I met Chris Jackson at the Es Game of Skate in 2008. I had just started working for Plan Nine that summer and was already starting to get used to a phenomenon that us skateshop employees across the globe know as “annoying little kids trying to get at ya.” There were over 150 kids in that crummy parking lot that day, all trying to find space to get a few 360 flips in before the tournament started. In the sea of children, I noticed a young lad with a tiny face and stringy hair trying backlips on a store bought ledge we had sitting out in a June heat wave. Between two of his frantic attempts, he looked to me as I was passing by and emphatically said “Hey! You know Andy Wissman!” If a kid ever wanted me to write him off, that is definitely the way to do it. Of course I know Andy Wissman. Of course I know that I know Andy Wissman. Why is it necessary for you to tell me this? Don’t get me wrong, Andy is one of my best friends, so I should welcome the fact that kids identify us together, but it just always irks me. So, in textbook Joe Hodges fashion, I made a snap judgment and wrote Chris off as just another annoying little skate rat from West County, destined for beer pong and a Northface as soon as he was old enough to drive. Well, in typical Joe Hodges fashion, I was wrong.
Somewhere along the line that summer, I gave Chris my phone number. I usually always gave the kids my number, but I also made sure never to answer their calls. Chris was no exception. I think it took about a month before I even considered going skating with him and maybe even another month before we finally met up at Ikon and skated. It was evident pretty soon thereafter that this kid could skate. Now, that’s all fine and dandy, but it takes a little more than that to win my approval. It wasn’t until sitting down and talking about some of the other local kids that my eyes were open to Chris’s true personality. “Nah man, I don’t like that kid,” he explained. “You should have seen him trying to ollie these stairs with his shirt off.” Immediately I thought “Wow, this kid is as big of a jerk as I am!” From that day on, I have always been down with Chris Jackson.
Over the past two years, I have definitely passed on more opportunities to skate with Chris then I have accepted. We do live very different lives after all. I’m 22 years old. I work full time, and I spend my free time hanging out at my house, playing music, trying to chase girls and getting a full night’s sleep for crying out loud. Chris on the other hand is a beacon of youth. He skates all day and probably stays up until 3 or 4 in the morning watching YouTube videos or messing around on Chat Roulette. While we have shared skateboarding over the years, I do wish I would have let myself share it a little bit more with him, and everyone for that matter. A part of me is quite envious of the carefree attitude that Chris brings to his life. Look at it this way; he’s lived the most epic life here without a car, a pair of pants without the ass blown out, another shirt, or a good skateboard set up. Imagine when this kid actually gets hold of something. He’s going to fly!
I have never been as wrong about a person as I was about Chris. He’s not destined for beer pong and a Northface. He’s destined for something far bigger and far greater than any of that, and I personally can’t wait to see what it is. I wish you all the best in Texas, my friend.
These are a collection of photos, mostly taken on our 3 day trip to Kansas City during which chris solidified his MVP status on both skateboards and Chat Roulette.