Sidewalk Skateboarding Jordan Thackeray - Haunts - Sidewalk Skateboarding

Jordan Thackeray – Haunts Jordan Thackeray – Haunts

(Read this passage internally in an Attenborough-esque voice)

Jordan Thackeray, binomially known as J-Thaxx.

A very rare species of skateboarding Homo sapiens, most commonly found flopping around his most favoured habitat, Empire Skatepark in Colchester. This exceptionally unique specimen has adapted to his surroundings in such a manner that he can get by in day-to-day life without the need for money.

Or a telephone. Fascinating…
 On a real ‘no nonsense’ note, Jordan is one of the most enthusiastic skateboarders I've ever come across; he’s always keen and will insist on skating until he can't physically stand on his own two feet.
 And for that, he can be forgiven for his often dopey self, which is understandably amusing and funny until you need to make contact with him for one reason or another. From my recent experiences as his team manager I've adapted to his strange technophobe ways, usually communicating with him through a Facebook call or via someone else's mobile phone.
 But…he does smash it on his skateboard, and his radness, positivity and his impeccable manners stand out above the rest.
 Digital knuckles to you mate!

- Josh Young.

Introduce yourself.

My name is Jordan, I’m 20 years old and I like skateboarding (laughs).

Would you say you are Colchester born and bred?

Nah, I’m from Southend originally, which is still Essex though. I grew up in Colchester.

You’ve never had to do an interview before, have you? Where you have to sit down and answer a bunch of questions about yourself.

Not really. I’ve done a couple of random ones when I’ve been away, like in Italy, in Riccione, I had to sit down and say words in front of a camera, but I’ve never had anything I’ve said written down (laughs).

In that case then I guess it’s legit to go back to the beginning of the J-Thaxx timeline. Growing up in Essex, how did you first come into contact with skateboarding?

I’ve been skating since I was 7 years old; my grandparents got me a Tony Hawk Pro Skater game and I really enjoyed it and wanted to get skateboard, which is why I started, then my mum bought me a board for my birthday from a car boot sale. It was good but I didn’t skate much until I moved to Colchester really, then I used to skate down the local skatepark, the old Colchester park which we call Rumbles. Ramp Rage came about and that’s what’s turned into Empire Skatepark, and that’s helped me so much; I don’t know where I’d be in skating if they hadn’t come into being.

What did life before skating consist of for you?

Drawing pictures and cutting up cardboard to make Batman costumes (laughs), shit like that. I was a kid, a proper kid, and I’ve skated for over half my life now.

You’re from a fairly strict background aren’t you? I remember you saying your parents weren’t too into you skating at first…

Yeah, it was pretty hectic when I was like 13 or 14. There was a point where I was stopped from skating for almost a year; my parents just weren’t having it. They’re all good now though.

How come they stopped you from skating?

They just didn’t agree with it, the whole wrongly perceived association with weed and everything. And my mum had some gnarly dream about me pushing myself along on the floor without legs so she took that as a sign of sorts, I don’t know why (laughs), but that seems to be the way that one went. It’s all good now; they fully support me so it’s chilling

When did ‘getting sponsored’ become a thing for you?

It was the second or first year of Ramp Rage being about. I bumped into the guys from Milk Skateboards, they used to come to the park and I just kept bumping into them more and more randomly. I went to BaySixty6 for my birthday on my own and they were all there, we had a session and it was all good, then after that I got on. I skated for them for two years, and that was really wicked.

How much stuff did you manage to do with Milk before it ended?

We did loads, we went to a few different places – Barcelona, Berlin, Lisbon…we went on loads of trips now I think about it. Dan (Shervington) is the boss; I love Dan.

The team was really strong at one point wasn’t it? There was you, Nick Remon, Nicky Howells, Charlie Munro…

Everyone was on it for a little while, and then it kind of went to shit after that for an unnecessary reason. At the same time as half the team decided that they didn’t want to ride for it and started leaving, some of the shops that Dan had sent drops to went bankrupt and they couldn’t pay him the money they owed, so he lost out on so much money and it all fizzled out.

Weren’t you one of the last riders to go?

Yeah, I was the last one to go (laughs). Everyone else had left and I was just hoping that it would bounce back. But it didn’t and I was gutted.

Now you’ve ended up on Lovenskate at least, so you’re still in good company.

Stu Smith’s a beast, I love him. He’s helped me out so much already. (Alex) Hallford, Aaron (Wilmot), Lucy (Adams), Ewen (Bower)…all of them lot, they’re lovely to skate with. I bumped into them over the last four years in many different places, so we’re all friends. The boards are fucking sick as well, and Stu can get me the actual sizes I need.

Tell us a bit about your travels – would you say you’re quite well travelled for a lad of your age?

Not really, I’ve not managed to get outside of Europe yet, but I want to at some point. One of my favourite places is Marseille in the south of France; it’s a beautiful place, the locals there are so good to be around and the place is like a skatepark, the whole city flows, and the hash is good.

