Am Scramble Interview: Jhancarlos Gonzalez

Jhancarlos Gonzalez Photo: RYE Beres DZ Photo: Beres

If the Scramble is known for macho tricks and terrifying terrain, Bogotá, Colombia’s Jhancarlos Gonzalez was our most traditional pick. Shit, y’all seen his recent Indy ad? Top-shelf gnar. Jhanca was merciless with spots, squeezing fourth and fifth moves out of ’em while the crew sat cheering and laughing from the curb. A switch-tré disaster ended in some bloody drawers and an early trip home, but he still managed to get more clips than damn-near anybody else. Dios mio, homie!

jhancarlos gonzalez fs tail sacto BURNETT DZCreature's Jhancarlos Gonzalez kicks it off with a big ol' tailslide to fakie. "Hey, guys! This is the Scramble!" he kept telling us with a grin

What did you think when we invited you on the Scramble?
It was great news. I just wanted to share new experiences and skate with new friends.

What did you know about the Scramble before going on the trip?
I’ve watched all the videos. Giovanni Vianna, who is a great skater and a good friend of mine, he went on the last one, too.

Jhancarlos Gonzalez Back 360 SQ 750Return attack in Sac, back three after already putting a flick and a clip in the can

Give us some basic info about yourself. How old are you? Where are you from? How did you start skating? What excited you about skating?
I’m 24 years old and I’m from Colombia. I’m back here right now spending time with my mom because she only has me. I started skating with some friends in the neighborhood. I got excited about skating because of the freedom and the fact that every time you go out there’s something new and fun to try.

Who was your favorite skater when you were a kid? What did you like about them?
I always had four favorites: Guy Mariano, Grant Taylor, Louie Lopez and Shane O’Neill. I love that they all have a different style and always are very creative with spots.

jhancarlos Gonzalez gap to smith sacto BURNETT DZFirst day, first spot—natty A-frame rail bump to Smith. Thanks, Bo-Def!

Which skaters inspire you now?
All of the above, but especially Grant, Louie and Milton Martinez.

Jhancarlos Pullquote the light in the sky in Colombia is different
How is skating different in Colombia than in the United States?
It’s different in so many ways. The look and feel of everything—the spots, the ground, the people and even the colors in videos are very different because the light in the sky in Colombia is different. A lot of the spots are very difficult to skate because the ground is so bad. In the States there’s a bigger variety of perfect spots, but no matter where you are—here or there—everyone just wants to be happy and have fun on their skateboards.

Who is the greatest skater in Colombia?
David Gonzalez. Also, my friend Mateo Martinez who died recently. He had one of my favorite styles. Juan Pablo Velez, Andres Pachon—there are many amazing skaters but it’s pretty hard to get sponsored by an international company. I know that if one day I’m successful hopefully it will motivate more people and change the mentality that anything is possible; you only have to fight for it.

jhancarlos gonzalez gap to fs board San Jose BURNETTFight or flight, Jhanca's down for both. Gap to front board 

Who is the greatest skater in South America?
Milton Martinez—the beast!

How did you figure out the sponsorship game?
I got sponsored a year after I started skating by the On Board shop, which I’ve skated for for 14 years. Felipe Agudelo always told me, Let’s film; let’s make a project! He wanted to make a video to show the companies how we were skating in Colombia. A few years ago we went to Tampa and Felipe didn’t have too much product or my size of board, so I went with two Creature boards and then ended up buying two more Creature boards in the shop—one blue and one black. I spent all my money and barely had enough for food and the hotel. At the contest I met Noah, the Creature team manager and filmer, and he asked me to skate for Creature, but my English wasn’t too good. I just answered, “Yes.” Later we went to the bar and Noah was there and my friend Mateo translated everything for me. The next day I called Felipe and told him. That’s how it all started with this great family and I’ve been supported by Creature for five years.

Jhancarlos Pullquote Everything in Life is Possible
You represented Colombia in the Olympics. How was it?
The Olympics were crazy—so many cultures and ideas and knowing there were only 20 skaters and getting to be in the first one was like, Everything in life is possible. I am not a lover of the Olympics, but I’m sure it’s a dream come true for many.

Do you ever wear shorts like Nyjah?
I have never worn shorts like that or super-tight pants. I always liked to have the pants loose. I think my large pants are a better style when I skate.

Full Cab Lip Jhancarlos Gonzalez sequence 650Cab back lip first try is one thing. Cab back lip again second try ‘cause the photographer fucked it up? That’s some ‘Jah-level shit

We made many new friends on this trip. Who were you stoked to get to skate with?
All of them were super fun! I was enjoying every moment of the trip, good or bad.

