One of the most talented and humble athletes in the world of professional snowboarding, John Jackson is hard not to like. His quirky sense of personality and long, blonde dreads is an outward expression of his unique character and is most importantly, shown through his jaw-dropping style on the steep slopes of snow-covered mountains. Not only does John kill it on the slopes, but he can shred in the surf and skate in the streets.
John Jackson shares the stoke of surf and snow on the same day | Photo: The Ski Channel/ Katie “Sk8ie” Magana
Since shredding the Sierras at an early age, John Jackson began his snowboarding career in the park and pipe competition, but backcountry became his true passion as he got older. Starring in several films such Brain Farm’s film That’s It, That’s All and Forum’s Forum or Against ‘Em, Jackson has progressed the sport of snowboarding to a whole new level. The amazing skill and intensity that he showed in Forum’s film, Forever led him to earn “Men’s Rider of the Year” and “Video Part of the Year” awards from both Snowboarder Magazine and TransWorld Snowboarding. More recently, Jackson was greatly involved with pro rider Travis Rice in The Art of Flight and The Art of Flight 3D.
John Jackson making a college fans’ dream come true |Photo: Dustin Michelson
The Ski Channel was able to catch up with John Jackson at the Red Bull Switchboard event which offered the opportunity of a lifetime for 500 college students to embrace the Southern California culture to surf and snowboard on the same day with professional surfer Jamie Sterling and professional snowboarder John Jackson. Despite the recent injury, John Jackson was along for the ride at Red Bull Switchboard as he was showing support for the college crowd and giving them pointers. It’s not hard to say that any college student that hangs out with John Jackson for a day will definitely learn stuff that can never be taught in a classroom.
The Ski Channel: What’s up, John?
John Jackson: What’s up? I’m down on the beach and I’ve got some sand in my teeth.
TSC: Why are you in the sand?
JJ: Just doing a little yoga earlier and all these people came around and made me feel uncomfortable, but I’m still having a good time.
TSC: Silly, drunk college students.
JJ: They can be drunk; they’re college students.
TSC: What are you doing in Huntington Beach?
JJ: Man, I’m hanging out for the Red Bull Switchboard. It’s a lovely day here in Huntington Beach, California. Today we are doing two of the best sports in the history of sports; snowboarding and surfing, all in one day. This is a rare occasion. Not too many places you get to do this. This is a real treat.
TSC: So, a little surfing here, and then where are we going after this?
JJ: We’re going to go up to the local mountains. What’s the mountain range here?
TSC: San Bernardino.
JJ: Oh, OK. So we’re going to the San Bernardino mountain ranges. Big Bear, Snow Summit and I think Mountain High is in this range? Anyways, beautiful mountains. I think we’re going to Summit today, yes?
TSC: Um, actually…
JJ: Bear, that’s right. I’m sorry. (laughs)
TSC: So much confusion. So, where are we going?!?
JJ: Alright, we’re starting in Huntington Beach. We’re going to Big Bear and it’s going to be quite a journey on the bus having a good time. I’ll see you on the deck. Unfortunately, I am not snowboarding nor surfing today. It’s not my choice; it’s my doctor’s, but we don’t need to talk about that.
TSC: So what are you going to do at Red Bull Switchboard?
JJ: I’m going to coach. I’m gonna hype people up, make some new friends, hopefully, push some progression. Kids out here got goals, dreams and I think today is going to be very accomplishing for all of those people.
TSC: Are you gonna light them up with Red Bull Vodka, or what?
JJ: Why are you profiling me again? (laughs) Geez, you’re way ahead of me. It’s 9:45 AM and I’m still in bloody marys.
TSC: This is a little different day for you. Where do you typically snowboard and where have you been training this season?
JJ: Well, I’ve been training with my physical therapist, a lot. I jam up in Tahoe a little bit, but local mountains like Mammoth in the early season. Any other time, I do a lot of back country; Lake Tahoe is great. British Columbia is great. Montana, Wyoming and Alaska is obviously awesome.
John Jackson in action | Photo: Red Bull images
TSC: Alaska, that’s sick. Do you spend a lot of time there?
JJ: Yes, I try to go up there every year . That’s kind of a goal of mine to make it up there at least once a year. And the longer time, the better. Everyone should go up there. It’s very liberating.
TSC: Do you like to surf?
JJ: Yea, surfing is a huge passion of mine just as much as snowboarding is. My grandma lives in Costa Mesa right down the street so I used to come down here. I used to skate more than surf but eventually when I got into surfing, I was like, “Holy crap! What have I been missing out on?” I still remember the first wave I caught. You know, you get out there and flounder a bunch but eventually, you connect with the wave. When it clicks and you’re going down the line pumping and you’re like, “Holy s***! This is insane!”, it’s a feeling unlike anything you can explain or duplicate. Every wave is different. It’s so special because it’s like a personal thing with the wave; very pure.
TSC: Do you have that same feeling with snowboarding as you do with surfing?
JJ: It’s pretty different. It’s a different feeling but I think the drive is the same. Like for a snowboarder or surfer, your spirit for the outdoors is similar. It’s the same in the aspect that you get out there and everything else fades away. You’re in your happy place.
TSC: What’s your “go-to” surfboard?
JJ: I’ve been riding a 5’6” biscuit a lot. It’s really fun.
TSC: Where do you usually surf?
JJ: I’ve been to Mexico a lot. My brother and I just embarked on this awesome journey last summer. We drove through Central America. We tried to make it all the way south. Nicaragua is one of my favorite places to surf.
TSC: What do you think about a television network dedicated to surfing?
JJ: I think that’s awesome. I think we need more of that.
TSC: Do you think it would be cool to have a snowboard channel?
JJ: Yea! I mean, people wanna get hyped up.
From the surf, to the snow… | Photo: The Ski Channel/ Katie Magana
TSC: What does film do for a snowboarder?
JJ: It’s pretty cool going out there and pushing what you love and knowing that it’s inspiring others to do the same thing. I think snowboarding is life to me, you know? That’s where I find my success which is the total opposite of wealth. It’s cool to get back to your roots and get grounded and realize what’s important in life. And that’s good friends, good people and doing what you love.
End of interview