Windsor James Interview

Windsor Intro 750pxSo I heard you broke your dick trying this switch backside bigspin. What happened?
I was at this god damn Bust or Bail contest trying to get buck before the triple-set session started happening. Shit was going crazy. The line started getting shorter to try the trick. It was seriously, like, only 100 feet or something. I was trying that for a bit because I thought I had it. On one try, it didn’t turn and go full big spin. I landed on the nose and my board popped up and hit me right in the choad area and fucked my urethra up! Fucked me up! 

Windsor Quote1 750px
Did it explode? Was there blood everywhere?
No, it was just kinda bleeding. It was in the middle of the contest and everyone was jumping down the stairs so I grabbed my crotch and ran off for a sec to check it. It didn’t hurt like getting kicked in the nuts or anything. I got hit in the nut area but it didn’t pop one of my balls, thank God! It hurt when it happened but it didn’t hurt when I was skating. So I kept skating but then I started feeling this drip in my crotch area. I had black pants on so I didn’t even know it was happening. It still didn’t hurt so I kept skating but then it got to a point where that whole area was just super wet and I had to stop.

So how long did you have to pee into a bag?
It was only about two weeks. 

Were you skating with the bag?
No, I wasn’t skating with the bag. I couldn’t because I had a catheter through my dick so there was no way. 

So how long does it take you to pee now?
Oh my God! After the urethra injury I didn’t keep the catheter in long enough to heel right, so now I have this thing called urethra restructure. Basically I have scar tissue inside my urethra that blocks it up. It’s like a pinch in the urethra. My urinary tract gets blocked up and it takes, like, five minutes to piss.

Windsor 1 750pxTaking this “Go kill thyself” mantra pretty seriously. Macho tail drop in LA. Photo: HAMMEKE

It takes you a full five minutes to take a piss?!
It just drips out: drip, drip, drip, drip. 
It fucking sucks. 

Is this permanent?
No, I just need to go get another surgery and it’ll fix it up. I’ll go do it after the video is done.

That’s commitment! But you went back and got it. 
Yeah, I had to go let that double set know it didn’t take me out like that. I ain’t no ho! It was a fluke. I knew it was a fluke and when that happens you gotta go back and let them motherfucking spots know you ain’t no bitch! 

You weren’t nervous about it?
No, because I knew it was a fluke. It took me about an hour and a half of jumping down it. It was crazy because I did it and was on my last try. I told everyone there, “This is it,” and then that was the make. It was great. I was on my last limb or whatever. I was so done with trying it and then—boom—knocked that motherfucker out!

Windsor 2 750pxUnlike taking a piss, it only took Windsor about a second to do this hurricane Photo: HAMMEKE

So you’ve been sponsored for about half of your life. It’s been a long road with some ups and downs. You’re definitely on a upswing right now. I think you’re skating better than ever and you just turned 30. What lit this new fire under your ass? 
Well, I’ve just been skating for a long time now and you go through phases of trying to find the fire. There are constant ups and downs. It’s high for a while then it slows down—then you charge back up. I’m at a point where I feel like I’m skating as good as I possibly can or have ever. I don’t know where that came from. It feels like I’ve just been getting better at skating so that’s been fueling the fire, for sure. When you’re progressing it’s always fun.

It’s one of those things where you don’t fall out of love with it; it’s just phases of ups and downs. Is that what you mean?
Yeah, I always wanted to maintain a stable skateboard career but you know there are still the times when you go through ruts, but the past couple years I’ve just been enjoying skating for myself and that helps stoke the fire. I’m learning new shit so that makes it even better. There was a time when I felt like I wasn’t getting any better and that gets old: doing the same shit over and over.

You think any of that has something to do with moving to LA?
When I was in SD that wasn’t the problem. Los Angeles is just a new lifestyle for me. Just to put it into perspective, there are just more skate spots out here than a lot of other places. There’s only so much to skate in Denver or SD. It seems like there are just countless amounts of spots in LA right now. If you want to maintain a skateboard career, I’d say you would want to move to LA. The opportunity spot-wise is enough but it’s also a mecca for skateboarding right now with all the companies that are here. I just thought it was time to move to where all the gold is! Move to where it’s all happening for once. It’s been a good move for me. I’ve been skating my ass off and it’s been fun. 

