If 16 is sweet, 15 is confusing. A surge of adolescent hormones clouds better judgment, a swell of teenage acne clouds a better face, and things are changing—down there. This is the state that enjoi skateboards finds itself in after a decade-and-a-half on the plywood-slanging merry-go-round.
Founded in '00 by Marc Johnson via Rodney Mullen and Dwindle Distribution, the fun-loving rainbow-colored panda bear was almost aborted—first in '03, when MJ departed for Chocolate, then was almost euthanized again in '13 when Brand Manager Matt Eversole resigned and Jerry Hsu departed to rejoin MJ. Meanwhile, Dwindle itself, over the past 15 years, transitioned from the vestiges of Steve Rocco's '90s World Industries empire into a tightly run operation owned by the good people at Globe International.
Having battled back over the past three years under the steady hands of Captain Louie and Uncle Cairo, by '15 the El Segundo-based San Jose company built an entire new generation of blackout-ready rippers, dropped Oververt, snatched up TWS Best Team for '14, and now seems poised for another 15 years of productive pile-hood in the orange. All jokes aside, here are the peaks, valleys, and roadside ditches—in the words of those who laid in them—that MJ's dream has traveled since the Y2K.
Words by Mackenzie Eisenhour
Photos by Dave Chami
Louie Barletta: My first memory of enjoi was when Marc was still riding for the A-Team. Jerry and I rode for Maple, and we all lived in the same house. Marc came back from a tour and was pretty over it.
Marc Johnson: I returned from an Emerica trip to Australia in April 2000. There were so many people on that trip that repped brands hard, and at that point I was painting over graphics and wearing button-ups, not representing the A-Team brand at all.
Rodney Mullen: A-Team was really just Steve [Rocco] being half in, half out. He was brilliant, but he wasn't really all in by then. Honestly, I felt awkward wearing the [A-Team] shirts too. Marc finally came to me in this heartfelt way and just said, "You know, man, I'm just not feeling this." And I'm like, "I'm not either."
Marc Johnson: It turned out that Chet [Thomas] and Gershon [Mosley] had quit earlier in the week. Rodney was open to start planning something from scratch, and I told him I would gladly brainstorm ideas and work with Dwindle to create something new.
Rodney Mullen: Basically I told Marc, "You could have carte blanche. I could make that arrangement if you think you have it in you. I know you do."
Marc Johnson: The name "enjoi" was a part of a dream I had in June 2000. It was suggested to me in the dream. When I woke up, I wrote it down and let it sit for a while and thought about it. The colorful themes came from reading about the psychology of color and color-theory books.
Matt Eversole: I lived with Marc when it started. His room was really dark at one point and was having these bouts of depression. He was telling me about it, and I was like, "Dude, your room is like a cave. Colors and light are what changes that." So he heard that and just went ballistic.
Marc Johnson: The panda came from a greeting card I saw in Sears while trying to find a bathroom. The panda is an endangered animal and very elusive as well. At the time I felt like fun was an endangered idea or source of motivation in skateboarding.
Dave Mayhew: For me, enjoi brought the fun back. The A-Team was so serious, and I felt like it put pressure on our skating. With enjoi, I was more relaxed.
Jose Rojo: I'd heard that MJ was talking about putting me on his new board brand, but I didn't believe it. One day I got home from school and my dad said I had a message on the answering machine from "a Marc." I called back and that's when he told me he wanted me on enjoi. I cried.
Marc Johnson: Louie hit me up in 2001, about six to nine months after enjoi started. He threw it out there that he and Jerry were interested, and I was immediately open to that. I didn't approach them in the beginning because I didn't want to mess with Maple any more than I already had. But when Jerry and Louie approached me, I couldn't say no.
Jerry Hsu: I had wanted to do something more creative. And riding for a company like enjoi, you just had so many opportunities to give input and do what you wanted. Marc was really on a roll. Everything he did was rad, and we loved it.
Louie Barletta: This was still before we even made boards. Jerry and I were spray-painting our Maple boards, and Marc made a run of just the square enjoi stickers, so we would put those on our painted-over boards. There wasn't any product yet.
Bobby Puleo: I got cold-called by Marc and Jerry in 2001. They basically asked me to ride for the brand. I think they were hyped on what I was doing, which was kind of right around when filming for Static 2 ['04] was starting.
Clark Hassler: My father and Steve [Rocco] were homeboys back in grade school. One day Rocco was like, "Bring him by and get some shit." They've hooked me up ever since. I went on my first enjoi trip right after Marc Johnson started it. They are my homies.
