Words & Photography: Will Jivcoff
Joshua Bos is a low-key dude, one who prefers the slow pace of small town living to the big city. His skating however, is at home in any environment. Since debuting in Jeremy Elkin’s ‘Lo-Def(2008)’ video, Joshua has kept busy with a steady production of self-motivated parts alongside his brothers Adam and Jake. Together, they make the perfect skate rat crew. They comb your city, stringing together impressive lines on the best-looking spots that sit idle in your own backyard. Speed, filming, trick and spot selection – Joshua’s skating hits the mark every time. It’s not just his skating that makes him a rad individual though. He’s conquering a bigger battle that’s harder than any trick you’ve tried.
Alright Joshua, where do you live?
I live in Kingston, Ontario. Half of the city is upper class with old yuppie people and university students, and the other half is slightly impoverished, which is the more realistic side of Kingston.
What’s the skate scene like out there?
There’s not much of one. The local shops struggle out here, but there’s still a handful of guys pushing it. We have a good crew of people that are down to go fuck around and keep it fun. The city is pretty terrible to skate so it can be tough to get motivated sometimes.
What’s the most idyllic city to skate in your opinion?
Any city in Upstate New York. I love Rochester for the locals and the spots are amazing. They’re gnarly so you have to get pretty crazy to get a solid trick.
I really love Boston too. Kevin Coakley’s part from ‘Make Friends with the Colour Blue’ got me super pumped to go to Boston and film a bunch. I was just there recently filming for my new part.
You’re a relatively unknown dude from Canada. How did you end up as an am on Politic and land a part in their video ‘Divison’ next to guys like Quim Cardona and Danny Renaud?
In 2011, I put out my ‘Wash, Rinse, Repeat’ part and times were tough. I was at Seasons shop in Albany when I saw Politic boards and I love the Upstate scene and everything Politic stood for. I sent a couple of my parts to one of the owners, Damon Vorce, and he was really pumped on them. He didn’t intend to break into Canada, but he did through YT Distribution and shortly after they released a part announcing me as their Canadian ambassador.
Since then, I’ve been pushing Politic in any way that I can. When ‘Division’ came out, I was the only flow guy that came through with a full part so they put me on as a full am. I love riding for Politic so I’m going to skate super hard for them.
You just suffered a pretty hectic injury right?
Uhh...I was coming down Fakie on a bank, lost my footing and I fully credit carded myself, hitting the main artery in my dick. A few days later my dick got super sore and swollen so I went to the emergency room and spent a few days in the hospital. The urologist told me he had only seen my case three times in 30 years on the job.
Did you have a half-chub 24/7?
Yeah, it was always super swollen. Skating and wearing a tool belt at work was a no-go.(laughs)
You’re no stranger to mental health issues as well.
I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in grade 3 and it’s been a huge struggle my entire life. OCD can be one of the most disabling mental illnesses if it goes too far. I’ve seen a psychiatrist since I was young, been on medication and have amazing support from my family. With that, I’ve learned to cope and take care of myself.
What are some of the day-to-day challenges that come with your OCD?
It varies. I used to be a severe hand washer and a germophobe. That’s where ‘Wash, Rinse, Repeat’ came in. I constantly needed to feel clean and be in a germ-free environment. That aspect is easier to understand in regards to OCD.
You’re weighed down by the illness and your mind really plays tricks on you if you let it. It can be extremely difficult, but you have to find a way to control it.
How important is mind set?
It’s super important. Some days my thoughts race like they’re on loop and I can’t stop them. I have to recognize when it’s time to focus or call it quits altogether. Mind set is everything but bad days happen and in that case, I have to take it for what it is and accept it.
Has OCD ever affected your skateboarding?
Through high school, until I started college, life was on hold for me. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life and it was a lot for me to process, I couldn’t handle it. I was lost and visiting a psychiatrist a lot while upping my medications to try and focus better. I was skating and producing footage but my illness was crippling at the time.
And so goes the silent struggle of mental illness or drug addiction, right?
Yeah. Skateboarding is an escape for a lot of people in that sense, myself included. It gives me the most calming effect and helps me focus. That’s the best thing about skating for me.
What are some leaps and bounds you’ve made against your OCD?
After high school, I was really lost. I decided I needed to push myself out of my comfort zone so I got a job as a hotel janitor to push my limits with my germophobia. It made my life a living hell but it helped me so much. It got me out of my shell so I was able to move away to college, which was also a huge hurdle for me.
For people suffering from OCD, taking them out of their comfort zone can feel like the end of the world. You feel an extreme sense of helplessness with no end in sight. I picked a college that was 40 minutes away from home so I couldn’t lean on my family as easily. It forced me to rely more on myself if I needed help and to treat myself with more confidence. This helped with my independence and every aspect of my life.
I’m so stoked to hear that. When you moved to Toronto a couple of summers ago, was that also a confidence building exercise?
Yeah, every once in a while I need to remind myself that I don’t need to succumb to my OCD. Dealing with my anxieties and OCD without the support I'm used to is extremely difficult but that’s how you grow and learn to deal with this illness.
You don’t often hear that side of things. Who supports you? I don’t just mean with free gear either.
Before anyone, there’s my brothers, Matt, Adam and Jacob and Mom and Dad. They’ve helped me with everything I’ve gone through in life and I know I’ll always have them. And then there’s my therapist, Simona who’s helped me over the years. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am, let alone skateboarding and maintaining my sponsors Politic and Vans. Having those two sponsors backing me gives me the drive to really push myself. It’s made me feel like what I’m doing with my skating is more worth it and it’s always nice to know that people are stoked on you.