Jason Park turned pro last Saturday for Sometimes Skateboards after “The Sometimes Video” premiered in Phoenix, Arizona. The announcement was made when Jason got called up on stage and teammate John Motta presented his pro board to him. The vision of “Sometimes Skateboards” embodies “how backwards everything is” - and in terms of Jason's fakie benihanas, he does exactly that. Jason has landed tricks that have never been close to being done before, from his 360 hardflips to his fakie heelflip darkslides it was about time this creative genius turned pro.
Get Born: Let's start off with how you first got into skating?
Jason Park: I started skateboarding because of Tony Hawks Pro Skater 3. When you beat the game they show videos of pros actually skateboarding, like actual footage, at the end of the game and I would just watch those over and over and I thought it was so cool. Thanks to that video game I convinced my parents to get me my first skateboard. I went from a video game nerd to a skateboarder.
Who did you look up to the most in terms of style?
Louie Barletta was definitely one of my favorite skaters. Yeah Louie is seriously the best. Chris Haslam too, Haslam and then Daewon [Song] because one of my first skate videos was Almost Round 3, one of the first videos I owned anyway. So I just watched that all the time. Daewon and Haslam had really cool ideas that I guess got some gears turning in my brain or something.
You have friends out in California, Arizona and even Ohio; how does a skateboarder from Hawaii make friends and connections all over? And what can it tell us about the strong connection skateboarders share with each other?
I just have skateboarding and the internet to thank for all of it. When I was growing up in Hawaii, the only outlet I had for my videos was just posting them on YouTube. Which is why I moved to California in the first place. I moved there two and a half years ago, almost three years ago. So I've been living in California for that long and after I moved there I met a lot of people and made a lot of connections. Especially my friend Andy, who lived in Ohio--he owns the wheel company I ride for, Force Wheels. He flies my around a lot on team trips, so that's how I've been to Ohio and that's how I know a lot of people from there, just through Andy and my wheel sponsor. With Arizona, the board company I ride for, Sometimes Skateboards, they’re based out of Arizona. Actually the guy that puts together the videos--Buster O'Shea and his brother Hunter--I’ve looked up to their work since I was a child. They made my favorite skate videos in the world by far. I would say Happy Medium 2 was my favorite skate video of my whole life growing up. It's like my favorite video by far. Have you seen it?
Yeah, of course I have. It's amazing. I could listen only to that soundtrack for like 6 months after watching that video, haha.
Oh my gosh that's my favorite soundtrack of all time. Skate videos, movies, anything. It's seriously the best. I'm glad you understand, haha. But yeah so I actually grew up watching their videos when I was little. They were my favorite. And when I moved to California, Happy Medium 3 came out and it was premiering in Arizona and I was just like ‘Oh my god, I’m finally on the same landmass as Buster and them. I can actually drive down to the premiere.' It was awesome; it was real surreal growing up watching their videos for so long and then just meeting them. After the Happy Medium 3 premiere, we just stayed in touch and eventually I just thought it would be a good idea to try and film a part together. At the time I was riding for this board company called Friendship Skateboards, which was great, but when I was filming with Buster and Hunter they asked me to ride for Sometimes. To be a part of a video with Buster and Hunter was all I ever wanted, ya know, since I was a kid. So it all worked out and I'm really thankful. Coming from Hawaii and meeting these people, the chances are so slim and it's crazy that it actually happened to me. I'm very fortunate to be working with Buster and Hunter.
So you left your board company and started skating for Sometimes while you were filming for them out in Arizona?
Yeah definitely. Friendship was cool, but Sometimes was a team with all my favorite skaters and my favorite filmer. So it was like a no brainer. I had been waiting my whole life for something like that, I wasn't gonna say no to it.
I feel like Sometimes Skateboards gives off a great sense of creative weirdness. How do you feel you fit into the creative aspect and vision of the team?
