It's been awhile since the name Jake Brown has been mentioned. But unless you were out of the country and had no access to a computer, television or phone last August, you might vaguely remember who he is. He's the guy who seemed to be brought back from the dead after surviving a 45-foot free-fall in the skateboard air big final in last summer's X-Games.
The clip of the fall - and Brown's walk away from the accident - was practically replayed every 15 minutes on TV and was blasted across the internet, making the unknown skateboarder nearly a household name within days.
I was standing on the side of the skateboard ramp during the fall, just a few feet away from Brown. I heard the body fall, I saw him lay there lifeless and I saw his shoes fly off. So when I saw him for the first time since the X-Games at the Los Angeles premiere for Bra Boys, it was like seeing a miracle patient alive and doing well after a heart transplant (okay, perhaps not the best analogy but you get it).
The X-Games are just more than a few months away, so I asked Brown - or the "Terminator," as his friend called him last year - if he's nervous at all for this year's games. Like a true badass boarder, Brown is fearless.
"I’m not scared at all," Brown says shaking his head. "I can’t wait!"
While he says the fall didn't change his outlook on life, he has certainly been living the high life. He just got back from Vegas where he was hanging with the Maloof's, owners of the Palms Casino, where they chatted about the skateboarding event the Maloof's will be having in July called the Maloof Money Cup.
"Just normal stuff," Brown says shrugging his shoulders. "I'm filming for a Blind video. Just been trying to get ready for normal skateboarding."
Normal for people like Brown, perhaps. Tonight he's mingling among celebs Nikki Hilton, Samaire Armstrong, Brandon Davis, Milo Ventimiglia, Adrian Grenier and Andrew Keegan at the movie premiere for Bra Boys, an Australian documentary about the hardships of a group of surfers growing up in Maroubra Beach. Brown met the Bra Boys at the X-Games last year before his fall when they were all hanging in Brown's hotel room.
The movie, produced by ESPN X-Games correspondent Sal Masakela and Jason Bergh's Berkela Films, won Best Documentary at the 2008 X-Dance Film Festival and is the most successful Australian, non-IMAX documentary.
The Bra Boys will soon be immortalized once again on the big screen. Hollywood producer Brian Grazer will be producing a major motion picture based on the documentary and Russell Crowe, who narrates the doc, will be making his directorial debut.
Kobby Abberton, the youngest Bra Boy and star of the film, is now a celebrity in his own right. He's got a hot Australian actress and model girlfriend, Tahyna Tozzi, and tonight he's mingling with Brown and his celebrity friends.
"Oh, I hang out with Russell all the time!" says Abberton when I ask if he's met Crowe.
While some of the movie-goers had tears by the end of the film, Abberton was nowhere to be found.
"I was actually at the bar," he admits. "I’ve seen it too many times and it’s great but I’ve seen it too many times."
Abberton's requested that Mark Wahlberg play him in the movie, which he says might actually happen. Despite traveling the world, hanging out with Oscar winners and having a major motion picture made about his life, Abberton doesn't seem fazed.
"I wouldn’t say it’s weird," Abberton says. "I’d just say it’s my life, you know what I mean? It’s up and down. I’m more worried about what’s going to happen in the future, not now."