He’s the Gold Coast local who rose through the ranks to become a pro skateboarder, sponsored by Santa Cruz and living any young kids dream.
This weekend he’ll teach skateboarding workshops on the Coast as part of HOTA’s Concrete Culture event.
We sat down for a chat with Jesse about his upomcing local workshops and how those of us who have no idea, can learn to skateboard like a pro too (close enough anyway).
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I was born at the Southport Hospital and besides living in Melbourne for a year and a lot of traveling, I have been a proud Gold Coast local for the majority of my life.
What do you love most about living here?
In my opinion, the best things about living on the Gold Coast are the amazing people and community we have, no where else in the world do you find people like Gold Coasters and I think it’s because of our awesome laidback lifestyle with the best beaches in the world and world-class skateparks. We live in paradise and you can feel the joy.
Talk us through how you became a pro skateboarder…
I’ve been skating from roughly age seven and I have never stopped. I worked hard to be the best skater I could be and worked my way up to being recognised by some major Australian sponsors and after years of representing them, I was rewarded with an introduction to the pro ranks with my own pro model board for Santa Cruz skateboards. It was a very surreal moment because as a kid I had dreams of becoming a pro.
You’re running workshops at HOTA for Concrete Culture this week, what’s involved in those?
The workshops at the HOTA Concrete Culture event are going to be epic, we will be working with all levels of young skaters helping them with their confidence, balance, core strength and a better understanding of the dos and don’ts of skateboarding. Our aim is to help every skater at the event be able to venture to any of the Gold Coast’s amazing skateparks with confidence, to give it a go and gain the rewards that skateboarding has to offer, we hope all our skaters leave our clinic with some new tricks and a huge smile.
Any advice for those of us who’d love to try skateboarding but have no idea where to start?
For someone who has never tried skateboarding and is interested in giving it a go, I would recommend joining a beginner group session or private session with RockNSlide skateboarding. We can help you with all you need to know in the safest way possible, eliminating risk and can even provide all the gear if you’re unsure and just want to try skateboarding before purchasing your own equipment. With over 20 years of skateboarding experience we can get you skating in no time.
Besides skateboarding, what do you love to do?
When I’m not skateboarding, I’m in the ocean riding my surfboard. Surfing and skating go hand in hand and it’s the perfect outlet to keep active and enjoy the Gold Coast when I’m not rolling on the concrete.
What’s the plan for the rest of 2019 for you?
We have big plans for the end of 2019, we are running multiple skate events including our skatepark tours, skate camp and an epic event we call the Rocknsizzle. I am also busy finishing my new skate video part for Santa Cruz skateboards that is due to be completed by Christmas. It’ll be showcasing my best tricks on my board at an international level so it’s busy and exciting times for us thanks to skateboarding.
What do you say to people who might like to follow in your career footsteps?
The most important advice I can say to anyone is always be yourself, be kind, honest and don’t be afraid to work hard then you can achieve any of your goals, no matter what they are.
Tell us your favourites on the Coast:
Restaurant for dinner: Beach Burrito Coolangatta – best Mexican on the Coast hands down.
Cafe for breakfast: JJs in Tugun – best and most honest big breakfast.
Coffee spot: Henchman Miami, I got some coffee there the other day and it was delicious.
How does your weekend usually look? Wake up, surf, lunch, skate and repeat.
Sarah Huston is a Gold Coaster passionate about skateboarding and design.
So much so that she has put together a photography exhibition, fittingly titled Yeah Girl, showcasing female skateboarders from around the world.
We took five to chat with Sarah about Yeah Girl’s collaboration with Bowlzilla and how skateboarding fuels her creativity.
How did the Yeah Girl exhibition come about?
I started noticing more and more girls around the world were shooting skate photos and it just seemed like this really niche little group that was flying under the radar. Originally, I was going to do it as an exhibition of female photographers shooting anyone skating—guys or girls—but I’m also a bit of an advocate for increasing the exposure of female skaters, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to put all the ladies in the spotlight; the ones behind the camera and in front of it.
How is Yeah Girl linked to Bowlzilla?
Yeah Girl and BOWLZILLA were both part of the Bleach Festival lineup last year so we began working together to create one big weekend of skateboarding. Since then BOWLZILLA have been big supporters of Yeah Girl and vice versa. BOWLZILLA’s ethos is based around bringing people together, having fun and celebrating skate culture; something Yeah Girl can definitely relate to and get behind.
This year we’ve joined forces again to put on a double movie premiere on Friday March 17th at Warehouse No. 5. We’ll be premiering Quit Your Day Job, the first female skate film to come out of the USA in over a decade, as well as Steady Lurking, a new local film from the guys at Fiik Skateboards.
Why are you passionate about showcasing female skateboarders?
There’s so much talent in women’s skateboarding these days, from both the skaters and photographers. There’s also a really unique culture in women’s skating. It still has a really DIY vibe about it and it is what it is because of the passionate women that are a part of it, constantly pushing to make things happen. It deserves to be highlighted and celebrated.
