When you have been in BMX long enough, you learn a lot of names of people who keep things going behind the scenes. Obviously, John is one of those more recognizable names due to being team manager for the Etnies BMX program. When it comes to having history and background in BMX, he has plenty of it and it shows. As busy as John is, I am amazed with how well this turned out. Don’t forget to check out the slide show of his photography at the bottom too! I think you will like this one.. Enjoy and leave some love for him in the comments!
Photo Credit: Sandy Carson
Edit: Taj took this I guess!
Jonathan Patrick Povah
I live in Corona Ca. Originally from London England. Work in Lake Forest Ca
None, but working for etnies has its perks…
I count “years owning a BMX bike” as how long I’ve been riding BMX, not just how long I’ve been competing or racing like some people do… it’s 30 years this past September 11th
What was it that first sparked your attention for BMX, and what keeps you into it today?
I guess it’s just that daredevil gene in some of us, maybe it was Evel Knievel, who knows? I always jumped my bikes even before the term BMX was part of my vocabulary. When I was real little I skateboarded, & even did it after I’d found BMX for a while but for some reason when I was introduced to BMX it grabbed my attention more than skating & I just stuck with it.
You have been team manager for Etnies for a while now, how did that all come about it and how are things going with it?
The previous TM (Nate Hanson) got let go for some reason or another, so they were looking for a new TM. Schwinn had just recently filed bankruptcy & let their whole program go, I was working at a friends company that built ramps in the meantime but was looking for something a little more along the lines of what I was doing at Schwinn. Rooftop dropped a few good words with the powers-that-be over at etnies & the rest is history…..So I want to send a big thanks to Mike for thinking of me, & sorry to Nate for getting fired.
Photo Credit: Sandy Carson
Any big Etnies news you can tell us about? Team additions/removals, new products, video projects, road trips, anything at all really?
Yeah, obviously we have the Aaron Ross “designed by” shoe, “The NUMBER”, that should be out in a few months, there’s some cool colors of that, we’re doing an Odyssey Collaboration with that too. Aaron’s shoe has been getting really good reviews from stores & accounts outside BMX which is unusual, so hopefully we can move some decent numbers in that to give back to the BMX program. We also have a Bestwick colorway out right now called the PACE as well as Morgan’s colorway the SNIPER, you can check those out on etnies.com. Next year we hope to do some more colorway stuff with team guys, maybe with some cool collaborators, maybe some team rider inspired apparel. Hopefully we’re going to be moving forward with print & web advertising again in 09, 08 was really tough financially coz of the economy etc & we had to pull a lot of ads, which in my opinion is pretty detrimental to the well being of the team, but also the mags etc which I was bummed we had to do, but if there’s no money, there’s no money. Hope to do some more video stuff in 09, no real plans for a major vid, that shit is expensive, a pain in the ass & really wares on the riders. As far as team changes, there are a few but I’ll keep it under raps for now.
We have a new indoor private street plaza being rapped up right now for teams guys to ride, that should be fun & hopefully they’ll be cool with bikes on it. I’m also personally trying to get a private bowl too at etnies.
Is there ever a “typical” day for you?
Day to day is pretty sporadic; I can come & go as I please so long as I get my shit done..There are certain daily, weekly & monthly things that I have to take care of, but so long as shit gets done my day is my own…..The one thing I will say though, is that if I’m not at work & there’s a decision to be made about BMX, something is getting screwed up coz I am the SOLE BMX employee there……If there’s a decision to be made about skate, there’s a 100 or more other people to make sure things go smoothly. So with that said, I do like to be there as much as I can…It’s a good environment though & there’s lots of cool people working there so it makes work fun.
It would appear that your job is a pretty chaotic job. Do you find much time to ride these days?
I find more time to ride with work to be honest than I do having a kid…. When that little bastard came into my life, all of a sudden there’s just not enough hours in a day. Ha ha ha. I have been planning my days a little better to make sure I do get some riding in though, even if its just a 15 minute sesh at a crappy cement park
Where are some of your all time favorite spots to ride or visit?
