Dashawn Jordan: The Olympian Joins Toy Machine
Dashawn can hang with the top dogs in the contest scene, but his heart is always in the streets. He cut his teeth in the Arizona heat, where his skills were honed the ol’ fashioned way—through blood, sweat and even more sweat. After the pandemic canceled his Tokyo 2020 plans, the skate rat didn’t miss a beat and hammered out some of his heaviest street skating to date in Vaccine. Mike Sinclair catches up with his star rider about Olympic regimens, the new spot on Toy and future plans.
What's new is that last part. Get vaccinated!
Dashawn Jordan, why don’t you go on and tell the people what’s new with you.
I don’t know, man. I just been out the way, trying to stay healthy, mentally and physically. Been skating, been able to get a lot of street skating done with the contests being paused. So that was obviously super awesome—I was able to get back in the streets. That’s pretty much been it. I’ve just been finishing this part and started getting boards from Toy, which I’m super stoked on and stoked to see what the future holds being part of the team with all the rad people and just the organization in general. It’s kinda new on my radar. This part is like the Toy welcome part and then also with a welcome to the team ad as well. So a lot of cool things on my radar. I’m looking forward to just seeing the feedback from everybody hearing the news.
Well, that sounds good. My feedback is all positive. I’ve seen the part; it’s great. I’ve seen the video—video’s done. You’re good.
I know. I’m stoked. I’ve been bugging Don here and there about stuff but I’m stoked, too. It’s been cool to get to know Don and obviously working with you. We’ve been really close for years, before anything, so it’s super rad to kind of bring it all home and work even more closely with you and be a part of something that you have been with for years. It’s very comfortable and it’s exciting.
Positivity pays off with this tré flip noselide in O'Side Photo: Karpinski
That’s cool. I think the whole team was excited to have you come over. Leo was the first one to call you, right?
Wait, I don’t know. Was it Leo or Blake?
Oh, I don’t know.
It might have been Blake. I think I talked to Blake before I talked to Leo because Leo was gone. He was on a trip I think, so when he got back he called me.
That’s cool. But the real question is, are you still getting naughty on them White Claws?
I don’t know, man. The funny thing is I’m not really a crazy drinker, like most people be thinking. I’m straight edge but I drink occasionally, just on certain occasions. I mean, I don’t like being crazy drunk. I like kinda being in control of myself and what’s going on. So I always drink to like, have a nice casual time out in conversations. You know what I mean? But I never get too naughty on the White Claws. I was drinking White Claws for a minute, but your boy got introduced to that D’usse cognac and that D’usse is great.
Oh, man. Well, you just went from street skating every day into Olympic training mode. What does that consist of? I mean, everybody reading this, except for the people going to the Olympics, probably doesn’t understand it. So why don’t you explain it to the people.
I feel like as far as training for contests, you skate every day. That’s just what you do. But I feel like for people like me and other people who really have this time to get in the streets, we really use it and kinda put the structured way of skating on hold and just really get back into what skating is. We’re doing the same thing this time around. We obviously are probably tapping more into getting more consistent with our contest tricks and maybe practicing runs and just getting that stamina and all that stuff. But as far as just like training, it’s nothing too crazy. It’s just really getting in and just nailing, trying to get some of those tricks that you want to bring to contests super down and having it all just fall into place.
Do you go to the trainer that helps certain athletes? I forget her last name—Jessica? Do you go to her for injuries or do you go to her for strength building or both?
Yeah. So as far as strength building and actually physical exercises and workouts, yeah, I go to Jessica. A good amount of the USA team goes to her. She’s awesome. We all work out. We get the work in and it’s super beneficial. Just being consistent with that, you definitely see the benefits that come from it.
Puttin' the work in with a fakie 360 flip over the bar Photo: Atiba
Yep. The first time I ever met her she wasn’t in the position that she is now but she was at a contest and she was running all the gadgets and machines to rehab all the athletes. I would go there super early before all the athletes were there and then I would go there super late before she closed up. I think I went there for a week straight and she’s like, “Aren’t you fully rehabbed?” And I’m like, “Jessica, I will never fully be rehabbed. I’m totally destroyed.”
Was it the tailbone injury?
It’s everything, man. I asked her if she had a full-body wrap at one point and she just laughed at me.
C’mon, man, we gotta get you back to about ’97, man.
Yeah, take me back. It ain’t gonna happen. So let’s just say you wanna give me an example, what could she do? Say I just need to ollie higher. What would she have me do?
