Recently parting ways with longtime sponsors Forum and Special Blend, JP Walker has found himself in a position that he hasn’t been in for a long time—he is a free agent. The blond haired kid turned superstar from Farmington, Utah who has had this massive impact on snowboarding over the course of the last decade, all with the everpresent “F under his feet has hung up his diamond encrusted Forum chain. What does the future hold? Well we never really know, and only time will tell but the following dialogue should bring you a bit closer into the brain of The Don and shed some light on why he made the moves that he did.

Let’s get right into it, what’s your side of what happened with the Forum split?

During all the negotiations for my new deal there were some revelations as to some new ideas that the guys at Forum had for the brand and I just started to get more of an insight as to what their direction was, what their feelings were toward me, plans they had. I just found out all this stuff and I wasn’t feeling what they were saying and what they were about. It’s changing too much from what I’m used to and its not going to be focusing on the same stuff that I’m into so I’m just not down. Its kind of hard to talk about it too much cause I don’t wanna bash those guys but I want to let everyone know how I feel about it.

I wish I could have been different and could have worked out, but it didn’t, and I don’t really feel like a couple of the guys that are calling shots over there really have respect for pro snowboarders and what they do for the brand. The vibe that I get is that they don’t even need pro snowboarders to sell their products because their products are so sick now. That’s lame because for ten years their products weren’t that sick. They were, but they definitely had their own set of problems that a lot of riders stuck it out through, so now it’s like, “Ok were all dialed in now you’re not that valuable to us anymore.

I would have expected at this point with how long I’ve been with those guys for them to be offering me some kind of ownership or something. I’ve been there since the beginning, and helped build it—lock me in for life or something, you know what I mean? It seemed like they would have been stoked on something like that and instead they were trying to downplay me and my whole scene.

So you felt like they gave you a lowball offer?

Here’s what happened, just so you can hear it straight from me. I had an agent obviously, he went in and started negotiations. Agents go in high in the beginning, so he makes a super high offer, they come back they say that offer is high, then they come back with a number that was pretty decent—definitely in the ballpark. So my agent came down to California to meet with them regarding that number, has a meeting and the first thing they do is throw out a number that’s almost half that number that they already threw out, and they put all sorts of incentive limits on me to where I couldn’t even make what they had already verbally offered. So I was like, that’s kinda lame, what’s up with that? But at the same time I didn’t want to quit over something like that. So we tried to work out the incentive thing and they wouldn’t even budge on it, so I was just like, ok whatever I’m outta here, you guys are trying to strong-arm me. I’m totally willing to sacrifice, I’m not trying to break you guys on cash cause I’m stoked on Forum and everything it’s about, but you guys aren’t even budging at all. And the reasons they were citing for those actions were harsh. Basically saying my video parts are done, that I’m gonna be winding my career down pretty soon—just no faith in the kid.

So even if it could have been worked out at that point you were over it?

Yeah, I couldn’t picture myself going into Forum after that. I couldn’t picture seeing them face to face after I knew how they really felt about me, and about other dudes on the team like Devun. I didn’t go to themith another offer on the table, I was allowed to have other offers at that time, I could have gone and found stuff but I didn’t. I was like let’s do this; lets lock it down and get it over with. I went in with good faith and when it all happened I didn’t have anything else on the back burner, I just peaced out with nothing lined up cause that’s how strongly I felt about it. So it’s not a financial thing. Money plays into it for sure, but if it was just about money then I would have stuck around ’cause there was still some serious cash on the table.

So do you just have the biggest yard sale ever now, what happens?

Yeah I know, well the funniest thing is I still have boxes of stuff showing up because there’s still stuff in cue. So I quit, and then the UPS guy shows up and there’s a huge Forum package and I opened it up and I’ve definitely got some serious gear I’ve got to overload. (laughter). There might some slow sales in Salt Lake for the first part of the season cause everyone’s gonna be laced up already.

Are there any other options on the table or opportunities that you can talk about at this time?

Not yet, maybe in a couple months. I’ve talked to a couple different people but I’m not jumping into anything. I’ve done pretty good off snowboarding so I’m not desperate for anything.

Far from desperate I’m sure, you could stop now and be financially fine.

Yeah, I could stop now and be fine. So I’m gonna do what’s right for me and you’re not gonna see me on the full sell out brand, that’s just not gonna happen.