Jerry Hsu: The ads were such a huge part of the identity. I don't even know how Marc came up with that stuff.
Marc Johnson: Most of it came out of necessity, to be honest. I was already doing art stuff all the time, but I didn't know how to use a computer until we started enjoi. I had to learn pretty quickly. But I didn't want complicated graphics at all.
Matt Eversole: I sat with Marc and taught him the basics for Illustrator. He was/is a very talented artist, and he picked it up really quickly and then just ran with it. He had so much built up in his head—all these graphics—so it all just came flowing out of him.
Bobby Puleo: We needed an ad. Marc said it was specifically not to be a skate photo. I saw the burned- out limo on this block by my old apartment. We went to shoot the photo, and a chicken walked down the street. I shit you not. The chicken literally just showed up out of nowhere.
Jose Rojo: Going on tours with Marc was amazing. He would always have me room with him. Maybe 'cause I was the youngest and he wanted to make sure I was okay. In Costa Rica [at 15], I remember getting drunk and naked in front of my teammates and random chicks, then realizing that everybody in the room was taking pictures of me!
Marc Johnson: Costa Rica. Chris Avery got electrocuted in the shower; we almost watched Chris Dobstaff drown in the ocean when he swam out too far; we had a hotel on the beach all to ourselves, caused a riot, and generally just had a really good time.
Rodney Mullen: Going on tour with those guys I had a feeling that I actually belonged to something. My friendship with Marc was so genuine. My Opinion [Globe, '01] part, that started as Marc's footage. That was really my enjoi part—and that part was by far the most popular thing I've ever done.
Louie Barletta: Dwindle moved [Chris] Cole over from World, and I just don't think it was a good fit. He was talking to Jamie [Thomas] by then, so he was already on his way to getting on Zero. He went on one trip to Canada, then quit right after the tour. Around the same time, Brad [Staba] left Toy Machine and got on.
Brad Staba: I was hanging out with Marc a decent amount after that TransWorld video [Modus Operandi, '00]. I'd also known Jerry for a while and Bobby. I'd been friends with him since like '96. I was on enjoi for a little over a year.
Louie Barletta: As far as Marc leaving, we didn't really know anything was going on. Marc was very good at keeping things to himself. I think it's just so much easier to just be a pro and worry about you. When you're pro and then dealing with trying to run a brand, it's super difficult. It's a hard thing to balance.
Matt Eversole: Marc was the brand manager, he was the artist, he was the TM, he was the pro—he was everything. Then he had knocked a girl up and she had moved down south, so he was like, "I have a kid down south and I have a company down south, I might as well move."
Marc Johnson: I was living in OC and San Jose. I had a place in both and would go back and forth. I didn't know how to separate my personal and professional lives at the time, or even that I should have. I was 25 years old. I didn't know what to do, and I didn't know who to talk to about it, so I did the only thing I could—I walked away.
Jerry Hsu: When he [Marc] told me, it was just a big shock. I got off the phone and was just like, "What am I going to do?" Brad [Staba] quit immediately. I was like, "Should I quit too?" I just couldn't picture it continuing without Marc.
Rodney Mullen: I immediately called Daewon and let him know like, "Hey, there's going to be a shift." I was close with all those guys, but Marc was my anchor. Within 24 hours of Marc telling us he was moving on, we were in talks to start almost.
Louie Barletta: I just assumed Dwindle would pull the plug. It was absolutely MJ's company. Jerry and I eventually talked to Rob Valerio [Dwindle president at the time], and they offered to keep it going if we ran it. That was how it was pitched to us. At that point, Eversole was still the filmer, but he had computer skills.
Marc Johnson: Matt was the only other person I knew who could translate the sense of humor and look out for the riders first and foremost. He was the only person I felt could and would be up for keeping it going. I'm glad he stepped up. Who knows what enjoi would've turned out to be if no one took the reins.
Louie Barletta: Basically, Eversole and I flew down to LA, we bought a 12-pack straight off the plane—drank half of that in the parking lot, took some pills—we were high as fuck and went in to talk to the president of Dwindle. That was pretty much how we transitioned into the Eversole era from Marc leaving. Matt became brand manager. Rodney left to start almost. We convinced Jerry to stay, Chris Avery left, and Kyle Camarillo joined as filmer.
Caswell Berry: I got on right when Marc had quit. I kind of got the nod when I was on Toy Machine. I can't really remember how I talked my way onto the team, but I imagine it was probably the Tiltmode Army connection.
