Nobody has seen much from Jeff Stockwell since his section in 2013’s ‘The Xsjado Video’. That is unless you follow his steady stream of bikes, trucks, landscapes and a corgi named Elvis on Instagram. After a long and decorated career rollerblading Jeff’s skating has recently taken a back seat allowing him to focus on his newest passion and career as a photographer.
Without formally announcing his departure from professional blading the community was left wondering what had happened to Jeff and that’s why we were so excited when Sayer Danforth contacted The Booted to let us know he and Jeff were close to completing a new, and surprisingly the pairs first, blade project.
Having already caught up with Sayer to discuss the project we wanted to catch up with Jeff as well and find out more about what’s been happening since The Xsjado Video.
First things first, its been a while since anyone has seen/heard much from you. What have you been doing to fill your time since the Xsjado video?
Well when my professional rollerblader career was coming to an end I knew I wanted to do something creative and that didn't involve a standard 9-to-5 job. I've had a real passion for photography for about the past five or six years, so I knew I wanted to do something involving photography. As I'm sure a lot of you know, a lot of old rollerblading photographers have gone on to be successful professional photographers. So I contacted my old friend Brian Konoske to see if there was any way I could assist him and learn the business and see how the whole process works. So for the past three years I've been working with him and a handful of other photographers. I've learned so much over the past three years with all the ins and outs of commercial photography, fashion photography and lifestyle photography. It's also given me the chance to grow as a photographer myself.
All those years being photographed by some of bladings greats, were you ever interested in photography back then? Did you ever consider it to be a future career path?
I was always interested in photography back then I mean shooting with people like Ryan Shude, Dan Busta, Brian Konoske, Wes Driver, Philip Forstner and Adam Kola had such a big influence on me. I loved working with good photographers. I always knew that we were going to get some amazing photos and that I would always try to do whatever I could to make the shoots go as smooth as possible. I got to see how they did it. I was always very interested in the process of getting the shot. I think way back then I always knew I wanted to pick up the camera but I was too focused on rollerblading at the time and didn't really care about anything else other than trying to better my own skating and traveling. The point I knew I wanted a camera was when I went to Kuwait and I got home from my trip and I realized that I hadn't taken any photos or any documentation that I was actually in the Middle East. That's when I realized that I needed a camera and needed to start documenting my travels.
What kind of photography do you like to shoot, any photographers you're a fan of?
In the past few years I've been primarily inspired by the outdoors. I love to shoot anything involving people cars motorcycles and adventure.
Photographers I'm a fan of well let's start of people that I know from rollerblading Brian Bowen Smith, Brandon Smith, Dan Busta, Ryan Shude, Brian Konoske, Philip Forstner and Ivan Narez. Outside of blading, Annie Leibovitz, Gregory Crewdson, Ansel Adams, Chris Burkard, Magdalena wosinska, Ellen Von unwerth, Jared Chambers, Foster Huntington, Jeff Lipsky and Tyler Gourley are some of my influences.
About this new video you are about to release, how did it come about, who's idea was it, how long have you been filming for?
I've wanted to work on a section that is primarily just skate parks for a while now because that's what I have the most fun skating. So I knew I wanted it to be put together well and something that was filmed nicely. I knew that Sayer would do a really good job with that. It was kind of both of our ideas we've been filming for about a little over two months. As much as we can in between both of our work schedules.
How did it feel to be back filming for a specific project?
It felt great to be back filming for something. I took a little bit of a hiatus for a while. I just needed to focus on my career in photography and had to take a step back from skating. Kind of got burnt out in the end just after putting almost 20 years into skating, I just had to take a break. That being said not like I didn't put my skates on I just needed to take a break from being a professional skater and being in the public eye of rollerblading. I'm really excited about this project because at first I don't think anybody knew that I was working on it with Sayer and I'm just really excited to put something out that I know I can stand behind.
Have you ever worked with Sayer on anything before?
Sayer and I have never worked on a rollerblading project together. I mean we did the Heat video together but Carl was filming the whole time. But we've worked on countless other productions together. He was the one that actually got me on my first big shoot as a production assistant for a Kawasaki commercial. Which after that shoot I realized that I wanted to be in that Industry.
