I have been skateboarding here in Houston with Dave Donalson a lot this year. It started during the end of Winter’s perfect temperature days leading up to the 10th Annual Old Man Bowl Jam 2019. Then continued on after with a consistent session every Tuesday and Thursday at Southside Skatepark. After the sesh it’s usually man sodas and conversation with Dave as I nerd out on skateboarding. Dave has had a unique experience as he’s a touch older then the era of which his legacy resides. So he has a deeper understanding of what came before the mid 80’s boom, which is where my skateboarding began. To me I know Dave for having ridden for H-Street and turned Pro for their offshoot brand Life Skateboards. When your talking about skateboarding if you shut your mouth long enough you can internalize another skateboarder’s point of view. That’s really the toughest part about skateboarding and our experience. It’s only understood through our own interactions with it and what we find inspiration in. So when Dave pipes up we try to listen as we might have been there but we certainly were not doing it on the level he was. To young to be a party to some of the product development that was happening at the time. And so the story goes…
What keeps you skateboarding these days?
Over the years I’ve had some time off from skateboarding. Injuries, health, bad habits and just being burnt out. Today, I keep skating just because it’s fun. I won’t say I have more fun now than when I was 7 riding the speed bump, but I still have a lot of fun. If I ever stop having fun I will quit.
When you think back on time you spent as a sponsored AM and PRO could you set the scene a little bit. Who was around, keeping you siked and putting in the time? Where were the sessions and what was the nightlife like in old Houston?
So many people through so many years, all the times at every scene that I got to experience, were so good. Even the backyard years when skateparks didn’t exist. The Am and Pro years the Skatepark of Houston had a good consistent scene of locals pushing every day, but it got a lot of travelers. You never knew who would show up for the afternoon session. I don’t want to name drop and I won’t. As for the nightlife, I’ll just say I’m glad no one had cell phone cameras. Everyone thought they were a rock star and lived like it.
Shut Up and Skate at The Skatepark of Houston seemed to have become a catalyst in getting riders from Houston hooked up with sponsors. Could you run us a short list of memorable companies that backed you and you were a part of over the years?
I think I either got flowed or rode for most of all the early companies. I will say that whatever company I rode for, I would try to get some of the locals sponsored by them or I would flow them products from my packages. Santa Cruz, Indy, Speed Wheels, Quicksilver, Cutter Trucks, and H-street are the ones who back me mostly and helped me eat, skate and travel.
Can you tell us about this unreleased H-Street Pro Model graphic that was referenced for the inspiration behind this capsule with Southside Skatepark?
It was something one the artists popped out one day in the office. It was funny because they always said I was the crazy businessman. It stuck, and we made 5 boards. I didn’t think anything about it as my H-street model was weeks away from coming out. So, I took a couple and rode them. Next thing I know H-street is saying, “Nope hold off on the graphic and board, we are starting a new company Life skateboards.” We want you to ride for them and everyone will have the same graphics and just a different signature. So, I forgot about this model until one of the three remaining boards popped up on the interweb a couple of years ago.
The custom shape you created took some time to get right with the manufacturer down south. What’s the story regarding how you arrived at this shape and why is it being made at this time?
Well, it’s supposed to be the original shape that I had made back then. Companies always knew better than the riders on what would sell. So, everyone had a market board shape and everyone had their personal shape board. It was funny what some of the board companies would put out into the market. Also knowing this might be the last model I ever make, I want what I want. I’m only 53 years old so who knows, I sure as hell don’t.
“Everyone is a gangster until the flying cockroach enters the room.” Dave Donalson