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the jed walters interview

Far be it from me not to write a dumb little intro, but I'll simply chalk it up to my former position on the Big Brother magazine staff where dumb little intros were de rigueur (fancy-ass French for "day rigor"). The long and the short of it is, though, that I was fully prepared to do a very dumb little interview with Jed—probably five-to-six silly questions of a Big Brother-ish nature at most—which would have been a real travesty, because we then would have never ended up with this rather intriguing interview conducted by none other than the master of skateboard lore himself, The Chrome Ball Incident, who graciously stepped in to field what I would have fumbled and dropped altogether. So thank you, Nick, for preventing me from being me and recommending a more worthy interviewer instead, and thank you, Jed, for being such a good sport and going along with all of this in the first place! —Sean Cliver

CBI: So for those who aren’t aware, we are doing this in celebration of your new guest board for StrangeLove. First off, how did this even come to be? Who hit you up and what all went into the making of this thing?

Jed: This whole thing was born out of Sean Cliver’s amazing imagination. The fact that anybody wants to talk to me about anything, especially skateboarding, really blows my mind. You have to remember that all this stuff is over 25 years ago… that’s a long time, man! The idea of me getting a board with my name on it at this point in my life is just insane! Not to mention actually riding it. Trying to do anything other than a simple cruise down the street seems absolutely tortuous to me. It was fun back then, but there’s no way I’m gonna try any of that stuff these days.

It just feels like the most surreal blast from the past. I hadn’t talked to Sean in decades when he hits me up, completely out of the blue, to do a board for this new company he’s doing. I was super surprised, to say the least.

Are you at all aware of the legacy you have in skateboarding? You do know that there are quite a number of people, to this day, who still consider themselves fans of yours, right?

I became partially aware of that a few years ago, but I honestly had no clue prior to that. It really blows my mind—not that I’ve ever experienced it firsthand or anything. It’s not like people come up to me about anything the least bit skateboarding-related anymore.

But why do you think this is? Could it possibly be because of your leaving that allows for people to wonder what could’ve been?

That could be part of it, I think. Chasing the rainbow’s end. I don’t know about your religious background, but for me, I just don’t think people are ever truly happy on Earth. No matter what happens. Professional skateboarding is just the tip of the iceberg. We all have this tabloid influence. Everyone goes to the grocery store for meats and cheeses, and while checking out we read about how Kirstie Alley has this problem and Tom Cruise has that problem—all that stuff preys on a misperception that there are people out there who actually do have everything… that life can be perfect. But it never is, no matter who you are. I feel like that’s part of the allure here, if that makes sense.

How do you look back on your personal experience in skateboarding? Are you proud of what you did? And has that changed at all over the years as you’ve gotten older?

That’s a hard one, actually, because I’m not proud of it but I’m not bitter either. Skateboarding was just something I did. I grew up in the Midwest and, like all of my friends back there, I just didn’t want to be a farmer. I wanted to be something more than that. Skateboarding seemed like this anti-establishment phenomenon back then and I fell in love with it at an early age. Natas Kaupas and Mark Gonzales, I consider those guys artists. What they did on this silly little kid’s toy was pure expression.

For me, skateboarding represented freedom. It was everything that was good in my mind at that age. The problem was as I got older, as other things began to develop and happen for me, I literally grew out of it. The circumstances around my skateboarding changed and it began to represent something very different to me. I realize that will probably disappoint everyone reading this.

In reading your previous interview, you constantly referred to yourself as a “weasel” and a “coward” back then. Why is that?

It has to do with religious ideals. I was born a Bible-thumping Christian, but that has evolved a bit as I’ve converted over to Orthodox Christianity. I feel like there was a constant betrayal back then of who I know that I truly am. That’s really at the center of all this. I feel like I was trying to run away from myself, that I was seeking freedom at the expense of my relationship with God—essentially kicking God away. And in looking for this place that I considered to be true freedom, it wound up kicking my tail and forced me to come back to God like a coward. That was my give-and-take with skateboarding back then. I was out doing things that I knew I never should’ve been. And I honestly feel a ton of shame for many things from that time. Lots of pornography, for example. Things that skateboarders typically get into just by being young males. 

So skateboarding was your form of teenage rebellion?

