Meeting… Nestor Judkins!

Photos: Jonathan Mehring

interview: Benjamin Deberdt

"I like the quiet things that hit hard."

 Johnatan Mehring

He's on the discreet side, usually, that Nestor guy… But here he comes bursting through the screen with the main role in a super production, playing the man with the white and green shoe, Stan Smith himself!
It might be a fitting reversal of roles, though, for the San Jose kid that was raised by the Tilt Mode Army,  now an NYC resident professionally endorsing Enjoi… After all, he gracefully negotiates the streets around the world with the help of the loosest possible trucks –just after Matt Rodrigues– not making a fuss about it; appears unexpectedly in far places of the globe to visit friends he made during previous trips, not feeling like he should make that his trademark; and also manages to be a serious contender for the Classiest Man in the World award, not even knowing the damn thing exists…
Plus his answer to the very last question of this interview just scored him the first honorary membership of the Live Lifer's Club!

You just flew back from China straight to NYC? What was the temperature shock like?
There was a difference of 20 degrees Celsius, but the biggest shock was the relatively fresh air of Manhattan compared to the pollution in China.

How, and why, does one California native like you handle the seasons?
I travel a lot. I like the seasons here but that is probably naive to say because I don't spend enough time here to hate them. The snow is fun, but as a skater you need to escape it.

Is this your worst East Coast winter experience, so far?
I was gone during the worst of it, so I can't say. But, my first winter here was the biggest blizzard to hit NYC in 15 years. The following morning there were abandoned buses stuck in the street.

Hmm, looks you're in for some a round two right now… I keep seeing Clark Hassler photos skating despite the snow… Are you going to join him on his missions?
Of course, he's a lot of fun to skate with. I hope he can teach me how to do an ice plant.

What actually prompted you to move to NYC?
My girlfriend, Jessie.

How much of a challenge is it, really, to live there, as a professional skateboarder?
It is hard. You have to have way more motivation to do anything. You have to really know the spots and the times you could skate them. There are a few filmers here but they have jobs outside of skateboarding so you really have to plan things out, unlike California where your team filmer calls you up everyday and you can just get driven to spots. But its worth it. There are so many good spots and I love skating out here for fun and how it comes out in footage/photos. Life inspires creativity, you have to be hyped on where you are. The main problem is four months of winter.

Can you still be affiliated to the Tilt Mode Army, if you don't live in San Jose anymore?
Sure. I don't live there so we don't skate together much but its not like you have to turn in your badge.

What's up with the Army? Do they have plans for another video, maybe?
I have no clue, they have been doing a lot of internet episodes, I think it will continue like that. but you never know, I don't think Bonus Round was really expected to happen before it came together. Its always been a crew of really good skaters, and all the videos just kind of happened organically.

Back to your recent trip to China… Where did you go actually, and what was the purpose of it?
It was an Enjoi trip. We went to Kunming for a week, which was great. By China standards, it was a relatively "small" city of 6 million and the air was clean. Plus a lot of incredible spots and we were the first "western" team to go there. Then we spent a week in Guangzhou. the main purpose was to film for Over Vert, the next Enjoi video.

 Johnatan Mehring

Frontside nosegrind

Is this Enjoi video going to be a five years in the making full length type of project, or a lighter one?
It's planned to be a full length video, and it will be out early this fall. I wish we had five years to film for it, but sadly those days are mostly gone. It'll turn out great though because everyone is really going for it. In a way I kind of prefer a video that was shot over a shorter amount of time, it comes off more authentic to your skating.

I'm sure you get that one quite a lot, but I still got to ask: how is Enjoi without Jerry, at least on your own personal level, when traveling with the gang, like this?
Things are really good at Enjoi. It was scary when Jerry and Matt Eversole [the creative force behind Enjoi, ED's note] left, but it got the rest of us to band together and keep it going. Louie [Barletta] and Cairo [Foster] stepped up to take care of the company and keep Enjoi cohesive. Sure, there is bound to be some changes but we are still skating for something we believe in and having a blast. We miss Jerry but its all good, people gotta do what they feel and it doesn't affect us all as friends.

Let's get to the Stan Smith thing: how did you score the role?
Adidas asked me out of the blue. Luckily they asked me prior enough so I could grow a mustache and get into character.

Is that some future career you were aspiring to, actor?
No way. I never felt comfortable in front of the camera that way before, but this project was really fun. I guess you never know what you can and can't do till it happens. I'm really happy to have been a part of it.

You are quite the fan of simplicity when it comes to design in general or tricks in skateboarding, so the Stan Smith shoe suits you really well. What makes simpler things stand up, to you?
True, it's all personal preference. I find authentic value in simplistic, subtle things. In people, art, anything, I like the quiet things that hit hard. Like the Blues or Robert Frank. You don't need bells and whistles to get attention, it just has to feel real.

Speaking of Robert Frank, have you been shooting a lot of film photography, lately?
Yeah, I always shoot film. Sometimes more than others, but I'm still really into it.

What was the biggest challenge during the whole thing: bleaching your hair, the mustache or the tennis outfit?
Wearing a mustache for two months. It felt good to shave it off after we wrapped up the shoot.

Did you get inspired to keep the Blonde Ambition after it was filmed?
Ya I kept it blonde, why not? I probably wont bleach it again so I might as well keep it for now. Plus, people's reactions are funny. I can play the part of going through an image crisis.

 Johnatan Mehring


What have you planned to escape the rest of the winter, if you can?
Well, I just got back to NYC after being gone a long time and there is still snow on the ground. I have a trip planned to New Zealand in a few weeks, so I'm going to rest up, bundle up and skate here until then.

You are quite the traveler, with or without a team manager to follow you around… What is your most interesting foreign experience, so far, and why?
India because it is the most different culture a western person can visit. It is beautiful, shocking, dirty, sad. It is so many things both good and bad. Also, I was there during the largest human gathering in the history of mankind, the Kumbh Mela.

What is it actually, and how did you end up there?
The Kumbh Mela is a mass Hindu pilgrimage to bathe at a specific point in the Ganges river. It occurs in different sizes every twelve years. This particular one in 2013 was the biggest so far, with 30 million people in attendance on one of the days we were there. I went to India and this festival for a Skateboarder magazine trip with Jon Mehring, Sean Malto, Sebo Walker, Mark Suciu, and Patrik Wallner. The trip was half skating and half cultural centered around the festival. Patrik made a really great documentary on the trip called Gurus in the Ganges.

What would you say to someone that has never leave his own country?
Depending on that person's situation, if they have the time and can afford to travel then do it. It's not for everyone, it's pointless if you are not an open and accepting person because the point to travel is experience. it opens your mind and changes you. Also, it's best to experience while young, before you get too set in your ways. Just go.

Last but not least, when will we share tapas in Madrid next?
Soon I hope. It seems we always just missed each other in Madrid. How about May?

Sounds good! Actually, let's educate the masses on fine spanish cuisine: what would be your recommendation for a beginner, a selection of three tapas?
That's a tough choice to narrow down! I have to say four: Tortilla de patatas, Pimientos de Padron, un plato Iberico, and my favorite, Pulpo a la Gallega. ¡Buen Provecho!

Let's find out if Nestor is a good of an actor as a skater, or food connoisseur…

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