Whether you’ve seen him in Mind Field, Static IV or one of the countless GX1000 clips, there’s no denying Jake Johnson’s sheer ability to throw himself across the rawest terrain and into the crummiest hills that San Francisco has to offer. The man’s got one of the best wallrides in the game, and we were lucky enough to catch up with Jake in Auckland on the recent Converse Cons One Star BBQ Tour.
What are your thoughts on New Zealand? What’s been the highlight of the trip so far?
It’s a beautiful country. I don’t know to be honest, I think we had a couple of great days. My favourite part was showing up on the first night, downtown, and seeing some really good spots.
Didn’t you get in at midnight?
Yeah, and the town was empty, it just felt really strange. There were a couple of Japanese tourists wandering around, and it had a cool feeling, like this place is empty and untouched. It seemed like the downtown city had a lot of good spots. Seeing as we didn’t get to skate them at the time, that was kind of part of the highlight, haha. Just getting there and being super psyched to skate, but hopefully we’ll skate before we leave.
What about Australia, what were some of the highlights?
We had fun in every city we skated. One of the highlights was our first session in Sydney. We were skating some marble downhill spots, we had a good time, saw some old friends, and also hung out at [Andrew] Brophy’s house. His ramp jam was really cool and really fun, it was the first session of the trip.
Had you been to Australia before?
Yeah, but it had been so long. The last time I was there was in 2009.
What were your thoughts on the US election, and what do you think is going to come from it?
It’s hard to tell. I think the election showed a lot of the state of our culture right now across the world. Especially in the States where everybody is really swayed with media and advertising. I think that whole campaign was about media.
People believe whatever they see, right?
Yeah, and they believe people who speak with their best rhetoric, and that’s what politicians pay to get a hold of, the ability to do that. I think it’s exposing, to a degree, like how our political system really works, and in the end it will kind of prove as to whether or not anything is actually going to change, or if people are going to continue taking advantage of the system. I suppose it shows that there’s an extreme shift, and I feel like ever since Bush was president, the presidency has been one big joke. If you look at Obama’s administration, Obama and Hillary and a lot of his people, they were in comedy shows and they did a lot of talk shows; there was a lot of media and publicity, so I think that’s just the next step. Just showing how much that counts these days, and how much maybe it shouldn’t count. And hopefully next time around, finding somebody who is opposed to that and who stands against it. But you never know, it could just get worse.
Hopefully not. What’s been the best part of the GX1000 project over the years?
It’s really cool to be able to see something that evolves through friendships and hard work, without necessarily one major company or one manager or any budget of any kind.
You never know, it could just get worse
Just Ryan Garshell doing it independently?
Yeah, that’s what I liked about it. A lot of people who depend on one another, skaters who depend on him for a place to live and to be able to inspire them to be their best. I think we had a lot of really cool trips that everybody was really happy to be on, and really grateful and skated really hard. That’s what I liked the best.
I feel like those trips went all over the world.
Yeah, and we had a good time no matter what, that’s what I liked about it. Just having the opportunity to travel with people like that, who for some of them, it’s their first time ever. The energy is there, everybody’s new and there’s so much excitement, no jaded feeling or anything.
It’s been the same crew for a while?
It has. It’s changed here and there. It started a little bit bigger; some of the guys have had kids since then, some of the guys have moved back to their hometowns, but we’re getting some younger guys coming in now and it’s always growing.
Finally, are there any projects you’re working on at the moment?
Well, we’re starting a Converse Cons video, which we’re not going to have the longest time to film for, but it should be a small team section by the end of next year, and we’re always working on more GX clips, small ones. Plus, we’re hoping to start a Quasi video in the next couple of years. A little bit going on.
Enough to keep you busy.
Yeah, into my 30s.