Who's Rad? Julz Lynn.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Photo: Russ Sakurai

She is like no other female skater out there today.  They say she skates like a guy. Balls to the wall. I say she skates like Julz. She attacks the wall with style and commitment. There is no hesitation, only total confidence in what she sets out to do. She prefers riding backyard pools to a pretty skatepark most days. Throwing down tricks over what's commonly known as "The Deathbox", doesn't even phase her. She is at home here, riding for herself, picking her lines and going full blast like a rocket when she launches off the coping.  She rides like no other girl I have ever seen (ever!) and continues to amaze me every time I see her skate. This interview with Julz is uncensored and real.  Just like the way she skates.

Welcome to the GN4LW in depth interview with pro skater Julz Lynn.

Who's Rad?     Julz

Age?     21 and having fun!

Home is?   Near the nearest the skate spot.

How long have you been Skating? 

11 years, I had roller skates before that and a low-rider bicycle with flames.

What got you into skateboarding? 

I was at the skate park riding my roller skates in the bowl, doing fly outs. I didn’t like that I was the only girl in the park besides my sister who also was riding her roller skates. I felt uncomfortable. Why was I riding roller skates when everyone in the park had a skateboard? There were no scooters or bicycles; it is a Skateboard park. My dad always played his home skate videos I wish now I had paid more attention to when I was young. He also skateboarded on flow for Vision before I was born. It is definitely in my blood. My mom almost went pro for snowboarding in Big Bear before I was born. The Athletics come naturally to me as far as extreme sports are concerned.

 I told my dad in October of 2003 that I wanted to ride a skateboard. He let me use his old Death Box Skateboard Nude Bowl Model with the big Bones Wheels and told me I had to drop in if I really wanted to skateboard. He wasn’t super encouraging of the idea at first. I was his princess, I was going to fall on my butt and cry. He also said it was a lot like women’s basketball… I didn’t understand what he meant at that age. (Yes there are a lot of lesbians that skate.) Not something he wanted to see his little princess getting into. SO what did I do? I learned to drop in within the first few attempts and started working my way towards the deep end of the big bowl a month later. I loved the way riding a skateboard felt because I was raised snowboarding, racing dirt bikes and surfing. I got that feeling of flying again. I could turn off my mind. Feel, Flow and have fun! I always had a skateboard lying around the house. We would take our pit bulls for skates around the block. I remember the feeling of the wheels and the way they would sound when the dog would push harder into his stride and the wind would blow through my hair. Slobber would slap you in the face. You knew that the dog loved it to. Skateboarding brought me some of the only quality times I actually spent in my life.

Photo: Nate Mc Donald

You always seem to be very comfortable skating backyard pools – compared to a lot of skaters who like to just stick with man made skate parks – tell us about why you are so comfortable in unfamiliar terrain? 

Again, going back to my influence of skateboarding; my father would have pictures on the walls doing rock on rolls on love seats of empty blue havens. Home video of Dave Duncan with his dreadlocks, slashing the deep end of the Nude Bowl. They made ramps and traveled out into the middle of the desert to sort turkeys for a chance to skate a big metal blue vert ramp called the Doc. I was watching old Santa Cruz videos when I was kid. I always thought it was funny my dad would look over this one fence in our neighborhood because it had the best Blue Haven around. Seeing that probably had a lot of influence on my preference.

I never got into street skating because of the flip tricks to be honest. To me when I started skateboarding, it just looked like a bunch of board spins. How do you tell the difference? My ankles are so stiff from all the trees, roofs, and truck windows I liked to jump out of. My ankles just don’t do that. Staying solid for a stand up front side grind on some chunky coping with a fat lip you got to lap your trucks over. Whipping yourself through pockets and feeling yourself gain speed. Coming up with creative lines; how am I going to hit over the light? Work my way to the death box; is the hip ride-able? I love a kidney or ameba with nice hips. That will set you up perfect to boost an air off the coping. How steep is the shallow? Can I get a grind over the stairs?

Andrecht at Butlers Pool  /  Photo: Russ Sakurai

Pools have different shapes, sizes, walls, obstacles, and endless opportunity. They are the hidden gems. You don’t have every kid in his brother hanging out heckling you when they’re just kooks anyway. You have your crew you roll with to your spots. You get permissions and get to have sessions. Make friends with the people who live at the pools. Bring them beer or carne asada to bbq for their family. You don’t get that when you go to the skate park. 

