Blading Hall of Fame: Jon Julio

The Blading Hall of Fame was created earlier this year, with a view to historically cataloguing all the pro blades since the first Tarmac CE back in ‘94. Launched initially with 50 blades documented, and updated daily the gallery has now passed the 100 mark, and continues to grow. We decided to have a quick catch-up with a few of the heavyweights of pro blading history, and who better to speak to first than Mr Valo himself, the legendary Jon Julio.

JJ has been in the game since the very beginning. He has grown up with the sport, and seen it mature along with him. His impact on the sport, and influence on so many bladers worldwide, cannot be underestimated. A fantastically talented and dedicated pro blader, a strong, determined entrepreneur, and so much more. We’re delighted to present some insight from El Presidente, with the added bonus of an exclusive first look at his valoXyears edit, freshly cut by Mr Ivan Narez.

Photo: Brandon Smith

You received your first pro blade in 1998, from USD. How did you discover you were to receive a JJ endorsed blade, what did it mean to you and how did you celebrate?

I was definitely psyched! It’s one of those things that you dream of happening. Don’t remember celebrating too much back then, but it definitely was a dream come true.

Ivan Narez and Jon Julio
Photo: Jeff Stockwell

You’ve had 16 pro blades, spread over 15 years, which is a record certain to remain unbroken for quite some time. Are you as proud/honoured now as you were 15 years ago, and is it just as much fun working on the marketing to promote your product, as it once was?

I am going to be forever fortunate to be involved in blading for this long and yes it will always be fun to market and promote products. Foreseeing a product from beginning to end can be tough, because sometimes it takes a while to get a final product that you feel is 100%. But at the end of the day, there’s nothing more satisfying. What’s even more awesome than that, is seeing people riding your product.

Jon Julio, fishbrain
Photo: Jeff Stockwell

For those who want the complete Jon Julio blades, your pro red Youth frame on the 2013 JJ model is a good match. Might we see a new line of Dyna wheels with a JJ edition to ride flat, or pair with the B Smith anti-rockers?

As of right now no, but these days shops offer a great custom service. So you can you definitely pick up all of those items and build your own at your favourite skateshop.

How do you stay on top of your game as an athlete, balanced with further responsibilities as a manager, husband and businessman?

I recently started crossfit with Randy Spizer, Mike Opalek, Arlo and Rob G. This has been helping a lot with endurance and keeping my knees strong. I try to eat well and stay organized. Finding a balance within everything is very important.

A selection of Jon Julio's pro blades

Of all your pro models, which would be your favourite?

My light skates that we just released are my favorite for sure. I recently skated every model in one rail session for an edit and it was awesome to see how the skates have progressed over the past 10 years. The comfort is top notch in my new Lights. The liners have improved drastically as well as the shock absorption neoprene foot bed which makes a world of difference.

Jon Julio pro blades

Jon Julio’s JJ Light pro model, as part of the valoXyears collection, is available now from your favourite skateshop.