Underground: Jun Jo

Coming straight out of Kailua on the Windward side of O’ahu, Jun Jo is one of the happiest, friendliest people on Earth and also one of the most underrated. Sure, he’s been seen in numerous shots standing up at Backdoor Pipe, including the cover of the June issue of TransWorld SURF, but what you didn’t know is he can also rip tiny WQS events in god-awful conditions. A favorite of many people in many places, Jun will one day rule the world and make it a happier place for everyone.¿A.C.

What have you been up to lately, Jun?

What do you mean? Like surfwise, or what?

Everything. What’s your year been like?

I’ve got a new sponsor, Alphanumeric Clothing.

How did that come about?

I talked to Sal Marketing Director Selema Masekela in December about Alphanumeric, their clothing, and what they’re about. He said they were looking to pick up some guys, and I thought nothing of it. A few months later, I finally hooked up with him¿I’m stoked.

Who are some of the other riders on the team? Are you the only surfer on the team?

There’re a lot of other guys. I only know one other guy, Kareem Campbell, for skateboarding. There’re some snowboarders, too.

Just a variety of sports and people?

Yeah. A lot of musicians, DJs, and rap artists. Just whoever’s down with them. Those guys are pretty cool, they have a good thing going.

If you could describe yourself to somebody who doesn’t surf, how would you?

Maybe just more of an underground kind of guy, I guess. A lot of my friends are superstars, and I’m just piggyback riding them. No, no, no. I don’t know, what would you compare me to?

The Lucky Charms guy.

Laughing I’m lucky, that’s for sure.

What do you like to do besides surf?

Drive around in my car, fast.

So you’re a big basketball fan, aren’t you?

Yep, crazy fan.

What are your teams?

Definitely L.A. Mostly University of Hawai’i, ’cause that represents what Hawai’i is.

So what happens when you and your boys go to the games?

They just call some mad heckles. All we do is scream at the other team¿try and break them down. We’re probably worth about ten points for the team, just from our mad hecklin’.

What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you guys at a game?

It was Hawai’i versus Ohio State. I was with my friend Buckwheat Mark Thomas. We were sitting behind the bench, and a few of my friends were just heckling the coach the entire game, telling him, “Fundamentals, coach! fundamentals!” and “Free throws! How can you miss free throws?” the whole damn game.

They got blown out by our team, and at the end of the game the coach jumped over the bench and got into Buckwheat’s face. All the players jumped over, security got in between, cops, everything. The coach is freaking, like snapping: “Wait right here for me, I’m going to go talk to my boys. I’m going to come back for you!”

Buckwheat shut him down straight out, “You know what? If you lay one finger on me, I’m going to be living in Hawai’i thanks to Ohio State University!” That shut him up real quick. That was the end of that, but it was pretty scary.

So you’ve lived in Hawai’i your whole life?

Yeah, most of my life.

Where do you normally surf when you’re back home?

Some secret spots on the East Side. I guess the North Shore in the wintertime¿standard. Also a couple secret spots on the South Shore.

What are your plans for the future?

Just to try and be seen more, for my sponsors, especially, but not for myself too much. This Alphanumeric thing, I really want to contribute to their company. Not just with promoting them by surfing and talking about them, but more behind the scenes. Maybe help them design some shorts and whatever they’re making. What’s cool about them is that I’m going to have a word in their company. That’s really special. It’s pretty unusual in the surfing world to have a teamrider have some say in what they’re doing, so I’m really fired up.

Your plans for the rest oof the year are what?

I’ll just travel around with my friends and be back in California every once in a while to work with Alphanumeric on some of their clothing designs.

Where do you see yourself ten years from now?

Blair Marlin: Sitting around watching big screens.Jun Jo: I’ll be doing something. I can’t just sit down and do nothing¿I’ve got to be moving the whole time. You never know, ten years is a long time, and life changes pretty quick. Who knows, I might not even be surfing anymore.

Who are your favorite surfers to watch?

Ross Williams is pretty sick. Even though he’s famous, I think he’s still underrated, seeing what he’s done. Of course, there’s the Shanes, the Robs, and the Kellys, you know, bits and pieces of a lot of guys. There’s not really a perfect surfer. Everyone has a little glimpse of brilliance, I guess.

Is there anybody you would like to thank?

I’d like to thank Alphanumeric especially for getting me fired up. My image of surfing has been pretty stale for the last few years. I’ve been really bored, but with this company I’m super fired up to do something and progress.