JORDAN MAXHAM INTERVIEW

Popping Out On The Blind Side

Backside nosegrind popout. Photo: Yoon.

 

WORDS: Stu Gomez

When Jordan Maxham's "Welcome to Warco" part dropped in 2012, the general sentiment was, "Is this what kids need to do to get sponsored nowadays?!" With his seasoned style and mix of tech lines with crazy stairs and rails, Jordan seemed to come from out of nowhere. He raised the bar with that part, and by 2016, he was pro for the brand (with the release of the Sun Machine full-length). Sadly, the following year, the company would go out of business, forcing Jordan to move on from the tightknit family fabric he'd enjoyed for five years. 

After a brief stint at Mystery, Jordan has officially landed on Blind. With a new board and video part to drop next month, we chatted with him about his path to Blind, haters on social media, and the reliability of using the popout method.

 

Boardslide popout. Photo: Yoon.

 

Catch us up on what happened with Warco and Mystery. What led you to join Blind?

Yeah, I was on Warco forever. Five years, at least. When I was like 20 or 21, I was about to move back to Vermont ‘cause I was just out of money. I didn’t have a sponsor, and Warco was like, “We’d love to have you as part of the crew.” It was a bunch of my homies: Daniel Knapp, Norman Woods, Ryan Alvero, and Ira Ingram was the team manager. I was pretty stoked.

Warco bought all my footage and put it out. It was a lifesaver, literally. I was about to move back to Vermont! If it wasn’t for them I would have been fucked! No one would have seen my shit; I just would’ve been bummed, man.

But Warco was so sick. We spent four years making Sun Machine [2016], skating together, traveling, and working on that video. Sun Machine was like the illest video ever. I thought we were on a roll—the graphics were so sick and everything was tight. I don’t know, the money just wasn’t there. Small skateboard companies are just really hard to keep together. It just kinda fizzled out.

I’m good homies with Sierra Fellers and he just helped get me on Mystery, because Warco was going [out of business] and I wasn’t gonna have a sponsor. And Mystery came through and saved me. They were like, “Come be a part of the crew. We’re gonna skate, do our thing, and blow Mystery up!” There was a sick team at the time: Schmatty, Moose, Sierra, and Dan Murphy. For the most part, I’m good homies with everyone on the crew; I was stoked to skate with Schmatty and Moose, and travel and do stuff together. But, once again, you know skateboard companies… they didn’t have much of a budget over there, which I wasn’t super aware of in the beginning. I thought we were gonna be doing a bunch of trips and skating together, filming stuff. You know, normal stuff—I just wanted to be part of a team.

But over the past year of being on Mystery it’s just kind of been a struggle as to the “family” aspect of it. I’d go out skating by myself and it’d be hard for the crew to get together. There was no real family vibe. I love skating, being with my homies and having fun. It was just a bummer because it seems like… me and Sierra would skate together everyday. That’s like one of my best friends. But Schmatty left and Moose got hurt; Dan doesn’t live in this state, and he’s got a lot of other stuff going on. And the owners are in Australia.

I don’t know, I wanted to be part of something, dude. Do something cool and have fun with my friends. So in the meantime, as I was riding for Mystery, my good friend Eric Clavel [future Dwindle T/M] that I film with and skate every single day—he filmed my last three parts—he does a lot of stuff with Dwindle and he’s always out with the Blind guys. So I would just be out with him all the time, skating with the Blind dudes. And it just happened kind of organically. I was like, I’m not happy where I am and I love skating with all these dudes on the weekends. We have so much fun together! I was just like, I want to do this: I want a family; I want to be a part of something.

  

You gotta have family.

And people are coming at me since Monday, when the United Nations was posted, saying, “What’s up dude? Hopping around, you probably change your sponsors more than you change your clothes.” First of all: you guys have no idea. I am not that kind of dude. You know me, I’m a very loyal homie. That’s the only reason why I left Mystery, because I want that more! I found that in the Blind dudes, and we’re stoked. There’s more value in that to me than money, or any other aspect of anything. Just being in that crew, and having that family vibe. Having people to go out and skate with every day, dude!

