20 Questions With Danny Supa

Since he was launched into the life of skateboard sponsorship ten years ago, Danny Supa’s unworldly pop and amazing switch skills have contributed to what is one of the smoothest and cleanest styles in skateboarding.

Besides a year out in San Diego riding for Tree Fort as an am at sixteen, that clean style was honed on the dirtiest streets of Manhattan-streets where his skate family was defined by not just the tight friendships of the local skateboarders, but under the umbrella of a company, Zoo York.

About a year ago Danny split ways with Zoo York and linked up with longtime buddy, overall mentor, and King of Boston, Robbie Gangemi and his Vehicle skateboards. Family under the company guise, albeit a slightly different group of skateboarders, exists once again for Danny, but more importantly skate fam remains and always will remain skate fam-no matter what companies are associated with whom.

Now 25 years young and living in Venice, California for the past two years, Danny Supa is skating better than ever. This 20 Questions, being his first interview of sorts to grace the pages of this magazine, is long overdue. The only question we had was who wanted it more, us … or Danny? Who cares-it’s all on you to reap the benefits.

1. You’re obviously not the super-pro with an image plastered all over the magazines on a monthly basis. Do you make a conscious effort to lay low or stay out of the pro-skateboarding spotlight?

(Laughs) No, I just wasn’t taking photos for a little while. I came out to Cali and chilled for a little bit. I used to live in San Diego for a year when I was sixteen. I like Cali and felt like coming back. My girlfriend is from here (Los Angeles). She moved out to New York with me, then we moved back out here, and we’ve been here ever since.

2. How did your separation from Zoo York come about? Was it hard splitting up from what had become your family? Or does “family” transcend any boundaries set by a company name?

It came about because they kicked my really good friends off the team. Anthony (Correa) had already been kicked off, and Todd (Jordan) quit the day before I quit. It wasn’t my home anymore. I just felt like I had to move on, that’s all.

The people that were really my family were Zered (Bassett), Jeff (Pang), Todd, and everyone else on the team. The only thing that sucked about separating from Zoo was (no longer going on) the tours and being around those guys. The tours were the funnest things. We’re all still super cool with each other, we’re just not on the same team anymore. Everyone understands what people have to do with their lives. We’re all cool, I just don’t get along with the Ecko guy.

3. Was choosing to go to Vehicle-a relatively small company in the scheme of things-a tough decision?

Actually, I really wanted to try and help out and make Vehicle big. We were all supposed to do it back in the day, and everyone kind of flaked out on Robbie. I kind of went the Zoo way, too. I just wanted to make this thing happen. It’s all skateboarder-owned, and it felt good not having to answer to some corporate guy. Right now it’s me, Robbie Gangemi, Charles Lamb from New York, little Eli Reed from Boston, and Andrew McGraw from Canada.

4. You just got off tour with Nike. Prior to that I assume you’re mostly used to going on tour with “family,” as you said going on tour with the Zoo guys is what you mainly miss. How was it going on tour with a different well-rounded group of people/skateboarders?

It was actually pretty sick. Everyone gets along super good. We all kind of clicked together. Everyone is really different, too. It was sick being around everybody-it was the whole team besides Chet (Childress) and Richie (Mulder). It was definitely fun-a good mix of heads. Nobody was vibing-straight chill, party, skate, whatever.

I never really thought I’d be touring with (Daniel) Shimizu, Paul (Rodriguez), or Brian (Anderson). You never know what to expect wh you’ve never gone on tour with someone and you don’t really know ’em. But actually, everyone really clicked because we all share common interests. It wasn’t surprising at all-everyone was just really mellow.

5. Who is the best person to have on tour with you?

(Laughs) Todd (Jordan) is always down to go out and do stuff. On a going-out basis, I like to chill with Todd a lot. Everyone’s kind of different in a way-some people get you psyched to skate or do other things.

6. Who in skateboarding keeps your interest sparked like when you were a little kid?

Seeing a lot of the older guys doing it like Ricky (Oyola) or Lance (Mountain)-they’re all the dudes who’re still killing it. I want to be where they’re at-skating when I’m older. That definitely gets me psyched. Even the young kids like Paul and Zered-just to watch them learn tricks. Their skating is so sick. They get me psyched, too.

7. Which is better: getting props from your colleagues of the professional skateboard world, or going on tour and getting props from a kid?

I think the kids. The kids appreciate it way more. It’s amazing to go across the world and have a kid know your name like, “Hey, can you sign my shirt?” That’s totally nuts for me. It freaks me out that I’m signing kids’ shirts just for skateboarding. I appreciate all types of props I get. It’s good to get ’em from your friends, too.

8. Is the fact that sneaker heads who don’t skate know who you are based upon your association with Nike a good or bad thing-as in having fans who’ve never seen you skate or don’t know anything about skateboarding?

I think it’s all good. I mean, it’s cool that everybody knows my name on a shoe. It’s just funny ’cause you would’ve never thought that would happen-there’s all these shoes like the Supa shoe and the Reese Forbes shoe … I just never thought that would happen.

9. What’s the most amount of money a random person has offered you for the shoes off your feet?

Probably 700 bucks or something-for my colorway of the first SB ones, or the Reese ones.

10. Your full last name is Supasirirat. Did you or your family have reservations about you consolidating your last name for marketing purposes?

It actually used to be three letters longer. It used to be Supasiriratana. Then my mom shortened it, and it was just Supasirirat, and everyone just called my mom “Supa.” The nickname faded onto me. I felt like being called Supa, because when I entered contests I didn’t want anyone to mess up my name. I would be like, “Just put Supa on the thing.” That’s just what I do business as. All my good friends know my full name-they still call me by it. My skateboard name is Supa.

