From his emergence as the pint sized Kill City endorsed helmet wearing protégé of Lee Dainton, all the way through to the fully grown Gut Soldier that he’s become, Jake Collins has been synonymous with raw, transition leaning skateboarding. Having started out his days in Newport, South Wales, Jake has gone on to take his quest for a large gut and even larger frontside airs on a journey around the globe, and as he prepares to exit the world of skateboarding in favour of a promising career on the slopes (if you saw Harry Deane’s Instagram story on the weekend, you’ll know exactly what we mean…), we thought we’d take a close look at his current – possibly final – setup for this week’s Gear Check.
Jakey Boi and Ulph Andersson for Creature Skateboards (2020).
Jake’s had quite the varied collection of wood underneath his feet over the years, but recently he’s been on the receiving end of boxes of Creature boards from Shiner Distribution. Having first been raised from the underworld in 1994, Creature claims to represent ‘the darker side of skateboarding’, and is well known for it’s vibrant, demonic graphics, and a team that consists primarily (not exclusively) of pool dwelling hesh overlords. Given his duel fondness for ales and airs, it’s fair to assume that Jake would probably feel right at home crammed into a van with his fellow Fiends, wondering where his next Nutella sandwich is coming from whilst necking his 13th can of lukewarm Holsten Pils.
Jake’s chosen plank here is the Devine Kevin Baekkel pro board, coming in at a modest (for Creature) 8.6” wide. As this board is designed for frontside smith grinding 45 stair Norwegian handrails, it’s offered in more of a traditional popsicle shape, though it does incorporate NHS’ Powerply technology, which sees two layers of reinforcement material being inserted into the nose and tail, in hope of reducing chipping and preserving pop.
The underside of Jake’s rig consists of Hard Lines from OJ Wheels that come in at 56mm in diameter and 99a on the Durometer scale, making them a hard, sturdy wheel that’s ideal for charging your way around large transitions and rugged DIY spots. Holding his OJs to his Creature plank are Independent Hollow 159s – the brand’s classic model truck, perfectly suited to boards measuring somewhere in the region of 8.75”. As the name suggests, these revamped trucks boast of hollowed out axels and kingpins, reportedly reducing the weight of each truck by 48g. So not only do they offer the stability and response that you’ve come to expect from Independent, the lightness of the pair theoretically makes for easier flip tricks, and higher airs. And if you know Jake, getting technical and achieving longer periods of airtime are two things that he is very, very passionate about.
I’m pretty sure Jake started out his tenure in sponsored skateboarding wearing Vans, before venturing off and playing the footwear field for a few years, though recently – thanks to Chris Pfanner – he’s settled his wandering feet back into a familiar spot on the Vans Europe roster. If I was driving over the Severn Bridge in the depths of winter in hope of skating a spot that dwells underneath a flyover, I probably wouldn’t be rocking shoes that claim to be marshmallow coloured, but alas, Jake is a braver man than I. These vulcanised Old Schools have been given the Vans Pro Skate upgrade, meaning that they feature an Ultracush HD sockliner for shock absorption, a Duracap layer underneath the suede upper, and an extra durable rubber Pro Skate outsole. All of those skate focused modifications – along with the deeper tread on the classic Vans Waffle Sole - ensure that these Old Schools are generally more hardwearing and suited to skateboarding than the shoe’s standard incarnation. And they look great; even when covered in West Country mud.
And on that note, let us leave Jake to go about his day. Be sure to pick the knowledgeable brains of your local retailer with any and all questions regarding the products you’ve read about here today; I’m sure they’ be happy to help!