The Jeremy Wray Pro Spotlight

Well, it’s been about three years since my first interview in TransWorld, and a lot has happened since then, so let me get you up to date. I now ride for Element skateboards, Adio shoes, Volcom clothing, Destructo trucks, and Bones bearings. I’m 24 and live in Hacienda Heights, California with my brother Jonas and our friend Eric. Over the last three years I’ve been skating a lot, shooting photos, filming, traveling, hanging out with my girlfriend Carissa, and from time to time even taking art classes in the mornings at Fullerton Junior College.

I want to take this opportunity to thank my sponsors, say what’s up to my friends and family, and say thanks to anyone who’s ever skated with me. Let’s do it again sometime. To everyone who’s ever bought my boards, shoes, videos, or whatever, thanks for all the support.

This interview goes out to skateboarders everywhere. Enjoy.Jeremy Wray

Where were you born?

I was born at Fort Ord in Carmel, California.

I understand you’ve moved around a lot, give us a rundown of all the places you’ve lived so far.

First we lived in Monterey, California, then we moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, next was Pfafftown, North Carolina, and Orange Park, Florida. Then the rest all the rest of our moves were in California starting with Glendale, then Calabasas, La Habra, Fullerton, and now Hacienda Heights.

Why did you move around so much?

Our dad, Buck, was in the Army and would get stationed somewhere new every two or three years.

How did you end up moving back to California?

Our parents got divorced when we lived in Florida, so our mom took me and my two brothers, Jaz and Jonas, back to California to live with her and her parents in Glendale.

Who’s the oldest of the Wray brothers?

Jaz is the oldest by three years, then me, and Jonas is the youngest. He’s one year younger than I am.

How did you get into skateboarding?

Well, Jaz had the first board. It was a Union Jack. It came with the word “Thriller” written in griptape on top. We all took turns butt-boarding down the hill on it. Then Jonas saved up and bought a Banzai board. Now I had to get one. My birthday was coming up, so I asked my mom for a skateboard, she let me pick it out, and I got a Valtera “Shattered” board. As soon as I brought it home, all three of us were out the door and bombing the local hills. I remember bombing long, windy hills barefoot, so we couldn’t slow down or jump off. It was crazy!

How long have you been skateboarding?

About sixteen years.

How did you get sponsored?

My friends and I used to skate together and film each other. After we had filmed a lot of stuff around town, we started taking the bus to other places to skate and film. Eventually, we edited a video and sent it to a few companies. At first there was little or no response, but we kept skating, filming and making new videos. Each video was better than the one beforebigger stairs, longer rails, harder tricks. We started getting letters back, but still no takers, yet. Finally, Jonas and I went to skate camp in Visalia California where we met Shrugy Steve Ruge, who was the team manager for Deluxe Distribution Spitfire, Thunder, etc.. He saw us skate and told us to call him when we got home, and he’d send us trucks and wheels. Shortly after that, I sent my latest video to Blockhead where Laban Pheidias saw it. He thought I had potential and told Dave Bergthold to give me a chance. Dave offered me a spot on the team, free boards, and a chance to film a part for their new video that was in the works. I gladly accepted, and the rest is history.

I hear you do all your own board graphics. Is that true?

Yeah, I’ve done my own graphics since my first board. There have been a few that I didn’t do, but that was because they were part of a series, or something like that. I like doing my own graphics, it gives me an outlet for my artwork. I’m glad the t things I’m really intoskateboarding and artgo hand in hand, and one doesn’t keep me from doing the other.

Do you do your own board shapes and stuff like that?

Yeah, I do that, too. I’m kind of picky when it comes to the shape of my board, and no one knows what I want more than me, so I just learned how to make my own shapes, and now I can get the shape and size just the way I like it.

What are the dimensions of your board right now?

The board I ride is 32 inches long, 7 7/8 inches wide, with a 6 7/8-inch tail, and a 14 1/4-inch wheelbase.

What size wheels do you normally ride?

I like 53s because they’re big enough to get the speed I need without being too heavy to flip my board good.

The word on the street is that you’re a perfectionistthe way you skate, the way you handle your business. Have you been that way since you were a kid?

Yeah. I was that way even when I was little; I would draw the same picture hundreds of times, trying to get it to look the way I saw it in my head. When it comes to skating, I’ll do the same trick a few times until it feels right. If we’re filming and I don’t like the way a trick looks, I don’t mind doing the trick again until I’m happy with it. As far as dealing with board graphics and shoe designs, I’ll have a certain way I want them to come out, and I’m willing to put in overtime to get them right.