The week we did in Italy was amazing, when we went to Ancona and stayed with Luca (Crestani) and his wife Chiara. Those guys are the best; they hooked us up, and Luca showed us the best crusty street spots. That was like a holiday, it was the most spontaneous thing I’ve ever done. You just turned to me when you were drunk at the Vans Spring Classic party in Riccione and said “do you want to stay in Italy for a week?”, and I was like “fuck yeah, why not?”. That was definitely my favourite trip, I had such an amazing time, staying in the countryside, drinking wine and eating good food, and we got an edit out of it without trying too hard. Going to fun places and skating fun spots, that’s what it’s all about.

Fully inverted at Frontside Gardens – photo Chris Johnson

How did the Vans hook up come about?

That was (Nic) Powley, two years ago, maybe three now. They did a Vans camp where Denis (Lynn), Shaun (Currie), Nev (Matthew Nevitt) and Lois (Pendlebury) all came to Ramp Rage to teach everyone. I just showed up, I was lurking because the place is like my second home and I met Powley there, skated with him a little bit, then I bumped into him in a few different situations and one time he said “if you want any shoes just ask me”. Then it just went from there really. Now Manhead is in charge; he’s good as well, he’s one of the boys.

How was the ‘Le Denis’ camping trip you all just went on? What are some of your best memories from that?

It was hilarious. Denis was on top form. I’d never really gone on a full road trip before but it felt like we did it properly. We went to some really amazing places as well; that Biarritz place was ridiculous, I’ve never seen anything like it. That roll in that Denis did there was just outrageous. I can’t believe he slammed and was ok. I thought that if you went down on that surface you would lose so much skin. Those tiles had like an inch gap between them as well…it was fucking crazy. Me and Jordan (Sharkey) just sat at the back of the van and played guitar loads.

Basildon boys gonna drop some backside (nose) blunts. Had to be done. Photo Chris Johnson.

Basildon boys gonna drop some backside (nose) blunts. Had to be done. Photo Chris Johnson.

Explain some of these tattoos you’ve got on your hands. You seem to have quite the collection of job-stoppers on the go here…

I got my first ones from Julien Benoliel; he hooked me and Jake (Collins) up when I was 16 and gave us a place to stay in Marseilles for a good week or two. He did the Carve Wicked one on my knuckle and the Triple Sword tattoo. They started to come out then when I was on the Ancona trip with you, Chiara did them again and did the Dragonball tattoo on the other knuckle. My friend Toby did ‘Knucks’ on this hand, then my friend Ted did ‘Half’ on the other hand, so I’ve now got ‘Half knucks’ across them both (laughs). I’ve only got piss about tattoos really; I never want to pay for a tattoo, I just get them for fun. We’ve got a tattoo gun down the park as well; we do them on each other just pissing about. My favourite one is this one – ‘DWDI’. That stands for ‘Drew Would Do It’.

‘Drew Would Do It’? Who’s Drew?

There’s this kid Andrew who comes down the skatepark, he’s the most dedicated skater I’ve ever seen in my life, he comes down from 7-10pm every single day and will fully just try whatever trick he’s doing. He never bails, he only ever slams. He’s fucking crazy, a very inspiring kid.

Who are some of the Colchester locals you skate with regularly then?

Andrew is one of them, Toby Gozzett is mad fun to skate with, Elliott, he’s a killer, Mike Joyce, my mate Zak, he’s just fucked all the ligaments in his ankle actually when we went to Brighton the other day.

I’m guessing you used to skate with Luke Jarvis quite a lot?

I skated with him a lot now I think about it. We went to Copenhagen in the summer and had a wicked time; I’ve never seen anyone do so much mad shit in my life. He’d come back from a night out…well, he didn’t come back, we just found him at Faelledparken, and he didn’t even have his own board, he’d lost his shirt, hadn’t slept, he was rolling across the over-vert thing they have there and was trying to boneless into it. I was thinking “how the fuck are you even standing right now?” The night before he tried to go off this balcony into this ramp that was two foot high, into a puddle, and he’d slammed repeatedly trying that too. He was a super human, 100%. I miss him.

Throwing all kinds of shapes with a Wandsworth wallie tuck knee. Photo Chris Johnson

Throwing all kinds of shapes with a Wandsworth wallie tuck knee. Photo Chris Johnson

Tell us about some other Essex skateboarding legends – do you see Mark Munson much?

Yeah I skate with him almost every week. He taught me loads of stuff that I know how to do. Him and Potter (Carl Wilson) have definitely given me loads of shit for as far back as I can remember. One time they made me wear a helmet the whole car journey from Colchester down to Romford because I’d not been wearing my helmet in the park. Carl used to work at Ramp Rage and I never used to wear my helmet; I’d cracked my head open a few months before then, and he made me wear the helmet up until I turned 16 then a few weeks past it (laughs).

How about Ben Raemers?

I don’t see him too often, I see him every now and then though, which is nice. I’ve not skated properly with him for ages.