It’s not really like a training process like that. Like we come in and she mainly has us work on a lot of balance work, building up the muscles in our legs, surrounding the knee. Really just kind of seeing how our bodies move and giving us exercises that adapt to that so we can improve in those areas that she might identify as being weak.
Perfectly held backside overcrook through a few kinks—thanks, Jessica! Photo: Papke
Yeah. So to hold an overcrook through a kink, that’s a special muscle?
Yeah, you know what I mean—I’m using all the muscles surrounding that knee locking in and holding it. So you gotta have the quads strong, all the muscles that come in the quad, the hammies, all that. You gotta have it all intact if you’re trying to hold something that long.
I never even stretched my hamstring until a year ago.
That shit probably popped.
It almost popped, man. It was rusty as could be. Are you actually on the Olympic team?
I’m currently in fourth right now, which is technically the alternate. I would still go to Japan and if somebody couldn’t skate or got hurt I would skate. In front of me is Maurio McCoy, in front of Maurio is Jake Illardi and at the top is Nyjah. There’s not enough time to even come close to replacing him so he’s big chilling.
So Nyjah’s on the team and he’s in the first place with the highest amount of points, then Jake's in second and Maurio's in third?
But the point of difference between me, Maurio and Jake is like less than a hair. These last two contests are really gonna determine everything.
And those next two contests coming up are the Dew Tour in Iowa and then what’s the other one?
They were saying Italy but they’re just trying to figure out if Italy’s gonna happen which is like the world championship. That’s where everything’s double; all the points count. It’s gnarly. You could have the top-three Americans right now, a different set of Americans make podium, they’re all going over whoever the team is, it does not matter at all. So that changes a lot, but this other contest we have, which is before Dew Tour, is the national championships between all the USA skaters. And I won the national last year so how it’s set up is if I win, it wouldn’t improve my score because I’ve already got the most points you can get from a national championship. However, it’s good for me to skate it because it would make it so that any American under me wouldn’t be able to get those points to bump up. I would be skating to keep secure where I’m at in line, because anybody out of that top three can get those points still. They’re still available to them. Anybody who hasn’t won could still get those points.
So what you’re telling me, other than being an amazing skater, is you gotta have some good muscle and some good math to get into the Olympics.
Well, I don’t have either. So do you get the perks of being on the Olympic team since you’re an alternate? If so, what does the Olympic team do for you?
So, you get health insurance; you get a monthly paycheck. Other things, too, I think they’re gonna start to generate even more things for us to have moving forward. But the main thing is we get really good athlete support and resources that make the end goal of going to the Olympics that much more accessible.
I’ve seen the nice jacket.
Oh yeah, you know they’ve got some nice gear, too. It’s gotten better for sure.
If you win the Olympics are they gonna put a statue outside the Chandler skatepark of you?
Man, I hope so.
If they do, it’s gotta be an early-grab Andrecht outside the park.
Ah, man, I might even do an airwalk to fakie.
That would be sick.
Tongue out, Jordan style.
Tongue out airwalk to fakie as soon as you enter the Chandler park, made out of just bronze, gold and I don’t know what else.
And a backpack with a bottle of Jergens lotion.
The Chandler kid has grown-man moves now. Frontside 360 over and in Photo: Hammeke
Yeah, all the stuff to stall you out from getting in the van.
The starter kit.
I swear, I’ve known you since you were a little kid and when you were younger you looked older. When you were 14 you looked 28. How old are you right now?
I’m ‘bout 24.
Twenty-four, okay. You look like you’re about 21. It’s weird, you aged quick and now you’re going back.
Yeah, I’m going back in time, man.
Did you ever buy cigarettes when you were a kid just because you could walk into any store when you were 14 and they thought you were 37?
Hell nah, man. I ain’t never had no interest in trying stuff like that.
Skating and aging backwards, Benjamin Button kickflips up the set Photo: Schreiner
You didn’t pick nothing up for mom or your auntie or anybody?
Well, there was a little smoke shop by the crib that I would go to when the homies didn’t want to grab it themselves—cause all my homies, they smoke. I never really been into smoking, but there would be times where it’s like, “Yo Dashawn, go to the liquor store and get us a little blunt wrap.” I’d just wanna go in there to feel cool and say, “Oh, it worked, bro. I’m gonna get it for you guys. I got it.” But other than that I never really tested my luck with that type of stuff.
Yeah, I never would have carded you.
