Jackson Shapiera’s Pro Model Sector 9 Hijack
Being O.G. in a sport that’s still so young doesn’t appear to be much of a challenge sometimes, hang around long enough and you gain the years. Personally I think the the term gets thrown around too much and to earn the actual title comes with a bit of personality, respect from your peers and a perspective that doesn’t just remember the past, but is here for the present and relevant to the future. Jackson Shapiera has every bit of the time in, attitude to go with it and future fire. Over the years, Jackson’s been helping drive downhill in the Australian community, inspiring riders around the world and taking podiums as often as possible. Unfortunately, Jackson has been injured for some time and just skating through it. Now, back from rehabilitation, he’s stoking his fires, moved to California to work more closely with sponsor Sector 9 and is headed out to take over the world with his new Pro Model Downhill Division board, the Hijack.
Hey buddy! How you doing? I think you’re on an epic trip through Russia and then Europe right now?
Gday Les! As of right now I’m in Europe doing a shop tour with Team RAD (Louis James and jimmy). Louis and I snuck off to Russia real quick to visit the skaters there and see what their scene was like and promote sector 9, and now we are traveling through Germany Swizterland and Austria visiting shops and hitting freerides.
Damn. That’s huge. I did Russia (no skateboard) five years ago. Mind blowing. What was it like for you?
Russia was pretty amazing. The people there were actually super nice and the ideas I had of that place were totally wrong. It was a beautiful country and we had an amazing time. There are a lot of skaters there too ready to blow the scene apart!
I’m in mother Russia with big Lou! Regram from @radesigns — @louispilloni @jackognarsteeze are out playing tourist in Moscow, Russia with @capitaldistribution before some skate sessions with the locals. They will be in St. Petersburg to skate tomorrow and back in Moscow on Thursday. #radcrew #gearupgetrad #radinrussia
You’ve been a ton of places, do you have some favourite countries? Places you like going back to?
It’s hard to pinpoint one ‘favourite’ country because by now so many places around the world have a special place in my heart for their own reasons. There’s always either amazing hills, amazing people, epic surf, beautiful landscape, everything has something different to offer it just depends on how you want to open your eyes to see!
I heard you’re all healed up from injury? You’ve been dealing with that a long time?
A few years ago I broke my leg REAL bad, and it was a long struggle to heal. After nearly 3 years the bone wasn’t healing so I opted to get a bone graft to fix it up fully. That was pretty rough and some serious surgery and I’m still healing from it. I’m skating right now but not 100% yet. Just having fun and going at my own pace.
Might not look like much but this is the best my leg has looked since I snapped it in half early 2012. 3 years after the break the bone never fully joined so I went back for bone graft surgery in Feburary this year. It’s been a long and tough year and in still some ways away from 100% strength but the good news is I’m progressing and won’t be stuck at 75% like I have been for the past few years… #cripwalk #cripskate #cripplelife #wemakefun A photo posted by Jackson Shapiera (@jackognarsteeze) on
And you moved to California too?
I actually kind of moved to California last year, I was there for the majority of 2014 and came back to oz for the surgery. Now I’m living permanent in Encinitas, just north of San Diego.
And you have a new pro model!? So many Ands, you have a lot going on!
So many! Slow down mate! The pro model deal was dope. It’s so rad to get free-range on the board design. I’ve been playing with different shapes for so long, even rode many different styles of board before I was on sector. so to build something that suits MY style perfectly is just awesome.
Is this your first pro model product?
It’s my first pro model yes. I’ve helped with the development of other sector 9 boards in the past, the entire team does. We ride them and say what we like and what we don’t and the boys upstairs listen and make shapes accordingly. But this one is 100% Jacko made.
How long have you been skating? How long with Sector 9?
I could ride boards since I was a micro grom. Standing and riding just came naturally, and I surfed a lot when I was a kid too but I got my first longboard at 15 and that’s when I really started to turn wheels religiously. I started riding for sector 9 at the end of 2010 I think!
I remember when I first started reading blogs on product and stuff, your write-ups were some of the best. I still think your videos are great when you make them. Do you think creating media is something you had to do, or do you enjoy doing it?
