As Converse gets back on its own two feet in the skate world, they have been expanding their team to include some of skateboarding's all-time favorites. It's no surprise Jason Jessee fits the bill. Like your Christian Hosoi's or your Mark Gonzaleses, the guy doesn't even have to step on a skateboard to have an influence. But don't make the mistake of saying that the 41-year-old regular-footer doesn't skate anymore. He does. Plus, he's surfing, building ramps, rowing vintage wooden boats in San Francisco Bay, driving undercover cop cars in reverse at high speed and running The Driven Skateboards, headquartered in Watsonville, Calif.
"I've always wanted Jason on the Converse roster," says Steve Luther, Athlete Marketing and Event Director, Converse. "Converse always looks to add riders who already wear Converse in their free time. Like Rune Glifberg and Kenny Anderson, Jason's a true Converse dude since way back in the 80s. Jason Jessee is Converse, and that's why we made sure to get him back on the program."
Jason's pro heyday during the late 1980s etched a permanent gouge in skateboarders' collective memory and "what he did in that short span is just timeless. It's just without compare," adds Luther. Since then, Jason's poured his approach and style into lowrider cars, motorcycles and a vast collection of rare skate paraphernalia.
ESPN.com briefly caught up with him between daily boating trips in San Francisco and helping out with a ramp project.
ESPN.com: Are you interested in building your own rowboat?
Jason Jessee: Yes. I love wood boats, and I start boat school in three months.
Are you still building bikes?
I love riding motorcycles, and building bikes is a mood. And for the last 10 years, I wasn't in the mood.
So what's the deal with all the motorcycle stuff going on in skateboarding?
I have no idea. You tell me. Sounds boring.
I hear The Driven has a rabid fan base in Japan. When are you going to visit them?
I have never been there and don't plan on it so I guess I am safe.
When you think about Converse, what comes to mind?
"Life rules" and "comfort."
Is NHS going to build you a ramp?
Sure ... 16-feet wide with eight-and-a-half-foot transitions.
Anything you want to add?
Yes. I love that computers and gas prices keep people inside and out of the way.
Jason Jessee's icon part in Santa Cruz skateboard's "Streets of Fire" (1989) video.