The last time JT had an interview in TWS was 2007. A lot of the topics we talked about then were revisited here to see how the world’s changed, how we’ve changed, and how skateboarding has changed. JT has grown wise as his skateboarding continues to stay gnarly—that head hit a few years back luckily didn’t faze him. He’s walked the road of a long and loyal career, and it’s nowhere near done. This dude is a skate rat to the heart, and we’re stoked to have him grace our pages again.
WORDS PHOTOS BY BLAIR ALLEY
What’s up with the Deluxe video coming out in April?
It’s a Real video, kind of Cinematographer Project style. A few people are going to have full parts. It’s going to be something different but with a team feel. Everyone is involved. This is the first time I just sent all my footage in, like, “Here’s everything!”
What happened to Three Pack with Massimo Cavedoni and Bobby Worrest?
Bobby got on Nike, which is awesome, and we still talk about it, we still wanna do it, but when Bobby got on Nike he had obligations with his footage. We’re just on a little delay.
Do you miss not having Bobby in SoCal?
I do. He’s fun to skate with, super motivated. We like to skate the same kinda shit.
Is Cold Worrest still coming?
He’s still coming! He’s still charging [laughs].
Is Massimo too real for the game?
[Laughs] What do you mean by that?
He’s too hardcore, too underground for these shoe sponsors and these magazines. So many people love his skating, he’s like a cult classic.
I know what you’re saying, because he’s one of the best skaters I know. The way he films stuff and just watching him skate is amazing. I don’t have an answer for that.
He should be one of the rippingest ams out there!
I think so, too. It’s not because of a lack of footage; I think he just goes with the flow. People that know him know what’s up.
Do you ever think in terms of how many more video parts you have in you?
When I’m injured I do. I’ll look at my footage and be like, “Damn, it sucks being hurt.” Especially nowadays with the way things come out and how demanding content is. I go back to spots so many times, it’s getting harder and harder to film full-length video parts.
What do you think about that? Saving your footage for a full video part versus pros who put a clip on Instagram every day and that’s all they’re trying to do?
I’m set in my ways of liking full team videos. People are caught up in putting content out and getting their video part out on TransWorld or Thrasher, but I’m a fan of a full video how Antihero just did and Expedition, too. It’s got more of a feel for me, it’s more memorable. Maybe that’s because I grew up in the ’90s. That’s just how I feel.
I know you don’t like to Instagram photos of yourself skating. Why is that?
It’s a little bit “Check me out!” kind of shit, you know? I guess in this day and age it’s normal. It’s gotten to a point where I don’t even know what’s normal anymore. If you post all these photos and clips of you skating, to me it’s like, “Check out how hard I’m ripping!” I’d rather have a photo of Ernie [Torres] or something. I’m not talking shit on anyone that does that, but I feel weird posting photos of myself.
Well, I wonder if the dudes do it because they’re jocking themselves or if their sponsors tell them to or force them to.
A year or two ago, I would say you’re jocking yourself, that’s wack. But now I’ve experienced a little bit, not from Deluxe, but you’re forced to post photos of yourself. So I can’t blame people for doing it. There’s a heavy influence for skaters to market themselves and sell boards, and I get that, but why can’t we market ourselves as a team?
What’s Deluxe’s take on it? They let you do you?
I’ve never gotten anything, any kind of thing, dictating what I post from them, at all. I’ve noticed that riders will all post the same stuff if we’re going to do a charity thing, because you want to spread the word for something like that. That’s how it should be; I’ve always been stoked on Deluxe for that. When a brand dictates what you post, then it starts to not even be you, and when you’re young, what you like about certain skaters is their personality.
Is there ever gonna be another full-length Real video?
I think so. I hope so. In this day and age of content and with Real having such a big team, it gets kind of tricky.
Yeah, how big is the team?!
Oh, it’s real big [laughs].
What trend are you sick of in skating?
Those bucket hats kind of bug me [laughs]. I’ll tell you a trend I do like: ’90s-style picnic tables and people filming in schoolyards the last couple years. That’s sick.
What’s the skate scene in San Diego like right now?
Pretty fucking awesome. The Sk8mafia dudes are going out all the time. The skate scene in San Diego is always awesome.
Where are you living?
Do you like living there?
Yeah, it’s cool, but going skating I end up down south naturally because most of my friends live down there. I like North County, but on a skate level I end up in my comfort zone, closer to the 8 freeway.
Why is it so hard to find filmers in San Diego?
Yeah, it is. Ever since Jimmy Kappel stopped filming it’s been hard. Everyone’s gone to LA lately. Deluxe has a filmer there now, Tim Fulton, so it’s a lot easier for me to go film up there.
What’s your take on the new crop of indie board brands?
I think it’s rad in some sense. Like early ’90s style, a lot of people are breaking off from some bigger brands to do their own thing; that’s always cool, but it’s also kind of tough. It seems like a lot at once right now. It’s a hard thing for shops to support a lot of brands.
How do those brands affect a brand like Real?
Every brand affects every other brand. Shops only have so much shelf space. You don’t wish people to fail because of that, but it’s tough starting a new brand, and there are a lot right now, and it gets tougher and tougher for skate shops like Pacific Drive or Slappy’s. They have so many brands that they can choose to sell, so it’s hard when you’re a shop and you’re only going to sell so many boards. Shops “go with what you know” type of thing.
