Black Sheep Store’s North Wales gem Jordan Sharkey delivers a 3 and a half minute Vans x Vague part filled with absolute hammers filmed in Madrid, Manchester, Stoke On-Trent, Crewe, Barcelona, Gran Canaria and London. As well as this we have a coinciding interview with Jordan by Guy Jones which you can read below!
It seems like you grew up in a small town, if not a village, in North Wales. How did you get into skateboarding and what else would you do to entertain yourself around this beautiful part of the world, did you go swim in the sun centre/ice skate in Rhyl?
Yeah I’m from a small town called Buckley, pretty quiet town with not much going on apart from boozing down the pub.The main reason I got into skating was because they built a small little Woodward skatepark right next to my house. So everyday after school I’d go and meet my mates there and just play around. It was definitely the go to spot in my area when it was built, whether you skated, bmx’ed or neither.
There wasn’t a skate scene where I’m from so you would very rarely see a skater. I thought it was crazy when I first saw someone on a board, like “people really use those?”. One day the older guys who skate came down to the skatepark, and the first guy rolled into the park and did a crooked on the flat rail perfectly. Straight away I thought I need to be able to do that. It looked incredible! So that’s when I started asking my mum for a skateboard.
If we weren’t down at the local park we’d usually be going on some crazy mission up the mountain, walking across towns to see friends or getting kicked out of quarries in summer haha. Rhyl wasn’t such a common place for me to go as it’s a bit of a mish, I’m a little closer to Chester so it was easier to pop down that way.
Did you ever go rural swimming in places like the Blue lagoon, or that water slide near Rob Essex’s house in Bangor?
Yeah for sure! In summer we’ll go down to the quarries or trips down to Bala lake with the blow up boats, it’s a good laugh!
Coming from such a small area, were there interesting locals? It’s one of my favourite things in less populated areas.
Haha yeah, there are definitely a couple of solid characters. One guy who used to be my babysitter as a kid. He had a decent size mole on his face and he used to convince me that he cut his face one day and a coco pop fell into the cut and it healed over. That’s how the mole was made haha. It was the same guy who did the crooked grind at the skatepark years later! He’s a character for sure.
You seem to be in between various scenes, Rhyl, Liverpool, Chester, Manchester then all the others in between. Was it something about Manchester that drew you more there and is it because you’d already done mad shit done the biggest things in Liverpool?
I used to skate Liverpool a lot when I was younger just because there was a train that went straight there from my town, so we definitely made the most of that. For sure it wasn’t because I’ve done “mad shit” hahaha. Liverpool spots are amazing, I heard there’s some new ones too so I’m keen to go back when I’m next over.
For some reason I never went to Manchester, so when I went for the first time, everything just kinda of fell into place. Everyone was so nice, really good atmosphere at the spots, people are so friendly. Nick Stansfield literally offered to put me on Black Sheep after being in town for an hour or so. So straight from the get go I felt good with everyone. It was super cool!
How did you get into skating such gnarly stuff, was the only thing in your local area to skate a 20 stair rail?
That’s actually quite a bizarre one because there’s no rails where I’m from, barely any spots haha. I think my mum just built up confidence in me from a young age. I remember my first time dropping in at the skatepark, some little 3 footer and my mum offered me a fiver to do the 12ft vert next. I wimped out but next time we went I got that fiver! So I definitely thank her for the confidence boosts.
I was just skating Urbis and Nick was heckling me, “flip the blocks, come on man you got this” so eventually he got me hyped and I did the trick and he just said I’m riding for Black Sheep now. It was pretty funny and random to be fair, I was super stoked though cause I’ve known the shop for a long time. Then not long after I went to my first Vans Shop Riot which just happened to be on my birthday and we won. It was a dope birthday week! Always good times with those lot, top lads!
Despite having a cover for Sidewalk and being one of the best to do it, Andy Evs Evans still remains fairly underground. Did he have much influence on you growing up? I notice similarities between the piss take tweaked flips.
Yeah for sure. He was definitely one of my inspirations growing up, I’d never seen someone skate so good with such style. He for sure left a lasting impression on me.
