‘That being said, I have matching steel plates in my leg. One from each sport.’

Jus Martel

April 2024

Can you tell us something about Rhode Island no one knows?
Two things about Rhode Island that no one knows; it’s not an island and we eat pizza with no cheese.

Let’s cut to the chase. How does RI local turn into a pro skimboarder?
My older cousin Jay started skimboarding. I have no idea how he discovered it but I wanted to do anything he did and he would let us borrow his old boards. We grew up at a beach with a perfect wave for skim so, once we got better,we were able to progress without leaving home and I just was really hyped on it. I tried to do skate tricks on it, and I guess I developed a style that was pretty unique and there were many people doing it so maybe just the right place at the right time kind of thing. My cousin Chad helped a ton and I couldn’t have done it without the Dewey beach boys.

Let’s cut to the chase part 2. How does a RI local end up on Neil Blender’s IG account?
I met Neil through some friends that were living in pacific beach. I was living in laguna for a while and I would go down there now and again to skim with them. Neil is a fan of skimboarding. You could tell by watching some of his old parts, he would include animation or video of someone riding a skim. He would come to contests and sessions and I got to know him over the years which is a fuckin trip for me he was a huge influence on my skateboarding. A few years ago,my wife and I went to her sister’s wedding in SD and Neil, myself and my buddy Moonunit hooked up to skim Aliso. I didn’t realize he had put up a video of me until a few hours later when people started asking me how the hell did I end up on Blenders IG.

Jus Martel • BS slash • Cabo San Lucas, Mexico   © Chad Martel

Have you had any aspirations to become a pro skateboarder? If so, how far did you get in realizing this dream.
Anyone that skates that tells you they never wanted to get paid to ride a skateboard will probably be lying but after the skimboard gig for almost 10 year I was pretty content being a weekend warrior. I was also way past the age of free t-shirts by the time I would have been eligible.

Who slams harder? Skim or skateboarder?
I would say there’s pretty good potential to get buck’d on a skimboard, especially if you’re at some heavy spot like the wedge or cabo but skateboarding nowadays is pretty life threatening. That being said, I have matching steel plates in my leg. One from each sport.

Proudest moment in your career?
Building skate shit was the closest thing I got to a career in skateboarding. George Rocha,who now does Iris skateboards,and I built the first 2 double rock builds, the FTC contest in their shop and the roll in for the Wallenberg contest. That was a pretty rad experience for me. I got to meet and skate with a bunch of childhood heroes and build some killer stuff. I built a lifeguard chair for Cardiel to sit and overlook the contest. He never sat in it. That count?

It does in my book. Most embarrassing?
I shit my pants on mushrooms at Robstock. I don’t know about my career but that was pretty fuckin embarrassing.

‘I built a lifeguard chair for Cardiel to sit and overlook the contest.  He never sat in it.’

Jus Martel • BS ollie • The Hallow, Green Hill/RI   © Karim Ghonem

I found out that you worked for Sloppy Sam’s Ground Breaking Skateparks. I am sure you have tons of crazy stories to tell. Can you share one?
Before I did the double rock stuff, I worked for Sloppy at Breaking Ground. He’s a good dude but he’s a liability on a job site. There are a million Sloppy Sam stories. He took my friend Jason Case on his sailboat to a surfspot on block island. Sam jumped in first to paddle out to the break followed by Jason and his chick. They get about 500 yards from the boat and Sloppy starts waving his arms and they think he’s just hyping up the spot. Nope. Turns out he pushed the button to lower the anchor but failed to tie it off, so he just sent it to the bottom and the boat is now adrift. Jason makes it back first and Sam surfs for another hour or so while he drives around in circles.

I was told that not only do you have an insane concrete park at your house but also you make it open to anyone at any time. No exceptions?
My wife and I just moved to a new spot with a few acres and no neighbors so I put in a little skate track. I remember seeing an article on science fair when I was younger and he had some weird wooden track shit through the trees in North Carolina, I think. I’ve always wanted to skate something like that. It’s pretty small now but we’ve got a few ideas in the works, hopefully get on to phase 2 before long. I’m always down to skate with whoever comes through. Having different people in on the session all the time makes it interesting,but we have a no goons policy. Also, kiwis. Fuck those guys.

Kiwis as in people from New Zealand?
Yea, people from New Zealand. I’ve never been to Australia but I know about Smoko and I’ve heard you guys don’t like kiwis. It was a joke for you but if you think it will offend, you can leave it out. That’s another thing about RI, we have a very particular sense of humor that is lost (or not appreciated) on a large portion of the country, or the world in this case.

‘I shit my pants on mushrooms at Robstock.’

‘’You know what they say about Occum’   © Karim Ghonem

Aussies like Kiwis. They are like a little brother. Some Australians have more an issue with South Africans but I am stereotyping and generalizing. How would you describe the skate scene in RI?
The RI scene is pretty raw. Heavy blue-collar influence. Plenty of rippers. No flash. No soft hands. Show up to a spot, handle it and then off to work. A state full of lifers you’ve never heard of that are still killing it. It’s a relatively rural state so we’ve always had to either make do with shitty spots or build our own. There’s been a lot of killer ramps and backyard jams throughout the years that have kept everyone on their boards. Chris Petrichko pretty much had a hand on them all. Miss you buddy.

Last question. If you could interview a person, who would it be and why?
Fuckin Ozzy Osbourne. Imagine the shenanigans that dude has been involved in?

‘Show up to a spot, handle it and then off to work.’

Jus Martel • Golden Hour backlip • Willimantic, CT   © Karim Ghonem