“You don’t know if he’s going to rip your head off or hug you.”
That’s your first introduction to Jack Fardell in a documentary released on Friday about the Queanbeyan skater’s rise to fame.
Speaking to him from a skate park in downtown Shanghai as he prepares for this weekend’s world championships, you get none of that.
As he reminisces about growing up in Queanbeyan and life as a professional skater Fardell is relaxed and in good spirits.
However Fardell has built a reputation as a bit of a wild child in a sport full of adrenaline junkies and daredevils, again not entirely surprising considering his Queanbeyan roots.
“I guess I am a bit of an aggressive skater, I definitely like to skate fast,” Fardell said.
“I’m not scared to go for it or try and jump down something that someone hasn’t before.
“I don’t want to do the same thing all the time, otherwise it becomes repetitive, you want to mix it up and scare yourself a bit.”
The documentary, Fardell, chronicles Fardell’s life from first learning to skate in Fairmount Crescent, Karabar to moving to Los Angeles to skate professionally for the Adidas global team.
Growing up like most kids in Queanbeyan Fardell played for both the Blues and Tigers but it was skateboarding that truly ignited his passion. Thanks to a skateboarding neighbour, who at age five Fardell thought was “super cool”, we have one of Australia’s best skateboarders.
“I was just super into it, I just liked how it looked when someone skated down the street,” Fardell said of his introduction to skating.
“I finally got enough pocket money together and bought a second hand skateboard and that was it.
“I’ve never taken a day off skating from that point.”
It was hours spent jumping the stairs outside the council chambers and police station that gave Fardell his unique style and skills. Interestingly the police station was the one spot he was never chased away from as a kid.
He came home to film the documentary and visited his old haunts, including a round of golf at the Queanbeyan golf club and enjoying a few beers at Walsh’s. He ran into a local skater whom he had given skating lessons to as a 15-year-old and was particularly stoked to find him still skating in town.
Life has certainly changed a lot for Fardell since those afternoons spent at the skatepark.
He travels the world competing and promoting the Adidas brand through increasingly insane stunts. Skating, like many formerly niche sports, has become a large-scale industry.
“I think everyone thinks you just skate as a kid, then you get alright at it and get sponsored,” Fardell said.
“But it’s constant. You work your whole childhood to become a great skateboarder and once you start to make a living off it you have to work even harder.
“You have to keep your professional status, you’re travelling nine months of the year, you’re jumping down stairs and it’s really hard on your body.
“But I wouldn’t change it for the world, I’m very lucky to be able to do it.”
An element of skating he may regret is the injuries that saw him regularly visiting Queanbeyan Hospital. Fardell has broken most bones in his body at least once and admits those injuries are starting to creep up on him.
Fardell credits his wife Ayesha as being a stabilising force in his often hectic life. The jewelry designer from the East Coast of America is a welcome distraction from skating.
“It’s a good balance, I don’t think I could come home and talk about skating every night,” he said.
It’s human moments like this that show why, despite moving on to the bright lights of LA, Fardell still loves his hometown and why it features so heavily in his documentary.
“I just think it’s a cool story about coming from a country town in Australia, pursuing your dreams and still having a love for home,” he said of the documentary.
“It wouldn’t be a good story if I didn’t come from Queanbeyan.”
Fardell is available exclusively on the Monster Children website.