Well that’s why I’ve always liked Buster's videos--all the skaters in it are so creative. Especially like Jeff [Stevens] and [John] Motta and all of them really. They're paving something new in what they're doing. As far as me, I don't really know what the hell I’m doing. I just try and keep it stupid and silly as possible I guess. It works out though because I feel like everyone on Sometimes, we all skate so differently. Everyone's really good and skates so radically different and that's why it kinda works out, because no one overlaps. Everyone kind of takes their own direction and goes for it, so it made for a nice video. I love the video--Buster nailed it on that one.
Congratulations on turning Pro for them last Saturday! How did you feel when you got called up on stage at the premiere? Did you have any idea they were going to turn you pro?
I had some sort of idea because Buster and I had talked about it when I first started riding for the company. He had told me that, yeah, we can do this for you and that was cool, but I didn't really care about it that much. I just cared about being in a video with him. So I kind of had an idea but it wasn't like I fully knew what was going on until the premiere night. It was a subject that we had talked about a little, but never really talked about seriously. I kind of knew it was coming, but it was still a crazy, crazy surprise. Like a really crazy experience. I'm really fortunate that I have friends like Buster and them though that would do that for me.
Yeah that's really sick, I can't even imagine that feeling.
Yeah, it was crazy. It was really cool too because my parents and my brother and my sister--my whole immediate family--actually flew down from Hawaii for the premiere. I was so excited, that made it so much better. It was cool too because the premiere was on Thanksgiving weekend, so they all came down for Thanksgiving first. It was the first Thanksgiving my entire family spent together in like five years. It was a really fun weekend and I was really glad they could make it out and enjoy it with me.
Any funny stories from the premiere?
Oh my gosh, the premiere was so awesome. Oh I got a story, I don't know if I’m allowed to tell this, but I’m going to tell it anyway because it's probably my favorite story of all time. So Jeff Stevens is one of my best friends and also one of the best humans I’ve ever met in my entire life. He had a part in the video, which was incredible. I guess he was drinking in the place, which normally would be fine. The premiere was at this real nice venue with a bar, a smoking area, three screens, and a stage. So it was really nice, but I guess Jeff got kicked out because he was drinking out of his own flask or something. He was wearing a beanie and he took it off and he changed his jacket and tried to sneak back in. They were like, 'Hey wait a minute, didn't we just kick you out?' So he says, 'Nah man, that other guy had a beanie on' Like, that other guy had a beanie on? That's the funniest thing he could have said.
Haha I’m assuming they didn't let him back in?
Buster's dad got Jeff back in eventually, so it was cool. Jeff is probably the funniest human I’ve ever met.
What's the story behind your Instagram handle, @jasonparksucks?
Okay, well basically when I created an Instagram, I was brainstorming ideas for a name so I made it @jasonparksucks. Its funny because in Hawaii, a lot of local skaters didn't like me when I was growing up. They didn't like the way I skated because, you know, it's really stupid and it's just weird. I mean it makes sense, I do stupid things, but when I made my Instagram @jasonparksucks my friend came up to me and was like, 'Oh yeah your screen name is so funny. That's like the password for the local shop right?' and I was like, ‘What are you talking about?' and it turns out that this shop in Hawaii that's pretty big--I won't mention names--their password for their computer was Jason Park sucks. Just because they didn't like me. I had no idea until I made my account name. It was just a coincidence. It's pretty funny though, I think it's hilarious. I'm really cool with the people who run that shop now. I mean some of them still hate me, but, you know, whatever. It's all funny to me. I'm glad my friend told me because it makes it way funnier. That's skateboarding in a nutshell right there.
In terms of trick selections, why is being stylish or different important to you?
First of all I'm definitely not a stylish skater, haha. Different is a little more accurate haha. I mean I guess it’s not really that important for everyone. For me personally I was always interested in things I've never seen before, so that's why growing up I would mess with all these stupid ideas all the time. Sometimes it would end up being cool and sometimes it'd be the worst thing I've ever done. So I just try to be different I guess, instead of spending so much effort and time trying to learn something that people have already done. It's way more rewarding if you just go for something new.