Shops aren’t going to take on a new brand unless the kids are asking for it?
Maybe not. You gotta think that everyone starting a new brand has relationships with a lot of shops from over the years of skating and doing demos and this and that. If I was a shop, I’d give a new brand a shot if I was backing the people behind it.
Do you think all these new young companies have changed the way Real has to do business?
I don’t think it changes the way that Real would go about business because I remember talking to Jim [Thiebaud] a long time ago about new brands, and this was way before all the new brands now, 10 years ago actually. I was talking about certain brands struggling and how I couldn’t believe that a brand that I grew up buying was going under, like that’s just not right. Straight up what he told me was, “If you’re asleep at the wheel, that’s just how it’s gonna go. You can’t be successful just because of your history.” That’s how he’s always thought about Deluxe and Real. I’ve always thought about that since he told me that 10 years ago, then I see these new brands and more power to them, but if it affects Real, you have to have that outlook. That’s stuck with me.
How high is too high for a roof-to-flat to be for you to not skate it?
[Laughs] I don’t know.
Is the Mission Bay bungalow the max?
I get heckled from Ernie and a lot of Deluxe guys, they call me “Rooftop.” But if something looks cool enough, like if you grind down something, I don’t know what’s too high.
So Ernie came up with the Rooftop nickname?
Yeah, he comes up with all the nicknames. The little shit [laughs].
Let me give you a hypothetical scenario: If the World Trade Center towers were still standing and you could stretch a bike rack across them, is that something you’d try?
[Laughs] That would be a long bike rack.
What do you think of Daewon’s picnic-table roof-to-roof? Ahead of his time?
Yeah, and I always thought Jeremy Wray did the coolest rooftop stuff.
He’s the OG Rooftop.
Yeah, somehow he’d find some railing going across a rooftop—he didn’t put that there.
Dan Sturt probably put it there.
Sturt probably did, huh [laughs]?
I know you really like the public skateparks in SD. Which is your fave?
I like PQ [Rancho Peñasquitos] park. The new Encinitas park is pretty sick.
How involved were you in designing the new Encinitas Plaza?
At the beginning, pretty involved, with you we went to a couple meetings. We had our input and got a little section, like an old Webb Park replica. I think we were pushing a little heavy for it to be a complete replica [laughs]. It was awesome that Kanten [Russell] put a few things like that in.
How many years have you been pro?
I think 10.
What’s the best sponsor-me tape you’ve seen lately?
What do you tell up-and-comers who wanna skate for Deluxe?
Be patient, because a lot of people want to be on and advertised and everything real quick. But my advice would be to be a little more patient. It’s not that Deluxe isn’t down for you, but there’s a time that they’re trying to work around. If you’re with Deluxe and you’re patient, they’ll have your back forever. They’re supportive for as long as you wanna do it.
They turned you pro later than a few other dudes who got on after you, right?
Yeah, a few people before me, and people get frustrated with that, but it’s not necessarily that they don’t want to do it; like you said, I didn’t turn pro right away, and I thought maybe I needed to push myself more. I just tried to push myself more, and look, now I’ve been pro for over 10 years. Sometimes you just gotta wait for your time.
What pushes you now to outdo your last video part?
I enjoy one-upping myself a little bit. I like new spots that look cool. The whole process pushes me. I like when you see a spot and you know in your head it needs to be skated. You may have to go back, may have to make it work. I’ve always enjoyed pushing myself.
Any residual medical conditions from when you hit your head?
I can’t smell anymore.
Are there any smells you miss?
Barbecue. When people say, “That smells good!” That sucks, but there are more smells that I don’t miss [laughs]. There are more benefits, but it’s one of those things that you don’t even think about because you’re not smelling it, until someone says something, you don’t think about it.
Any advice for a happy marriage?
Find the right girl and I don’t think you need advice, you’ll be all good.
Oh, it’s that simple?
It’s not that simple [laughs]!
You made that sound way too easy.
I did [laughs].
How long have you been married now?
Going on six years.
All-time favorite Real rider?
That’s a really tough question. I was about to say Gonz, but I almost said Huf. I like Max [Schaaf], too. Shit that’s a really tough one. Maybe Gonz.
What’s your music rotation in the truck right now?
Minor Threat maybe, a little Billy Bragg, then it will go to sports talk radio. That sounds super jocky, I know [laughs].
What’s in the bed of your truck?
Piece of wood for a curb ramp, flatbar, broom, a sign for cracks, and a shit ton of old wheels.
Where’s the most random place you’ve pulled over and skated your flatbar?
Maybe a truck stop halfway to San Francisco, I’ve done that before. Or a random IHOP parking lot. It’s nice to stretch the legs out.
What’s the most extreme your OCD ticks have gotten while trying a trick?
It’s gotten better, a lot of bets. “If I don’t stick it here, I owe you a hundred bucks,” or something. I kicked a dent in the back of my truck once. That’s pretty embarrassing.
Is it more touches for gnarlier tricks?
Not necessarily the level of the trick, but if it’s a really shitty run-up or a crack or something weird, I definitely get a little more weird because I’m stressed on more than just the spot.
Do you run out of things to touch when you’re on a roof?
[Laughs] Nah, I’ll just touch my board. I’ll probably touch something on the way up [laughs].
Article source: http://skateboarding.transworld.net/photos/jt-aultz-interview/