Danny Garcia Pro Spotlight

Interview and Interjections by Eric Stricker

Questions by TWS, habitatskateboards.com, and lakai.com readers

When Danny asked me to post an open invite on our Web site for kids to ask him whatever they wanted for this interview, I couldn’t wait to see all the new variations of the oft-annoying 80s relic, “How high can you ollie?” we would receive. Not only was this going to be a chance for the kids to get to know Danny, it was also going to be a chance for me to delve into the minds of skateboarding’s upstart generation-a bit of market research if you will, since admittedly I’m getting more and more disconnected from today’s youth as the years roll by. I mean, I’m pretty sure most of them still think school sucks, that they would all like to get something for free at any given opportunity, and that when their boy shows up wearing skintight stretch denim, it’s not a big deal. But beyond that, have world and local events or anything else that’s happened inside or outside of skateboarding over the last fifteen years sparked inspiration for more relevant curiosities?

Judging from what we ended up with (granted, I didn’t see all the questions that were submitted), this is an arguable question at best. At the end of the day, though, I guess it just reinforces the notion that when you’re “young and wild and free,” the only thing you really do want to know about is how high someone can ollie. And I suppose that’s probably the way it should be. The world is a mess, but Danny Garcia’s ollies are waist high and that’s all that really matters, so thanks to all of you who submitted questions for reminding me of that. Enjoy your interview.-Kelly Bird

You seem to travel on the road a decent amount. What three things can’t you leave home without?-Ryanspent

I don’t need much. Definitely some music-an iPod or a CD player. A toothbrush. I usually bring my guitar ’cause obviously there’s gonna be some downtime. But if I could, I wish I could bring my car with me. And my couch. It’s a lot more comfortable than the ones at a normal hotel, especially this hotel we’re staying in right now. It’s not ghetto, it’s just trashy. I got out of the shower and a cockroach walked on my foot. It was disgusting. I don’t even think there’s the option of switching rooms ’cause it might get worse. And next door there’re these two girls who actually live there. They’re confirmed strippers, we got that out of ’em. You know, some sort of drug addicts.

Who is the best person to have in the van with you?-crookedlife

I can’t think of a best person, but because most of my trips are Habitat trips, |Brian| Wenning and Tim |O’Connor| are good to have there ’cause I don’t get to see ’em too much, so it’s good to hang out.

What’s one trick you can’t do?-Joshberry

Pressure flips, backside 360s, and anything on transition over six feet.

Who was your favorite skateboarder when you first started skating? And who is it now?-dopestyle67

Overall it was |Eric| Koston and Guy |Mariano|, and Jeremy Wray I was really pumped on. Those were some of the first videos I saw. Goldfish came out around that time, and I think Second Hand Smoke was the first video I actually bought, so those were my immediate influences. As for now, I don’t really have a favorite skater. I’ll be psyched on different people here and there, but I couldn’t even give you one ’cause it’s so different now. When you grow up and meet your favorite skater it’s totally different. You can’t look at ’em like that. You could meet ’em, and even sometimes they’ll disappoint you, too. But I couldn’t even pick one. I think it always changes.

What’s the worst amount of trouble you’ve ever gotten in for skateboarding?-Ryan in South Dakota

Not much at all. I’ve never been in jail for skateboarding. I’ve just gotten tons of tickets and been in different altercations.

I read about your band H-Piece in a Lakai catalog. Who else is in it? Do you have an album coming out? Do you knowhere I could buy it?-switchflippedout

Really it was just an inside joke gone wild, so really there’s no album coming out. And no members that we can speak of.

My first board was actually a Danny Garcia that I bought off eBay. Have you ever won anything off eBay yourself?-Timothy Lash

I randomly won a Where’s Waldo book. For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to get a Where’s Waldo book and throw it on the coffee table. I couldn’t even think where I could get one, and then I was just like, “Oh, eBay might have it.” You know, it was like twelve bucks. I can’t believe someone bought my board off eBay. That’s pretty cool.

Is skating for you as easy as you make it look?-SNCclick

When you see a video, that’s the easiest attempt because I landed it. When I land a trick, it’s always the easiest one. All those other tries when you’re learning are real difficult.

When you’re teetering on the edge of maybe really going for a trick or maybe just getting in the car and going home, where do you draw your motivation from? What makes you do it?-Stricker

For me, I know it’s just what mood I’m in. Sometimes I can’t put up with certain things, and sometimes I can. Like, sometimes I won’t be able to put up with a sound that’s being made, somebody doing construction, and sometimes I can put up with cars driving by or getting in my way or a bunch of people. Sometimes I can deal with it, and sometimes I can’t-it’s the mood I’m in in the first place. I can be moody sometimes. If my mind-set’s all right when I wake up that morning, chances are I can sit around and try something that I normally wouldn’t try. I guess what side of the bed I wake up on matters.

In your days of coming up the skateboarding ranks, what did you want to know from a pro skateboarder?-flyinghighagain

I wanted to know how much money they make. “Can you make a living off this? Do these guys work or something?” I didn’t think I could figure it out.

