Hawaii’s Native Son: Jason Park

As one of the most creative skateboarders to appear in the last few years, it’s easy to say that he is the embodiment of innovation, high energy, and above all else, having fun.

Jason Park is one of those skaters whose attitude and talents are perfectly synced with his skateboarding abilities. Lucky for us, he was able to take the time to answer some questions about recovering from a recent ACL injury, why he doesn’t like circle rails, and his plans for 2017.

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First thing’s first…is that your cat’s Instagram? How did that happen and how are we gonna get Baby Blu some more followers?

Haha, great question.  Baby Blu (@bbblubear) is actually my girlfriend’s cat, he’s so tubby and cute.  My girlfriend and I would always be taking photos of him lying around and licking himself and stuff, so we decided to just make him an Instagram account as an outlet.  It’s weird, he’s the only cat I know whose face can be recognized by snapchat filters. So that provides me with hours of entertainment. I don’t think Blu is too into it though.

What was it like growing up a skateboarder in Hawaii? What can you get at home that you can’t get anywhere else?

Hawaii will always be my favorite place on this planet, for a number of reasons.  as far as skateboarding goes, there are a ton of fun spots everywhere that aren’t too blown out. The weather is perfect for skating all year since we’re located so close to the equator. My favorite things about Hawaii, however, are probably the people and the food. Dear god, the food.

So, if I’m in Hawaii and I’m looking for something delicious, what should I get?

My personal favorite thing that is really popular is called a Poke bowl. Poke is just like a Hawaiian term for raw fish and basically it’s just usually tuna, some sort of sauce, slap that on rice..it’s the greatest thing ever..I literally just had one like half hour ago. I have one about 3 times a week and it’s probably my most eaten food when I’m back home. I also get it in LA but the quality is not the same so I concentrate on eating as many of those as I can when I’m home.

What led to you and Andy Schrock becoming friends & how did you get on Force Wheels?

It’s funny, when I first met Andy I didn’t even know who he was.  I mean, I had heard his name come up before, but had no idea who he was or what he was all about.  I met him through mutual friends, and we instantly got along really well.  It’s hard not to get along with that guy.  Anyway, we stayed in touch consistently after that.  And when he started up Force Wheels, he sent me a message asking if I wanted to be a part of it. Of course I was down, and it ended up being of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had.

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From what I’ve read, it seems like you can be in Hawaii, Ohio, California, or Arizona at any given time. Where do you spend the most time out of the year?

Yup! You nailed it. I come back to Hawaii around twice a year, every summer and new years.  it’s my favorite time, getting to see my family and friends and eat amazing food every day. I spend probably most of my year in California, I live with one of my best friends from Hawaii down in Korea town.  I just skate and film down there. Ohio is where Andy lives, so i make trips down there to film stuff with him and hang out with the whole Revive/Force crew.  Amazing humans. Arizona is amazing for skateboarding.  My friends Buster and Hunter O’Shea live down there. They’re two of the best filmers in the world and filmed the Happy Medium trilogy (which are my favorite skate videos ever made).  So I go down there pretty often to hang out and work on video projects with them.

You have one of the most creative bags of tricks in the game. How do you get hyped to skate?

Skate videos.  I watch a lot of skate videos every day.  Or if i think of some new trick idea, i’ll get super excited to try it out.  Thinking of new tricks is the ultimate hype.

Coming off the ACL injury, how are you feeling?

Not bad, could be better.  It’s been almost a year since I tore my ACL/MCL, and it was another month after that until I got the actual surgery done.  It’s feeling pretty good now though!  I got most of my flip tricks back, just can’t really jump up or down anything yet. but it’s getting there!

 

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How do you stay focused mentally/physically when skating’s not an option? What do you like to do when you’re not skating?

Oh man, not being able to skate for most of last year was awful.  But i still found ways to stay happy.  I spent a lot of last year in physical therapy, trying to focus on that so that i could heal properly.  When I’m not skating, I like to spend time with my girlfriend and other friends.  We play a lot of board games haha. Like Settlers of Catan and Smallworld and stuff.  Also, video games are real nice. Smash bros is my all time favorite! Seriously the best game ever.

I heard you never 50-50d a circle rail. Is that true?

Haha, who told you that? I love this question.  I can 50-50 circle rails, I just don’t like to cause they freak me out. It’s a real issue in my life.  i think I never did up until four or five years ago though….so that’s like, eight years i went without trying it?  Rails are scary. Haha yeah, they’re scary and unnecessary and like, what’s the point in learning a trick on them when people can already do it on El Toro…I dunno haha. That’s my philosophy.

I saw a photo you posted of Buster O’Shea filming into a trash compactor looking structure with the caption “Filming for Happy Medium 4?” Are we getting a Happy Medium 4?

Yes!  Thankfully! And I’m seriously so lucky to be a part of it.  Buster and Hunter are amazing, as I said earlier. Watching a Happy Medium growing up helped shape the way that I skate today and look at skateboarding.  Happy Medium 2 is my favorite skate video of all time, you probably wouldn’t believe me if I told you how many times I’ve watched it. I actually met Hunter and Buster at the Happy Medium 3 premiere. So each video has a very different, yet meaningful importance to me. I can’t wait to get back to Arizona to continue filming for the new one! I’m flying there in mid February and camping out there as long as possible with Hunter and Buster. Hopefully I can get a full part together. That’s like, my number one priority in life. It’s always been a dream of mine to get a part in that video.

 

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For a guy coming off what is traditionally a pretty gnarly injury, you seem to be in high spirits and staying busy!

 I’m hoping to release a short part in a few months.  It’s going to accompany the release of a new board company that I’m going to be riding for, but it’s a secret for now Haha. That should materialize around March or April. I’m also working on a new product with my bearings sponsor, JuJu Bearings. It’s been in the works for months to months, and I’m pretty excited for it to finally come together.

What are your plans for 2017?

Skate!  A lot.  Last year was brutal, and i want to make sure to never take the ability to skate for granted.  I’m finally healed up and able to skate again, so i’m going to do my best to make up for lost time.  Also, i have a few new projects in the works with some of my sponsors, so that’s going to be really fun!  I’m seriously so excited for this new year.

Not bad! You’re really cookin’ going into 2017. Do you want to give a shout out to anybody?

Oh that’s awesome, definitely! I wanna thank my parents for taking care of me. For basically taking care of me all last year through my ACL/MCL injury and when I had knee surgery, and took me to all my appointments when I couldn’t drive or move. They really support my skating. It’s insane that they’re down for something as ridiculous as that.

Also, one of my best friends, Braxton, who lets me stay with him whenever I’m in L.A. and is generally one of the best humans. He doesn’t even skate but he supports skating and has helped me out a lot.

 

Photos by Kelton Woodburn / keltonwoodburn.com

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