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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Jeff Hedges: Post Malmo Vert Sesh interview!!

Jeff Hedges in 1989 in the Streets On Fire Video
Jeff Hedges: Post Malmo Vert Sesh interview!!

Jeff Hedges is part of the big vert revival. He was already there in the 80’s rippin’ when the legendary Street Of Fire video came out (where he had a great part) and he’s been back into the vert circuit for a couple of years now. There was not a lot of parks in the late 80’s so vert was really for core skateboarders. Ffej is not doing things like the others: who else in the skate industry is sponsored by a beer company? Beer and skateboarding... Don't be jaleous. And frankly, I'm stoked to have Ffej as a friend, especially since he is sponsored by this Beer company: (Boneyard)
Jeff Hedges 2012 FS Over The Channel. Photo Fred Ferand
sounds like I might pop-up unexpectedly at his next BBQ party. LOL!... Jeff Was at Malmo last week-end to compete (maybe to have fun is a better term) against old and new riders. There are a couple of funny things behind that Copenhagen trip, like how did he get the money to go there? We asked him and you’ll see he was more than creative. Everything can be done when you are ready, willing and prepared… That’s the spirit of skateboarding…

isTia.Tv: How does it feel to skate again at Pro level after all those years? Jeff Hedges: I can't say I feel like I'm at a "pro" level, but it’s great to be able to still do some of the old stunts I did as a kid. The "Masters" contests are super fun and remind me why I entered my first contest - because I'd rather skate than just watch. 45 isn't "too old", and I hope I can keep skating with everyone at these family reunions for years to come.

Jeff Hedges. FastPlant Malmo 2012. Photo Fred Ferand

isTia.Tv: How many contests have you done in 2011? Jeff Hedges: Last year started with the Quicksilver all 80's Challenge in Orlando, followed by Vert Attack 5. Then there was the ProTec Pool Party, a couple local events at Lake Cunningham, the Oregon Trifecta at Pier Park, the Chili Bowl in San Francisco and the Tim Brauch Memorial. Oh yeah, Bucky's Bowl-B-Que... There was a friendly race around cones in his pool and other challenges for cash (but mostly for fun :)
isTia.Tv: Where do you usually skate? Jeff Hedges: We try to have a Wednesday night session every week at Greg's warehouse vert in
Jeff Hedges. Invert over the Channel. Malmo Vert Attack 2012. Photo Fred Ferand
Richmond, and on weekends it’s either Berkeley Skate Camp vert, the Weirdo bowl, or Lake Cunningham Skatepark. There are a few other spots, but time is hard to come by so I focus on my favorite places to ride when I do get the chance.

isTia.Tv: With who do you skate? Jeff Hedges: More than I can possibly mention and each crew rides different spots so getting us all together at the same time is rare (some sessions have only 3 or 4 of us) but most often, Brandon Fields, Dan Kuhns, Greg Neal, Haroldo Daltin, Pat Black, the Warewach! - Zach Lewis, Demarcus James, Chris Henderson, Steve Smith, Kyle MacDonald, Mike Griffin,
My back is broken, but I'm Happy!

Mitch Mendez, Mike Parente, Jason Haley, Jason Richardson, Tom Augusta, and sometimes I get to skate with Jordan Richter and Steve Caballero. A bunch more guys are riding all the time.

isTia.Tv: How were you invited to Malmo last year? Jeff Hedges: I met JMag on Facebook through Anders Tellen and other guys who were at previous VAs, and we worked on getting me out there, which got Cab interested, and in turn Hosoi.

isTia.Tv: How where you invited this year? What’s the story behind the awesome tee shirt? Jeff Hedges: I'd hoped to go ever since last year, and as the contest approached, it wasn't looking good financially. Santa Cruz didn't have the budget to help out, so JMag hatched a plan to get people to donate funds to get me out there, and I'd wear a shirt with all the logos from the contributors - kinda like a Nascar driver, or more like a Tour De France bike shirt. You'll see it in any photos from the comp.

isTia.Tv: Can you list all the sponsors that helped you for the trip? Jeff Hedges: Tagsters, Generate Business,, Klas Clothing, Burly Caps, Macki Vertboy, Brambo, Se7entree Skateboards, Cave Skateboards, Onsdagscruiser - Jesper Andreasen's gig and many more including individuals and friends like my Basque transplant buddy Kevin Campbell, and Skatersocks/Subvert.

isTia.Tv: How is it to go abroad with Duane Peters and who is more punk (than Duane)? Jeff Hedges: This is the first time I've got to spend more than a short while with Duane Peters. He was a legend before I met the rest of the skate world, and is an ongoing inspiration for how long someone can still rip, and how much abuse the body can take. Who is more punk on a skateboard than Duane? None.

Jeff Hedges Rock'N'Roll Malmo Vert Attack 2012 Photo Fred Ferand

isTia.Tv: How is it to stay in an hotel with 70 crazy skaters? How did the hotel manager react when he saw all of you? Jeff Hedges: The hotel staff and manager were great, and for tolerating us all they deserve a lot of appreciation. It can get a little out of hand sometimes... Thank you Park Inn.

isTia.Tv: Was the ramp smaller than the ones you ride in California? Jeff Hedges: Yeah just a little smaller than Richmond. I think Malmo vert is about 11' tall in US measurements - 9.5' transitions with 1.5' vert. Richmond is 12' tall - 10 trans w/2 vert. Same as Lake Cunningham skatepark's Skull Bowl. Berkeley vert is 13' tall.

