Photos: Rob Shaw.
Words: Zac and Jake Martinelli
Video: Filmed and edited by Jake Martinelli
“A little while ago before I really knew Josh, I was trying to describe him to Kevin Parrot and he said: “Oh, you mean Josh, the best skateboarder in London?” I thought that was a weird thing to say since Kev is always out filming with the hottest skate talent around, but since getting to know him over the last couple years I can indeed confirm he is the best skater in London. It’s not like he wants to be the best or anything, it’s quite the opposite.
He will probably be mad that I have even said this. He regularly tries to sabotage himself with excessive boozing, late nights, more excessive boozing, forgetting his iPod and not stretching, but he always makes his tricks. Regular, switch, up a wall, off a roof, he does it all and does it with a big smile on his face! He’s always saying that he doesn’t like it, but that’s just a front. Josh is a true skateboarder, not in it to look cool, get rich, or impress anyone and that is what makes him the best. Enjoy his welcome edit to ‘SORE’.” – Horsey
So Josh, let’s start with the obvious one. Where did the fascination with skateboards start?
Skateboarding started for me in the summer of 2000. My two brothers got one each after the ‘ninja turtles’ skateboard that sat in the garden for years finally gave way from us all pushing it along on our knees. Ha! I got really jealous of my brothers having boards until I got one myself, but as soon as I had my own I just forgot about everything else. Before that, I was an ice hockey player and dropped out as soon as I got my Sweet Voltage set up. Ha!
Where did you grow up?
I was raised in Leytonstone in North East London. There wasn’t really much to skate there until the local Co-Op shut down and left us a sick car park where we built our own ramps and rails and other dodgy contraptions.
Are there any individuals that inspired the fascination looking back?
Well, the first skate videos I ever saw were the first ON video with Danny Way and the 411vm issue 30 with Geoff Rowley. Somewhere in there they have an advert with Jeremy Wray doing the ollie between those water towers. I think that will always be my favourite trick in skateboarding, ever.
This shit is easy if you are a roofer. Ph: Rob Shaw
What pays the bills?
By day I’m a roofer. It’s pretty chilled most of the time and I still get plenty of time to skate so it’s pretty ideal for me really.
I guess it’s about time to say congratulations on joining SORE Skateboards! How did that come about?
Vince just emailed me out of the blue recently saying he was keen to sort me out and I was into their graphics and already know Myles Rushforth and Guy Jones, so I felt like I’d fit in well there!
Are the rest of the crew all up north? Their latest promo ‘SPECTEMUR AGENDO’ proves they can push it on all types of rough terrain.
Yeah, Myles is from Barnsley and makes such good use of crappy spots and that’s what makes him different. I’m into it, it’s more interesting than skating some perfect stairs or ledges. I’m looking forward to working on their next project!
So what do you personally love and hate about life and skateboarding?
I love hating! That’s about it. Nah, I love all the usual things that skateboarders do and I don’t have any other hobbies outside of skateboarding. I’m just happy keep doing what I’m doing at the moment. The main thing I ‘hate’ is bad skateboarding. Not skaters that aren’t good, but bland, generic skating, comp dudes, headphones and shit like that!
You have also started a wheel company recently with Rob Shaw, what’s the main focus behind Backwards Wheels?
The biggest thing that is important to Backwards is just being a part of skateboarding. It sounds cliché but we’re trying to be a little more obscure at the same time, but at the moment it’s still early on for us but as the company grows people will learn more about us. I think our first edit did justice for the kind of vibe we’re going for.
What made you decide to start a wheel company as apposed to starting a board company, clothing company or something like that?
Well to me and Rob it was hard to decide what to do. We wanted to create something but I guess we wouldn’t have done well starting a board company. We aren’t massive names like Jensen and Shier or Pulman who will succeed almost without fail because they’re big names, credit where it is due of course! As for clothing, like I said, it’s early doors but we’ve got some more clothing/products on the way.
What’s in the line up for Backwards in terms of trips or maybe a video?
One of the things we want to do as a company is to visit some really obscure places. That’s something that Rob and I have always had in common; we love discovering new spots and checking out different skate cultures, so we’ll definitely be making our first trip somewhere rad. We’re working on something else too along side yourself (Jake) and Will Miles. I can’t say too much more than that at the moment. Ha!
Frontside 50-50. Ph: Rob Shaw
How many hours have you clocked up searching for spots on Google maps and what’s the process of trying to locate spots?
I’m sure if I added up all the hours I’ve spent on Google maps over the years it would make at least a week as in 168 hours, but maybe it’s like a computer game where you don’t realise how long you’ve been on there and maybe I’ve been on there for twice or even thrice as long. I explore anywhere. Obviously I mainly stick to London, but if I’m going somewhere new like Kiev or Budapest I’ll have a little ‘wander’ beforehand and see what else is lying around.
How many have you found that are as good as they look?
It’s hard to say really. I guess I’ve never actually been to that many of them. I have them all written down on a piece of paper. I have a good 40 spots on a piece of paper full of spots in London which I’m sure most people won’t have seen before but from the ones I’ve been to I’d say half of them aren’t really skateable and about a half of them are actually as good as they look.
You recently had a part in Rugged Raw, a London/Harlow scene video, was filming for it at all stressful?
Yeah of course, one of the hardest parts was that is that I don’t drive and neither did you (Jake) at the time so it was a bummer to miss out on so many of the sessions in Harlow and the surrounding towns. Just wished I could’ve filmed at some different spots outside of London. Although we did go on a lot of trips together like Kiev, New York and Barca. Mind you, there’s always the classic trying a trick for hours until you go red in the face and deck a granny…plenty of that going on too.
You’ve covered some serious air miles and a lot of countries on your travels, Which trip was the most enjoyable/memorable for spots, skating and beers?
The most fun I’ve had on a trip was definitely going to France last summer with James Coyle, Caradog, Pete Buckley, Ben Larthe, Niall McDermott and Jelly. That trip was just really different style of trip for me. We had so much fun driving around and finding new spots that we’d never seen before. We just made it up as we went along and I’d recommend that to anyone really. As for skating and spots, probably New York. It’s a huge ever-changing city with endless spots, so I’m sure I’ll be heading there again soon. And as for beer, the Ukraine was cheap-as, but the casual and most delicious were had in Berlin last month. Again, I’m sure I’ll be back there soon.
Thanks to Zac and Jake for sorting out this interview and all my friends and family, me misses and all. Everyone who sorts me out, Vince, Bryce, Carl and Rob! Smoke beer everyday!
Back Lips in Kiev. Ph: Rob Shaw