Jerry Hsu: More People I've Known
Fun fact: Jerry Hsu's first People I've Known was the only one that didn't require any kind of major rewriting by the staff. That's right—he's not just pro at skating, but spelling and grammar, too! Read on for the kind of hilarity you've grown to expect from this popular segment. Thanks, Jer Back in the ’90s, when Cab was in his 30s, he used to come skating with us all the time. I am grateful to have been around because this was an incredible era of his skating to witness. One time we were watching Marc Johnson skate a box in a parking lot and he unexpectedly half Cabbed out of a fakie 5-0. I was near Steve and heard him say softly to himself, “Whoa, half me out.”
I’ve never formally met Jake Brown, but I shared a brief but meaningful experience with him. I was in San Diego about to get a knee surgery that could have potentially ended skating for me if it didn’t work. I was feeling very afraid and extremely anxious because of the uncertainty. As they were wheeling me into surgery, another group of nurses was wheeling Jake out. He had just finished his surgery from his infamous X Games slam by the same surgeon. He saw me and gave me a very soft, post-anesthesia devil horns with his hand. I really can’t explain it, but this gesture sent a wave of relief over me that I feel like not much else could have.
At Tampa Am in ’98 or ’99, Mic-E walked by and asked me if I had a truck sponsor. I said I didn’t and he just replied, “You do now.” It’s nice not having to make a decision sometimes.
On a flight from JFK to LAX, everyone had boarded the plane and the only remaining seat was next to me. They announced that one passenger was on their way and then we could take off. It was beginning to feel very tense and then someone appeared walking down the aisle carrying two MacBook Pros wearing a big gold chain around his neck. He sat down next to me and I realized it was Kareem. I became very nervous and anxious because, well, it was Kareem Campbell. To my utter shock he asked if I was going to the Europe contests that year and we chatted for a bit. He knew who I was! He promptly fell asleep but left his computer open. The screensaver was all of his Axion ads fading in and out—which I watched for like two hours until his computer died.
I was at Tony’s 50th birthday party with my Canadian wife when she became very distraught over just missing the chance to meet Tom Green, a Canadian national treasure, who had just left. It was also her birthday, so as you can imagine she was inconsolable. A year later I texted Tony and asked if there was any way he could ask Tom to film a short birthday message for my wife. I am in no way close enough with Tony to have asked for such a big favor, but he was like, “Sure, I’ll text Tom.” By the end of the day I had a banger one-minute video from Tom and when my wife watched it her broken Canadian heart was whole again. Tony Hawk and Tom Green = excellent people.
Recently, Daniel told me, “Man, you should do a People I’ve Known for Thrasher.” I was like, “I already did one but I’ll put you in part two.”
Leo, Jon Miner and I were at a bar/restaurant in Rotterdam and the walls were made of clear glass from floor to ceiling. I went outside to take a phone call and as I was coming back I walked full speed into the glass, making a very loud noise. The place was full of people and every single person was looking at me. I looked over at Miner and Leo thinking for some reason it would make me feel less humiliated, but they were losing their shit laughing. Every time I walk by a glass space like that I can hear Leo’s cackle and it transports me back to that moment. I really miss those guys.
One time in France, Al (who speaks French) tricked me into saying, “I want to break the pussy” in French to a girl in a bar.
Rodney came on one enjoi tour with us. We would all do our thing at a demo but when he got on his board we could relax because he was a one-man freestyle show. Honestly, he was a machine and never missed. I was right there with everyone else just mesmerized and thinking, How could anyone be this good? I roomed with him one night and at around 3 AM I got up to take a piss. Rodney wasn’t in the room and I wondered where he could be at that hour because he doesn’t drink or do anything like that. I looked out the window and there he was under a street lamp in the hotel parking lot basically doing the demo again for no one but himself. I guess that’s how you get that good.
On an Emerica filming trip in Atlanta I was going on a long, annoying rant in front of everyone about how much my girlfriend at the time was bothering me. Brandon had probably heard me make these same grievances in like ten other countries and he suddenly just said, “DUDE, JUST BREAK UP WITH HER!” Westgate doesn’t really say much, but when he does it really hits. I broke up with her when I got home.
I was trying to switch heelflip the Melbourne museum gap and having a pretty hard time when I saw the Flip team get out of a van in the distance. It can be pretty distracting when the 2004 Flip team shows up anywhere you’re at and I was exhausted so I sat down and gave up. Ali rolled up and told me to land my trick because Bastien came there to do it, too. Back then I was actually concerned with that type of stuff so I got up and eventually did it. Hehe, the switch heel is mine, I thought to myself. Later that night at a bar I saw Ali again and he was like, “Ahhhhh, when you left Bastien did your trick! Haha!” His clip came out before mine, too.
One night I was walking in the Lower East Side in New York to meet some friends. Suddenly, a group of very intimidating gentlemen came up from behind and surrounded me. They had a real you’re-gonna-get-fucked-up aura about them. As I just stood there wondering if my death would be quick, Steven popped out from behind a dumpster and said, “Ahh, jus’ kiddin’. You good!” No one else said anything; they just all walked away. I did end up getting harmed that night, but just from drinking.
