The Follow Up: Jake Wooten
Jake can hang with the heaviest ATVs in California, but it might shock you to know he cut his teeth in the crust of Tennessee. Now, with a pro board on Santa Cruz and a killer part to back it up, he’s showing the Coast what a kid from the heartland can accomplish. Friend and fellow transition terrorizer Trey Wood hops on the line to talk Jake’s roots, his ungodly front threes and his love for Henry Gartland.
Absurd bowl runs, rail rips and an unthinkable closer at Burnside, Jake's new part is pure chaos
Alright, let’s get this done. I got fucking notes for this one, dude.
Proper, you came prepared. I appreciate that. Let’s go.
So you’re living out West now. How is it different living in California compared to Tennessee?
Cali has a different vibe than Tennessee. Skateboarding is everywhere, more parks, more kids that skate and a much larger skate scene than where I come from. Of course I miss Tennessee, with its crusty spots, but out here we can skate all 12 months of the year. That's something you can’t do back home.
Branching out from home, Jake goes 5-0 on a mountain-sized rail in Barci
How is living with your homies versus living with your fam back in Tennessee?
It’s so sick living with friends and out here. There are so many different crews and skaters on their own mission firing it up. It's awesome to just be here and be a part of it because this is truly where skateboarding is.
You have a very distinct way of doing frontside ollies and front threes. What is your secret to the frontside 360?
Well, I've always done both of them. They're both kind of the same thing, for me at least. I just let my front foot kind of rollover, and then with my knee and try to get it flat on the board. Really, I just try to get flat with the board, like even my inner thigh can get flat on the board. For my back leg, it doesn't really matter where it is.
Where'd you learn that method?
I think just like looking at random shit, man. I’d just get too fired up at the park with homies and they'd be like, “Try a backflip or something.” I wasn’t gonna backflip, so I’d just keep my legs flat when I'd spin around that's the only way I could think of it. I just kind of happened. I always did them since I was little.
Who's got the best front three of all time?
I love Kevin Bradley's front three. I think it doesn't really look too much better than that.
Consider this huge Indy as evidence of days in the deep end
He’s got one of the best, for sure. Were you a vert kid growing up?
There were no vert ramps within like four hours of me. There was always Florence, Kentucky, skatepark. It had a 13-or-14-foot ramp and I’d go up there like twice a year or something. I really didn't skate any vert per se, besides the deep end of the bowl at the park. It had a ten-foot deep end with about a half a foot of vert.
Were you padded up?
When I was little, yeah. Then I slowly took off the pads. I was still gettin’ smoked when I was a kid. I fractured my tibia when I was eight and had cast for three months.
Park baby all grown up, feeble flat down in Argentina
You had a cast then and you've got cast clips in the new part too. What happened to your wrist?
So actually I was skating this rail with Henry—rest in peace—in Australia. It was a double-kink rail that I had no business skating. But Henry was so fired up and was like, “You gotta try something!” Alright, so I try to boardslide it while he did the 50-50, no problem. I just smoked my shit. I broke my left wrist and didn’t realize it and didn’t get it checked out. I skated with a wrist brace for a year and a half, then finally got it looked at and had to get surgery in November. All those clips are from November ‘til now.
Did you get a bone graft?
Yep, they took it from my radius in my arm, actually. They didn't have to go anywhere else in my body, which is kind of crazy. Everyone I know that's gotten it had to get it from their hip or their thigh.
Jake fuckin’ Wooten—you just turned pro. How are you feeling about everything?
I am so stoked. It’s a childhood dream come true.
Front Smith from a hungry am, the writing was on the wall
So sick you got your name on a Santa Cruz skateboard. How do you feel about being pro for them?
Santa Cruz is one of the most OG companies there is. It’s the only one that has survived this long that still has its legitimacy. I'm so honored to ride for Santa Cruz with Eman, Dressen and Salba.
Did you know that you were going to turn pro?
I mean, Andrew Cannon and I had talked about graphics and stuff about a year and a half ago. So I kinda knew that at some point, hopefully it would happen. I needed to pay my dues, for sure. From being a padded-up little contest kid to skating with legitimate legends, it’s been absolutely amazing. These were idols of mine that I looked up to and now I get to kind of learn how skateboarding works a little bit from them. But I didn't know when it was gonna go down or anything like that. It could have been two years from now.
How did it feel when you walked in your apartment and got surprised?
I was trippin’! I thought someone was in my house, because I just saw Winkowski under a blanket. I didn't even notice the board he was holding. I was so confused, ‘cause I always lock the doors. I was very careful with that kind of stuff. But then seeing the whole team pull up to my little apartment, just so they can be like, Hey, we love you so much that we want to give you a board, that's so unreal. I’m really blessed.
Transition or rails? Why choose when you can do both?! Frontside tailgrab nosegrind at Myrtle Creek, OR
You earned it. Would you rather skate big transition or big rails?
I like skating big transition, if it's something that's unique. If it's like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity or just a place that you get spot envy when you see it online in someone’s part, that's my favorite.
Last year was a wash for everyone but you managed to sneak a few trips out. How were those?
