Am Scramble 2019: Jack O'Grady Interview
“He’s always hyped and he skates big shit.” This was all we knew about Jack O’Grady, via Mike Sinclair, but sounded good enough to us. We definitely wanted someone who could bring the pain to the big terrain and the fact that he’s the reigning ASOTY (like Gabbers last year), well, he must be doing something right. Shortly after we wrapped up our trip, Pass~Port unveiled their Kitsch masterpiece wherein Jack blew the doors off every spot he hit. Get to know you're next favorite Aussie pro with this interview from fellow Scrambler and back row bud Breezy, as they talk eperimental urination techniques, getting locked up in China and much more.
Photos by Michael Burnett
Alright, so we’re gonna start off with some basic questions: what’s your name, your age and where are you from?
My name’s Jack O’Grady, I’m 20 years old and I’m from Sydney, Australia
Do you have any nicknames there, Jack?
Yeah, when I was a lot younger I used to be a lot chubbier. I’m still sort of chubby but I was a lot chubbier. So when I used to go to the skatepark I used to have these big cheeks and people used to come up and say, “Give me some of that squish,” and grab my cheeks and squish them. Then people started calling me Squish Dog from that and now people call me Squish and I guess it just stuck.
I think it’s a good nickname. I love the nickname Squish.
Yeah, I like it too.
How were you feeling after the trip?
I was sad, really sad that it ended, to be honest. But obviously really happy with how it all went and meeting everyone. Everyone was so cool. But as soon as I got on the plane ride I was like, Fuck, I actually miss everyone and then the next couple days I was just like, Fuck, I don’t even get to see everyone every morning so I was just bummed, you know? It’s pretty typical but I definitely just see everyone as being my really close friends after the trip.
Yeah, for sure. I think it was a good group of people.
And it’s pretty stereotyped but I don’t know—it’s real.
It is. I was talking to Burnett. He told me he gets depressed after the trips, too. It’s normal; it happens. What were your thoughts when you got the message to come on the Scramble?
It was two weeks before the trip and I was already in the States. I think I was out skating and Burnett just hit me up on Instagram and I was sort of at a loss for words. I couldn’t really believe it. I was just so excited. I can’t really explain it but it’s almost like butterflies in my stomach. Like whoa—I can’t believe this is happening, you know what I mean? It’s crazy but really overwhelming and really exciting.
Tailgrab to nosegrind after Sinclair gave the security guard $13
Did you know anybody who was going on the trip before it started?
I’d met Jacopo briefly in Copenhagen and then I met Dan Stolling a couple weeks before but that was pretty much it. Didn’t really know anyone else. Now we’re all friends.
Now we’re all fuckin’ friends! What are some of your favorite memories from the trip?
Probably just driving to every spot, being in the back of the van was pretty funny. Just kicking it in the back and talking shit was pretty funny. Every night at about six o’clock I would get a case of Coors and then that’s when everything started happening. Yeah, just hanging out in the van with everyone and then getting to the last few spots and everyone just starts shotgunning beers and kicking it on top of Mike’s van. Also, hanging out with Mike Sinclair ’cause he’s the fuckin’ best human being ever. He’s the funniest guy and the best storyteller ever.
Sinclair’s a fuckin’ freak.
Fuck, he’s the best.
Checkin' off the boxes for big shit and gettin' hyped
Okay, I have to ask this ’cause when I met you I thought about this a lot, but how often do you get the Dustin Dollin comment?
No one said anything about it until I dyed my hair black about six months ago. As soon as I dyed it I sent a photo to my friend George and he sent back a photo of Dollin and I was just like, Holy fuck. It just started from there. Obviously all my friends and even just random people at the skatepark are like, Oh my God.
It’s pretty crazy ’cause with the black hair you do look like him.
It’s absolutely just the black hair.
I don’t know. There’s something else. Was your first shotgun on the Am Scramble?
You were so bad at it I genuinely thought maybe it was.
Well, no, because I never do it with my thumb. I always do it with my key.
Fuck, I was hoping you were gonna say yes.
Who do you think is gonna get the cover? What trick?
I think it would be really cool to get Jesse’s ollie onto and ride down the hubba in Miami. I think that was really cool. He carved in and then the ledge was real skinny and he rode that shit all the way to the bottom. We were about to get kicked out and he was lining it up and just went for it and handled it. I didn’t see the photo but that was really fuckin’ sick to me.
Obscured by humility, Jack's guessing game could use some work. Well deserved cover from the Scramble issue
Yeah, that was gnarly. Then your back 50 afterwards—those were two great back-to-backs.
Well, I felt the energy. He gave me something.
Yeah, when you landed your front truck skidded off a little bit at the end and you just fuckin’ picked your board up and ran up the stairs. That was fuckin’ sick.
I’m glad that happened at the end of the ledge and not at the start.
