JUICE MAGAZINE 13 YEAR ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL
INTERVIEW BY STEVE OLSON
INTRODUCTION BY STEVE OLSON
PHOTOS COURTESY OF DAVE DUNCAN
And that’s time… No… 15 seconds… Wait… What time is it anyway? It’s GO TIME… As a kid from San Diego, to traveling around the world, Dave Duncan loves his life, and skateboarding too. I love everybody, cuz I love myself… and I love myself, cuz I love everybody… Check it out, and then maybe you’ll understand. It’s been said before, “If one is passionate for what they truly believe, then one has truly succeeded in a life of passion”… I think I just made that up, but, that’s what I think when I think of Double D… He is one of the most passionate cats, doing what he does best… Loving life like no else… Duncan, no one goes as hard and fast as you my brother… Daggers for life.“IT SEEMS LIKE EACH GENERATION TAKES SKATEBOARDING TO A NEW LEVEL. TO BE ABLE TO SHARE THAT WITH THE WORLD AND KEEP IT REAL IS REALLY SOMETHING UNIQUE.”
Duncan, it’s Steve Olson with Juice Magazine.
Olson, what the fuck is going on, man?
It’s go time. It’s been another good year.
It’s been an epic year. I want to talk to you about why you interview people? When you were a kid in junior high, did you ever think you’d be doing interviews and journalistic shit?
Never, but I’ve always loved skating and I had to write papers for school and all my papers were about skating. My teacher got so pissed. She was like, “Don’t turn in another paper about skateboarding or you’re going to get an ‘F’.” That was the ’70s when the new parks were happening. Skateboarder magazine was hot. Skateboarding was all I thought about. That’s all I wanted to do.
You read articles in Skateboarder?
Yeah, and what I loved most about the magazines was reading about all the crazy antics like the Dogtown articles. I liked getting to know Jay, TA and Shogo and all the aggressive guys. I was learning what their personalities were like. I learned about Jay throwing dirt clods at buses. They had radical lifestyles on and off the board, so I’ve always loved interviews. Juice has given me an opportunity to interview my friends, guys like Danny Way, Rune Glifberg and Bob Burnquist. I know that even though they’re superstars out on the tour, in their hearts they would rather be skating a session with the boys. I’d like to show the Juice readers that other side of them. The readers get to see how cool these cats are and how talented they are. I’ve known most of the guys since they were kids, and I’ve watched them grow up. It’s kind of fun to share that with the world.
It makes it easy on a guy like you as the guy that’s doing the interviewing because you have a head start. They know you. It’s Double D. Pow! It’s on.
I have so much respect for the guys that I interview. They’re so talented and they’ve taken skateboarding way beyond what we dreamed about. It seems like each generation takes skateboarding to a new level. To be able to share that with the world and keep it real is really something unique. These guys have a deep passion for skateboarding. They’d all be skating whether they made money or not. Most of them were skating back when there wasn’t a lot of money in it and I want to get that across to the readers. I want them to know that these are just regular guys. They’re super talented, dedicated and committed to get to the level they’re at.
What do you like about working with Juice?
Well, working on the World Cup Skate tour, I’m at a lot of the major contests and I get to travel all over the world. Every place I go, it’s a new session with new guys. With Juice, I can capture all that while I’m on the road and then bring it all back and let all the readers know what’s up. I can talk about where the new contests and new skateparks are, and what all the guys are up to. I try to keep it real, so that all the readers can see that these guys are in it for the fun. I like the characters in skateboarding and we get to tell their stories. Skateboarding breeds individuality and creativity, and Juice encourages people to be individuals. The one thing I love about skateboarding is the diversity of it. It’s a big family that we have going on. Everyone is a piece of the puzzle and when you put all the pieces of the puzzle together it’s a beautiful picture. I just try to keep the fun in skateboarding. Even though it’s getting very corporate these days, you can still get together with the boys and have a good time. You don’t need all that corporate crap.
But the corporate shit has allowed people to have careers.
It’s got its place, but what I like about Juice is that it’s been covering the concrete, the pools, vert skating, and the roots and the core the whole time. A lot of the other magazines weren’t doing a lot of coverage of pools and concrete for a long time. Now they’re all coming around a little bit. Juice has been down for the cause since the beginning.
Yes, it has. So how do you go into an interview? Do you have questions already thought out?