Definitely, because I wanted nothing to do with mainstream culture at that age. Skateboarding was my form of rebellion against… something. I don’t even think that I entirely knew what I was rebelling against. Not that rebellion is necessarily a bad thing, but in my rebellion, I was carried further away from True North. I had to get over this rebellious phase and when I did, I came back to my religion.

You don’t consider skateboarding to be the Devil’s toy or anything like that, do you?

No, that would be silly. Skateboarding is not bad. I was just a bad person when I rode my skateboard. [laughs]

But there are lots of religious skateboarders who didn’t have to leave the industry, like Lance Mountain and Ray Barbee.

And that works for them. Being a Christian and being a skateboarder are not mutually exclusive things. Lance Mountain, Salman Agah… that’s all wonderful. I didn’t quit skateboarding so that I could become a Christian again, that was just a byproduct of it. The thing with me is that my head was so screwed up, I had to rebel against my form of rebellion. It just so happened that my rebellion was skateboarding. I had to swing everything so far back the other way in order to get my head straight again.

But you must have at least a few fond memories from skating back then?

Oh yeah, don’t get me wrong: it was amazing to be a teenager in California with like-minded folk. It’s always pleasant to be with people who are on the same wavelength as you. Moving into a house with Guy Mariano was incredible, and with guys like Tim Gavin and Henry Sanchez constantly coming over to hang out, a natural fraternal order came about that was nice to be a part of.

Because of my immoral lifestyle, there were a few crazy nights back then that are now associated with guilt, but honestly, there really weren’t too many of them. I just remember staying up super late with Guy so that we could go skating without having to deal with security guards. Turns out that you can skate way more places at 3am and never get in trouble. I remember one night while we were out, I don’t know if it was the weather or what, but everything just seemed so beautiful. Just the most quiet, serene night… right in the middle of LA. Henry Sanchez was with us and he was out of his mind, going so fast. He had this insane energy about him. I can’t remember all the names of the tricks now, but I still remember him doing these long backside tailslides on this marble ledge out over some stairs. Something about how he pushed that night in the quiet of it all… skateboarding is a beautiful thing.

So what’s going on with you these days? Where are you and what do you do?

I live up in Washington now. I’m looking at my 16-year-old daughter right now as we walk into our backyard. I have a 5-year-old daughter also. We just live this totally agrarian lifestyle up here. I mean, my wife is literally a goat farmer. It’s weird, for sure. Totally a non-skateboarding kind of life, but we truly are happy.

“Jed showed up out of nowhere and wanted to really learn how to skate. He was this tall, lanky, big ollie kinda skater that ended up skating a lot with Rodney and flatground guys like me and got pretty technical and consistent in the end but totally ‘caught’ all his flat tricks and did everything with a pop. He was kind of an early skater to really put the ‘english’ into his tricks. Jed had a lot of integrity and just did his thing, stayed his course. He has an interesting story about telling Guy he wanted to climb some nearby mountain and then just going and doing it. I don't think anyone else even thought he was serious and everyone was surprised he actually climbed it. That was Jed, though. He was a loner in a good way, thinking for himself.” —Brian Lotti

Aren’t you still close with Brian Lotti?

No, I wish. I’ve always loved Brian like a brother.

But didn’t you say he was at your wedding?

Yeah, he ended up showing up to my wedding somehow, which blew me away! And then a few years ago, someone also sent me a link to his artwork, which blew me away again. I can’t believe how much he has progressed as an artist, which I think he was always meant to be.

It’s kinda funny as both your careers parallel each other in that--

We both flipped out? Yeah. [laughs]

Is that what you call it, flipping out?

Oh yeah. He had a Buddhistic flipping-out and I had a Christian flipping-out. Totally similar.

Would you guys ever talk about this stuff back then? Did you know that he was about to bounce as well?

Well, I flipped out first and basically became a surf bum. Surfing three times a day, working at a pizza place, and paying this guy 300-dollars a month for a place to crash. It’s funny because I never smoked pot, but ended up moving into this house down in La Jolla with guys who were smoking like three times a day. This is back when it was illegal. Lotti ended up coming down to visit. He had told me that he was experiencing a “religious awakening," but I'd also heard that he’d been staying up all night on acid with Tom [Schmidt] from Big Brother. So I was a bit concerned about him.

