I don’t know how many times (or in how many ways) I have to tell people that Jacksonville has fantastic skate spots. It seems that no matter what spot I show people, they remain unconvinced. I get it to a certain extent–who am I to know what a good spot is, right? After all , I listed the curb at the Florida Theatre as one of the best spots in town (it still is by the way). Maybe my mind’s eye is a little skewed compared to the typical skater.
Nonetheless, you don’t have to take my word for it. Skate spots in and around Jacksonville have been popping up in major skate videos and viral clips for years. Check out these examples of Jacksonville skate spots hitting the big time.
Elijah Berle – “Pretty Sweet”
I vividly remember when “Pretty Sweet” was released. It was Thanksgiving day and the hype leading up to the full-length Girl & Chocolate skate video left me shaking with anticipation. The video surely delivered on that hype, and, as a bonus, a popular downtown Jax spot appears in Elijah Berle’s part. The spot is the fabled bump-to-bar at the church downtown. Elijah lofted the tall order of a kickflip. If you watch the whole video closely there are a few other Jacksonville appearances. Elijah’s, however, was the one to make me leap off my couch yelling “That’s Jacksonville!”
Head to 3:57 to see for yourself.
Anthony Van Engelen – “Propeller”
I have skated Jacksonville my entire life and there are very few spots that I am unaware of. This was one of the few times that I learned about a spot from seeing it in a publication. The spot is a pole-jam gap to street. Anthony Van Engelen sailed the entire jam to street, and switch no less. I first saw a glimpse of this in AVE’s SOTY issue of Thrasher Magazine. When “Propeller” was finally released. We were able to feast our hungry eyes on one of the heaviest tricks to go down in Jacksonville history.
Skip ahead to 3:30 to see for yourself.
Mike Peterson – “Opinion”
Mike Peterson is a legend of local skateboarding, consistently ripping for as long as anyone my age can remember. True to form, Mike has been featured skating local spots in many videos. But it was “Opinion” that put Peterson’s stunts next to Rodney Mullen’s comeback part–epic, in and of itself! “Opinion” is a great placeholder for early 2000’s skateboarding and Mike Petersons part inspired tons of local rippers.
Click play to watch his whole section.
Dinosaur Jr. – “Over it”
Dinosaur freaking Jr. skating (and bmx-ing) Jacksonville?! Well, kind of. Around the 1:30 mark of their music video for the song “Over It”, we see the members of Dinosaur Jr. appear to be ripping iconic Jacksonville spots. Spots such as the old friendship fountain, Main St. ledges, and the Jax Beach boardwalk. In actuality, stuntmen were brought in to perform the actual tricks for the video. Fun Fact: The night of the filming, Dinosaur Jr. had the stuntmen dressed as them come out to perform a song during their set at Freebird (RIP).
Grant Taylor – Bru Ray’s 2014 Xmas Cookie
When Grant Taylor got his signature shoe from Nike, he put together an insane crew and headed from Atlanta to Tampa, shredding all spots along the way. It was only natural for them to stop at Kona, as well as that sketchy BP on St. Johns Bluff that we’ve all wanted to skate but never actually have. The whole edit was put together by the late, great, P-Stone and remains highly watchable.
This feature originally appeared in the March 2020 issue of Void Magazine.