Inside the Pro Models: JP Walker
Location: Whistler, BC | Photo: Mason Mashon
From his fashion sense to his manner of speech and the way he rides his snowboard, JP Walker has a style of his own. Doo rags, beanies with visors, shredding shirt-less, “uhhh son,” you know what we’re getting at. He has a list of never-been-dones longer than your list of wish-you-could-dos, which includes a 100 percent switch video part and a rodeo off the side of a moving truck. In the Decade and True Life days you could go to any number of resorts, particularly Brighton, and see fifty JP look-alikes cruising around. Those same imitators can now be found at the famed Rail Garden trying to figure out how to switch hardway 270 as smoothly as JP did five years ago.
The real JP (also the name of his meticulously updated blog), spent this past season producing a web series called Jibberish with long-time filming buddy Simon Chamberlain. At the end of the season both riders put out full-length parts with unseen footage, rather than re-editing footage and calling it a full part. While “grindin’ ” spots from the icy streets of Finland to the Whistler backcountry, JP was rocking his fourteenth pro model board, a Thirtytwo jacket, pant, and boot, and for after riding, his signature etnies Waysayer boot.
For the past couple of seasons JP’s Stepchild pro model board has had a Rasta theme with a lion as the focal point plus, a controversial item like a pot leaf, mushrooms, and this season, an AK-47. Stepchild has never been afraid of controversy with slogans like, “a snowboard company your mum would f*@%ing love,” but that didn’t stop parents from writing in about JP’s first Rasta board. “It’s funny because the weed graphic got so much hate and threw people off, but people should probably be more upset about the assault rifle that spans the whole tail of this board,” he says. Since Stepchild CEO Sean Johnson’s anti-conformity has been around longer than the Whiskey videos, we half understood the thought process behind JP’s Rasta graphics, but we still weren’t sure why a nice dude from small-town Utah whose closest teammate is an even nicer, devout Christian would want a Rasta pro model, so we asked the man himself. “I listen to lots of hip hop and reggae music, and I like the red, yellow and green colorway. I thought it would be funny to trip people out with the weed thing and the board has always sold good, so I just kept with the theme for a while. This might be that last one though,” he explains.
Location: Whistler, BC | Photo: Mason Mashon
As far as tech specs, this pro model is a new shape for JP with flat camber and a stiffer core than his previous boards. It’s built for the kind of super-jibbing he is known for. “I like to hit bigger gaps and kinks and stuff, so I can’t have a super loose banana board flopping around the streets,” he says. Since JP also spends a portion of the season in the backcountry, he needs a board that can hold speed and handle big jumps. Urethane sidewall technology makes the ride smooth. Plus, it’s a twin tip, which is essential for someone like JP who is going switch over half of the time he’s on his board. Asked what other riders will like most about it he replies, “I think peeps would be stoked on the fact that it works excellent for any terrain.”
JP keeps his signature boot simple, lightweight and comfortable. Not a fan of unnecessary bells and whistles, JP says, “It doesn’t matter how many features and how tech a boot is if you are in pain while wearing them.” The Thirtytwo JP Walker Light is built with STI foam making it almost as lightweight as a shoe. It’s not particularly stiff, but JP says he likes that because he’s never wanted his foot to feel like it’s in a “cast”. Style wise, the boot has a throw back look with ripstop panels. The two colorways are basic black, and according to JP, “yellow face-melter jump offs for when you want to be able to see your feet through two feet of pow.” His etnies Waysayer boot is a waterproof leather boot designed for après. JP and his buddies regularly challenge each other to tre flip contests on their skateboards while wearing heavy, workwear-style Timberland boots, but wearing the Waysayers would be considered cheating because they’re just too light.
JP’s signature outerwear, also with Thirtytwo, is the Shiloh jacket and the Blahzay pant. As far as fit, JP’s kit is basically the opposite of Shaun White’s, or in JP’s words, “It doesn’t make me look like a condom.” It’s rated 8k waterproof/8k breathability, which he runs in the streets and in the backcountry. Similarly, his pant has a relaxed fit for just the right amount of sag and is made from 10k waterproof material.
With overnighters in the Utah wilderness, rail missions that last until 4 a.m. and long days in the backcountry, there are few riders who spend as much time in their gear as JP. To that end, riders who buy products that JP backs are guaranteed to have products that work.