Checkout: Justin Modica’s backyard brilliance

Justin Modica on backyard ramps, backyard zoos and the perfect backside ollie.
By Mike Munzenrider

Cool thing about Justin Modica – he can McTwist, like proper, mute grabbing, flipping 540 on vert. There’s proof out there, as seen in his impressionistic section in Worship Friendship. Modica’s McTwist is important, it’s a skill that’s been relegated to the young and the old, in skateboard terms, and, at 25 years old, that puts him in the 99th percentile when it comes to that inverted aerial.

Modica rides for Send Help, Converse, Pyramid Country, OJ Wheels and Cowtown Skateboards. At one point, he says he was obsessed with birds. Modica is a modern all-terrain ripper, who’s got McTwists, and more.

Justin Modica - Frontside Boardslide
Justin Modica – Frontside Boardslide © Matt Price

Are you originally from Phoenix?
No, I used to live in Michigan for a while, like in middle school, then in high school I moved to Texas; I was born in Texas. I pretty much lived in Michigan and Houston, Texas, for most of my life. For the past five years I’ve lived in Phoenix.

You got Houston pride? From where do you want to rep your set, the most?
Oh man, I don’t know. I’ve got pride for everywhere, pretty much: Houston, Traverse City, Michigan, all of Michigan, really, Phoenix. I’ve got pride for all the places I’m from, everywhere is always awesome.

Cool. What’s up with your backyard, you’ve got some skateable obstacles back there?
Yes and no. We used to have a big ramp that was pretty fun, but it got weathered pretty quick because we didn’t use the right thickness of Masonite. Now, for like a year and a half, we’ve had this plywood ramp that’s half torn apart. For a while we had a weird roll-in off the roof and a channel gap thing. I think what’s skateable right now is a little quarterpipe going up to a fire pit. It’s pretty much a junkyard.

Justin Modica - Boardslide
Justin Modica – Boardslide © Matt Price

That sounds pretty tight, actually. Are there animals back there?
Yeah. I’ve got a few chickens, and we’ve got a pig and a cat.

Chickens, pig and a cat – are you trying to do a farm thing, or do you just coexist with those things?
I don’t know. We moved into this house that is pretty much in the ghetto of Phoenix. It’s not like we have that big a backyard, but we just kind of decided to make a little chicken coop. Once we got some chickens, we couldn’t stop, so we got a pig. For a little while we had an emu, that was so crazy. I think we had some peacocks at one point. I think I became obsessed with birds, a little bit. My neighbours didn’t have any problem with it, so we just had a shit ton of birds in the backyard.

Any animal that you don’t have now that you’d want to get, bird-wise or otherwise?
I think a goat, I think I could use a little evil-looking goat, with the horns and stuff, I think that would be cool.

Justin Modica
Justin Modica © Matt Price

What’s up with Send Help?
I think Send Help is just a little different, it thinks outside of the box. It’s just like good friends. I met Todd [Bratrud, Send Help co-owner] whenever he lived in California, we got along. I stayed at his place with Preston [Harper] and we became friends. He was like, “You get boards?” “No.” He just started giving me stuff.

Send Help co-owner and pro skater Steve Nesser wanted to know: what’s the secret to scooper backside airs?
I think he’s asked me this in person. Maybe like, get on a vert ramp and put on some pads and try it on there, because that’s how I learned. I was just a little kid, but it worked out for me.

Justin Modica - BS 5050
Justin Modica – BS 5050 © Matt Price
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