The Grind Is Real: An Interview With Blake Johnson

in Culture

Born to humble beginnings in Venice Beach, Blake Johnson grew up in one of the most vibrant, eclectic environments that could shape a young man. In an area of Southern California where surfing, skateboarding, and cannabis pervade the culture, it’s no surprise that he was drawn to the few skateparks around his neighborhood at a young age.

When discussing Venice skateboarding, it’s mandatory to mention legends such as Jay Adams, Eric Dressen, and Natas Kaupas. These pioneers set the precedent of what it meant to be a professional skateboarder in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Reaching that level is hard enough; to stand out in the literal birthplace of skateboarding, surrounded by immense competition, takes another level of talent. 

Johnson rose to the challenge. Despite setbacks during his rebellious adolescent years, he remained committed to his goal of achieving the ever-elusive professional status. With the right attitude and an immeasurable work ethic, he was given the nod by Santa Cruz Skateboards in 2016 and was awarded his first pro model by Dressen himself.

Currently based in Barcelona, Johnson was happy to jump on a FaceTime call to discuss growing up in Venice, how his hometown has changed in recent years, what America might learn from a European perspective on life, and how cannabis has shaped him as a human and skateboarder.

High Times: How does it feel to come from Venice, which is historically the birthplace of skateboarding?

Blake Johnson: It’s a blessing, honestly. That’s where everything started. It gave me a little bit more of an incentive to try to make something happen with skating, because it had been so long since somebody from Venice actually made it into the industry since back in the day. 

Who were some of the Venice influences you had as an …

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Author: Elliott Wright / High Times

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