Some people just make you smile. They are such “good people” that you only wish the best for their lives and hope that they get ahead. Jason Slezak is one of these people. He’s not a “surf jerk” or attitude throwing bad ass, he’s just Jason. Cool to everyone. Paving the way with his smile and lighting it up on the water every day. Jason’s riding is smooth and big. He combines the power and lift of his four line kites with his fast and fluid snowboard background to produce a style that is all his own. When you watch Jason ride, it’s almost like the sound has been turned off on the TV. It’s the only way I can describe it. There’s no jerky motions or hard landings. Everything is “silent” and smooth. Last summer he teamed up with Llew Simmonds and did some serious time at The Slick and other Hatteras locales working on new maneuvers. The two of them would slip off at every chance to go ride and work on new tricks. The end result was quite different from you would normally get from a situation like that. Instead of them both having the same style one better than the other, they pushed each other super hard and developed their own completely different styles. Llew’s a low technical wake style and Jason’s a big and smooth wake/snowboard style. Now the door is wide open for Jason to do what he wants with his riding. He plans on basing out of Hatteras again this year and to do some more traveling including the Waddell contest and the Gorge Games. The whole time keeping it “Jason”, with his smile, good spirits and smooth riding.
Birth place: Charleroi, Pa
Yrs riding: 2 ½ yrs.
Sponsors: North Kites, Jimmy Lewis, Excess Technical Apparel, Da Kine, REAL Kiteboarding
KM: What’s it like where you’re from?
JS: It is a town south of Pittsburgh in western Pa. It is a short drive from the Appalachian Mountains and a few small but fun ski resorts. I grew up skiing & snowboarding in the winter and mtn. Biking in the summer. The area is fun we experience all four seasons and it is close enough to the city that there are always good bands playing and fun places to party.
KM: Everyone always says how nice you are. Are you the nicest guy in the world or what?
JS: No, I wouldn’t say that. I just feel that the nicer you are to people the nicer they will be to you.
KM: Describe your style. What’s your plan when you go out on the water?
JS: I like to go out and have as much fun as possible, which for me means being as smooth as I can and pushing myself as much as possible but still knowing my limits.
KM: Walks on the beach, pink wakeboards, late night hot tubs watching meteor showers and......
JS: Most of all “The Slick”!
KM: What kind of gear do you ride?
JS: Four line kites with a fixed center line (no chicken loop) and a wakeboard. I have converted some of my smaller kites to two line and that has been fun to ride something different.
KM: Why do ride a wake?
JS: I love the way it feels! I have a strong snowboarding background and being in bindings feels so natural. From day one I just always wanted to ride a wake.
KM: Why not two line kites? I thought if you rode a wake, you had to use two line?
JS: I think that somebody forgot to tell me that. No, I just like the way four line kites turn and boost better than two line kites, the only thing that I didn’t like was the “sloppy” feel of the chicken loop (hence the fixed line)
KM: Are you related to any of those guys on “Land of the Lost”?
JS: Yea, I think that we are distant cousins.
KM: How did snowboarding help you in kiting?
JS: I was already comfortable on a board, bindings, riding switch, being in the air, all that kind of stuff. Knowing how to carve a good snowboard turn transfers directly into carving a wakeboard.
KM: You work in a shop in Hatteras and have to listen to a lot of people tell a lot of stories. What the highest you’ve ever heard somebody “claim”?
JS: Maybe 50’
KM: 2001 was a really tough year for you personally. How’d you get past all the tough times and keep the ever popular Jason on the up and up?
JS: I definitely went through one of the toughest years of my life. The biggest help was great friends and family. My family is now and has always been very loving and supportive and my second family on Hatteras consists of some of the best people I have ever met! Also being focused on riding has been great therapy.
KM: Why did you pick Hatteras as your home base?
JS: I used to go there on vacation as a kid with my dad and then when I was in college I used to take surf trips there whenever there was swell. I decided to spend a summer surfing there after school and once I tried kiting I was hooked on the place, the people, and the best riding in the world.
KM: In the fall Hatteras contest, you blew it up in the single elimination round and rode the best heats of your life, taking down some pretty big names. How’d it feel to be on top?
JS: It felt great to do well in the contest but at that time for me it was more of a personal battle than it was a contest between the other riders. I think that is why it meant so much for me to do well.
KM: Why is teal your favorite color?
JS: I am getting the truck painted! Ok!
KM: Can I cash that check yet for your first wake?
JS: That probably wouldn’t be a good idea right now.
KM: What are your plans for 2002?
JS: Ride as much as possible, spend time with my friends, and kite in some new places.
KM: What do the people in Pittsburgh think about kiting?
JS: Most of them don’t have a clue about it but they think that it looks cool. They just can’t figure out why all of us go skydiving with boards on our feet.
KM: What do you do when you’re not kiting?
JS: I have been skating a good bit this winter. There is a fun new skate park near my house in Oahu. But mostly spend quality time with friends.
KM: You spent this winter on Maui and Oahu. Who’d you hang with?
JS: I stayed with Jack Webb when I first got to Maui. On Oahu I have been staying with Justin Souter and Nate Lebrecque and hanging with Jeff Tobias, Jamie Herriz, Abel Lago, Derek, Even, Tony
KM: Is it harder to do a 540 rodeo flip with your truck or your kite?
JS: With a kite . . . hands down!
KM: Victoria Silversted or Llew Simmonds?
JS: That’s a tough one . . . Victoria.
KM: If Llew was an ice cream flavor he’d be?
JS: Can we talk about Victoria some more?
KM: Anyone you want to thank?
JS: Bob Huizing for the opportunity to be doing this today, Trip for all the sunset WH sessions, Llew, Matt, Lucy, Kandice, and everyone else who helped me through this fall!! And to Charlie at North for all the love and support!