Interview with Dan Heassler

We should probably get this interview going.


Where are you from, Dan?

Tacoma, Washington originally. I lived there for 22 years, and then I moved here (San Diego, California) with my girlfriend Brandy and my dog Clyde.

What made you move down here?

Mostly just skating. It rains a lot in Washington, so it was a good idea to go somewhere that doesn't rain that much. The weather was definitely part of it.

How long have you been skating?

Maybe fourteen or fifteen years.

How did you get into it?

My older brother–his friend left his skateboard at my house and I stole it (laughs). It was metal.

A metal board? What kind of board was it?

I don't remember, but it was metal and it had really loose trucks.

Who are your sponsors?

I get Illenium flow, Tracker trucks, I just got on Shorty's hardware, and Pacific Drive Skate Shop.

How long have you been sponsored?

By big companies, probably two-and-a-half years or so. When I first moved down here, Steve Olson got me on Kastel shoes. My first good sponsor was Kastel.

Did you make a sponsor-me video or anything like that?

Yeah, and Steve talked to Jamey Stone (TransWorld Sales rep) for me when he was team manager for Kastel. Thanks, Steve.

What skate video gets you hyped to skate?

I like the new Shorty's video. I also like the Tactical Manual video–it's got lots of good skating and a lot of my friends are in it. That gets me hyped to skate. Also, the Blind video, Video Days. It's still really good even to this day. I remember the day it came out.

Do you think you'll ever turn pro?

I don't know (laughs). Hopefully.

If you do, would you wear your own T-shirts?

Maybe at a demo, but not just walkin' around–I'd feel too weird. In my house, maybe.

What role do contests and demos play in skateboarding?

Demos are fun–I like demos. Especially when all your teammates are there. It makes them that much funner. Contests are pretty much the same, but there's a lot more pressure. Contests are fun as long as I'm not too worried about them.

How many boards can you ollie?

I don't know (laughs). I've never tried. Maybe six or something–if I stacked them flat (laughs).

Do you know who Jay Adams is?

Jason Adams?

No, not “The Kid,” but Jay Adams.

No, I don't.

He's an old Dogtown skater.

I just started skating when Dogtown was around.

If you could be a pro skater from any decade, who would you be?

Aw, dude. I want to say Tony Hawk from back in the day when he was a little kid and he was really amazing. That's kind of a given answer, you know? I don't know, maybe someone like Jason Lee in the Video Days era, just because all those guys really influenced me a lot. You know, like, how young Guy Mariano was and how talented he was. It really pushed me.

Who the first person was to do a kickflip?

Oh, Rodney Mullen. Single, double, and triple flip (laughs).

What's that crazy flip trick you do called?

A forward flip. My friend Jerry and I learned it together in our garage.

Which ams are comin' up right now?

P.J. Ladd, my friends from Tacoma–Robbie Repp and Aaron Johnson are definitely really skilled, and I know they're going to be comin' up. Around here, my friend Jeff Boye. He's super sick, he should be getting hooked up pretty quick.

What do you use for injury remedy?

Mostly time, and I use a lot of comfrey root oil. It's oil that's supposed to help bond broken cells back together in your body. I use that, and then after it heals, I do a little stretching and working it out. Boredom–I use that, too.

I noticed you play drums. What kind of music do you play?

I like to play classic rock a lot and some jazz, too. It keeps me busy.

Have you ever played in a band?

No, not really. My friend Jerry and I used to always play. We had a couple songs, and that was really fun. We don't really jam anymore. Maybe soon.

What kind of music do you listen to?

All types of music. I like a lot of heavy stuff like Sabbath, and a lot of hip-hop like KRS-One and old Digable Planets, and a lot of new stuff, too. Pretty much everything but country. But Johnny Cash is badass–the man in black.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Hopefully, still skating and doing what I love to do. Just to maintain and try to excel at life, too, and not just at skating.

Do you have anyone you'd like to thank?

I want to give shoutouts and thank yous to E.G. and Al at Illenium; everyone at Osiris; Dan at Tracker; T2 and Noe at Shorty's; the guys at Pacific Drive; Kanten Russell; Steve Olson; Grant Brittain and Ed Dominick at TransWorld; Steve Celentani; Robbie Repp; Aaron Johnson; Seth; Craig; Jeremy; Tracy Irish; Joe; Jeff; Tim; Jerry; the Tac-Town crew; James and Ryan; Yoshi; Dave B.; Rueben; Jimmy; Pete Jiminez; Matt Snow; Jesse; Tom; Kelly; Rob; Dylan; Tommy; and most of all, my mom, my brother Bob, and family; Clyde and Brandy.