Joe Sexton grew up cold and motivated in the frozen streets of the heartland, pushing to help lead the subculture of urban shred away from rollerblading tricks and 270s into the direction of skateboard-style front boards and clean nose presses down long, multi-kink rails. Under the sharp tutelage of JP Walker and Simon Chamberlain he has become one of the most rail-savvy snowboarders around, riding with a skate-inspired smoothness that's one part tech madness and two parts classic savagery. From entering the majors with Stepchild to his ending part in the People Crew's movie "Cheers" Sexton has grown up right before our eyes. Recently, he switched film-crew allegiances, moving from People to Videograss in order to film with some childhood friends. We thought we'd check in with Sexton and find out more about it.
How was your trip to Superpark?
It was intimidating. [Laughs] Kids these days are so good, it's crazy. It was everything I expected and more, big jumps and kids doing really crazy tricks.
Speaking of jumps ... tell us about your jump to Videograss.
I guess the best way to put it is that I watched "Shoot the Moon" and I really liked it. I've known Justin Meyer for a long time and filming with him was just something I've always wanted to do. I really loved filming with Pierre [Minhondo], but I wanted a chance to film with some of my friends like Jake Olson-Elm and Danimals. The timing just sort of made sense to mix it up and try something new, and also to film with guys who are my age and have a sort of a similar approach to snowboarding.
I just want everyone to know that I know I'm really lucky to have this life. I don't sit around feeling like I deserve it.”
Does it feel like everything has come full circle for you, since you're together again with all your Minnesota friends you started filming with?
It's cool. I like the fact that we all went our own separate ways for a little bit. It was always cool to see what those guys were doing from afar and getting pumped when I would see their parts. I'm really excited to be filming with them again, though, and I'm happy that we are all back together.
Are there any hard feelings with People or did that relationship end well?
No. Pierre knows that things change, and I wish him the best of luck with all his future projects. I just wanted to try something new, and I think everyone understands.
How is filming with guys like JP and Simon different then filming with the Videograss crew?
I guess it just a little more serious and professional with JP and Simon. They are just really on point with everything. JP is not messing around. He's going to go set up the spot perfectly and do a really crazy trick really fast, and Simon is the same way. They both know what they want to do and get it done. With VG it's just cruising. Jake and I would just basically get in the car and drive around until we found spots, and then just start snowboarding. It's just a little more spontaneous and not as planned out.
I like both styles though. I really like filming with JP and Simon. When you plan something out the night before, you get really excited thinking about going and getting a good shot, and everyone is super down to help you out. But I like filming with VG and just cruising around and hanging out, too.
You've mentioned that it takes you a long time to land certain tricks. Was the new crew as down to sit at a spot and go through that with you?
I had a couple long sessions, but not as many as in the past couple of years. I'm trying to snowboard a little differently this year, so I don't get so burnt out trying one trick for seven hours.
I heard some rumblings about the shots of you losing your cool in your Real Snow part. What was that about?
I told Pierre when we were editing my part that we should take some of those shots out, and he was like, "Dude, that's you -- that's your personality." I'm just super passionate about snowboarding. I put a lot into each session, and I don't really want to leave without getting my trick. Having those little meltdowns sort of allows you to get your frustration out, and sort of reset and get your trick.
I'm not acting in those things. Pierre just has the camera on me and I don't care if he's filming or not. I've run around the back of buildings just so he couldn't film me freaking out.
Real Snow was cool but it's kind of weird to film for. In my head I was like, "Oh, I filmed this X Games part, now I want to film a whole other part for the video." It's weird -- it almost felt like it was two separate years. I just got so burned out.
It seems like snowboarders go through phases and get swayed by trends. Are you at a place in you career and your life where you feel like you have developed your own style?
I still mix it up, and I always have fun. When I was filming for Technine and wearing basketball jerseys I was really into Aaron Bittner and Justin Benne and it just seemed right. I was young and it was fun at the time. Then I got super into "Love/Hate" and loved the way those guys were snowboarding and wanted to snowboard like them.
I'm still trying to figure it all out. I mean what I'm wearing right now might be something I'm not into in a year. People and style are always evolving.
What do you want your legacy in snowboarding to be?
I guess to just have a positive impact. I think about the dudes I really liked growing up that aren't snowboarding anymore and I'm so grateful that they were there, inspiring me. I guess if I could do that for someone else that would be awesome.
I just want everyone to know that I know I'm really lucky to have this life. I don't sit around feeling like I deserve it. I'm really hyped on snowboarding and if other people enjoy what I'm doing then that feels really cool.