I should ask about Nick Remon – when was the last time you skated with him?

Ah it’s been ages since I’ve seen him. He’s a recluse. He just works in a corner shop in Chelmsford and gets on with his own thing. He’s easily the most talented skateboarder I’ve ever seen in my life, he could do things you just can’t do. He still skates but he’s not about as much, he doesn’t get out of Chelmsford much, he just works. It’s a bit of a shame that he quit all his sponsors really but some people don’t want that kind of thing, which is fair enough. It’s only a skateboard at the end of the day, some people just want to enjoy skateboarding and not worry about all the other shit that comes along with it.

With that in mind I guess, where do you see skateboarding going for you over the next few years?

I don’t know really, I’m just hoping to travel as much as I can and skate as much as I can. Learning tricks…that’s the best feeling.

Where have you got on your 2017 travel agenda? Have you many missions coming up?

I’m going to Austria on February 2nd for something in Innsbruck for a couple of days, then I’m going to Barca to jam with Stu and do some stuff for Lovenskate. You should come out! I was in Malaga the other week for a comp and it’s still t-shirt weather over there. It was really fun but I found out about Luke the night before, that was pretty heavy so I decided to just go in as hard as I could in light of what had happened. It was hard though because I had drawings in my passport so I didn’t think I was going to get past the border.

How have you ended up with drawings in your passport?

The last time I came back from Italy I got bored on the plane and started doodling in the back of my passport. I didn’t really think anything of it then when we went on the Vans trip, we got to the border at Dover and gave our passports in, then they said “can Jordan Thackeray step out of the van please?” and I thought “oh shit”. I got a massive telling off, a massive scolding from those guys, but in the end they said they’d let me through but they didn’t think the French guys would at their passport control. The French guy pulled a face at it and said “he’s not coming in”, then I told them my little brother had done the drawings and they let me in eventually but they said it wouldn’t work again if I tried. So I was stressing going all the way to Malaga but it worked fine, no one even looked at the back pages.

What’s the sketchiest situation you’ve found yourself in whilst you’ve been on your travels abroad?

When we were in Berlin and Charlie (Munro) almost got stabbed. We were at a falafel shop by the train station on the way to a spot with everyone else, and I don’t know what had happened exactly but some guy had caused a kerfuffle with Charlie. This guy pulled out a knife so we had to push him away and everyone scattered. These men followed us for a bit before they left, but that was a bit weird, thinking that this guy had a knife and he seemed serious about pulling it, you know?

When I was with Jake in Marseille for the first time when I was 16, there were plane strikes. We got to the airport in Sox’s girlfriends car, which was a sketchy drive – she is a crazy driver, at one point Sox had to yank the steering wheel to avoid a bumper that was in the road – we got there, Sox and his girlfriend left, and then we found out there was a plane strike on for at least a week. We were wondering what to do, then Jake took out a Wonga loan so we could get back to the city and we just jammed in Marseille for another week with pretty much no money. Powley hooked me up a little bit of money for some food at least. They take good care of you over there.

Low to high transfer to noseblunt, Empire. Photo Chris Johnson

So going back to your parents now, having travelled about Europe a bit and acquired a couple of steady sponsors, are they still concerned about you?

They were strict but they’ve gone the other way.

Do they not worry when their 20-year-old son turns up at home with knuckle tattoos?

The first time that they mentioned them was literally two weeks ago; I got my first ones four years ago when I was 16 and they didn’t say a word, but when I turned up with ‘Half Knucks’ my mum said “you’ve made a mistake with those ones” (laughs).

It is good with them though; I am kind of jealous of my little brothers and sisters because they’ve got it way easier than I did.

Horsey: What are the shoelaces on your belt about? Is that where you store the secret powers?

They were just for spares but now I feel comfortable having something hanging off my trousers.

Horsey: Everyone was saying that’s where the secret powers come from.

Nah, definitely not. I do go through them though; they always change up because I go through shoelaces every two or three days. I attach them to my belt; it’s easier that way. I do have a couple that I don’t ever use as spares. This one I like because it’s got a graphic on it; it has got weed leafs on it (laughs). Sometimes I do forget them, and I’ve lost like five of them now.

How many do you have?

There are…four. And this tie-dye one I found at Notting Hill Carnival, I found that on the floor and was like “I’m having that”. The ‘fruit lace’ (laughs).

Any words of wisdom or parting thoughts for the people reading this?

Nah, I’m not a very wise man (laughs), I just like to enjoy myself and have as much fun as I can whilst I do it, because you never know when it all might end. You may as well have a good time whilst you’re here.

Any thanks?

Safe as fuck to Empire Skatepark for making things so good for me over the years. Shout out to Luke Jarvis – rest in peace, I miss him already. All my Colchester boys and the Essex lads, and all the Brighton boys as well, everyone at The Level. Shout out to Lovenskate and Milk Skateboards, Hell Yeah Son, Vans and Navitas. I think I’m done.