Hey John, how was another summer spent on crutches? We were super bummed when we heard you got jacked at WCR.
Yo, what’s up Justin. As far as crutches, it wasn’t too bad. I spent my whole junior year of high school on them so I’m pretty used to the whole routine.
Quickly, can you run down the injuries you’ve taken in the name of pushing yourself on blades?
Ha ha, here are a few that stick out:
Those all sound shitty. Which one was the scariest or the biggest pain in the ass?
The injury that sucked the worst was the first ankle break for sure. I had just gotten my first car and it was a stick and I couldn’t drive it at all. I spent nine months on crutches without any weight on my leg at all. But I definitely gained an entire new appreciation for blading and how important it was in my life. After that, all the other injuries didn’t really have a bad mental affect on me. I just know I will come back. Period.
Forget about when things go wrong — what about when they go right? What trick have you landed that you’re most proud of?
The only trick that even sticks out in my mind is a big rocket mute flatspin 540 I did off of a loading dock launch after being pulled at a good clip by a friend’s car. It’s hard to land a big drop to flat while coming out of a side-flip, ha ha.
What’s it like being a blader in the mountains of North Carolina?
I moved up to Boone about five years ago for school. I joined the local posse including Thomas Martin, Rory Marett, and Adam Robert. It is definitely a different feel from the normal crew. We don’t have a skatepark. We don’t have any handicap rails. We don’t have a single ledge. So we skate stair rails and gaps, and only skate to get clips for the most part. We have no designated filmer so we all just film each other horribly, and as long as the trick is tight we don’t care. It’s the trick that counts. Kyle Kusche just moved into my house to join the posse as well, and he has been shredding it up.
You travel for comps and stuff and have been to quite a few different scenes — is the scene in NC different from blade life elsewhere?
I do take every opportunity to travel, make it out to events, and get to know the scene in about every place I go. Through this I have learned that all scenes are generally unique. North Carolina is no different. From the coast to the mountains, there are skaters in cities all over the state and we are a somewhat close-knit community. But nothing recently has influenced our scene more than the opening of Oak City Inline Skate shop last year. Since then it has been an outlet for skaters from all over the state to meet up, have sessions, and generally just organize events much more efficiently.
What are you into doing besides blading?
Even though blading is a major part of my life, I still find time to do a ton of fun stuff. I love to disc golf, hike, camp, golf, play tennis, drive turbo cars (my STI), eat amazing foods, play videogames, see live music shows, sailing, float down the New River with Thomas Martin, and swimming… to name a few. I also have a weird obsession with jumping off of high objects (or waterfalls) into water. Anything adrenaline related is pretty awesome.
You’re at App State, yes? What are you studying?
Yeah, I am currently a senior on my victory lap of undergrad at Appalachian State. I am majoring in Town and Regional Planning with a focus on land use regulations. When I finish up with that I will either try my luck at getting into graduate school, or just make the shift into the real world and try to get a good job somewhere.
NC has a pretty rich blade history — what is the enduring legacy of your predecessors?
I guess rich would be a good way to describe it. North Carolina has produced skaters of all styles, personalities, and genres. Every one here is unique and that in my opinion is what is so tight. The legacy of my predecessors would probably be to just do you, develop your own style and trick vocabulary. I have never really gone with any trends. I just do what I think is tight… and misty flips every which way.
Back to injury land for a moment. How does getting injured impact your mental blade game? Can be a strength and a bummer?
As I mentioned earlier, I learned a lot from being out for such a long time when I broke my ankle and since then it hasn’t really been a problem mentally. I have realized that skating will be something I always do no matter at what level. So I just use the time I have off to focus on other things and when I am ready to strap up the blades again, I do.
What’re your plans when you’re healed up?
Well I am off of crutches now, and even though I am barely walking with a cane, a comeback is definitely in store. With my dominant leg coming back weak I am planning on trying to focus on all right-footed or switch tricks for a while, until I get my leg strength back. That should add an interesting twist to all the sessions.
Okay, let’s wrap this up because all this talk of getting broke off is giving me the heebie-jeebies. What’s the best way to prepare yourself for the body-battles of blading?
There is no way to prepare myself for the beating I receive when I skate. I just know it’s going to happen and don’t really care. I also recently started doing yoga. It definitely works well for bad joints. It’s been good talking to you guys, and I can guarantee you I will be back on the blades in the near future.
Thanks John, here’s to a speedy recovery!
Photos by Jason Hampden and Thomas Martin