Whether participating in traditional, team-oriented sports or a more individualistic activity such as snowboarding, it’s critical for a teen to have supportive parents.
Over the past decade, Jake Selover, a sponsored skateboarder and snowboarder from Bend, has benefited from the dedication of his father, Scott, and mother, Whitney, who also have two daughters.
At 17, Selover, who was home-schooled and graduated early, can get himself to contests and other snow and skate events. But for much of the last decade, Scott has championed and chauffeured the dual-sport prodigy.
In fact, just as his father took a seat at a picnic table for an interview about his son at Sisters Skatepark, Jake called out to him from atop a nearby bowl.
“Scott? Grab me my other board out of the car, maybe?”
“Yeah, I will,” replied Scott.
“He was 7 when he started skating,” explained Scott, back from the errand. “He got into it because a couple of his buddies were doing it. They started skating together, and it kind of took off from there.”
Jake Selover, left, and his dad Scott Selover stand together at Sisters Skatepark in September.
Andy Tullis / The Bulletin
He can relate to his son’s avid interest in boarding. When Scott was growing up in Portland, he would find hills to ride down or go downtown to take advantage of the abundance of asphalt and concrete.
“I skated a little bit when I was younger, like junior high years, but not like he skates,” said Scott, 52.
Jake began skating in the summer of 2004, and by that Thanksgiving, he was also snowboarding. By the following year, Jake was entering competitions in both skating and snowboarding.
Over the years since, Jake has evolved into a monster of an all-terrain boarder. On his snowboard, he rides everything from terrain parks to powder and urban environments, when there’s snow for it.
As a skateboarder, he rides ramps and bowls — or “tranny” skating, in skate parlance, short for “transitions” — prevalent in skateparks. He also street skates, finding unintended potential in man-made terrain such as handrails, stairs, curbs and ledges.
Bend skateboarder, Jake Selover grabs the nose of his board for control while launching a backside air in the deep end of the big bowl at Sisters Skatepark in September.
Andy Tullis / The Bulletin
“He’s pretty happy to be with them,” Scott said of Lifeblood. “They’re a Northwest company, so that’s really cool.”
It helps getting free boards; Jake wears them out pretty quickly.
“In the summertime, they don’t last that long, especially riding concrete,” his father said.
When representing Bend at contests and events elsewhere, Jake’s snowboarding prowess comes as little surprise given the proximity of Mt. Bachelor to his home.
With his skating, it’s a different story.
“When we travel to, say, California, people usually assume he’s from Portland if they don’t know him, as Portland has a strong skate culture,” Scott said. “I think the general consensus by most is that he has traveled all over the West and skated so much different terrain … that he is an all-around skateboarder. And the state of Oregon is generally considered a hotbed for skating everything.
“There are some really great skaters here in Bend, but the reason Jake has excelled, in my opinion, is that he has been everywhere and skated tons of different stuff. And he is super creative with his riding and skating and is motivated to get better.”
Jake Selover gets upside down on a fronstide invert during a heated session with friends at Sisters Skatepark in September.
Andy Tullis / The Bulletin
Farther afield, “there are so many (in Oregon) to choose from, but I’d have to say Lincoln City is my favorite. It has everything, too. It’s so big,” he said of the park, which is about 40,000 square feet with more features on the way, according to the website for Dreamland Skateparks, builder of the project.
Asked if he has a preference between his chosen board sports, Jake answered, “At this point, I’m just trying to do both and get the most out of them that I can, pretty much. I definitely don’t like skating in the winter, here (in Central Oregon) anyway.”
Luckily, Jake generally prefers to focus on his other boarding discipline come winter.
“When it’s wintertime, he likes to snowboard. When it’s summer, he likes to skateboard,” said Scott.
For both skating and snowboarding, Jake’s done well in competitions around the Northwest. This past summer, he competed at a pro-am contest at a Eugene skatepark called the 2014 Northwest Jam. Out of a field of 58 competitors, Jake placed fourth.
“The other kids were all 21 or older,” his father said. “So he did really well with that. He was a younger kid.”
Lately, Jake doesn’t compete as much at snowboarding as he used to.
“He’ll do a competition here or there, but I think he really likes the filming and … backcountry element,” his father said.
Last winter, Jake began venturing away from lifts and groomers to explore backcountry terrain. “He really got the bug for that last year,” Scott said.
“That’s what I’m trying to do,” Jake said. “I don’t know how much I can really classify it as backcountry, but I try.”
“Yeah, that’s it. Because we’ve got to get him more out, out, out,” his father chimed in.
Jake Selover, 17, of Bend, jumps off a ramp that was built up in Drake Park in Bend in November.
Meg Roussos / The Bulletin
Though Scott mostly watches Jake when they head to area skateparks, the two have been known to ride snow together.
“When he was younger, there were a whole bunch of us dads who would go out with the kids and snowboard, and as the kids have gotten older, they pretty much have taken off. They go their way, and we go ours,” Scott said. “The cool thing is, all the dads want to ride pow, all the kids want to ride the park. But over the years, the kids have really gotten into riding pow and things like that, too.”
At his age, Jake isn’t too concerned about diet and exercise, but he does a lot of hiking in the summer. That helps strengthen his legs, “but he’s not really on an exercise program,” his father said. “He has expressed interest in going with me to the gym at times, and he knows that will eventually be part of his routine at some point, but youth is youth, if you will.”
Jake’s diet today is “way better than two (to) three years ago,” said Scott. These days, Jake eats well and tries stay away from soda and sugary foods.
“He knows and is aware of what is beneficial for him but is not a perfect eater,” Scott said.
Jake’s not sure where he wants to go next, but he could see himself working for a board company down the line.
“That’s the mindset I have right now, hopefully … get a job at some company or somewhere at that point and snowboard as long as I can,” he said. He wouldn’t mind a gig like former pro Remy Stratto n.
“He just, like, skated forever and now he’s the TM (team manager) at Volcom for the skate side,” Jake said. “I’m just stoked that I’ve gotten to do it as much as I have, because so many kids just don’t have the support to take it to even where I am right now.”
He’s “definitely” referring to his dad, he said.
“I wouldn’t be anywhere without him taking me to all the skateparks that he did when I was young,” he said. “I’m super hyped to have that.”
Scott doesn’t take his time with Jake for granted either.
“It’s to the point my usefulness is running out. I like to hang out with him when he wants to. We went to some fun contests that he could’ve gone to by himself, but he asked me to go, so I enjoyed going,” Scott said. “It’s been a fun ride.” •