11. Who’s got the best switch frontside 360 ollie?

(Laughs) Marc Johnson’s got a pretty damn good one. Wow, that’s pretty hard … I guess Bastien’s got a pretty sick one, too.

12. If you had the chance to ask any pro any one question, who and what would it be?

I don’t really want to ask pros anything (laughs). That’s just how I feel about it. I’m not too curious about things. I’m just curious about what’s going to happen next in my life and things like that. I take life as it goes and try to prepare myself for the future-live life day by day, but look ahead so you can be okay later on.

13. Who was your biggest influence when you were a young skateboarder coming up?

I watched a lot of Mike Carroll, Eric Koston, definitely Robbie Gangemi, Ryan Hickey, Jeff Pang, a bunch of the East Coast heads, Ricky-Gangemi is definitely a big influence in my life, and I like the way he skates … Supa-illin’. There’s so many people.

14. Does living in a different place change the way you skateboard? Do your surroundings change who you are as a skateboarder? What’s the difference between skateboarding in the East and skateboarding in the West or anyplace else for that matter?

I think you skate the way you want no matter where you are. But it’s not like I get to cruise down the streets and hang onto cars anymore. It’s different out here (laughs). Your surroundings shouldn’t change who you are. I still act like a New Yorker in Cali.

15. Besides the obvious things like the weather, why is living in L.A. better for you than New York?

I skate a lot more here-just the weather thing again. I like being by the beach. I was in New York for over twenty years, so I felt like I needed to move on for a little while. I can always go back to New York, and when I go back I’ll be ten times more psyched to be back there. I would like to have a place in New York and in California, but Cali’s the move for right now.

16. Is skateboarding getting easier or harder as you get older? Are you still learning new tricks or are you taking what you know to new places?

It’s kind of getting easier. I mean, the tricks are getting harder and people are doing a lot more crazy things-I try to do a little of both. I just learned how to do switch hardflips really good, and nollie hardflips over pyramids and stuff like that.

17. What is the most misconstrued thought or major misunderstanding that the average kid has about pro skateboarding and being a pro?

I think kids today just see the cars and the money, and that’s what they think it’s all about-getting paid. It’s different for kids growing up now. Back in the day I was even too scared to go up to a pro and ask him for anything, you know? Just to see them skate was amazing for me. We had a demo the other day in San Dimas (California), and the kids were pretty much there for the free product toss-going nuts. There were definitely skateboard fans there for the skaters, but it seemed like everyone wanted free stuff. Kids are always asking me, “How do I get sponsored? How do I get free stuff?” And their parents are always asking me, too. You just have to skate, and if it happens, it’ll happen.

18. In that kind of scenario, who’s more annoying: the little kids or their parents?

(Laughs) It’s not annoying at all. I know they have to ask those questions so they can learn.

19. What is your biggest struggle in being a pro skateboarder-do you stress on not getting a certain trick?

I don’t know. I don’t really try to see pro skating as being a struggle. I just keep skating-take photos and do what I gotta do, and that’s it. I get mad at times. I’ll stress, but then afterward I’ll be like, “What was I so mad about?”

20. Knowing prior to this interview that you were up for a 20 Questions, did you prepare yourself to be asked a certain question?

Actually, I thought about writing stuff down, but I thought it wouldn’t be a real interview. I should just answer ’em on the phone. I didn’t really try to get ready-I just had some lunch and waited for you to call.

d hang onto cars anymore. It’s different out here (laughs). Your surroundings shouldn’t change who you are. I still act like a New Yorker in Cali.

15. Besides the obvious things like the weather, why is living in L.A. better for you than New York?

I skate a lot more here-just the weather thing again. I like being by the beach. I was in New York for over twenty years, so I felt like I needed to move on for a little while. I can always go back to New York, and when I go back I’ll be ten times more psyched to be back there. I would like to have a place in New York and in California, but Cali’s the move for right now.

16. Is skateboarding getting easier or harder as you get older? Are you still learning new tricks or are you taking what you know to new places?

It’s kind of getting easier. I mean, the tricks are getting harder and people are doing a lot more crazy things-I try to do a little of both. I just learned how to do switch hardflips really good, and nollie hardflips over pyramids and stuff like that.

17. What is the most misconstrued thought or major misunderstanding that the average kid has about pro skateboarding and being a pro?

I think kids today just see the cars and the money, and that’s what they think it’s all about-getting paid. It’s different for kids growing up now. Back in the day I was even too scared to go up to a pro and ask him for anything, you know? Just to see them skate was amazing for me. We had a demo the other day in San Dimas (California), and the kids were pretty much there for the free product toss-going nuts. There were definitely skateboard fans there for the skaters, but it seemed like everyone wanted free stuff. Kids are always asking me, “How do I get sponsored? How do I get free stuff?” And their parents are always asking me, too. You just have to skate, and if it happens, it’ll happen.

18. In that kind of scenario, who’s more annoying: the little kids or their parents?

(Laughs) It’s not annoying at all. I know they have to ask those questions so they can learn.

19. What is your biggest struggle in being a pro skateboarder-do you stress on not getting a certain trick?

I don’t know. I don’t really try to see pro skating as being a struggle. I just keep skating-take photos and do what I gotta do, and that’s it. I get mad at times. I’ll stress, but then afterward I’ll be like, “What was I so mad about?”

20. Knowing prior to this interview that you were up for a 20 Questions, did you prepare yourself to be asked a certain question?

Actually, I thought about writing stuff down, but I thought it wouldn’t be a real interview. I should just answer ’em on the phone. I didn’t really try to get ready-I just had some lunch and waited for you to call.