A world traveler and ledge skating machine, TJ Rogers has become a professional skateboarder and jet setter all before turning 25.
With a finger on the pulse of the Canadian skate scene, TJ keeps it real with multiple trips back to the Great White North each year from his now residence in Huntington Beach, California.
From moving into his own spot while living life on the go, highlighted by an insane video part for RDS and helping bLind Skateboards win the Team Competition at Dew Tour Long Beach—TJ has had a busy year and it is not over yet.
Dew Tour tracked TJ down to catch up on his exciting year so far and to get his insight on the ever-changing skate scene in Canada. In general, TJ is having the time of his life and is hyped on the growing skate scene in his homeland.
What’s up, TJ? How are you?
Doing good, my man. I just got back into town from a weekend in Edmonton, Canada for a contest.
Where are you at right now?
Huntington Beach, California.
Do you live full-time in California?
Yeah, I actually moved here about two and a half years ago. I was living with Ryan Decenzo until about last week. I actually just moved out of his place and got my spot. It’s pretty sick.
Who do you live close to that you can skate with?
I still live close to Decenzo, so we can go kick it all the time—he’s my homey. [Mark] Appleyard lives close to us. I know Chet [Thomas] lives down the street, as well. There as a bunch of people that live in HB. The whole KMS [KillaMurdySquad].
You just got back from a trip to Canada, right? What did you do?
I was up there for a contest called FISE. It’s a European contest that has been going on for like 20 years out in Montpellier, France. I got invited to go to the first stop in Canada. It was a good weekend in the Canadian homeland [laughs].
Do you have any other trips in general coming up?
I go to South Africa on October 2, for the Kimberly Diamond Cup contest. I’ll hang out there for a week and skate. Then come back home to chill for my birthday.
SKATEBOARDING, FIVE TO 10 YEARS, EVERYBODY CARED TOO MUCH ABOUT CERTAIN THINGS. NOW, NO ONE GIVES A FUCK, EVERYONE JUST WANTS TO SKATE AND HAVE FUN.
What have you been up to these past few months since Dew Tour Long Beach?
Right after Dew Tour Long Beach I went straight on a trip to Europe for two and a half weeks. It was a Dwindle Distribution tour with Tommy Sandoval, Ryan Decenzo, Chris Haslam, Flo Mirtain, Zack Wallin, Wieger [Van Wageningen] and a couple other dudes. We went to five countries in 11 days. Right after that trip I went straight to Copenhagen for the CPH Open. And let me tell you, that was a super sick weekend.
Speaking of Copenhagen, what happened with Thrasher‘s Jake Phelps and his glasses?
It’s not really anything to talk about… It’s not like I hit him on purpose. I was skating the last 10 minutes of the event before it was about to end. Phelps was at the top of the set regulating and trying to get people to wrap up. I was wrapping up for my switch front 360 when I accidentally bumped him and knocked his glasses off. This local dude took a video of the whole thing and it went viral. I didn’t even realize it was Phelps. Then, that video came out and I was kind of sketched. Like, ‘am I going to get blacklisted from Thrasher now?’ [laughs] My old roommate Ryan [Decenzo] has talked to him about it since then and he didn’t seemed too bummed. It’s funny because we were hanging out all weekend, and then in the end I was worried he was going to be mad after that. I hope not! I have that edited clip with music to it posted on my Instagram. It’s pretty funny, and worth a watch.
[laughs] Alright, that aside, what was a highlight for you in Copenhagen?
Christiania. [laughs] It’s this place ran by the bikers of Copenhagen. Cops supposedly aren’t allowed in there, and there are only three rules: don’t run, no cell phones and have fun. [laughs] The three simplest rules ever. They have a bowl out there for you to skate, and people are just hanging out having a good time the whole weekend. Christiania is tight. That was definitely one of the highlights for me.
Sounds like a place to add to the bucket list.
Yeah, you have to. Or, just to Copenhagen, not even Christiania. There were so many sick skaters in one city just ripping. It was good times. That was the first one for me. It was so rad!
Speaking of highlights, congrats on the RDS video Enter The Dragon. Your part completely blew me away!
Thanks! I definitely put in some work to make that one happened. I travelled a ton.
