Jesse Ramirez & Jhossan Rodriguez Interview

I spent  my whole summer with them, we didn’t eat any
south-american food, but the flavour was there.
Jesse is the vet from Montreal,  and Jhossan the new kid on the block. Both of them are really 
talented with that piece of wood, but the first thing you will think when you see them on a board is «style»!
Two different styles, 
two different cultures.
Skateboarding reunites them at their best.

Introduce yourselves please
Jhossan: Jhossan Rodriguez Andradé, 23 years old, and I come from Mexico City.
Jesse: Jessie Ramirez, 21….humm

Haha you’re not 21 anymore!
Jesse: So baked..27! Born in the Domican Republic.

How long have you been living in Montreal?
Jhossan: I came here this spring.
Jesse: Since the age of 11, I came here in the year of 2001.

How was life in the Dominican Republic?
Jesse: It was good!

Did you start skateboarding there?
Jesse: I started a year after I landed in Canada.

Did you go back to skate there sometimes?
Jesse: Yeah, I use to go once every year.

How is it over there, good to skate?
Jesse: It’s rough! There is 2 skateparks around the capital, Santo Domingo, an hour and a half from my house.

Jhossan / Handplant, Ile Perrot

How was your transition when you came to Canada?
Jesse: The first time I came here, I realized that everything was organized, haha!

Like what?
Jesse: Lights everywhere, speed limit, signs. I came here during the winter, it was cold.
But I liked it, it was a long transition to speak french and english perfectly.

Oh so you were just speaking spanish?
Jesse: I was speaking french and english, but not very well. And I still don’t haha.

Jesse / Up to Wallie over that bump, Montreal

«I did mushrooms one night, and the next day, when I tried to skate my popsicle board, I felt bored.»

When did you start skateboarding Jhossan?
Jhossan: I started skateboarding like 8 years ago, in Mexico.

How is the skateboarding scene over there?
Jhossan: It’s growing up, because skateparks in California are built near the city, and many people have started skating right now, it’s getting bigger and bigger.

What are the local companies?
Jhossan: There is that company called Tricolor, they are established
since 15 years now, they are doing boards, bearings and griptape too.

Is it possible to be sponsored from head to toe in Mexico?
Jhossan: Yeah, shoes and everything.

For example?
Jhossan: We have a shoe company called Casta Propaganda, they are good for making videos and tours and all that stuff.

Jesse / Kickflip in and out through the garbage cans, Montreal

You’ve been here in Montreal for 5 months now, what are the big differences with Mexico, from your point of view?
Jhossan: Here it’s so sick, the DIY scene is very good. In Mexico, that doesn’t exist in the city. People here have too much talent, and I think there is a lot of love about skateboarding. In Mexico it’s not that big, and people aren’t too much into skateboarding.

There is a lot of love for skateboarding in Montreal! What is your favorite spot in here?
Jhossan: Oh, P45 for sure! I’ve skated it a lot, because I love transition you know, they have different copings, different transitions, it’s super sick, the new section is really sick.

How is the food here ?
Jhossan: I love poutine, but the avocados don’t taste the same haha, but you have the best bacon in the world.

Is it hard to cook Mexican food here?
Jhossan: Yeah it’s hard, here you don’t have the same vegetables. It doesn’t taste the same in Mexico.

Have you found some cool restaurant tho?
Jhossan: Nahh everything tastes like shit haha, I’m cooking at home.

Jesse / Melon grab transfer, Montreal

What was your first sight of skateboarding, Jesse?
Jesse: I was living in the suburbs of Montreal in St-Lazare, and we came down a hill, and asked: « Mum, what is that? » and she said, « it’s a skateboard ». I was like, okay it looks cool! My birthday came few weeks later and she bought me a skateboard, so next I started skateboarding in front of my house, by myself.

Who was your buddy out there?
Jesse: It was for sure Gab De Lery, he’s from St-Lazare, we were skating street spots along with Ludo Charbonneau, Phil Binette, Olivier Patenaude and Conor Neeson.

When did you move to Montreal?
Jesse: At 18, it was my plan to come to Montreal, Gab was the first to go.

Jesse / Tail Block, Montreal

In Montreal, what was your place?
Jesse: NDG!

Oh yeah the No Damn Good skatepark, was an era of skateboarding in Montreal, rest in peace!
Jesse: Yeah we used to go, and met a lot of friends. It was pretty intense over there, Gab Laduke and Rob Barnes were the owners. And then Eric Mercier came in with crazy ideas, and Phil Beaussejour had his shop in the back. It was party chaos!

The NDG guys were the first new generation of skateboarders into transition.
Before that, it was almost only street skating. If you don’t mention the older dudes over at the BigO.
Jesse: We brought back transition!

Jhossan / Handplant stall to fakie, Montreal

Do you have preference between street or transition?
Jesse: I like both of them, I like jumping on stuff, and with trannies I like to fly. I just wanna fly!

Jhossan, what you could say about Jesse?
Jhossan: He’s the best, he has the best style, he’s super smooth all the time. And he’s gnarly!

For the record, Jesse has the best style ever in the whole country.
Jhossan: I agree, he’s so good. Even when I’m tired, watching him just doing a kickflip on flat, he makes me want to skate again. Man skateboarding is so beautiful to watch.

It was fun to see you with Jesse, he was the first dude who was able to speak spanish with you. How was it to come to a country where it’s mostly french and english?
Jhossan: It is hard, and I’m not really into the British culture. But to hear a new language like french was cool, it made me want to learn to speak this language. I’m working on it, soon I hope.
But right now I just speak english, ’cause nobody speaks spanish besides Jesse.

