He’ll jump down the big shit, fearlessly grind a handrail of any sort, and he’ll probably fight you if you try to steal his car. Skateboarding’s first Iceland-born hypnotist—if you don’t know who David Bow is by now, you should probably check out his Contenders. And don’t forget to click the arrows on the top right-hand corner to access our full-screen gallery.
So when I first called you, you mentioned that some dude tried to kill you by breaking a bottle over your head. What happened?
It was a week ago. Some dude tried to Grand Theft Auto me. I had been talking to my mom on the phone for like five minutes and got a weird feeling that someone was watching me. It was my first night in my new apartment in LA. Someone was watching me, and sure enough, as I was opening my door, he was opening my door, too. Like, his hand was on the handle opening the door at the same time as I was. So I get out of my car and ask him, “Dude, why are you opening my car?” He puts his beer on top of my car, starts squabbling with me, and I ended up fighting him—beating the living shit out of him. He eventually just asked me to stop.
I found his phone in my car, threw it, and then I turn around and a 32 of Mickey’s hits me in the head. As I’m on the ground he steps on my back and tries to start my car. So we fought again, but this time I really laid him out. I felt really, really bad so I called 911 and said, “This guy just tried to Grand Theft Auto me,” and hung up. Then I drove myself to the hospital and pretty much just blacked out. My hand was broken, and when I woke up I was in the MRI machine. But check this out—they check my brain to see if I have a concussion from when the bottle hit me, and there’s not a thing.
And just before that all happened, your girlfriend broke up with you?
The reason why I was sitting outside of my apartment was because me and my girlfriend live together and we broke up that day. I was homeless. I had my computer in my car, all my stuff—I was not about to let him take my car. My life was in my car. If we hadn’t broken up, this wouldn’t have happened. It was like a series of bad decisions led up to a gnarly decision. I’m just like lucky to be alive.
So do you think the dude was just crazy?
He obviously had just bought a fresh 32 and was just joyriding [laughs]. But it’s like a dead-end street—the dude was looking for trouble. It happens in threes: lost my girlfriend, lost my shelter, then I pretty much get robbed. All within nine hours. I was just at the wrong place at the wrong time.
You’re from Iceland, but you grew up skating in Las Vegas. Why’d you move and how did you end up in Vegas?
Once in Iceland, I saw this guy skating in the rain and thought it was the coolest thing ever—the fact that he could skate in the rain no problem. Like a week later, I moved to America and everyone here skated. There was concrete everywhere, and it was such a bigger outlet to skate. I moved out here because I had no choice. I was like twelve and my mom was married to an American. He played basketball overseas. That’s how I got my name, too. His name was Jonathan Bo.
Have you ever gone back and skated Iceland? What’s it like out there?
I’ve gone back and skated there, but I didn’t grow up skating there. I knew about skating when I lived in Iceland and just thought it was the coolest thing ever. Out there a skateboard is like $300—everything is imported. They have no way to make skateboards. That’s why I feel gifted to cruise out here with all this concrete. It’s all smooth here, then you go to Iceland and it’s all gnarly. It fucks up your wheels.
How did you get on Paul Rodriguez’s Mountain Dew team?
It was called the Am-Force and I got hand selected by P-Rod like seven or eight years ago. He and Theotis Beasley are the reason I’m on Mountain Dew, and Zach Hibbs, the team manager. It’s super laid back. Sometimes they’ll call me and say like, “Can you go to Colorado and do a commercial?” or LA or something. They pay me really well, they’re super supportive—pretty much anything you could ask for in a sponsor. I’ve gone on trips with Theotis and stuff.
[Matt] Price told me you’re a professional hypnotist. Can you really hypnotize people?
Yes, I can hypnotize people. I went to school and got my certification. I do it for a living and charge $500 an hour. I don’t work every day, though.
That’s insane. How does someone find you and get hypnotized?
I pretty much just get referred by my school, like, “Can you [hypnotize] this person?” And I just say, “Okay.” It’s so scary doing hypnosis on someone though, because of something called abreaction, which is where someone can experience death firsthand. Someone can literally die during certain types of hypnosis.
So how does it actually work? They just come to you with a problem and you fix it with hypnosis?
Pretty much. If they want something, I make it happen.
You just make it happen?
Whatever I can do, yeah. A hypnotist has seven or eight different subjects, like self-confidence, for example. There are all kinds of ways to hypnotize people. I hypnotized the most famous person in hypnosis. Her name is Sylvia Browne. This lady is a billionaire—she’s written over 70 books. She called me and pretty much said, “Hey, can you hypnotize me?” So I went to the hospital—she was at the hospital at the time—and I did. I’ve done some pro skaters and stuff, but I’m supposed to keep it confidential. But who cares, anyway?
The way you skate is gnarly. Everything is big and sketchy and seemingly dangerous. What possesses you to skate like this?
It comes from Iceland, dude. It’s the feeling of all this concrete and the streets and sidewalks being so smooth. It’s all perfect here. You have no idea how perfect it is here. I don’t wanna hear anyone complaining about a spot, man. It’s perfect. So what if there’s a little crack? Who cares?
Do you keep up with the magazines and online videos and stuff?
No, I don’t actually. I don’t ever go on the computer and watch videos. And I can’t remember the last time I even saw a magazine, man.
What keeps you inspired to pursue a life in skateboarding?
Myself and other people. Other people keep me inspired for sure. My friends and family and sponsors … and Theotis Beasley [laughs].
You and Theotis are pretty close?
Theotis, man, he hypes me up so much. It’s amazing. I’m not even talking about his skating, either. Just his personality and his attitude. He’s my best friend, dude. I’m his best friend, too. When I first moved to Los Angeles, I was sleeping on Theo’s couch.
That’s awesome. Who hooks you up?
Right now, I get hooked up by Rook. Rook is the sickest company there is. Period. The guys who run it are the sickest guys ever. It’s an apparel/clothing brand.
No board sponsor?
I don’t have a board sponsor right now, no. Alex [Horn] at NHS will send me random boards and OJ Wheels.
Why the switch from Sin City to the City of Angels?
I just got sick of Vegas. The heat, the people. Shit like that. I was sick of people’s attitudes out there. The skate scene is super good, but it’s just kind of like, people’s attitudes … they think they own everything. It’s hard to make friends, basically. I love Vegas because my family is there and I started skating there, but I had a job offer out in LA and my job transferred me to our location on Sunset Blvd. I see Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan all the time. I serve them food. It’s pretty cool. I moved to Korea Town. That was the worst decision of my life, but whatever.
Tell me something that you both love and hate about skateboarding right now?
I love the new things about skating—I hate the old things about skating. I like new companies that are trying to progress skating. I don’t like skate companies that are trying to keep it the same. I want it to change. For the better. In general, I just want it to change.
Do you think it’s just a stagnant time in skateboarding? Or is the progression—all these new brands, pros leaving companies they’ve been on for years—part of what you’re talking about?
It’s weird because everyone has their own style and skates their own way and not everyone can make it different, but it’d be nice if people could just enjoy the progression and find a happy medium. Like, if you go to the skatepark, you see this dude trying his ass off for one trick. It’s like, just have some fun. Enjoy it while you can. But that’s what I hate about skateboarding—when people can’t enjoy it. It’s like it’s not fun for some people.
That’s a pretty unique perspective. Do you have any plans for the future? Hypnotizing? Skating?
I’m just going to live my life.