I try to go into it casually. I want the person to feel comfortable. I try to recap what he’s been up to lately and then I take it back to the beginning. I ask them about when they first started skating and who influenced them. I ask about which videos, magazines or personalities had an impact on them. I just let them tell me their life story. Then I try to get their take on the future. You get a whole history lesson on that person. You get to know all the rough roads that they’ve traveled to get where they are. I don’t think any of us have had an easy road trying to make it in skateboarding. We all take a lot of slams and a lot of interesting stuff happens along the way. It’s always good to get their inside viewpoint.
I just wondered how you do your interviews.
It’s the same way I skate a pool. I just drop in and do whatever comes spontaneously. I don’t have specific questions. I just kind of go with the flow and feel it out. I try to show the fun side of the personality. I let people learn about how cool some of these guys are. Skateboarders are definitely the coolest people I’ve ever met.
So you get to interview cats that you get to go and skate with. That’s pretty sick.
It’s especially crazy with the state of skateboarding now.
It’s the best yet. It’s so on. I never would have believed that I’d be having this much fun at 45.
I feel like we’re teenagers for life.
I’m a 45-year-old man, but I still live the same way I’ve lived forever. I don’t want to be a teenager, because I’m not a teenager. I’m a rager!
Jay Adams said it best, “It’s like I’ve been on summer vacation for 20 years.” And when it gets cold in the U.S., it’s time to go down to Australia or somewhere warm. It can be summer all year long.
Did you get booted from skating those pipes in San Pedro yet?
No. We skated them too late yesterday. Some dog came up and went crazy on us, nipping at us, ready to eat us up. Me and Delgado went to a killer pool in Redondo first.
Okay. When you’re interviewing people, do you ever find out shit that you never knew, like stuff that catches you off guard?
Yeah, almost always. When you’re interviewing somebody, you’re digging deeper than the stuff you normally talk about. You’re really trying to take them back to the days and get deep on the stories. You might have heard the story before, but you might get a different version of it. It’s cool. They know Juice is the place to pour their heart out and be real. That’s what makes it cool.
Do you ever see any similarities in skateboarders after doing so many interviews?
It seems like every skateboarder is unique in the way that we all are, but we’re all united because of our love for skateboarding. If you’re a skater, then you know. It’s the passion that everyone has for it. You know it’s something you want to do for the rest of your life. You just want to skate and live your life. Our whole lives revolve around where we’re going to skate and who we’re skating with and what’s going on in the wild world of skateboarding. It’s keeping that fire going. It seems like everyone still has that. It’s not like you give it up. If you’re a skater, then you’re a skater for life. It’s the best thing ever. Some guys quit and try other things, but then they’re back skating again.
So when guys hook up with chicks or start doing drugs and partying and then skateboarding goes away and then, all of a sudden, “Pow!” That other stuff starts to run their lives. There are a lot of those similarities, too. It’s a reckless lifestyle.
The adrenalin rush skateboarding gives you may lead you to look for that off the board. It may be getting drunk or high or getting with a chick. You’re trying to keep that same enthusiasm and lust for life that you have on the board, off the board, too. It’s easy to go overboard. It’s just like when you’re skating. Sometimes you push yourself too hard and you get hurt. It’s the same way in life. Sometimes you’re going to break your heart or break some chick’s hearts and maybe even get some blood splattered all over the place.
[Laughs.] This is what I recognize. Everyone starts young. All of a sudden, they’re partying, but they always come back to their skateboards, no matter how fucked up they got from partying. The common thread is that their skateboard is always there. It’s the most reliable thing for most of these cats.
When you’re a kid, you’re impressionable, so if you surround yourself with skateboarding, all you want to do is skate. As you get older, you wonder what the rest of the world is like. You get a girlfriend or a job and that disillusions you. You start partying, because you’re working all the time. You want to have some fun, too. Between work and partying, you may not skate as much. Then you realize you’re skating less and you’re not living any more. You’re just trying to pay your bills and please your chick or whatever. In the end, skateboarding will fulfill your life so much more. If you just spend the time doing it and surround yourself with the people that are doing it, it fills your heart full of joy. So you come back to that. You get back to your roots and do the stuff you were doing as a kid. You pull off that “teenager for life” thing.
Absolutely. How do you pull it off? How do you pull off how hard you can rage? You are one of the hardest ragers.
It’s common knowledge really. People are like, “Duncan is superhuman.”
