If you’re into skating there’s no doubt you’ve heard of Tyshawn Jones. The 18-year-old rides for adidas Skateboarding, Supreme, Fucking Awesome, and is now officially the youngest skater to have a pro shoe with the Three Stripes.
If that wasn’t enough, he also runs his own skate line, Hardies Hardware. The brand sells hardware for your board (obviously), but it also has its own merch line, as well as a fully-fledged team that’s toured Australia and includes fellow Supreme skaters Sean Pablo and Sage Elsesseer.
Like most athletes, pro-skaters tend to skew young, but Tyshawn’s achievements are even more impressive when you consider his age — what were you doing when you were 18?
With his first video being released all the way back in 2012, Tyshawn basically grew up in the public eye, but he hasn’t let his success go to his head. Instead, he’s incredibly humble, laid-back and down to open up about his world.
We caught up with the pro to talk about how he first got on Supreme, what’s it like to design your own shoe, and the most important question on every young skater's mind — how to get sponsored.
How did you first connect with Supreme?
I got on Supreme through my friend, Ty Lyons, who worked there. He saw a clip of me skating and he liked it, and he told me to come by the shop. Then I started going and getting boards and hats and t-shirts.
We made a little video [the William Strobeck-directed, Buddy] that was a couple seconds long, I guess that's when it was official.
What made you want to start your own brand?
I didn't even want to, to be honest, it was a joke. We would just post stuff on Instagram with me and all my friends, saying, "Hardies Hardware, Hardies Hardware," but that was just a game we played. Then it became a thing, so we had to make it.
We started the account on Instagram and it got like 10k followers in a week, so I was like, "shit, now we gotta do this." That's how it started, it was honestly a joke on Instagram and then turned into something real.
What was it like designing your own shoe?
It was fun, I was just on Google a lot, looking at old shoes and I'd patch ideas that I found together. I saw some sneakers with a snakeskin kind of thing on them and I was like, "Damn, I've never seen that on skate shoes. I want to do that." The green shade came from a bag of food I used to feed my dog, and I put a picture of him on the tongue.
I chose a Superstar because I thought that shoe was really special. I wanted to do it because I was in the launch video for the Superstar, so I was like, "that'd be sick for my first shoe, it'd kind of be like me coming back to it."
Would you consider yourself a sneakerhead?
No, I like sneakers but I never really buy them. I mean, back in the day I used to buy a lot of shoes, but now I get them for free. I used to collect them though, I had a lot of Jordans, adidas — I had every shoe there was.
When people talk about skating in New York, it’s usually just to complain about how much harder it is than LA. As an NYC native, what do you like about skating there?
I like skating in New York because it's fun. You see everybody and you just skate everywhere. It's different from every other place in the world, I feel like. It gets cold yeah, but it's just as fun as when it's hot. Everybody's outside, you see everybody, you skate everywhere. It's just good.
Do you have any favorite spots in New York?
I usually skate downtown a lot. I go meet my friends at Supreme. We'll skate in front of there for a little bit, go to the skate park, maybe LES. We skate the streets, if nothing goes on the street, we just skate around and see what happens.
Do you have any advice for young skaters trying to get noticed and get sponsored?
Advice... just skate hard but don't try too hard to get sponsored. I feel like the people who try to get sponsored the hardest never really get sponsored but if you're good, doing your thing, and you're putting in the work, you'll get noticed.
Is that because they’re not good or because they’re being too thirsty?
It's not trying to be thirsty for it, they're just trying too hard to be good. I see a lot of people search for it, like "I want to get sponsored, I want to get sponsored," and it never happens. So if you just stay calm, it'll happen. Just do your thing.
What’s it like touring the world with your friends? It seems like the dream job.
It’s crazy and I’m very appreciative. All we do is skate, have fun, eat good food, it’s just fun.
I don't even think of it like that [a dream job], now that you ask, it just seems normal. Then, when you think about it, it's like, "Damn, we really get to do that and some people don't." In the moment you're not thinking of it like that. It's just like, "Oh yeah, I'm going on this trip with my friends, it's gonna be fun."
What’s next for you?
Drop another video part. Something I’m focused on right now is preparing for my next project. Next year, sometime in 2018 it should come out.
Is it a new Supreme video or an adidas part you’re working on?
I want it to be a surprise for everybody. You gotta wait.
Next up, how adidas’s new campaign is helping young soccer players live out their dreams.