You were one of the few original members to be brought on board Xsjado back when it was all a big secret and under the Salomon wing, when and why did you decide to stop blading for Xsjado?
It's kind of a hard question to answer. There's lots of ins and outs to that, but long story short I wanted to take a step back and let someone else have the opportunity to be a pro skater.
Taking a step back from it all has it given you a different perspective on the world of inline skating? As a job and as an activity you got into for fun as a kid? Did you ever think about the direction in which blading needed to go? Do you think anything needs changing or are you happy with how it is?
Taking a step back from it has definitely given me a different perspective on skating. As a job I took it very seriously and did whatever I could to better my skating and always treated it as my profession. When I was a kid I never thought that I would be a professional rollerblader. I didn't even think it was possible, but I was always into skating because it’s what I love to do and it always made me happy because I basically could not think about anything and just go skate. I was kind of a sense of therapy almost. Just go to the skate park or school with your friends on the weekends, laugh, have a good time and push yourself to do some cool tricks.
Has it been refreshing blading as an unsponsored person or were you the sort of person that never really felt any pressure from your sponsors?
I never really felt too much pressure for my sponsors because I was always out traveling on tour and stuff like that but It's been very refreshing to just go to the skate park with my friends and skate with no pressure from anyone. It’s made me find my true love for skating again.
Although you are still clearly active is there anything else you would have liked to have done or accomplished? Are you happy with how your blading career has gone?
I'm extremely happy with my rollerblading career. I felt like I accomplished everything I wanted to do. I got to travel the world and meet amazing people along the way. I wouldn't change it for the world. I made friends that are going to last a lifetime!
You are probably one of the most well travelled bladers of recent generations, where have been your top 3 places you've visited?
It's a pretty tough question but top three places that I've visited... I absolutely love Barcelona. I spent month and a half there and just fell in love with the whole city. That was probably my favourite place in Europe.
Montanita was an amazing little hippie town on the coast of Ecuador. That was probably one of my favorite little towns. It was an amazing trip with Billy O’Neill, Jero and Kenny Owens.
On the shred to you're dead trips I fell in love with Montana because the vastness of nature in general. It's a beautiful, beautiful state and I can't wait to get back there soon.
Whats next on the bucket list?
This year I'm planning a trip to Banff, Canada with Tory Treseder sometime around Summer. I also would really like to get Iceland this year. Hopefully I can make that happen. I'm saving my frequent flyer miles.
What are your favourite video parts you have made?
Shred Til You're Dead
Shred Til You're Dead Two
Top 3 skateparks you have bladed in the world?
Hood River, Oregon
Lincoln City, Oregon
14th Street mini ramp in Long Beach, California
Knowing you for a long time now, its evident you love your motor vehicles (owning a GTI, Harley and FJ60 truck). Do you have a top 5 you would love to own if money was no object?
Well my love for motor vehicles goes very, very deep. I'm a car guy at heart...
1. 2008 Porsche GT3RS
2. 1974 Porsche 911 Turbo
3. 1958 Chevy Apache 3100
4. 1997 Land Rover Defender 90
5. 1959 Ford Thunderbird
Can I list five more?
6. 1966 Ford Bronco
7. 1966 Volkswagen Square Back
8. 1959 Volkswagen Bus 23 window
9. 1984 Volkswagen Caddy
10. 1974 Toyota Land Cruiser BJ40
As this section is yourself ‘invading’ a lot of your favourite Southern California skateparks, did you go back to your old stomping ground SC (San Clemente) skatepark?
Yeah we headed back to San Clemente skate park. I haven't been back to the skate park in over five years. So it as a little weird skating again, a little frustrating that I can't do all the stuff that I used to do when I spent every day there.
Winterclash has just taken place and you were a regular face at the majority of competitions around the world at one stage, do you miss not attending these now?
I miss attending all of the rollerblading events. That was something I look forward to every year seeing old and new friends it was always a great experience for me. Hopefully I will get out to Winterclash sometime soon or maybe even a Summerclash.
Jeff Stockwell stars in Sayer Danforth’s first VOD release, Space Invader, available for preorder now on Vimeo and Sellfy