Joe Sexton has been a video part killer since his days filming with the People crew; and having since moved on to the Videograss camp he most recently captured opening part in their latest, The Last Ones. Despite recent set backs, he has no intentions of slowing down. I was able to catch up with Joe mid skate session at The Barn during the Videograss and Snowboard Colorado session at Woodward at Copper to chat about his recent head injury, his snoring, and the possibility of a skate part à la Jed Anderson. Here's what he had to say.
Name: Joe Sexton
Hometown: Apple Valley, Minnesota.
Resides: St. Louis Park, Minnesota.
Date of birth: 4.29.87
Could you tell me the head injury you had earlier in the year?
I guess the medical term was I cracked my skull, fractured my skull, the temporal bone. It’s like in the back of your head towards your ear. That caused me to lose hearing in my right ear and gave me vertigo for like a month. Basically just fucked me up pretty bad. I guess it’s still healing a bit, I still have issues with balance and stuff but it’s coming back. I guess the medical term is just I cracked my skull and got like… I’m trying to think of what they called it, ‘cause it’s…
It was a TBI, a traumatic brain injury, like any time you hit your head that bad. I was knocked out and was puking for a couple days… the main long term thing is that it caused me to lose hearing in my right ear and they said that might not ever come back. But yeah, cracked skull, I think it’s all healed, it’s been like seven months since the injury, so to be able to skate and snowboard again is like… I’m pretty happy about it.
What were you doing when you fell?
I was filming for Videograss; we were in Minnesota and I tried to backside 180 onto this kink rail and I’d already did it, which sucks. I basically did it the try before and I just didn’t really like the way I did it. I don’t even think I watched the clip, I was just like, “fuck it, I think I can do it better.” So I ran up there, tried it again and like had different speed but I think I just felt too comfortable with it so I kinda just thought like, “oh, I’ll just try it again…” I got into the back 180 switch grind and then kinda panicked and went to switch front board, like went back. And the kink is really short, it was only like a foot long kink or something, so you didn’t lose speed on it, so I hit the flat in a switch front board and instead of going backwards, I compressed and shot forward. So I did like a half front flip to my head on the stairs. It was just like the worst case scenario. [I] like compressed, it shot me out and I landed on my head and I don’t really remember much after that. I just kinda woke up to my friends telling me to stay calm and that the ambulance was on its way. I could hear the ambulance in the background, it was a pretty scary time.
I think it was Justin who said he’s seen bad falls in the streets but never needed an ambulance before.
I’m glad my friends called the ambulance ‘cause it was just one of those things like, I needed to go. And they didn’t even hesitate, I think as soon as I hit the stairs they were going to call the ambulance. But yeah, thanks to those guys for making it happen. Crazy story is Sam [Fenton, Videograss filmer] found my phone in my truck, and I have a password on my phone, and he guessed my password. Which is like, miracle status. It’s not 1817 either, it’s like random numbers. And just from watching me and hanging out so much he just put it together and called my mom right away, pretty sick.
How long were you out?
The rest of the year, it happened January 25th. It was like a mandatory three months off. I think I came back right around that time, just cruising resorts and stuff, not doing tricks. I feel like just now I’m starting to feel more comfortable again. It’s really exciting to like, feel decent again, because even the times when I would come back and just be cruising it’s like, I didn’t feel that great, and if I didn’t get any better, I would be definitely bummed, you know?
What’s the worst part about being deaf in your right ear?
Probably just having to say “what?” a thousand times, or like explain it to people. It just sucks ‘cause it’s like one of those things that you can’t show someone like, “Hey, I have a broken wrist.” It’s like maybe they don’t believe you or some people think it’s funny, like at bars I’ll talk to someone and they’ll just kinda make fun of it. It just sucks, it’s annoying. It’s constantly ringing too, which is even worse. But it’s like talking to someone, they could be close to me, say something, and I’d just not hear it. Somebody will be like, “Hey, he’s talking to you!” I’ll just be like, “sorry…” And with strangers and stuff you don’t want to tell them right away, you just try and get away with it. But camps and like doing this [interview], that’s probably the hardest part.
Did you get to film a decent amount before the injury?
Yeah, I did. I kind of just focused on getting healthy and didn’t really think about that kind of stuff. But before, I think I was doing pretty good and I’m hoping to have a full part in the Videograss movie. Like if I am able to have a full part I’d be super happy because I worked really hard before the slam. After the fall I was talking to Justin like, “yeah, I’m gonna come back! I’m hurt and it’ll be maybe a couple months but I’ll get some last minute tricks in!” And then the process was so slow moving that I was just like, “dude, I’m not coming back after this…”
So I hear no one wants to room with you because you snore so loud?
I don’t think it’s as bad anymore! It’s true though, I mean yeah I’ve heard everyone… I’ve had people like buy hotel rooms in the middle of the night because it’s so bad. One time I woke up and was like, “I don’t think I snore that bad!” And they had a video of me snoring and I’m just like, “oh, I guess that was pretty bad.”
Is there anyone that you try to avoid rooming with?
Sam Fenton, 100%. He’s like super sensitive about it but he snores. He’s a lumberjack, he snores like a goddamn chainsaw. So I try to stay away from him.
So now that Jed made a full skate part, will we be seeing a full Joe Sexton skate part soon?
Me? No way. No, Jed is actually good. I just enjoy skateboarding, I don’t think I’m good at skateboarding, I just like to mess around, I like to try hard skating because it’s just something that’s fun. I’ve been filming a bit with Jake Durham, I think he’s going to make a little movie, but I don’t know, skateboarding for me is just purely for fun. But Jed’s shit… Jed’s like actually really good, like he is a good skateboarder. So no plans for a skate part, but I enjoy skateboarding, I love it.
Any big plans for next year?
Yeah, there’s big plans, I don’t know if I’m supposed to say it but the Thirty Two movie, just focus 100% on that. I’m excited to come back and I want to film my ass off and just prove to myself I can to it again. It’s a pretty bad injury but I think if I can just put it in the past I hopefully can do it again. So I’m excited, the whole thing is a learning experience and makes you realize what you really care about and makes me realize that I fucking love snowboarding, and I love all my friends that I get to do this with. I don’t want to give up or quit.
Words and interview by: Darin Evangelista