You must have had a very individualistic experience teaching yourself tricks that people have never tried before.
It was really fun because honestly I learned most of my tricks at my local park in Hawaii. Kaneohe skatepark is where I grew up. I just learned everything there because I would go every day and just mess around. I was always watching new skate videos trying to get inspired by weird ideas or combine ideas into new ones. Pretty much just a lot of free time as a hyperactive child led me to that. So I have that to thank.
Top three favorite flat ground tricks?
Well first, honestly tre flips are probably my favorite; they just feel the best. I know it's a cliche answer, but 360 flips just feel so good to do and once you get them they're not that hard. It's just the best feeling. I like kickflips a lot haha they're cool too. It's a trick that I can just be super lazy and super tired, but just go to the park and do kickflips and feel really good. So that's one of my favorite tricks because it's so easy and takes very little effort. I like back 360's a lot. It feels really good to just do a good back 360. It's a really weird list I just gave you, I didn't really put a whole lot of thought into it haha. Those are probably my three favorite feeling tricks to do I guess.
Do you have any notable stories from any of the tricks you filmed for the Sometimes video?
One of my favorite memories filming for the video, in the beginning of my second part, right when the second song starts I do a no comply flip fast plant on a tree stump. It's a whatever trick and it went by pretty fast, but I remember that night I was getting super stressed because I only had a couple more days to film and I didn't feel like my part was that great. I was just really stressed trying to look for a spot and everywhere we went we'd get kicked out or it wasn't skateable. So it was night time already and we go to this parking lot and I'm looking for a spot and I saw this this tree stump in the ground. I just sat there staring at it for a minute like, 'Okay, what can I do on this tree stump?’ I was really stressed and in a bad mood and my friend John Motta, who helps run the company and did the artwork for my board, he just walks up to me and goes, 'Stumped?' That was one of the best moments of my life, I just felt immediately so much better. After that I was just in such a good mood. One of my favorite humans in the world told me one of my favorite things in the world, it was a good night.
I saw the design he did for your pro model. Was that the first time he ever designed a board?
He actually does a lot of the artwork for Sometimes. There are a couple other graphics out right now that he has done. He does it all himself. He draws it out and uses watercolor with a 24 color water color set he got from the store to make all the graphics. Yeah John's amazing at everything he does. It's cool because I didn't even know that he was going to be making my board. He actually went on Instagram and each of the animals on my board is a different animal that i've posted up on Instagram throughout the past couple years. So he found all the animals and then drew them up on his own. It's cool because a lot of them are my best friends’ pets. One is my friends dog Astro the Warrior, one is my friend Sierra Feller's little kitty. My friend Andy who runs the wheel company I ride for, his cat Bagel is on there. So basically it made me so happy because it's all these animals that I love and they're all together on this same board. He came up with the idea all himself and it’s great.
I really like the art direction for Sometimes. I think it's really on point. Even the website is so clean and so nice.
I'm glad to hear you say that because I think the same thing too. They're doing it so well. The whole layout of the site and aesthetic of the company is so clean. It works, and that's all Buster and John. I think mainly John, but that's why I’m so hyped to be a part of the team because I back 100% everything that they're doing. They're doing it so well.
Are there any other tricks that you're trying to teach yourself? Anything you got coming up next for you?
You know honestly a lot of my tricks in the video weren't things that I had in mind specifically to try and learn. It was more we would just go to these spots were my friends would say, 'Oh you can probably do something cool there' and I would figure out the trick at the spot. So in terms of tricks i'm working on, nothing really specific. Maybe do less nose manuals, because my part was 75% nose manuals. I should probably cut down on that a little and give people a break haha.
Are you filming for anything else? Or do you have any trips planned?
My next thing coming up is going back to Hawaii. I usually go back to Hawaii every Christmas break to see my family and hangout. I film while I’m up there too. I'm going back in December for two months and while I’m there I’m going to try and film another video part. After that I am just going to make my way back to Arizona to start working on something new with Buster. I think that's what I would like to do next year.