah, definitely! But, I think the level of skating is constantly rising but having these street plazas popping up everywhere can’t do any harm. I suppose at the same time though all these new kids starting skating will get used to perfect blocks and stairs etc… So it may not help them when coming to skate a real obscure street spot and it’s those spots that are the most fun to skate-You can get wild on them! (Laughs)
Do you skate parks or transition at all?
Yeah, I enjoy going to skate the occasional park now and again. I find it good fun to TRY and get my tranny skillz on! But yeah, tranny is good fun. I would love to try and skate a proper bowl, but I would probably end up breaking a hip or something…
Name a spot in London that was great but no longer exists?
Ahhh! It’s got to be the one and only Shell Centre. I suppose it technically still exists but it’s no fun anymore. You can’t just go there and have a fun little nibble on the 3. I have fond memories of going there straight from a party, sessioning Shell all by myself, just me an my tunes. It was so much fun, well it was for me anyway (Laughs).
Who’s the rattiest skater out there?
Mike Hulbert from Leytonstone. What a stinker! (Laughs!)
What do you parents think of your skating? Do they support you?
Yeah, they really fucking support me. They were like my sponsorship for like 6 years till I got on The Harmony.
You went to Sweden with The Harmony- How was it? See any fit birds?
Sweden was amazing! I never knew before then how good Sweden is for skating. There seemed to be something for everyone out there: stairs, blocks, rails, hubbas, banks, and then there was Pontus’ mad bowl which was amazingly hard to skate, but good fun. All the people I met out there were sound as fuck as well, especially Victor, the guy who gave me Tom, Danny and Adam a place to live for the week. He was a complete nutter and you would never hear him stop laughing, such a funny guy, he was amazing. I did a lot of new things when I was on that tour too: Before the trip I had never flown, I had never met any of The Harmony lads and I had never shouted ‘You have a sweaty bum hole!!!’ at girls before. I have done since though (Sly laughter). Yeah, and the gash was top class!
You got to skate one of Pontus’ little bowl initiatives- How was that? What’s Pontus really like?
I wouldn’t say I got to skate Pontus’ bowl, more like I got to drop in, try a trick, fail and then sit and watch the rest of the session (Laughs). That thing is so hard to skate, but Tom and Paul jus made it look easy. Anything that was done on that was respected, and then you had Paul doing it switch, which was insane! Watching Pontus skate it was unreal: Sessioning the over vert bit that everyone else just left alone. He was a cool guy as well, a little strange but definitely a cool guy. I was just glad he didn’t run about butt naked. Fuck that! (Laughs out loud).
Would you be willing to build an entire spot if needs be?
I would like to say yes but I think I’m just too lazy- Too lazy to do it like the Swedish do it, anyway… They have 2 amazing skate spots that they just made themselves, and they’re proper legit skate spots as well, not one of these launch ramps from Argos jobs.
Where else has skateboarding taken you?
I went Barcelona in the summer with all my mates for a little skate trip and to finish filming for Morph’s video ‘Routes‘. That place is seriously amazing, like you see skate spots from Barca in videos and you think, ‘Fuck me, it can’t be that perfect?!’ but it really is! With the obvious exception of the bus station: those ledges are truly fucked… It was so much fun though; getting plastered at night, going skating during the day and getting plastered again the following night, we were blessed.
The last day out there was shit though. I was skating MACBA, then went to get my bag to go round to the 4 and couldn’t find it. Realising some sly Spaniard must of stole it, I then went on to the British Embassy to try and get a temporary passport so I could get home. We only had 4 hours until our coach left to take us to the airport! I just about got there in time after a 5 mile hike to get the temporary passport- It was a proper mission. On top of that, the thief also nabbed my I-pod and phone that was also in my bag, and then went on to run up an £800 phone bill!!! It took the piss out of my life.
What is your take on turning professional? When’s the right time? If The Harmony wanted to turn you pro for X-mas, would you accept the offer?
I think it depends on the skater and how they feel about the situation. I’m really stoked on The Harmony, and I’m definitely on for being with them for the long run so I would probably say yes if they offered it. Whether or not I think I deserve it is another matter.
Who haven’t the media caught onto yet, but will very soon?
A lot of the people I skate with on a daily basis like Alex Greaves, Joe Saville, and Daniel Tomlinson. They are all really good skaters but have had no coverage apart from sections from the ‘Routes’ DVD. If you’ve seen these guys sections from ‘Routes’ you will see what I mean: a lot of talent there.
Just meeting new people and skating new spots. I hardly ever get out of London, so when I do I’m always really stoked (Laughs). The premiere’s gonna be amazing as well. I can’t wait for that!
Who in your eyes has the best part?
I haven’t actually seen the DVD yet so I couldn’t say, but I’m looking forward to seeing Danijel’s and Tom’s, Danny’s, Paul’s… In fact, all of it! (Laughs)
What is your fave trick you are most proud of on the DVD and why?
I don’t know… You know, it’s probably the tre flip manny in Sweden. I didn’t think I was gonna do that.
Joe Gavin just joined the team, will you teach him a thing or two-or vice versa?
Definitely vice versa that guys fookin’ amazing!
If you could serve up an ASBO to one of the following characters, which would it be and why? New Era cats, Girls denim dogs or I-pod wearing mongs?
Well I wear New Era hats and I own an I-pod so I will have to go for the girls denim dogs, whatever that means (Laughs!).
If you are sporting an I-pod or similar music machine, what tunes have you got blaring?
All kinds of tunes- I’m into everything. A lot of my tunes are from skate videos, it gets me pumped to skate. But yeah, groups I’m most into at the minute are Badly Drawn Boy, Belle and Sebastian, Taskforce, Fischerspooner, Regina Spektor etc… The Jump Off by Stroder featuring Ragsie is a good tune.
Has skateboarding made you more aware or receptive music, art or fashion wise i.e. listening to groups you probably wouldn’t have heard of before, or taken interest in a certain artist…?
Yeah, definitely! It’s like I said; a lot of the bands I listen to, I heard one of their songs from a skate video, then got the rest of their album. Skateboarding also got me into graffiti due to most of the skaters in my area doing graff. Graffiti artists like Seen and Cope 2 who were like the originators, and then there’s all the London heads who amaze me the way they seem to have been everywhere. They kill it.
If Dist.One (David Earl Dixon) is your fave artist, who would be in second if you had to find a replacement for your board graphics?
Some nudist artist, could be quite funny.
If the Harmony was a band, who’d play what?
(Laughs out loud) I think Eddie would be the front man, Danny would be guitarist, Veran would be the bass player, Danijel would be the drummer, Adam would do the backing vocals, Tom would play the bongo’s, Joe would play the keyboard, Dave would be the manager, Mondon would be the producer and I’ll be there doing my bit with the triangle!
What is cooking generally?
Fish fingers- you can’t beat deep fried fish fingers. Morph showed me the way!
Can you cook a good Pie?
(Laughs out loud) I never cooked pie.
What’s your favourite pie?
Who ate all the pies?
My fingers hurt.
Watch the video on this page exclusively filmed and edited for this interview by Russell Cowling, Dane Crook, David Dixon and Paul Silvester. The music on this video comes from www.myspace.com/onceasuperhero
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