Jeff Hedges Sadplant. Photo Fred Ferand
isTia.Tv: What’s the big Deal with the Exterminator? Jeff Hedges: It was a fun variation on an extension with a death box like overhang. I liked to call it the Extensionator.

isTia.Tv: What happen to your shoulder during the Malmo contest? Jeff Hedges: So, I'd been awake more than 24 hours, travelling more than 12 of those, but when I landed I wanted to go straight to the ramp and ride. I had a good warmup and was feeling okay, so I decided it was time to get some inverts and eggs over the channel. We don't have a channel at any of the spots here so it takes some getting used to - where it is in your line and how far you need to cross... anyway after one bailed egg over it, I decided I was going to make the next one. I guess I was tired, misjudged and took off way to far to make the gap - but I was already flying upside down reaching across... and couldn't get my knees under me. As I missed the coping and avoided falling on the corner of the rollin, I just kept falling upside down, and caught the transition with my elbow and landed directly on top of my shoulder. Glad I didn't break anything. Hopefully it will fully heal without a doctor's help... It can't be too bad, I managed to skate and use the arm anyway, right?

isTia.Tv: Was Vallely the only one skating (almost) padless? Is that OK skating padless on a ramp? Jeff Hedges: Of the over 40 guys, yeah I think he was the only one without a helmet. He had knee pads. Skating padless, or without a helmet is of course up to the rider, but I get hurt too easily if I try to run things out - I like pads. They help me commit to a trick knowing that if I screw up I have at least some help on the slam. I have a family, and I want to skate tomorrow and the next week and so on, so I wear my helmet every time I ride too. I'm used to it and don't care if it’s not 'cool'.

isTia.Tv: Did you see new blood coming out of that vert contest? Jeff Hedges: Hell yes! So many good skaters out there; some have been ripping for years, others just a short time. There's even 'new' blood in the over 40 ranks. It’s like the 80's all over again with the 'young' guns coming to unseat the old guard. We just got Lynch in with us, and Jocke Olsson, and soon Mike Crum will be 40.

Time and Space oddity: Same trick view from two opposite angles at Malmo 2012. Photos Fredrick Ribbon and Skate Martin

Jeff Hedges One Foot Invert. Same place but in 2011. Photo Fred Ferand

isTia.Tv: Who are the 5 best vert riders of the moment? Jeff Hedges: Impossible question, it’s why judging contests is so hard. So many people skate so rad, but in completely different ways. Of course its easy to name standouts from the contest like Andy Scott (kickflip egg! and he does so much more) and personal favorites like Brad McClain. Jake, Jussi, Jean Postec, Adil, Sam and so many more were skating so good at Vert Attack, and of course there are countless others in the world and American pros killing it too - and not just the top 10 in the X-Games and Dew Tour. Skating is always getting better and there are so many who contribute to the stoke and share their take on how to do it.

isTia.Tv: When and where is your next contest? Jeff Hedges: I have a dream of getting to Bondi Bowl-O-Rama, but I don't know how likely that is given $$, and time. I have a fulltime job, and taking another week off just a few weeks from now might be ...difficult. Still there is the Protect Pool Party, the Tim Brauch Memorial, and hopefully the Trifecta and Chili bowl again too. I'd love to get to some of the other family reunion contests in the eastern US and Texas.

isTia.Tv: Something else? Jeff Hedges: Thanks again to John Magnusson, all the sponsors and people who donated to help me get out there, everyone at Bryggeriet, all the skaters who came to ride, watch and yell, and the sponsors who give me flow (Santa Cruz Skateboards, Independent Trucks, Bones Wheels, 187 Killer Pads, Burly Caps, Boneyard Beer, Legion Skates)

isTia.Tv: What's the deal with the beer company, do they send you one bottle every morning, like the milk-man? !!! Jeff Hedges:Jason Lilly from Boneyard Beer read a comment I made about the kind of sponsorships one isn't likely to get, but could really use. I said something like, "I can buy my own skateboard gear, what I can't afford is the travel expense." and suggested as a joke that an airline, a hotel, rental car, and a beer sponsor would be ideal. So Jason replies "I can help with the beer" and a dream comes true. They are out of Bend Oregon ( ) and they are just getting distribution in California, so its not like they have an easy way to get beer to me. I've received a shipment with beer and T-shirts. Its really good stuff. I need to get them some more photos and video in some the shirts so I can get more beer...

isTia.Tv: Thanks Ffej !!! Jeff Hedges: Thank you ISTIA!

Thanks to Fred Ferand for the pictures. Log on "El Gato Negro" to see more pix from Fred Ferand... 
Also known as "El Gato Negro", Fred Ferand was born in Paris but lives in Bordeaux, France. He has covered the European skate scene with his fisheye and flashes for the past 30 years. He has covered the Malmo Vert Attack 2012 for isTia.Tv.

Additional pictures by Fredrick Ribban and Skate Martin.

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I skate therefore I am: skateboard pools, pipes, parks, bowls and vert, daily skateboarding news...
posted by Xavier Lannes @ Tuesday, January 31, 2012 


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