Do you think your perfectionist tendencies help your skateboarding?

Yeah. When you really learn a trick and figure out what makes it workwhere to put your feet, how to balance itthat makes it easier to do it again. It all came about when I was trying to learn all my tricks switch. I would look at how I did it regular, check where I put my feet, and figure out where my balance was, then I’d try to do the exact same thing switch.

Is Jonas the same way?

No, I think Jonas just gets it naturally. He doesn’t spend as much time with itfor him it just happens. It seems like it comes easier for him.

So, Jonas is more of a natural?

Definitely.

When you guys grew up, did you guys learn the same tricks at the same time?

It was weird because we didn’t do the same tricks. We’d learn tricks at different times. We would push each other to learn new tricks, but we wouldn’t learn the same tricks. While he learned backside 360s, I learned frontside. He was doing kickflips first, and I was doing heelflips. Stuff like that. I do nollie backside kickflips, and he does nollie frontside heelflips. We sort of balance each other, which makes skating together fun.

Do you think growing up with Jonas helped you stick with skateboarding?

Absolutely, I always had someone to skate with. Most kids grow up skating only with their friends, so when their friends quit they don’t have anyone to skate with anymore. That makes it hard to stay with it, because half the fun of skating is getting together to session and hang out with your friends. When our friends quit, or if we moved to a new town where no one skated, me and Jonas would still go skate together.

Would you call him a best friend?

Yeah, definitely. And since we moved around a lot, we don’t have a lot of friends that go way back. So my only friend from way back is Jonas. It’s cool.

Did you get bummed when the companies you rode for went out of businesslike Color, Plan B, or even Dukes? Of course you get a little bummed, but I’ve just tried to learned from their mistakes. I’ve never really been involved in the business side of skateboarding, but I’ve tried to look at what went wrong and learn from it, so if I ever decide to start a company, I’ll know what to look out for, and I’ll try not to make the same mistakes they did.

Do you ever think of starting your own company?

I’ve thought about it, but when I look around and see so many companies, it just doesn’t make sense. At this point, I’m happy riding for someone else’s company, letting them deal with the business side and all the nonsense that goes with it, so I can focus on skateboarding. That’s the part I really love. Maybe in the future I’ll start something of my own, but I’d only really want to handle the creative side of the companydoing the artwork, graphics, ad layouts, or working on creative marketing ideas. The accounting, inventory, record keeping, balance sheets, and other time-consuming company tasks I’d leave up to the other guysthe business men.

When you were a kid, did you ever picture yourself being a pro? Was it the road you decided to take, or was did it just happen?

I skated for at least ten years, buying my own boards and just skating because I liked it. I kept doing it and progressing. Eventually, I started looking through magazines and thinking, “Hey, I can do that,” and in time, I got my chance to prove it. Now, here I am. So I guess you could say it just happened, but not without putting in work.

Which pros influence the way you skate?

Sean Sheffey going big in the Life video, Kris Markovich, Mark Gonzales, Natas Kaupas, Frankie Hill, Jason Lee, Matt Hensley, Donger and his frontside 360s.

You’re known for skating gaps, is that something you grew up doing? Did you and Jonas always like to skate big stuff? I don’t know. We were just trying to see how far we could go. We started off like anybody else, just ollieing off three stairs, then five stairs, then seven stairs. We were just working our way up. Then we’d find an eleven-stair and wonder if we could do that. Eventually, we were ollieing off fifteen stairs or more. Each time we found something bigger than what we had done, we just wanted to find out if we could do it. We’re always willing to push it one step further.

I have to askwhat were you thinking when you ollied the gap between those water towers? Were you scared?

Those things are definitely scary. We used to drive by them all the time and wonder if anyone was ever going to ollie them, then one day I just decided to do it. I knew it was possible because the towers are fifteen feet apart, and I’ve ollied other fifteen-foot flatground gaps. It’s just a little different when you’re 30 or 40 feet up. It was intimidating, but I just had to convince myself I could do it.

Did you make it first try?

No. Actually, I tried it a few times. The first couple tries, I kicked my board away and ran out on the other side. So every time I didn’t make it I had to run and jump back across in order to try it again. I made it on like the fifth try.