Any secret to the tweaks? Some people’s secrets were childhood gymnastics or martial arts. Could you tell us your secret? Harry Hughes ones are bonkers and he can’t touch his toes.
I used to do a little jujitsu when I was a kid but I think that helped me learn to bail more than tweak tricks. I remember when I was younger I used to practice kickflips to fakie on a quarter pipe and try to really extend my front foot and tweak the back, so now that’s just how they go. With other tricks I think that’s more random, I don’t really try to tweak tricks. I guess it just happens with a certain few…
Please don’t take this the wrong way but something I noticed first about you is your wild locks, which reminded me of shows such as Yu-Gi-Oh. Were you ever a fan and would you potentially film a parody part incorporating the show, say if a collab ever came up (Vans if you’re into this just send the cheque to the usual address)?
Hahaha not so much Yu-Gi-Oh but definitely Dragon Ball Z and Pokémon back in the day. I’d be open to the idea haha. My cats play fight all the time and I’ve thought to make an edit of them squaring up to another, go super Saiyan and start fighting. Just need to work on my editing skills a little haha.
You’ve lived in Madrid for about 2 years ago now right? You said in a previous interview that you were about to fly home back to England when your flight got delayed and you just turned around and stayed. Do you ever wonder where you’d be if you didn’t turn around?
I have indeed, it’s an amazing city! Really funny how it happened because I was just visiting, and on my way home my flight got delayed. So In the 1 hour delay I decided to stay, quit my job and just see how it goes. Turns out it went very well! If I didn’t go then I think I would’ve at some point. I like to live in the moment so at the time I just thought fuck it, plus I really couldn’t be arsed with work that Monday.
You must be pretty set up there now, girlfriend, 2 cats, sounds like a Crosby Stills and Nash song. Have you learned any Spanish and what are some of the benefits to where you live? Any new discoveries?
Haha. Yeah I’ve been learning Spanish pretty much on the street, bought myself a book to learn but it doesn’t get used as much as it should. It’s a nice change to be out of the small towns and countryside though. Got a solid house with the missus and my gatitas (kittens). Great friends who are always out and keen to skate, it was definitely a good change.
Were you in Spain for the lockdown? Did you handle it okay? What did you get upto? It seems you and your missus have got some banging duets, future album release?
Yeah I stayed here for the quarantine, wasn’t sure what to do at the start but realised it would be more fun with the missus. We have a balcony so we can catch some sun and generally enjoy being outside. I think I handled it really well. I tried to get myself into a shape a little, started stretching a lot more and eating better. So definitely gonna try to continue with this. If we go back into quarantine you might just get a duets album from us haha.
It seems like you can take the boy out of North Wales, but you can’t take North Wales out of the boy. Do you and your missus have a converted van to go camping in? Any rad spots you’ve been too and what is it you enjoy about this? Is it the contrast to often skating in urban environments?
We’ve literally just started with this, my girlfriend is so keen to do things it’s amazing. So she’s made it her personal project to kit out the van and start travelling around. We bought a foldaway kit that just sits in the back of the van, it’s really convenient. We went to Alicante recently which was fun. It’s just nice to be out in nature and spend the time to go swimming in places you usually just look at online instead of travelling to. Personally for me it’s too hot to be travelling around Spain in a van right now. She’s away this weekend but I’ll join in again when the temperature’s chilled out a bit. Bloody 37 degrees right now, time to come back to Wales for the summer!
Do you make it back to visit friends and family much and is the contrast refreshing? Have you got a checklist of things to do and people to see?
Yeah I try to return back to the UK as often as I can. I usually just do things when I feel like it and try not to plan too much. So unless there’s an event like, someone’s birthday, a family do or skate event, I just go to and from when I please really, see when the boys are free. However I always stay in the UK for summer, best time to be there and best time to get away from the heat in Spain!
Do you have a surplus of optimism stashed away somewhere? Whether I see you at skate events you’re always chilling with a massive smile, but by the same token you’ll take a horrendous, or at least fear inducing slam and react with a smile? What’s your secret!?
