Danny Way Interview

Guys like Danny Way really piss everyone off. It’s bad enough that as a little kid he put all the tired vert skaters to shame–then he had the audacity to become an amazing street skater! Being one of the best at both street and vert is something no one else has really accomplished. Just check out his part in the Plan B Questionable Video. How can someone be so talented at so many different things?–Shad Lambert

What’s been your favorite year in skateboarding? Probably ’91/92. I liked it because that was right when we started Plan B. There was something that went with it that was pretty untouchable. It was like all the pieces to the puzzle fit at once. I haven’t really been involved with anything since then that inspired me to want to skate a lot harder and to be involved with something. It was a turning point in skateboarding as far as a transition from old-school to new-school skateboarding. There was a lot of stuff that legitimized the new-style skateboarding when that went down. I think that was one of the pieces of the puzzle that made skateboarding what it is right now.

It was a huge stepping stone. Yeah. Skateboarding has hit certain plateaus several times, and I think certain things have taken it over that plateau. Some of the stuff Plan B did at that time put it on the next level. There’re a lot of other people who have come up and done stuff that’s equivalent, for sure. But it was just Plan B at the time, and nobody could really touch that because nobody had tried to do anything like that and have it work out that well. But that was one of my favorite times in skateboarding ’cause I was so into that.

Who’s been your biggest inspiration in skateboarding? I’ve had a few different ones. I don’t know if people are gonna trip out, but I used to really look up to Gator when I was little kid. I used to skate Del Mar skatepark when I was younger. It seemed like Gator was the only one who would actually hang out and try to teach me a trick, or when everyone would leave he’d hang out and talk to us for a while. I got inspired by him. Actually, I got hooked up by Vision skateboards, and he Gator made sure they took good care of me. He got me a truck sponsor–he did a lot of stuff for me. So at that time I was pretty influenced by him.

Christian Hosoi, too. I like Christian a lot. As I got past the Gator thing, like when I quit riding for Vision, I started to hang out with Hosoi and those guys on trips. I think I was more influenced by him, just because he’s a pretty rad guy to hang out with. He’s up to some shady things these days, but I got influenced by how much power and style the guy could produce on a skateboard. It was pretty crazy.

What do you think is the stupidest trend skateboarding has gone through? Gigantic pants.

You didn’t wear those? No, no way.

Why do you think that craze happened? I don’t know why that craze happened, but it just happened so fast. Well, obviously the kids follow what the pros do. I think a lot of the pro street guys maybe started partying at the raves and all that kind of crap. I don’t know if that came from there or what. But the people in the huge rave party scene all dressed like that. It’s hard to say where it came from, but it’s pretty ridiculous now to look back at it. When you see videos of that era, it’s crazy. When it was going down, you started seeing it so much it didn’t seem that bad. But now that it’s mellowed out a bit and you see it occasionally, it’s pretty funny.

What do you think your biggest contribution to skateboarding has been? I’ve never really sat down and gone, “What am I going to contribute to skateboarding?” I’ve just done what I thought I should do. That’s a weird question. I guess it’s what people want to make out of what I’ve done on my skateboard. It’s not really up to me to decide that. That’s somebody else going, “What have I gotten out of him being a skateboarder?” How do II judge what skateboarding has gotten out of me? How do I judge that unless I was on the outside looking at what I’ve done?

Describe the current state of skateboarding? I feel that skateboarding is getting legitimized more as a professional sport because TV has made it look pretty professional and mainstream. Some parents can picture their kids growing up and being skateboarders now. Back in the day they’d be like, “I don’t want you to be one of those derelict skateboarders.” Now it’s legitimized.

I think skateboarding right now is at a good and bad turning point. I don’t know if that mainstream legitimazation will destroy the hardcore market of skateboarding and make it too mainstream. I want it to keep its foundation because that’s always kept skateboarding ahead of the game. It’s always kept skateboarding a unique sport, and all the mainstream stuff is always following it. That’s what’s funny. They’re always following something that’s so not mainstream and hardcore. I just hope skateboarding doesn’t lose that edge because that’s what’s kept skateboarding around forever and kept it cool.

But I think it’s good for a lot of the big guys who have been doing it for a while. They can actually kind of capitalize on that– there’re a lot of good opportunities right now. Five or seven years ago there wasn’t much going on. I think a lot of guys were skateboarding really hard but not really getting paid for what they were doing. But what sucks is that some of those guys who were actually ruling then have slowed down now and missed the window. It’s kind of sad.

Do you have any predictions for skateboarding’s future? I predict there’s gonna be a big huge gap as far as kids coming up to skateboard vert. Once this generation of pros is too beat up to skateboard anymore, too old, I can’t picture a heavy new vert scene coming up. Eventually some kids are going skate vert, but I don’t think there’s going to be a huge heavy vert scene in the near future. I think it’s gonna die for a while.

It’s kind of weird. I mean, it’s vert getting taken to a crazy level right now, but what happens after all these guys who are going off right now are done? Who’s gonna come up and carry the torch? There’re a couple little kids coming up, but when I was kid skating CASL contests, there were hundreds of kids skating vert. Now, there’re none. You go to the YMCA and occasionally see two little kids dropping in and kickturning around on the ramp, but not really trying to do anything. I just think the vert thing might have to die, and maybe down the road some kids will figure it out and start skating.