Where all did you travel for it?
I went to Philly, Barcelona, SF a few times, back to Toronto to get a couple clips. I was filming for about a year and a half.
Does skating for RDS hold any special Canadian pride?
I’m psyched to be on RDS. They have helped out a lot over the years. I’m very grateful for them to help me out. It’s cool to ride for them. It is a Canadian skate brand.
How about bLind? Does bLind have a special connection to Canadians?
For sure, because [Bill] Weiss is the TM. Weiss is from Toronto and he reps Toronto so hard—clearly if you see his Instagram with the Raptors—and he fucking rips. A lot of people in the States don’t like to give many Canadians chances for whatever reason. It is sick that Bill is down and is willing to take risks on people that not everyone else sees interest in.
How strong is the Canadian scene right now, and what has changed compared to five years ago when you won Damn Am Canada?
Honestly, Canada’s skate scene is growing so fast. There are so many up-and-coming rippers. Every couple of weeks I see a new kid dropping a part from my area in Toronto or over in Vancouver. It is insane to see these kids hitting certain spots now. It seems like Toronto is better than ever now for skating. That is why I go home so much. I have gone home like four or five times just to film.
Are there any crews you are following or guys you try to connect with when you are up there?
Every time I go back to Toronto I always kick it with my good homies Jordan Moss and Eric Valentic. We will also skate with Wade Desarmo and Bobby De Keyzer—whenever he is in town. There is also Jon Cos and Ben Paterson. Those dudes are the up-and-coming rippers from Toronto, and they are definitely trying to make a mark in skateboarding right now.
(Nollie frontside tailslide bigger spin out. Watch more from Best of Tech: Dew Tour Team Challenge 2016.)
What’s it like coming up in the skate industry from Canada? What’s the process seem like? It seems like there is definitely a way to make it happen.
It is definitely a longer process coming from Canada, or anywhere really. I feel like you have to make it in your city and your country, to the point where you are established. Then the American companies start taking note of you repping them and want to try and do something with you eventually. Next you come out to the States and meet them. If they are stoked you just keep going from there. If you keep chipping away, hopefully something works out.
Do you follow the Dime squad, at all?
Yeah, I know all of those dudes. They are sick, and are doing it for the right reasons. That’s for sure. Skateboarding, five to 10 years ago, everybody cared too much about certain things. Now, no one gives a fuck, everyone just wants to skate and have fun. Some people still seem to be stuck in the bubble of ordering what is cool and what isn’t, when Dime and certain people out there just don’t give a fuck. They just skate and have fun.
What’s next for the Canadian skate scene?
It’s been rad to see Canada bring contests back up to the area and make it shine up there.
Alright, let’s switch it up and recap Dew Tour Long Beach. From the skate setup, to the competition format and overall impression of the event, how was your Dew Tour experience as a whole?
Ah man, the Dew Tour experience was epic. It was super fun with great vibes. I loved that it was local in Long Beach this year, so I didn’t have to travel very far for it. I felt like there was a bigger crowd because of that. I liked how they had the Team Challenge itself, because that was a whole new change to the contest format and I was just psyched to be a part of that.
What did you like and dislike about the Team Challenge?
I actually really liked the Team Challenge. There wasn’t anything that I didn’t like about it. It was straight forward. The team manager from each teams picked out four skaters for the four different courses. It was sick. I would definitely want to do it again. It is just one of those contests you don’t want to pass up on. You know?
What did you think of the technical course itself?
I was hyped on it. I felt like it was a little narrow, like skinny, and that some of the ramps could have been a little wider, but honestly it was such good course. The ledges were perfect, couldn’t complain.
Would you do anything different with the course or format for next year?
I wouldn’t want to do anything to it. We (bLind) all did really good and I’m stoked, so I would’t want to switch it up. [laughs]
Thanks so much, TJ. We covered a bunch. Any closing statements about Dew Tour Long Beach or shout outs?
Weiss is the man! He has devoted so much to skateboarding and to his team. He just wants to see us succeed, to see us shine. He is the fucking best team manager I could have ever asked for, and I wouldn’t be where I’m at if it wasn’t for him.