Locally Grown Ripper: Jackson Wells
Jackson Wells has been tearing up his home hills of Washington State since he was a super grom. A regular face at local skate shop Motion Boardshop, Jackson is Wells known for telling you all about the latest gear whether you come in to visit or watch their video reviews. From shop rat to sponsored rider and now living in a skate house, Jackson has been repping local brands Omen Longboards and Free Wheel Co and has now jumped on Bolzen Trucks with team manager and Oh Ef house dad Nate Blackburn. Jackson likes safe runs, long slides and hanging out with the homies and will be hitting up events around the Northwest all summer long.
Hey Jackson! I know bait about you, but give us the basics for the readers, please. Age, Years Skating, where you living, who do you ride for?
Of course mang! I’m 20 years old, been longboarding for seven years, residing in a northern crevice of Seattle and I ride for Bolzen Trucks, Free Wheels, Motion Boardshop and Omen Longboards.
We’ve covered you a bunch over the years, you have been active publicly for while making videos, hitting events, what keeps you stoked and still doing so much?
I’ve been lucky enough to always have great friends in the skate community, as well as tons of opportunities that no skater can turn down. I’m always pushing myself with the other homies I love to skate with, and sessions often have an enjoyable objective, like testing new products, getting pictures, or making a video. Along with that, I’ve had tons of support from family, as well as sponsorships, to allow me to get into it as much as I can. I’ve been hitting the event circuit since Cathlamet 2010, and I don’t see myself stopping for any reason. Oh yeah, and I’m the manager of Motion Boardshop, so being around product all day from tons of different perspectives keeps stoke flowing. It’s hard not to stay stoked when all of that is going on. Thanks for the coverage over the years y’all!
You live in a skate house. I’ve stayed there. It’s different than the Skate House we all know, but similar too. What’s your house like? Is Oh Ef the house or something else?
Hell yeah I do! I live with my Bolzen/Free/Omen team manager Nate Blackburn and my best friend who shreds from time to time. Living with teammates is great; whenever we’re all around we’ll go shred, and it makes navigating gear, film projects, and travel much easier. We always have guests too, like yourself! Having different, nomadic skaters stay at the house prompts tons of skating, and a fun environment 24/7. I love coming home to a shit ton of friends, who are all watching burly footage mid safety meeting. On a day-to-day basis, we’re in and out of the house between work and sessioning at all hours. During the summer (because we have seasons unlike SoCal), out of town homies will lurk the house, and it can get a little out of hand. Last summer we had about seven guests, on top of three people living here. Nonetheless, that was a productive week banging out social media, videos, and getting burly with friends we don’t get to see all the time. This summer is starting early with all of this ridiculous sunshine we’ve been seeing, and we already got shredders staying at the house and getting ready for the upcoming event season. As far as Oh Ef is concerned, Nate is the man in charge who’s been doing all the behind the camera, and editing work up until this point. Keep an eye out on more Oh Ef goodness, which hopefully I’ll be contributing to with filming or shreddin’.
You’re not just a skater, what else do you do off your board and not in a skateshop? Are outside things distractions to skate life or are they a good balance between skate and life?
We’re all more than skaters, right? I’m also a full time college student, hacking away credits at a local community college, in hopes to transfer to the University of Washington next year. Besides that, working full time at Motion Boardshop, and another job at a restaurant, it’s rough to get much time to go skate fall through spring. Weekdays consist of working for eight to twelve hours, and scrambling to write thousands of words for classes. It makes me value skating more when I can go out, and it gives more incentive to film/take pictures to get media for sponsors. Overall, school’s totally a distraction and a pain in the ass, but good life skills on how to struggle, be broke, win procrastination, and get shit done.
Who are some of the most influential people to you in skating? Not just your favourite, but actually helped inspire you, get you places, still drives you?
I’ve been in the Seattle scene since I was a mega-grom, and I’ve had the dudes who’ve been a part the longest play a big role in my maturing and skating process. Max Wipperman is one of the first people that came to mind; we skated all the time when he lived here, went to tons of events together, he helped my skating progress, taught me how to actually interact with companies, write professional-ish emails, and hooked me up with some of my initial sponsorships. Other than Max, Nate Blackburn has been a mentor since I started skating and taught me how to be in front of the camera, along with a wide range of valuable life lessons. Those two for sure helped me get to where I am today, and have always pushed me to do more or be better, so they deserve a massive shout out.
