Hi Jason, cheers for taking time to chew the fat!
No Problem, you caught me at a good time.
As some people might know you’ve had a few major injuries in the last couple of years which has led to quite a lot of rehab and time on the recovery bench. Can you let us know what happened?
Yeah, well it was just the one injury I guess but it kept morphing into different things and giving me problems. It goes back to May 2015, which is crazy to think about. Mark was filming and shooting photos for his North interview and I went up to Sheff to tag along and try to piggy back some stuff. First spot, about 20 minutes after getting off the train I rolled my ankle at a bench spot, it was pretty bad but I could hobble around on it, as skateboarders were pretty used to that sight, I was annoyed but didn’t think much into it. After a week or so of it getting increasingly more bruised my girlfriend Mariña and Bush, the ankle break expert, convinced me to go to A&E and have it looked at. Turned out that it had a slight fracture, so they stuck me in a boot and told me to come back in a month or so. I really wanted it to heal up strong so I was super vigilant about keeping the boot on and the weight off it for that whole time. Ironically the fact I did that must have made it worse; the bone healed back larger and into the joint that I wasn’t using. This didn’t show up on the x-rays though, all they saw was that the fracture was healed. I went through months of Physio, and my movement progressed up until a certain point then stopped, they tried all different techniques and passed me around the department to try and work out what was wrong with it until they came to the conclusion that physio couldn’t fix it and something else must be wrong with it. They discharged me and recommended I got a MRI, that was about DEC 2015. At this point I’m skating but I’m pretty limited. The injury essentially blocked the joint on my left ankle from moving further than about 50% which didn’t have any effect on some things but a huge limitation on others. Think of crouching down to do a flip trick but you body stops you half way. And jumping off anything was where I would have to crouch on the impact was out of the question too. I was essentially bottoming out on the joint way earlier than it should.
So I get myself on the waiting list for the MRI, obviously pretty low priority in there eyes as I could walk around and do day to day stuff. I finally get the appointment for April 2016, a pretty shit 12 months of being injured and not really skating. In the MRI they find the bone spurs as expected and get me on the list for the operation to remove them. At this point I’m skating better than I was a few months earlier, the scar tissue had broken up a bit and I’d learnt how to work around the crouching thing and what tricks to not even bother with. I could pretty much skate a medium sized ledge without issues but my flatground was all over the place.
They finally schedule my op, for the middle of summer, late July. Due to work and not wanting to spend the summer on a sofa, I pushed the Op back to November. Work's usually pretty quiet around then anyway and it also let me go on the Fabric lakes tour. So fast forward to the op, it was scary thinking about going in as I was skating better than I had for years at that point and the idea of going through the op which might not even help me sucked. In the op they cut out the bone and scar tissue and I managed to walk out the hospital but it was 2/3 months of rehab until I was skating again.
Sounds gnarly, how’s it feel to be back on the board? Do you think you’re back to 100%
It didn’t take long till I was pretty much back to normal though when I did start again. My ankles at about 90% and I think thats all its gonna get back to, but thats an amazing improvement from the 50% I’ve been living with for 2/3 years.
When I first starting skating again was pretty much just out of practice with a lot of tricks, some stuff I hadn’t done for literally 3 years, as well as building up my confidence with other stuff that used to hurt; I’ve been hitting up a lot of parks. I still have to warm it up slowly with stretching and moving it around, and that's just the way it is now. But 3 years in I’m pretty used to it and I'm just happy to be back doing stuff, desperately working on not creating any mental blocks.
Are you working on any projects at the moment? I know people are eager to see some new footage.
Well I’m long overdue on a clip for Shiner, they’re kind enough to hook me up with Thunder. I was actually pretty close to finishing it when I got hurt but the footage ended up get harvested for other things throughout that time. Alan’s been very patient with me over that so I’m keen to get it all wrapped up.
Sick can’t wait to see what you come through with; you work as a photographer in your day job, is that what helped you make the decision to move to London?
Yeah, they type of photography I wanted to get into really only happens here, maybe a bit going on in Manchester too now but I wouldnt have been able to make a living off of it in Bristol. I do a mix of photography, retouching (photoshop work) and lighting for other photographers/film makers. Maybe now If I still had a car I could live somewhere else and commute but when trying to get into it you need to be here really. And to be honest I’d been there a long time almost 10 years and just fancied a change. I grew up in a tiny village in Somerset so have always craved some concrete.
Have you always worked in photography or is a bit of career change?
Well I studied graphic design, and worked in that for a while, working on some magazines and online stuff. It’s very stressful though. Having to be creative on a deadline. Everyone's got an opinion too. I just kinda fell out of love with it. I still enjoy design but more as a fan these days.
That leads nicely into my next question which was about the graphics you’ve done for Fabric. People may not have known but you designed a fair number of our graphics, including one of our best sellers ‘The Ponderosa’. How’s that process been and have you been working on any new graphics?
Ha, yeah “I fell out of love with it” so I started doing it for Fabric. Well if I have an idea I have the technical knowledge and the software to give it ago. I try a lot of things out and if I end up liking it I send it over to you guys. Boards are very awkward to design though, especially as all you start off with is the company name and maybe the pro’s name. Its more of an illustrators job in my eye.
Working as a Freelancer it must give you a good bit of flexibility so that you can go skate etc when you want to?
Yeah for sure but when you’re the only one with that schedule its not as good as it sounds. There's not much of a crew around on a Tuesday lunch time.
Ha for sure, you were a bit of a Bristol head, do you still manage to catch up with your old crews now that you’re in the big smoke?
Not as much as I’d like. I haven’t been back there in a while now. Im planning on going down for the Thunder clip though. The guys are always welcome to stay at mine when they fancy it though. I have this little deal with James (Harris) worked out where he can come stay with the guys he’s working with and I’ll be the spot guide in exchange for a little camera time for myself.
Do you have a regular filmer nowadays since James is all the way back in Bristol?
The filming situation is a bit weird in London, there's only a few filmers, some are strictly filming for companies, others have their own projects they’re solely working on and there's so many skaters that it can just be incredibly crowded at the spot; which is fine unless you've got TMs on your back about footage. Then on top of that there's the whole HD / VX thing going on. There's so many spots here but only a few people really get a chance to film. Makes everyone else in London look slack. Filmers really get a rough deal in skateboarding, it's a lot of work for little reward. I guess that's why there's less and less of them these days. You don’t really see the younger guys getting into it either. They just get a clip on fisheye for their phone and they're satisfied. Not like when we were coming up when you had a to buy mini dv camera just to see you and your friends on film.
Yeah the skateboard media is definitely evolving which leads me to my last question! You were one of the original riders on Fabric and over the years the team has definitely changed, what do you think of the current team?
Oh for sure, I’m the only one left from the original 4, a lot has changed, including myself. The company went through a rough spot, but I think we’re in a good place right now. The team's really good, I’d be hyped to watch a part from any of the riders even if they weren’t on the team. Im looking forward to skating with Will more, he’s got great eye for stuff.
Cheers for that Jase, was an interesting chat! Catch up with you again soon.