Ambush with Jeff Srnec

Words and Photos by Will Jivcoff

From the interview issue in issue 8.4

My dude, how are you?

I’m good, super tired. I worked a 12 today so I’m just in bed chilling.

Tell me where you live exactly.

I live in LaSalle; it’s a town just outside of Windsor, Ontario. I’m super close to the Detroit border and about 3-4 hours outside of Toronto. It’s a townier vibe than Windsor but it’s not like I’m out in the sticks. There’s like 25,000 people out here.

Wait, are you a townie?

No, definitely not (laughs).

Has work been nuts? You deal with robots all day right?

The job I’m working on now is for BMW and it’s going out to Chattanooga, Tennessee, so I’m going to be heading there for support and to help set it up and get it going, I’ll probably be gone for months on end. Going back and forth doing 2-3 week trips, that’s pretty normal. I’ll be gone like 3 or 4 times a year for jobs like that. I’m in the controls department which is kind of split up. There’s the PLC programmers and the robot programmers and I’m just focusing on the robot side and getting that down.

Are you just a big nerd?

(Laughs) Not at all man. I joke at work with my friends and he’s training me, he’s a couple years older than me and has more experience, we always joke and he said “Everyone will think you’re a rocket scientist when you tell them what you do at work, just let them think that for as long as you can.” It’s too funny.

Let’s talk about your kinked 50-50 at the Bickford School in Toronto.

(Laughs) Alright.

Jeff srnec lipslide to fakie
FS Lipslide to Fakie

What exactly happened?

I was very scared, I remember seeing some raw footage after that first session and I think I rolled up to it for like a half-hour, at least. There were some hairy ones where I was going too fast so I would just shoot out from the flat of the kink to the bottom of the stairs, but I made it. You called me the next day and it was my birthday, and you said that King Shit wanted the photo for the cover but the format wasn’t right so we had to reshoot it.

I could barely ask you to do it a second time considering how gnarly it was.

I was definitely down and I had never had a cover and I knew at this point you hadn’t either, so I thought the prospect of that was pretty amazing, it was the perfect set up, so I had to come back. About a month later I went back to Toronto to do it and drove straight from LaSalle to the rail, like a four-hour drive straight to Bickford. I was feeling good the whole drive but as soon as we got to the area where the spot is and I recognized my surroundings, I started to get so nervous. Again, it took me forever to roll up, like I was so freaked out, but I already had a rough idea of what to do since I landed it the first session. For me personally, rolling away from that rail is probably one of the best feelings I’ve ever had from skateboarding, it was so scary.

But what was the reason the cover got squashed in the end?

Well, Dane Burman did it filming for a Zero video, maybe Strange World, I heard he did it but it was just a rumor and nobody could confirm it, I don’t think it would’ve even changed anything for me.

How did it actually come about that your cover got squashed?

Oh well, I guess someone called Jamie Thomas personally, I guess they must’ve had some kind of relationship with him and asked him if it was cool to run our photo for the cover because they had heard that Dane might’ve done it first, and Jamie said that they were planning on using his photo the next month for an ad and that we couldn’t use our photo. I don’t know, it’s all speculation (laughs). I just felt like, it’s Dane Burman, that guy crushes monster rails all the time, I don’t do that everyday, the Bickford rail was super special for me, like just let me have this one and go grind another double kink next weekend (laughs). Eventually I put our photo on Instagram and tagged Dane in it and we ended up commenting back and forth about the trick and he told me his side of the story. His footage ended up getting taped over so it never saw the light of day and then the photo never ended up getting used but they eventually ended up using it for a Fallen or Zero ad and, I don’t know. 

Jeff srnec bs smith grind
BS Smith Grind

You grew up on that Zero type skating but you had a video that went viral about ‘trendy skating’, and you even got called out by Bobby DeKeyzer.

Oh yeah! That’s so funny. My friend Mike and I threw it together so quick, like we’re just goofing around on flat, the cuffing the pants, the jacket around the waist, they were all spontaneous and we pretty much filmed everything first try without any extra takes, it’s not like we planned it out or anything. It only worked because we weren’t really thinking and were just joking around. But Bobby’s comments were pretty funny, I wasn’t trying to target people and I wasn’t trying to say that skating that way is lame or anything, I thought it was just too easy to poke fun at. Bobby even said in that interview that he hopes people don’t stop skating a certain way because of my video and I totally agree, it was just a dumb video, it wasn’t meant to be taken seriously. That’s the only thing that I was bummed on that Bobby said, like he said he thought it was whack when people take skating so seriously, but I sort of think he’s the one taking it too seriously, I was the one joking around with my friends. It’s funny too because he’s one of the last skaters I would have ever targeted, not that I was trying to target anybody, he’s actually one of my favourite skaters.

Yeah, it’s like, alright internet, just chill out.

Yeah man, it was just a joke, one hundred percent, I can’t think of style in skateboarding that I actually hate or wished people would stop doing.

Who are you riding for these days?

I get skateboards through Love Skateboards, wheels through Survey, Ripe grip from Sizzle and I just started getting shoes again from Vans through Jay Shoemaker.

What’s one thing skateboarding needs more of?

I think skateboarding needs less focus on the superficial side of things. It’s pretty common for skateboarders to be very concerned about how they dress, how they talk, or what tricks they’re doing. There’s only one joke in that video that went viral where I wasn’t completely joking. I mention that you need to “skate with a style that’s totally contrived”, and I didn’t just mean that with the way people skate, but even just the clothes and the lifestyle. It almost seems like some people care less about what trick they’re doing and more about the clothes they’re wearing, it’s all superficial. Even if it means not filming for instagram or whatever, get out of the park and skate street with your friends. Less focus on our outer appearance and what others are doing, you know? I’m not putting myself on a pedestal; I’m just as guilty as anyone else. I guess we all need to worry more about having fun and doing what we want and not worrying about what people think.

Anything to add?

Rest in peace Ryan Barron, miss you buddy. 

Jeff srnec sw fs flip over the rail jivcoff
Switch FS Flip Over the Rail
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