If you think there's anything wrong with letting your skating do the talking, then you probably just talk too much. Having a cool, calm demeanor and talent on a skateboard are two traits that aren't often combined, especially in a world where looks and personality will cash your checks just as fast as natural style and skill. It's the discreet ones that you have to double take, or else you might just be missing something great. Pepper in some quick feet and a brag worthy bag of tricks, real style and an eye for dope spots… and the admiration just keeps boiling and boiling. You know how the saying goes: "Shut up and skate." It works for Justin Drysen. —Brian Blakely
Yo Justin, let's cover the basics: Where are you from, where do you live, how'd it all begin?
I was born in Oahu/Kailua, Hawaii but moved to Orange County when I was two. I'm 22-years-old now and I got into skating when I was four because my uncle hooked me and my little brother up with a board on my fourth birthday, his third, and I just remember skating over broomsticks when we were young shortly after.
What was it like for you growing up in Orange County? Any notable pros sprout from the same area as you?
Growing up in Orange County was tight. There was a lot of little stuff to skate as a teen once I started picking it up and there were some really good spots around the house I lived in. All the older homies I looked up to showed me around OC, either skating or hopping on the OCTA bus. And yeah, a lot of them come to think of it, like Ronnie Creager, James Craig, Austyn Gillette, Danny Garcia.
What's it like being one of HUF's newest AMs and traveling with everyone? How'd you originally get hooked up with them?
I got hooked up from my friend Jay [Larsen]. He worked there at the beginning about four years ago. After a while of being flowed I got introduced to Tyler Cichy who is the TM and started getting in the van with everyone and going out. It feels like a blessing, everyone I go out and skate with is really cool and it feels like a team. Plus, I look up to all those guys' skating and who they are. So far I've been to Vegas, Miami, New York City and upstate New York, and I've been out of country a few times, too. Went to Barcelona, Belgium, Switzerland, and London. I had really good experiences at all those places; crazy good spots, plates. It all makes me want to go back.
Damn, you've been on the move. That's rad. What about Quasi? What's it like riding for a team with such a legendary cast or dudes?
With Quasi, it's sick. I'm just flow for them but I'm hyped to be involved with amazing people like them. Everyone there is really dope. Their new video, Mother got me so hyped. Probably all of you guys, too. Haven't traveled with them yet, but I want to though.
Yeah, for sure. Mother was so good. Tell me about the WEFRIED crew? When did that start, who's involved?
WEFRIED crew is a family; everyone's been getting it since I was 12 or younger. But it really got started around 2017, filming homies and making our first full-length video [WEFRIED]. Skating with them is nothing but good times. There are ten of us but we have friends all over that back us and skate whenever we're around. For the most part it's me, my brother Chris [Drysen], Matt Barnette, Alex Tennison, and Motz. Motz films and we've been skating a lot lately. We're trying to get another trip going after we went to New York. And we got involved with you guys at Transworld through my good friend Jesus Meza. He shoots photos and talked to Keegan [Callahan] about us, and that's what got us connected.
We love the WEFRIED edits. Keep 'em coming. You have a unique bag of tricks and a pair of quick feet. Who are some skaters who influence you and your skating?
Ah, thanks man. There's too many (laughs). Really, I appreciate everyone that skates. But a few dudes who influence me are Tom Knox because of his long lines and good style. He's quick with it. Devine Calloway. Watching him skate over the years, he's always been so smooth! Danny Garcia does, because he's an OC legend. Taylor Nida, Bob Burnquist, Gideon Choi, Austyn Gillette. So many! Any 90s street footage will get me up and out and wanting to get it too!
From the outside looking in, you seem like a quiet, reserved dude. What gets you sparked and out of your comfort zone?
Yeah, I'm pretty quiet unless you know me. But honestly, what gets me pumped is just skating, laughing, new places, having a good time. That'll all break me break me out of that shell for sure [laughs].
You working on any video projects or anything right now? Any trips planned?
Yeah, I have a part coming out in this new HUF video 002 and that's dropping November 17. It'll feature me, Solomon Cardenas and the rest of the team. We're going have a premiere so I hope all you guys can make it out! Really excited for that. I have some VX stuff stacked up, too, so I might drop a part that my friend Motz and Nick filmed. As far as trips, I'm going out to Japan in October for a little over a week, so I'm really excited for that. I've never been so I'm ready for all the culture vibes. I've traveled the most I ever have in my life this year for sure, which I'm happy about. I'm always down for more.
You mentioned your brother skates a lot with you also. You two must be pretty close? What's it like having a brother in the same group of friends skating all the time?
Yeah he's skated with me since the beginning and he's really good. He's special. Its cool you know, sometimes we bump heads [laughs] but that's what brothers do. He's really humble and he pumps me up to skate when we're out. I'm older by a year and one day, so he's on my level for one day. Same birthday parties every year [laughs].
What's up with the future? What are some of your goals in skateboarding?
I just want to keep traveling and skating good spots with friends. Keep filming parts and just keep it going. Gotta stay happy doing it all, because this all I've ever wanted.
Solid. What about your goals outside of skateboarding?
Goals outside of skateboarding are getting my own place soon, preferably LA county, but first, I have to get a car. Stack up money, make a small company of some sort that involves skating and hang with my family because family is everything.
Well I appreciate the time, Justin. Anyone you want to shout out?
I want to shout out all my sponsors, my family, people that deal with me [laughs], my friends, my loved ones that have always been here for me. Just everyone that supports me. WEFRIED, Terrace Skate Supply, sml wheels, the HUF family, and of course you guys at TWS for giving me this interview. Thank you guys! Big ups.
Give Justin’s Terrace edit a rewatch. It’s a banger: