For the first time in history, skateboarding is in the Olympics. In order to commemorate the occasion, New York’s Substance Skatepark founder, Andrew Gelles, interviewed Skateboarding Olympian, Bombette Martin.
Bombette spent years skating at New York City’s Pier 62 Skatepark being mentored by the 62Crew of diehard locals, with a lot of good-natured East Coast heckling, and support and love from her family and friends. As she rolled into competitive skateboarding early on, and made a name for herself around the globe, some of Bombette’s first podium placings were at the NYC Pool Series at Owls Head Skatepark in Brooklyn, built by NYC skateboarding godfather, Andy Kessler.
She specializes in park and transition skateboarding, but Bombette skates everything including vert ramps, pools, mini ramps, street and skateparks. She’s dropped in at landmark spots from the East Coast to the West Coast, including historic skateboard parks like the Ocean City Bowl in Maryland to Mt. Trashmore in Va Beach, as well as hit up the Venice Skatepark and the Vans Combi in California, in addition to the Jockey Skatepark in Sao Paulo, Brazil, among many others. During the COVID-19 quarantine, she didn’t stop skating and spent hours perfecting her lines at Substance Skatepark and built a mini ramp to skate with her dad and brother.
Bombette’s positive attitude and progression on board has led to her being sponsored by Embassy Skateboards, Rockstar Bearings, Substance Skatepark, Triple 8 NYC, 187 Killer Pads, Trophy Griptape and Uncle Funkys skate shop. Bombette and her little brother/grom ripper, Kayo Martin, were also recently featured in the 2021 Spring Gap Kids campaign with photos by the legendary lensman, Mark Seliger.
After traveling the world, and honing her skills skating with some of the gnarliest skateboarders in NYC, Bombette was invited to the United Kingdom to compete and took first place in Great Britain’s Female Park Skateboarding Championships at Graystone Action Sports Academy in Manchester in April 2021.
Bombette soon followed up that contest win with a strong showing at the 2021 Summer Dew Tour in Des Moines, Iowa, earning her even more points in the World Skate rankings for Olympics qualifying events.
Now Bombette Martin will be competing for TeamGB in the Olympics in Women’s Park Skateboarding at the Ariake Urban Sports Park in Tokyo, Japan. You can view the Olympics Women’s Park Skateboarding Qualification Heats followed by the Final Medal Runs on Oct 3rd, in the USA at 5pm on the West Coast and at 8pm on the East Coast. View the full schedule and find out how to watch at www.NBCOlympics.com.
Fans, family and friends from all over will be cheering her on and the NYC Skate Coalition crew has already maxed out the capacity for the Bombette Martin Olympic Screening party at Substance Skatepark on 8/3/21 at 8pm and had to open a second viewing area at the LLoHi Rooftop Bar above Substance Skatepark, at 314 Scholes Street in Brooklyn, New York, just to host everyone that will be there to show support for Bombette as she competes on the World Stage.
As skateboarding is making history again, this talk between two skaters just goes to prove that the multi-generational impact, culture and influence of skateboarding can change the world.
JUICE: What’s your name, how old are you and where are you from?
BOMBETTE: I’m Bombette Martin. I’m 15 years old and I’m from Manhattan, New York.
JUICE: Why did you start skateboarding?
BOMBETTE: I started skateboarding because we are really lucky to have a world class skatepark down the street from us, Pier 62. One day my brother took out my old skateboard that I never used and he came back and told me how much he loved it and then I went out and tried it and the rest is history.
JUICE: Did you ever watch skating when you were really little? When was the first time you heard about skateboarding?
BOMBETTE: Well, when my brother and I were really little, we would be playing on the lawn next to the Pier 62 Skatepark and we would see the guys skating the pool and stuff, but I never took interest in it until five or six years ago.
JUICE: How long have you been skating now?
BOMBETTE: I’ve been skating for almost six years.
JUICE: Great. What are your favorite and least favorite parts of skateboarding?
BOMBETTE: My favorite part of skateboarding is probably the relief you get after knowing you worked so hard for something and then finally accomplishing it. My least favorite part of skateboarding is probably the frustration. Something that I hate a lot is when I see someone really good skateboarding and they do a trick and make it look really really easy and then I get really angry when I can’t do it. It turns out to be a really hard trick, but they made it look easy. The frustration of that all comes into it.
JUICE: What’s your favorite trick right now that you do and what’s your dream trick?
BOMBETTE: My favorite trick right now is probably a backside air just because that is something that you just can keep progressing and get higher and higher and I love that feeling of like flying. It’s fun. That’s like the closest I’ll ever get to having wings. [laughs] My dream trick that I really want to learn is a 540.
JUICE: Pier 62, where you’ve skated most of your life, has a wide range of characters. Tell us some Pier 62 stories about the people that you’ve met growing up there.
