Interview with Jesse Landen

Where are you from, Jesse?

Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada.

Where's that?

It's two hours north of Toronto.

Damn, it's cold up there, huh?

(Laughs) It's probably colder where I live than in Toronto. It snows more when you live by the water.

When did you move down here?

I moved down to Huntington Beach, California in November.

Did you move down here for skateboarding?

Yeah, it snows a lot where I'm from. There's, like, no skating in Toronto, really. There're a couple parks now, but there wasn't any last year. I wanted to skate this year, so I thought I'd come down here to So Cal so I could skate all winter.

How long are you down here for?

I'm down here until April, and then I'm going to go back home for the summer. Then I'll see what's going on from there.

Is April when the U.S. government kicks you out?

I think I've already been kicked out (laughs).

Who do you usually skate with?

Last year I was skating a lot with Andrew Gordon, Alex Rothbauer, and a couple other friends from the Toronto area.

What about now?

It's funny–since I've been in California, I've been skating with the Canadian crew again. I've been skating a lot with Paul Machnau, Galea Momolu, and Mike Hastie.

It seems like the Canadians stick together when they come down here.

It's weird–it's because everyone knows Bill Weiss. He films down here, so we just all hook up with him and go film and shoot photos with other Canadians who also came down for the winter.

What got you into skating? How'd you discover it way up there?

Um, I think my brother started first. He and his friends would do it and it seemed pretty cool. I guess that's how I got into it. I had one of those old boards–I had like an old Dominion board. I was just kickin' around, so I'd try to do stuff on that.

How old are you now?

I'm eighteen.

Who are your sponsors?

I ride for Premium skateboards from Canada, Globe shoes, Bones wheels and bearings, West 49 skate shop, and DaKine bags. West 49 gave me some money to come down here, so I'm really psyched on them.

How long have you been sponsored?

Maybe, like, a year or two. I had a local board sponsor before that (laughs).

Did you make a sponsor-me video, or did you get noticed?

Yeah. My brother and I would film a lot when I was a little kid. We'd film all the new tricks we learned–you know, just playing around. I guess I just got into it that way. I made videos and sent them off. I don't think it ever really worked, though. Usually, someone sees you first and then they ask you for a video. My friend Alex Rothbauer is on Premium, too, so he hooked it up.

Do you use Bones Swiss bearings or do go with the ceramic ones?

I'm on the Reds program (laughs).

Oh, okay. I didn't even realize they distinguish between the two.

We gotta make sure to write that (laughs).

What was the first skate video you saw?

The first one I remember is Questionable. I watched that video so many times.

Do you think you'll ever turn pro?

I don't even know. I don't know if it's a huge goal. I'm just down for skating–that's why I came to California, so I could keep doing it during the winter.

If you do turn pro, would you wear your own T-shirts?

What, like a Jesse Landen pro-model T-shirt (laughs)?

Exactly.

Uh, no (laughs). It be kinda cheesy to ride my own board, too (laughs).

What role do contests and dos play in skateboarding?

I think it depends on what kind of skater you are. It's good to show up at contests and demos. Demos are always good 'cause kids get to see the teams. Contests are good–just enter and give it a shot, you know? I've never been an amazing contest skater, so I don't really know. But I do try to make an appearance.

When they call your name, do you get stressed out?

Not really. It's funny–I'll be landing stuff in practice, and then I can't seem to put it together in my run (laughs). I don't really understand why. I don't get nervous–that's what everybody usually asks. Maybe it's just when you know you have to do it. You're just going for it no matter what and it just makes it look all sketchy when you try and do stuff.

How many boards can you ollie?

(Laughing) I have no idea. I think I did six back in the day. Some kids wanted to know, so I told them to stack them up and I'd see what I could do (laughs).

Do you ever ask kids how many boards they can ollie?

Yeah. That's the first question I ask them back.

They'll usually tell you, too. They're like, “Yeah, I did two yesterday.”

Oh, they know. And they're always like, “I can ollie three interlocked, and then five long (laughs).”

Do you have any nicknames?

I've had a 150 nicknames (laughs). I don't know if any of them really stuck. People started calling me “Owen” because I'm from Owen Sound. Nothing really special.

Do you know who Jay Adams is?

I don't think so, but I recognize the name.

He's an old Dogtown skater.

Not, like, Jason Adams?

No, not “The Kid.” Jay was one of the original rippers from back in the day.

I've seen something from Jay Adams before–like a Miller flip or something.

If you could be a pro skater from any decade, who would you be?

I'd definitely want to be on Plan B. That's where it was at. I like what Pat Duffy did, for sure. He stepped it up in a big way.

Who was the first person to do a kickflip?

I'm pretty sure it was Rodney Mullen. He came up with a lot of flip tricks.

You're right, it was Rodney. Which ams are comin' up right now?

I'd say Mike Hastie, Chris Haslam, and Caswell Berry.

Did you go to Tampa Am this year?

Yeah. I went there again.

How'd you do?

I did better than the year before, so that's all I really wanted to do. I'm just slowly working my way up. That's definitely a big contest to get into. It's so busy. This year was different, though–it just wasn't the same 'cause Chris Cole or Colt Cannon weren't there puttin' it down. This year there were a lot of new guys who I hadn't seen that were doing really well, so that was cool.

What do you use for injury remedy?

I was lookin' at that Skater Aid stuff–it's been suggested to me. But I think a hot tub's probably the one that tops it all.

What kind of music do you listen to?

Lately, I've been listenin' to a lot of older stuff like The Who and some other classic rock.

What do you do when you're not skating?

When I was in Canada, I used to just hang out with my friends. It's nice to have friends who don't skateboard, 'cause then you can just get away from it. California is like a 24-hour program, you know? There's not a whole lot else to do but skateboard, which is good and bad.

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

I'm not sure. It's a long ways off–I can't really say (laughs).

Do you want to say thanks to anybody?

I'd like to say thanks to my family–my brother, definitely, for getting me into it. And to all my sponsors, for sure.

off–I can't really say (laughs).

Do you want to say thanks to anybody?

I'd like to say thanks to my family–my brother, definitely, for getting me into it. And to all my sponsors, for sure.