But a funny thing is, when I was younger I was using homies’ IDs that were like 18 and up when I was like 15. The ID would say I was like five-ten, five-nine; I was about four-11.
Confidently running it back with a frontside flip Photo: Atiba
Yeah, they saw you coming in and they thought you were the manager.
Yeah, you feel me? Walking up confident.
As soon as the Olympics are over you’re jumping in the van, right? That’s the plan?
Oh, I cannot wait to hop in the van once this is over. I’m on the road. I’m ‘bout to never gonna be home. I’m trying to get active.
Where’s the first place you wanna go when you get in the van?
Wherever. I’m itching. Surprise me. Take me wherever.
What’s your favorite Toy Machine video?
I like Suffer the Joy with Nick T’s part. I was actually just talking about that with Don not that long ago. I was watching it ‘cause we were kinda just referencing the vibe and everything and how that whole thing was. But that definitely was for sure one of my favorite ones.
Yeah, Nick T’s a legend, man. He’s one of my favorite skaters of all time. Did you ever see him out in the desert when you were growing up?
Randomly. I probably seen him when I was a little older. When I was younger, I didn’t really run into him. I wasn’t very educated with skateboarding when I was younger. I kinda got into it different than most. There was nobody around me that was putting me on game. I had a group of skaters I started skating with when I moved to Phoenix from Tuscon, but other than that I never was put in a lane, like you know, This is this and this is that. I kinda had to learn it as I went on, you know what I mean? Then when I started knowing who was who with skaters, that’s when I seen him and I was like Oh, that’s Nick T. The first pro I met was Aaron Suski. It was at the skatepark and my friends were like, “Bro do you know who that is?” ‘Cause he gave me a board to skate. People were like, “You don’t know who that is?” And I was like, “Nah.” And they’re like, “That’s Aaron Suski.” That was the first pro I ever met. So after that I started learning. When I would see dudes like Nick T, I was able to recognize them because my knowledge had grown a little more as I got older and matured through skateboarding.
That’s cool. Yeah, I don’t remember when Nick T moved out, but he’s an Arizona legend, for sure. He’s a worldwide legend. That’s Nick Trapasso. So I think people might trip out or they might see the connection, too, with Arizona and the Suffer the Joy part and then your part in the Toy machine Vaccine video where it’s got a similar vibe, I feel. So I know that’s what Don was going for and I know that’s what got you hyped. So I love it. I hope everybody else does too.
Yeah, I’m excited, man. For the people that do know there’s been great feedback. I was just with the Hager bros the other day and, dude, they were tripping. They were so stoked. It made me so happy. From the little encounters I’m having, it’s been great. It’s been nothing but great feedback. It’s just like, Man, I can’t wait for the world to know. It’s been awesome. It’s been definitely filled with joy and all positive, which is great. It’s empowering, for sure.
Leo-approved boardslide up a ten Photo: Atiba
Well, that’s cool. We’re honored to have you and stoked that you’re hyped and stoked to be a part of it and can’t wait to travel with you. I know you’ve been skating with the guys for a while out in the streets and it’s only gonna get better, you know?
Yeah. I think the Hager bros also were like, “Dude, you’re the first black dude on Toy.”
Nah, it’s not, though. They didn’t know. That’s before their time—Jahmal Williams.
Oh, okay. So I’m second?
First ever Lazer flip back lip at Bricktown—that's for sure Photo: Schreiner
Let’s see, officially on? Yeah, you’re second.
Damn, I’ll take number two.
But it might be a tie game because little Jay Richards is on, too. Nobody knows it but when they see the video he’s on there.
Dang! Okay, let’s get it.
So y’all gotta fight for who’s second and who’s third. I don’t know.
We got another Toy Machine video coming out in the fall, so we’re gonna surprise them with new riders and new videos in 2021.
Let’s bang them over the head.
We’re gonna bang them over the head this year. We can stop the interview here or you can tell the world why you didn’t skate for two months.
Oh, damn! I want my lawyer.
Mind your own business while Dashawn handles his. Front nose nollie heel at the Courthouse Photo: Atiba
Alright, you plead the fifth.
Oh, you an asshole, Mike.
Alright, we’ll skip that one. Let’s just say you had some—would you call it cosmetic surgery?
I’m gonna just say the grass is always greener on the other side.
That’s fine. We can end it right there.
Bangin' y'all over the head with a switch hardie. Welcome to Toy, Dashawn Photo: Atiba
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