If you had asked me a year ago I would have said my passion was driven by the lack of coverage for women in the core skate media. But to say that now – on the day when Lizzie Armanto’s new Thrasher cover was just revealed – wouldn’t really be fair. As a community we need to keep that momentum going though and continue to back women’s skating with the same passion and determination that has gotten it to where it is now.
You’re a skateboard coach, why do you think people should try it?
I can’t think of anything else that can teach you so much patience, determination and persistence and still be so fun! It’s kind of funny, I often find myself in deep philosophical conversations with friends about the life lessons that can be learnt from skateboarding.
The most rewarding part of coaching is seeing people support each other regardless of their skill level, gender or age. Skateboarding just has this way of bringing people together and breaking down barriers.
What do you love about it personally?
So many things. But I think it’s the challenge that keeps me coming back for more. I get as much satisfaction out of trying to learn a trick as I do landing a trick. Which is lucky because it tends to take me a while so I might have given up long ago otherwise…
I also love the friendships that come from skateboarding. It’s a pretty special community, especially amongst the girls. It’s still tight-knit enough that a mutual love of skateboarding is enough to reach out and build a friendship on.
Tell us about your background, how did you get to be where you are today?
I feel like where I’m at right now is because of a beautiful collision of my two biggest passions – skateboarding and design. My love of skateboarding began as a kid. My brothers used to skate so decided to try it out and it’s been a part of my life ever since. I studied design at Queensland College of Art and since then I’ve been working (–and living–there’s no dividing the two) as a designer. Skateboarding and creativity go hand in hand so those two parts of my life naturally came together. I guess Yeah Girl is their love child.
How does skateboarding inspire your creativity?
As a skateboarder you tend to think outside the box and see the world a little differently – a ledge isn’t just a ledge and a set of stairs isn’t just for walking up and down. The premise of creativity is the same. You need to see different perspectives and draw connections between seemingly unrelated things. So to more directly answer your question, it’s not so much that skateboarding inspires my creativity, but it is an extension of it. They go hand-in-hand.
What’s in the pipeline for you?
Right now I’m working on the next Yeah Girl exhibition. I’m excited to be teaming up with Girls Are Awesome to take the exhibition to Copenhagen this year. It opens on July 15th at Vess Gallery and will run through CPH Open, one of skateboarding’s biggest global contests and celebrations.
Your favourite piece of life advice?
If it doesn’t scare you, it’s not worth doing.
You’re not a Gold Coast local if you haven’t…
Quoted “beautiful one day, perfect the next” to interstate visitors and then struggled to entertain them while it rains for a week.
Being a Gold Coast local we have to ask for your favourites…
Beach: Mermaid Beach – it’s close to home and not too busy
Restaurant: Zipang Japanese Dining in Currumbin
Bar: I’m more of a small bar person – Apres Surf
Coffee Shop: All Time Coffee
Ahh Miami. I mean the name alone gives cool vibes for days, and this southern GC suburb does not disappoint. In fact, Miami has risen through the ranks over the last few years to become one of THE places to see and be seen at.
Here are 18 reasons why we can’t get enough and LBH, if it’s good enough for Will Smith to sing about, why wouldn’t we write about it?! (a different Miami but, same same).
This place has awards coming out of every orifice and for darn good reason. Turning a 70-year-old Queenslander home into one of our all-time fave bakeries, Paddock hits a homerun every time. With seating options in the gardens, cottage, loft, rooftop and barn, it is the perfect brunch spot. You won’t give a hoot about the calories in their bakery goods because they are worth not being able to fit into your skinny jeans.
Where: 20 Hibiscus Haven, Miami
I mean it’s a distillery, and we feel this is enough of a sales pitch… With award-winning spirits galore made by this family-owned business and a super cool rustic vibe, it’s a no-brainer for an awesome arvo. Try the Two Pencils Gin and the Coffee Liqueur…or maybe don’t coz a trip to Dan Murphy’s will just never cut it again. Also, it’s BYO food so there’s more in the kitty to blow on booze.
Where: 45 Lemana Ln, Miami
If you haven’t been in and emptied your bank account yet, you are not worthy of calling yourself a true Gold Coaster. With homewares, art and craft, flowers, clothes and vintage bits and pieces, this little gem is pure girly heaven. Described as a creative retail space inspired by living slowly and consuming mindfully, it encourages sustainable futures and celebrates creativity. Yay!
Where: 1/29 Lemana Ln, Miami
Kira & Kira
This place is a home decorator’s happy place. Carrying timeless and unique pieces carefully curated from local and global designers and artists, Kira & Kira value true craftsmanship. Their ethos is: buy once, love forever…and we’re here for it. Featured in the who’s who of abode styling magazines, Kira & Kira is a true local treasure and we feel like proud parents watching her grow and conquer.
