Photography by Ellie India Rose Carty
Interview by Esme Carty
What’s a better way to spend a Sunday than hitting up Meat Market Vintage and chatting with Jett Eaton about his experience as both a professional skater and skateboarding coach, as well as his life lessons. Thank you so much to Jett Eaton for giving us his time and words, and an equal thank you to the guys at Meat Market Vintage for styling Jett and letting us inside the space for a photoshoot and interview.
I: It’s safe to say a large majority of your life is surrounded by skateboarding, how did you start?
JE: My mother and father were elite-level gymnasts, they did it all the way through college and my Grandpa, who passed away before I was born, started a gym in Scottsdale–a small gym called Desert Devils. Eventually, it expanded into a bigger gym in Mesa, and when my Grandpa passed away, my Dad took it over. Growing up, I only really had my brother Jagger along my side; I’m 24, Jagger’s 21. We kind of did everything together. We tried gymnastics, we tried soccer, we tried football, we did dirt bike racing. Then one year, when I was 7 and my brother was 5, we got our first skateboards for Christmas. Ever since then it just flourished into what it is now. My Dad built us a small half pipe in our garage and then after that, he expanded and built a little skatepark inside of our gym. I just fell in love with it from there.
I: From there, you then went into professional skateboarding?
JE: Yeah so my Dad owns an action sports facility called KTR, and inside KTR we have gymnastics, cheerleading, parkour, ninja warrior, and a full-size skate park. I grew up there my entire life, trained there, had coaches there, helping my brother and I succeed. Over the years I have been able to travel the world and compete in professional contests, I really enjoyed it, it’s taught me so much.
I: How long were you doing professional skateboarding?
JE: I started getting into professional contests when I was 12 or 13, and did that all the way up until I was 18. I got to travel to Brazil, Barcelona, Germany, Shanghai, some really neat places; got to experience the culture and learn a lot through skateboarding. Having so many mentors in my life taught me so much.
I: Is there one major lesson that sticks out from that experience?
JE: Probably all the coaches I’ve had in my life. Being in the industry and learning from all the professional athletes, taking all the knowledge that they’ve given me and applying it to my skateboarding.
I: Was it due to an injury you fell off of professional skateboarding?
JE: Yeah so when I was 14, I was training for the X Games and I had a severe injury on this ramp called the mega ramp–it’s the biggest ramp in the world. It’s nine stories high and you launch over a 70 foot gap and you go up to an 18 foot quarter pipe, it’s pretty gnarly. Only a few riders in the world can even skate it. But I hit my head real hard and it put me out for about a year. During that time off I picked up hobbies like photography and some other fun stuff I apply to my skateboarding. When I got to be 18, I realized that I love skateboarding so much and trying to show out for sponsors and show out for the money was too much stress on my body. I love skateboarding so much that I just wanted to do it for the fun of it. With that being said, I told my father that I’d take over his facility and start running it and coach kids, inspire the kids, take all the knowledge I’ve gained over the years and give it to the kids.
I: Would you say that there’s a way you coach the kids in a way you weren't able to be coached?
JE: I take a little bit of everything that I’ve learned over the years and give it to the kids. I’ve had a lot of really good coaches that have inspired me in so many ways as far as “never give up,” “always try your hardest,” and “have a great time.” So I just try to make it fun for them always.
I: How is it taking over the reins for KTR?
JE: Working with your father is really tough, it keeps me on my toes. He expects a lot out of me. My Dad is such a visionary guy, he has so many ideas. What he’s done with KTR and all of our franchises too, giving back to the kids, and making it a fun and safe place to have fun; I think that’s awesome. So I’m just following in his footsteps and learning about every side of the business. Hopefully one day I’ll take it over for him or move on to be an olympic coach for skateboarding or start my own company, who knows what the future holds. I’m grateful for where I am right now in life.
I: You do so much for skateboarding, are there any other aspects of your life that contribute to who you are and what you do?
JE: Some of the things I like to do when I’m not coaching include playing golf–golf is a big one for me; working out, keeping my body healthy; and go thrifting. I am really into fashion, I think it’s a big part of my personality for sure. A lot of people don’t get to see it, I really only post on Instagram of my skating, so it’s kinda cool for some people to see the other side of me.
I: Any advice for people out there?
JE: Don’t care about what people think, you are your own person. You do you, do what makes you happy in life, that’ll bring you the greatest joy. Work your hardest at whatever it is, enjoy life, live in the moment everyday. That’s what I try to do.
I: One last question, what is the vibe of the day?
JE: For those wondering what the vibe is of the day, six months ago I posted a song on my Instagram story and I put ‘today’s vibe’ on there. Ever since then I’ve been posting a new song every single day. The vibe of today, it’s Sunday, I don’t have to work on Sunday so it’s a chill vibe. Put some country on Sundays and just relax, clean my house, maybe get a little skate session in, that’s the vibe on Sundays.
Find Jett on Instagram @jett_eaton
Find Meat Market Vintage on Instagram @meatmarket.vtg and visit their store at 158 W Main St, Mesa, AZ