At the age of 18, Tyshawn Jones is quickly rising to the top of his game sponsored by FA, Supreme, Thunder, Spitfire and he recently dropped his own shoe with adidas. At a point in life when most kids begin to step into the party scene, Tyshawn is acutely focused on progressing his skating, living healthy, making music, and furthering his business. Not letting his success go to his head, Tyshawn remains humble and continues to keep his priorities straight. We met up at a NYC spot he knows well – the courthouse and discussed everything from his late dog Nico to blowing out his shoes trying to switch backside flip D7.
Congrats on your new shoe with adidas, the tongue displays a homage to your late dog Nico. Tell us a little about Nico.
Yeah that was my first dog ever he was like my son. I did everything with that dog he was my best friend.
When did you first get Nico?
I got Nico when I was maybe 12, but he lived with my dad because my mom didn’t want me to have a dog yet. She didn’t think I was responsible enough. But when I got on adidas she let me get him. I was like 14… maybe 15 and I was like “Yeah I’m going to get him.” I had one of my friends drive me out to Jersey and we just went and got him from my father’s house.
After Cherry dropped in 2014 your career has been growing fast, what’s next?
It all just happened so fast but I’m grateful. I’m just happy to be here. I just wanna keep doing it all: skating, dropping video parts. I’m glad people are hyped…it get’s me hyped to keep going and do the new stuff that everybody is stoked to see.
At Tampa you were kickflipping up the stair set and I could see your determination to land it just the way you wanted to. What goes through your head when you’re working on a trick?
When I do a trick I don’t know like…it don’t matter how long I try it, I gotta get that one that I like. Even if it’s not perfect like bolts, like even sometimes sketchy looks good you know… like that fly sketchy one? I’m keeping that one. It’s just gotta be a certain way for me, if we’re talking streets, I like to perfect stuff and do it in all ways, make sure I have it down pat. But yeah that was a contest, no one was really going up that stair set so I was like I’m kickflipping up this shit. I gotta make it to the finals [laughs].
You’ve been vocal about avoiding the party life, how did that come about?
Yeah, it was never really a thing for me. It was never “I’m not gonna do this because of this reason” I just never thought it was tight, I always thought it was corny so….I always knew the things I wanted in life and if I did that stuff it would just have distracted me and I probably wouldn’t be where I’m at right now. I just like to stay focused and stick to what I’m into.
I always knew the things I wanted in life and if I did that stuff it would just have distracted me and I probably wouldn’t be where I’m at right now
Looks like that mindset is paying off! What’s next on the horizon for Scrilla? More growth for Hardies, a rap tour, a new skate part, or all of the above?
Literally all of the above. Me and Nak got some songs we’re about to drop and then we’re gonna go on tour with Mikey, like a music tour. Then I got some more plans for Hardies this year and I wanna go on some more trips. Drop some videos and more product. As far as a video part, 2018 everybody gonna be on the lookout for that. So, yeah we’ve just been working it’s kind of overwhelming but it’s better than being home doing nothing. I’m not doing nothing, I’m doing what I want to do in life so I can’t complain.
You’ve talked a lot about Hardies as a company but who’s the best at playing the actual game “hardies?”
[Laughs] Probably Bricks, he hits hard.
What are you listening to these days?
I’ve been listening to Money Man’s new mixtape, and that Tay-K Kid because I guess he’s hot right now. I just been listening to him because he’s been talked about so much but his music is actually good.
Do you have a playlist on deck or what?
I just have like a million songs in my phone. Like, if I didn’t have music I don’t think I could exist. Music helps me get through life.
After blowing up, how much time do you get to spend in New York vs. traveling?
This year I did travel a little bit but I wanted to stick around and skate here again. I wanted to have some New York clips in my video part that’s coming out. But the year before this, I was traveling a bunch and it got hectic. I just missed home so much. I’m a homesick person, if I’m not home for like two weeks I wanna go home, I miss my dogs and my family.
You gonna stick around for winter?
Nah I don’t think I could handle that, I’m gonna have to fly the dogs out or something [laughs]… it gets too cold! But I’m gonna stay here for maybe a month. It’s kinda good though, you give your body time to rest. You can mentally get right, just do what you need to do to get 100% for when it gets hot again.
What was harder to do: Switch Bigflip Chinatown double set or Switch Backside flip D7?
Switch bigflip, easily. We went back for that shit like 8 times. I just kept sticking it and could not roll away. But the funny thing about it was I only did the trick once previously on a 2-stair at Astoria skatepark and then I was like “oh I’m gonna switch bigflip this set.” I went there and I stuck it and was like “Oh yeah,” so I just kept going back and back and back. With the switch backside flip I tried it 5 times and my shoes ripped. My heel ripped because it was such a big stair set. Luckily, I had another set of shoes in the car so I tried it again that same day. Ripped those shoes too but I landed it, it was crazy. I think I bail on my heels weird.