How many tries did that line in Second Hand Smoke the third Plan B video at Carlsbad High take you? The one where you frontside flipped the gap at the end of your line.

That was like fourth try.

How was it doing the backside heelflip at Carlsbad for the interview?

It was hard at first because I kept sticking on the uphill landing. But the one I made felt so easy. Everything just clicked.

What about the triple set ollie at the San Diego Sports Arena? Tell us about that.

That’s the same situation as the water towers: I’ve looked at it from time to time for at least the last five years, and I just decided I wanted to do it for the interview. It was really hard to get enough speed because there’s a limited runway, so I just ran as fast as I could with my board, hopped on and took a few hard pushes. I’m glad that one worked out because I’ve want to do it for so long.

What’s your favorite thing to skate?

I like skating bumps or hips because you can pop a trick twice as high off even the littlest bump. I like floating high ollies and being in the air for a long time.

I’ve noticed you like to skate big ledges and stuff. Is it hard to find people to skate with?

Always. I usually end up skating that stuff by myself. Lately, I’ve found a few people who’ll skate that stuff with me. Normally, we’ll be out skating regular stuff, but whenting them deal with the business side and all the nonsense that goes with it, so I can focus on skateboarding. That’s the part I really love. Maybe in the future I’ll start something of my own, but I’d only really want to handle the creative side of the companydoing the artwork, graphics, ad layouts, or working on creative marketing ideas. The accounting, inventory, record keeping, balance sheets, and other time-consuming company tasks I’d leave up to the other guysthe business men.

When you were a kid, did you ever picture yourself being a pro? Was it the road you decided to take, or was did it just happen?

I skated for at least ten years, buying my own boards and just skating because I liked it. I kept doing it and progressing. Eventually, I started looking through magazines and thinking, “Hey, I can do that,” and in time, I got my chance to prove it. Now, here I am. So I guess you could say it just happened, but not without putting in work.

Which pros influence the way you skate?

Sean Sheffey going big in the Life video, Kris Markovich, Mark Gonzales, Natas Kaupas, Frankie Hill, Jason Lee, Matt Hensley, Donger and his frontside 360s.

You’re known for skating gaps, is that something you grew up doing? Did you and Jonas always like to skate big stuff? I don’t know. We were just trying to see how far we could go. We started off like anybody else, just ollieing off three stairs, then five stairs, then seven stairs. We were just working our way up. Then we’d find an eleven-stair and wonder if we could do that. Eventually, we were ollieing off fifteen stairs or more. Each time we found something bigger than what we had done, we just wanted to find out if we could do it. We’re always willing to push it one step further.

I have to askwhat were you thinking when you ollied the gap between those water towers? Were you scared?

Those things are definitely scary. We used to drive by them all the time and wonder if anyone was ever going to ollie them, then one day I just decided to do it. I knew it was possible because the towers are fifteen feet apart, and I’ve ollied other fifteen-foot flatground gaps. It’s just a little different when you’re 30 or 40 feet up. It was intimidating, but I just had to convince myself I could do it.

Did you make it first try?

No. Actually, I tried it a few times. The first couple tries, I kicked my board away and ran out on the other side. So every time I didn’t make it I had to run and jump back across in order to try it again. I made it on like the fifth try.

How many tries did that line in Second Hand Smoke the third Plan B video at Carlsbad High take you? The one where you frontside flipped the gap at the end of your line.

That was like fourth try.

How was it doing the backside heelflip at Carlsbad for the interview?

It was hard at first because I kept sticking on the uphill landing. But the one I made felt so easy. Everything just clicked.

What about the triple set ollie at the San Diego Sports Arena? Tell us about that.

That’s the same situation as the water towers: I’ve looked at it from time to time for at least the last five years, and I just decided I wanted to do it for the interview. It was really hard to get enough speed because there’s a limited runway, so I just ran as fast as I could with my board, hopped on and took a few hard pushes. I’m glad that one worked out because I’ve want to do it for so long.

What’s your favorite thing to skate?

I like skating bumps or hips because you can pop a trick twice as high off even the littlest bump. I like floating high ollies and being in the air for a long time.

I’ve noticed you like to skate big ledges and stuff. Is it hard to find people to skate with?

Always. I usually end up skating that stuff by myself. Lately, I’ve found a few people who’ll skate that stuff with me. Normally, we’ll be out skating regular stuff, but when we find something bigger, I’ll end up skating it by myself and everyone else just takes a seat and watches.