I guess it’s the lust for life that skateboarding gave me. I appreciate every minute. It’s about living for the moment. You might not be in that moment again ever. You have to give it all to yourself. You just need a few hours sleep in between, and you have to eat good food. I take some vitamins, replenish the body and get the toxins out. I drink lots of water.
Then I do it all over again.
You go hard, D.
Yeah, but I’m always down to skate. It’s about the fuel for the fire of skating. It’s all about the adrenalin rush. If you’re pushing yourself skating, and you’re kind of tired, but you keep skating because your adrenalin is on, that’s how it is with me out in the world. My adrenalin is on. I’m ready. I’m stoked on my life.
You and I have the same kind of life. I love my life so much.
It seems like if you give back, it makes it even better. As I did that over the years, it came back to me ten times over. I give back and it keeps coming back to me. I’ve been to Europe like 45 times. I’ve been to Brazil ten times. I’ve been to Japan six times. I’ve been to Canada 16 times. I’ve been to Australia eight times. I thought those big international trips were once in a lifetime trips, but I keep getting to go back again and again. You spread the love and it gives back. It’s the joy of skateboarding. It’s about doing something positive for the world of skateboarding. It’s about the fact that I’m happy and I want everyone around me to be happy. That’s the key. Making sure everyone is happy. You got one shot in life. Do it right. Skateboarding has made me happy. I’ve tried other sports, but skateboarding is number one. To me, there is nothing more hardcore than skateboarding. The international brotherhood that we have going on is an amazing thing.
Let’s talk about when you were growing up. Your dad died when you were 14, right?
Yeah, my dad was a good guy. R.I.P. He died of sudden heart failure at age 35. I was only 14. I was already skating and doing my thing, but I realized then that if I wanted anything in life, I was going to have to get it for myself. It made me very independent. All I wanted to do was skate. Then I started getting jobs as a busboy or whatever. By 16, I learned that being a carpenter was good money, so I started doing that. I busted my ass and made some good money. After I learned carpentry, I was able to build ramps for my friends in their backyards. That was my dream. As skating took off in the ’70s, I started skating all the parks in San Diego. Then all the skateparks got bulldozed. Del Mar was the last park to close, so I moved up to Del Mar to skate and surf. That’s when I met all the boys like Reategui, Hosoi, Lance Mountain, Neil Blender, Danny Way, Tony Hawk, Chris Miller, Cab, Gator and Mike Smith.
All the Del Mar locals.
I was skating there every day. They started doing a lot of contests there. I didn’t really care about contests, but people were like, “You’re ripping. You should enter the amateur division. You’ll get free boards and shit.” So I did it just to get the free boards. Then we’d go to Upland and skate there. I started judging contests for the younger kids in the 1A or 2A divisions to make a few extra bucks for food, gas and beer money. I was listening to Beau Brown on the mike at the combi, and he was trying his best, but he wasn’t one of us out there skating backyard pools and ramps all the time. I was like, “Beau, if you want me to do some announcing, I’ll do it. These are my homeys and this is what I’m all about.”
I made enough money as a carpenter and I used it to travel around skating. So throughout the early to mid ’80s, I was judging and announcing amateur contests. It wasn’t until I turned pro in ’87 that I realized that they needed guys to build the ramps on the tour. Tim Payne was already building ramps, but he needed some help on his crew. Frank Hawk and Sonia said, “Hey, Dave, if you want to be part of the crew, we’ll buy your airfare and hotel room and pay you to help build these ramps.” They were doing big arena events like Savannah Slamma, so I that’s how I got into it. Since I was there already building the ramps, they were like, “Do you want to help judge and announce? We need some help.” I was like, “Cool.”
Did you dig the emcee part of the gig and talking on the mic’?
Announcing was easy to me. I knew all about the guys. I knew how to make it fun and entertaining. Skateboarding was fun then, and I wanted to keep it fun. I’d play some rockin’ music, tell some jokes, lighten it up and make everyone laugh. That’s what I’ve kept trying to do to this day. In the early ’90s, street skating took over and I was lucky enough to have a job building the ramps and doing the demos. It wasn’t until the big contests came around that it all changed.
What did you think about the X Games?
