The closer we get to Tokyo 2020 and actually putting Olympic medals on skateboarders, the harder people will work to try and pin down exactly what makes for a good one. They'll use instant scoring. They'll tell us inspiring stories of rags to riches. They'll discuss athletic prowess and "having what it takes in the crunch." But fortunately or unfortunately—depending on whatever side of the debate you fall on—professional practitioners in the mold of Daryl Angel have that special something that will never truly show up on their stat sheets.
His "big basics" trick selection and frenetic personality quirks are the subtle details that mean everything to the core fans and skate rats, but they will never be fully articulated by an on-air sports commentator. Like many of our most cherished favorites through the years, he represents our inherent desire to root for the square peg in their round holes. Five years into the professional ranks, and having survived Habitat's road trip to Tum Yeto, here is Mr. Angel's Pro Spotlight. Don't let the door hit you on the way in.-Mackenzie Eisenhour
Photos by Dave Chami
You tracked down a phone?
Yeah. I dropped mine in the toilet last night. It's sitting here in a bag of rice now. Does it work?
I don't know. I heard that's the way to go, but I have no idea if it actually works.
I'll leave it in there until tonight and try it out.
I guess I should ask what happened last night then?
No. Nothing like that. Nothing crazy. I was just at my friends' house and had it in my jacket pocket. When I went to piss, I opened the jacket and it fell out, straight into the toilet.
"I MEAN, I'M NOT ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE GOING LIKE, 'VX OR DIE!' BUT OBVIOUSLY SKATING DOES LOOK REALLY FUCKING GOOD ON A VX-1000."
I think we've all been there. What's been going on lately? Are you still living in Silver Lake [Los Angeles]?
No. Right now I've been staying back in San Jose for a bit. LA was cool and everything. You hang out with cool people. You look really cool on Instagram and stuff like that. But I always felt like there was something missing for me. I made some friends for sure. But just not the same feeling as I had back here in San Jose.
You had just moved into Austyn Gillette's house last we talked.
Yeah. I moved in with Austyn. Did that for a minute. Then got my own place. Met a girl. Lived with her. And now I'm back here. I don't think I'll stay back here forever. I just wanted to come back and touch base.
Did you heal up from the snowboarding shoulder injury? I just like to say snowboard injury.
That was a two-week thing. It got better really quick.
What part are you looking forward to most in Chronicles 3? How good does it feel to have had your part in number two? Is it nice to sit back and watch the next batch of dudes do it?
It's sick. But honestly I see photos of them from around the world, and it's more just like, "Damn, I wish I was there." But of course I was just on those trips last year and other people were probably looking at me thinking the same thing. I still get kind of envious though.
Any parts you want to see more than the others?
Obviously Brian Anderson footage is always a good thing. I want to see Koston's part. I feel like it's been a little while, so I'm sure everybody wants to see what he comes up with. I think Karsten [Kleppan] is gonna have a really good part. Cory [Kennedy] of course. Lance [Mountain]. I think John Fitzgerald has some stuff. Omar [Salazar], Trevor [Colden], and Kevin Bradley. It's a good mix.
Keeping it Nike, didn't your brothers grow up with Hunter Muraira [Nike SB, global brand director]? You told me they had Great America passes together. Does anyone else on Nike know that you got juiced in?
[Laughs] Yeah. They had season passes, man. He might have had something to do with me getting on. But obviously, my skating talks for itself [laughs]. I'm kidding, but it definitely helped knowing him. Thanks, Hunter.
"OH, FOR SURE. INSTEAD OF HD IT SHOULD BE CALLED "DA." I GOT RIPPED OFF [LAUGHS]."
How is it having Kelly Bird there now?
I don't really keep up with the internal stuff too much. But I think maybe this guy Mark Goldman was there and went off to somewhere else. And then Kelly came in and took his place.
I heard you have a fair amount of footage in the next TWS vid, Substance. How did that happen?
I was out filming with Carson [Lee] a bunch. That's initially how this interview started. I got a couple of photos with Dave [Chami], and then he was like, "Let's do a full interview." Then Carson was asking what I was going to do with the footage, and it just made sense to put it in the video. I think I managed to get like a minute.
Sick. So it's almost like a mini-part.