Now that you know, is it a disappointment or are you happy you’ve made the choices you made?

I’m happy because I can make a living as of right now. It’s not something I can rely on my whole life, but… obviously skateboarding’s gotten a lot bigger. When I started skating and I heard of a pro skater getting a brand new Civic, that was a big deal. I started skating not too long ago, so that’s in the last ten years. If a pro skater has a Honda Civic now, it’s like it’s a letdown. But I’m definitely happy.

Do you see yourself as a role model or more of a guy who got caught in the pro skateboarding thing and would rather not be in the spotlight?-Jeff Malec

I’m sure I could be a role model to some people, but I never really think of it like that. I just fell into skateboarding. I just skated and was into filming and all that stuff. And all of a sudden, things started happening for me and people would offer me this or that and hook me up with things. I never prepared myself to be a professional skater and be a role model. I’m sure maybe to some people I am, but I never really thought of that. I also never think of it as being in a spotlight, ’cause to me, I’m nowhere near in any sort of spotlight.

But you are aware that your skateboarding is quite an inspiration to many people?-Stricker

Yeah, I’m sure it is, which is cool even though I never think about that, but… I just don’t think of it.

Whose Pro Spotlight would you rather be reading right now?-Slim

Did Drake Jones ever have a Pro Spotlight? I’d like to be reading Lennie Kirk’s Pro Spotlight, if he had a Pro Spotlight right now.

Didn’t he just get out of jail recently?-Stricker

I don’t know |laughs|. Every few months I hear he’s going to jail and then I hear he’s getting’ out. I can’t keep up with which is which, but I would like to hear from him and read something about him.

As a pro skater in 2006, and with what some people consider to be a depleting pool of spots, is it your job to worry about who did what at which spot? Or is that something people shouldn’t care about as everyone has their own unique styles?-C. Curtis

I don’t think you should purposely repeat stuff. When I go to a spot, if I know somebody did something, there’s no way I would bother trying it. But I used to be really into that. I used to know everything. I’m still up on things, but I kind of have to ask some people sometimes.

Gotta ask the photogs and the filmers, huh?-Stricker

Yeah, I think you actually should know about that. Even though it happens, and it’s fine when it does, it’s not something you should do on purpose.

What do you consider “acceptable” as far as modifying spots and/or park footage regarding your video parts? Are some pros allowed to get away with it, while others aren’t?-F.A. Skates

Some people can get away with it. Some skaters can almost do anything they want. Somebody like Drehobl can have a whole part at a skatepark and you wouldn’t even think anything of it. But then some people can’t even have just one trick at a skatepark. As far as modifying spots, it’s good to do sometimes, but it is kind of iffy. It just matters who it is. I’m not too into putting metal on stuff, but whatever, I’ve done it. Well, I’ve not actually done it, but I’ve skated it. I think it just matters who it is and what it is, and if it’s really worth it. If you’re gonna put angle iron on a normal ledge that’s just a block, it’s not really worth it, but if you put that work into a hubba or a one-in-a-million spot, then it’s really worth it. It just comes down to who it is.

What is the scariest experience you’ve ever had while riding a skateboard?-Steve Sorensen

The scariest thing I’ve ever seen was when I was filming Daniel Haney trying to grind a god-knows-what quadruple-kinked rail, and I didn’t know if I should be filming him or trying to stop him. He didn’t do it, but he did get tossed a couple times. He walked out of it, but that was scary. And for me, I’m such a hypochondriac that every time I fall I think it’s the end of my career. Every time I tweak my knee, I figure I’m just done, so that’s always scary for the first ten minutes. But watching Daniel Haney grind a rail is the scariest thing I’ve ever witnessed.

Which do you fear more: situations you encounter while riding your skateboard or situations in real life?-OneLastCaress

Real life, for sure. Real life’s a lot more dangerous. Driving down the freeway is scarier than jumping down a double-set for me.

What is the hardest thing about being a pro skateboarder?-Greg Hutton

Self-motivation is really hard. Most people think of pro skateboarding as a seven-day weekend. It’s easy to go to a nine-to-five job and have a boss tell you what to do, but it’s really hard to push yourself to do something constantly.

Especially when the bosses are 1,000 miles away, right?-Stricker

Yeah, and there’s no pressure, at least on me, to do things. But I have to put pressure on myself every now and then ’cause I owe that to certain people. I know sometimes companies will put a lot of pressure on their guys and have meetings and all that, but I couldn’t even imagine that. But the hardest thing about being a pro skater is actually getting yourself to do things for yourself.

After scoring the ender in the Habitat Mosaic video, it seems that Lakai would want you to design a pro-model shoe-where is that? Have you denied offers or is Lakai being prude?-James Fuller

I know these days getting pro shoe comes with a pro board, but I think it should take more than one video part to get a shoe. And I’m saying that because a guy with no pro shoe says stuff like that.

