Skateboarding is difficult. It’s even more difficult when you’re big. Historically, tall skateboarders or bigger skateboarders were given special recognition for being able to keep up with the more common shorter, agile skateboarders. In the same Darwinian way that basketball over the last century has weeded out most people under 6’5” skateboarding seems like it could be looking at a future of wispy, frail fellas who weigh less than their boards. But as long as there’s skaters like Blake Johnson around, we can still get a constant reminder of how power and a little heft, when used properly can make skateboarding look really amazing.
Coming up in the streets of Venice, Blake learned a thing or two about power, both in skating and every day life. Combined with a lack of fear and the tenacity to sweat through a pair of shoes before giving up on a trick, Blake is bringing something rad to the table for this new generation of pros. We caught up with him to talk about his new pro board for Santa Cruz, what it’s like hanging with Eric Dressen, and how to pull chicks from the hostel up the street.
Blake! Congrats on the pro board man, tell us how it went down? So, I was at the beach and there was mad homies at the park that day, and the Santa Cruz homies were there too. Then I saw my mom and dad and got kind of confused like why is everybody here today? This is kind of weird, but for some reason, I didn't even think about going pro. That was not even a question. I didn’t even think that that was gonna happen. Then Joe and Nick were like, let's get this interview out-of-the-way for your part. We need to do a little intro, so I sat on the walls and next thing I know Dressen came in, threw the boards in my lap mid questions, and all my friends - like everybody that I fucking love - pretty much just came out of nowhere wit more boards. Everybody is just going crazy. I was fuckin tripping.
I saw that Dressen was the first dude to hand it to you, how surreal was that? Being that that's one extremely heavy Venice legend, I was just tripping because I followed his footsteps in becoming a pro skater and he got to give me my first board.
Since you grew up in Venice, did you look up to Eric your whole skate life? Yeah, I just loved how he skated both Street and Transition, and was one of the first to do it in such a sick way. And watching him shows that skating faster does look better!
It seems like skating Venice park has turned you into a tranny skater a bit. Did you skate a lot of transition before the park was there? Yeah, I skated the Boys and Girls Club in Santa Monica. They had a vert ramp, a mini ramp, and a launch box, and quarter pipes. That’s where I first learned from 8-12.
What’s the deal with being a Venice Park local? I’ve noticed you have been skating or chilling in random ads for huge corporations. Are there just people shooting photos down there all the time? Yeah. Mad production people come looking for skaters for gigs. I guess Venice is just a hot spot for that.
Your first two pro models are the BLAKEULAR board and the other one is you as a giant stomping above a hostel and picking up tiny women. Is there a backstory for either of these? Haha, yeah. There’s a hostel by the beach by this bar we chill at. It’s where everyone goes after the skatepark and mad Euro chicks get swooped on right there by us. Haha cuz that hostel comes through.
You kind of got discovered in skating in a weird way right? I remember you winning some crazy contest with Theotis where you got in The Skateboard Mag? What was the deal with that? Yeah, that helped me wit my first mag photos. Theotis and I grew up on the westside, so we skated together when we were younger. If he was in Venice or I was at Hawthorne Skatepark and he wanted to help me get things started and get some exposure, he’d hit me up about that thing. But my homie Mikey made a video called Illegal Civilization 2 and I had a part in that and a lot of people - I guess u can say fan base lol - know me from that. And I know a lot of people in the industry already, so I just started making my connections and getting myself out there, but that Skateboard Mag thing helped too for sure.
You’re by no means a small dude. What’s it like hucking over 200 lbs. of meat down stairs and rails? I weigh 215, lol. I don’t know, I mean i just try to keep my body strong so I can not get hurt.
How many gallons do you sweat on a summer day session? Haha. I dunno, like 3? Lol
I’ve seen you sweat through an entire pair of shoes, is this common for you? Hahah, naw only did it like 3 times. That was a crazy night though. I dunno how I still filmed that line with soaked shoes.
Would you like to hold the official title of “Modern Day Gershon Mosely”? Because I think it’s yours if you want it... Haha that dude was the fucking sickest! Very sweaty guy for sure. Another ATV too, I back it.
Let’s talk a little bit about the Santa Cruz team. You guys have been stacking the team with some insane dudes lately. How are you feeling about the SC crew right now? I’m feeling good. We got some heavy hitters and we got some solid flow dudes as well in that bullpen you feel, so yeah I would say we have a good versatile team. We bout to come in hot, just wait on it.
What’s coming up next for you? Any travel coming up, or projects you’re working on? I wanna travel everywhere. I wanna go to CPH but doubt I will, maybe South Africa? SC got somethin in the works and I’m sittin on a lot so things will be droppin, as I keep workin.
If you sell a million skateboards, what does Blake Johnson buy with a million dollars? A house in Venice if I can find one that cheap. GO BUY MY BOARDS YALLLLLL!