Monday, May 26, 2014

An interview with professional skateboarder and renaissance-man Jimmy McDonald

Jimmy and I lived together for 4 years during college, and during that time I can honestly say that every single time I skated with him he did something thoroughly impressive. He seriously is one of the most talented people I’ve ever seen on a skateboard. He can also eat more than even the fattest of food fighters. I guess if skating doesn’t work out he can just enter the Nathan’s NYC Hotdog Eating Contest and give Kobayashi a run for his money. No but for real, Jim is a great dude. He’s funny as hell, doesn’t sugarcoat anything, skates with dope style, and to me represents what a lot of skaters should strive to be. Since Jim's new wheel just came out it seemed appropriate to do an interview with the man to give you all a little insight into what he has been up to. Enjoy the read folks.
-Pusher Rob

R- How did the winter treat you up there in NYC? I ask, because it was god-awful here in Philly. Never ending snow.

J- This winter has definitely been harsher than usual. Snowing constantly. There are a few indoor spots in NYC and I hit them up whenever I could. Homage has a mini-ramp in Brooklyn, KCDC has a temporary ramp in the LES, and there's also House of Vans in Greenpoint.

You got hurt last year, let the folks of internet-land know what happened and how are you feeling today?

I hyper-extended my left knee around this time last year. I tore my ACL in the same knee when I was 15 and had surgery. I was really relieved to find out that it was just a bad sprain and I wouldn't need surgery again. I couldn't skate for about 5 months though, and had to do a bunch of physical therapy. I also didn't have health insurance when I got hurt so that made things complicated. I'm feeling great now though. My knee isn't perfect but it hasn't really been 100% since I was 15. I can skate without pain now though so I can't complain.

Do you have any trips planned for this year? 5B or other? I know you guys just went to Paris for a bit, how was that?

Paris was amazing. I hadn't been there since 2008, and there are so many new spots now. We had a great crew, and skated with the Blobys every day. I love Paris; it's definitely one of my favorite cities. As for other trips, nothing is set in stone yet but I'm sure we'll go somewhere this summer.

Speaking of trips, you’ve been on a lot of sick ones. Which trip was your favorite or most influential to your life as a skateboarder?

It's hard to pick out just one favorite trip. My first trip to Europe in 2004 was really memorable. That was my first international skate trip, so everything was brand new. Also, all of the trips we did while filming for Mulhern's videos were amazing. We always had a really good crew, and we definitely covered a lot of ground. Also, the "Meet the Stans" trip I went on with Patrick Wallner and Co. in 2012 was incredible. We traveled all the way from eastern to western China, and took a 34-hour train ride to Kazakhstan. It was an experience for sure.

Why do you think Europe has become so ideal for skateboarding and when the heck are we going on a Pusher trip over there? I say Berlin…never been there, but I heard it’s rad.

A lot of the big old cities in Europe happen to have amazing skate spots with generous amounts of granite and marble. Also, they are generally more lenient towards skateboarding in public space over there. There are plenty of other factors that make Europe great for skateboarding, but those two things are pretty huge. 

When are we doing a Pusher trip to Europe? That's up to you boss-man. Fire up the company jet and save me a seat in the cockpit. 

Since working at Saatchi and Saatchi in NYC has the opportunity come up to take those skills and apply them to 5B? Like ad layouts, copy, etc.

Everyone at 5boro is always down to collaborate on ideas and stuff, but I'm not really involved with any of their marketing or advertising. Nardelli, Tombo and a bunch of contributing designers and artists handle all of that.

You have filmed a lot with Mulhern over the years. It obviously takes a good skater/filmer relationship to make great video parts. Why is Mully so damn good at what he does (filming and nose manuals)? Who else do you really enjoy filming with?

Mulhern just has an incredible work ethic. He's obviously very talented, but I haven't met too many people that work as hard as he does. So that's got to be the secret to his filming and nose manual capabilities. I also really enjoy filming with Tombo Colabraro. He's the 5boro filmer and TM. We've been through a lot together as well. He's a hell of a guy.

Filming VS shooting photos…same amount of stress?

Both can be fun or stressful in their own right. It all depends on the day, spot, trick, weather, and a million other things.

Can you pinpoint the moment your kits drastically improved?

My kits have and always will be shit.

Speaking of kits, Es Footwear is back? Thoughts?

Yep, heard about it. Should be interesting to see where it goes.

Favorite skate shoes ever, top 5…

eS Accels, eS SLB 23's, eS Square 2's, Lakai Manchesters, HUF Choice.

Can we expect a F.O.B style pro model from you soon? Maybe a 5B board with just a photo of you eating a huge box of donuts?

Only time will tell.

You’ve been pretty heavy in the NYC, Philly, and DC scenes over the years so I have to ask, what is your favorite NYC spot? Favorite Philly spot? Favorite DC spot? Why?

NYC — Manhattan as a whole, because there's something to skate on every block and pushing through the streets there is the best thing ever.

PHILLY — Cecil, because it's where I met almost all of my closest friends in Philly and it's one of the only bust free spots in the city.

DC — Pulaski Park, because it's one of the best spots in the world.

If you could only skate one thing for the rest of your life what would it be and why?

I'd skate a granite plaza that has lots of trees that provide shade, because the perfect spot needs a nice atmosphere as well as stuff to skate.

53mm for life?

I'm pretty content with 53's. They're not too big and not too small. A nice middle-ground for skating smooth flatground as well as rugged spots. I used to ride smaller wheels, but I'll probably be riding 53's for a while. I couldn't see myself riding anything bigger, that's for sure.