I was in Phelper’s office discussing who has the best switch heelflip (he said Koston) when Greg and Al Partanen walked in to say hello. I think Greg had just got on Krooked and I definitely recognized him but we’d never met. I stood up and said, “Hey, nice to meet you. I’m Greg. No, you’re Greg. I’m Jerry. Sorry.” I walked right out immediately after that. I think about this moment unusually often and it’s a pretty accurate example of interactions I’ve had with many, many people. On top of that, when I left I was informed that I was parked in Ed Riggins’ parking spot and that he had to park at the other end of the lot. Solid visit to High Speed.
When I was 17, right after the Maple Black Cat premiere in San Diego, I met Dan for the first time. He was wearing a suit, had a lot of swagger and a beautiful tan. The first thing he said to me was, “Jerry, right? Great video part. You really remind me of myself.” Dan has consistently been this quotable for the 23 years I’ve known him and I’m glad we’re still friends.
I was around 18 years old at the Osiris office and someone asked, “When is Jerry gonna get a pro shoe?” I looked at Tony who sorta smiled and said, “Oh, I didn’t think he wanted one.” I’m pretty sure he was joking, but maybe not? It was hard to read. After that day the wheels were in motion and I remember thinking to myself, Wow, am I gonna be the youngest skater ever to get a signature shoe? Shortly thereafter I got the answer when Bastien’s first pro shoe was released on Vans. Thwarted by Bastien again!
When I was 15, I was skating with two friends at a park by my house. I credit carded and immediately felt like something was really wrong. I opened my pants and saw a little drop of blood come out of the tip of my dick. I was completely freaking out and we walked to my house in total silence. For some reason I got in the shower and started pissing a lot of blood. Not like rusty-colored piss—dark 100-percent blood. While I was screaming in the shower my friends called 911 and pretty soon the house was filled with paramedics and firefighters. At the height of all this chaos my mom got home from work and I heard my friend inform her that I had, “broken my dick skating.” At the hospital, they told me I had torn my urethra and that I would need a catheter for ten-12 days in order for it to heal. I can’t really put into words the sorrow I saw in my mom’s face when I finally looked at her in the ER. It was also her birthday.
While we were making the first Boys of Summer video we went down to Hawthorne park to skate and Daewon was there. Jeff Kutter was with me and was like, “Ask him if he’ll be in Boys of Summer!” I was reluctant (and starstruck) but finally went up to him and explained we were making an iPhone skate video and asked if he would wanna submit something or film something easy. He was hesitant but really nice and said he would be down to film something real quick. He then skated to his car, got in and drove away, never to be seen again. And to be honest, if it were me I would have done the exact same thing.
Hans was working at Osiris for a long time as a marketing manager but he also toured with us. On one of those huge Aftermath Europe tours he kind of took on some responsibility managing the team while I conversely relinquished all responsibility of acting professional after dislocating my elbow in London. In Berlin, at a very nice hotel, I got drunk and took a fire extinguisher off the wall in the hallway of my floor and started firing it everywhere. Instantly the fire doors closed and an alarm went off. I ran to my room to hide and went to bed as everyone in the hotel evacuated the building. In the morning, Hans called my room to ask me about “last night” while I pretended I didn’t know what he was talking about. He then let me know the hotel had shown him the security footage and that I needed to pay a big fine or they were going to call the police. So I apologized and agreed to pay the fine. He then said, “It’s fine. We already paid it. Just get on the bus.” It was pretty awkward getting on the bus that day. Thanks, Hans!
I got a voicemail once claiming to be Danny Way regarding a new video game called EA Skate. After a cross reference I realized it was really him! I called him back and we had a really good conversation. I ended up in three of those games. A few years after that I saw him at a bowling alley and thought I should thank him in person for the opportunity. I went up to him and said hello, but he just stared at me blankly. He had no idea who I was so I was just like, “Okay, see ya!” and scurried off. No hard feelings at all—I just think about Danny Way holding a bowling ball and looking at me really confused pretty regularly.
Check out these other "People I've Known":
11/19/2019Throughout two decades of pro skating, Jerry has encountered a wide cast of characters. Here are his quick impressions of those people who have added to a lifetime of memories.
9/16/2019This is everything you could ever want from a skateboarding video. Sit back and enjoy. Then hit the streets...
1/28/2019A Hall of Fame lineup with a healthy dosage of legendary scenes from the silver screen. Ain’t nothing like good times with the crew...
1/28/2019The cast of this second video rotated in and out on each trip. Since BOS is not a company so much as a group of friends, it’s a real mixed bag of potatoes.
1/18/2019Boys of Summer 2 (aka Boys and Girls of Winter) premiered at the legendary Mann’s Chinese Theatre. It was an amazing night filled with bros and pros. The list is too long to name them all but let me just say—wow, Rowan!!! –Atiba Jefferson