Jamie Griffin Just Keeps Skating
When you think of Ireland, the first thing that comes to mind probably isn’t skateboarding. Jamie Griffin would like to change that. The up-and-coming skater could soon put the Emerald Isle on the map for skating, though in our interview he was quick to tell us there are some other good skaters that call the country home. We spoke to Griffin during these uncertain times, which has impacted him just like everybody else. Although, Griffin may also be one of the few people who is actually skating more on account of the global pandemic. Check out what Griffin is up to, and more of his thoughts on skating, in our conversation below.
Hello Jamie how are you?
What’s the crack, I’m good thanks, how are you?
Good thanks, and how’s your day going?
The same as every other day these past few weeks, doing absolutely fuck all!
Haha! Tell me about it.
It’s ridiculous out here like, there’s just nothing to do!
It’s a bit scary, isn’t it!?
Yeah, it is actually fucking scary! All you can do is sit back and watch. It’s the best part too!
So what is your first memory of skating?
I suppose my earliest memory would be when I was 11, my older brother got a present from one of our relatives. It was a skateboard, just a shit one, like a £10 board from a toy store. He was up our garden trying to learn how to ollie and I remember I was just 11 years old, I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing you know. So I just go up to it and I stand on it and I swear the second I stood on it I was like “This is what I need to get into,” you know? So after that, I begged my mum to go buy me a board and I just kept skating and it was the funnest thing ever!
That’s so sick man! And did you just continue straight from there or were there ever any breaks where you stopped skating?
Ummm, not really actually, I’ve always been into skating ever since I started but these past three years I’ve been doing it like non-stop if you get me.
Who were some of your role models in the earlier days when you were just getting started?
I guess all the pros that I looked up to were the usual, you know, Nyjah (Huston) and Luan (Olivigra). Shane O’Neill is still to this day my favorite skater, like, he’s the fucking man on the board. He’s unbelievable, you see his part “Shane Goes” on Thrasher, that’s probably the best part ever put out. I watch that shit all the fucking time. Like it’s unbelievable.
I need to check that out! Have you seen there’s a web series on YouTube, called Blokes? It’s set in London and they’re just savage. They’re a bunch of skaters, and they’re quite a bit older but they’re just mental man!
That sounds cool! No, I haven’t but I’ll have to check it. I remember I was over in London in February for a few days, and you know Hop King no?
Yeah yeah of course!
Those are the dudes who send me boards right now, so I reckon when all this is over I’m gonna go back over to London for a couple more weeks ‘cause London seems like the place that has all the fucking skaters you know?
Hop King was always my go-to in London when the weather was shit.
Yeah it’s such a cool park, it’s small and that but it’s so nice to just go around.
It’s a really nice community as well, most of the guys there are so accepting of girls there which is cool.
Yeah!! That’s what I noticed too. I remember when I was over they had a beginner night and everyone was helping dudes to skate you know? It was so cool to see.
So to you, would you say skating is more of a sport or a creative outlet?
Ummmm, jeez, I don’t know, I guess a bit of both really you know? It is obviously a sport, it’s fucking great exercise and all that, but I’d say a creative outlet too because especially with my kind of skating. I do a lot of the weird flat ground tricks or whatever. It’s cool to me when I can think of a trick and it’s kind of like you’ve never seen it before or it’s never been seen that much, when you can make it happen and people say, “Fuck that’s really cool.” That’s like the best feeling ever.
Yeah, that’s so sick. Do you make up tricks quite a lot?
Well I mean, yes, but I hate putting up tricks and people say, “Ahh is that NBD?” I hate answering ‘cause if I say this tricks NBD, I just know I’ll get someone in the comments that says “Ahh I did that like 10 years ago man, you’re not the first to do it.”
And they NEVER have the footage to back it up either!
What at the moment is your local skatepark, obviously pandemic aside, on a normal day, where would you usually be?
I guess, it’s just a skatepark called Letterkenny skatepark.