But would you pretty much say you can retire now that you have a pro-model truck with your name on it?-Stricker

|Laughs| That’s a funny one. I guess I can retire. I didn’t even know pro model trucks existed until recently. I don’t think my name on a truck is gonna do much. But at the Vans park by myo did what at which spot? Or is that something people shouldn’t care about as everyone has their own unique styles?-C. Curtis

I don’t think you should purposely repeat stuff. When I go to a spot, if I know somebody did something, there’s no way I would bother trying it. But I used to be really into that. I used to know everything. I’m still up on things, but I kind of have to ask some people sometimes.

Gotta ask the photogs and the filmers, huh?-Stricker

Yeah, I think you actually should know about that. Even though it happens, and it’s fine when it does, it’s not something you should do on purpose.

What do you consider “acceptable” as far as modifying spots and/or park footage regarding your video parts? Are some pros allowed to get away with it, while others aren’t?-F.A. Skates

Some people can get away with it. Some skaters can almost do anything they want. Somebody like Drehobl can have a whole part at a skatepark and you wouldn’t even think anything of it. But then some people can’t even have just one trick at a skatepark. As far as modifying spots, it’s good to do sometimes, but it is kind of iffy. It just matters who it is. I’m not too into putting metal on stuff, but whatever, I’ve done it. Well, I’ve not actually done it, but I’ve skated it. I think it just matters who it is and what it is, and if it’s really worth it. If you’re gonna put angle iron on a normal ledge that’s just a block, it’s not really worth it, but if you put that work into a hubba or a one-in-a-million spot, then it’s really worth it. It just comes down to who it is.

What is the scariest experience you’ve ever had while riding a skateboard?-Steve Sorensen

The scariest thing I’ve ever seen was when I was filming Daniel Haney trying to grind a god-knows-what quadruple-kinked rail, and I didn’t know if I should be filming him or trying to stop him. He didn’t do it, but he did get tossed a couple times. He walked out of it, but that was scary. And for me, I’m such a hypochondriac that every time I fall I think it’s the end of my career. Every time I tweak my knee, I figure I’m just done, so that’s always scary for the first ten minutes. But watching Daniel Haney grind a rail is the scariest thing I’ve ever witnessed.

Which do you fear more: situations you encounter while riding your skateboard or situations in real life?-OneLastCaress

Real life, for sure. Real life’s a lot more dangerous. Driving down the freeway is scarier than jumping down a double-set for me.

What is the hardest thing about being a pro skateboarder?-Greg Hutton

Self-motivation is really hard. Most people think of pro skateboarding as a seven-day weekend. It’s easy to go to a nine-to-five job and have a boss tell you what to do, but it’s really hard to push yourself to do something constantly.

Especially when the bosses are 1,000 miles away, right?-Stricker

Yeah, and there’s no pressure, at least on me, to do things. But I have to put pressure on myself every now and then ’cause I owe that to certain people. I know sometimes companies will put a lot of pressure on their guys and have meetings and all that, but I couldn’t even imagine that. But the hardest thing about being a pro skater is actually getting yourself to do things for yourself.

After scoring the ender in the Habitat Mosaic video, it seems that Lakai would want you to design a pro-model shoe-where is that? Have you denied offers or is Lakai being prude?-James Fuller

I know these days getting pro shoe comes with a pro board, but I think it should take more than one video part to get a shoe. And I’m saying that because a guy with no pro shoe says stuff like that.

But would you pretty much say you can retire now that you have a pro-model truck with your name on it?-Stricker

|Laughs| That’s a funny one. I guess I can retire. I didn’t even know pro model trucks existed until recently. I don’t think my name on a truck is gonna do much. But at the Vans park by my house I did see an eight-year-old kid with my trucks and a Bam board. It was just hilarious. He had no clue what he was riding. I mean, he definitely knew who Bam was, but he had no clue who I was. He definitely didn’t buy those trucks because of my name.

What’s the most random interaction you’ve had with a skate fan?-R.J.

Nothing too crazy, ’cause I’m not all over the place. I’ve gotten letters or I’ll be walking down the street and people will recognize me and I end up taking pictures with them, which is kind of weird, but it’s cool, too. If someone recognizes you, they obviously skateboard, so that’s cool.

If you could have your dream skate session, where would it be and who would you bring with you?-Calvin Mischke

I’d be by myself skating flatground and ledges-very basic.

y my house I did see an eight-year-old kid with my trucks and a Bam board. It was just hilarious. He had no clue what he was riding. I mean, he definitely knew who Bam was, but he had no clue who I was. He definitely didn’t buy those trucks because of my name.

What’s the most random interaction you’ve had with a skate fan?-R.J.

Nothing too crazy, ’cause I’m not all over the place. I’ve gotten letters or I’ll be walking down the street and people will recognize me and I end up taking pictures with them, which is kind of weird, but it’s cool, too. If someone recognizes you, they obviously skateboard, so that’s cool.

If you could have your dream skate session, where would it be and who would you bring with you?-Calvin Mischke

I’d be by myself skating flatground and ledges-very basic.