When Jeremy Jardine quit working as a contractor at his father’s business two years ago, he had no idea that everything was about to change. He walked away from the family business so that he could spend more time with his wife, who had health problems, and their four homeschooled kids.
“I just quit the family business cold-turkey one day, and I feel like I abandoned like 1,200 customers. … I walked away, and it all dissolved,” Jardine explained.
Jardine and his family had recently moved to Mokelumne Hill from Pioneer, and Jardine started looking for work again.
Then the pandemic hit, and after months of job-searching, things became even more challenging. That’s when Jardine decided to do something different.
He turned to one of his oldest hobbies—skateboarding. Taking to social media platform TikTok, Jardine started posting videos of himself skating and attempting tricks, whether he landed them or not.
“You always hear ‘Do what you love, and it won’t be a job,’ and I’m like, I love skateboarding. That's what I love more than anything.”
With a growing community of young and old skateboarders using the platform, Jardine began to find an audience. He has over 1,000 followers on TikTok after just a few months of sharing his videos. Jardine doesn’t just post skating videos, though. He uses his platform to talk about mental health and posts demos of himself building skateboards out of tree stumps and creating elaborate ramps with plywood. Sometimes, he simply talks about his day, the weather, and his family.
Jardine says he has found a community online. “There is this subculture of ‘Skate Tok.’... It’s cool. The kids follow me, and I follow them back.”
Videos on TikTok are tagged much like images and posts on other social media platforms, using hashtags. These tags allow anyone on the platform to find related content, which is likely how most of Jardine’s followers find his videos.
Jardine often uses the #skatetok tag but also others such as #skatelife, #iloveskateboarding, #skatedonthate, and #oldman.
The hashtag #skatetok currently has over 455 million views on Tik Tok.
Forty-seven-year-old Jardine has been skateboarding since 1986, when he got his first skateboard for Christmas at 12 years old. Jardine recalls that skateboarding was his anchor through tough times as a kid. Frequent moves and instability at home made for troubling times growing up, but Jardine says, “Through all that, I always had my skateboard.”
Now, Jardine has a home and family of his own. Four of his children live with him and his wife Jessica-Lyn at their home in Mokelumne Hill. Jardine’s kids frequent his videos, with a toddler sometimes cruising along on the front of his board or his 11-year-old son Murphy doing his own tricks for the camera.
All of Jardine’s children like to skate, though the little ones need Dad’s help. Even nine-month-old Hazel has gotten in on the action.
“As soon as she started learning to stand on her own, I started putting her on a board,” Jardine said.
Jardine is also a first-time grandfather, thanks to his oldest son, Ethan, and his wife, who live in Colorado Springs. He says he changed his TikTok handle to Rad.Grandad “pretty much as soon as we found out she was pregnant.”
Jardine also credits the Jack Black movie “School of Rock” as a big inspiration to him, and his skate school name pays homage to that. The idea for the name came while he was watching the movie with Murphy.
“I’ve always been a fan of Jack Black, who is also a skateboarder,” Jardine said. “I had my idea, was trying to come up with a name, and was watching the movie...” and Rad Grandad’s Skool of Sk8 was born.
Rad Grandad’s Skool of Sk8 is now officially in business with individual lessons and group rates. Classes take place at any of four skateparks in the area—San Andreas, Murphys, Sonora and Ione.
A flyer posted online says that “loaner boards” and helmets are provided, but students are encouraged to bring protective gear. Since classes are done privately, scheduling is flexible.
Jardine is also open to teaching any age and experience level.
“I start off by asking them what they know about skateboarding, and the board itself, what got them interested, what are their goals, what do they want to learn. And then based off that—most don’t have any experience, especially young kids, you know, it's completely foreign to them—and I just start with the very basics. Rolling, pushing, and turning.”
One of Jardine’s first students was Jackson resident Hillary Solsbery’s son, Trace. Solsbery is enthusiastic about the progress Trace has made with his skateboarding.
After only a few lessons, Trace is making strides. Solsbery commented, “Trace is more confident on his skateboard. His balance is getting better, and he’s learning all the cool tricks.”
Salisbury added, “Jeremy is a great instructor and very patient with kids.”
Jardine enjoys helping kids learn about skating, but it helps him, too.
“Another thing with TikTok,” Jardine explained, “it’s been a good creative outlet for me because I do like to make art, and when I was in high school I did a lot of acting. … I kind of get to dabble in that a little bit on TikTok. I’ve actually sung and played my guitar. I edit my videos and put music to them.”
Jardine also says that skateboarding and making his videos has given him an outlet for anxiety, something many are struggling with these days.
Jardine describes himself as a mental health awareness advocate on his TikTok bio. He says, “I’ve noticed the younger kids are way more aware than I was (about mental health) at their age.”
When it comes to anxiety and depression, Jardine says skateboarding “definitely helps. … It gives you that serotonin rush.”
Jardine is encouraged by the younger generation's interest in skateboarding, something that was in its heyday when he was young.
“It’s more popular than ever. It was in the Olympics, and that just seems like even more confirmation.”
Jardine’s TikTok and instagram accounts can be found @rad.grandad. For more information, contact Jeremy Jardine at 209-283-8646 or email@example.com