Off the Map Skating with Daymein Hertenstein

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I packed up my camera gear and left Los Angeles around noon, and arrived in the San Bernardino mountains in the early afternoon to meet up with Daymein Hertenstein. I pulled up to what was obviously an abandoned house on a huge property that had also suffered a recent mudslide. After climbing over a gnarly fence that could have easily impaled a body, I made my way through the mud towards the house.

As I walked around to the back of the house, I could see the pool. It was deep as hell and had an intimidating amount of vert. The coping was made of glazed brick and the transitions in the shallow end looked ridiculously tight, and a dilapidated diving board was placed over the stairs for a sketchy drop in. The pool was also spray painted with dicks everywhere so, of course, I called this pool the Dick bowl.

I was immediately stoked to see the lines Daymein was pulling off on this less than forgiving pool. I should also mention that it was stupid hot out there and, between runs, there was a hose that was used for cooling off and also for getting mud off shoes!

After leaving the first pool, Daymein consulted a list of backyard addresses he had in his phone. He decided on our next location and we drove about 10 minutes away. Following a long narrow windy road to the top of a hill, I parked on the side of the road. After I gathered my camera bag, we hiked up a short dirt trail that led to a plateau where I saw one of the strangest pools that I’ve ever seen. This thing looked like it was straight out of a 1970’s skin flick, complete with a fountain in the middle. I was thinking that, back in its day, it may have been a place to drink and talk to groovy babes while chilling in the water.

The pool was like an egg shape but stretched out, with the shallow end being wide and the deep end pinched into a bowl with almost no flat bottom but a rad wall to carve. The pools walls were high and the transitions were definitely tight. There wasn’t any coping, just a really sharp tile edge, except in some spots where it had been broken off. This pool had also been hit hard by graffiti and, from a photographic point of view, I was stoked. Daymein broke out a leaf blower and started cleaning out some debris only to discover the exoskeleton of a large Tarantula. Make no mistake, this place was way up in the hills and I was keeping my eye out for both skate tricks as well as predatory critters.

After about an hour of skating, I sat down with Daymein for a short interview. Daymein is 18 years old and was born and raised in San Diego, California, and is currently living in Valley Center at the north end of San Diego County. He said he started skating at the age of 8 and was dropping into pools soon thereafter. The first time I saw Daymein skate was at the TerrorDome, a massive backyard wooden monster with two over vert pockets featuring pool coping.

Do you like skating at the TerrorDome?

“The last time I was there, they had just fixed it up and painted it green. That was the best it has been. Before that, it was really gnarly and rugged. It’s crazy to see guys rip that spot because it’s just so gnarly.”

Are your parents supportive of your skating or do they want you to get a real job?

“Oh, hell yeah, my parents are super supportive. They would rather see me make it in skating and do something I love than to have some boss telling me what to do. 2018 has totally changed things for skating. More parents are supportive of skating and the Olympics are coming up.”

Do you want to skate in the Olympics?

“Oh, I would love to. If I got the opportunity, I definitely would.”

You have a list of great sponsors, how did you make that happen?

“It was just pretty much skating with the homies and social media. Skating with the homies and having them start posting my clips and then the sponsors see stuff and pretty much that’s how it happened.”

Do your sponsors hit you up telling you to post more clips?

“Not really because I pretty much skate all the time and every Sunday me and the homies stack clips.”

Do you like skating contests? What are your thoughts on competitive skating?

“I like skating contests for sure. Sometimes its hard because people want you to do this and that. It’s not the same as just flowing and skating but,  when everything comes together, it’s rad. That’s just how contests are.”

When you were growing up who were some of the skaters you looked up to?

“I looked up to Neal Mims. He taught me a bunch of stuff, so I definitely looked up to him. Chris Cole has always been one of my favorites too.”

What are your plans for the future in skating?

“Right now I just want to make it on a team, travel, stack clips, and skate until I’m in a wheelchair. I want to get out there and skate new areas and skate with more people.”

When do you think a skater should stop skating, like how old?

“Never. Skate forever. I see older guys all the time skating and it makes me jealous. I want to skate forever like them.”

Whats the worst injury you suffered from skating?

“I broke my ankle messing around after skating something big and I just gave up and hit a two stair and rolled my ankle so bad. I had to go to rehab and I didn’t skate for about 12 weeks”

Skateparks or backyard pools? What do you like better?

“I love skating stuff that’s not made for skating. You can find stuff in the streets that’s better than in the parks. I actually love skating parks too though. It’s like a training ground where you can get warmed up and then go hit the streets or pools. I like parks because you get to meet other kids there and show everyone what you’ve got.”

Are you supportive of the younger kids in the park, or do you want them to get out of the way?

“You gotta get out there and teach these kids what’s up. It’s good to be supportive but also teach them how to not get in the way, and to teach them the right way to take turns and when not to go. That’s the way I see it. I don’t just get mad at them. I try to teach them.”

If you’re at a pool and the session is crowded, do you snake or don’t snake?

“Snake for sure. You gotta get in there or else people are gonna just snake you.”

What does skating mean to you?

“Everything. It’s my life. Skating is what brings me happiness. It helps me meet new people and gets me out of the house. I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t skate, seriously like maybe just be a drug addict or just play video games all the time. Skating is something you can do and continue to learn and just know that you’re doing something great.”

Daymein Hertenstein is sponsored by Supra, Independent, Transportation Unit, Grandeur, Captain Fin, OJ WHeels, Quantum Goods, Paradox Grip and Hardluck and you can follow him on Instagram at @daymein_hertenstein

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