Almost everything you did for this interview you did by yourself, didn’t you? Yeah, mostly. Except when James Craig skated with me at the Carlsbad gap. It’s rare to have someone join me on that kind of stuff. He’s fun to skate with.

Do you think that helps?

It definitely helps out when people are skating with me. I get inspired by what they’re doing. If they’re getting close to making a trick, it pushes me to try even harder. When I’m by myself and there’s no one to push me, I’ve got to try to make it work on my own. It’s harder to stay motivated.

Outside of skateboarding, what do you like to do?

I’m really into art, any type of art. It’s been fun taking all different types of art classes and learning different techniques of making art. I took painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, figure drawing, expressive drawing, and even a sculpture class.

Do you see yourself doing more art in the future?

I’d like to take a bronze and aluminum sculpture class and make metal sculpture that will outlive me. Just making something that permanent would be cool.

Are you into music? I know you play a little bit of guitar …

Yeah, I’m into music. I have fun learning to play guitar because it’s like learning to skateboard all over again. It’s fun to start at the beginning again, and try to figure out how to do it. I like the challenge of figuring out how to play certain songs and listening until you find the right chord or note. I also have a harmonica that I try to play. I just like the sound.

When you do art and music, do you do them in the same perfectionist way of trial and error?

I don’t think it’s something I can get away from. I’m the same with everything, especially with paintings or drawings. If I don’t like the way it looks, I’ll do it again and again until I’m happy with it. Or I’ll look at something I did a year ago and I’ll see ways I can improve on it. It’s the same way with skatingthere will be a trick I did a while ago on something, but now I think I can do it on something a little better or a little different, so I’ll bring it out and do it again. Or sometimes there’s a spot I’ve skated before, but now I think I’ve got something a little different for it, and I’ll go back and do something a little bit harder. I do that with everything.

Do you read a lot?

I never used to, but recently I’ve been trying to pick up books to read when we’re on trips. On long plane rides or van rides it’s good to have books to read. I came across a book called The Twelfth Planet by Zecharia Sitchin that really sparked my interest in the pyramids of Giza, Stonhenge, The Sphinx, the ancient Aztecs, and the tablets of the Summarian Civilizationall the ancient mysteries that are still unexplained thousands of years later. Even with all the current technologies and advances, we can’t figure out how they constructed those huge stone monuments, or how they knew thousands of years before Galileo the Sun, not the Earth, was the center of the solar system. How they knew about Pluto back then, but we just found out about it in the 40s. They knew the Earth was round ages before Columbus was born. And they also knew about another planet we haven’t even found yet. It travels on an elliptical orbit, similar to that of Haley’s Comet, but on a much grander scale. Supposedly, it comes into our solar system between Mars and Jupiter once every 3,600 years. I’d recommend that book to anyone whether you think you’re interested in that kind of stuff or not. It’ll get your mind working and make you think.

Do you think we’re alone in the universe?

When I look up at the sky at night, especially when I’m far from any city lights, like in the desert, and I see all those starsjust billions of themI think about all the ones past them that I can’t see. If space does really go one forever, how could it be that we here on this tiny planet are the only ones to have life? I mean, look around, there’s plenty of other planets out there past our solar system. I think it’s possible. If it happened here, it could have happened somewhere else as well. There’s just too much wasted space, otherwise.

“I remember bombing long, windy hills barefoot, so we couldn’t slow down or jump off. It was crazy!”

“I’m glad the two things I’m really intoskateboarding and artgo hand in hand, and one doesn’t keep me from doing the other.”

“I would draw the same picture hundreds of times, trying to get it to look the way I saw it in my head.”

“When our friends quit, or if we moved to a new town where no one skated, me and Jonas would still go skate together.”

“At this point, I’m happy riding for someone else’s company, letting them deal with the business side and all the nonsense that goes with it, so I can focus on skateboarding. That’s the part I really love.”

“We’re always willing to push it one step further.”

find something bigger, I’ll end up skating it by myself and everyone else just takes a seat and watches.

Almost everything you did for this interview you did by yourself, didn’t you? Yeah, mostly. Except when James Craig skated with me at the Carlsbad gap. It’s rare to have someone join me on that kind of stuff. He’s fun to skate with.

Do you think that helps?

It definitely helps out when people are skating with me. I get inspired by what they’re doing. If they’re getting close to making a trick, it pushes me to try even harder. When I’m by myself and there’s no one to push me, I’ve got to try to make it work on my own. It’s harder to stay motivated.