It started in the backyards and alley ways because it’s the one place we aren’t a target for people we don’t want to see anyway. Cops aren’t just going to show up unless you’re trespassing or the people who gave you permission didn’t actually have the permission. Something about sitting inside an empty hole and looking at it thinking; how fast can I go? How high can I get? What line hasn’t anyone done yet?

There’s nothing in this world that makes me feel the way I do when I am skating backyard pools.

Layback in the Ridiculous Pool / Photo:Russ Sakurai
 Skateboarding has changed a bit since you got started - what positive changes have you seen for girls in the sport? 

Since I started skateboarding much has changed. The top female skaters I had to look up to where Cara Beth Burnside, Jodi McDonald, Mimi Knoop, Lacy Baker, Elisa Steamer, Lyn-z Adams Hawkins, Jen Obrien and Holly Lyons. The groups of girls skating were in their mid to late 20’s. The pro level of females was a lot less technical that that of the male pros. When I went to the skatepark I was usually the only girl out on a skateboard. The females you looked up to were so elite they only skate their private spots it was rare to skate with any of them unless there was a contest or media exposure involved.

Now when you go the skatepark, there are more girls than ever eager to learn and progress who aren’t afraid to take a little slam and get back up and ride after they walked it off. The top girls of today are reaching out to females internationally of all levels trying to progress the sport. The females that are getting on boards are getting younger. Young females are landing 540’s on vert ramps now before the age of 14! I skateboarded a lot of castle contest with the boy skaters of my age groups.

One of the first all female event series I participated in was called the Wicked Wahine and I thought it was so awesome there were older females than me skating in the bowls and doing gnarly slash grinds, popping off the lip. I won my first amateur girls contest that day. That’s the day I decided I wanted to be a female professional skateboarder.

At that time the only girls I skated with were Heidi Fittzgerald, Cresy Rice, Natalie Das, Mandy Esch, April, Kristi Sanders, Amber, Nascar Pam, Liz B, Jamie, Jewels, Melissa Dafnos, Elena, Hannah Zanzi, and Alize Montes, Lexi Barkly, Ciara De Agustino. That’s probably the only handful of skater girls you really knew that were riding or getting coverage. There was one female zine call SG Magazine for Surf Skate and Snow females and it was really all we had beside the girls skate network to look up to. Where now if you don’t have a female skateboarder involved it’s looked at as unfair or un equal. Everyone wants there token skater girl. Female models are holding skateboards as an accessories. It is not a gender bias sport any more. It’s a lifestyle of cruising, transportation you can store easily. More females are getting cruisers and customizing their own boards. There are cool brands out like Silly Girl Skateboards that are dedicated to promoting the future of female skateboarding and building a foundation for younger girls to multiply, skate together, and feed off one another’s accomplishments.

Photo: Lanny Headick

There are female skateboard teams now like Silly Girl Skateboards, Original Betty, Pink Helmet Posse, Meow, and Hoopla that have all female teams. Females are getting recognized for the progression of the level of skateboarding and are being given board models and shoe models. Females did not have the open availability we do today to get in the mag. It was only for the guy skaters. Companies would pay for ads and articles to be ran in the mag of top male riders. They weren’t trying to help progress the sport for equality when it came to what budget there was for travel to events; you have no priority as a female with skate brands that are predominantly male focus. Now there are companies like Nike who are opening their eyes to see with social networking and media female skaters only have as much market as the industry is willing to give us.

Girl skateboarders don’t deserve any less respect than the male skaters we are all doing the same thing. The level of technicality is different but every person learns differently at their own pace their own way. 

Photo: Josh Henderson

There are many articles I’ve read lately this one specifically (HERE) is about the Psychological gender differences and you can even take things a step further as in everyone has a different physiological way of doing what we do. We all see through our own glasses and think with our own minds that translates things to the best of our own ability.