Windsor 3 750pxWindsor returned to the San Diego Sports Arena to show it he ain’t no ho. Switch backside bigspin, no fluke.  Sequence: DOMINICK

I met you 15 years ago in Colorado on a Ghetto Child trip. How old were you when you started getting sponsored?
I think I was 15 or 16. I started skating when I was 13. I started later than some of the dudes that had been skating for ages like Angel Rameriz and David Reyes, but it was three years after that, I think. Darkstar was when I was 15 or 16, I think.

Tell the story about how we met up with you on that trip and are you better at not losing stuff now?
I didn’t lose the tape! Ha! I was skating this spot called Denver Tech Center. It’s the spot with the two 12-stair hubbas in a row. My homie Ryan must have forgot the tape and left it on the hubbas. Then you guys ran across it the next day on that Ghetto Child trip. It’s pretty crazy how things happen. You guys took it to 303, I think, and asked if they knew me and they gave you my number and we went out skating that night and for the next couple of days. We went and skated that little VA rail that night, right?

Yeah, do you remember what trick you did that night?
I think I did a kickflip front board and maybe a few other things. I don’t remember, really.

The Ghetto child TM Benny was stoked and sponsored you right after that, right? Was Ghetto Child your first sponsor?
Benny started sending me Ghetto Child stuff right after that. I’m not sure if I was fully on Darkstar yet. I had some rep flow stuff happening and 303 already had my back. Shouts out to 303! They were the first ones to put a nigga on!

Windsor Quote2 750pxDid you finish school or did you drop out and move to California to skate?
I dropped out my senior year like an idiot. I moved out to California to skate. In school I was just doing packet classes because I was traveling so much around 11th and 12th grade. It’s crazy when you’re young and these companies want to take you on trips around the world. It’s hard to give a fuck about staying in school. When you get to go to Australia and they give you a little money instead of sitting in some shitty classroom, it’s not a choice. I was just six credits shy of graduating. It was just an idiot move. My mom wanted me to finish but everything that was happening was a dream come true for me, so as much as I wanted to finish for my mom and everything I had to follow my dream. Seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime chance. School is important but I just never went back to finish the credits. Maybe I’ll go finish for my mom someday soon!

Did you need to get out of Colorado Springs? Who was that friend of yours you used to talk about all the time? You guys would get in some shit together, right? Lots of DUIs, trouble with the courts, right? 
I had a couple partners out there! My homeboy Dean and Darrell. We weren’t getting into all kinds of trouble. I just got a DUI and it ended up being a pain in the ass for a few years. It’s not like—well, fuck yeah I was getting into trouble but we weren’t gang banging or doing any real criminal activities. My mind just wasn’t dead set on skating at that time. I got a little sidetracked, but that shit happens when you’re young, you know. 

So it wasn’t a matter of needing to move.
No, I didn’t have to move but this is where—kids, this is where you come to pursue a skateboarding career. It was better that I left, for sure.

Windsor 4 750pxFueling the fire with a kickflip noseslide. Trump that! Photo: ADAMS

The industry got their hands on you at a pretty young age, like we talked about. From what I saw, skateboarding and the people in it definitely helped raise you. Do you think that was for better or worse?
Well, I mean it’s a fifty/fifty, a coin toss, yin and yangs or whatever! There is good and bad to it all. For the better, for sure. I got to experience so many different things just from traveling at a young age that it was worth it. I wouldn’t change anything. Maybe it exposes you to some crazy shit at an early age but it was mostly all good! Meeting new people and seeing different cultures is worth more to me than any diploma. 

How do you think traveling has shaped your world view? You’re voting for Trump, right?
Bullshit! I’ve got to give it to Hillary, though. That’s it; that’s all we got! Who the fuck else are we going to vote for? We can’t put that guy in. It’s ridiculous. Every time I see this guy on TV for the campaigns and shit I’m asking myself, “Is this real? This motherfucker?” It’s like a joke to me. Might as well run Kim Kardashian or—fuck, anyone can run now. I might try in 2020. Why not?! 