What about Nike? That could be a good fit.

Yeah then there’s Nike too, there’s tons of stuff. It just kinda all depends on how I could fit in to those brands and what kind of direction those brands are moving in. ‘Cause I don’t wanna be just a guy on the team I wanna totally get in there and be a part of everything.

Well you’re in a good position where you don’t need to jump into anything. You could fund next winter on your own.

Totally and I might. Who knows I might just do it for myself and just have fun and ride with my friends and whatever. ‘Cause that’s what I’m into, you know what I mean? I might.

That’s really living the dream right there.

Totally, it would be insane. It would be sick to just do it and not have to worry that it’s for somebody else.

Have you given any thought to movies next year? Coming into next winter do you see yourself lining back up with the Mack Dawg crew?

Mack Dawg has asked me if I want to film with those guys because next year it’s going to be Decade 2 basically—twenty years of Mack Dawg. I’ve got a solid chunk of the last ten years with them, and all my friends film with those guys so that’s definitely a sick option that anybody would be stoked to have. Again it kind of just depends on if I sign up with a certain company that maybe has decided to make their own video then I gotta weigh it all in. It’s gonna be a huge year for Mack Dawg and that’s gonna be a sick video. I’d be stoked on that for sure.

What’s the lowdown on the Benji Project?

Benji (Weatherly) is this crazy surf guy and he got a big camera crew together and bunch of guys that he likes and just started filming it. He had a basic direction in mind of bringing all these different aspects of snow, skate, and surf together but the overall direction of where its gonna go I’m not a hundred percent sure yet. It could end up being a reality series where we film a bunch of different episodes and maybe he expands the snowboarding part more and the skating part more, ’cause its really surf heavy right now. Or he may just make a movie out of everything and make a standard hour long or hour and a half movie about everything, I don’t really know where its going but it’s a pretty rad opportunity to work with guys that are into the same thing I’m into their just in a different industry. They just wanna travel with there friends, film it, and make a sick video. That’s what I’m into and that’s what they’re into.

And what do you have going on with iTunes?

Yeah I think its gonna be called the legends series and its going to be exclusive to iTunes. Because with the Forum video being really successful on there they’ve kinda seen that there’s a whole new opportunity for snow and skate. You know they’ve got TV shows on there but it fits really good for snowboarding ’cause companies can get on there and promote their athletes. They wanna do a project with me, first it was gonna be maybe a JP Walker retrospective thing with all my parts, but now its gonna turn into a whole series also including snow and skate and its gonna be heavy hitters of those different industries that have a lot of footage and have done a lot of stuff. I don’t know the full direction yet. Jared Eberhart is actually going to be the director on it so that’s pretty sick ’cause he’s done a lot. I’ve worked with him a lot on the True Life video and the That video so he’s tied in there and he’s stoked on it so he’s gonna be directing the whole thing.

So where do you go from here?

Well right now I just kind of half to hang tight until I really do any serious negotiations for any new board contracts or anything like that, but I’m kinda just focusing on the iTunes thing right now to kinda get that off the ground. And I’m just gonna surf a little bit and then hopefully go to New Zealand or something like that and go snowboarding, go surfing a bit and get ready for winter, and do what I always do.

Do you think it’s going to feel weird when you do figure out who you’re riding for to have a different board under your feet? How long were you on Forum?

Well it’s been probably eleven years probably on Forum but I was on Special blend even like a year or two before that so it was a super long time. Its weird I still think about it. I took all these Forum shirts out of my closet the other day and it was jut weird you know? It’s sad for sure.

What are you gonna do with your iced out Forum chain?

Oh that’s a good point, I’m glad you brought that up. The good thing about diamonds is they’re still diamonds no matter what shape they’re in, they’re still worth what they’re worth and you can get it broken down and made into something else. So you might see the kid doubled up in size pretty soon with something else, (laughter). The other thing about it too is that its still dope, I have it in my house just sitting with a bunch of my other Forum stuff and its not like I’m not gonna try and hide the fact, or forget that I was ever part of Forum, I’m stoked on it and everything I did, everything they did, and everything we accomplished together. So its still dope to have, I just should have gotten it a couple years earlier so I could have flossed it longer before I had to retire it. So I don’t know, I might keep it or I might upgrade it, we’ll see.

The little stuff is going to be a trip, like new sticker jobs.

