Catching Up With Jon Julio: Happy Birthday!

Interview and intro by Brian Krans
Edit By Jon Julio 

Now hitting the milestone of 35, he continues to be the embodiment of longevity in the professional rollerblading realm while still continuing to push his abilities. Jon answered 10 questions for Be-Mag about the brands he’s behind, the recent leaked photos of Valo’s 2012 line-up, and how he’s keeping family first in everything he does. From all of us at Be-Mag, we wish Jon the happiest of birthdays and look forward to what he has in store for the next 35 years.

The Youth Co. debuted at Bitter Cold. For those that weren’t there, can you explain how the idea to start a frame company with Farmer and Haffey began, and when people can expect to see the frames released in all sizes?

It’s the right time to do it . Connecting with Haffey and Farmer everything just makes sense. We are creating a high quality frame brand that we feel the industry is lacking. The Youth Co. is the beginning of a new era for all three of us.

As far as the BCSD XII debut; First, We would like to thank all who came by the booth and bought a pair of frames and or soft goods. It was a great feeling to experience the excitement and support of the people supporting The Youth Co. Being at the BCSD trade show it’s a great opportunity for us to connect on a one on one basis with the Bladers, industry people and customers. 

Because we are consistently improving our products, production delays did catch up with us around the time of BCSD and we premiered the frames without hardware,  but it still was a great debut nonetheless.

Since our hardware is available now (*as of today), we are look forward to getting all soft goods and size one frames out to stores by the end of March/early April. Size 2 is expected to be available by this summer. We realize we are a bit  behind with our delivery, but we can assure you that we will thrive on making a product that is of the utmost best quality that we can provide.

There were recently some unauthorized leaked photos of the 2012 Valo skate lineups. The main message spread around was the addition of B. Smith’s first pro skate. What made you decide the time was right to give Brandon his first skate?

For our 2012 product line-up, we took Valo into a new direction as far as design and content.  Yeah, it is unfortunate that we had the unauthorized leaked photos hit the web, but it was nice to see all the great comments from the masses as well as have the support from the industry to help us in curbing the leak.  As far as the new B. Smith Pro-model skate, Great things take time, and now is the time.  

There’s been a lot of talk about Blading the Game on the message boards—some good, some bad, as usual. What can people expect from the game, and could you compare it to any other games out there, like Tony Hawk Pro Skater or others?

Blading the Game is industry driven, and will be the first of it’s kind. We have practically every brand in blading supporting it. We are featuring real life skate spots, real brands and skaters. Your favorite pros will be customizable with personalized tricks and clothing. You will be able to ride the latest products from all of your favorite brands. We have a lot of ideas and seeing them come to reality is a dream come true. 

It’s going to be available internationally through Itunes, and you will be able to play it on your iPhone, iPad and iPod devices. The fact that Blading the game will be a mobile games serves huge potential in growing our blading community because it will be accessible on a global market. Also with the way apps work, we will be able to update as often as possible the tricks, levels, skaters, and products providing a true real-time experience; this is a great advantage for our game.

With the Blading the game, the most important thing in my eyes is to keep kids excited about blading, and introducing it to those that don’t know anything about it. If the game can continue to do that, then I think it’s going to be doing it’s job. We are expecting a May- June launch date.

Check out our new Tumblr for the newest info and news about the game or you can email us at [email protected].

What’s up with Dyna?

With the Dyna wheel company we have been testing urethanes for 2-3 years now searching for the best wheel compound. We are still improving the product line with each run, and expect to hear something in the near future. Currently we are offering the Brandon Smith anti-rockers. 44/101A. 

In a commercial at the Valo 4Life premiere, you were rocking some Valo shoes. Where’s that project at?

This project has been put on hold as I am focusing on skates (Valo), Youth (Frames) and Blading the Game.  

I know you’re filming for V and Ivan Narez said it should be out around Christmas. What can you tell us about the project and what separates it from the rest of the Valo videos?

“V”  is the fifth  Valo team video. It will be right up there in quality as our other projects . Cut and filmed by Ivan Narez. Only thing that it will seperate it from our other projects is that it will be on the international market this time. I am speaking of iTunes.

You’ve been a busy dude with Valo, Them Goods, Youth Co., and other projects? What’s next?

Blading, I’m trying to blade more. I just filmed a little edit at a local park here in the bay area. You can peep it on top of the article. Other than that just working on the Youth Co.,Themgoods, Valo, and Blading The Game.

You’ve moved Valo and Them Goods back up to NorCal to your native Milpitas. What’s it like being back home with your family? How are things with your wife, Viola, and the back and forth between Germany and the U.S.?

Yeah my wife and I moved back to be closer to family, family first. We opened a little office here and its nice to be closer to the folks and back in the bay area. JSF!

Julio’s wife Viola Weckback in the Valo office

You’ve been blading forever and still continue to put together edits and sections that keep people talking. As the gold standard of professional skaters in their 30s, how much longer do you think you have and what are some secrets for us other old bastards you can share?

I’ll be skating till I am no longer able to. I enjoy it too much to stop. The secret is to it all is to never forget how fun it is to blade. 

Also, and I’ve been wondering this for a while, if Chris Haffey challenged you to a game of S.K.A.T.E. would you accept and where would you choose to battle him? 

Man I wouldn’t have a chance on any obstacle/terrain. How about a game of B.L.A.D.E. in Blading the Game? I’m getting pretty good at it. 

“Where would our sport be without the vision of Jon Julio?” — Josh Petty


Valo Brand

The Youth Co.