You’ve been with Jamie Thomas for the long haul. Has Jamie mellowed with age at all? We’ve all heard the stories about how intense he was to work with back in the day—and give me a real answer not a politically-correct one.
Ha! Yeah, he’s mellowed for sure. That fool’s crazy but I love him. He’s always helped me out. I guess Jamie likes my skating so that gets me stoked. He’s a fucking legend, you know, so if he likes your skating you should be pretty happy. I’m stoked to be a part of his legacy as well—but that motherfucker is still crazy. We were on a Zero trip the other day in Atlanta. It was amazing. We woke up from camping at 7am, went and found a hotel, dropped our shit off and didn’t get back until 11am the following day. We stayed out all night skating and watched the sun come up. It was so fun because I hadn’t done that since I was a kid. We were doing crazy missions on that trip. He’s mellower for sure. That comes with age but he’s still got the Chief in him! Jamie is the best. It sucks that he had to sell a couple brands but at the same time now he can focus on Zero and his career again. He’s not as bad as all the rumors. I love that guy. He’s fucking great. 

Windsor Quote3 750pxWe were talking about job security the other day. You said something that I thought was interesting. It was about how you’re not worried about getting fired from a sponsor these days, you’re worried about the companies going out of business. Over the years you’ve seen core companies with enough money to pay riders good salaries and take rad trips. Those days seem to be coming to an end. Why do you think that is?
Fuck, I don’t know, man. You can’t just blame it on these corporate companies that are coming into skating. That’s an easy answer for a complex problem. It’s not just that. You can’t just blame shit on the corpo brands. They’ve been good and will always be good with or without skating. Kids are going to wear that shit no matter what. Even if Nike and adidas weren’t in skating, kids would wear those shoes no matter what. I think some of it has to do with the way retail is changing. Everyone buys shit online now and that’s killing the shops. Lets just blame it on the economy. The economy is shit right now. I don’t know why they keep saying it’s better. I hope to God all our little core shops can figure out a way to stay above water. It sucks because it affects all of us. There are a lot of heavy hitters that don’t have shoe sponsors or even board sponsors right now. It’s heavy to see the change.

Windsor 5 750pxThe economy may be shit but Windsor’s fakie backside nosegrind is pure gold.  Photo: BROOK

So you are the first black man on Zero! How’s that grab ya?!
It’s sick, man! I love it. I’ve loved Zero since I started skating. It’s so sick to be a part of the Zero legacy now. Me growing up seeing all these gnarly fools coming out of the Zero videos and now I get to be a part of that? It’s amazing, man. It’s a staple in skating, especially being black. There’s never been no niggas on Zero! I’m breaking ground! Just stoked to be a part of something so big. 

Do you think skateboarding has an unofficial affirmative-action policy? Like, you’ve got to have a black dude on the team to make it complete. You’ve said shit like that to me before in a joking way but do you think there is some truth to it?
I don’t know. It’d be fucking amazing, though! Thank God for that affirmative action! Every team needs to make sure they have one ethnic dude. It’s funny because you know how Zero has the classic American flag logo and they have the Mexican flag logo? Now they are going to have to figure out the black Zero logo! Gonna have to figure it out so they can catch some black man sales! It’s gonna be so sick to see niggas buying Zero boards.

You are sitting on four minutes of really good footy from what I hear. Are you done stacking clips for this part or have you been putting off your after blacks? 
I have until November 21st. The Zero No Cash Value comes out and it’ll be me, Burman, Brockman and a team section with everyone else. Should be pretty good. I have about a month and a week to put the final touches on it. Go kill thyself until the deadline!

Is this your run at SOTY?!
No, no—well, shit, maybe if you guys wanna give it to me I’ll take it! Ha! Paul Hart just came out with the gnarliest part. So many people are so damn good. I can’t wait to see everyone’s parts that are about to drop. It’s going to be heavy!

Windsor 6 750pxZero’s legacy includes some heavy rail chomping. Windsor secures its future with a Chief-approved 50-50 in LA.    Photo: BROACH
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