During the first X Games, it was so commercialized. I was like, “This isn’t me. What are these corny rollerblade ramps?” Even though I was a skateboarder and I was proud to be who I was with the roots of the Alva team and all of that, I felt like if I didn’t participate, someone else would. I knew there would be millions of viewers watching our world. I was thinking within five years, we could get it right and it would take off. In those first few years, everyone was clowning the X Games. And I was part of that. They were clowning me, too, but I was in it for the long run. Here it is now, the twelfth year of the X Games. They’re finally doing some cool shit. It’s big money and big ramps. It is what it is. It’s like the Olympics of skateboarding.
It’s sick that these guys are winning like $50,000.
Finally, we’ve got some big money. It’s like the Olympics. Everyone says we don’t need it in our world, but it helps the mainstream world to understand it.
I want them to start giving $500,000 prize money for first place. That would be sick. I want to judge then and get the kickbacks from the top three.
[Laughs.] It’s definitely helped me to get lots of frequent flyer miles. It’s cool that I get to go places I want to go and skate.
What about your title as the “Voice of Skateboarding”?
The job, being the voice of skateboarding, is my ticket to ride. I love riding. I will always find a way to ride. For me, it was building the ramps and the announcing. I just love it. It’s been a fun ride. Some events are big media and some are cool backyard deals like the one we just did with Quiksilver in Hawaii. We were hanging out in the back yard pool with the boys and we had a sick Marseille style jam session, beer drinking fun. It was a total blast. It’s all skateboarding. I never imagined we’d still be here, Olson.
You don’t start living until you’re 40. It’s on. I’m still skateboarding. I just slammed a couple times today.
There you go. It’s been a good ride. One thing I realized about skateboarding is that you go through phases. It’s always evolving. That’s what I like about it. A lot of guys are like, “I wish it was like it was back in the day.” I’m like, “Well, you should have been there back in the day, because it was fun as shit, but now is now. Today is the best day yet.” You have to enjoy every day that you’re here, because tomorrow you might not be here.
What about the way that skateboarding is so popular now? Each time it gets more popular, the foundation gets stronger. When it comes back, it’s definitely going to hit hard again with the new generation coming up.
My take on all that is that in the ’70s, we were skating on clay wheels to school and back. All of a sudden, they invented urethane wheels and everyone was riding ditches and pools. Skateboarder magazine comes out. You see there’s a whole world out there and then they started opening skateparks. I went to Carlsbad Skatepark in 1976, when it was the only skatepark in the world. I was like, “Oh my God! They’re building skateparks for me!” It was super fun. Before I knew it, they were opening parks with pools, tiles and coping. At the same time, we were skating a lot of backyard pools. We’d search them, find them, drain them and skate them. On the weekends, we’d go to the parks. It was killer. Then they closed all the parks down. We were going out to Colton in ’80 or ’81. I saw you out there. Remember?
No one else was around. Me and Delgado were like, “There’s Olson. Where the heck did everyone else go?”
We were at that park a few months before that and there were hundreds of kids. All of a sudden, they’re all gone. Where did they all go? All through the ’80s, I was like, “What happened to everybody?”
When they closed Colton, it was sick. It was a thousand times better, because we were trespassing again.
Oh, yeah. The cops would drive by and we’d hide in the bottom of the pools.
They’d go up to the top to the bluffs and we’d hide in the bowls and the cops would go from run to run and we’d hop over and get in the other bowl. We completely outsmarted them. It was great. That wasn’t happening when the park was open. It was so much more fun after it closed.
That whole element of being a rebel and trespassing and jumping fences to ride pools to keep our dream alive was the key. We had to keep the dream alive and we did. It tightened up. There were only 17 pros in the whole world in early ’80s.
[Laughs.] There were only 17 pros?
Yeah. There was no pro tour. If you won a contest you were winning $300. There was no future in being a skateboarder. We all just skated because we loved it. We knew that this pool might be gone next week, so we better skate the shit out of it right now. Then there’s a new pool and another pool. Before you know it, you’ve got ten pools. You had to skate them all like there was no tomorrow. Being in the underground and being a rebel and running from the cops made skateboarding into a renegade sport. It wasn’t until the late ’80s that it started blowing up again. The world was peeking into our backyards and seeing what was going on. I remember when all the big five guys, like Fausto, Novak, Balma, Dorfman and Powell didn’t want to let outside companies like Pepsi come in and put their big dollars in it and blow up the skateboard show like the X Games eventually did. They were afraid that skateboarding would blow up and eventually fade away and the bottom would fall out again. Those guys were all smart businessmen. Those dudes were like, “Let’s keep the industry to ourselves.” They could have sold it out in the ’80s, but the industry held on to it, so it wouldn’t die as much in the early ’90s. But now, like you said, the foundation gets deeper and deeper with each generation.
