Veterans of Vert - Desi Jones
Tell us about how you first stumbled upon aggressive quad skating?
I grew up going to the roller rink on Friday evening just about every week. As I got older, I would skate most everywhere. Towards my late teens, I spent most of my time in Hermosa Beach skating the strand. Lots of distance, lots of going fast and jumping, trash cans, people, sections of pavement than on to building walls. I was jumping as high as I could than skating downhill and pulling out at the last second. At some point in the early '80s, I met Duke Rennie, who turned out to be one of the best vertical roller skater in the world and a nice guy. Duke saw me skating one day and said I might want to try this pool skating. One trip to the skate park in Del Mar had me hooked; I don't think I skated more than 1/2 an hour before hurting myself. I could not wait to come back and do it again!
How was your experience at the Monsters of Roll competition in 2004?
That was such a fun weekend skating with such a large group of roller skaters from all over the world. I felt like I went higher just from the energy of the people. Seeing different styles and tricks was so incredible. Skaters included Brian Wainwright, Jay Tubb, Irene Ching, Bernhardt Schefford, Lee Ettinger and, of course, Duke Rennie as well as many others. It was an incredible experience.
What has been the highlight of your skating career?
I don't know if I have had it yet. If anything makes me excited is the Chick in Bowl movement, and seeing such a large turnout at the parks! Skating for me keeps getting better and better, not that I get any better, but I still have a lot of fun. I am just so glad that I still can do it!
What is your favorite trick?
Well, the Zen air is one of my favorite tricks; nothing feels better than pulling a big Zen straight up and down! *PS Desi is completely humble because he also freakin' invented the Zen!!
Do you vibe off the energy of other skaters?
Oh yes! It's just so much more fun to skate with other skaters. That and I'm old and fat and need the rest between runs.
What keeps the spark alive and keeps you riding bowls to this day?
It's one of the few things that makes me feel alive. That and all the rad 'chicks in bowls' I get to skate alongside.
How do you feel about the Chicks in Bowls Movement?
I feel that it's one of the best things to hit the vertical roller skating since the annual RollerCon Skatepark Tour put on by my friend Jay Cloetens, in Las Vegas.
What would you say to anyone wanting to give it a try?
Wear safety gear! This sport is so much fun, even after 30+ years I still fall, and at 50 years old I don't bounce nearly as well as I used to. It's the pads and helmet that allow me to continue to skate, and I'm so grateful.