Jon Dickson Interview
Dickson is a true original. He’s true to himself. He ain’t cashing in on trends or worrying about the Internet. The guy has mastered the art of street skateboarding and, lucky us, we get to watch. So enjoy a few words I had with Ol’ Dicks, then catch his closing part in Emerica’s Green.
Photos by Ben Karpinski
Hi, Jon, how ya doin’?
I’m doing alright.
Where you at right now?
Just kickin’ it at my house.
For those who don’t know, where is your house?
In Long Beach, California.
You been going to Cherry Park lately?
I went there once last week and I haven’t been there since. I don’t go there too much anymore.
Master of the streets Jon switch flips across the chasm of three-stairs
Is it a weird scene down there nowadays?
Nah, it’s a good scene, in the morning at least. Not many people there.
You miss the old Cherry?
I do. I think the old park was sicker but the new one’s fun, too.
I miss the old park, too. How long you been living in the LBC now?
Shit, dude, is it seven years?
Seems like it’s been longer to me.
Alright, maybe eight or nine.
And where were you before that?
How long was that run?
Maybe four years, I think?
JT told me you couldn’t find your house on Loretta after living there for a year.
I’m really bad with directions, so yeah.
You miss the O-side, huh?
Hell yeah! I love the O!
It’ll always be there.
O-side will always be there. In the meantime, Jon takes care of some kickflip noseslide related business in Houston
You think you’ll ever move somewhere besides back home?
I don’t know. I could go back South. Only time will tell.
You’d never move to LA, huh? We could use you up here, you know?
I don’t think so. LA is too much.
What’s too much about it?
There’s just too much going on—too many cars, too many people.
That’s what I like about it!
It’s like a can of sardines.
I get it; everyone’s different.
I go visit there, though.
You do not come to LA.
So what’s new, brotha?
Same ol’. Been working on this little Emerica project lately.
Little?! You got a signature shoe coming out, right?
Well, yeah, and a video part to go with it.
What’d you have in mind when designing a pro shoe? I feel like most skaters design their shoe based on what they’ve already been skating.
Yeah, I love the Wino G6 so I based it a little off that and just made some changes to make the shoe as durable as possible.
Steers and cheers. Fakie flip in Ft. Worth
Are you stoked on Deathwish right now, like where it’s at?
Yeah, I think everyone is killin’ it! We got a good group of dudes out there rippin’ it all the time.
Agreed. Is there something in the works for Deathwish in the near future we should know about?
We are trying to put out a full video in 2020, right, Kirb?
I guess we’ll see. Forgive me for going here but it’s one of my favorite stories ever—what was it like the first time you literally ever stepped on a skateboard?
I broke my leg.
Not doing a trick, right?
Yeah, literally the first interaction with my foot on a board. The board just took off before my back foot was on and I sat on my leg all crazy. I snapped it.
When you break your leg first time on a board, it can only get better from there. Gap back lip Photo: Atiba
Tibia or fibula?
Both, clean breaks.
How old were you?
Probably under ten.
You must have weighed a good amount to snap your shit from ground level under the age of ten. Sorry, I didn’t mean that.
So your folks took your board away after that?
It wasn’t even mine. It was my neighbor’s.
How’d you get your own first board?
My sister got one for me from her friend. I’d skate our patch of cement in the backyard when the folks were gone. I’d hear ’em coming down the driveway and run to my room, chuck it under the bed.
How did you get to the point of skating being cool with your parents?
I think I was bugging my dad about getting a board for a while. I remember being at my dad’s friend’s house when my pops finally said, “You know what? If you can walk down the driveway on your hands, we’ll get you a board.” I guess I was pretty good at walking on my hands then.
Is there a skate scene in Antioch, Illinois, nowadays?
I don’t think so. There might even be a scooter store there now. Last couple times I went back home there’s been gangs of scooter kids cruising town.
Escaping the Antioch scooter gangs with a kickflip crooks in California Photo: Seidler
They’re mobbin’ through town just like we used to on our boards as little kids.
No skaters to be seen?
Like seven kids, all on scooters.
I gotta get back to the farm with you and the family. I remember waking up at seven AM to your pops on the phone with the cops. He was tellin’ them that we were gonna be shooting guns in an hour—classic Dickson farm.
You must be pretty good at fishing, yeah?
Yeah, I try to go out every time I’m home if my pops has got time. It’s about to be ice fishing season. Ice fishing season goes off!
Tell us about that.
You just walk out onto the lake with your shack.
Wait, what’s a shack for those of us who don’t go ice fishing?
You know, just a shack. It usually fits about two people and there’s a hole of some sort in it. You just drill a hole through the ice and fish from inside the shack because it gets pretty damn cold out. People keep their shacks out there all season long ’til the ice starts melting. You’ll see little communities of ’em out there. It’s pretty much just an excuse to get hammered.
Amazing. Let’s change it up—who’s getting you hyped to skate these days?
I’ve been watching a lot of snowboarding videos.
Got a favorite snowboarder?
Nah, I don’t know their names.
They’re doing Jamie Foy rails times 100!
Okay, so snowboarders are the source of stoke. What is the worst thing happening in skateboarding right now? What’s the anti-stoke?
I think skateboarding is amazing—in every way.
No purple camo pants or careful hands getting under your skin?
Nope. All of that is cool.
Careful hands? Careful feet! Nollie flip back lip
You’re a nice guy these days.
I guess on a serious note, I feel like there’s no anticipation for videos anymore. Back in the day they’d come out in hard copy DVD or VHS even. Now, there’s just so much content on the web, everything is for the web, so I guess that’s a bummer. Awesome shit can just get forgotten about so fast. It’s there one day, gone the next.
For real. I feel like the concept of a full-length is weird to kids.
Yeah, or they’ll just release a full-length part by part, when the whole video is meant to be viewed as one piece.
I remember seeing ads in magazines hyping up a video for over a year before it came out!
I know! Then the video comes out and one homie would get it. Everyone would go link up at their house just to watch it.
Yup, or the skateshop would run it up on the shop TV.
Now everyone just does it by themselves on their phone.
Sad to see.
So are you in the Olympics?
Nah, I’ve been trying, though.
I know a guy who could get you in. No smokin’ weed, though. They drug test.Oh, that’s fine. I’m quitting tonight.
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3/20/2020Jon breaks down how he improved upon one of his favorite Emerica models, adding a new Flick Shield to his signature kick. Then he takes ‘em for a tear test with a full-power flick over a massive bump to wall.