WORDS: Stu Gomez
PHOTOS: Dave Swift
Birthdays are different for every kid. Whether you get exactly what you want or you get what you need, it’s always a day to remember. For a preteen Chris Joslin, what he wanted and what he needed as an obsessive skater was always one in the same. Forget video games and toys; Joslin would just unwrap a few new decks, blow out the candles on his cake, and jet to the skatepark. Now that’s a happy birthday!
A decade later, Joslin himself is a proud parent. When it came time to plan for his daughter London’s first birthday, a unicorn-themed extravaganza that would make the Cake Boss blush, an idea occurred to him that would essentially be the highest honor that a skateboarder could give: dedicate a video part to her. “It turned out to be quite the project,” he says. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Bluntslide transfer. Pasadena, California. Photo: ShredLA
“Birthdays for me usually had a few decks; I didn’t want anything but to skate.”
Joslin met his wife, Julia, five years ago when they were both just starting high school. They’ve been together ever since, and she was by his side when he turned Pro for Plan B in 2015. Over the past few years, during the couple’s travels throughout Europe, Julia grew fond of the major metropolis in England and when it came time to name their firstborn, it was a done deal: the two were chuffed to name their little nipper London.
The part, “Ode to London,” aired on The Berrics on October 21 and garnered hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube within weeks. Hundreds of comments on the video page confirmed one thing: If it was mathematically possible to give more than 100%, then Joslin would be the one to nail the equation. His rapid-fire part redefined “dedication,” with easily more than a dozen ender-quality clips peppered throughout. “Ode to London” was screened during the birthday festivities on a loop on the big screen in the living room. By the expression on her face, everyone could tell that London was stoked—never mind that she has yet to grasp the meaning of switchstance—but this could also have been influenced by the massive chunk of birthday cake she was enjoying at the time.
*Varial heelflip. Vista, California. *
Joslin remembers when Julia went into labor like it was yesterday. It was a surreal experience: “When the head started to pop out, I was like, Oh shit! This is going down, right here, right now.” Was he ready for that crazy moment when a child is welcomed into the world? Joslin insists that he keeps himself malleable for any eventuality in extreme situations. “To be honest, I just don’t prepare for things mentally,” he says. “I guess I just take life as it comes, one day at a time, and hope for the best!”
Presumably, Joslin is planning on raising the bar for London’s second birthday. (Can a Big Ben NBD be in the cards? Ollie the Thames?) But as for an ideal birthday present, dad is happy with life’s simpler pleasures. “Some good breakfast, a nice shred during the day, and a solid dinner,” he says. “That’s all I ever want.” We’ll see if he feels the same way when London hits the terrible twos.
*Frontside half-Cab heelflip. Pomona, California. Photo: ShredLA
“I tried to keep the part a secret but I underestimated all the technicalities.”
*Switch Frontside Heelflip. Fallbrook, California. *
“When the head started to pop out I was like, Oh shit!”
Frontside 360. Escondido, California. Photo: Swift
“I just take life one day at a time and hope for the best.”
*Nollie inward heelflip. Oceanside, California. *
“I hope London finds passion in something the way I did, whether it’s skating or whatever she wants.”
Kickflip backside tailslide. Lake Elsinore, California.