It just gets stronger. It’s still a virgin sport in the aspect that it’s only 40 years old. What is the birthday of skateboarding? When do we get to celebrate the birthday of skateboarding, like we celebrate Christmas?
It was when your grandpa took his steel wheels off his skates and nailed them to a 2 x 4. There are hundreds of people out there that skated in the ’50s and ’60s.
We need to come up with a fictitious day.
It was somewhere before our time. It was before B.C. and after A.D. It was B.S. and A.S.; Before Skateboarding and After Skateboarding.
Now there are thousands of skateparks and spots worldwide, which helps build that foundation. That gives you a place to go hang out and skate. There are also places like Burnside, FDR, Washington Street and Pedro. It’s so cool. You can go skate, no pads. Lots of our friends have pools in their backyards now, so you don’t have to worry about getting run off by the cops. It’s pretty amazing how spoiled we are these days. Our dreams have finally come true. You’ve got Bob Burnquist and his skateboard palace. He’s living his dream. It’s like a skateboard country club. All of our friends are going to have them and we’ll be skating forever.
What is the birthday of skateboarding? I need to know that so we can have a party.
I don’t know. Let’s pick one.
Okay. We have Christmas in December. New Years is in January. Valentine’s Day is February. July is 4th of July. It has to be in the summer.
Let’s do it on 4th of July. It’s the day of freedom.
August 13th might be the day. There’s nothing in August really.
Except for Trifecta.
Perfect. We’ll be celebrating the birthday of skateboarding on August 13th.
What time is it, Duncan?
It’s go time. Time to go grind.
Give me a story of when you were skating when you were 16.
When I was 16, I’d just gotten my first car. I’d saved $1,000 to get a car. So we’d skate every weekend at the parks, and during the week we’d skate the backyard pools. We had the original Soul Bowl at the San Diego State University. Remember that one?
Jay Adams had his “Who’s Hot?” there. That was one of our pools. Then they built that same pool in Spring Valley. That’s where the very first Hester series was and we came down to skate. Jay and TA and all the guys in the mags were there. I was like, “Oh, man. My first pool contest ever and it’s all the best pool skaters in the world.” But it rained that weekend and the next weekend, too. None of the Dogtown guys were there on the third weekend when they finally had the contest, so Salba ended up taking it. I was just a little kid in the stands watching the pros. The tail drop was called an elevator drop. That was when Doug Schneider did the first roll out, roll in thing. He did a backside roll out to a 20-foot wheelie with hay bales set two feet back from the coping and then rolled back in. It was just crazy to see skateboarding progressing.
Now we’re in ’88. Tell me another story.
That’s when we did the Alva team poster with all the boys. I had just turned pro in ’87. We were traveling the world and making $100 a day for demos and just laughing. We were like, “What? You’re sending me all around the world to ride a skateboard? You’re kidding me, right? This is a joke. Someone is going to catch on and pull the plug any minute.” A few years later, they did. It was called street skating.
[Laughs.] That’s why we raged so hard. We knew it was only happening for now. Young kids were coming up. We knew we better rage in Australia or Japan or wherever we were. We were raging like we were never coming back, because, most likely, we probably weren’t. Luckily, I found an angle to make it back. A lot of guys didn’t. The ’80s were a fun time. That’s when Hosoi and Hawk were battling it out in the big events. McTwists and big airs were the new thing. Young guys like Schroeder and Grosso came on strong in the scene. It was a fun time in skating, because it was new. Building perfect ramps meant that people could do perfect tricks. The vert thing was flying high. The street skating thing was heating up. Eric Dressen, Natas And Gonz were coming in. The ’80s were an amazing time in skateboarding.
Let’s go to ’98.
That’s a few years after the X Games started. Triple Crown was going on. Backyard pools were still happening. You weren’t seeing much of it in the magazines, but we were skating them. Burnside was coming on full effect. We were starting to build the Vans parks. 1998 was the new explosion.
Okay. What about the last decade?
Here we are in 2007. I can’t believe it’s been another ten-year cycle. In ’68, I was riding steel wheels. And now here we are with the mega ramp and the loop, and big money TV competitions and skateparks all over the world. It’s crazy.