Louie Barletta: For me Jason [Adams] was a no-brainer. He was always one of the downtown San Jose dudes. It was so natural. It was rad too because he was all punk rock and now had all these pastel colors and stuff, but it just worked.
Jason Adams: It was hell, with rainbows and kitty cats, but we had health insurance.
Louie Barletta: Dwindle had been asking for a full-length video for a while, but we just didn't have it.
Kyle Camarillo: They had been filming but nothing too intensive. I want to say there was a year and half left of filming when I started on Bag Of Suck ['06]. [Tony] Manfre quit and [Bobby] Puleo left before the video was done.
Tony Manfre: I left at a stoplight in Arizona while on tour. Something somebody said set me off, and I just bounced. I can't even remember who or what was said. I went home on a plane and didn't see anyone for a while after that.
Louie Barletta: We finally had a video meeting at Jason Adams' house, and it was kind of like the kick in the pants for a lot of dudes. It just lit a fire under Jerry.
Kyle Camarillo: It was so gnarly. Every weekend for probably that whole final eight months—it was just go for broke all weekend, and then Jerry being totally hurt and sore all week. Saving his energy until the next weekend. That was just the cycle. Weekend warrior.
Louie Barletta: I think Jerry had talked about going to Lincoln, or maybe he had tried it once. But Matt put it in his head, like "That's the one. That's the last trick of the video. You have to do it. Keep trying it until you land it."
Jerry Hsu: The last trick was the last day of filming with "The End" sign in there. Oh yeah, I made that "The End" sign. I made that in my garage the night before. There was so much pressure. I was under so much pressure to do that trick. I remember just looking at "The End" for an hour while I was painting it. Going like, "Oh man, will this be the end?"
Louie Barletta: Marc was also filming a part for BOS. He was supposed to have a full guest part. The video was basically in the can, Marc's part was almost completely done and edited to music, and Ty Evans came in and pulled it.
Kyle Camarillo: Matt and I spent two months editing—living in a hotel room a block from Dwindle. It was so gnarly that by the time we finished the video, like, "Okay, we're ready to export," we watched it and we were like, "Is this even good?" Then the premiere happened and it just went off. It was the reaction that we were waiting for. It was fucking insane.
Louie Barletta: The video won TWS Best Video, Jerry won Best Part and the Readers' Choice Award. After the video, Jerry took a break, and then I tore my Achilles. I was out for pretty much a year. Meanwhile, Jason [Adams] quit, but we got Nestor [Judkins] on right after his part in Guarte [Santa Cruz, '05].
Nestor Judkins: I ended up quitting my am spot at Santa Cruz just to get on flow for enjoi. After a year I got on. So I went from am to flow to am with some community college classes thrown in there. It all worked out in the end.
Cairo Foster: Popwar was ending, and I'd been on a few trips with Jerry and Eversole, and I had known Jose [Rojo] for ages prior to riding for enjoi. So I thought I'd give it a shot, and I asked Matt what he thought about me possibly riding for enjoi. Fortunately it was a go.
Louie Barletta: Wieger [Van Wageningen] was the first international rider, but he was also the first guy to get on that nobody grew up hanging out with. So that was kind of a pivotal moment.
Wieger Van Wageningen: I had been without a board sponsor for almost two years after The Firm ended. It felt like a long time. It almost killed my career. But then Matt Eversole and Louie came along and saved me.
Zack Wallin: I saw a handful of the Tiltmode guys skating around town a couple of times and ended up going to Barcelona with them back in 2007.
Louie Barletta: He was riding for Darkstar or something at the time. He went out there with us and we were all like, "Fuck Darkstar. You're from San Jose. You should be riding enjoi boards." He started getting flowed from there.
Matt Eversole: After '07 and the awards it was just like a tidal wave, thanks to Bag Of Suck for a short while. Everything was like, "Everything you do is awesome!" When Bod [Boyle] came in he started trying to get me help. They bought us an HD camera and they brought Winston Tseng in from Popwar.
Louie Barletta: At that point it was Carson [Lee] filming. He had just gotten the HD camera, and we were trying to figure out what to do with all the standard-def footage we were sitting on. Tweak The Beef ['12] was just all the standard footage we had been collecting since Bonus Round ['09].
Caswell Berry: My best memory from Tweak The Beef was tweaking the beef over Louie!
Ben Raemers: I got on knowing Louie through Duffs shoes. To me, enjoi is a company where the image is of friends having a good time together and not taking themselves too seriously. It's cool because it's not just the image, it's completely true.