One of the first major lessons I learned in skateboarding was about respect. I didn’t have respect for other females I skated with because I thought they were weak. Why weren’t they out for blood, snaking each other criss crossing craziness? Where was the fun? Why were the top females so cookie cutter this is how this is done. We are female skateboarding look at us. When the energy the guys carried never crossed over into the female side of things. The gnarliest thing we ever saw in my time of skateboarding was Hedi Fittz throwing Holly Lyons in the deep end of the combi by her hair the first year I skated the Protec Pool Party. A year later I had a collision with Cara Beth Burnside during my last run. There were only 60 seconds left on the clock and I dropped in the bowl while she was taking her last run. I had seen in the guys events the pros all drop in to get their last tricks. My friends of that time were cheering me on to get my last tricks. When I came across the waterfall I jumped off my board to avoid a head on collision and I guess my skateboard hit CB in the leg giving her a dead leg sending her off her board. I felt so extremely bad seeing her in pain and immediately tried my best to show her my remorse for any pain I had caused. She out of annoyance reached out and wrapped her hand around my neck on the deck. I raised my fist when I saw out of the corner of my eye cameras rushing to catch the action. I pushed her and all the media caught was me yelling at her and throwing my board leaving crying because her friends all circled around after saying “I need to have some respect,” “ you have no respect little girl.” I remember after that I thought "wow you’re telling me to have respect when you don’t even acknowledge I exist as a skateboarder". Every one of you comes to my home park to practice, where I skate every day and doesn’t say a word to me like you own the place. Now you want to tell me about respect. I learned that just because that was my home park, the time those women had put in on their skateboard and what they had done to keep female skateboarding alive was something I needed to recognize. That there is a history and these women feel entitled to their respect because of how far they have progressed the sport for females.

Females these days have so many opportunities to use the social media and networking to get themselves into doorways that could lead to awesome opportunities that bring more people to respect female skateboarding for the essence of what it is. Women are getting out and skating with the man pros there is less separation of male and female skate because we are coming together and realize the one love we have in common is our board.

We have seen you in the RIDE videos, on “How to do…” and you are a very natural teacher, and you explain the tricks so well – any plans for more of those videos anytime soon?

I love doing anything I can to open the doors and encourage more people to get out there and try, learn and have fun. I try and relate to as many people as possible and explain things broken down to the littlest detail because everything does matter. I'm not sure what's in the future but I'm always hoping for more opportunities.

What advice can you give to girls who may be starting out skateboarding and also those who are competing at the amateur level?

To other females getting on boards, know there are a lot of boys that skateboard. That is not a reason to ride a skateboard. They are mean. They will call you names. They will throw things at you while you are trying to skating. You may end up the skateboard clown for a minute but once you get comfortable and ignore all the distractions and really focus on yourself and your board. That's what matters. That is why you ride. To feel progression, strength, dedication, nothing is free or easy without time and knowledge. Practice makes perfect. When you fall down, get back up and try-try again. It may hurt but that's just for now and even if you’re hurt bad you'll most likely; if you really love it, will be thinking of ways you could have stayed on. How you’re going to do that next time you are on your board again! Having fun is the key to happiness. Happiness brings comfort and eases the mind, making it little more mindless to let yourself go with the flow and be one with your board and balance.

Julz, Poppy & Beverly at the Vans Girls Demo

To the females getting into competition or are already competing on an amateur level; remember that you are a part of skateboarding in a whole and a representative aspiring to be a part of the female movement. Competing gives you an opportunity to skate well under pressure. Teaches you dedication, build you into a stronger skateboarder so when you are skating with the guys they won't be snaking you. You can take your run with confidence because you've skated in heated conditions. One huge major important thing I see in females getting into competition and feel it's the only thing there is to live for in skateboarding. They're aspiring to go to the next big event, all that matters is placing. Always go for gold! Your gold! Always try to skate better than the last time you got on your board. Always step your own game up. Watch the other females give them the respect that they are on a board just like you and they are using their own creative ability to make art with their board. Don't let people’s looks, vibes, or words get in your head. You are on your mission to be an example of what you like about riding your skateboard and hopefully other girls will see it and want to try it because of the way you looked riding your board! Have fun! Flow with the atmosphere; keep your head in positive place. Take yourself to the bathroom if you get nervous take some deep breaths. Remember it's just another session with your girls and you are just doing what you usually do. Go out with a bang on your last runs. Add that extra flare and boost everything. If your nerves get the best of you, don't worry they get all of us; even the best of the best. Don't be hard on yourself just skate harder the next time you get to ride your board. Skateboarding is a beautiful gift. Don't you want others to find the feeling you get when you are having fun riding your board?!

Photo via Electric Ink Magazine

You are always on the go – traveling, skating, learning new tricks – how do you keep in shape for a demanding career and what is your healthy secret for food choices? 