I still love creating media, the only problem is it’s hard to make something totally new and different these days. So when I do make videos I try to put a lot of good work into them to make them kind of stand out. I’ve always loved creating media, it was the other hobby I had alongside skateboarding. I found out at an early stage that the media would get you further than your skills in the skate world so I capitalized on that from the get go. Companies would hook me up coz I would promote and produce as the first and foremost and results came second. It was a great way to get into the industry and I learned many valuable lessons that way.
You’ve been a pretty strong voice for Australian skating, do you intend to keep that up from a new home? I saw a thing called Skatehorde, what’s that?
The Aussie skate scene is a special one, it has expanded and contracted many times, right now we are expanding again. At the moment I’m on the ASRA board and now have a say in how things can improve. We have lots of plans for the future and for more events to help the australian scene grow. Things I can still do from overseas by just staying involved and in contact with the crew. Skatehorde was something that Hopkin and I started back in 2008, it was a media outlet website where we posted all the videos and blogs. After some time we started exploring other avenues and got lost with different tasks but now we are bringing it back, starting with the blog and developing it into a media hub.
What does community mean to you? Why are you so actively involved?
Community is so important because it involves growth. Without community you get stuck as an individual with a small voice. Our skate communities are special because we all strive for the same things and there’s just a whole lot of stoke flowing through them. I know for a fact I wouldn’t be where I am today without community support so I want to be able to give back as much as I can by being involved. I’ve got a smile on my face thanks to the help of others so I want to be able to do that for people too.
All these years later and Jackson is still making media for the community on the regular.
Sometimes you can be a pretty gruff guy on the exterior, even though I see a guy with a big heart. How do you separate the warmer community guy from the colder competitive racer?
Having the ‘tough guy’ attitude is actually just a part of growing up. It’s not the best trait to be known for and with competitive racing comes shitty attitudes, but knowing how to face that head on and grow from it to be a better person all the time is super important too. Part of the hard ass attitude comes from trying to prove yourself to the world, which isn’t always the best move. From my years in this sport and reflecting how how I hold myself it’s pretty evident that the ‘cold hearted racer’ isn’t going to be likes by everyone and it will take smiles away from faces which isn’t what the sport is about. Finding the balance is key, you can still be competitive and kick some ass but there’s no reason u can’t do that while smiling too, just need to learn to breathe more and let all the bad energy flow through you.
So with all this experience and knowledge, it seems like you did a lot of prototyping for this board, was it more than usual?
I did go through a lot of prototypes but it was mostly because I had a time limit. I knew I was going back to oz for surgery and would be away from the factory for some time. I got to work cutting out shapes and pretty much standing on them and saying either yes or no and re-doing it. I cut out at least 8 shapes and I only rode 3 or 4 of them and not for long. But long enough to know if it felt good or not. It was actually quite nice to get that free range and smash out so many prototypes until I landed on something that had Jacko written all over it.
How has being injured affected you and whats your plans now that you’re on the mend and have a new pro model?
Being injured sucks, but it sure does give you the opportunity to reflect on yourself and do some soul searching. It’s hard to be stuck at home lying in bed unable to do shit all for months, it can put someone in a very dark place indeed. But as mentioned it’s the perfect time to reflect on life so far and how one can work to bettering themselves. My plans would now to be just keep on keeping on ya know, there’s so much ahead in life and it’s hard to plan it out, I’m just going to take it one day at a time and keep doing what I do best.
Seems like you’re doing just fine! Stoked to hear all the great news and to see you coming back strong. Also can’t wait to try the new Hijack. Any final thoughts? Thanks? Sponsors?
Thanks for the time to have a chat! The board is hitting the shelves soon, maybe by the time this article is out! I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I do! I wanna say a big thank you to Sector9, you guys give me life and pick me up when I’m down, it’s a blessing to be a part of this family. RAD wheels make the dope at wheels ever and the guys I get to ride with are now my best mates, so thanks to RAD for being RAD! Shout out to Aera trucks, venom bushings and Risch Aerolids. You guys make dope products and I’m stoked to ride them! Shout out to mumsie (and papa Pip!) for having me home and looking after me while my leg was on the mend, you guys are the best folks a kid could ask for, and super mondo shout out to my cutie Emma, she came with me to oz and worked her ass off while I was on the mend and looked after me every day, she’s so supportive of my lifestyle and gets just as stoked about my skating as I do, I’m lucky to have you in my life!