Yeah. I'm stoked
No matter what happens next, you'll always be able to say you were in the first HD part, right [Ty Evans, Daryl Angel High Definition Skateboarding, '08]? That's a heavy NBD. I wanted to ask if you thought Ty should have named the HD part after you. Like, "Hey, we need you to film an Angel part. No, not standard def. We're going full Angel on this!"
[Laughs] Oh, for sure. Instead of HD it should be called "DA." I got ripped off [laughs]. Honestly, though, I was pretty honored to be in that. I remember being in Samy's Cameras right after that came out. I went in there with my buddy because he wanted to pick up some stuff, and they had it playing on this super big expensive screen. At first I just thought it was a skate video, then I noticed it was me. The guy from the store came over and was like, "Yes, this is very good camera." And I just looked over at him and said, "That's me."
We're back to VX with this TWS video. As the official HD guy, and after we hit 4K or whatever with We Are Blood, where do we stand in the HD versus VX battle?
I mean, I'm not one of those people going like, "VX or die!" but obviously skating does look really fucking good on a VX-1000. Even the sound quality, it just sounds cool. But I'm all for HD too. I don't even care. Just make it good whatever you use.
I guess it would be like in painting or something if some faction only swore by a certain brush.
Yeah. Exactly. Sometimes you need the roller brush; sometimes you need the little fine-detail brush. Different mediums for different things. I think footage looks great in VX. And it's just harder to fuck up with VX. There's nothing worse than filming an HD clip and having it come out looking like shit. But honestly, I don't care. As long as the end result looks good and I know it's gonna come out, it's cool either way.
How is the mood at Habitat, almost two years into Tum Yeto since the troubles with DNA?
With board companies in general, nobody is really doing that good. So just having free boards in the mail would be good enough for me. And the team is still all together. Everybody rips, and everybody is down for Habitat. Everybody is down for Joe [Castrucci] to do what he has to do. We're all hyped to have it growing again.
Switching gears—best memory from Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood ['06]?
The Jereme Rogers video? Oh man, I just remember that he drives insane. I thought I was going to die. At the time he had a pretty fast Mercedes and would just speed and text while driving. Every time we would get back in the car at a spot, I would sort of be like, "Hey, how far are we going, Jereme? Should I take a cab and meet you there?" He'd be like, "Oh, don't worry, it's really close. Just hop in the car." It's one thing to drive like that when you're alone, but when you have someone in the passenger seat it's a little lame.
You were like a little kid then, right, and he was the big dog?
Yeah. He wasn't very careful with his cargo. But other than that, it was cool to see that you could maybe afford a nice car as a pro skateboarder.
"I'D SAY DEFINITELY NOT DONALD TRUMP. THAT DUDE SEEMS LIKE A RACIST ASSHOLE."
Are you stoked for your boy Jon Nguyen having this TWS part? Is there anything he left out of his interview that we should know about him?
I'm really stoked for him. Like he could turn pro too. Other things about Jon? I don't know. He's a pretty levelheaded dude. He doesn't have too many skeletons. He likes pot. He likes to chill.
Pretty standard-issue stuff. enjoi celebrated its 15 years in business this year. As a San Jose dude, how have you managed to never get inducted? Do you hate Panda bears and fun?
[Laughs] I don't know. It's still a big city. You can skate in San Jose and not be on enjoi. But honestly, after I quit Think, I always had a vision of what I wanted to ride for. I think whatever enjoi does is cool though. Congrats to those guys.
Best Habitat video to date?
For me I would say Mosaic ['03].
Did you catch a lot of sightings growing up?
In the early days I would see them around all the time. I remember being a little kid skating the Vans park and I would see Marc, Jerry, Louie, and all of them skating, but I always thought they were impersonators. It just seemed too crazy to even imagine it was the real guys from the videos. I remember thinking like, "Man, why the fuck would you want to look like them?" Then I found out later it was actually them. I looked up to them and idolized them so much that I couldn't ever imagine actually skating with them. When you're a little kid you're just in awe.
All-time favorite Habitat rider?
It's always going to be Stefan [Janoski]. He had a big part in me riding for Habitat, and he's my favorite.
Pick for 2016 election?
For president? Oh God. I'd say definitely not Donald Trump. That dude seems like a racist asshole. Bernie Sanders seems like the most rational choice to me.
Pick up Substance on Vimeo On Demand now!