Perfectly poised and documented, switch heel. Photo: Chris Swainston
Skating with Rocky Hudson Jr. usually starts off with a twist and a flat ground session. He carves around tranquil and smooth, popping no-complies and thunderous switch heels. He’s got massive pop—you’ll never see a worm burner out of Rocky. As a kid, he dialed in the basics skating Connection Skatepark and Taylorsville Skatepark with heads like Austin Namba and Colin Brophy. Now he’s well beyond the basics, with nollie front crooks as a staple warm-up trick. Let’s Roll, filmed by Mark White and Steve McGoven, was the first local video Rocky had tricks in. He’s since had parts in many of the productions filmed and edited by Erik Jensen, like Illegit Lit, Makin Moves and Weast Infection. Most recently he shared a part with Morgan Cope in the latest SK801 video, Four Down. He currently skates for Mo Collet at Blindside and gets flow from Jamie Craig over at éS Skateboarding. For Rocky, skateboarding is all for the love: The whole experience of going out to film tricks, playing games of skate in empty parking lots and always having a reason for a road trip keeps him pushing. This mentality is exactly why he recently took off for a trip to southern California to chill out on the beach and film some tricks for Anthony Herren’s upcoming video, Ste. While Rocky sat stuck in traffic on the 110 heading for a warm up session at North Hollywood Park, I caught up with him over the phone with some casual questions.
SLUG: How is the skate trip going?
Rocky: Trip’s good besides a slight skate delay due to a hot pocket crunch. We’ve been beach boys the last couple days. Just been kickin’ it tough. Ankle’s starting to feel a little bit better, so we’re going out today.
SLUG: Can you tell me your first skate memory?
Rocky: It was the first time I went skating when I was about 12-years-old living in Midway. I just hopped on one of the neighbor homies’ boards and went to bomb this hill with them not really knowing what I was doing. I ended up getting speed wobbles and trying to run out of it, tripped over my feet, broke my wrist and sliced my chin open pretty bad. That’s pretty much my first skate memory: takin’ a mean dig.
SLUG: You’ve got quite a name. What’s the story behind it?
Rocky: My full name is Charles Lindon Rocky Hudson, Jr. Charles is my grandpa’s name, Lindon is my mom’s dad, Rock is my dad and Jr. is me. I go by Rocky though, or some people call me JR.
SLUG: Is it a family tradition to carry on the grandfather and father’s names as they go down the generations?
Rocky: I suppose it is, but no one else in my family really has that going on. I guess my parents just got confused and couldn’t figure out what to name me, so they just gave me all of them.
SLUG: You’re starting to look like Adelmo Jr. before he cut off his dreads. How long ago did you start growing those out?
Rocky: Aaah man, I’ve lost track of time. I would say six or seven years ago. It started with a hijinks bet between Jared Smith and me. We had this little bet on who could let their hair grow out the longest. He eventually got over it and cut his. I just said fuck it and let it keep going. I’ve got no plans to cut or trim it. It’s so hot, though, I overheat.
SLUG: Do you feel like the length of your dreads has anything to do with your passion for reggae?
Rocky: There is no other type of music that gives me the vibe that reggae does—like Barrington Levy, the legendary Bob Marley and Capleton—too many good ones to name, but I wouldn’t say that’s the only type of music I listen to.
SLUG: How did you stack enough paper for this trip?
Rocky: I work at a scrapbooking company that Joey Sandoval’s parents own. It’s Nick Hubble, Colin Brophy, Joey and myself doing a bunch of packaging, fucking around a lot, listening to a lot of music. It’s such a good job.
SLUG: Do you feel like Salt Lake is your home?
Rocky: I’m trying to get out, trying to get to California where it’s nice year round. I consider Utah home, though—I’ve been there for most of my life, it feels comfortable. A couple of my homies and I have been talking about getting a spot in Long Beach because it’s a pretty cheep area, but not too ghetto. Trying to just slave away for a little, then pick up and move out.
SLUG: Alright, so I want to hear about the time you participated in a medical research study for painkillers.
Rocky: It’s called Lifetree Research. It was a morphine drug study, whooo! It was wicked man, getting paid just to chill out and be high all day ... not such a bad thing. You get catered food and the nurses there are attractive, too, so that’s a plus. They paid me $2,500. It was mellow. The only thing bad about it was having an IV in my arm for 24 hours, kinda rough.
SLUG: How did it all go down?
Rocky: The first week was a three-day discrimination phase to see how I would react to the drug. I wasn’t allowed to eat a few hours before they dosed me. If I didn’t throw-up in the first two hours, I could stay, but if I did, I got thrown out. I made it past the first week. Then I went in two days a week for the next three weeks and either I got a placebo, the morphine or Embeda: the drug they were testing for. Sometimes I would get the placebo so I would just sit there and hang out. Then sometimes I would get the morphine and just be gone with the wind all day relaxing. The whole point of the study was to take away the pain without giving you the feeling of being high.
SLUG: Doesn’t sound like that worked.
Rocky: I definitely got high. It was a good time.
SLUG: Where can I expect to see some new footage coming out of you?
Rocky: Homie Antho [Herren], is coming out with a video called Ste. It features all the good homies we hang out with, nothing serious, I’ll have a part in that. Then Joey Sandoval is working on a new video that I’ll have tricks in, too.
SLUG: Well, I’ve got to wrap this up. Give me some last words.
Rocky: Shout out to the homies, blaze some healthy twisting, kick it and try to have fun all day.