Oh yeah, for sure. You handled it, though.
Would you do the trip over again?
Oh, of course. In a heartbeat. On the trip I was thinking that I liked everyone and everyone was sick but then I was just like, Fuck, a lot of these people don’t really ride for the same brands. So halfway through the trip I was like, Fuck, this might be the only time that I’m on a trip with any of these guys. But we’ll have the reunion.
It was a good opportunity to make some friends outside of our normal circles.
Oh, of course. Yeah, there’s nothing better than getting out of your comfort zone, I think.
So what’s a bubbler?
Alright, so a bubbler—I guess a lot of Australians do it. It’s basically when you piss straight up into your own mouth. You don’t swallow it or anything, you just make the bubbler. So it’s just peeing into your own mouth.
Would you have a Pass~Port ad of you doing a bubbler if you could?
No, because Callum Paul’s first pro model Pass~Port board was a bubbler boy. It was a statue of a little kid doing a bubbler, so it’s already been done.
Shit, man, opportunity passed. So I asked Gabriel to give me a question to ask you and he told me to ask you about a recent physical altercation you had with a team manager? What was that all about?
Oh yeah. So Geoff Campbell, he’s the Nike Australia TM, and we were out in LA for the Pass~Port premiere. We were all kicking it on top of this lookout in LA and we found these shitty undies. Someone picked them up with a stick and was messing around and Geoff was like, “If anyone fucking comes near me with that I’ll fuckin’ stab you.” So we were like, “Whoa, Geoff, relax,” and then I picked up the stick and I was like, “Ooh,” just joking around and then the shitty undies dropped. They landed on the ground next to the lid of a water bottle and it was Geoff’s water bottle and he’s like, “What the fuck?!” And he picks up the water bottle, pegged it at me and then he got really angry and was pretty much chasing me and trying to fight me. Then I was like, “Whoa, what the hell, Geoff?” Then he pretty much just booted the shit out of me on the ass. He just booted me.
That’s crazy. Are you guys cool now?
Yeah. But Geoff paid for an Airbnb that we were staying at but he doesn’t own Pass~Port so I think he was a bit pissed off that he was paying for Trent’s Airbnb or whatever. But right before he kicked me he goes “Pay for the fuckin’ Airbnb, too, cunt!” and then booted me on the ass.
Oh my God, he just wasn’t having it anymore.
Yeah. I’m so glad that question got brought up.
That’s a good fuckin’ story. Interesting.
I’ll send it to you later. Someone filmed it.
Okay, yeah, send me the video. I want to fuckin’ see that. I wanna see you get booted up the ass.
It fucked me up.
You know it’s a battle when Mike and Frank get out the lawn chairs. Noseblunt slide into the hip, gator-country sweatin’
So on this Scramble trip you decided you’re gonna move to America, right? You’re gonna get a visa and move here?
This time when I came to the States for three months, it’s just like I was here and I was skating and I just realized like, Fuck, if I’m gonna do this and if I wanna move, now is the time. So at the moment I’m just trying to get my athlete’s visa sorted out and planning to move to America at the middle or end of next year. So I’m really excited for that ’cause that’s always been a massive dream of mine. So yeah, I’m really excited and I can’t wait for that to happen. But I think I’m gonna stay in Australia just for a little bit longer. I want to film some more stuff in Australia before I come out there.
That’s really exciting.
Yeah, it’s really exciting for me. I’ve never moved out of my home. I still live with my parents and I live 30 minutes outside of the city in the Sydney suburbs. So it’s like, I’m not gonna move into the city. If I’m gonna move I’m just gonna move to America, you know what I mean? But yeah, very exciting stuff.
Very exciting. You’ve always wanted to live in America, then?
Yeah. Well, I’ve always wanted to be a pro skater and live the lifestyle, so yeah.
I guess that’s one big move—to move to California.
Yeah, for sure.
Big moves are scary, but Jack's got the right attitude—stick or slam. In this case slam
Who do you think is gonna turn pro first off the trip?
I’m not sure. I actually thought that Griffin was already pro. But then he went on the Am Scramble so obviously he’s not. I think Giovanni is an absolute maniac. He’s robotic; he’s fucking crazy. So either Giovanni or Griffin. I really think Griffin’s at that stage where, like I said, I already thought mentally he was there. So I think it would make sense if he’s pro.
Yeah, I would love to see Griffin go pro. That would be pretty sick. When he got completely obliterated on top of the van, that was so good.
Oh yeah, that was so funny.
He was snuggling on us in the back seat.
Yeah, just saying really weird shit.
Not much left after Big Boy Foy got to this thing. Did he put that dent in it too? No worries, just take a classic crooks across and down
That was a good time. So I heard that you thought Europe was one big country. Is that true?
Yeah. Unfortunately, yeah.
