Meet The 18-Year-Old Pro Skater Who's Collabing With Adidas
Five years ago, Tyshawn Jones was a young unknown skateboarder from the Bronx just beginning to earn his ascendence in New York City. His skating looked smooth and confident, especially for his size and relatively short time on a board. To anyone versed in skateboarding, it was obvious that he had inherently had something intangible that made him stand out, amplified by his charmingly boisterous personality. Now 18 years old and standing over six feet tall, Jones’ body had caught up to his ability and personality. Still years away from an athlete’s physical peak, he’s noticeably more fluid and powerful on his board, while his temperament is a bit dialed down, even for a teenager.
Thanks to his persistence, Jones secured sponsorship much earlier than most teens, especially those on the East Coast, but it was he addition to Supreme’s roster that carried the most currency. As the quiet hype built for the brand’s first true full length skateboarding video, new clique of young skaters, loosely—and not seriously—dubbed “the kids,” provided a new verve to the project and delivered on the promise. While skateboarding is subjective, Jones’ footage was a stand out in cherry. (2014), specifically for his dominance of many downtown spots, skated in ways that hadn’t been done before.
Since cherry., Jones has steadily been part of William Strobeck’s stream of video projects for Supreme, as well as his sponsors Fucking Awesome, adidas Skateboarding, and his own company, Hardies Hardware. His unflappable work ethic earned him pro status in 2016, as well as the cover of Transworld Skateboard Magazine, as well as flurry of web edits, and a stand out section in adidas Skateboarding’s massive Away Days full-length video. Earlier this year he co-created an apparel capsule and colorway for Hardies with adidas Skateboarding, channeling the charisma and unrelenting attitude and ethos of the brand, in between demos, and other appearances. On September 5, adidas Skateboarding will unveil his first signature pro colorway, making him the youngest athlete on the brand to hold the honor.
Embellished with a mock-snakeskin grain, white and green colorway nodding to the iconic Stan Smith, and tongue detail paying homage to his dog Nico, his Pro Model Vulc ADV colorway holds a special significance to his young past and auspicious future.“Growing up in New York, the original was a big shoe out here—an iconic shoe,” he explains. “I thought it would be sick to choose that one to customize it with the details that meant something to me. I had my own idea and I knew how it needed to be.”
Any of these achievements can be considered milestones in skateboarding, Jones has mined a unique and perhaps, modern route, as he’s done it all without taking the traditional path of moving to California, going through the contest circuit, or even being part of a heritage board company. Instead, with the guidance of FA founders Jason Dill and Anthony Van Engelen, he opted to be a part of their new brand, which shuns industry convention, opting for a loose, organic, and often defiant feel.
Having interviewed Jones twice this year, it’s apparent that he’s not so much coached, but cautious with his answers. Around the people he’s comfortable with, he’s fucking around, making plans to ride Jet Skis, and mashing away on his phone, but when record is pressed, he’s aloof and aware, partially due to advice Dill gave him to, “Don’t trust white people over 30,” but also because he’s focused and methodical, as much as he’s spontaneous.
“I’m not a contest skater,” he says. “No shade, but doing the same five tricks over and over perfect is boring—it’s just doing the same thing. I like to do what’s in my mind.”
What makes Jones stand out is that mix of technical prowess and the slightly unconventional—something that continues to define his skating. “Did you see what Tyshawn did,” is a popular refrain in a world where we’re saturated with clip after clip. Jones makes something as simple as flatground trick over a traffic cone look unique, especially when aided by the mesmerizing swirl of a lenticular graphic. He’s a quiet thinker, who would rather do something different with his skating, rather than outdo something—a slow build towards his goals, fueled by making an imprint.
“I’m always motivated, because I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished everything I’ve wanted to yet,” he says while grinning. “Maybe once I get everything I want in life, maybe I’ll get lazy—who knows.(laughs).”
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