Luckily, I had another set of shoes in the car so I tried it again that same day. Ripped those shoes too but I landed it, it was crazy
So do you have pet peeves with shoes? How did you address those when designing your new shoe?
Nah I don’t have pet peeves, I came from asking for drop-offs and shoe goo so as long as they are fresh I don’t care. The only thing is I just don’t like when my shoelace rips. I get bummed because the extra shoelaces that come with the shoes are never the same. Like, it’s not the same shoelace that goes with the shoe. The other thing is I don’t like my shoes loose when I’m skating. Like jumping down stairs and shit it blows my mind. I always gotta tie my shoes tight because I’m like “what if my shoes fly off when I’m in the air…I’m done” [laughs].
What advice would you give to people visiting New York to skate?
Just skate around and have a good time. You can skate anything there’s literally spots everywhere. Ain’t really no advice just do your thing. Watch out for the cars in the streets that’s the only thing I would say.
What were your favorite spots growing up?
I used to skate Midtown every single day. All night long. Just skate around and have fun, do dumb shit. We were wild kids.
It seems like you still have fun though.
Yeah we still have fun. I just gotta be careful now because I’m 18 and don’t wanna go to jail. Not that the cops could catch me because I’m too fast [laughs].
I was gonna say can you talk about that instagram video where you went over your handlebars?
Oh yeah [laughs]. That one was fucked up because people were saying “you got no blocks,” but really I was wheelie-ing blocks right before that. In Germany too I was going crazy. If you watch the video I’m twisting the handlebars playing around and everything but when I put the wheel down it was still turned so I went flying over the handlebars.
You got up quick though.
Yeah I eat those! I mean it ended me for that day but I got up and kept biking around. I wasn’t tripping.
What’s your favorite thing to do in New York off the board?
Hang out with my friends, go eat and stuff. I don’t know, go-karts, paintball, whateva. I do random things, I just like having fun.
Favorite NY based skate video?
Probably Cherry, and I’m not saying that because I’m in it. I just like Bill’s videos. The way he does them are just different, it’s sick.
When you hit the rail in front of Police Headquarters, what were the people’s reactions out by the front gate? Were the cops watching you roll up to it?
We went back to that rail twice actually. Bill always kept asking me to do it. He was like “yo people have been looking at this rail for years and nobody’s hit it.” It was scary but it had a crack in front of it too. The first time we went there I went for it and grinded the whole thing down first try but cops came and kicked us out. We went back and it was just me, Bill & Sean Pablo. I rolled up to it for like 30 minutes. I finally worked up the nerve and went for it but I missed my pop and ended up jumping down the rail, hopped down it and caught myself…Bill’s gotta show that footage someday. I run back up the stairs smiling because I was so hyped…I came so close to eating shit but I didn’t so I ran back up and just did it.
I finally worked up the nerve and went for it but I missed my pop and ended up jumping down the rail, hopped down it and caught myself…Bill’s gotta show that footage someday
I don’t know if you’ve seen Neen Williams’ video about staying sober and healthy to extend his time skating on a high level at his age of 31. What do you foresee in the years to come for your own career? Do you stretch and take the athlete mentality towards skateboarding?
Hell yeah I’m on that shit. Epsom salt, Ice… I just ordered a gun that’s like $600 but I’m not gonna give y’all my secrets cuz y’all gonna wonder how I’m doing this shit…nah I’m just playing [laughs]. I get chirotherapy, massages. I don’t really drink a lot of soda. I was gonna try to go vegan but I don’t know…chicken, steak all that shit’s too good. I feel like I’m from the south or something, I don’t know why I like chicken and macaroni and all these crazy things. I don’t necessarily think that’s the only way to stay young but…I just say drink a lot of water, stretch, eat fruits. You know, play both sides.
Skateboarding in the Olympics has become a big topic, any aspirations to compete?
Hell yeah I’m down for that. I don’t even know how I would get into that. The only people I can think of that would know how to go about that would be adidas…if they want to put me in the olympics hell yeah I’m down.
Some say you’ve got a “cool guy” rep, how do you see yourself?
My whole thing is people say that “cool guy” shit… That shit is retarded. I hear people say “Oh those Supreme guys…” it’s not even like that, we’re mellow and chill. I feel like kids are intimidated sometimes. They’ll come up and talk with me and be like “Oh my god, I thought you were gonna be mean.” I’m like, why would you think I’m mean if you never even spoke to me in real life? Just because I didn’t go out of my way to say hi to you doesn’t mean I’m mean, I just keep to myself. I stick to myself and my small little circle. But if you come up to me, by all means, I’ll talk and we’ll have a nice conversation. I just think you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover just because you never know… anybody could be cool. I met a lot of people who I didn’t think were gonna be cool and I was like “wow, that person was really nice.” You gotta meet somebody first and really have a discussion or an experience with them before you can judge them. Looks can be deceiving for sure.
You gotta meet somebody first and really have a discussion or an experience with them before you can judge them
Finally, any shoutouts or plugs?
Shout out to everybody doing their thing. Keep doing your thing, whatever it is and keep being you.