Singapore was an amazing place to visit, not necessarily the best to ride because of some seriously strict laws, although there were some amazing untouched spots the culture & country was awesome. As far as riding goes I would say a lot of the old cement parks in the UK are real good: Harrow, Romford, Southsea & Livingston. One of the best things I have ever ridden though was this bowl that they used to have at the VANS park in Orange County California, we all called it the “Black Bowl”…for obvious reasons, it unintentionally became the best bowl for bikes ever!!. There were only a handful of guys who could or did ride it…But that thing was amazing with endless lines & better hips than Jessica Simpson…Well, maybe not! Ha ha ha….VANS tore it out to put in some 3-foot tall nibble shit in its place for the kiddies. It was a sad day when they demolished that thing. This is the bowl I am trying to recreate in the etnies warehouse…..If I can come up with the money that is
Photo Credit: Sandy Carson
I know you get to travel a bit because of your job. Where are some places you really hope you get to go to someday?
Wow! That’s a cool question! There are so many places I’d like to go. For riding I’d like to visit Australia, New Zealand & maybe Barcelona. To just travel for the sake of traveling to visit somewhere, probably Africa, Egypt, some places with heritage & cultures that I can’t imagine like Fiji or Tahiti….Some shit like that….Hard question, just so many amazing places
If you could go on a trip with 5 people, who would you bring, where you would go, would you document, and why?
Quit with the hard questions!!! Sucks having to pick just 5
If we’re talking about a riding/fun not too serious trip, I’d have to say these 5 losers.
1. Sandy Carson
2. Dave Freimuth
3. Brett walker
5. Chad Degroot
Would I document it? HELL YEAH !!! & why? Coz not only are these guys in their own right pretty bad ass on bikes, but they’ll also keep me smiling, which in my opinion is how bike riding should be…It’d be not stop comedy with this crew……..But again, I have other dudes I’d love to travel with also: Ruben, Taj, Sergio, Joe, Heaton, Bohan etc….The list is seriously endless.
You used to do shows and everything so I know you got tricks. What is your favorite trick to do?
I’d have to say flips! Sound cliché, but its one of the funnest tricks I ever learned. Paid some dues learning it as there were only a few dudes doing it when I learned it, but once I got it, it was one of the best feelings to experience, just lofting a slow rotating flip feels amazing! Nowadays, my favorite trick is just staying upright on two wheels & not crashing.
Since Etnies is a big company, I imagine you get a fair share of sponsor me videos. How do you go about picking people to hook up anyways?
Dude! I get some seriously HORRIBLE submissions, I would forward links etc, but I don’t want to embarrass these kids……& they’ll think I’m a dick (Well, I am a dick) & I don’t need their dads kicking my ass!! Ha ha ha. I’m just blown away how some of these kids really think that what they are doing is even remotely close to being worthy of being sponsored…I mean! Do these kids even look at other riders out there to gauge what they’re doing against…It blows my mind !!
The only kid I have EVER sponsored from seeing his “sponsor me tape”… & it was Actually a “tape” which makes it even better was Brett Walker. The shit he was doing on the tape was pretty much worthy of being a part in a video today, it was awesome…..He sucks now though & just nibbles shit so I’m thinking of revoking his privileges though….see! Told you I was a dick!
You have been involved in BMX for quite a while. How do you feel about the current state of BMX?
Wow! What a can of worms this could be:
I’ve seen trends come & go..& come again & I figure everything comes out in the wash…Eventually. I kinda have mixed feelings about how BMX is nowadays though. On one hand I’m stoked on certain levels of trick progression, riding styles etc. On the other hand I get a little burned out on the same cookie cut repetitive tricks whether it be contest moves or street stuff. Just seems the same 4 or 5 tricks are making a living for some of these dudes, & doing 1 more tailwhip or 1 more barspin shouldn’t be the next bar to reach, trying to differentiate yourself from the other dudes out there should be….That’s kinda why dudes like Sean Burns are such a breath of fresh air….Need more of that.
The internet has given every kid a voice & a platform to show the world what they’ve got. On the other hand its also given that same kid an anonymous voice to talk shit & make them, in their eyes an authority on any given subject. Which in all honesty, they should be caring about what they have going on, & not prying into subjects that don’t involve them. Message boards are cool if used well, but it seems like 99.9% of the time shit gets off subject & into a shit talking match with another kid posting….whatever! It is what it is.
Photo Credit: Sandy Carson
Where would you like to see BMX go as time goes on?