Fuck. You motherfuckers did your research. I definitely didn’t. I never do.
That’s why you thought Europe was one country, you fuck. Did you really get locked up in China?
Yeah, I went on a homies trip to China. It was a Sunday hardware trip. Ten of us went to Foshan and we stayed at our friend Jason’s apartment but with the visa we put a fake hotel so we’d save Jason some paperwork by having us stay at his house. We were skating there a couple days, so I guess we were in the system, but they didn’t know where we were staying ’cause the police check the hotels and we weren’t staying there. So we were skating around the city for a couple days and sleeping at Jason’s apartment. Ten of us just slept on the floor ’cause it was a really big place. But on the fourth day there was a knock at the door at 8:30 in the morning and Jake Hayes answered. Everyone was still asleep and, like, 20 police just barged in and we all woke up. Like I said, we were sleeping on the floor and all these cops were all around us just yelling, “Passport, passport!” And we were like, What the fuck? We were freaking out and then even more cops were coming in and we didn’t know what was going on ’cause obviously we couldn’t understand what they were saying and we looked over the balcony and we saw they’d blocked the road off. Jason was talking to them and what they pretty much said was they didn’t really know what we were doing in the country so they wanted to take us to the police station and sort it all out. So they took us all to the police station, they took our passports, they took our phones and we were in a jail cell for eight hours. It was probably the scariest moment of my life. It was really fuckin’ scary, but there’s another side to the story because obviously it’s really sketchy getting weed in China and one of the guys on the trip, he got some weed and so they had some weed at the house but some of us smoked the night before we got raided by the cops. We ditched the weed when the cops came to the house but then when we were in the cell we all got a DNA test but we thought it was a drug test. And in China if you test positive for weed, that’s two-or-three weeks in jail straight away. So all the people who smoked weed thought we were done. There was four of us. Yeah, that was probably one of the scariest moments of my life. We were just all locked away so far from home. I was like, Fuck, I feel so lost right now and so stuck. But then we got out eight hours later and they pretty much just locked us up because they didn’t really know what we were doing in the country. They just wanted to work out whether we were working there or whatever. It was really scary.
That’s fucked. Glad you didn’t have to stay in jail for two weeks.
Yeah, and we all sat along this bench and there were three cells opposite us but then this guy came and he had a fingernail that was super fuckin’ long and he was all just trying to talk to us. But we were smoking ciggies in there. You were allowed to smoke ciggies in the toilet so we just had to walk to the toilet to smoke a ciggie. So that was pretty funny.
Jack and Breezy, like peas and carrots
You’re just anxiously smoking a bunch of cigarettes in the toilet.
Fuck, that’s crazy. Well, I’m glad you’re okay. You got out safe, I got to meet you on the trip and that was fuckin’ nice.
Oh, it’s been a pleasure.
How do you feel about all this pro talking stigma shit around the Scramble? Like how it’s renowned for people turning pro after it’s done and stuff?
I mean, it’s definitely a thing that happens where everyone on the trip turns pro a year after or whatever. It’s scary to think about that. It’s weird and mentally I don’t think I’m ready for that. It’s not that I’m not ready for that but I don’t think I’m a pro skater so it just sounds weird to me.
It feels weird having that pressure around the whole thing.
Of course, yeah.
Do you think that you’ll turn pro?
I’m not sure. It’s scary to think about. I don’t really want to turn pro now. It’s just weird to think about looking at a board with your own name on it.
Yeah, it’s weird but I think it’s coming for you, Jack. We’re gonna end it there, baby.
Okay. Thank you, Breezy.
Oh, Jack, I love you. Nice to talk to you.
I love you, Breeze. I miss you.
I miss you, too. We’ll have to catch up again soon.
Nothing kickstarts a trip like some handrail murder. Jack tamed Gravette’s beast backside on the first night, in under ten tries. Bloody oath!
5/19/2020Destroying kinkers, dodging death and smashing out the cover-worthy grind, Jack puts on an all-time Scramble performance. Witness every stick and slam from the Aussie powerhouse.
5/14/2020The switch god of the Scramble divulges his handplant aspirations, love for VHS skate vids and why nobody took up SInclair’s Gatorade offer. Keep tabs on the Baltimore beast with the goods from our March 2020 issue.
5/13/2020Follow four Scramblers as they feed off each other’s fire, ripping through seaside ledges, steep slants and night missions with moves heavy enough to snap a rail.
5/13/2020Girl’s first girl handled the Scramble in stride, claiming per diem with dice, managing the night missions and talkin’ trash with Sinclair. See how Breezy became a crowd favorite with her piece in our March 2020 mag.
5/12/2020Breaking rails, playing with fire and Jack O'Grady's gnar – Rye Beres gets the scoop from Seattle's low-key street killer. As seen in our May 2020 mag.