How have sponsors affected your skating over the years? You’ve had a few along the way right?
All of the sponsorships I’ve had over the years have really allowed me to do as much skating as I’ve possibly wanted, and they’ve all been rad families I’ve been honored to be a part of. Throughout the last four years I’ve ridden for Atlas, Bear, Bolzen, Divine, Five Mile, Free, Landyachtz, Motion, Nersh and Omen. Five Mile really took me under their wing when I was a grom, and they encouraged me to go to a lot of events and helped me get there. That trend continues from all of the sponsors I’ve had since Five Mile. The amount of support I get is encouragement to keep skating as much as I can, and try and give back to the companies that help me out as much as possible. Thanks sponsors!
You’ve been making videos with Motion Boardshop a long time, right? Why do you think it is so important to put out regular content?
I have! My first review video was filmed by Nate back in 2012. It was Tj Joo and I reviewing the A4 Skyhawk from Five-Mile, doing some weird techy freeride, and talking awkwardly. From any company standpoint, it’s great to keep people updated on what you’re making, why it is the way it is, and why people should consider riding it. For the kids who don’t have board shops in their vicinity, it gives them at least a solid look at the products, and hopefully an idea of what to expect. Getting to skate and show what the product can do is also fun for the riders in the videos. It helps us build identities as riders, so it’s a big cycle of stoke and knowledge spreading for the community. I’m amped to be working with Bolzen, Free, Motion, Omen, and Oh Ef to be kicking out new stuff all the time.
Do you think it’s important to you to be rooted in your local scene, with local product?
Absolutely! Being a part of the local scene is crucial and makes finding motivation to go skate easy. Local products are also key from many different angles. Whether it’s the fact that it helps build our small and growing industry, the acclaim and attention it brings to your scene, or the products being more geared towards certain styles of skating and the terrain available, no matter how you spin it, local products are rad to have. In Seattle, we aren’t super blessed with long runs, and are mostly skating corners, bike paths, and steep hills. This makes freeriding very accessible, and pushes us to be more kooky in how we shred, and what we shred. This is apparent in Free Wheels lineup, seeing as we have a slippery urethane collection that’s fun for anything from gnarly, fast standups, or for making the putt game strong. I’ve been lucky enough to ride for local companies for a majority of my sponsorships, and I’ve noticed Washington has been kooky for awhile. My first sponsor was Five Mile, and if you remember their line of decks, there was more concave and crazy concepts than any company out there.
Washington has some dope roads. I was there recently, you were working (sucker!), and got to see some things I never realized were there too… why don’t more people know how rad Washington skating is? Or are you trying to keep it a secret?
I know, I was super bummed I couldn’t go with y’all. The Washington community is secretive about our crazy runs because there are hoards of impressionable groms around, and you could seriously wreck yourself on some of the hills we skate. Throughout our state, we have some crazy roads. They’re spread out though, there are a few stacked areas that are full of hills, but you typically have to drive a few hours. You have to look pretty hard for new terrain too, and there’s standard variables like awful pavement, whether or not people freak out about you skating there (happens a lot), or if the road’s even paved. Regardless, we’re always finding crazy new hills and that’s where most of our media comes from.
Where is your favourite place to skate outside Washington?
Giants Head is probably my favorite hill, along with my favorite event. There’s a ridiculous amount of different, steep corners, and you’re constantly sliding two feet away from talented homies, which is a hell of a fun combination. Besides there, California is on the top of the list and I would love to spend more time skating out there.
Summer is coming and the weather is turning around, what’s next for you?
More skating! I’ve just got back from Giants Head. I would love to hop in Omen’s Mobile Ruckus for a tour or two, but nothing is set in stone yet. Otherwise, I’ll be working at the shop to crank out new videos and sell some skateboards, throwing ragers at the house or on the beach, and bouncing around wherever.
Thanks for taking time to answer some questions and catching up. Anything else you want to share?
Thanks for having me, and I can’t wait to see all of the homies throughout the event circuit this year! Shout out to Bolzen Trucks, Free Wheels, Motion Boardshop and Omen Longboards.