The quality & direction of bikes & parts, I think everything is amazing & is looking good for the future. But: Personally I’d like to see bikes stores really grasp the concept of softgoods, & what the possibilities really are by carrying them, whether it be Tees, shoes or even as small as hats & wallets etc…Anyone who’s talked to me about this knows I sound like a broken record right no. Maybe we need to educate them, or create the demand for bike stores, but if you look back at the history of skateboard stores & the direction they have gone, 10 years ago, they were 90% hardgoods: trucks, decks, wheels etc..Fast forward 10 years & now those same stores are primarily softgoods…..I’m by no means on skaters dicks, but I like the fact that they’ve kept to what they want & pushed things in the direction they want that’s best for them. Personally this is a direction I’d like to see things go for BMX as it appears that it makes for a stable foundation for the sport for any kind of self-sustainability & longevity. I respect brands like Lotek, Freemont, Orchid etc for their devotion to wanting to go in this direction, now we just need retailers to support it.
Since you have been in the industry from Schwinn to Etnies, could you ever imagine yourself doing something else?
I’d like to stay in the industry in one aspect or another…But only time will tell right? I used to restore cars for a living, maybe I’d get back into doing that if I really had too..Its more fun as a hobby than a 9 to 5 to be honest, but if push comes to shove I’d probably get back into that…I love Hotrods & Muscle cars
Since the kids seem to get pretty heated on this one, how do you feel about big companies like Levi’s and Nike getting involved in BMX?
I’m pretty cool with it, I have nothing against it….Kids don’t really know what they’re pissed about, they just know for one reason or another they are just supposed to be pissed at Nike etc coz someone else of influence to them was pissed about it. I hear the term “milking BMX” when it comes to these brands, but honestly, there’s nothing to milk, our sport is not that big that they (Nike, Levi’s) etc are making humongous sales from us..This can kinda tie back in with the question about the direction I’d like to see BMX go when it comes to retail. We’re gaining more from these brands investing in BMX by doing vids, ads, trips paying riders than they are ever getting from us at this point. All I’m seeing is their involvement in what we do as benefiting us by bringing exposure, notoriety & legitimacy to BMX, in turn creating, once again longevity & stability…The whole thing goes both ways & has arguments “for” & “against”, but at this stage in the game, I’m cool with it. Ask me again in a few years if they bail on BMX, then I might feel differently.
What do you think you would be up to if you never got involved in BMX?
Fat, drunk, still living in England & painting cars, barely making ends meet!……Well, actually, other than living in America & not painting cars anymore I am pretty much all of the above. Ha ha ha
Outside of work and anything relating to BMX, what are you usually up to?
Hanging with my wife Jacqui & son Garrett Gray, doing home improvements, Photography, designing bike parts, fishing when I get the chance, watching porn, drinking, trying to come up with the next billion dollar invention, watching movies, sitting in traffic…there’s probably lots of other things I’m up to, but for the most part I love hanging with my family.
Photo Credit: Sandy Carson
I know you got one kid, how’s the role of dad going? Is there any more on the way?
Having a kid is awesome!…Definitely a drain on my time & wallet, but until you have a kid, its unexplainable how much you can love something soooo much!!!! No more kids on the way or plans thereof. I have already severed my penis as a back-up plan to ensure it doesn’t happen EVER again !!!!!! Now its party time!!!!
Will you try and get your kid(s) into BMX, or is it something you really don’t plan on pushing?
He can already ride his 10” DK General Lee with stabilizer’s & steer pretty well……he hasn’t quite figured out the coaster brake thing quite yet, but he’s doing pretty well for a 2 ½ year old. If he wants to ride bikes cool, I’m not going to push him, if he wants to get into something else, then I’m cool with that too…I just want him to be happy & make a good life for himself (& me when I’m old )
You have had your fair share of trips, what is your all time worst horror story from traveling?
I thought about this one for a long time & I couldn’t think of anything too serious. I’m sure that there’s been some shitty trips or shitty situations, but in all honesty, all they do is make for good stories. So whether trips are good or bad, it’ll end up good in the end & something fun to reminisce about.
Have you ever been in a fight? Did you win?
I used to be into boxing & was actually trained to box from when I was about 8 or 9 years old till I was about 20. I won a good portion of matches I had, I also got my ass handed to me too a few times when I was fighting out of my league (weight class). I honestly don’t like fighting & do whatever I can to not get into fights (unless I’m drunk), but if I’m forced to, I will. People always think I’m pissed, or just look pissed & want to fight, but its not true….It does have it’s advantages though looking this way if I’m not feeling like talking to someone. I think, & I could be wrong coz I know I’ve had some tussles when I’ve drank some. The last serious fight I was in was at Gravity Games (right before 9/11) between a bunch of BMXers & the moto crew they call the Metal Mullisha….BMXers won….I did get in a little toe to toe last year at the Simpel Session too with Stricker after some dude jumped on Stricker for checking out his girl…..Couldn’t understand an F-ing word the dude was saying, Stricker got hit a few times, but the bouncers broke it up & kicked us out before it could escalate too far.