Jhossan / Handplant one foot, Montreal

How would you describe Jhossan?
Jesse: He’s straight 80’s! The first time I saw his board, I told him; what the hell are you doing! You wanna skate street with a 9.5  fish board? You’re crazy! He’s a good dude! He’s crazy though, he’s a crazy Mexican haha!

Why is he crazy?
Jesse: Because he’s good at skateboarding! He’s going for it, he’s still young!

Tell me about the shape of your boards, they are really special, are you making them?
Jhossan: Yeah, sometimes I make the shape, but it’s hard to find an unshaped board.

Do you always take the same kind of board to shape it later?
Jhossan: No, I’m trying to find my dream shape. I’m close, but I still need some work. Maybe 2 more boards and I’ll find it out. They are all inspired from the late 80s. I like the size of these boards, it makes it easier for the grabs. Fish shaped, with big tail and not much nose.

How did it all start, did you skate a regular skateboard before?
Jhossan: It all started when I did mushrooms one night, and the next day, when I tried to skate my popsicle board, I felt bored, it was strange. I just tried to find a new shape in the garage from my friend who sponsored me. After these shrooms, I’ve realized that my feet were hurting when I was kickfliping with these popsicle boards, the tail and concave were too high. Then I tried to look for very flat boards and it felt so good.
At first it was weird, I’ve been skating these shapes for 8 months, but I’m feeling very comfortable now.

On spots you always bring a second set of wheels too.
Jhossan: Oh yeah, because sometimes I like to street with soft wheels, and like to skate skateparks with hard wheels, I dunno why.

People usually do the opposite!
Jhossan: I know it seems strange, but I’m comfortable to do it that way. I’m trying now to skate only soft wheels though.

Jesse / No comply wallie, Montreal

«I just wanna fly!»

Top 5 of all time skateboarders?
Jesse: Worship Cardiel! John Shanahan from New York. I fucking like to see Ian Clelland, Mackenzie. I like to see Jhossan, Ratpack and Leon! It’s a top 7 haha!
My favorite skateboarders are the one I skate with, « c’est un peu quétaine » . Oh and Tyson Perterson too,  he’s really sick, that rastafari.
Jhossan: Ok, there is no preference of order, but I love Jim Gray, I think he has the best style from the 80s. I love Duane Peters, for all the tricks he invented, so many tricks that I love, like the laybacks. Eddy Elgera for those frontside rock’n’roll. Christian Hosoi and Jeremy Klein.

You like guys with style and attitude!
Jhossan: Yeah haha, I think style is all what skateboarding is, people don’t care about what you are doing, it’s about how you’re doing it. It’s everything in skateboarding, with the creativity.

What have you done this year?
Jesse: Well, we did that roadtrip to Quebec with Rollin, Outlaw, BDS and Palm Isle. It was crazy! The first day I hurt my heels and did not skate the whole trip. I pretty much just partied, after months of soberness.
All these guys together wasn’t a good thing haha! Now I’m working at Adamo Pizza in St Henri. They’re making it happen there, helped a lot of skateboarders too like Ratpack, Justin, Conor. Felix used to work there too.
I’ve filmed and took pictures the whole summer, but I couldn’t film as much I would. I got hurt 3 times on my heels.

Jhossan / Sal flip, Ile Perrot

«I realized that everything was organized. Lights everywhere, speed limit, signs.»

Everybody knows the joke about how do you know if someone is Vegan? well, they would tell you! But you are the opposite , in fact it took me years, to discover that you are vegan, I had no clue.
Jesse: Well I do post some stuff on facebook, but more about Monsanto and this kind of stuff. But it’s not anti-meat eater.
I don’t like to do that. I’ve been a vegetarian for 10 years, and a vegan for a year only.

Being a vegetarian or a vegan doesn’t seem to be a different thing, how was that transition?
Jesse: It was not easy, cheese is good haha! I wanted to take care of my health, and this was the only way to do it. My skin is better, and I heal faster . When I eat I’m not feeling heavy anymore, or sleepy or sad. I feel good.

Do you have vegan spots?
Jesse: I go to Segal’s market on St-Laurent all the time, or I go the market to get fresh food.

How did it start?
Jesse: I’ve been a vegetarian for a long time, but I needed motivation, and I met this girl once, and she pushed me to do it, and I thought it was a good idea. So I did it, and it’s been 10 years. I ‘ve never been a big fan of meat anyway, except for chicken, cause it’s a part of my culture.

What was the last time you ate meat?
Jesse: One day I was at Schwartz, and inside, there was like a death smell, I was like, no I’m not gonna eat meat no more. I felt like shit after.

This summer I’ve talked to Jessy Jean-Bart who is a vegan too, he told me he has a routine every morning where he drinks a smoothie of fresh fruits mixed with proteins. Do you have a routine too?
Jesse: A granola for sure! Of fruits, bananas too and a tea. I don’t have time to do a smoothie, I wake up really early. But I should do it too, sometimes I do smoothies. I try to eat fruits the most.

Jhossan you’re going back to Mexico tomorrow, ’til February. What is the first thing you will do in Mexico?
Jhossan: I’m going for good tacos man! And some good drink like agua de horchata, and good Arroz! It tastes so good, you need to try it.

Thanks guys, you are the best in my book!  Let’s wrap this up with your sponsors?
Jhossan: Arrabaleros, is a company from the Tricolor guys. 1420 griptape, is a company from a friend. Ludica Skateboards, is an art project but involved into skateboarding as well from Martin Nunez.
Jesse: I skate for Vans, Rollin, Mehrathon, Ace Trucks and Creature through Centre Dist.

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