Features Skateboarding

Jess Young Interview

Sure, right now Jess Young is bathing in the rarely seen Welsh summertime with his foot in plaster but you can bet your life that the very moment that foot is released from its crusty white prison, he’ll be out breaking it again. He’s got a slight reputation amongst the local crowd in South Wales. If you were to stumble across a hesh drop with an imaginary ‘suitable for moshers only’ sign across it then Jess would be expecting a phone call. It’s a strange reputation to have, and one that’s not at all friendly on the bones but it’s not like Jess will give two shits. In fact, when asked if he gives two shits he confirmed that he doesn’t even give one. He’ll turn up, grab his deck and do it first try, then head off to a nearby ledge and skate it with the tech-heads like fellow Kill City rider Nicky Howells as if he was a born and bred Buzsy stereotype.

Regardless of any mosher-drop tendencies, it’s impossible to put Jess inside any sort of box and I wouldn’t waste your time trying to either. Jess knows how to ride a fucking skateboard and that’s all that needs to be said. When his skating speaks at volumes beyond 11 you can forgive him for being pretty chilled out off the board.

Stanley caught up with him this week when his foot was in plaster. This worked out for the best because there’s no way he was going to interview him on top of the Newport Road underpass or where ever he’d be rolling off when his foot isn’t in plaster. Fuck that…

Photography : Mike Ridout

Portrait: Chris Gibbons

Easy Jess, what are you up to right now?

Having a wake and bake in the garden, just outside Bridgend on the coast of South Wales.

How’s your foot feeling?

It gets stronger everyday, although it’s hard to tell when you’re in a cast; it’s a slow process for sure.

What happened to it?

I basically snapped the metatarsal bones between the toes and the heel apart from the one that runs from my big toe so there are screws in there now holding them back in place, the joints in my toes cracked as well, which felt amazing.

What’s the weather like in Wales? It’s summer now so it must be raining right?

It’s been pretty awesome lately, I’m out for another month so it can’t come too early for me.

Is the Rec Centre open yet? I can’t understand why an indoor skate park that’s so good only opens its doors during the summer…

Don’t think it’s going to happen again. I was shocked to see it come every year anyway. The sooner they fuck that off the better so something can be done properly.

Are you excited about the new plaza that’s being built in the bay?

It will be much better than any park that’s already in Wales because it’s in the right place. It will hopefully bring a bigger scene together and the design looks sick as well which helps.

In addition to Norwegian Church, Sports Cafe and Oval Basin this pretty much makes Cardiff Bay the best place to skate in the whole of Wales, right?


How different is skating in Cardiff than Bridgend?

It’s a bigger playground, the plaza down the bay will make it better again.

Who gives you more hassle, Bridgend roiders or the notorious late-night crowd in Cardiff?

Bridgend roiders piss me off.

Cardiff is a bit of a gathering ground for weird celebrities; Nicholas Cage came into the coffee shop I used to work shortly after making these adverts and shouted some shit at me about iguanas. What’s the strangest encounter you’ve had while skating?

Tramps chucking each other in the fountains at Castle Gardens in Swansea Centre during the middle of the day was rad. It was like a Swansea love story pantomime or something.

Didn’t you get arrested for sawing the knobs off the handrail in Oval Basin during New Year?

Hahah sure did! Luckily they didn’t press charges and go too crazy about it, so I don’t have a criminal record or anything. I just had to pay an £80 fine and get harassed. I was halfway through the second knob and they came over and treated me like an escaped convict or something. I was just standing there with a junior hacksaw and a stupid look on my face and then they put me in handcuffs and started kicking off. It was like being told off by your mum at the police station after I explained why and what I was doing so they sort of let me off with a warning.

Is that the worst encounter with the law you’ve had for skating?

The worst was a recent Kill City trip to Mallorca in which the Civil Guardia were trying to fine Dainton and the rest of us 3000 euros for chipping a marble block outside a hotel in Magaluf, or else they were claiming to lock us up. This was only day two or three, so after an hour of interrogation and not understanding each other they waved their guns around and followed us to our hotel to get copies of our passports. Obviously this was a scam to try and rob us as we couldn’t understand them so with the help of the hotel manager’s translation we learned that they would be back the next day to pick up the money. This didn’t sit well with us because of all the camera equipment so later that night we did a runner and booked into another hotel. We must have missed them as we were out skating all day and boozing in the night, the ash cloud kept us there for an extra week so we were lucky to get away without seeing them again.

When is the Kill City video going to be finished?

Not sure on a deadline or anything, but we should be wrapping up soon.

Filmed anything you’re particularly stoked with?

I don’t know. I just try and get stuff when I can really, or if I learn a new trick I’ll try find a spot for it. Obviously some stuff is easier to get than other stuff. Daint has got a really good eye for filming/editing and putting stuff together in his own way so I think the videos going to be good to watch.

How did you get involved with Kill City in the first place?

Not sure really I always wanted to be a part of it but it seemed like there wasn’t room. Caradog and Nicky Howells have always been on it so they may have helped it along I don’t know, Daint started flowing me boards ages ago and it started from there.

What’s it like having Dainton as your boss?

He’s a legend.

You had a sick section in the Who? video. It emerged as one of a few scene videos that really pushed the envelope on the levels of skating and the video’s overall production values. Does this put more pressure on you to not only kill it on scene videos but raise the bar even higher when filming for Kill City and other sponsors?

There’s no pressure I just go out with friends and we hit some spots, there are times when I want to skate transition more, likewise with gnarly stuff, it comes in waves. I prefer it when you get a session on with good company and see what happens.

Out of the 9001 filmers in Wales, who’s your favourite to film with?

Filming with Daint is always good, as well as having fun and enjoying skating its easy to go film something. Lately I’ve been filming mostly with Jon Fisher but it usually depends on where I go.

Cardiff is notorious for a great Go Skateboarding Day, what’s the best event that Jim O and CSC have organised for it?

I missed this year’s because of my foot but the powerslide competition opposite the Hilton down into the underpass last year was good.

You seem to be ripping handrails and ledges a lot harder lately. Where and what are you hyped on skating right now?

Yeah big rails and ledges are good to skate I like skating stuff when your either going to make it or eat shit trying. That’s not all I’m hyped on skating I like bars, hills, banks, tranny; its rad when you go to a spot you’ve seshed before but find a new way to hit it up. Rails and hills are the most fun, I’ll be most stoked on transition and bowls when my foots healed.

What music are you chilling/skating to now then? Let’s hear your top three if you’ve got one…

1. Florence And The Machine – Dog Days Are Over
2. Drunk Injuns – Blood Drips Like Passing Thoughts
3. Caribou – Pelican Narrows

I heard you have a heartagram tattoo on your leg, is this true?


Were you a proper bam-fiend when you started skating?


It might have given some explanation to why you’d want to drop in on the top of bridge on Newport Road opposite Sainsbury’s, do you have a personal problem with your own legs or something?

Got caught up in the mosh, Christian Hart tried it first and killed himself, it looked good fun.

Whenever I’m skating with the Who Clothing lot or the Hologram boys and we come across a huge drop someone will always say ‘oh, get Jess on this!’ Are you stoked on that reputation or would you rather change it?

Don’t care.

You’ve always ripped at Crossfire Jams, what one was your favourite?

The Christmas Jams are always good.

Caradog has asked on behalf of skateboarders all across the United Kingdom to share more information about your sexy mother…

Well I can tell you (Nicky Howells and Dylan Hughes will vouch for this) that Caradog once got kegged to an audience at a house party and got nicknamed ‘the party sausage’ after it.

Any words of wisdom you’d like to share with us?

Shred as much as you can while you can.