It's beside the swimming pool. It's a good enough skatepark. You have a mini ramp, but at the same time, it's like the worst skatepark because it's actually built on a downhill surface so it's an uneven mini ramp and it's hard to fucking skate that thing! But that’s my only local park. It's like 10 minutes away. All my other skateparks are like hours away you know? There's no skate scene over here at all.
Really!? That sucks!
Yeah, well there’s sort of a skate scene in parts of Ireland but not where I'm from which is a place called Donegal. It's not even a joke like I'm probably the only skater in the whole fucking county more or less.
Where's your favorite place to skate in the world?
I went to two places I loved actually. When I went to Hop King I thought that place was just fucking amazing and I wish I got out in London a bit more ‘cause I didn’t even get to street skate ‘cause it was raining when I was over there. But apart from that, I was in Macba, Barcelona for a week in summer and I swear that shit was like the fucking best shit ever! It was unbelievable for me ‘cause where I’m from in Ireland, there’s no skate scene so when you pull up to Macba, all these dudes are just fucking skating, doing these unbelievable tricks right in front of ya. It’s crazy to see it! Honestly, I could be in Macba all day long!
That’s so nice man. One day when this pandemic is over! What is your craziest skate story?
Jeez, I’m trying to think of a good answer for that. I know I have a few good stories but none of them come to mind. I guess when I was in Macba, I remember I was skating the three-block - it’s not really a crazy story but it’s crazy to me - but I was skating that three-block and I remember I was trying to hardflip down it, but it was hard to get it because it’s kind of a big set, you know? I remember I was trying to hardflip for a while and then this kid of like 12 years old, he was no way older than 12 or 13, he comes up to the stairs, just rolls up to it, and I’m watching him and he just bangs out like the best 360 flip you’ve ever seen in your fucking life! I was just sitting there like What. The. Fuck. It was ridiculous to me!
We touched on this before but I’ll ask in full, is the pandemic affecting your relationship with skating?
I suppose not really because I usually just skate at my own house anyway. If it’s raining, which most of the days it is, I usually just skate in the shed! No, I’d say, if anything, I’ve got to skate more because I still go to school, so I’m not really worrying about school anymore and I’m basically doing no work because there’s so much uncertainty over exams. I was meant to be doing exams in June but they’re pushed back now and no one really knows what the fuck is going on. So I’d say for now all I’m doing is fucking skating and not giving a fuck about anything else!
That’s nice man, living the dream! And you said you skate in your shed, can you elaborate on that?
Yeah, I get a little carpet and put it down in there and do a lot of tricks stationary and that’s how I learn them.
Amazing. Are there some skaters who you think don’t get enough attention and if so who?
Yeah there definitely is! I mean all them dudes in Barcelona, seeing them pull off all those unreal tricks, they’re not even noticed at all! And there are a good few dudes in Ireland and they’re really doing fucking bits, and they would definitely deserve to be noticed a bit more. I wish I could remember all their names! But that dude you did the interview with, Joe Hill, a few weeks back? That dude definitely deserves more exposure. There’s another guy called Cian Eades, he’s fucking unbelievable. And then there’s another dude called Dave Murphy, who I’ve met before and he’s fucking unreal. They all deserve more exposure!
Finally, do you feel skating has shaped your life?
Oh yeah! Skating’s changed my life so much! I wonder that a few times if I wasn’t skating what the fuck I would actually be doing. And I have no clue what I would be doing because skating is all I know. When I got into skating when I was younger, that was all I thought about and all I cared about. That’s how you get good, and I’m not saying I’m the fucking best skater in the world, I’m not, but if you’re just so passionate about something and it’s all you think about, you’re gonna progress pretty fast.
You’ve clearly got that too! Thanks so much, man it’s been great talking to you! I hope everything goes well with your exams and you manage to actually do them!
Ahh my pleasure! Haha, yeah well, I was hoping if all goes well with skating I wouldn’t have to really worry about them anyway. Thank you for the interview and I can’t wait to see it.
No worries at all. Cheers man bye!
Same to you, cheers, bye!
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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