Outside of skateboarding, what do you like to do?

I’m really into art, any type of art. It’s been fun taking all different types of art classes and learning different techniques of making art. I took painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, figure drawing, expressive drawing, and even a sculpture class.

Do you see yourself doing more art in the future?

I’d like to take a bronze and aluminum sculpture class and make metal sculpture that will outlive me. Just making something that permanent would be cool.

Are you into music? I know you play a little bit of guitar …

Yeah, I’m into music. I have fun learning to play guitar because it’s like learning to skateboard all over again. It’s fun to start at the beginning again, and try to figure out how to do it. I like the challenge of figuring out how to play certain songs and listening until you find the right chord or note. I also have a harmonica that I try to play. I just like the sound.

When you do art and music, do you do them in the same perfectionist way of trial and error?

I don’t think it’s something I can get away from. I’m the same with everything, especially with paintings or drawings. If I don’t like the way it looks, I’ll do it again and again until I’m happy with it. Or I’ll look at something I did a year ago and I’ll see ways I can improve on it. It’s the same way with skatingthere will be a trick I did a while ago on something, but now I think I can do it on something a little better or a little different, so I’ll bring it out and do it again. Or sometimes there’s a spot I’ve skated before, but now I think I’ve got something a little different for it, and I’ll go back and do something a little bit harder. I do that with everything.

Do you read a lot?

I never used to, but recently I’ve been trying to pick up books to read when we’re on trips. On long plane rides or van rides it’s good to have books to read. I came across a book called The Twelfth Planet by Zecharia Sitchin that really sparked my interest in the pyramids of Giza, Stonhenge, The Sphinx, the ancient Aztecs, and the tablets of the Summarian Civilizationall the ancient mysteries that are still unexplained thousands of years later. Even with all the current technologies and advances, we can’t figure out how they constructed those huge stone monuments, or how they knew thousands of years before Galileo the Sun, not the Earth, was the center of the solar system. How they knew about Pluto back then, but we just found out about it in the 40s. They knew the Earth was round ages before Columbus was born. And they also knew about another planet we haven’t even found yet. It travels on an elliptical orbit, similar to that of Haley’s Comet, but on a much grander scale. Supposedly, it comes into our solar system between Mars and Jupiter once every 3,600 years. I’d recommend that book to anyone whether you think you’re interested in that kind of stuff or not. It’ll get your mind working and make you think.

Do you think we’re alone in the universe?

When I look up at the sky at night, especially when I’m far from any city lights, like in the desert, and I see all those starsjust billions of themI think about all the ones past them that I can’t see. If space does really go one forever, how could it be that we here on this tiny planet are the only ones to have life? I mean, look around, there’s plenty of other planets out there past our solar system. I think it’s possible. If it happened here, it could have happened somewhere else as well. There’s just too much wasted space, otherwise.

“I remember bombing long, windy hills barefoot, so we couldn’t slow down or jump off. It was crazy!”

“I’m glad the two things I’m really intoskateboarding and artgo hand in hand, and one doesn’t keep me from doing the other.”

“I would draw the same picture hundreds of times, trying to get it to look the way I saw it in my head.”

“When our friends quit, or if we moved to a new town where no one skated, me and Jonas would still go skate together.”

“At this point, I’m happy riding for someone else’s company, letting them deal with the business side and all the nonsense that goes with it, so I can focus on skateboarding. That’s the part I really love.”

“We’re always willing to push it one step further.”

es really go one forever, how could it be that we here on this tiny planet are the only ones to have life? I mean, look around, there’s plenty of other planets out there past our solar system. I think it’s possible. If it happened here, it could have happened somewhere else as well. There’s just too much wasted space, otherwise.

“I remember bombing long, windy hills barefoot, so we couldn’t slow down or jump off. It was crazy!”

“I’m glad the two things I’m really intoskateboarding and artgo hand in hand, and one doesn’t keep me from doing the other.”

“I would draw the same picture hundreds of times, trying to get it to look the way I saw it in my head.”

“When our friends quit, or if we moved to a new town where no one skated, me and Jonas would still go skate together.”

“At this point, I’m happy riding for someone else’s company, letting them deal with the business side and all the nonsense that goes with it, so I can focus on skateboarding. That’s the part I really love.”

“We’re always willing to push it one step further.”