Where: Cnr Gold Coast Hwy and Kratzman Ave, Miami
Miami Fish Market
If it’s responsibly sourced and sustainable seafood so fresh it’s still swimming (literally) you’re seeking, then this place is your new BFF. If you don’t feel like cooking up their plethora of seafood in your own kitchen, you don’t have to as it also boasts a raw bar with oysters shucked to order, sashimi and specialist conservas from Europe. How good?!
Where: 1/54 Paradise Ave, Miami
This moody, industrial-esque beer garden and tapas haven is a refreshing change from the Palm Springs-inspired venues which rule the GC right now. With mouth-watering bites, fine wines, local beer goodness and of course, cocktails, it’s where we’re spending our Saturday arvos. Hosting regular events like comedy nights, they also serve Halloumi Tacos and do we really need to say anymore?
Where: 2176 Gold Coast Hwy, Miami
Okay so the view from atop Miami Hill is just beyond. It is a steep (but brief) climb, but well worth pushing the ‘ole bod to see our beautiful GC in all its glory from north to south. And if you’re keen to burn off the weekend’s indulgence, the stairs on the north side of the hill are a popular choice for those wanting to raise their heartrate.
Where: At the south end of Miami (you can’t miss it)
Known as Miami Tavern in its past life (or the Shark Bar if you’re older than that), The Miami has been an iconic destination for those after quality pub grub and good times since 1925. This two-storey newly renovated pub draws inspo from its beautiful beachy surroundings, overlooking Miami Hill. It’s a staple for a fun day or night out with the gang.
Where: 2043-2047 Gold Coast Hwy, Miami
If you grew up on the GC, you’ve been to Pizzey Park. A premium sport and recreation precinct, it’s one of the biggest and most popular parks on the Coast. With an area for your pooches to roam, a skate park for the kids to run themselves ragged, and beautiful areas to sit down with a picnic lunch, it’s also the perfect backdrop for an Insta snap-fest.
Where: 80 Pacific Ave, Miami
Going for a scenic stroll along the Esplanade and then rewarding yourself with a Merlo coffee, fresh smoothie or yummy brekkie is good for the soul…and Piccolo Espresso knows it! A fave amongst locals, whether you want to sit down and take in the beach views or grab something to go, you’re sorted. Insider tip: the Avo and Fetta Mash is a winner.
Where: 2 Hythe St, Miami
What would a Miami hotspot list be without our beloved Miami Marketta. It could be the backstreets of Thailand, Barcelona or New York City but nope, this epic night market is right here in our city my friends. A family friendly destination, it dishes up a giant slice of multicultural goodness with stalls, street food, live music and events. A must-see in anyone’s books.
Where: 23 Hillcrest Pde, Miami
The Jolly Roger
Serving only Aussie and NZ catches, this funky fish joint promises the freshest seafood and is furry friend friendly! With a great range of homemade snacks and flavours, plus offering a keto fish and chips meal (bravo) and vegan tofish (get it?!, sounds like something we’d come up with…), it caters to one and all. Ahoy me hearties!
Where: 3/110 Mountain View Avenue, Miami
UGG Since 1974
Because we all love a good UGG. An Aussie-owned and made institution, the UGG will never lose its sparkle. Literally – you can get a pair of custom-made UGGs here with Swarovksi crystals. Not.even.kidding. With a huge selection of colours and patterns plus the option to take a tour of the factory, it’s un-Australian not to check it out.
Where: 23 Christine Ave, Miami
Yes, this is the place where you go to throw axes for fun. It’s actually a thing, and a super fun and strangely satisfying thing at that. Perfect for date night, social outings, birthdays, bucks, break-up (I mean, we didn’t say that) or even corporate events, learn from axe throwing gurus who will get you nailing bullseyes in no time. If it’s good enough for Jason Momoa, it’s obvs good enough for us.
Where: 19 Ozone Pde, Miami
Looking for a feed that’s Italian? That’s BYO? That’s a family-run biz? That’s…Amore! This crowd-pleasing local haunt never fails to knock our socks off. Its reasonably priced menu means we can afford to go every week (if we can get in that is) and its food is as good as it gets. With everything you’d hope to find on the menu, you can taste the love in every dish.
Where: 110 Mountain View Avenue, Miami
This industrial-style space serves up coffee that is off the charts and the menu is loaded with fan-favourites and vegetarian-friendly delish eats. It’s the perfect place to meet up with the crew, take your laptop for a change of scenery during the work day, or pop in for a pre-beach bite. Both Andrew Madgwick and Dylan Nesbit will warmly welcome you!
Where: 44 Pacific Ave, Miami
Another family-run fave, Trader Trove is a curation of handmade rattan furniture, unique home décor, stunning soft furnishings, beautiful giftware collections and so much more. Its worldly wares inspired by slow and intentional living, with a nod to the bohemian and coastal luxe interiors, makes us swoon every.single.time!
Where: 22 Christine Ave, Miami
Words by Bianca Trathen.