How are you feeling about the elections and government in general?
I hate politics, its all BS to me & I’m not a huge fan of the whole system. Just too much shady shit goes on behind the scenes for me to get too excited about it…..We’ll get fucked in the end one way or another by the system.
It would appear the economy is getting pretty ugly… Any thoughts on that?
Yeah it sucks! My house is now worth less than half what I bought it for 3 years ago….So yeah, the economy thing sucks balls!
What is the first song to come to mind?
Sweet Child O Mine. GnR
How about first movie come to mind?
If you could have more of something in your life, what would it be and why?
Money. Obvious reasons
You find $100 on the ground, what do you do with it?
Put it in my kids saving’s account
If you could relive any day in your life, what day would you pick and why?
My wedding day / tied pretty closely by the birth of my son. Obvious reasons
I would imagine you are forced to spend quite a bit of time on the computer, any favorite websites?
What are some things you are looking forward to for 2009?
Watching my kid grow
Simple Session in Estonia
A stronger etnies BMX program
Getting myself in better shape & riding more
Photo Credit: Sandy Carson
If you could have any car in the world, what would you want to drive?
I don’t really have that much love for modern American cars, but if we’re talking about Dream cars, I’ve been stoked on the FORD GT…That thing is beautiful, almost a work of art…& fast as fuck !!! Love to have me one of them!!
If you could live the life of somebody else for one day, who would you pick and why?
Megan Fox. I wouldn’t be able to stop “playing” with myself. I wouldn’t leave the bedroom !!..Good enough reason right?????
Obviously you are married, so what is the key to success with the ladies?
Just have the same respect for others that you have for yourself. Have an open mind & be understanding….But most of all: Give the wife your “balls” so she can put them in her purse.
Who or what have been the biggest influences on your life?
Friends (You know who you are) & family
If you could change anything about the world, what would you change and why?
Sounds cliché. But I want everyone to just get along, no more wars. For the world to care more about life, living & love, rather than governments, oil & money. Everyone care & make changes for the better of the environment for a better future & for future generations……..Its funny how your perspectives change once you have a kid.
What is the best advice you can give somebody looking to get into the industry, or just towards life?
Be cool & don’t think your something that your not. Be humble but driven, with specific direction. Get an education whether it be for the industry of otherwise…It’ll pay off.
Do you have any shout outs or thanks?
Shit!! Waaaaay too many….I’ll give it a shot though
Jacqui Povah, Garrett Gray Povah, Mom & Dad, Kim, Judy, Dave Osato, Mike Escamilla, Mike Manzoori, Don Brown, Eladio Correa, Megan Easley, Rob Brink, Matt Chapman, Mark Holder, Jason Smith, Wallice Mills, Etnies BMX team past & present, specifically: Taj, Joe, Ruben, Sergio, Brian, Aaron, Jamie, Morgan, Heaton, Sandy, Freimuth, Enns, Garrett, Baker, Brett Walker. Bohan, Heath, Blyther, Voelker, Dominguez, Lee Reynolds, Greg Guillotte, Andy Brown, Andy Shohara, Alvin Mullins, Mark Scurto, Moroshan, Keith Mulligan, Fudger, Z, Bauer, Nuno, Degroot, Duncan Gore, Steve Swope, Miron, Big Island, Tunney, Condor, Sean McKinney, Chris Moeller, Kimler, BF, Adam Banton, Pat Schafer, Spohn Ranch, Prestige, Tom & Tina at Empire, Treika at A1 Cycle, Mark Noble, David Haynes, Lee Alexander, Barry Southby.
BIG thanks to BMX Union for wanting to & actually have interest in the bullshit I have to spill for an interview…………………I know there’s more people & I know I’m going to be bummed that I forgot someone, but just know that I care, & thanks to you all that has ever helped me in one way or another for better or worse. Much love.
Anything else you would like to say?
Have fun, love life & make the most of opportunity. Don’t live with regret.
One thing I didn’t know about John is that he is into photography. Here is some photos he has to show for you. If you want to see some of the smaller pictures at full size, just click on it.