Louie Barletta: Matt stuck up for the guys on the team a lot. I don't think he saw the same return from a lot of them. I think over time that just wore him out.
Matt Eversole: I was the middleman. I fought them [Dwindle] for so long. I would tell them like, "No, you don't get to talk to the riders. You talk to me. I have to talk to you, they don't." By trying to make their experiences as professional skateboarders awesome, I absorbed all of the bullshit. It was a lot for me to handle.
Jerry Hsu: Matt had almost left probably like five times. But when he really did it, for me personally, I realized that it was my time too. It was almost like the same thing was happening again. It was a lot like when Marc left.
Louie Barletta: At that point Ryan Lay and Jerry said they would leave with Matt, but everybody else agreed that they would stay. A few days later Bod called and told me that he had talked to everybody and "you were voted in as the new brand manager." I told him to let me think about it. I called Matt, and he came over to the Mansion. We went to the bar and drank and talked about it, then came back to the house and talked about it.
Matt Eversole: We sat there and drank beer until four in the morning. We shed tears over times that we've had and we laughed. It was fucking rad. But he had to go that way, and I had to go this way.
Cairo Foster: I had helped Matt over the years with planning out trips and so forth, somewhat in the vein of TM work. So when things went south between Eversole and Dwindle, it only seemed right to pitch in beyond just riding my board.
Louie Barletta: After Eversole left, Matt Mullen came in and we had planned to make Oververt a four-part web video. Right when I started I sat down with Matt Mullen and watched all the footage and was just like, "Fuck, we need more time." So we pushed it back and decided to do the full-length.
Miika Adamov: I'd been skating in the Bay Area for a number of years with a bunch of dudes. Louie started giving me boards. To me, enjoi is the happy-go-lucky skate company with a heart of gold and the best ads.
Blue Turner: We both got on around the same time through Matt Mullen. Miika can do the craziest things and never takes a slam. He's like a ballerina; he can get out of anything. Thaynan [Costa] rules and has a rad selection of tricks.
Thaynan Costa: I went to Barcelona, and DC had an apartment there. Louie was staying in the same place, so we went skating a couple days and was super fun. He told me that he likes pandas, and I said, "Me too." I started getting flowed.
Louie Barletta: [Roger] Bagley got on in about January/February of 2014. And we were just all hands on deck for the next few months. For me it was gnarly because now we would go on tour and go skate, and then that night I would just get on e-mails or phone calls all night.
Jimmy Carlin: Three months after I quit Mystery and Fallen, Louie hit me up. I had a year to film for the video, but then I tore my ankle six months in and was out the rest of the time.
Caswell Berry: Injuries. I'll just list 'em: ankle cleanup surgery, broken tailbone, torn urethra, plates and screws in three of my five metatarsals, broken heart because I can't skate.
Louie Barletta: Jerry's Lincoln trick was such an iconic ending to BOS. When we watched all the footage for Oververt, we didn't really have that iconic trick to end it with. I felt like Zack's nollie back 180 at Wallenberg could be it.
Zack Wallin: It was the second to last day before the deadline. Months before, my girlfriend and I had planned a trip to Hawaii right after the deadline, so it was our last chance to get it. I was so focused on landing the trick—when I was rolling away I was overwhelmed with relief and stoke. When I turned around and saw Louie with the pro board, that feeling just tripled. The next thing I knew I was on the beach in Hawaii drinking a beer and I was pro!
Jack Fardell: With another amazing skateboarding video under the belt, new recruits, and the same original stoke—right now, I think enjoi is better then ever.
Louie Barletta: Winning that award [Best Team] was probably the highlight of my entire career. From having the team pretty much crumble after Matt left. Pulling everybody back together and being like, "No, we got this." To put the video out. To put Miika and Blue on, and turn Ben Raemers and Zack pro. For all of that to work out, and then on top of that to win Team of the Year— it kind of was like, "Okay, Louie, that was pretty cool. We did it."
Rodney Mullen: People still come up to me today and go, "Hey, I love what you do on enjoi." They still think I skate for enjoi because it was such a powerful signature. And I don't even bother to correct them, like I'm so stoked [laughs]!
Jose Rojo: It's crazy to think that Lou and I are the longest-running riders now. It's gone by pretty fast but was filled with so many amazing memories that I will always cherish.
Louie Barletta: In another 15, I'll be 80 years old. I'm hoping by the time enjoi gets to 30, we'll have hoverboards so I can still skate.
Marc Johnson: Everything changes with time. Nothing stays the same, nor should it. Everything needs to grow. I'm glad the enjoi dudes are still doing it.