JEFF THORBURN PORTFOLIO
Make a few moves in your adult life and you’ll inevitably end up with friends and family all over the place. Such...
Besides RDS, Mark Appleyard and Rick McCrank, when you hear “Canadian Skateboarding” what comes to mind first?
Well the Red Dragons and Ryan and Scott Decenzo come to mind.
Is there a best or worst part about coming to Canada?
I’ve never been out this way in Canada before—only in Montreal which was a lot of fun. The worst part is definitely going through customs at the border, but this place is beautiful.
Your most recent part in Deathwish ‘Part 2’ was pretty insane. Did you have a vision for how you wanted the part to look, or was filming a bit more spontaneous?
When ‘Part One’ came out it was a pretty big push. There had to be a second one. It was pretty motivating because Deathwish is the shit, and filming anything for it is a good experience. My good buddy who lives just down the street from me, Darien Brown, basically filmed the whole thing. Tim Cisilino, who’s here on tour with us, helped out a lot as well. As far as tricks go, it was all about just looking at random stuff and finding new things. Just constantly trying to stay out and be skating.
How long of a period of time was the part filmed in?
The original deadline was after six months, but then it got pushed back a couple months and ended up being ten months.
That’s pretty quick for how crazy that part was.
Kids these days just rifle parts out, you know what I mean? It’s something to get used to. You’d usually film a full length video in like, what, a couple years? You used to have that time, but now people are just fucking spittin’ them out. Having the deadline did make things a bit nerve wracking, but you just chip away and get what you can get away with.
You’ve been on Emerica for a little while now and I’ve heard you say in the past that Emerica was a perfect fit for you. Why is that?
I grew up skating with a lot of the guys on the team. I feel like the whole team is pretty well connected as friends. I see it more as a family.
I grew up just down the road in the woods, and I know you grew up in a smaller town. What would you say to kids that are into skating who live rurally?
Well, I grew up skating a fucking slab of concrete, just flatground in the backyard. Opportunities are endless. If you’re into skating, then go push around down the street. That’s where it starts.
Anything else coming up with your other sponsors in the near future?
There’s a Deathwish trip to Florida coming up and possibly another Emerica trip outside of the States. I’m not quite sure where yet though. That’s pretty much it up until September.
Are you still staying away from alcohol?
Yeah, it was two years on May 1st.
That’s a milestone. Now that it’s been a couple years, have you been able to see bigger picture effects from being sober?
I felt them earlier on actually. I started feeling a lot better after three or four months. At that point it was almost as if I didn’t have any urges or anything. Once you tell yourself that your over something, you aren’t trying to second guess yourself.
Is it harder when on tour?
No, not really. It’s not hard at all anymore. I was drinking a lot of non-alcoholic beers when I stopped and I don’t even want to drink those any more, you know? They’re almost more expensive than fuckin’ normal beers. It’s pointless. Just buy water.
There are a lot of skaters that kind of have a signature trick, and I feel like yours is the Switch Flip. Do you have any tips for it, or anything to say about that trick specifically?
I feel like Stefan Janoski has the best Switch Flip. I put my front foot up near the nose almost as if you’re trying to set up as a normal one I guess. More of a wider stance.
A lot of the companies you’re associated with are skater-owned. Is that a very purposeful thing? Is staying skater owned super important to you, or is that just the way it worked out?
I always just looked up to people like Andrew and Ellington—those types of dudes. I just wanted to skate and be like them.
Who else did you grow up being inspired by?
Jamie Thomas and all those dudes. My brother had a VHS of Welcome to Hell and I’d watch that all the time. (Mike) Maldonado, (Elissa) Steamer… that whole video is so sick.
Any other cool experiences with Canada?
Figgy and I went up to Montreal to skate a contest—I forget which one it was—but we stayed in Old Montreal. Everyone was doing their little street shows and stuff, some woman was smashing apples in her hands and ripping phone books and shit. I loved it. It was a long time ago though, and this tour is the first time I’ve been back to Canada since. Driving through the mountains on the way here was insane. Looking at all the lakes and stuff, it looked like a painting or some shit. Unreal stuff.
Interview and photos by Spencer Legebokoff