Josh, where are you from, and how'd you get into skateboarding?
Born and raised in Orange, California. I got into skating from my cousin, and a couple neighborhood kids. We'd skate the schools around Orange and build little ramps in front of my house. The good ol' days. My first setup was a crappy Ninja Turtle board that you'd get from a K-mart or Target. Plastic trucks, pre-assembled grip... That kind of thing.
Do you remember your first Thrasher?
I want to say it was Alan Petersen blasting that huge method out of the bowl. Style!
Growing up in OC, who was the first pro you saw in person?
Probably Ed Templeton at the local park.
What about your favorite video as a kid?
Menikmati. It was the first video that would get me hyped to go skate.
I hear you were always at the Vans skatepark when you were younger. https://skateszone.com/cole-wilson/
My grandma got me a membership the first year it opened, and I think that was in 1999 or 2000. That's when I started skating. The park is close to my house and there was always a good crew of guys to skate with growing up.
What was it like to see Grosso, Hosoi, Navarrette, Salba, and other pros skate back then? Did they influence you?
Those were the guys I'd see at the park and skate with on the regular. They were always around and really cool, and they definitely inspired me.
How'd you get on Santa Cruz?
My friend Josh Stafford rides for them. He helped me get in contact with Jordan, the team manager, and it's been awesome ever since. I'm stoked. Good team and good friends.
What about Vans? They're basically in your backyard.
That all came about from the Combi contest at the Vans park. I got an invite to skate the second year and ended up doing well, staying on my board. A week later I got a call about riding for Vans and they've backed me ever since.
Have you been on any trips with Jason Jessee?
He's rad. I've gotten to go on a couple fun trips with him.
Got any good stories?
We were on an SC trip in Oregon, camping out with a bunch of heads at this spot Peter Gunn took us to up by Windell's. Jason and Peter went on an early-morning hike to try and blow up some trees with explosives and a sawed-off shotgun that he had. We happened to find them down by this cliff, where there was an old tree hanging on the edge by the water. They'd tried cutting the tree down first with an axe but it didn't budge, so they resorted to the shotgun and some gnarly explosives. That didn't work real well either, so they went back to the campsite to get more supplies. Meanwhile, we're back at the tree, chilling. Next thing you know we hear a crack and a boom. The tree came down right between us. If we were five feet closer, we would have been crushed.
If you could do one trick like Jason, which would it be?
His frontside ollie. The back-up would be an Andrecht to fakie.
The cat's out of the bag: You have a vert ramp in your backyard. How did that come about?
My friend Aaron, who had a bowl in his yard, just spur-of-the-moment tore it down and asked if I wanted it. Two days before I left for a trip my dad and I went over and moved as much as we could to my house. Once I got back in to town I talked to the guys over at Vans to see if they'd be down to help me get something started. They were, and we made it happen.
What are the dimensions?
The transitions are 9.5, with 1.5-feet of vert. It's 11-feet tall, 32-feet wide, with a 5-foot mini on the side for homies who don't skate vert.
That's not your standard 2012 vert ramp. It's more like 1990. How did that size come about?
It's somewhat due to the amount of land we had to build it on. I remember Future Primitive and seeing the ramp Lance used to have at his house. That thing looked perfect and super fun. I figured if I built it like that, I could get those guys to come over and ride it with me.
You live at your parents' house. They must be cool to let you have a ramp in the backyard.
Yeah, my parents made it all happen. They've supported me since day one and I'm very thankful for them.
Who have you been skating it.
Different people all the time. I skate it a bunch with my homies from the neighborhood, and then we'll get some good sessions in with Lance, Grosso, Jason Jessee, Nash, Bailey, Chuck Wampler, Charno, Buddy, Willis Kimbel, Omar Hassan, and some other friends. We've had really fun sessions so far.
You must be learning some new tricks, being able to walk out your back door.
I'm working on getting inverted.
Do you have tons of skaters calling you up to come over?
Yeah. 1 thought I could keep it a secret, but that's never gonna happen. One person would call to skate and six dudes would show up. So far it's been all the right people.
Is it hard to say "No"?
Yeah, for sure. No one likes to be denied.
Would you ever deny Lance Mountain?
Nope, Lance is the man. He's helped me out a lot, and he's been a big inspiration and a good friend to me. He's always welcome.
I've barged some pools and spots with you over the last few years. What would you do if some kid hopped the fence and you caught him skating your ramp?
I'd be amazed that he made it past the dogs. I'd tell him to knock on the door next time.
Have you ever skated a Mega-Ramp?
I got to skate it a couple times. I went out to that Point X Camp, when they had the first Mega-Ramp, back in the day. It was something I'm glad I did but it's not something I'd find myself skating on the regular.
Your girlfriend goes to USC. Does she think you should be in college instead of best skateboard - skateboard reviews
No, she's down for skating. She supports me.
Do you ever go to frat parties up there?
No frat parties for me. We usually go to the bars downtown, or we'll go to one of her friend's parties in her neighborhood.
So, sorority parties?
Nothing wrong with those.
Do you check out skate websites on the regs?
Thrasher and Strangenotes, if I do.
What about Instagram? Any thoughts on that form of social media?
I'm not too into it. It's getting harder to keep things secret with technology these days, like spots. Everyone always has to post where they are; "Check me out."
What's your favorite non-skate mag?
All-time Santa Cruz skateboards vert and street skaters?
That's a hard one, because there's a lot of history when you're talking about a company like Santa Cruz. I'd have to say Jason Jessee for the vert and Emmanuel Guzman for street.
Have you ever taken down a bottle of Tequila with Guzman?. See Other: https://skateszone.com/shawn-hale-theyre-definitely-scary/
Not yet. Hopefully in the near future.
It's guaranteed a good time.