Pro Chat: Jenny Jones

Jenny and Aimee living the good life in the Maldives

We chat to the best UK snowboarder like, ever, about how much she loves surfing even though it’s shit loads scarier than snowboarding

Interview by Sam Haddad

We hear you’ve been surfing in the Maldives…you lucky person!
Yeah I was on a surf boat trip, where you move around to find the best waves. I’ve never been on one before. It was my friend Mark Rupareila’s [who snowboards for Vans] birthday and he’d wanted to do this trip for years and I was like I’m in, if you’re doing it I’m so in. Aimee Fuller [fellow UK shredder] came too, I love her so much, she’s so much fun.

How’s Aimee’s surfing coming along, as she hasn’t done that much has she?
No but she’s getting there. She’s great at dropping in and going down but by the end of the trip she got to grips with going across the wave. And she dealt with it so well, at times I was like are you not scared right now because I am! The reef is so shallow in places, but she just took it in her stride.

So what were the waves like?
When we first got there they were about 3-4ft and that was kind of what you want as an intermediate surfer, it was bang on. The only thing was there were one or two more people than I’d have expected there, other people staying on boats, so you had to jostle in the line up. That was a bit tough. Down south the waves were a bit smaller but there was no one on them.

Did the waves ever get too big?
One day it was too big for me. I could have probably handled it but when it comes to surfing it’s just about having fun for me, I don’t have to prove myself, so I was like nah it’s too big I’m just going to watch.

That must have been quite a nice feeling?
Yeah it was.

What was scaring you exactly?
I think the sea itself. Dropping down a wave is not frightening, going along a wave is not frightening, as that’s my favourite bit obviously. Trying to improve your riding as you’re going along and trying to get more speed to do like a bigger bottom turn and you know spray the water. One of my favourite moments was when I paddled back and my friend Tom was like I saw four sprays, so I’d managed to turn enough to spray the water so I was like I must be doing ok. But then I didn’t get loads of those and I had some punter moments too! But going back to why it’s scary it’s because you’re out in the water and you’ve got a spiky reef and you can’t get to any dry land if things go wrong. Where as if you’re by the beach I always just think I can let the waves push me.

Do you get scared by wipeouts?
If I’m on the wave and I crash off of it I’m fine, but if I’m duck diving and trying to get over the lip and they’re so big that my duck dive isn’t deep enough, I find that hard as I’m holding my breath and getting smashed around.

We find surfing a lot more scary than snowboarding…
Yeah it’s because when you’re snowboarding it’s still and static so you’re in control more, where as when you’re in the water you’re constantly having to judge and reassess everything. There could be a set coming so ok let’s paddle out left, ok it’s gone then maybe I’ll get this wave, but is there a rip or current, am I going to make this…

Does anything scare you in snowboarding?
The idea of an avalanche, definitely. If I go freeriding I take it seriously and constantly think is this safe? Even though I know stuff about the mountains, I don’t know half as much as I could know and unless you live somewhere you don’t know what the snow has been doing the days before anyway, you can’t just go on the avalanche warning. That’s why I really like to ride with a guide or seasonnaire.

Photo: Dan Milner

Have you had any near misses?
I had that one years ago when we were filming Transfer. Everything was moving underneath me and I was like woah what the fuck and I didn’t realise what was happening but then I cut hard out to the side and was completely fine. I didn’t get caught in it in anyway and I just watched it tumble tumble tumble and then saw a huge mushroom cloud at the bottom.

How did you feel after that?

I was on edge for the rest of the day, I really didn’t trust anything that I was standing on. I was like this could go any minute and I just couldn’t snowboard. I still absolutely love going freeriding but I like to know beforehand how safe people think it is and I like to know my get out route, where I’d go if things go wrong.
Of course there’s always some danger but that’s when you have to say I’m in a sport which is risky, I’ve done everything I can and now it’s a case of either I don’t do it at all or I accept that risk.

The Jenny Jones Signature Goggle will be available in October 2011. Jenny is sponsored by Oakley, Billabong, Salomon, Les Ettes, Giro and Relentless. Our first winter issue Cooler 33, out at the end of September will carry a longer interview with Jenny Jones, subscribe and never miss an issue again!


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