Jenica Davenport – Push Culture
We had a chance to talk to our sister Jenica earlier this summer. She told us about falling in love, getting broke off, getting back up and Push Culture! It’s a fun read.
Hey Jenica! How are you?
Doing pretty swell, how about you?
Rad! Where are you from?
I was born and raised on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, in a small surf town.
That was my first passion, way before I ever stepped on a skateboard.
How did the surfer become the skater?
Haha, well I guess I got bored when there weren’t any waves, so my brother put me on a skateboard and I’ve been in love ever since. When I was old enough, I got a job at the local skatepark and really started to learn more about transitions. I eventually moved up to NYC and it naturally became my means of transportation and therapy.
What did you learn about transitions?
I had a lot of rad dudes who helped me learn how to drop in, ride small transitions, basically manoeuvre the ramps and 1/2 pipe. That experience gave me stoke and confidence to continue my progression through all types of skating.
“Skateboarding allowed me to be free of restriction; to be myself; to have a moment of peace in a world of chaos.”
How is skateboarding therapeutic?
When you live in a city as populated as NYC, you never really have a moment to be alone. You’re constantly surrounded by a sea of people. Skateboarding allowed me to break away from all that bogs you down. It allowed me to be free of restriction; to be myself; to have a moment of peace in a world of chaos. It’s liberating, intoxicating even.
When did you move out to NYC?
I was 18, fresh out of high school.
How is skating in the big apple different?
There is never a dull moment. Anyone who’s skated the city knows. There are so many different elements here. Gnarly potholes that will take you out, unaware pedestrians and tourists, cabbies that have anger management issues, and of course the traffic lights. Once you master all these, your stoke meter goes thru the roof. Makes getting from point A to B not just a task but an epic trip.
What is your favourite thing to do on your board?
That’s a tough one. There is an awesome crew of techsliders here in the city- some of the best that I’ve had the pleasure of skating with. It’s been awesome to get to learn from these guys. I also am really stoked on finding some good hills and skating fast. That’s what’s really stoking me out; the feeling of skating fast, the overwhelming stoke after you finish a run, the community, everything.
How did you get into tech sliding?
Way back in the day we got an invite to a weekly sesh in a park in Brooklyn, the “Friday Night Rips,” put on by the Earthwing Crew. It was there I met the infamous Steve Kong and Jessica Corchia. They had crazy steeze. I was stoked on it from that point forward.
What do you enjoy about it?
I guess a lot of it has to do with the peeps. They’re a rowdy bunch of kids that can shred and are great teachers. They’re so encouraging and get so stoked when you land a trick they know you’ve been working on. I’ve had two big injuries in the last year and change. Getting back to our local hill is what I looked forward to the most.
Kong and Ed hollering and throwing their boards when I land that 360 for the first time in months! It’s a kick-ass feeling to have that kind of support. FAMILY LOVE.
Who’s in the crew?
There are people that come and go , but the main crew I guess would be Steve Kong, Ed Nieves, Jessica Corchia, Serge Berig, amongst others.
Who is Jessica?
Jessica Corchia is one rad lady. She taught me a lot of about techsliding and steeze. She rides for EW and has her own pro-model which I still rock to this day. You should check her out.
When did you first go fast?
I first got the itch for it skating in Texas. My husband Travis is from the Hill Country in Texas, the name says it all. Beautiful freshly paved long sweeping runs that seem to last all day. I love that place. Its also where I had one of my first biggest crashes; tore my ACL, fractured my femur, hella road rash. They have a rad local scene! If you’re ever in Austin, check out the ALC-Austin Longboard Club. These cats are no stranger to some gnarly hills.
What does ALC get up to?
Austin Longboard Club is a rad solid group of skaters. Every week they have a night sesh where they meetup and bomb some garages, local hills, whatever and end up at Wahoos- local taco shop and bar. Brian “Chubs” Cortright and Zach Sharpe are some of the first people we met in the scene and have been stoking people out for years. Both of these guys are incredible skaters and people. Shoutout to Carve Skate shop, for facilitating a lot of events and stoke for their local community.
Chubbs is the truth! How long did it take you to recover?
Hmm… It’s a continual recovery. Had surgery a month after the crash, took part of my hamstring out to replace the ACL. Guess it took me about 5 months before I seriously got back on board.
Did your approach to skating change after the accident?
It definitely changed something for me. Before- I was balls-to-the-wall; had no fear. Afterwards I was a bit more timid; took my time building up strength in my legs and courage. It was a very humbling, learning experience. Now for me its more about experiencing the moment here and now, rather than a constant competition.
While I was “broke off” I could still be encouraging to the community of chicks and dudes we have here. Having such an incredible family of skaters, that love, support, and encourage is an incredibly powerful thing.