Was it great to be able to speak Spanish with Erik?
We didn’t actually speak Spanish too much. He was a great teacher and helped me with some new words, though. I’ve got a lot of love for Erik.

jhancarlos gonzalez suski grind sacto BURNETTA rare Suski as he dismantles this rail in a single session 

How’s learning English coming along, in general?
I feel like every day I learn something new. My friends all teach me.

What was the first sentence you learned to say in English?
“Hello! How are you?” After that I learned to order food in restaurants. Besides that, I knew nothing.

What tricks on the trip surprised you?
For me, the hardest trick was when Rowan did the fakie 360 flip over that bump to gap at night. That was very difficult.

Who was the funniest on the trip?
Rye and Daiki. They were always playing with each other and taking crazy photos.

Jhancarlos Gonzalez Judo 750A man of myriad influences, Jhanca channels GT on this airborne attack in Sunnyvale. One-footed lien

Is Frankie really crazy?
Frankie was always happy! He found different spots and was always the first to go for it.

What did you think when I asked you to do the Cab back lip twice?
I know the photo doesn’t always work out. I just knew I had to do it but not hurt myself.

Jhancarlos Pullquote my boxers were full of bloodJhancarlos Gonzalez Bloody Boxers 750
Sorry about that. I’m glad it worked out. What was the scariest trick for you?
They were all very difficult, but the most terrifying was when I realized how badly I was bleeding after doing the splits. I realized it was serious when I got to the shower at the hotel and saw that my boxers were full of blood. Then I sent a message to the group text that I needed to see a doctor.

How long did it take to heal?
In reality it was very fast. I took care of it and was better in 11 days.

Jhancarlos Gonzalez Switch Three Flip 750Adrenaline's a helluva drug, switch 360 flip despite the bleeding butthole

Was this your worst injury?
I think of my three worst injuries this was the most serious.

How did you feel having to leave the trip early?
My morale was low but everyone wanted to see me skating at Tampa Am with Daiki so I took it as a positive. I knew everyone was going to kill it on the trip.

jhnacarlos gonzalez fs 180 ss crooks BURNETTStill in the mood for a rail session, the crew moved this cart collector over for the one-man stack factory. Front 180 to switch crook

What did you think of Daiki? Could you communicate with him? Did you try any of the noodles in his luggage?
Not so much, only when he asked me for candy. I didn’t know he had all the noodles until now.

A lot of times, traveling to a strange country, the hardest part is getting used to the food. Is there any American food that is crazy to you?
For me, there is no bad food, because many times when I was a kid my mother and I had nothing to eat. I love any food.

jhanca nosegrindHe'll eat anything and chomp on any rail, frontside nosegrind

Yours wasn’t the only heavy slam on the trip. What did you think of Brian’s slam?
I was so scared for him. I thought he’d broken a rib, but he had so much adrenaline that he climbed back up and got the trick. Amazing!

What was your favorite part of the trip?
My favorite part of the trip was at the end of the day, when we finished skating and were all at the table, we were all happy for what everyone had done.

Your new Indy ad is crazy! Was that 17-stair backside noseblunt the scariest stunt you’ve ever done?
Oh yeah, I think it’s one of the tricks that scared me the most. Rhino wrote me that he was very happy about the video and that meant a lot to me.

0222 IN Jhancarlos Thrasher Ad Rhino 2000Back noseblunt down 17 might be the biggest ever    Photo: Rhino

Do you want to live in the United States some day or do you prefer to live in Colombia?
I want to live in the United States with my mother so that she knows how beautiful it is—the cities and the countryside. I’m looking for something so I can afford a house or a room. My mother has already done so much for me and it’s time for me to give her everything she wants.

What are your goals for the future?
My goal is to be able to get a house for my mom and to be able to inspire and give back to Colombia and the next generation of skaters.

Jhancarlos Gonzalez gap to wallride2 BRUNETTOllie out to wallride, sucka

Is being a pro skater part of that?
I want to be pro if the team thinks I should be pro—that way I know I have really achieved it. I want to be able to inspire skaters in Colombia that it’s possible. I want to be able to help them. It’s not just skating, it’s about being a good person. We only have one life!

What do you need to make it happen?
Know that life is full of ups and downs. No matter good or bad days, focus on your goals and listen to the right people.

What advice would you give someone who wants to do what you do?
Do it because you love it—not for money, sponsors or being the best. Do what you love and good things will happen. Don’t miss opportunities and listen to good advice. Before being a skater, you have to be a good person.

jhancarlos Gonzalez gap to lip3 BURNETT DZAnother gem out of Fresno Dan’s spot book. Gap to lip fast AF. Jhanca proves anything is possible
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