It’s beautiful. How long do you think you can skate?
When I was a kid I read this thing in the newspaper that said that Fred Astaire was skateboarding when he was 77 years old. I’m sure I’ll still be able to roll. I don’t know what tricks I’ll be doing. I may be in a wheelchair with crutches by then. Who knows? I’ve got a metal hip and metal in both ankles and my wrist. I’ve got all kinds of bionic shit going on. Who knows when that will give out? That’s why you’ve got to do it now. Next stop, Cayman Islands.
Next stop for me is Denver. Jason Jessee. Art show. It’s on.
Yep. There you go. I love that guy. 100% Skateboarder.
We’re having a show in Hollywood on the 27th.
I’m still at the X Games in Aspen. I’ll be doing the snowboard thing.
I haven’t snowboarded in two years. I want to meet up with you.
We’ve got Aspen and then after that I’m doing a rail jam in Oregon. We can get free tickets for you there.
You have free tickets? It’s go time.
That’s why I’ve got this job. It’s my ticket to ride. I’m just a skater. I don’t have a lot of extra money to go snowboarding. When they invite me to a snowboard contest, I’m like, “Killer. Let’s go. Do I get free tickets and a place to stay? I’m there.” I’ve been working all the snowboard events since the ’90s. I do the X Games. I got to do the Olympics last year in Italy and I also did the Olympics 2002 in Park City.
How did you resurrect the Daggers?
Well, you were there when they made the movie “Thrashin” in ’85. When we did that movie, we were living so fast. It was on the big screen, the premieres were fun and then it was gone. We were moving on. In the ’90s, old school was out and new school was in. No one cared about the Daggers anymore. In the late ’90s, we were still skating a lot. We knew that the street skating thing was peaking out and some of the cement parks and pools were still alive. We were still skating hard and keeping it going. We’re building parks and traveling the world. We just kept the attitude of hardcore skateboarding going the whole time. So one day, Reategui went to his mom’s garage and pulled out his old Dagger board from the movie. One of the main guys from Sublime, Opie was always screaming at Eddie, “Daggers! You’re the Daggers!” We’d go to Brazil and those guys were like, “Daggers!” Everywhere we went, even though we were old school Alva dudes, we were still the Daggers. So Eddie made a stencil from his old board and got it going again. We started putting Daggers stencils all over our boards and jackets, and everyone was into it. We started making guys Daggers that were down for life. They were down for the soul of skateboarding. It’s all guys that just love skateboarding, on and off the board. They’re living the dream of skateboarding forever. The Daggers are just a gang of skateboarders having fun, living their lives for skateboarding. Living live fast. Living on the edge. Giving blood and broken bones along the way.
Who are some of the new Daggers?
We’ve got Bob Burnquist, Danny Way, Rune Glifberg, Jake Brown, Chris Senn, the O.G. Venice Dogtown crew, Eric Dressen, Jesse Martinez, Scott Oster and Block. We’ve got Daniel Cardone, TNT, Cardiel, Joey Tershay, Al Partanen, Lutzka and Jimmy Atsleford. You’ve got Nilton Neves and Biano Bianchin. You’ve got Daggers in Spain, Japan and Europe. It’s just an international brotherhood.
The fire is burning. Tell me about your injuries.
In ’85, I jammed my thumb skating Del Mar. About a month later, I was working as a carpenter and my boss was like, “What’s wrong with your thumb? Maybe you should go get an X-Ray. Tell them you fell at work.” It turned out that my thumb was broken, and my wrist was broken, too. My wrist had been broken for a year, but I didn’t know because I couldn’t afford insurance. All of a sudden, I was getting $224 a week from workmen’s comp, and I didn’t have to go to work anymore. I worked the system for about two years. I was in an out of a cast for two years, because my wrist had been broken for so long. My first trip to Brazil was in ’85 with TA. I went there for two weeks and stayed for two months. I loved Brazil so much. I skated all kinds of killer shit, hung out with girls and partied. I was like, “Why go home?” I started traveling the world with Hosoi and Reategui and the rest of the Alva team. In ’87, I went to Europe with Hosoi, Caballero, Gonz, Lance Mountain, Pat Ngoho, Gator and Roskopp. We had a blast!
I remember that.
