Dashawn Jordan is a rising star in skateboarding and he has been on fire recently. In 2016 he dropped a heavy Next New Wave video part for The Skateboard Mag along with some solid magazine coverage and topped it off with the Tampa Am win that qualified him to skate in the 2017 SLS Nike SB Pro Open. He started 2017 off with an incredible Radar part for The Berrics and then brought the heat at the Pro Open and ended up being one of the two highest placing Qualifiers that became SLS Pros…and he’s not even pro yet! At just 20 years old, Dashawn has a seriously bright future in skateboarding ahead of him. Given that, we wanted to take the opportunity to get his perspective on his phenomenal past 12 months and where he sees himself going in the future. One thing is for sure. Dashawn will certainly be a threat on the SLS course in 2017 and beyond.
Where are you living these days?
I live in Chino, CA now.
How long have you been living out there? You grew up in Arizona, right?
Yeah, I grew up in Arizona. I’ve been in California for two years now.
What’s the scene like in Chino?
We have parks by where I live, but there’s a bunch of untouched spots that are still proper. I love it out here so far. I like the environment. It kind of reminds me of Arizona. We have normal restaurants. We have, like, Walmart and Applebee’s—the normal stuff instead of being around a bunch of little cafes and shit (laughs).
Let’s rewind back to your win at Tampa Am in 2016 which earned you the invite to the Pro Open. What was it like winning and finding out that you would have the opportunity to compete in an SLS event?
It was exciting knowing that that was up for grabs and was another opportunity on top of trying to win Tampa. Winning Tampa Am is something everyone is trying to do as an amateur skateboarder if they realize how beneficial it is. I was stoked to just have the opportunity to accomplish that. Having a shot at skating in the biggest contest right now that’s really huge and on TV and everything—that added that much more hype to it. Finding out that I was gonna have that opportunity gave me something to look forward to. I’ve watched it on TV and seen all my favorite skaters in it. I was in shock that I would have the opportunity to go compete with them and be a part of something like that.
Celebrating that 2016 Tampa Am win. Photo: Bart Jones
What was it like being out in Barcelona and skating the course with everyone? Were you nervous at all?
I was nervous for sure. I always try to keep my nerves at a minimum. Even when I skate amateur contests, I get nervous. I try to tell myself not to overthink it and just stay calm. Barcelona was a time when I really kept it under control, and really put myself to the test. I was super nervous at times. But once I made it to the second day, I knew that I was going against the best. But at the same time, it was still anybody’s game. This was my first time in SLS, so I didn’t even fully understand how the scoring went. It was nerve racking. But once it got closer to the end and I saw that I was still in a good spot, I was super psyched. Then finding out that I I made it to Finals, that’s when I started to get even more nervous. I was skating with people that I really look up to that are legends. I had to tell myself to be relaxed and just skate. Once I shifted to that mentality, I felt comfortable. I wasn’t just in my own head.
What was it like competing against the top pros as an amateur?
My main goal going there was to make it to the second day and skate the actual SLS contest. Making it into the Finals was not even on mind. Once I made it to Finals, I still felt like the new guy. I felt the pressure to make a good first impression. I had made it that far, I wanted to put on a good show. After that, it was more fun. Once I realized that I had a shot to make it into SLS, I knew that I had to just skate like I do at any other contest and have fun with it. I knew I had to take chances. It was exciting. I took my first run, and everything got way better. I thought, “Ok, it’s on!” The rest of the day was mellow. I wasn’t really stressed about anything. Overall, I was excited that I had accomplished what I went there to do and took advantage of the opportunity that I was given.
How does it feel to be a part of SLS?
It’s a crazy feeling. I remember watching the contests when it first started. Arizona was one of the stops, and I went and watched it. This was a long time ago. But I remember thinking, “It would be sick to be in this one day.” It’s still a shock to me—competing on this larger scale. My face is going to be on TV. I’m going to be skating in this contest in an arena. It’s wild. I just want to do well and put on a good display for the crowd. It’s a huge opportunity for exposure. I just want to gain that love from the skaters at whatever stop we’re at. I’m super stoked on the opportunity, and I want to take advantage of it.
Dashawn Jordan with a perfect 360 Flip Lipslide during the Pro Open. Photo: Gaston Francisco
How do you feel about the SLS format?
I love the format. It’s way more relaxing than the contest being just runs. You’re able to do two runs. Then, you have your bag of tricks that you want to do in the Big section. The strategy part is fun—being able to be creative. You always have in your head what you think something is going to score. But you don’t actually know until the score is up. If you do a trick and it doesn’t get the score you want, you can switch it up to see if you can get a higher score. The process is super exciting.
Being in SLS places you in an odd spot in the industry. You’re still technically an am, but you’re now competing on the pro level against the best in the world. Have you given any thought to that at all?
It’s weird. There hasn’t been any ams in SLS yet, huh?