I never really thought a lot about food when I was younger because I had a high metabolism. Now I have to watch everything. When I start eating unhealthy my body feels run down. It's not as hard as it seems to go to the local liquor store and pick up a couple bananas and peanuts for $1.50. Boom protein and potassium to keep you going! There are little 99 cent stores where you can go to the produce section and find Kale and other fruits and veggies. When I'm traveling I love to juice and make smoothies. I drink a lot of hot tea as a substitute for coffee because it's not as dehydrating. I also have an alkaline water sponsor Alkemy Water that has a micro clustered formula with oxygen, mild alkaline, and antioxidants that keep you feeling revitalized and rejuvenated. I like to drink those before during and after my skate. After a hard filming session, all day skates or a contest I like to go for a carne asada burrito or tacos. I love a really good steak I don't like any other meats really unless its magnolia bbq style. I love sushi! I just got into boba but I heard they aren't that good for you so I need to lay off them ;) I have been doing yoga every morning and sometimes before bed. I like to work out as well do some cardio and small lifting so I don't strain anything just keep my strength with repetition. I'll go for long distance skates on my long board or cruiser to save gas. Sometimes I'll skate switch to help balance out my body because after so long skateboarding I feel so conditioned to being regular footed that my back leg is stronger than the front. I make sure to get extra lunges on the front leg. Step aerobics or dance is always great and allows your spirit to be free. Turn up the music, get lost be weird. Another thing I like to do is mentally inspire and ground myself. I give myself reflection time to myself to meditate on everything and where I feel things are off balance in my life and break it down to my skateboarding as far as even my tricks and what I need to change and learn. I'll watch skate videos online and listen to music that pumps me up. Things that put me in a better place that inspires. It's also a must to get out and skate as much as possible regardless of terrain. Try to ride your board everyday! Just that 15 in the parking lot on break. Push yourself to think outside of the box. If you really want something you can find a way to make it happen.

Photo via Silly Girl Skateboards

What are your plans for competing in the upcoming year – any contests you are looking forword to?

The contest I know of coming up at the moment is the Van Doren Invitational going down in Huntington Beach at the US Open of Surf and Skate where the first Soul Bowl was held if you remember that event. Right off the pier! Super fun times! They build a temporary concrete park for us to skate. We will be going on Tuesday July 29th at 4pm. I'm an Orange County Local so I also feel honored and stoked to be able to represent for where I am from. I'll be skating to the best of my ability if everything goes to plan. After the US Open I will be flying to Hawaii for a week filming and shooting footage for Black Flys Sunglasses and attending a tattoo convention doing a skate demo there on location. The 7th I should heading towards San Jose to make it up for the Tim Brauch Memorial skate contest. After that is the B4BC (Boarding for Breast Cancer) Skate The Lake event in Tahoe! The next thing to look forward to after that would be the Chili Bowl contest in San Francisco so I will be staying up towards central and northern California until that event filming and skating backyard pools.

Photo: Sarah Ivy

Favorite place you've ever skated?

That is a very difficult question because I haven't skated enough overseas and I know there is a lot I wish I could skate. I would have to say Orcas Island in Oregon or Klamath Falls OR is super beautiful. I love everything on the west coast to skate. I’ve also had some of the most fun times in my life camping and skating the snake run at Kona skatepark. Florida has some really fun spots… I could go on forever about all the awesome spots this world has to skate. I love all the pools I’ve got to skate each of them for their reasons.

Favorite Trick?

I would have to say my favorite trick is sick front side lean to tail over a nice hip. I love the way it feels when you grab your nose and bonk off the coping, float up a couple feet spot your landing and push that back foot into the coping on your way down for a nice smack of your tail across the lip on the way back in. Floating backside Ollie's over nice hips... Really the question is, what trick doesn't feel epic over the hip hahaha you can't discredit the frontside tuck knee nose bone air tail smack. Or a real nice stand up frontside grind. The way a smith grind locks into the pool coping. A nice turned down Dive bomb Indy like Duane and Miller put together. I could go on forever.

Who are your sponsors?

Silly Girl Skateboards, Bones Wheels and Bearings, Ace Trucks, Alkame Water, Black Flys Sun Glasses, Brad Reis Tattoo (Renaissance Tattoo, San Clemente CA).

Julz in a recent full page ad for Silly Girl Skateboards  / Photo: Russ Sakurai

You have your own pro model with Silly Girl –  can you tell us how that came about and how you choose the graphics for your boards?

