Guestbook: AJ Powell

 In Guestbook, Visitors

AJ Powell, aka “Big AJ,” hails from the land of poutine and tabarnac: Montreal, Quebec.  It takes a certain amount of radical stoke-ness to be an active skateboarder where it’s freezing cold and snowy for 5 months out of the year, and AJ definitely possesses that stoke.  We call him Big AJ because, well… he’s a big guy!  And he’s not afraid to get his size behind him and kill some wheels to the core.  Big AJ, little wheels!


AJ modeling his SkateHouse shirt.  Photo by Max Dubler

Whether it’s bombing fast, shredding wheels or attacking some coping, AJ is always down.  If you ever get the chance to road trip or hang out with him at an event: DO IT!  You’re guaranteed good times and many hilarious stories.

Q: Why did you want to come stay?
A: I was staying in San Juan Capistrano at Max Capps’ parents place, Dubes picked me up because we were gonna get our leathers done, mine were ready for fitting the next day, so I slept over for the night. Morning came, my leathers didn’t fit, so I had to stay a few days longer… I never went back to Max’s place.

Q: How far, when and why and how long did you come to the SkateHouse?
A: 2 years ago, I took a plane from Montreal and landed in LAX, so as the crow flies its a few miles over 2400. I’m pretty sure I had to stay a whole week.

Q: Who else was staying at the house when you were here?
A: Oh man, it was rediculous! At the time Dubes was sharing James’ room with his dog, Midnight. Kevin rented a corner by the kitchen, it was spring break for a bunch of skaters still in school, so Max Erwin and Pat Switzer were there, Brian was there too. Pat Schep was off school too I think, we were a good bunch… Louis had a whole room to himself with a bathroom that didn’t work.  (This Orangatang video was filmed during the week AJ was here.)


Surfing the curves of Maryhill.  Photo by Ward Larson

Q: Describe a day in the life of a SkateHouseMedia?
A: Nobody but Louis gets up right away, we’d get up at 11am… Fried Chicken and Waffles for breakfast? Sure! The day I discovered whipped butter looks just like a scoop of vanilla ice cream… Go skate in the afternoon, Malibu or Glendora or the Hollywood Hills. Find a cheap taco place, spend the rest of the day in the SkateHouse watching Netflix or playing Skate2.

Q: Did you find the housemates active or lazy? Which housemates? How so?
A: Lazy did come to mind on the first days, most of us are use to driving out at 5am cause our good hills are far away, but if you skate everyday you realize the roads aren’t going anywhere. The skate-cation kicks in and you catch everyone else’s rhythm. Nonetheless, James likes to stay in his heart covered pajamas as long as he possibly can !

Q: What was your favorite part about you SkateHouse stay?
A: NO SNOW ! Only cold you could find was all the beer I filled the fridge with!

Q: What are SkateHouse do’s and don’ts?
A: Basic couchsurfing rules, do your part, do some dishes. DON’T LEAVE YOUR BLOODY BANDAGES IN THE SHOWER, DON’T BRING IN THE SKATER-AIDS, pick up your mess.


Staying warm in the Montreal winter.  Photo by Yann L’Hermitte

Q: Did you take anyone out while riding down here?
A: Nope.

Q: Did you do our dishes and pick up the living room at least once during your stay? How do you feel about your answer?
A: I ate in restaurants more than anything, the only dishes I saw was from James’ famous Hotdog/Tuna/Scrambled Eggs recipe, HA! That shit looked nasty !

Q: Did any housemates help you out during your stay?
A: Dubes (Brent Dubendorff) helped me out a lot, I remember being stuck in traffic a lot with him. Showed me a lot of great eats in town!

Q: Do you feel you were a good house guest?
A: Yeah, you guys laughed a lot at my jokes, I got a few of you shitfaced on shitty beer, and I didn’t have Staph when I arrived.

Q: What was the most memorable moment of your stay?
A: I had met Louis a year ago at Munnsville before going to the SkateHouse, Dubes had dropped me off 2 days ago, but he still didn’t know I was staying at his place. The place was packed, we were just chilling and he sits on the couch right next to me… Over an hour goes by until he finally yells out, “WHEN THE FUCK DID AJ GET HERE!?” Hahahaha, priceless.

Montreal Slide Jam 2010 by MattK – see AJ get jigg(l)y wit it 0:15 seconds in

Q: What was the worst thing about your stay?
A: I got butt raped by a road, first time down, my ass was covered in road rash, I had to sleep with my ass up in the air to let the wounds breathe. I think I left the skatehouse with a Staph infection.

Q: What was your opinion of LA?
A: Beautiful weather everyday I was there, great food too. Made me forget about the horrible clusterfucks of traffic everyday.

Q: What is your favorite type of skating? Did the SkateHouse influence that?
A: I was one of the only guys sliding soft wheels in my town, to know that other people are way better than you skating gnarlier hills made me realize I had to learn to get better or die. Literally, you can easily charge a corner and slide off a cliff. Once I got home, I knew I had to get better at powerslides at high speeds. Can’t wait to get back to Cali and see how I’ve progressed in the past 2 years.

Q: What do you think about us trying to get a new house?
A: Dude… dude, if there are more kids coming in than when I was there, it must be really unpleasant at times! I hope you guys find a real jewel of a house, with more than 2 bedrooms for the housemates.


Gettin’ slideways with the leathers on.  Photo by Ian Comishin

Q: Please explain the style of the hills that you were able to skate in California?
A: I skated a GREAT mountain road with Mercado and a full van, Dubes brought me to Mo-haulin’, skated the Hollywood hills with the Otang crew of the time…and whole bunch of canyon roads with scary cliffs and blind turns.  DT brought me to Hacienda Heights for some night riding and beer at the local In-N-Out.  I totally got the royal treatment from everyone in LA, and I’d do the same for anyone visiting Montreal’s spots.

Q: Describe the hills and if the video do them justice?
A: GoPro camera’s help a bit to get that feeling if you’ve been there before, the corner shots with panning views too, but going there and feeling the G-force through the banked turns, learning the pavement to not slide out and eat rockwall, is an art… The videos are great reminders of that and always make me want to go back one day.

Q: What was the best thing you did during your stay besides skate?
A: I really enjoyed finding cool carnicerias with Kevin and getting fast food tour guide by DT with good american beer.

Q: Did you party in Hollywood?
A: Hey boys, do y’all know where the heli-pad party’s at!?


Big AJ, big smiles.  Photo by Fabrice Gaetan

Q: Do you like the SkateHouse? Why?
A: Yes. One word: BOWER (see the first definition here).

Q: What kind of influence did the SkateHouse have on you? Did you influence the SkateHouse?
A: I told them they should really meet Matt Kienzle, look how that turned out…

Q: What is your favorite SkateHouse video?
A: Mo-haulin !

Q: What is SKATEHOUSEMEDIA to you?
A: [Insert corny haïku here]

We really liked this one we found through Google:
As flower buds bloom
They listen to birds chirping
While skateboards whiz by

Hey AJ – thanks for stopping by, filling out a Guestbook and for generally being a rad dude.  Come back soon!

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