Two years ago, with no set plan, Dave Coyne got on a bus in Bridgeport, Ohio and headed for San Diego, California. He showed up at Chad Knight’s, whom he’d met in passing on a few different occasions, and never left. Since his impromptu move, he’s began establishing a name for himself in the world of amateur skateboarding. I called him at his friend’s house in San Jose, California where he was staying.
Tell me about moving to California. You moved in with Chad Knight?
Yeah, about two years ago. I was just fed up with all the school stuff. I got on a bus to California, and on the first day of the trip I lost my luggage. I was a dumb kid, you know? So, I showed up at Chad’s, and he took me in and helped me out. No one ever asked me to leave, so I never left. I kept skating and having fun. I was working whatever jobs I could find to get by.
Did you have a goal when you got on that bus? Were you determined to go be a famous skateboarder?
No, it wasn’t like that. I just wanted to see what life was like. Ohio is so small and conservative; I was ready to skate and live in California. I knew it was time to relocate and start my own life.
Did you have any sponsors at that point?
No. I had nothing.
What did your parents think about that move?
Laughs uneasily Not happy. There was no support given at all during the big move, but they’re stoked on it now that they actually see skateboarding as something cool.
At any point did they ever apologize for not supporting you in the beginning?
They didn’t apologize. They were more like, “We’re glad this worked out for you.” They’re happy for me, and that’s all I can ask for.
How did you support yourself when you got out here?
I worked in telemarketing. Actually, Rally’s fast-food restaurant was the first place I worked. I got fired from that job, though.
I was just terrible with money. I came up like 25 dollars short once. So that ended, then I rode a bike a couple miles a day down to a telemarketing job. I quit telemarketing after a while and started working at The Limited clothing store. That was terrible. The last job I worked was at a sandwich shop. I haven’t worked since May.
And skateboarding is supporting you now?
If Maple called you up today and said, “Hey Dave, we want to turn you pro,” how would you respond?
I’d laugh, actually. I don’t think now is the right time. I’m fine as it is. It will come.
What do you think will be different between what you’re doing now and what you’ll be doing when you’re a pro?
Hopefully more travel opportunities.
When you were working at Rally’s, was there ever a time when you were like, “F–k this, I’m going home.”
Oh yeah. But, fortunately all the guys I live with were like, “Nah man, just stick it out.” In the end, it worked out.
What advice would you give kids who want to do what you did?
Take your time. It’s something to work for, so take your time and do it right.
If you could take anything back that you’ve done wrong since coming out to California, what would it be?
Nothing, really. I guess I wish I wouldn’t have lost my luggage.
Dave rides for Maple skateboards, Osiris shoes, SMP clothing, Gullwing trucks, and Shorty’s hardware.