Earl Parker.

Exactly. But once he arrived and started talking, I knew we were going through a lot of the same stuff. We had this connection where we could both tell that our involvement in skateboarding was somehow wrong for us. So yes, just by going through that similar experience, we’ve always had a deeper connection.

Have you stayed in touch with anybody else from back then?

No, I wish I was more of a social media-kind of person, because I’d love to talk to Guy. That would be amazing…  but no. Personally, it can be a little painful getting back in touch with people from your past. I’m often more comfortable just letting the past be the past. I guess you could call me a religious eccentric. All of these worldly pursuits don’t really mean much to me. I think the most interesting thing about mankind is that our lives are a flash-in-the-pan and then we die. We have these immortal souls and I feel like half the population is trying to enjoy every moment while the other half is in constant panic of dying. I feel like Lotti was trying to get past all of that pain and suffering, in search of nirvana or whatever you want to call it, but as a Christian you put your faith in Jesus or whatever cliché you need in order to have an immortal life—that’s the camp I’m in.

So three kids from South Dakota drive out to California for skateboarding with stars in their eyes. San Diego and then to LA, correct? Were you already on BBC before this expedition?

That is correct, but I wasn’t on BBC yet. I somehow got hooked up with Mouse immediately upon my arrival in San Diego. I met this kid Oscar at a skate shop down there.

Oscar Jordan?

Yeah, I went out skating with him and Kanten Russell a couple of times. They were both on BBC and ended up hooking me up, which was very kind of them. 

This was 1990 or so?

Yeah, I was 18-years-old and had just graduated high school. I still remember my Mom warning me that if I took off she would kill me, but my Dad stepped in. “Honey, you have to let the young man go.” So yeah, we split for California to hang out with a bunch of pot smokers.

Who were the other kids you went with? Was the plan always to try staying down there for good?

Oh, that was our plan, for sure. The other two guys were my buddies from school who also skated, Dave and Turrey. Turrey has actually become a celebrated photographer over the years. And, in all honesty, Dave ended up flipping-out, too. He went from being an atheist to a Seventh Day Adventist and is now the pastor of a church in Australia!

He flipped out on this same California trip, too?

It was actually over the course of the next decade, but I do think it started on this trip. He smoked some weed that one of our pot smoker friends had given him and had this super weird guilt trip about it all. He suddenly felt that God was judging him and he was now gonna go to Hell because of it. He’s since repented and found comfort in the Church.

So you were on your own after that?

Yeah, they were over it after a while and ended up heading back home to South Dakota. I stayed, though, because I knew I’d probably never have this opportunity again. Back then, I was this huge World Industries wannabe. [Steve] Rocco represented this breath of fresh air to me and I wanted to get on one of his teams more than anything. Since I was already in California and knew that all those guys lived in Los Angeles, I figured I might as well head up there to check it out, you know? I had to see this through.

One thing that I should mention here is that my grandmother had died prior to all of this and left me $20,000. Back then, that was a nice little chunk and basically enabled me to take this trip.

So I’m in LA now, sleeping in my car, when I end up meeting this guy named Francois at a skate shop. It turns out that he knows Guy and all of the World guys, which blows me away. Here I am, this utter-groupie-follower-guy, and I now see my connection. So upon finding this out, I latch onto Francois as hard as I possibly can. I even start giving him money in order to stay with him and his brother at their house in North Hollywood. I mean, I needed a place to crash anyway, and this was the perfect set-up because now I can weasel my way into hanging out with Guy and these sponsored skaters, too. I even dropped BBC, because I thought that I might hurt my chances of hanging out with these guys. BBC just wasn’t cool enough in my book.

As a kid from the middle of nowhere, was it difficult for you in getting to know these pros as real people?

I know what you’re saying. As a kid from the Midwest, I did have a tendency to put them on a pedestal. And because it was the ’90s, everybody had to be a cool cat as well. You always had to have this silly superficial façade up at all times, never letting anyone know how you really were. We all had that going, but halfway through a typical Los Angeles traffic jam, the human element quickly comes out and you get to see how people truly are. Because a large part of our lives back then was sitting in traffic. Skating is one thing, but I feel like we all truly became friends while at a standstill on the freeway.

