Jeremy Corea, or more commonly known as “Jezza” or “Black Jer” is a name that most Australian and New Zealand skateboarders will be very familiar with. With his amazing charisma and style on a skateboard, it was almost impossible to open a local magazine without seeing his face in it. He started travelling the world at a young age and was making a “living” from skateboarding for around 5 years. From skating demos with Andrew Reynolds to bombing hills with Omar Salazar he was absolutely on top of the world. His unique past with skateboarding and recent “come back” lead him to being the perfect candidate for a feature interview in the zine. Join me in a conversation with Dandenong’s finest.
You’re from Dandenong right? How was it growing up there? How did you get introduced to skating?
Yeah I grew up in “Dandy” my whole childhood and teenage years. It was defiantly rough out there, especially back then. The town was surrounded with crime but if shaped me in terms of being street smart. I used to see some really heavy shit on the regular. I got introduced to skating through the Tony Hawk video game but I never really wanted to skate until my homie “Yuck” got a board. I would borrow his all the time and like all of us we fell in love with it straight away.
Yeah it’s pretty gnarly in Dandy. The last time I was there, a gang of dudes dressed like Crips were walking around with baseball bats. So how old were you when you picked up the board then! You were fucking tiny in “The Burbs” videos!!!
Yeah it was like that all the time. Lots of “gang” stuff but those guys are never that hood. I guess its like skating or something. Everyone is heavily influenced by American society and wants to be like them, but in America the gangs have actual guns. I was friends with a lot of the gangsters little brothers so the were never the problem for me, it was more the junkies that were the ones to look out for. I was 12 when I first started skating.
So how old were you in “The Burbs 1” video?
I think I was 14.
That’s insane! You were skating rails after 2 years on the board?!!
Yeah it was weird. I couldn’t do any tricks for the first year of skating. All of my friends were way better then me. I progressed really quickly because I absolutely loved it. All of my mates quit skating because it wasn’t ‘cool’ anymore. I quit playing basketball and would just skate everyday.
Soon after you were skating for Emerica and Baker right?
Well, I was on Vita shoes first haha. But yeah after that.
I remember seeing footage of you skating a demo at City Park with Reynolds!!
Yeah that was crazy. That was the first proper trip I went on with pros. Reynolds actually asked Jon Minor to push me on that trip because he was really into my skating.
Soo sick! Did anything happen with that?
Well I eventually went to the USA when I was 17 and stayed at the Baker house in Hollywood for 3 months with Beagle, Herman and stuff, but I just wasn’t ready. I think I got a couple of clips but I barely did anything. I kind of blew it really.
I hadn’t quite found myself in skating yet and everything was really stunt orientated back then and I couldn’t keep up with them all the time. They were on another level! I was a great experience tho.
Shorty after that trip I got kicked off Baker from Dustin Dollin because I didn’t do enough. Which is fair enough as they were giving me 10 boards a month to do fuck all, and spent all this money on my trip to America.
I understand it now, but at the time I didn’t get it, haha.
17 is really young to be over there with the big dogs! It would be soo intimidating. As you said, you had you hadn’t really found your style yet. I was like 21 or 22 when I knew how I wanted to skate. I always thought I was shit because I couldn’t jump down massive stairs haha.
Do you have any stories from your times with the Baker Boys?
Hmmm. I’ve got heaps but something I thought was pretty insane is that Lindsey Lohan would come to the house to buy cocaine from Flip. Hahaha.
What about Kelly Osbourne? Wasn’t she mates with all that crew?
Yeah she was down with Braydon. I never met her tho.
I did see Ozzy at a diner the second day I arrived. I was tripping from jetlag real bad and went to get a feed and he was just chilling there.
So what came after Baker then?
Yeah so after Baker.. While I was on Baker, Jamie Thomas came up to me at the Shred for Shane event at Fitzroy bowl and he wanted me to skate for Mystery.
He’d seen my Burbs 2 part and an interview in Slam or something and he was down. After I got the boot from Baker, I got a call really early in the morning from Jamie and I hung up on him because I thought it was a prank call from someone.
Sure enough he calls back a couple of hours later.. Then I ended up getting on Zero..
Oh wow. Pretty sick having Reynolds and Jamie backing you!!
Yeah that was full on for me. I was still a kid.
So around this time you would have been filming for the Positive Energy video?
Yeah, around then.
It seems like you guys had a lot of fun making that video. It was like all you young guys had taken over the scene at the time. That video got me really hyped to move to Australia.
It’s always been fun. Never a dull moment. We were just being kids and filming just like most skaters have done at some point in their lives. Shit hasn’t changed. I’m still doing exactly that.
