• This is the extended INTV from Jeremy’s column in our July/Aug. 2017 issue.
COCI #5 comes in the form of one Jeremy Wray. Having notched his Check Out in our Jan. 1993 issue—becoming the first person to kickflip the Sports Arena Double Set in SD (the same double set that he would later make into one of skateboarding's most famous Triple Sets)—Jeremy went on a two decade run; superhumanly supersizing skateboarding in pretty much every direction possible—bigger and bigger gaps, higher and higher ledges, bigger and bigger rails, then up rails and over picnic tables (fakie hardflip and front cab!)—and finally—across two water towers. Currently in his Clark Kent years, JWray looks back on how it all began.
Do you remember the first time you saw this Check Out?
Of course! It was a big deal to get a Check Out in Transworld and I hadn’t seen these photos until they ran in the magazine.
What was your day-to-day life like back then?
I was still in High School at the time I believe, so it was mostly school for the first half of the day then skating immediately after until the sun went down. Waiting for the weekends when we could go session somewhere with friends. Try to shoot photos or get something on film.
The footage of this kickflip was the opening trick in your Debbie Does Blockhead (92) part. Did it go down pretty quick?
I guess this was the first flip trick to ever go down on the double-set. I got the ollie, 180 and backside 180 first try so I naturally went for the kickflip next. I remember landing on it pretty easy, but the rough ground kept making the roll away tough. I got it after a bit though.
That kit is looking pretty sick. High cut baggy jeans, TWS shirt, Airwalks.
Yeah, those were the original Blind Jeans I’ve got on there. They came super long with a frayed end and were made to be cut to fit. I cut them to reach the bottom of my heel when standing up, but when you bend your leg they would come way up. I was getting Airwalks from Ron Lemen who was their team manager at the time. The guys at Transworld must have given me a TWS shirt at some point. I was ahead of the game on the funky socks. These ones were thrift store argyle specials. Over two decades before Stance socks existed. I probably had bleached hair too (at least on one side) but I can’t tell from these photos.
Jeremy’s part in Blockhead’s Debbie Does Blockhead (1992). This part was blocked on Youtube due to a Ramones song during the last few tricks. I re-uploaded this version to my Deadhippie YouTube page without the Ramones in hopes it stays up.
It seems fitting also that your Check Out was on the Sports Arena double set as you would later famously ollie the triple. What trick was hardest for you down the double? Favorite trick by someone else down the double?
I guess the frontside 360 was the hardest because I was already hurt when we got there but decided to just do it anyway. I always wanted to do a line there from one double-set to the next with some flatground tricks in between but never really got the chance. It was pretty far away from where I lived so we wouldn’t go there very often and when we did we usually got the boot from security. I have a few favorite tricks by other people here, but the one that jumps out at me right now is Chad Knight’s Switch Backside Kickflip. For a few years before that I had the biggest one down the Imperial Double-Set but his took the crown. Not sure how long it was until someone did a bigger one but it was probably quite a while.
Did Dill talk to you about writing the text? You guys seemed super close for years. Ever talk to Jason now?
I was stoked to have Dill write it up. We skated together a lot back then. We lost touch a little for the first time when he hurt his knee and wasn’t able to skate for the standard 6-8 months. When he came back we linked back up and skated tons again. It wasn’t until Plan B left World and Dill moved to NYC that we lost contact altogether. I ran into him for the first time in years at a contest in Costa Mesa, then again outside an Art Show in LA. We texted each other just yesterday. I’d love to get a skate session in with him sometime soon. Even some flatground in the FA warehouse with him would be fun. Dill remains one of a kind.
Yourself and Dill ultimately left Blockhead for Color not long after this Check Out. How did that go down?
I got a call from Markovich and Mark Oblow about the new company they were starting called Color Skateboards and they wanted me to be a part of it. It seemed like one of those opportunities that you just shouldn’t pass up, so I made the switch. Leaving a sponsor is never fun. That was the first time I had ever had to go through it. I’ve never been a team hopper so of course I struggled with it, but I knew it had to be done. I talked Dill into coming with me. I think in the end it was the right choice for both of us at the time.
Thoughts on the triple set event last year? Joslin big spin? Does the roll in ramp sort of make it completely different?
Of course I would have preferred to see people have to push to it like I had to without any ramps or roll-ins. After all it was the lack of run up that made the Triple-Set so untouchable, but that would have made for a pretty boring contest. With unlimited speed comes unlimited possibilities. The craziest part about Joslin’s tre flip and big spin was how he firecrackered the last 2-3 stairs and still rolled away fine! Never seen anything like that. Anyone else would either kick out knowing they are going to come up short or eat shit when they clip the stair. I still don’t know what kind of wizardry that was but it was amazing to witness in person.
What are you up to today? How goes Wray Bros?
Currently I am in what I would call my Clark Kent years. Playing the roll of a normal dude until it is time for me to be Superman again. If I never get called back to duty that would be okay I guess, but I really do prefer flying to walking. As far as Wraybros Brand goes, my brother Jonas and I are running our company our own way and enjoying skating regularly together again along with Pat Channita and Paul Luna. There has been talk of making a push for a summer video project, but we’ll just have to see how that plays out. I’m down.