That’s when Alva was like, “We’re going to give you a model.” So I was out there pushing myself. I broke my foot in Europe two weeks into that trip. When I got back home, my very first pro models were ready. I walked into my house and Delgado’s like, “Look. Here’s your new board.” It was my lifetime dream and I was on crutches. Right then I knew I was in for the long haul. As soon as I got better, boom, I broke the same ankle again, a quarter inch away from where the other bone healed. I kept going though. I persevered through all the injuries. Then in ’89, we had a big contest in Japan. They flew us all over there. It was ten vert guys and ten street guys. It was some of the Alva boys, Craig Johnson, Hosoi, Reategui, Dressen, Oster, Schroeder and Reese Simpson. It was out of hand. What a crazy plane ride. Hosoi won $14,000 at that contest. That was the biggest prize money ever won at the time, because he won both vert and street. It was wild times. Then we did demos all over Australia for a month. When we went to Perth, there was a new skatepark that had just opened up and it had a moving obstacle as a centerpiece. That’s the first time I’d ever ridden something that was moving. It was like a huge merry-go-round with pump bumps. You could drop in from the outside from stable quarter pipes and bowls and hit the centerpiece while it’s spinning around. You could go slow or fast or forward or backward. It was the craziest thing I’ve ever ridden.
What about the future of skateboarding?
New terrain. There will always be new combos of tricks, but now it’s going to be about the terrain we’re skating. There are these new skateparks and backyard pools. You can create your own world to skate. It’s crazy to see skateboarding go so futuristic. Things have changed a lot since the early days. I’m stoked to be a part of it. It’s been a fun ride and it doesn’t look like it’s ending anytime soon.
What keeps you going?
I’ve had a lot of tests in my life. When my dad passed away when I was 14, that was a heavy deal. The one thing my dad taught me was that you can get anything you want in life if you want it bad enough. Don’t listen to anyone else but yourself, even if they tell you no. Follow your heart and your dreams and make it happen. That really stuck with me. Right around that same time, I lost my grandpa and then my grandma. One of my grandmas is still going. She’s 91 years old. She’s a huge inspiration. I have a eight-year-old daughter named Makayla. It’s cool having her in my life. It gives me a new appreciation of what’s it like to be young again.
Is there anything else you want to say?
We’ve lost some great people in the skateboard world recently and I want to give a shout out to Fausto. Rest in Peace. He personally handed me my first set of Indy trucks back in ’84 when I went up to San Francisco on a trip. I had gone to Tracker a few weeks before and Larry Balma was trying to charge me for trucks. Once I got to Indy, Fausto was like, “Try these.” And he handed me some Indys. No questions asked. That same trip is when I met Fish, Shrewgy, KT, MoFo and Bryce Kanights. We skated Bryce’s ramp and met the whole SF crew. Even though I was from SoCal, I always had a NorCal attitude. Another good friend that I want to give a shout out to is Ruben Orkin at Spitfire. I loved skating pools with that guy. He got cancer suddenly and died. Curtis Hsaing had a brain hemorrage and died suddenly, too. They had a Fuel TV show called “Skating through the Ashes”, which was a memorial to Ruben, Curtis and Matt Neely. Phil Shao was another one. Blaize Blouin, Shawn Miller, Jeff Phillips, and then Harold Hunter just passed away. R.I.P. to all those cats. Now they’re hanging out with all the rock stars like Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and John Bonham. It’s crazy how John Bonham died in his own puke. He partied himself to death. You never know what’s going to happen. You have to enjoy your life on this planet and hopefully do some good things so you’ll be remembered forever. Legends never die. R.I.P. to all those people. They all died before their time.
Is there anyone you want to thank?
I want to thank you, Steve. I want to thank every skater I’ve met across the planet. You guys know who you are. Thanks for the good times. I’ll see you soon. We’ll keep on skating. Thanks to TA, Jay and Hosoi for huge inspirations. Thanks to Danny Way, Colin and Dyrdek for the diamond Dagger. Thanks to Don and Danielle Bostick and the World Cup Skate Crew. Thanks to everyone that has flowed me stuff like Indy, DC, Flip, Vans, Ogio, RockStar Energy Drink, Nixon, KR3W and Volcom.Thanks to Red and the Dreamland crew. Thanks to Monk and Grindline. We have some new Dagger gear coming out with KR3W. Look out for that. I also want to thank the whole staff and crew at Juice magazine for representing the core of skateboarding.
DAVE DUNCAN INTERVIEWS
INTERVIEWS BY DAVE DUNCAN