You have pointed to the value of having a car in all of this and when I interviewed Shiloh [Greathouse], he brought it up as well…

Right? You don’t realize it at the time. You just think that all of this is because you’re a good skateboarder, but no, it was because I had a car. That played a large part in how I got sponsored.

You don’t truly believe that, do you? Because I also had a car, but Rocco never asked me to go pro. You can’t minimize this whole thing down to just that.

It very well could be the case. My talent was nothing much, I know it and you know it. There are some great skateboarders out there and I was not one of them. Don’t get me wrong, I could do some stuff, but I was more of a wannabe with a car. I was just lucky to have enough money to support myself while engineering ways for me to be around these guys. It was all just lucky coincidence.

I disagree. You had what is commonly seen as one of the best parts in a now-legendary video. Very progressive with a great style. And I can’t imagine those guys backing you to the level they did if you weren’t in their ballpark.

I just took advantage of fads. One year switch-stance became a thing and I just happened to have a knack for that stuff as well as popping a few of my tricks. It’s not like I was Pat Duffy or anything. What I was doing really wasn’t that big of a deal.

Regardless, was this at all surreal for you? You went from living in your car to riding for World and rooming with Guy Mariano. It would be difficult for things to have gone any better for you with this.

It all just happened so fast. Getting to know everybody, and from there immediately getting sponsored with heaps of product. Jason Lee actually hooked it all up, even though I really wanted to be on Blind. World was close enough, I guess, but yes, I was and still am very aware of how this is everything a kid from the Midwest dreams of… sorry to keep going back to religion, but just like Saint Augustine said, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in Christ.”

Could it be that you just weren’t ready, not only for the success but possibly Los Angeles as well?

That’s an interesting question. I guess the short answer would be that there was no way I was ready. I mean, how could anyone ever be? [laughs] But I was at that age where you’re supposed to dive headlong into whatever you want to be involved in, where you should be going out and experiencing everything. And I did moderate myself, to a degree. I really only experienced about 20-percent of the immorality LA had to offer… but that 20-percent just about killed me.

How so? You weren’t doing any drugs, were you drinking at all?

No, I wasn’t drinking either. Keep in mind that this is all subjective, but I experience sexual guilt in a different way than most people—if they experience it at all. A lot of people won’t relate to this, but there was a ton of pornography around me back then and it really got to me. Francois’s older brother had a friend who had all these porno tapes lying around our house for some reason. I ended up watching a few and the guilt that would build up inside me afterwards was hard to deal with. Because I really feel like it is an addiction. You watch one porno and then another… you just want to watch more and more. It got to the point where I remember taking one of these tapes—it wasn’t even mine—but I took it outside and threw it over the house. Just to get rid of it. And these things were expensive, too. The guys were like, “What did you just do?!” “I just freaked out, man. I had to throw that tape away.” They didn’t even miss a beat. “Dude, he’s going to kill you. You’re dead!” Luckily, he ended up not really caring, but I was pretty nervous there for a minute, which only made my guilt worse.

We’ve talked about your time with Guy, and you can even be seen in the background of a few of his clips. I’m sure there was all kinds of stuff going down back then that what was never filmed, right?

Oh yeah, definitely. Lots of stuff, actually. But I feel like that was typically by design on his part. Like, I remember being at the Embarcadero with him one time and seeing filmers there, and he refused to skate. Not because he was above it or anything, he was just more pure about his skateboarding. It’s hard to explain… he just didn’t care about that stuff. He would have tricks in his head that he wanted, but it was more for him. He didn’t care if people were filming it or not. In fact, I think he intentionally sought out solitude at times in order to not be filmed.

What influence do you think he had on your skating back then?

Oh, he had the biggest influence on my skating, by far. So many of the tricks I would do largely came down to how he thought about them. If a trick got demonized as “nasty,” that was it. I wouldn’t do it anymore. I remember when big flips came out, it wasn’t long afterwards that, for whatever reason, we started feeling they were nasty. But this is already after I’d seen Guy do one down three really long stairs downtown. It was beautiful, man… perfectly caught, super smooth. But if he can stop doing a trick entirely after having just done one so beautifully, it’s almost like his notoriety grew even more so in my mind. I really do feel that Guy is a genius. 