Matt Berger was still am when he made it into SLS through the Pro Open in 2014, but he turned pro the following year before the season began. I would have to check the stats, but I believe that you are the second. How does that feel?
Yeah, it’s insane! I’m just thinking about it like, “Damn, the next stop is Germany, then Chicago.” Just being in these contests, it’s exciting. I’m just super stoked to do this. I can’t wait. I just want to compete in this SLS season and have fun. It’s crazy to think about. People have been hitting me up telling me that they can’t wait to see me skate in SLS. The feeling is insane. It’s unexplainable.
Nollie Noseblunt warm up in Barcelona. Photo: Milosz Rebes
While we’re on the subject of turning pro, I wanted to touch on your current board sponsor status. You recently parted ways with SOVRN. I’m assuming you’ve had some offers after Tampa and Barcelona?
As of right now, I don’t have anything lined up. I’ve gotten a couple of offers. It hasn’t been anything like, “Oh, we want you on the team.” It’s more been just people wanting to help me out. Right now, I’m just riding blanks. And my good friend Jim Thiebaud gives me boards just to keep something under my feet—there’s no intentions right now, he’s just looking out for me. He’s a rad dude. He always supports everyone.
With SOVRN, it’s not like I quit for another offer. I had some ideas about where I would of liked to have gone. But obviously, those didn’t work out. Right now, I’m just going to fall back. I’ve been thinking that the brands that I wanted to ride for probably weren’t the right homes for me either. It will work itself out. The right thing will happen when it’s supposed to. That will be where I belong.
I don’t want to keep asking people to get on. I just want to fall back and just skate, and keep improving my skills. I really just want to keep everything going. It’s obviously something that I should think about. But people ask me all the time where I’m going, and I tell them that I honestly don’t have anything lined up. I’m just focussed on skating, getting better, putting out more parts, and letting the right thing happen instead of forcing anything or trying to press anybody.
Clearly, you’ve been on fire for the past 12 months. You had The Next New Wave and Radar parts, you won Tampa Am, you dropped that fakie tre at Thrasher’s Bust or Bail, and you made it into SLS. It seems like you’re on a mission right now. What’s your program been through all of that?
My program has been to just keep it solid with the contest stuff and put out parts. I’m just trying to keep it balanced. I’ve been known as a contest kid. I want that to be balanced out. So my plan is to be back home grinding getting footage when I’m not skating an SLS stop. I just want to do well in SLS and get more parts out.
Who are some of the skaters that you look to for inspiration?
I’ve got a couple, actually. P-Rod is the first dude. I can talk to him about stuff and he gives me the best advice. He looks out for me. Jim Thiebaud always gives me advice as a friend. He really cares about me and wants to see me succeed. He keeps it 100 with me on anything that I want to talk to him about. Chris Cole too, I can talk to him about stuff sometimes. He keeps it 100. Malto too, I can talk to him about stuff and he gives me advice. They’ve all been there before. Then there’s guys that I look up to that I don’t talk to as much like Shane O’Neill, Koston, Guy (Mariano), Nyjah. I like having personal conversations with all of these dudes because they’re stable in skateboarding. They are well-rounded—which has always been my goal. I want to keep a nice bag of tricks and be able to skate every way and try to master doing everything. As far as guys closer to my age, I’ve got some good friends over at FA like Nak and Tyshawn. Those are dudes that I talk to and hang out with. Those are like my circle of dudes that I chop it up with. And I skate with them.
Outside of SLS, what do you have planned for the rest of 2017?
I’m doing some parts for Thrasher. I want to do another HD part and I want to put out another VX part. That Bust or Bail thing is the first thing that I’ve done with them. That was good vibes and I started chopping it up with some of the dudes over there.
Switch Front Blunt during his Finals run. Photo: Gaston Francisco
You must have a pretty demanding schedule with contests and filming for multiple parts. What’s your daily routine like?
I’m up in the morning, I take a shower, get ready, and leave the house, then I’m out all day in the streets skating.
I don’t want to say things happened fast for you, but you definitely had an explosive year. What would you say to kids out there that want to accomplish even half of what you have in such a short period of time?
I would say just stay hungry and stay humble. And just be cool. Just because you don’t have somebody in your ear telling you how good you are every day, telling you what to do, and giving you handouts all the time doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be confident, keep that hunger, and be motivated to keep going and reach new levels. They say hard work pays off. And it really does. A big part of that is just being patient and just being you. The skating will prevail. And not only will that prevail, your character will also. It’s one thing to be good at skating. But if you’re a rad dude and you get along with everybody, everybody wants to be involved with you. That’s what I’ve always strived to do—be solid on and off the board, and keep my relationships good with everybody. I always live by the motto that the impossible is possible. So I would say know yourself, be yourself, and never sell yourself short.
Watch Dashawn skate the 2017 SLS Nike SB World Tour. Get tickets now before they’re sold out!