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March 9, 2012

Extreme Sports Special #2: Jed Cullen – skateboarder

Our second instalment of the Extreme Sports Special has rolled in. Jed Cullen has been skateboarding for 9 years and is sponsored by Real Skateboards. He is a plumbing engineer by day and a skateboarding supremo by night, but he has developed so quickly in the sport that he wants to make a full time career out of it.  

If you missed my Nokia Connects interview with BMX rider James Ivett then ch-ch-check it out here. I caught Jed chilling by the pool in Barcelona after a busy week filming with Nokia Connects at Mobile World Congress 2012, I was of course extremely jealous but he deserved a well-earned rest!

Hey Jed, welcome to Nokia Connects!

I’ll be quick so you can enjoy the pool. Who inspired you to pick up a skateboard in the first place?

I would have to say my mates, when I was about 13 they bought some rubbish skateboards and I decided to do the same! I grew up in Southampton and I used to get up at 8:30am every morning to hang out at the Mayflower Skate Park. It was there that I met some of the people who inspired me to get where I am today, the likes of Marc Churchill, Greg Nowik and Ben Raemers, who were my age now when I used to rock up as a 13/14 year old to learn from them. Until I picked up a skateboard I just couldn’t comprehend how much you could really on it so watching other people really inspired me as well.

I’ve been watching a few of your videos the last few days, where would you say was your favourite place to skateboard in the UK?

Hmm that’s a toughie, I do really like the Herons Skatepark in Hazlemere and Chichester Skatepark – just a couple of the parks that I love to go to with my friends.

I saw you attaching a knee brace to your leg recently, are you injury free at the moment?

Nah that’s a permanent fixture man, I dislocated my knee and tore my ACL ligament, it took me so long to get through to a knee specialist. The first time I went they said it was a bone growth problem but then I found out after skating some more that it was a serious issue. I had surgery, took three months out and then started to skate again, but every time I get on a board I have to wear it. My knee can only move a few millimetres outside of where it should do within the knee brace and I often get a swollen knee after loads of skating but apart from that it’s all good.

How would you convince people scared of hurting themselves to take up skateboarding?

If you’re scared of hurting yourself then you’re never going to get anything done, it’s not about being negative, if you’ve got that thought in your head that something is going to go wrong then chances are it probably will. If you aren’t going to commit to something then you will never learn, remaining positive is the key to succeeding in skateboarding. If you fall over, dust yourself off and carry on.

Where is your next big event? Roughly how many events do you attend annually?

Summer is coming up in England and it’s really good for competitions, there are lots of events like boardmasters and other local competitions, and you also get more chances to skate because of the light in the evening. More people come out from hibernation which is great. Last year I went to Italy and it was pretty cool, I’m hoping to travel a lot this year and next. I’ve won stuff before but mainly best trick at events and stuff like that.

What’s the most impressive trick you’ve ever done and how many times did it take you to achieve it?

I don’t really know, I once did a 16 stair handrail in Southampton that no one had done before, it literally took me like 30 goes. After 26 goes I was thinking of giving up but my friends encouraged me to keep going. On the 30th attempt I managed a frontside lipslide and it was probably the best trick I’ve ever done, was so happy to land it.

If you could combine two extreme sports, what would they be? (this was after I explained Ultimate Taser Ball to him)

They taser each other! That’s insane…erm it would be hard to combine something with skateboarding but I would bring more elements into skateboarding. I would like to see more speed in skating or rougher terrain. More speed would help me get bigger air on jumps.

Look out for Jed’s knee brace in this video:


What other jobs do you do right now?

I’m a plumbing and heating engineer, it was a back up plan for me when I was at college to learn a career outside of skating. Im waiting for a big opportunity to arise so that I can just skate for the rest of my life.

What was your favourite part of the week with Nokia in Barcelona?

Just the awesome weather and nice people really, anything we needed we managed to get which was amazing. It was the first experience I’ve had with a smart phone and I loved it, the Lumia 900 rules and I will now use my smartphone to shoot my friends and do some sick little edits.

Who do you look up to in the world of skateboarding?

I don’t think I could choose just one person but I would have to say Danny Wainwright, Chris Oliver and Geoff Rowley. But the guys at my local skatepark really helped me to develop, they used to give me some great equipment now and then because they were sponsored – I was the most stoked kid ever! When they could see I was getting better they encouraged me to move higher and higher up.

Here is Jed with Marc Churchill:


Catch some more footage of Jed on Monday morning here on Nokia Connects.