Shiloh said that your Love Child part isn’t even really how you skated, that you were just trying to fit in. Is that true?   

Yes, that’s entirely true. I always liked big ollies and that sort of thing. I was definitely more of a "melon king" back then, for sure, but all that stuff was now considered to be “lame” or “gay,” before political correctness took over. Those tricks just weren’t cool anymore. I remember being so impressed by Pat Duffy. That’s actually how I would’ve liked to skate if I wasn’t so afraid, but I remember everyone else I hung around with knocking his style. “He only gets recognition because he’s a stuntman. He sucks.” I couldn’t believe it. I thought he was amazing. Back then, it was all about trying to catch your tricks in the air. That whole thing was just starting out and I was messing around with it as well. Evidently, that was considered good style and Pat Duffy wasn’t, which is ridiculous to me.

My heart was always with Natas and Gonz. I thought that ollieing trash cans was the most magical thing ever. And then to see Matt Hensley taking everything even bigger—that’s how I wanted to skate. Unfortunately, it was all slow tech stuff that was trending. And, of course, I had to follow that trend in order to stay cool. I didn’t even like a lot of what I was doing. This is why I describe myself as a weasel back then, because I compromised my own natural style and what I truly loved about skateboarding just to be cool.

Had you skated the way you wanted, do you think you would’ve stuck around longer?

Yeah, but then I probably would never have gotten sponsored at all, because that stuff wasn’t cool.

Speaking of that early catch stuff, your kickflip over the 3rd Street Gap is an early example of just that. You’re saying that it was intentionally popped big and caught by design? That it didn’t just happen?

Yeah, that’s like my only good trick in the video.

People still talk about it to this day. Did it feel like a big deal at the time?

Honestly, it didn’t, because what I really wanted was a 360-flip over that thing. Someone else had done one over the same gap, but it was a little squirrelly. I wanted a nice high one for the video. That kickflip was really just my warm-up, and I got it pretty quickly, but the 360-flip just wasn’t happening. I tried it for a while, but never got it. You know how it is… you always shoot for the moon, but typically end up with some second-rate kinda thing.

But you had two switch 360-flips in your part, you weren’t proud of those? You had to know how progressive that was at the time… and I know there’s that controversial “first” argument now.

Yeah, I did one over the hip at Los Feliz and another one down the Hewlett-Packard three. And I guess there’s some silly controversy over whether I did it first or Guy, right?

Yeah, yours definitely came out first, but Guy’s was supposedly filmed beforehand.

I’ll be honest, I definitely thought I did it first. I remember boasting about it immediately after that one at Los Feliz. People seemed pretty impressed by it—at least at first. It wasn’t until a little later that people started contesting the first claim. I thought I was first to do it.

How do you look at your part now as a 46-year-old versus when it first came out? Has that evolved at all?

[laughs] I didn’t like it when it came out. At all. It was embarrassing and I hated the song. It would be nice to show friends this fun little thing I did back then, but I just can’t bring myself to show it to anybody. I actually try to hide it as much as I can. I’m so still wrapped in shame about the whole thing, the person I was, the person I still am, to some degree. This show-off, vain-glorious person who wants to be worshipped. I detest that about myself. 

So was all of this just not what you expected? Is that really the underlying theme here?

Exactly, you said it perfectly. I can’t even add to that. None of this was at all how I expected it to be and I just wasn’t happy.

How was it different?

That’s a really complicated question in terms of adolescence and the bigger picture of freedom I left the Midwest for. You just want to get away from all that for something bigger than your dreams. But when you realize the ceiling of what you’ve always dreamed about, it suddenly seems pathetically small. You have to remember that skateboarding was very tiny at this point, so being on World, it actually started to feel pretty cramped. And once that starts, the whole thing no longer feels like much fun or even that alluring anymore.

But here you’re experiencing these issues of faith while riding for the most controversial company in skateboarding, possibly ever.