Don’t mean to take the conversation off topic, but didn’t you get held at gunpoint in the USA like 4 years ago?
Yeah it was only 3 years ago.
I was out with Nathan Jackson and a few others at this bar that everyone went to in Hollywood. There was this girl down there who I’d seen a few times. She was on Americas next top model hahaha. Anyway, she was giving me vibes and we headed to another bar. As we get to the door, security only lets her in and leaves me outside.. It was in the middle of nowhere and their wasn’t a taxi in sight, so I started walking home. I get about 15 minutes in and I noticed some dude in a trench coat following me on the other side of the road. He started yelling “Yo, gimme a cigarette!!!”. I politely said I didn’t have any and kept walking. After walking a few blocks I noticed he’s literally right behind me with a gun in his hand.
“Cigarettes!! Money!! Cigarettes!!!”, so I grabbed all the possessions from my pockets and dropped them on the ground. I only had $25 bucks and heaps of change. As he was picking up change from the ground I just ran for it.
On the way home I walked past Lockwood, so I knew I was now in a sketchy area.
I walked another 3 hours, got home at 6am, realized I didn’t have my keys and passed out on the doorstep. It was pretty crazy. It obviously sucked at the time, but it’s a life experience many have never lived. Nathan Jackson got robbed at gunpoint another time too. Shit is hectic.
Soo fucked up.
During my years of skating with you, I have noticed you have changed your style a few times. I don’t mean it in a bad way, but I remember one week you would be skating huge rails and the next you’d be out skating a vert ramp or something! Would you say you’re skating is heavily influenced by different styles?
I don’t take it in a bad way at all. My skating has always been influenced by a million skateboarders. I was obsessed with it so much like all of us. I think of it this way.. When I was a kid, I never found myself.. I wanted to do everything and be like all of them. Call it draining or lame, take it or leave it. It just took me a long time to find out what I like and what I don’t like.
I don’t care what people think anymore. When I was I kid, I would care too much about what people thought of me. I had my own identity crisis. Lot of people do, others don’t. Its apart of life.
I would say I’m now much older and I’m not scared of what anyone thinks of me anymore.
That’s whatsup. Also, you have the skills to skate however the fuck you want. It’s sick.
So a few years back, you pretty much threw in the towel with skating and picked up the basketball again. The exact opposite of what you did when you were a kid.
I really fucked up my arm skating and had to get some pretty gnarly surgery.
It mentally fucked me. I tried to skate again but it was a nightmare. I had no confidence at all!
I was always watching basketball even when I skated, then one day I just decided I wanted to start playing again. No different to skateboarding, I fell in love with it. All I thought about was basketball and almost forgot about skateboarding entirely. I would wake up at 6am, go to the gym and shot everyday before work and again after work.. I wanted to get good.
I really pushed myself and I was lucky enough to meet some really high level players at Prahran. Some had even been to collage in the US and they basically taught me the game the right way. I noticed I was getting better and better every way. I could see my progression and IQ for the game getting really high.
The ultimate goal was to play at a high level and I did.
Its really hard on the body and I love the challenge, just like skating.
Are you still playing?
Yeah I still play in a domestic league for fun. Also with all the homies at Prahran park. Word gets out that everyone’s hooping and I’m there.
These dudes are all such good friends even when were not playing ball was just kick it. They’re all really solid guys.
That’s soo sick. Right now you are skating the best I’ve ever seen you. In terms of style, trick selection and speed, you are on top of your game. Do you think your time away from skateboarding has helped you?
Thank a lot man. I really appreciate that. Well, one day at Prahran I was hooping and that chick Sophie came up with her board and told me to so a switch flip.
I was like “fuck it” and ended up skating flat ground with her. She got me really hyped on skating again.
I then noticed the mental shit in my head and with my arm was gone! Straight away it was back on. Just like being a kid again. It reminded me of when I started skating. The whole time I was off my board I would look at spots and stuff, I just never wanted to actually skate. Now that I was confident again, I went back to all these spots and realised how I want to skate.
I’ve been loving it so much recently and it feels like I never actually stopped. I forgot how fun it is to find a spot and get a trick on it or just simply skate from A to B.
I wanna give the word up to all the Larmon – Rippons, Shorty, Nathan and all the Prahran hoopers, Brenno, Al Wilson, Micah, Niddy, my Mother, bros and sister, Mike Denovan, Elijah, Hootie, Tully, Brunsy, Simmo, Carter, my guy Circuit, Big Cools, yourself, Fiddy, Brother Wolf Barber Shop, Vyv, Jayden and all of the rest of the homies that I skate with.
If I forgot anyone I’m sorry!
Rest In Peace, Lewis Marnell.