Darrell Stanton: Naturally Inclined

With naturals, the thing is, you can tell right away-always.

Maybe it’s a twelve -year-old kid just learning to fly around the park.

Maybe it’s an unknown teenager who’s effortlessly destroying the spot.

It could be a retired, broken-down ex-pro throwing up perfectly stalled inverts first try.

They may be separated by generations, but they have more in common than just riding a skateboard. They’re the naturals. They got the gift. All of them.

The rest of us have to work for this shit. No matter how hard we try to play it off, every trick we make holds surprises, and it stokes the hell out of us. For that one millisecond we get a glimpse of what it feels like, but our luck always runs out and we’re brought crashing back down to reality. For the naturals, though, it just comes. Sure they work at it and sometimes it’s hard for them but it’s just there and there’s no denying it. It’s the gift of being able to do things with their boards that fuels the rest of us to keep at it.

The first time I saw Darrell was in a grainy black-and-white shot his friend had taken of him switch flipping a good-sized set of stairs. It was a great photo. Not ’cause it was the biggest gap ever. It was great ’cause you could tell from that photo that he had it. You knew you were looking at a natural. To be honest, I don’t even know if he made it or not-it was just a perfect photo of a great skater. I wish I still had that photo. (I think I stapled it to Mic’s head and told him to find Darrell or his free ride was over.)

And now only a few years since that photo was shot, you all know Darrell, too. You know the shit he’s done. He’s pretty much been on tour nonstop, and in his own positive and friendly way he’s killed it all. He’s down to get it done. Focused but keeping it light-not afraid to be in the spotlight but not chasing it, either. Darrell’s done it right. And it’s only been a couple years since he hit the game. Think of what’s coming down the road. It’s going to get sick.

Take what you see in these next few pages of Darrell as motivation. Get out there and get some of your own. Stop crying and start slamming. It’ll all be worth it. Those few seconds of the fix are all you need to stay hooked. And I’m sure he’d be stoked to see you going for it, too.-Jim Thiebaud