LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Ever since Jordan Hoffart decided to turn his back on the seemingly incessant rain of his native Vancouver, he has been living his dream as a professional skateboarder in the perpetual sunshine of southern California.
The 27-year-old Canadian, who briefly worked in construction and also as a stunt man in the movie industry to help pay off a mortgage, is now able to twin his ideal career with a near-perfect lifestyle.
Whether he is competing on the professional circuit, filming video footage for one of his brand sponsors, giving advice to up-and-coming skateboarders or simply trying out a new trick, he is exactly where he wants to be.
”Eat, sleep and skate, it is just how I pictured it,“ Hoffart, who has lived full-time in the United States since early 2009, told Reuters. ”You get this feeling when you skate, a sense of freedom to create and do whatever you want. It’s like a thrill.
”When I first stepped on a board, it just struck me as very intriguing. It was the only thing that held my attention long enough for me to progress at something. And now here I am, living the dream.
“I believe San Diego has the best weather in the world. It’s sunny and 80 degrees every day. I was miserable working up there in Vancouver and sick of the rain.”
Hoffart, who is renowned for his “Big Spin Heel Flip” where he blunt slides down a handrail, has excelled in competition but he is happiest when exploring the more artistic side of skateboarding.
“My priority is to keep it interesting, new and fun as opposed to being competitive and making a lot more money,” said the Canadian, who played a minor role as a vampire skater in the film “Blade: Trinity,” which starred Wesley Snipes.
”I love doing all the contests but to win, you either have to be a freak of nature or you have to really concentrate on the contest season, concentrate on those 10 or 12 tricks you have and go to the park every day and just repetitively do them over and over and over.
“I don’t think I have the attention span to do those same tricks 100 times every day. I’d rather just get a normal job,” Hoffart added with a broad grin.
Asked how he developed new skateboarding tricks, Hoffart replied: “A lot of the time it will be through inspiration from skating at a new spot.”
“Other times, you will end up skating that spot and maybe by accident you will slip out of the trick you are trying and land into something else and think: ‘Wow, I didn’t even think of that.” Then it spirals into a whole other trick.
“When you skate with new people and see how they skate spots differently from you and what they think of, you can also get a bunch of inspiration.”
Born in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, where he was introduced to skateboarding at the age of six by his freestyle skating uncle, Hoffart loves passing on tips to his younger fans.
“When we hold demos for the kids and have product give-aways, that’s my chance to get some one-on-one face time with the kids and answer any question that they might have,” he said.
“Many of them are aspiring to be in my position so that’s when I find I have the most impact. Kids want to relate to the pros, or feel like they are part of what you have going on.”
Hoffart, who competes regularly in the United States on the Dew Tour and the Maloof Money Cup, has set his sights on being able to keep skating well into his 40s.
”Hopefully I am still skating and my body is in good enough shape,“ he said. ”It would be nice to keep on travelling and spreading the good news about skating because I think it’s a pretty amazing feeling.
“I would definitely like other kids to be able to share that feeling and grow up having that because when all else fails, you can just roll down the street on your board and kind of forget about it all.”
Hoffart has been especially inspired by American Tony Hawk, who helped to transform skateboarding from a gritty street sport into a multibillion-dollar industry while winning nine X Games gold medals.
”Tony Hawk has just released a new 2012 video part and he is 43,“ Hoffart said. ”It’s incredible to see him being still able to do all those tricks at that age. It just inspires me to keep going.
“People ask: ‘How long have you got?’ And they think you will have to stop at 30 or whatever but skateboarders keep defying reality by pushing the limit. I’d like to be able to jump on that train and show people who otherwise have that doubt about the longevity of this career.”
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; editing by Clare Fallon and Paul Casciato