Yeah, Rocco definitely loved playing with symbolism. I realized that it was hypocritical for me to love it so much, when I knew deep down that it was wrong. But I also love people that hate religion. I still do. It’s the lukewarm people that I run away from. It says in scripture that God will spit out of his mouth, that he would rather that you hot or cold. Because you are lukewarm, I shall shun you. If you look at Cliver’s graphics, he does have many things in there that could be considered blasphemous, but more interesting to me is how Christianity is still very much on his mind. To me, Rocco was more of a saint than half a dozen preachers in their pulpits, because you knew where he stood. Rodney [Mullen] was an outspoken atheist, but I absolutely loved him. I am a Christian, so I disagreed with him, but I still think that he’s incredibly brilliant and loved talking to him. They were both so free of the hypocrisy that often surrounds religion.

So you’ve said that Rodney asked you to go pro shortly after Love Child, mandating three tricks in order for you to do so. How serious was this?

Oh, it was totally serious. Rodney called me into his office one day like, “Hey Jed, if we see these three tricks from you, we’ll turn you pro.” One was on the Wilshire rail and was actually something that I wanted to do, like a 50-50 down it. Honestly, I’d already spoken to Guy about it, which I’m not sure if he told them or what, but the other two tricks weren’t even that big of a deal. I probably could’ve done them. The problem was the way in which it was presented actually made me sick to my stomach. Do this for that. Oh my gosh, really!?! I suddenly felt like a circus animal or something… a dog jumping through hoops for treats. That’s when everything came to a head for me at that moment. I had started to have some doubts about skateboarding for the last year or so, falling out of love with it all, but this really sealed the deal. After that, I was done, because I couldn’t get it out of my mind. Is this who I had become? This pursuit of vanity?

Here you’d probably dreamt of that moment your entire life and it literally ended your career.

Exactly. There was a World Industries tour we went on a few months before all of this, right as we started filming Love Child. That was the first real eye-opener for me. There were these skaters at our demo from the ghetto in Florida, and I realized later on, after we had left, just how obsessed I was with being too cool. I wanted to be seen as some kind of artist, above the vulgarity of anyone who didn’t quite know which tricks are cool. Like, I was appalled that they would be doing these “dumb” tricks, without even realizing how dumb they actually were. And these kids were super awesome, man. They’d never done anything to me in order to be treated like that. I just wanted to be on a pedestal. “Hey, how do you do this trick?” “Dude, that’s a pressure flip. That’s lame. I would never teach you that trick because it’s dumb and you’re dumb. You guys aren’t artists like we are, our little esoteric circle. You’ll never be like us.” That is who I had become, and once I realized that it shook me up.

I think a lot of that has to do with age, though, and you were hardly the only person to act like that.

Yeah, but it still sucks. That element of skateboarding sucks.

How did Rodney react when you said “no” to his offer?

I didn’t say “no,” I just left it on the table—again, a coward. After that, I just hung-out to get boards, not that I was skating. I had started working at a surf shop and was trading in my decks for stuff… ugh, what a weasel.

Did they ever think you would walk away entirely?

No, I’m sure they were pretty disappointed in me. This is painful to admit, but I’m sure they saw my leaving everything behind as a betrayal and I can’t blame them at all for that. Not that I represented a big investment, but we were all friends. We all hung out together quite often. I didn’t just walk away from skateboarding, I walked away from people, too. That part really hurts, man. I should’ve maintained at least some sort of contact instead of dipping the way I did.

Were you still on the team while you worked in the World warehouse?

Yeah, I was still on the team, but they were definitely scratching their heads about that one. “Why does he only want to hang out with the silk-screening guys and Sal Rocco now?” Because I actually lived at the park for a while, too. Just me and Tom, I crashed on the couch.

So how did you leave? I know there was that Big Brother article*, but surely, that wasn’t enough to get you kicked off… was it?

No, that never would’ve got me kicked off. I was just talking trash in that anyway, which is kinda dumb to look back on now. I honestly just found myself getting more and more into surfing. I remember towards the end there when a few guys came up to me… Chico [Brenes] and somebody else. “Dude, you’re slipping. You really need to start skating again, like, a lot. And quit surfing.” “No, I will never skate again.” That’s literally what I told them. [laughs] And after that proposition with their little checklist, I didn’t want anything to do with skateboarding. I had found inspiration in surfing now—that was my new freedom.