I’m stoked to be a part of Blind. When I was a kid, the team came to Vermont—and not a lot of people come to Vermont. You didn’t see too many pros in Vermont! Josh Kasper came through, and James Craig, Ronnie Creager. And it was like, that was it. At that age, I had so much Blind stuff! It’s one of those companies you would never even think about getting on—just one of these huge things! It’s crazy to me to even be a part of Blind at all.It has such a rich history; ever Since Video Days [1991] it’s always been a huge crew of people who kill it. They have a huge family vibe and it’s really cool that they would bring me in to be a part of that!

"I am not that kind of dude… I’m a very loyal homie."

 

Tailstall. Photo: Yoon.

 

It must trip you out to look down at your board and see the Blind logo again after all these years.

Super trippy, man! I have a board coming out next month. I’m pretty stoked!

 

Tell me about the graphics. Do they have any special meaning?

The art is mine, actually.

 

Oh shit!

I was stoked. They asked me in the beginning what kind of graphics I like. They were trying to get a sense of my style ,and they had me send them five pictures—just anything I would use to describe myself. So I sent them a Basquiat piece and a Banksy piece, and just random stuff—artists that I’m inspired by. I even sent them an old James Craig graphic [laughs]! Then I sent them two of my pieces, like, Hey these are some things that I painted. That’ll give you a real sense of what I’m into, obviously, because I painted it!

Weiss hit me back and was like, “Send me all the stuff you’ve painted.” So I sent him the stuff and they hit me back with the mockup. It was so sick! It was crazy: to have my own art on a board was really cool. It’s also really cool because I’ve always loved Blind graphics. If it wasn’t my art I would still be stoked.

For the past couple months I’ve been skating blank boards because I didn’t want to let anybody know what was going on. Just before I went to Tampa Pro a couple weeks ago I got my first box of Blind boards—I was like a little kid! It was insane! To have my art thought of as one of these graphics is really cool.

 

And you’re doing their work for them so they’re probably stoked, too!

Haha, really.

 

"Weiss hit me back and was like, 'Send me all the stuff you’ve painted.'"

 

Jordan's "Monsters" deck, coming soon. 8.25 x 31.7; Wheel Base: 14.25.

 

About the shitty comments people have been leaving on social: How do you deal about that kind of criticism?

So, obviously nowadays with social media, you know that’s coming. There’s always gonna be somebody who hates. There’s gonna be kids hating on the internet—that’s just how it is! It’s just frustrating with stuff like that, because that’s stuff that I don’t like either! Hopping around from sponsor to sponsor is not a good look. But you can’t judge someone on their situation at all until you know what’s going on. If kids want to know if I’m hopping around, they can read this interview. I hope they see that I’m not just hopping sponsors, like, “Oh dude! They got more money! Let me get out of this!” It’s nothing like that; you dudes are crazy!

I wish that I could still be on Silent Skateboards, or Warco, that I was on with Chris Colbourn and Tom Rohrer, Pat Rumney, Angel Saucedo, and Collin and Cody Hale. We had the illest team and that was before Warco even started! I wish I could still be on that and nothing ever went wrong. I never want anything to fall apart! I like shit to stay together forever, like that family vibe.

So I’m not trying to hop around to different sponsors, now that I’m on Blind. I’m here; I’m going nowhere, dude! This is that family vibe I was looking for when Warco fell apart because that was my favorite part of it. Just being in the van with all those dudes and making new memories on our trips. The last year when I was on Mystery I was just missing that camaraderie. I was sad, and I knew that I had to do something more involved. And it happened organically.

 

What was it like getting familiar with the new team and everything? All the Blind dudes seem to have very different personalities.

Yeah, the Blind squad is really sick. I’ve been skating a lot with a bunch of the am dudes ‘cause we’re working on an am video right now, and it’s gonna be insane. You know the whole squad is nuts! Being on the same team as all these dudes has been super cool, because I’ve known them forever. Like TJ Rogers: we’re good friends and we’ve been on Grizzly and skating in contests together forever.

Micky Papa, the same. We’re both on Mountain Dew and have gone on a lot of trips together. I’ve known Cody Mac since Tampa—his first time at Tampa was my first time at Tampa. He won, and I got like 200th or something! I remember connecting with him like that; we were both the new dudes. I’ve known everybody on the team for so long, so it’s been real natural.