Haha there’s no secret that’s just me. I like to have fun when I skate, not take it too serious. Maybe with more gnarly slams I’m smiling because I got away lucky, a little bruiser ain’t that bad as long as I didn’t really injure myself. Always try to look at the bright side ay?
You’ve done some gnarly things wearing sunglasses, do you feel it gives you somewhat of an alter ego? By the way the Rhyl sun centre kickflip is still absolutely bonkers!
Haha thanks mate. That was a funny one because I remember being so scared and focused on the trick, I completely forgot I had them on. Luckily I got it first try and didn’t have to mess with it again, so when my friend showed me the photo we all had a good laugh about it.
You had a part in Element’s video Knucks, which you fully deserve. Do you feel more a part of this than say a distro flow and what was it like winning the Berrics Element comp. Any secret friendships with the US guys, looked like you and Evan Smith were tight.
Thanks mate! And yeah for sure. I feel like the relationship with Element is amazing. Alex the TM is the nicest guy, and I feel really comfortable communicating with him and everyone else there, so I’m stoked about that.Winning the ‘Make It Count‘ contest was really surreal. 3 comps, 2 were street missions, European and International. It was a rad experience and super dope to get to meet and hang out with everyone. I remember my friend messaged me saying I’d won and I told him to piss off. So he calls me up like “I’m not joking, you actually won”. I think I was at Manhead’s that night too. Just seemed like those types of things don’t really happen, I dunno. It was a really random one but so grateful as it’s kinda got me into the position I’m in now. I wouldn’t say secret friendships, but I have been lucky enough to hang out and go skating with guys like Evan. He’s a beast! Nicest guy and super humble. Was very inspiring!
Filming this part, were there any particular struggles or stories from the filming experience?
Pretty much any trip I went on with Isaac is the shit! Once in Austria we had the best Airbnb, had a massive teepee in the garden where we’d all get hammered. About 3 in the morning we noticed some lilo pedal boats so we took them out down the river, had Daryl, Jago and some random lass with us too. We partied on these boats on the river for a couple hours before Isaac threw himself in the freezing lake, nearly sinking the boat haha. So most of my memories filming clips usually involve a good story about Isaac. He’s a right legend!
You’ve been a staple figure on a fair share of Vans Europe trips now, have you got a tour buddy secret best mate and have you ever wanted to punch Manhead?
You might be surprised to hear this but Manhead is the best TM on a skate trip. He’ll let you do whatever you want so there’s definitely no reason to wack him haha. I remember one time me and J-Thacks had about 10 people in the room, maybe 5 joints on the go in the hotel. They kicked us out and I knocked on Kris’s door to let him know. Turns out Manhead was behind the door and as we caught eyes he goes “I don’t give a fuck”. He’s a true hero. And I usually room with J-Thacks if we’re on a trip together, he’s always mellow. Don’t get to see each other too often so it’s worth making the most of that, plus we’re usually the smokers.
Gotta say the new AVE. every time a new AVE shoe comes out they become my favourite every time!
Couldn’t pick a favourite really. The avenger movies were alright. I always enjoy comedies like ‘Happy Gilmore’ and those types of films.
At the moment I’ve been listening to lots of Tupac again. I like to break down the lyrics to my girlfriend cause she can’t understand it properly, and somehow I’m still finding new songs by him so at the moment that’s me.
The only book in my life right now is my Spanish book, and I barely use it.
Breakfast. Eggs, avocado, tomato and some spinach on toast. If you haven’t tried, I’d seriously recommend it! All scrambled together.
I guess I’d say to try to stay happy and healthy, keep negative shit away and try to look at the brighter side of every situation. Don’t get comfortable doing fuck all. If you put some work in you’ll probably get to where you wanna go.
P.s. Thanks to all me sponsies!! Vans, Element, Shiner, GoPro, Tech Deck, Black Sheep and thanks a lot for the platform mate! I much appreciate it!
Jordan Sharkey – Vans x Vague Part