There was a ton of pride wrapped into why I quit skateboarding… that I was some great artist or something, refusing to be a circus act. And it’s interesting, because I don’t stand by that decision, but I don’t regret it either. I was just a young man. I had to take my beatings and learn from them. But that misguided pride I had back then limited something greater that God might have had in store for that phase of my life, but because of my own sin, that was all cut short.

So if you would’ve designed a board back then, what would it have looked like?

Graphic-wise, I probably would’ve let Sean or Marc [McKee] just do their thing, because those guys are geniuses. But on the more technical nerdy side, I always felt like boards back then were too flat, but that was the trend: to have really flat kicktails. I always liked popping stuff really big, and to me, steeper tails felt more conducive to that. So I would’ve wanted something along those lines, even if it wasn’t the trend, which means that it probably wouldn’t had been made anyway.

Did you have any input with this new board at all?

Not at all. That’s all Sean. I haven’t even seen it. What’s it look like?

Well, the whole premise is imagining if you had 50’d Wilshire in order to turn pro back in the day. This board falls into that World series of Rocco graphics for their new pros Shiloh, Chico, Daewon [Song], and now you.

Oh, okay! That’s a good idea for graphic! [laughs]

It has to feel good, though… right?

It always feels good to receive a compliment, but to me, what’s more interesting are who these people are that feel this way and why? Because I certainly don’t understand it. [laughs]

You spoke earlier of a shame for the vanity you see in having your own video part, does any of that come into play with this board?

No, because this is such a strange phenomenon to happen, all these years later. I don’t even skate anymore, why is there now a skateboard with my name on it? It’s all so bizarre.

But like the top graphic asks, what if? What do you think would have happened had you said yes to a pro board back then? What would’ve happened in the long-term for you?

I think that I would’ve only gotten older with my skating gradually becoming worse and worse. Things would’ve diminished to the point where I was only involved with the industry for financial reasons. I assume there’s many skaters stuck in that same boat, but once you start milking it for a paycheck, you’re literally just punching a clock like everybody else. That’s when you need to go do something else. I got out at the right time.

The StrangeLove "Saint Roc" Jed Walters Guest Model will be available in stores and online at 9am PST/noon EST this Saturday, October 27.


* Reprinted below is the remarkably innocuous article in question from Issue 3 of Big Brother, circa 1992.

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  • John Shaneyfelt on

    Early 90s skateboarding in Rapid City South Dakota memories are filled with Jed the most humble and respectful talent around..RIP

  • Scott on

    RIP, Jed. I was one of the kids he skated with in Rapid City, SD. He was head and shoulders above most of us, but you would never know it by his interactions and character. As gnarly a skater as he was, the important thing to remember about Jed was his humility and thoughtfulness, which was light-years ahead of everyone else in our little town.

    We meet a lot of people in our lives who are funny or attractive for other reasons. We don’t meet that many “good” people…and Jed was most certainly one of the good ones. God speed, brother. We’re all better for knowing you, and that’s a legacy worth leaving.

  • Anthony Hake on

    Thanks for posting this and rest in peace Jed. In the jungle, the quiet jungle, the lion sleeps tonight….

  • James on

    Rest In Peace Jed Walters. Such an amazing genuine guy

  • Ryan on

    It’s nice to read an updated Jed Walters interview. He really underestimates the impact he had. He’s pretty hard on himself, seeing as all kids follow the trends, whether we’re talking pressure flips (1992 and 2019), Axion shoes or the return of ollie impossibles. There are only a couple trailblazers. And with that switch three flip, Jed was kind of one of them.
    I think the only part Jed had was in Love Child, but the style, speed and trick selection were already about three years ahead of its time. It reminds me more of a 1995 Ethan Fowler/Joey Bast part. Jed was a few years before my time, but I grew up in West Los Angeles, so I’d skate some of the spots he did in his part. It just added to the mystery.
    It’s easy to forget that 411 didn’t exist yet. Everything was really low key. Skating was just starting to get out of the vert bust days. There wasn’t much money. It kind of came together that he was able to make it out here off that small inheritance.
    I’m glad to hear Jed finally got a board. You deserve it, Jed, whether you think so or not! You made your mark. Just wish you had stuck around longer!

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