Getting to know Mike Piwowar has been sick. He’s such a gnarly dude. I’d seen his footage on Instagram but now that I’ve been skating with him it’s been so sick.

 

"Yeah dog!" Filming for the Blind United Nations.

 

"Being on the same team as all these dudes has been super cool, because I’ve known them forever."

 

Yuto?

Everybody knows Yuto—he’s fucking insane! His trick selection is gnarly.

 

What are the seshes like with Yuto? Have you been able to develop a relationship with him?

I don’t have much of a relationship with Yuto, but I will try to talk to him every time we skate. I make it a point to go up and talk to him a bunch during the session. Say what’s up to him when he gets there. “Hey what are you gonna film?” Just talk to him because I want him to feel comfortable—I feel like it’s really hard for people in his situation because of the language barrier. And he’s so sick. I want him to know that I’m hyped that he’s around and I like when we skate together., and hopefully just make him feel super comfortable. But it doesn’t seem like any of that even matters ‘cause he’s gonna crush it no matter what! I’m psyched to be able to watch him come up. He’s gonna do a lot of great things in skateboarding. And eventually he’s going to speak english…

 

And he’ll say he owes it all to you! What about Sewa?

When I was 18, and I first moved out here, he moved into our house. Our photographer, Chris Whitaker, who is also from Vermont and who I moved out here with, met him at the skatepark. And I was actually hurt—I was out for months. So I’m actually not skating, I’m just chilling at the house. This is before Instagram, so you weren’t seeing anything unless the video came out… which is so crazy now how fast that’s gone!

But anyway, Chris brings this kid Sewa to our house. He was like, “Sewa’s gonna kick it with us. He’s amazing,” I became really good friends with Sewa throughout the first month we lived together, before we even skated. We would hang out, kick it and watch skate videos.

We had a friend named Dooly (RIP), who was a professional boxer, teaching us how to box. Sewa would beat me up a little bit in the front yard!

I remember one day he said, “You want to see my footage?” And I watched and was like, “What?! What the hell is this?” The first time you see Sewa skate, it’s pretty gnarly. He was doing hardflip back nosegrinds nollie flip out on benches. I was 18, so this was in 2008. No one was doing that stuff. That tripped me out: This is that funny-ass fool that’s been living with us?

 

Is Sewa really funny?

He’s funny as hell! You don’t really talk to him?

 

Not really, but I’ve heard that he’s hilarious in the group texts.

You should start a conversation with him; he’s really funny. He has a weird sense of humor.

 

Frontside feeble popout. Photo: Messex.

 

I bet you’re hyped about all that classic Blind Heritage stuff since you’re a fan from way back.

It’s seriously trippy. It was crazy to call my mom and tell her that I was getting on Blind because she had bought me so many Blind boards. So, to call and tell her that, she was like, “Are you kidding me?! You’re riding for Blind Skateboards?” It was a big deal to her, and she knows a good deal about skateboarding. She’s been around it a lot, but when I get a sponsor like that it resonates with her. I didn’t think about how gnarly it must be for her.

 

Wow, that’s rad. What else is going on with you in the near future?

I got that board coming out and a new video part coming out next month, I believe. It’s pretty much done, I just want to polish it up and get a few extra cherries on top!

 

You working on more of your early popout rail stuff?

God, I seem to only do that now and it’s like… I looked at my part the other day and I was like, “I l flipped my board… one time so far. I need to go get a trick.” It was crazy because when I was coming, probably until I was 22, I didn’t skate rails at all! My first experience skating a flatbar was when they built the flatbar at Lincoln. We didn’t have a round flatbar so I didn’t do any popouts—I didn’t know how to do that stuff. And I always looked up to Reynolds; I wanted to be Reynolds, I wanted to flip tricks down the biggest stairs, and that was kinda what I did in the beginning. I made a name for myself by jumping down big stairs, and that was like what I always did but I don’t really consider myself a stair skater: I always tell people I can’t skate rails for shit. But my whole video part is rails! It’s really crazy to me because now I’m like, “I need to go skate some stairs to finish my part off.”

But I’m keeping the popouts goin’. I love ‘em; they’re fun.

 

See Jordan in the Blind United Nations here.