JAGGER EATON INTERVIEWED BY DAVE SWIFT
On The Run: Eaton
Switch backside lipslide. San Diego, California.
WORDS AND PHOTOS: Dave Swift
A year ago, I only knew of Jagger Eaton as a park kid who had recently won Tampa Am amongst a field of what are now some of skateboarding’s young elite street skating stars. We did some time together in the van around California and I was quickly impressed with his switch rail skills and his ability to flip out of most anything. And, to top it off, he’s definitely one of the best young kids in the tranny game. So, fresh off his Tampa Pro win, it was a must that I interview him. It happened to be his first interview—ever. Did he nail it?
Where in Arizona did you grow up?
I live in Mesa, Arizona—born and raised. Well, you know, it’s a desert so skating was great during the winter and crappy during the summer. All my family is here, so it’s awesome.
I hear that you have quite a few brothers and sisters. Give us a quick rundown of who they are.
Okay: Jett, 19; Koston, 10; Hendrix, 3; Bowie is 1; and I am 17.
No, Hendrix is a girl.
So, how did the name "Koston" come about?
The name Koston Eaton came about when my mom was taking my skateboard out of her car and seeing my Independent truck (which I’ve been riding since the day I started skateboarding) and she saw the name Koston on the truck. They were Eric Koston’s pro truck and she thought that was a cool name and I was excited because he was my favorite skater. I’m not going to lie and tell you she just came up with it out of the blue, it was all about Eric Koston.
Frontside feeble. Porterville, California.
How did you get into skateboarding?
I got into skateboarding on Christmas Day. My dad got me and my brother Jett a skateboard and than built us a little mini ramp in the garage. I quickly became obsessed with it. I mean, before skateboarding we had other after-school activities like soccer or some other boof sport that I was never really into. After I started skating I’d come home, move the car out of the garage, and just session the ramp all day. That was all we wanted to do.
Did you skate it during the summer?
Well, not really. What happened was, my dad owned a gymnastics gym; it was actually my grandpa’s gym but after he died my dad took it over. My dad was there everyday for like 12 hours a day and figured instead of having the kids jump around on a trampoline all day why not build them a mini ramp somewhere in the gym. It actually worked its way up to the business model it is now with gymnastics and skateboarding.
Yeah, air conditioned everything. I was skating like a prince. It was perfect.
What type of skating did you like best back then?
It was tranny for sure. I mean, vert was a little scary for me; I didn’t like it back then. I felt like the concept of going back and forth on a 13-foot vert ramp was just too much for me. I mean, I was probably 4-foot-2. So, I mainly grew up skating the mini ramp and the bowl and loving those the most. I got introduced to street when I was 7 or 8 and fell in love with that right away.
Were you into gymnastics at all?
I tried to do gymnastics but I feel like I just never looked good in a leotard. My older brother, Jett, was born ripped! You know, an 8-pack and big biceps, and it was nothing for him to do 40 quick push-ups. I was a super long and lanky kid that looked terrible. I couldn’t do a pull-up, push-up, or anything. I still can’t now. Me and gymnastics never really bonded.
Are you still in school?
I graduated last year when I was 16, took my G.E.D. and got out of there.
Did you go to a normal school or were you home-schooled?
I was basically home-schooled my whole life. But between 12-14 there was a period that I went to public school but I got kicked out because I missed 3 weeks in the beginning of sixth grade because I was in New York doing an ASA event in Times Square. The school wasn’t down for me missing so much and gave me the boot.
Bigspin frontside boardslide. San Bernardino, California.
Is this the first time you’ve been interviewed for a skateboard magazine?
I believe so, first timer right here. I feel pretty confident I’m nailing it.
If you were to pick the U.S. Olympic team for Skateboarding Street and Park, who would your top three choices be?
3 street skateboarders: first, I’d pick Dashawn Jordan; Nyjah Huston; and Torey Pudwill. In park: Tom Schaar; Willy Lara; and Ben Hatchell. I think Ben is so underrated; he’s so damn good.
Riding for Plan B—how is that?
I love Plan B; I love the whole squad! I have endless amounts of love and respect for Danny Way and Colin McKay. It’s a rad thing.
How did you get on the team?
Actually, the first person to work at my dad’s skatepark was Jeff Jewitt, he was the guy in charge of the whole park. He knew Danny and Colin through the whole Mega Ramp thing, and, at one X-Games, Jeff introduced me to them and I’ve been under their wing ever since. They helped me out with DC and it’s really worked out great.