You found love through skating?
Haha I suppose one could say that. I met my husband and we immediately bonded over our love for the sport. He says to this day he always knew I was the one when he spotted my Chad Muska deck on our first date.
What’s an ideal skate date?
Every couple of weeks my husband, Travis and I go to sesh on of our local spots. We spend a solid few hours there. Then, head down to Chinatown to get some of the best soup dumplings in town. Then a leisurely skate home over the Williamsburg Bridge. Yea… that sounds like the perfect date to me.
What’s your role in the community there?
When I first moved to nyc- it was so rare to see someone on a longboard that I used to chase them down for blocks to say ”hey” and hear their story. As the scene has evolved over the last decade, it’s been awesome to watch this family grow organically. Being involved since the early days, it has given me an opportunity to encourage the females of our community. From organizing events, hosting girls skates, etc, I’ve had the pleasure of creating relationships that continue to push this community forward. As the scene has grown- more and more media outlets became intrigued by this image of women skaters.
Jay Z and New Era contacted us and gave us an outlet to create this image of an empowered strong woman who can shred. That did so much for the women in our community as well as female skaters all over the world.
Who is ‘’us?
I met two rad chicks back in the day; Micku Murgolo and Nathalie “Nat2Legit” Herring. Because we were the only chicks skating with all those dudes- we started skating more together and pushing each other to progress. I wouldn’t be the skater I am without those two. My ride-or-die bitches!
Wait what? Jay Z is your skate buddy?
Haha I wish! He started an online magazine called “Life and Times.” I was skating through the city one day and one of the creative directors for the site saw me and googled blonde female longboarders nyc. He found an article I was in from Transworld Mag- and contacted the Bustin skate shop where I worked. He was so stoked to shoot the ladies for one of the first video editorials for the site. We were beyond stoked!
Wow. What’s your involvement with the magazine now?
Not much involvement now- although the crew we shot with have become good friends. Good peoples.
What other media appearances have you made?
Haha that’s a funny question. Our friend Brett Beyer is an awesome photographer here in NYC. He shot the ladies for a Concrete Wave Calendar cover a couple of years back. That was pretty rad. Let see what else… shot for a 50/50 New Era campaign. Some other things. It’s been fun to see how far the media outlets reach and to have girls from South America and Asia reach out and tell you their story and how those images inspired them. That gets me super stoked!
Will we see you in an upcoming Hollywood blockbuster?
Haha narf. NO WAY!
Who was the first female you saw on a skateboard?
Mimi Knoop was one of the first women I saw shredding hard. She rides for Hoopla skateboards and is one of the most influential women in the shortboard scene. Not to mention she can skate better than a lot of dudes.
Do you still ride with Micku and Nathalie?
Micku moved out west- where she is still ripping it up in Cali. Me and Nat2Legit sesh from time to time now.
“I love skating with girls. Skating with the dudes made me… a better skater. But girls are more encouraging; it’s never about competition, but rather getting good vibes from other women and creating an environment where no-one has to be self-conscious.”
How is the vibe from skating with women different?
I love skating with girls. Don’t get me wrong- skating with the dudes made me push myself out of my comfort zone and in-turn, become a better skater. But girls are more encouraging- its never about competition; but rather getting good vibes from other women and creating an environment where no-one has to be self-conscious. Where you can be you. Sounds cheesy i know but if you’ve ever experienced it, you know what I am talking about.
Is it important to encourage women to skate?
I think so. This sport is made up, for the majority, of men. For a female starting out, that can be intimidating as hell. But having a community of females that supports and gets stoked for you can be the most empowering thing. And that is what is going to continue to allow this industry to grow and make more room for women that can shred.
How does skating empower women?
Just think about how having a community, an organized crew, can have more action than one man alone. Having a community of women, working for the same goal, is empowering. You’re part of something bigger than yourself. And skating is that opportunity to strive and connect and get stoked with other people that share your love for the skate.
What needs to be done to create an environment that fosters more female participation?
I think there are a lot of things event organizers are doing now to facilitate that. There’s a program in NYC called Stoked Mentoring. They basically help inner-city kids learn how to skate and surf. Giving females and males an outlet to focus and escape into can be an incredible gift. If local skate communities organized more female events/skates, women would have the environment and teachers to progress. It can be intimidating to skate with the dudes sometimes.
What would your life be like without boards?
I can’t even begin to imagine where I would be without skateboarding. That’s a crazy thought.
Do you compete?
I do, but since I’ve been broke off I haven’t done much competing; just local slide jams etc. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve lost some of my competitive edge. I don’t have that urge to be as aggressive in my skating as often. I enjoy the freerides and getting stoked off of others energy and supporting the movement. The ole gray mare, she ain’t what she used to be haha.