I was in the parking lot of the skate park thinking about a lot of different things. I started meditating and this vision came to mind of smoke around a full moon and the smoke turned to green. There were crows circling around the full moon. A pin up girl with tattoos and a lock around her neck, I had seen Steve Alba wear a similar one actually. She had a white tiger coming out of her, teeth showing fierce with aggression. The white tiger slashed my name across the tail and flames then exploded behind tiger’s strong arm. I was thinking black and white between the pin up girl and the tiger because of the balance/ yin n yang they have. The white tiger and crows are also my spirit totem animals. The outsides have the Red Green Gold color patterns in the smoke and ad dimension in the background. I drew up a rough draft in a sketch book I had and brought it into the office at Pink Widow Distribution. I put my drawings and visions together into words and the artist Kenny McB took what I had to create something. I took a little bit and only a couple corrections and finally we had the graphic in digital form to have boards made. It is very exciting to have a pro model with Silly Girl Skateboards because not many females have their own board model and it is the first professional model board Silly Girl has put out. 

Julz signing her pro models to be shipped out

Any other plans/things you are working towards in your pro career?

I tend to always be coming up with ideas and ways to keep myself going that involve skateboarding. My brain is constantly running. I don’t currently have a clothing sponsors but I prefer DIY and vintage fashion as it is. I love having my best friend Kenzie who owns and designs for Rhinestone Cowgirl come up with outfits for me to wear when I have photo shoots. She keeps me in mind with vintage athletic wear that is fashionable. All my sponsors usually only have guys shirts so I make custom women’s DIY skate shirts as well and have been trying to build something off of that if any women are ever interested I always have my scissors and could make your custom skate tees 10 dollars per shirt in person. If it’s a mail in order taking shipping into consideration and I can also work a deal for more if there are more than 5 shirts.

I have been on flow for shoe companies but haven’t found one that is a perfect fit for what I’m looking for. A dream come true would be everyone’s obvious, Nike. Their shoes are the best quality and have lasted the longest out of all the shoes I’ve skated in.

I’ve also been taking the steps to living a healthier lifestyle. I have been working out and doing yoga every day, eating organic vegetables and fruits from local health food markets. It would be an amazing thing to be sponsored by a health food market or place local to me that I could also find when I’m on the road like Whole Foods or Trader Joes.

Another interesting dream would be to be sponsored by Victoria Secret or a female underwear brand. When I buy cheap bras it’s the worst when I’m skating with the guys and I have a bra strap break on me, or when the lace shreds on your underwear. Session Over! Forget the progression, abort ship, duck and hide.

Honestly it would be awesome to have more female related brands on board with the female skateboarders because we are athletes too and quality is important!

One of the last things I have in mind that I am trying to manifest is a competition after my birthday in December around the 8-20th. I don’t want to say a whole lot more but, It will be an open men’s local pro/am to start the event. Barbeque, Beers, and Live Music. women’s pro/ am events to end the day with the Women’s Pro as the main Event. It will incorporate a Women’s Surf and Skate Vibe trying to bring the two sports together planning the date based off a surf event. I have to pull the sponsors together and it will be the first one ever. I feel I would bring the right balance of skate and surf culture to an event and create one of the most memorable and fun events women’s skateboarding has had.

Photo: Rad Balls

Three Things You Don't Know About Me:

1. I was born in Big Bear Lake CA

2. My favorite color is Green

3. My favorite food is Sushi

What’s Next? 

Major stuff coming up within the next two months nonstop! Starting July 29th at 4pm in Huntington Beach California will be the Women’s Van Doren Invitational. I will be leaving two days after to Oahu with Black Flys Sunglasses for a tattoo convention and to film/shoot photos at skate spots on the island. When I fly back to Los Angeles I leave the next day to Drive up with Silly Girl Skateboards Team to San José for the weekend for the Tim Brauch Memorial. The following weekend will be the B4BC Boarding for Breast Cancer, Skate the Lake in Tahoe. We will be fundraising and showing our support participating in that event. After that weekend I will be heading to Oregon to film and skate all the spots on the way with Peacock who is one of the best filmers and does the Pooling Around episodes on the Skateboard Mag. After the Oregon trip I will be continuing on the gypsy shred caravan life and putting out a really special new graphic with Silly Girl Skateboards through Pink Widow Distribution that will relate to that life on the road, traveling from park to park, connecting with skate family and sharing the shred vibes! Somewhere in there I am going to add getting my massage therapy degree/license and do traveling healing services combing sports massage, energy healing through Reiki, meditation, and aroma therapy. I’m hoping to target extreme sports athletes with my services.

Make sure you follow Julz on Instagram @julzlovespoolz

Julz didn't mention this in her interview - but we will - she sings like an angel and occasionally she has clips of herself singing or playing guitar on her instagram - so make sure you follow!

Thanks Julz!!  We want to thank Julz for taking the time out of her training schedule to do this extensive interview - can't wait to see you skate at the Vans US Open next week!  xx

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