Yeah totally, everything, I’ve got so much of it around, like I’ve got a whole little tray of binding parts …

It’s like having pictures of your ex girlfriend around.

Yeah you don’t even realize it until you start looking around how deep you are into it. It’ll be weird for sure; it’s not so weird right now because its summer, but it’ll definitely be weird not having that board anymore. And this is the most positive step to take. Obviously its not just me that’s making the change, I’m the fourth guy now to go—its not like I’m just some rogue dude.

Yeah but I think this just hit a little harder because people just have such an association between you and the brand. Forum and JP Walker went hand in hand, and they always will to a certain extent.

And it still does for sure. Like I said I’m not gonna try to brush anything under the rug. All this stuff I’m working on, all this iTunes stuff is all Forum snowboards branded. I’m not gonna t sick video. That’s what I’m into and that’s what they’re into.

And what do you have going on with iTunes?

Yeah I think its gonna be called the legends series and its going to be exclusive to iTunes. Because with the Forum video being really successful on there they’ve kinda seen that there’s a whole new opportunity for snow and skate. You know they’ve got TV shows on there but it fits really good for snowboarding ’cause companies can get on there and promote their athletes. They wanna do a project with me, first it was gonna be maybe a JP Walker retrospective thing with all my parts, but now its gonna turn into a whole series also including snow and skate and its gonna be heavy hitters of those different industries that have a lot of footage and have done a lot of stuff. I don’t know the full direction yet. Jared Eberhart is actually going to be the director on it so that’s pretty sick ’cause he’s done a lot. I’ve worked with him a lot on the True Life video and the That video so he’s tied in there and he’s stoked on it so he’s gonna be directing the whole thing.

So where do you go from here?

Well right now I just kind of half to hang tight until I really do any serious negotiations for any new board contracts or anything like that, but I’m kinda just focusing on the iTunes thing right now to kinda get that off the ground. And I’m just gonna surf a little bit and then hopefully go to New Zealand or something like that and go snowboarding, go surfing a bit and get ready for winter, and do what I always do.

Do you think it’s going to feel weird when you do figure out who you’re riding for to have a different board under your feet? How long were you on Forum?

Well it’s been probably eleven years probably on Forum but I was on Special blend even like a year or two before that so it was a super long time. Its weird I still think about it. I took all these Forum shirts out of my closet the other day and it was jut weird you know? It’s sad for sure.

What are you gonna do with your iced out Forum chain?

Oh that’s a good point, I’m glad you brought that up. The good thing about diamonds is they’re still diamonds no matter what shape they’re in, they’re still worth what they’re worth and you can get it broken down and made into something else. So you might see the kid doubled up in size pretty soon with something else, (laughter). The other thing about it too is that its still dope, I have it in my house just sitting with a bunch of my other Forum stuff and its not like I’m not gonna try and hide the fact, or forget that I was ever part of Forum, I’m stoked on it and everything I did, everything they did, and everything we accomplished together. So its still dope to have, I just should have gotten it a couple years earlier so I could have flossed it longer before I had to retire it. So I don’t know, I might keep it or I might upgrade it, we’ll see.

The little stuff is going to be a trip, like new sticker jobs.

Yeah totally, everything, I’ve got so much of it around, like I’ve got a whole little tray of binding parts …

It’s like having pictures of your ex girlfriend around.

Yeah you don’t even realize it until you start looking around how deep you are into it. It’ll be weird for sure; it’s not so weird right now because its summer, but it’ll definitely be weird not having that board anymore. And this is the most positive step to take. Obviously its not just me that’s making the change, I’m the fourth guy now to go—its not like I’m just some rogue dude.

Yeah but I think this just hit a little harder because people just have such an association between you and the brand. Forum and JP Walker went hand in hand, and they always will to a certain extent.

And it still does for sure. Like I said I’m not gonna try to brush anything under the rug. All this stuff I’m working on, all this iTunes stuff is all Forum snowboards branded. I’m not gonna try to hide it, I’m 100 percent stoked on it all; it’s been a huge part of my life. And I’m gonna be the same, I’m just gonna have a different board graphic now—they didn’t make me.

na try to hide it, I’m 100 percent stoked on it all; it’s been a huge part of my life. And I’m gonna be the same, I’m just gonna have a different board graphic now—they didn’t make me.