BOMBETTE: There was one time me and my brother and his friend were chasing geese in the lawn next to the skatepark and this crazy dude was like, “Stop chasing the animals. Leave the animals alone.” He gets a stick, and starts chasing us and he was running super fast. He was like Usain Bolt. I thought I could outrun him and get to the cafe close to the lawn to hide before he could get to me, but, by the time I got around the corner, my dad had already seen what was going on and he had hopped the fence of the skatepark and they were about to have a fist fight. If this guy got to me, I don’t know what he was gonna do. My dad was about to punch this guy but, thankfully, all of the locals from Pier 62 came skating up to the fence. There were like 20 guys and they hopped the fence and then I see 10 more skating around the corner. This was all happening so fast. Then this one guy, Frank, I love Frank, he comes sprinting around and just body slams this dude to the floor. Everyone was like “Bro, what do you think you’re doing? Get out of here. Don’t mess with us.” That was just the best. The 62 crew is the best and always will be.
JUICE: Other than the geese story, can you think of any other cool moments or cool people you wanna shout out to from the 62 crew?
BOMBETTE: I definitely wanna give a shoutout to Sharkdog, Puppet, Porkchop, Ali, Ian, Duncan and Mikey. Shoutout to Angus. We miss you. Shoutout to Ray, Kayo, my little brother, and Jabari, and obviously you, Andrew. There is just so many that I would be going on forever. Shout out to the 62 crew!
JUICE: For sure. How have skateparks in general helped you get to where you are?
BOMBETTE: My mom always says that if I was to quit skateboarding today I would always be secure with myself. Skateboarding has made me very confident, which I think a lot of girls, especially teenage girls, lack. I think just being around the skatepark environment really helped my confidence, just in life.
JUICE: It’s no secret that you have been doing really well in contests recently. What are your secrets to competing?
BOMBETTE: My secrets to competing… Well, I was in the Great Britain National Championships and I was so nervous and I was putting so much pressure on myself. Most of the other girls had never competed before and they were coming up to me and telling me that they were nervous. What really helped us all was just to act silly and it helped to lighten the mood. Just be nice and try to not really talk about skateboarding. We would act like goofballs and make silly jokes and hysterically laugh at each other, when we fell, to just lighten the mood. I think that really helps.
JUICE: It seemed like a very friendly vibe. You guys all seemed really happy afterwards. What are your plans for the future?
BOMBETTE: Well, right now it is hard for me to see past the Olympics because that’s my main goal. I, obviously, wanna go pro, which hopefully I will. I really just wanna be able to make a living off of skateboarding, which I know very few people have, but now that it’s going to be in the Olympics I think people are going to take it more seriously. It’s going to be a sport that people can actually make a living off of, so I wanna be one of those people.
JUICE: As part of that journey, you dropped out of middle school. What was that was like?
BOMBETTE: Yeah. I was in school up until sixth grade and then we decided to try homeschool. My brother and I were like, “We need more time to skate,” so we begged our parents to homeschool us. Then we did and it paid off because it allowed us so much more time to travel and we have gotten to see so many new places that I don’t think we would’ve gone to before if it wasn’t for skateboarding and the time that we put into it. Homeschooling allowed us to do that.
JUICE: Nice. Do you still see some of the kids you went to school with?
BOMBETTE: I still see some of them and I keep in touch with a few of them. My best friend is from fourth grade. Now I think a lot of my main friends are just kids from skateparks. They are the kids that I can relate to.
JUICE: In preparation for the Olympics, and in general, you have done a lot of traveling. What’s your favorite spot that you’ve traveled to and why?
BOMBETTE: My favorite spot that I’ve traveled to is Rio de Janeiro. I like Brazil in general, just because the Brazilians are so real. They are kinda like New Yorkers, but nicer. I love the beaches there. It makes Rockaway Beach look like a dumpster. It’s just so beautiful. One of my main memories there was climbing up on this cliff and jumping into the ocean with all of these little Brazilian kids, which was so fun.
JUICE: What’s one piece of advice that you’d give any kid picking up a skateboard for the first time?
BOMBETTE: Well, I definitely say buy a helmet because you’re going to hurt yourself and you’re gonna want to quit and not do it again. I know people try to tell you that it’s not cool or it’s dorky or whatever, but it’s not. You are going to be so thankful when you hit your head or fall on your knees and realize you have kneepads on and you’re not dead. Please invest in some pads. It’s not hard to have fun in the skate community because everyone is so welcoming, so just go and be outgoing and get to know some people because you’ll really make some good friends at the skatepark.
JUICE: Cool. Thank you so much, Bombette. Good luck continuing training. We’re rooting for you.
BOMBETTE: Thank you!
The Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 take place July 23, 2021 to August 8, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan, with the Park Skateboarding Competition set to air on NBC in the USA on August 3rd-4th, 2021.