Jeff Lenoce , 17
When it comes to seeking out quality amateur talent, Birdhouse is no joke. As well as finding Brian Sumner and Ali Cairns, they can also be credited with helping elevate Heath Kirchart and Andrew Reynolds from the level of talented kids to household names. Connecticut-born Jeff Lenoce looks to be a member of the next wave. I called Jeff at his home in Clearwater, Florida where he lives with his family.
A lot of people from the East Coast aren’t too stoked on California. How do you feel about it?
I like California, and I also like the East Coast. I like to come home to Florida and skate around Tampa, ’cause I have lots of friends here, but then California is good, too, because there’s lots of people and lots of spots. I don’t down on California at all.
How often do you go to California?
I was there pretty much all of last summer¿for five months. And then I went one other time for about a week.
Does Birdhouse fly you out?
Yeah, and I stay at Andrew Reynolds’ house.
What’s your living situation right now?
I live with my mom and dad and my little sister in Clearwater, Florida. I’m probably going to move out to California soon and stay with Andrew. I’m working on getting my G.E.D. right now, ’cause I dropped out of school. Once I do, I’m gonna go back out to Cali. But I’ll always still come back here and visit and stuff.
What do your parents think about skateboarding?
They’re pretty stoked on it. They’re stoked on how far I’ve gotten, but they were kind of bummed when I dropped out of school.
Do you think you’d still be in school if it weren’t for skateboarding?
Yeah, most definitely.
Has being sponsored help you progress?
Oh yeah, definitely.
How does it help?
It gives me confidence because I know someone is psyched on my skating. It gives me confidence that I’m actually good at it.
Are there things other than skateboarding that you’re interested in?
Not really. I just draw and hang out with my friends.
Do you get paid?
Is it your goal to be a pro skateboarder?
I’d say it’s a goal in my life.
Have you talked to Birdhouse about it at all?
No, not really. I’m not planning on going pro soon.
So if Jay Strickland, Birdhouse team manager called you tomorrow and offered to turn you pro, what would you say?
I’d say no. I’d like a lot more people to know who I am first. I need to get a lot more coverage. I want to get better, too. Maybe learn to skate ramps.
Do you feel like you’re getting close to that level right now?
Yeah, I’m progressing all the time. I skate every day and just try to learn new stuff as much as I can.
Do you have a normal job right now?
Actually, I work for my grandfather. He has a vending-machine business, so I go down there in the morning and help out. I make a little extra money. It’s cool, because it’s my grandfather, so I don’t have to worry about quitting or anything like that.
Do you guys get along?
Yeah. I get along good with all my family.
Jeff rides for Birdhouse skateboards, Independent trucks, Spitfire wheels, Vans shoes, and World Market skate shop.