Were you a mini-mega kid?
Not actually. I mean, we had a micro-mini-mega thing at the skatepark. Nothing like the one at Woodward. The one at the park is the best thing ever; it’s so much fun. My dad built it and he got so lucky that it came out good because he had no idea what he was doing, but somehow he built the perfect mini-mega.
Is it smaller than Elliott’s?
Yeah, way smaller. Maybe half that size.
Do you think you could back-3 Elliott’s padless?
Yes, I think I got that. Is that a challenge? I mean, I don’t how many times my little legs can run out of it, but I’ll try.
Crooked grind nollie flip out. Victorville, California.
When is your street part coming out?
Street part will come out this year, for sure. I basically have the whole thing done, I just need to put it out. Getting it edited and refined right now but it will be out soon. It’s been really hard to film between contests, family issues, and whatnot, but over the summer I stacked a lot of footage. Hopefully it will do the trick.
Best places you’ve travelled to as a skateboarder?
Oh man, where do I start? China, Barcelona, Germany, Estonia, and South Africa were all great times.
Pick one as the best.
That would have to be Barcelona. I went to MACBA, which is legendary. And not only that but the food was also amazing, the art, and just the whole city. Just the vibe of the place, skating around and checking it all out. It was my first introduction to real street skateboarding, like I went out there for the X-Games but the Plan B dudes were there and took me out in the streets for a full day. Skated all the famous spots.
What was it like winning Tampa Pro?
It was great. The coolest thing was competing against all my friends that are close to my age like Dashawn, Jamie Foy, Zion Wright, and Alex Midler. We all grew up skating the same contests so it was rad to be in this one with them.
Are you the first to win Tampa Am and Tampa Pro?
I don’t know. I think there was a couple others that have done that. I did get a Tampa tattoo (my first) but it’s not finished; I had to stop because it hurt so bad.
I hope it’s on your neck.
Nah, it's under my left arm by my rib cage. I wish I would have known that ribs hurt the most!
Who has influenced your skating?
I think Danny Way has been my biggest influence because he skates everything so well. Over the years I’ve found that I like the way Grant Taylor skates bowls and the way that Dylan Rieder skated street. I’ve looked up to a lot of different skaters but, in the end, it’s gotta be Danny. I watched his DC part [The DC Video, 2003] so many times when I was younger. And he’s a good dude, too.
He’s a solid pick. What young skaters do you think will be the hottest in the next generation?
I think CJ (Collins) will be, wait… he already is! Myles Trampello is gonna be sick. My brother Koston. Oh, and Kader; he rips.
You mentioned your brother Koston, he’s good?
Yeah, he’s real good. He makes me jealous because he already has a great style at 10 years old.
You might have to do a little Tonya Harding on him. Tell me about your television experience.
It was insane! I was fortunate to have the opportunity. It happened right after I was on Rob Dyrdek’s show "Ridiculousness," he just asked what I thought of having my own show. I said, “If we can make it happen I’d be down to do it.” We pitched it to Disney and MTV, but it ended up with Nickolodeon. We pretty much just winged the whole thing—no pilot or anything. Just made all the episodes. I met a lot of cool people, traveled all around the U.S. and basically did everything that was on my bucket list—Shark diving, towed behind husky’s in Alaska—the most random stuff ever but it was great. I got to do this thing with Tony Hawk at the Kids Choice Awards and I got slimed, which is a dream come true for any kid.
Can’t beat that as a 15-year-old. What do you have planned for the near future?
I guess I’ll just have to wait and see. Hopefully make it into SLS this year and maybe in the next couple years be in the position to make it into the Olympics. I’ve been having so much fun skating and doing what I’m currently doing—I just hope that never changes.
Do you have a girlfriend?
Oh, God no. I stay single, that’s how it is.
Now that you're driving, do you and Jett spend much time together anymore?
Oh, man. Over last summer, Jett and I spent so much time together. We lived together, had just the one car, it got to the point that when we both got back to Arizona we just separated for two months. I got my car and went back and forth to California and we just didn’t hang out together, which was good. No one will ever replace Jett, he’s my brother and my best friend and we’ve traveled the world together. We’re tight again now.
Ok, let’s finish this. Who would you like to thank?
Where do I start…
All right, time’s up.
Shit, I’d like to thank my dad, Jeff Jewett, all my sponsors, you, The Berrics, and anyone that’s helped me along the way.
See you soon for that padless backside 360 at Elliott’s.
It Must Be Nice: Jagger Eaton