How was last season for you?
Last season was… interesting. I broke my tibia and fibula in June so that pretty much wrapped up the season for me! After some healing time, I got back to training; doing a lot of physical therapy, yoga, strength building. Been a long road to recovery, but its been a good learning experience. Learned to have a lot of patience with myself.
What do you do when you’re not skating?
Dream about skating. We are continually building this brand Push Culture to ensure that we never have to stop skateboarding. We do media coverage of skateboard events as well as producing our apparel collection specially designed to hold up crash after crash. I geek out on that kind of stuff. I like doing R&D on the apparel; pushing it to the limits to see what it can handle. So even when I can’t skate, its always on the brain.
What is Push Culture?
Push Culture is an idea we had for a long time to create an apparel collection that was durable, functional, and wearable for all disciplines of skating. We incorporated the idea to have a media outlet where you could stay informed of events, industry news, etc from one source. We wanted to give people the opportunity to become familiar with the brand (for free:) before we tried to sell them something. Its been our baby for the last few years, putting a lot of blood, sweat and tears into making it a reality.
Now its come to fruition and we couldn’t be more stoked about it! Just getting feedback from customers/riders about how the pants saved their ass (literally) and how they appreciate the up to date coverage of events. Its an incredible feeling.
How will PC ensure you never stop skateboarding?
All of us have had regular jobs, which usually, in some way, restricted the stokage. We wanted to build a brand that was relevant and gave us the opportunity to stay involved way past our skating prime. I want to have a job that’s inspiring, that I’m excited about. This guarantees that. Skateboarding is my love, my passion, and I have a job that makes sure I can do that everyday- who wouldn’t be stoked?
“Skateboarding is my love, my passion, and I have a job that makes sure I can do that everyday- who wouldn’t be stoked?”
When did you get involved with PC?
We first came up with the concept in 2008 during the winter when it was BRICK outside. We refused to give up skating due to the weather and had an idea to make clothing for the commuter. It started with an old hoodie and a sewing machine in our bedroom. Five years later, we’ve started doing large production runs and wholesaling to shops around the globe. But I still remember sewing every apparel order by hand! I sewed at least 150 sweatshirts that first year. Its still so amazing to see the dream become a reality.
What’s been the hardest thing about growing the brand?
It takes a lot of time, hard work, and patience. I think the hardest part is the not being able to skate as much because work responsibilities take priority. But I really can’t complain because this brand we’re building will ideally allow skating to be a part of my life forever. So its a give and take!
What is your role in the family now?
The PC fam? I do the design, production, and distribution of our apparel collection. I work with the boys in the design process, getting everyone’s input. Then I communicate our ideas to the factory and pattern makers. It’s really awesome to see your idea come full circle into a tangible thing you can wear that protects you. Pretty rad!
How has PC grown since 2008 to date?
It’s been really amazing to see the positivity and support we’ve received since we started this. The skate family locally and internationally has been incredibly supportive and stoked on what we’re trying to do. That is probably the most affirming part of this. Getting feedback from stoked customers and friends from all over, helps us know we’re headed in the right direction.
What are your plans for this season?
We have a busy season ahead. I’m stoked! Were working with Marc Dean– ole g luger and all around epic dude- to co-host 3 east coast events this season. We’ll also be doing our usual coverage for the Maryhill Festival of Speed as well as heading up to the great white north to Whistler. I love Canada! And of course, Giants Head. There’s a bunch of local east coast events that are going down too; we’ll be there to support the local organizers and get stoked. So its gonna be and awesome season!
Where would you like to see PC in 3 years?
Hmm that’s a good question. I hope to be running a sustainable brand that supports many aspects of our industry and life. Travis and I are wanting to make a move westward so PC can occupy both east and west coast. Living the skate dream!
How does your role in PC allow you to influence the female skate scene?
Although starting a business is time consuming, it does allow me a platform to get in touch with the women both in my local community and worldwide. Making those connections and building those relationships are a priority of mine. Nothing gets you more stoked than knowing you have the support of women behind you to keep you pushing. And I want to be that for women, supporting and encouraging them in this mostly male sport.
Where do you see the female side of longboarding in 3 years?
I hope it just continues to grow exponentially. There’s some incredible women who are doing big things in the skateboarding industry. They’re strong independent women who can encourage and be a role model to new girls getting into the scene. I’m excited to see how that support will change the industry.
What do you do when you’re not thinking about skating?
Filming, photography and spend time with some of my awesome friends!
It has been so rad speaking to you sis. Hope we get to jam in Europe someday!
Me too! Stoked on what you’re doing! Thanks for the opportunity.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
Hunter S Thompson. Live your life and love what you live. Cuz u only yolo once!