INTERVIEW BY: STUART GOMEZ
When the Warco video, Sun Machine, premiered earlier this month, three of their Ams—Colin Hale, Daniel Knapp, and Jordan Maxham—were surprised with their own Pro models. Jordan sat down with us this week after the confetti settled to talk about how he’s adjusting to having his name on a board, premature pop outs, and how he adapted his Sun Machine filming missions on rainy days.
How did you get on Warco?
I rode for Silent Skateboards when I was like eighteen—when I moved out here—and that company ended up going out of business. I was pretty much about to move back to Vermont. I had nowhere to live, I had no money or board sponsor or anything. [laughs/coughs] I was skating some random contest in L.A., I can’t remember where it was, skating with Daniel [Knapp] and Norman [Woods] and Paul Flores, and Daniel was like, “I could probably get you on Warco.” I was like, “Dude, that would be fucking amazing!” And Warco ended up basically just buying all my footage that I had for the Silent video, which was no longer gonna exist. That was three or four years ago.
I was flow for a while, then maybe a year and a half ago things started turning into Am stuff [laughs]. Now, somehow I’m Pro!
Is this around the time of We Are Blood?
Yeah, I was filming for the Warco video for like a year, maybe not even a whole year. I started filming with Ty [Evans] for We Are Blood and I took, like, two years off from the Warco video. I was pretty much with Ty every month somewhere. I didn’t film at all for the Warco video. Everything I was doing I was putting into We Are Blood because I was filming with Ty and just trying to give him my all.
Once We Are Blood came out last August. I had time to work on the Warco video. That’s been all I’ve been focusing on since maybe September of last year. Almost a full year of trying to get out there every day.
How did you come up with some of the tricks in your part? Like the front feeble with the enormous two-story drop on the other side?
For that particular spot… I’ve always dreamed of finding something that’s super high up. I love when you see photos of—like, Clint Walker had a back lip on this gnarly-ass handrail that was like a two- or three-story drop on the other side—you always see photos where someone’s grinding stuff with a death drop on the other side. I actually have been to that school a hundred times and I have never seen it before. That day that we went there it was raining, so were just trying to find some place that is undercover. I was like, “Oh, you can actually grind this rail and pop out before the pole!” I already wanted to get a feeble pop out for my part so this worked out. Plus, a death drop I’ve always wanted. [laughs]
Frontside 5-0 in the rain | Photo: Messex
That was a rainy day spot for you? Most people will try to just find a nice parking garage or something.
[laughs/coughs] Yeah, we were just looking for anything that was undercover.
Speaking of pop outs: That back Smith in Burbank was unbelievable.
Yeah, I like popping out of stuff! I like skating flat bars and I always like doing pop out tricks. I see people skate big rails and no one ever really pops out of them too much. It always just seemed like really fun to me. And, on top of that, I’m not really good at sitting on tricks for that long. It’d be so much harder for me to back smith the whole thing. [laughs] It’s easier for me to just get in and get out!
Instead of just taking that elevator ride straight down to the sidewalk.
Just try to get out of there as quick as possible!
That’s a pretty clever way to adapt to something that gnarly.
[laughs] People are like, “Yo, you skate sixteen-stair handrails,” and I’m like, “I grinded maybe four or five of those stairs, though.” [laughs]
Tell me about filming at the Metro station ledge [in downtown L.A.]. What was the situation there? Were there a lot of pedestrians around?
Yeah, that day was kinda crazy because there are always a bunch of people coming up and down the escalator to the trains, or getting off the bus to go to the station. That place is kinda frustrating. And, because I was skating up it, my board would shoot out, fly down the escalator, and just disappear! I wouldn’t see where it went.I would get so scared, I‘m like, “Fuck! My board might be shooting into someone’s face right now. This is sketchy.”
But that place is really cool; I’ve always wanted to see someone skate up it. I skate with Norman Woods, and he has so much pop. There’s been a couple of things recently where I’m like, “We should get Norman to skate up this. Let’s send him a clip of me fuckin’ around and if I can get this close, then he can definitely do it.” Then, somehow [at the Metro station] I ended up getting closer than I expected, so I was like, “Fuck it, I should just try it.” [laughs/coughs] I’d get super hyped because I’ve always wanted to see someone skating up that thing. It’s a pretty well-known spot in L.A. I like to go to spots that everyone knows and are maybe blown out and just try to find a different way.
Yeah, it was pretty unexpected to see you go in that direction.
It’s cool to do something that people didn’t expect, or that they’ve never seen.
And if a few pedestrians get hurt in the process, so be it.
Something that I really love about your style is your body language. You always seem very relaxed and just having a great time.
When me and Cookie [Chris Colbourn] go skate, I’m just hyped to learn a trick. It’s so fun to learn a new trick and just ride away from it, you know? I love that shit! Cookie would always make it look really good, and you can tell—his style is just the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen! And, for me, it’s just like if I can get the trick, I’m hyped. I’m usually just tryin’ to have fun, Shit always happens way easier when you’re having fun.
You can’t really force it, right? So, were you surprised when you turned Pro at the Sun Machine premiere?
Oh, I was so psyched, man! You know, my goal was never like, “Oh, I wanna turn Pro someday,” but it’s such a dream come true to actually skate for a living. I don’t have to get a job—at least right now. Knock on wood! [laughs] It feels good to be able to make skateboarding happen and be able to travel, hopefully inspire other kids to skate. It’s so awesome, man!
Has it fully sunk in yet, or does it still feel a little surreal to you?
Uh, it’s still kinda crazy! [laughs] It’s kinda nuts. It’s like one of those things, I guess, when you’re a kid you’re like, “Oh, I wanna skate a board with my name on it!” But then when you have it, it’s like, Uhhh, this is kinda weird to skate a board with my name on it.” [laughs] You know? It’s kinda narcissistic, so I’ll skate Collin’s board, Daniel’s board, and Norman’s board instead.
Do have any thoughts about the video that you want to share?
For me, I got super lucky. I didn’t get seriously injured during the filming. But, everyone else: Norman had knee surgery, and he hit his head and was out for one of the most significant trips that we had; Daniel had surgery; Paul Flores broke his back on a thirteen-stair rail and had to have back surgery. We weren’t sure if he was gonna be able to walk. He filmed his whole part after back surgery.
Everyone put in so much work. You gotta keep in mind when you’re watching, “Damn, this fool just came off of knee surgery. This fool just had back surgery a year ago!” They all put out amazing parts. It’s really inspirational for me. It’s really sick; I can’t believe that these came back to film these parts. And then there’s Zane who just DIES every time! Zane just tries the gnarliest stuff. The dude is so fucking good, I love it!
When I got on Warco, I didn’t know much about the team. People were like, “Yo, you got on Warco? I heard those dudes are crazy!” I didn’t even realize; where I came from I was kinda sheltered. But these dudes always have such a good time. Everywhere we go, it’s get clips all day and rage all night!