Yeah, me and the boys hit up Oregon. It’s beautiful up there. I had only been up there once before this homie trip for Rip Ride Rally. Finally getting to check out all those legendary parks I grew up watching my favorite skaters destroy in person was unreal. Being able to skate it and film on it is the best shit ever.
Jake makes his mark under the bridge, frontside 360 to blunt fakie. Nobody saw this one comin'
You put down a verifiable NBD at Burnside. How did that battle go down?
That was kind of nuts. I'd never been to Burnside before, but I've been looking forward to going there for the entirety of my life. We had a pretty good squad of people: Chris Gregson, Clay Kreiner, Tom Schaar, you, Braden Gonzalez, Tim Aguilar, Gravette, Willis, Lockwood and a bunch more. We’re rolling that deep. We're just skating the wall and I was like, Man, I’ve been wanting to do a front three blunt fakie on something. I thought if I tried a few, then I’d know pretty quickly whether it was gonna happen or not—cut to about three hours later and I’m losing my mind trying to skate this bank wall. When it finally happened, you can tell I was so dead exhausted that I just flew off the next quarterpipe.
You can see the relief on your face! You ever get compared to Danny Way?
Yeah, I love that comparison! He was my favorite skater growing up. I’ve met him, but haven’t really skated with him. I have, of course like everyone else, watched his video parts and stuff like that.
The inspiration’s clear. Who do you consider your main inspirations?
GT and Ishod, of course. I’m young, man, so I was maybe 11 or 12 when Ishod got SOTY. That was big for me, just seeing him in magazines and videos. I don’t know why but that giant back lip he did on that aluminum or steel rail stuck with me. So those two, D-Way obviously and then I’d say Peter Hewitt. That’s it: GT, Ishod and Hewitt, top three.
Certified ATV like his heroes, Jake goes 180 to switch crooks over the street spine
I just saw some clips of you guys skating in an airport terminal. What was that like?
That was so nice. Red Bull is crazy. They hit me up asking like, Anything you want to skate that you normally can’t because of legality? We talked and then they hit me back about a week later, and they're like “We have the airport, if that's like something that skaters would be interested in?” I said “Yes, that's exactly what skaters love.” They did all the stuff. They just talked to me about designs and stuff like that. We did a little skateshop event and it was just nuts. We could skate the baggage-claim area and they made ramps and ledges as well. I felt like I was really in a video game because in the video games there’s random people walking around and tourists and that's how it felt with the Red Bull people walking around and the police. There were hella cops there, but none of them cared what you're doing because we're allowed to be skating. So it was just really weird to be flooring it, pushing and swerving cops. And that’s what I’m supposed to be doing there!
Ollie late impossible over a bump to wall like he's supposed to be doing
How did the lockdown affect you while filming for this video?
At first everywhere was a ghost town. You got to skate these high-bust spots for longer than normal or not even get kicked out. I'd never experienced that before COVID, not sure I ever will again.
What was your favorite spot or favorite place you got a clip at?
The Flumes, dude. They are unreal. If you don’t know, it’s a natural halfpipe in the middle of nowhere. It looks like a spot from Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. It’s one of the skate wonders of the world. Get yourself there!
Full power at the Flumes, kickflip back noseblunt
How are you fucking with your electric bike? And did that help you get this part done?
So my Accord got smashed and ong story short, I had to get that bike. It can go 40-50 miles on a single charge. It gets me from point A to point B, from skateparks to grocery stores. No traffic ever, it was pretty sick.
So, you've talked graphics with Santa Cruz. I'm sure they'll be hitting the shop walls pretty soon. You think you're going to get a Tech Deck?
Dude, I’ve been waiting on the Tech Deck! Winkowski had no idea that he had a Tech Deck—not the slightest clue when I showed him randomly. My grandma got me some for Christmas. She was like, “Oh, I saw skateboards at the store and thought you’d love it.” It was a Santa Cruz Winkowski Tech Deck. He lost his mind when I showed him. I couldn’t believe how excited he was.
The ol' over and under with Henry. Rip in Peace, HG
Me, you and all of skateboarding lost one of their own earlier this year: E. Henry Gartland. I was hoping you could share a good story about him?
He was truly the best dude. We got to travel the whole world together. His energy was so powerful. His smile, so intoxicating. If I had to pick a moment with him, I’d pick all the moments I had with him. They were the best. If we had more time, I could go on and on for hours telling you stories. E forever.
For real. What does the future hold? Would you prefer to do more contests or more video parts?
Skateboarding and its soul for me is just about learning, innovating, creating and having the most fun. I don’t care as much about doing contests. Don’t get me wrong, I love being in that atmosphere because all my friends are there and being from Tennessee, I don’t get to skate with a lot of really good skaters very often. So contests were really important for me to meet people my age with the same interests and drive that I had. I fed off that energy. And I love the people that run the contests, especially at Vans Park Series. But going out to different places around the world and getting to touch things that haven’t been skated yet, getting to put your own little piece of art on that canvas, that’s the coolest shit.
Jake's got more stories and we'll be here when he tells 'em. Until then, appreciate this hectic heelflip over the rumble strips and give this man his due props on going pro!
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