By Rob Brink
Strength June 2003
It's amazing that, in skateboarding, there is the potential for a young person to virtually blow up overnight. Maybe not on the same scale as say, 50 Cent or Avril Lavigne, but anyone looking for that kind of attention and success would most likely never pick up a skateboard and commit to it in the first place.
Darrell Stanton has achieved a different kind of success. He picked up a skateboard only five years ago, rode it for the fun of it, got really, really good at it, and is already about to become a professional. More noticeably than with other skaters, Darrell's sponsors (especially Real and Volcom) seem to support him with unconditional love and have done a great job of putting him on the map. But not as good a job as he did himself in June 2002 by getting his first photo coverage ever in a skate mag—which happened to be the cover of Thrasher.
You all know the trick and the spot, now get to know the skater.
Darrell! Where are you at right now?
On the highway. I was out skating Chino Hills with Koston, Atiba, Ewan, and Grant.
How old are you?
I just turned 17 on March 3.
Who are your Sponsors?
Real, Thunder, Spitfire, Volcom, Diamond, Furnace, Black Magic, and Da Kine backpacks.
Where are you originally from?
Long Beach, California.
Where do you live now?
I'm living in Houston now, but I'm out of there in May—moving back to Long Beach.
What prompted you to go to Texas?
The parents. I didn't want to go at all I wanted to stay where my homies were skating. I was only 15 at the time, so I didn't have any say in anything.
So how did you end up getting on Real?
Well that happened in Texas. A good buddy of mine works for South Shore Distribution and he asked me to give him a tape, and then he sent it to Mic-E Reyes. Mic-E just seemed psyched on it, and here I am.
Did you ride for anyone before that?
Instrumental skateboards. My buddy Big O does it. Me and Peter Ramondetta were riding for them. We were friends, so when I got on Real, I dropped Mic-E a line about Peter and we both got on about the same time. Hold on real quick, dudes are bugging me.
[Voice in the background] “Who's that?”
Darrell: I'm doing, like, an interview right now.
[Voice in the background] “Oh, I'm sorry.”
Hello? I'm sorry.
No problem. How's the commute back and forth to Texas? Do you do that a lot?
Yeah, almost every weekend, just by plane. Short weekend missions.
To skate, or to see the family?
I do both.
How is the skating in Texas compared to California?
It's not as blown out in Texas as it is out here. But I'm a California guy. I was born here, all my friends are here. Spot wise, California has way more, but the Texas spots are always fun.
You started skating on your birthday five years ago?
Yeah, I got an In House blank board for my birthday.
Seems like a short time to have started skating and now be so close to turning pro?
You're some sort of prodigy or something.
[Laughs] I guess so. That's what some people say, but I just kept doing what I was doing. Skating with the homies, learning new stuff, getting taught stuff.
When are you expecting to go pro?
In May. I'm waiting for it. The countdown is on now.
Do you feel that people view backside nose bluntsliding the Clipper ledge as your claim to fame?
Yeah. I don't know. It got kind of annoying after a while. But I was psyched that day. It was just all skating. I didn't plan all week to do it or anything. I was just there and the time was right with the friends, you know?
I was going to ask you if it was spontaneous or not.
Oh yeah, it was all spontaneous. Every time I go skate it's spontaneous. I don't go out and plan to get stuff. Just go out, skate, if you get something cool or if you don't, don't worry, there's always tomorrow.
Otherwise your average everyday skating turns into the King of Skate contest.
Yeah, you gotta take a break every now and again.
In all honesty I had never heard of you and then the next day you've got the cover of Thrasher.
Yeah, that's what happened [laughs].
How often does somebody that hardly anyone in the skate world knows get the cover of Thrasher? That must be kind of rad right?
I was psyched on that.
I remember getting it in the mail and I had to look in the contents to see who you were.
Most people did. That was my first photo that I got in any magazine.
And it was a cover?
Yeah, I was psyched!
Seems like your sponsors, take Volcom for example, are putting a lot into you. They did a ton of ads with you and Dennis Busenitz.
Oh yeah man, I love all my sponsors. It's not like I am working for them. It's just friends. I have a close relationship with every single one of my sponsors. They hook me up and I definitely thank them. I am trying to do the same for them because the companies I am psyched on are the companies that I ride for.
Does it create a pressure for you at all? All this money and attention being put into you?
Definitely not, it's never pressure. It's always fun.
What makes Real different than other board sponsors?
It's just a raw company. It always done what they were doing and never tried to follow any trends. It's always been one hundred percent about skateboarding and I really respect that.
I saw you at Tampa Pro, but you didn't even qualify right?
I got a hole in my shin. I went up to try to hit the little Hubba and some gnarly kid came slashing by me and shot his board out. So I jumped over him and the board and my leg caught the corner of the angle iron. It's not even like stitches or a gash—it's a big hole. That was in practice, so I ended up just dorkin' it in my run. It was fun.
Do the team managers and sponsors get bummed when you don't do well in a contest?
Everyone's cool about it. There's no pressure at all from any companies I am with. That's what I like about them. I'm not really a contest or skatepark guy. I hit a park like once every couple months. And in contests I just dork it.
Do you feel that skating is a “job?”
Hell no. I would be doing this if I was dirt poor lying in the gutter somewhere. I'd still be riding my skateboard around.
What's the coolest thing you have bought since you now make money from skating?
For my birthday I just bought myself a G4 laptop. And Vans got me an iPod—thanks Vans. I never really had a computer or anything so I'm psyched.
Who do you admire in skating?
So many people man, the list would take forever. Scott Kane. I always look at what that kid's doing and try to do the same thing. He's definitely kept me hyped on skating. All my friends, it's just so fun to go out with them and skate a curb or a parking garage. All my friends inspire me so much.
Do you get paired up with Dennis Busenitz just because you have the same sponsors?
It seems like it kind of happened that way, but we are pretty good friends. We hang out when I come to San Francisco.
If you could be any other skater for a day, who would it be?
Probably Koston. He's just ridiculous on a skateboard. And he's just the kind of guy who doesn't care if he goes out and lands a trick or doesn't. He still has the main basic thing, which is fun—he goes out and just skates, and that's about it. Then goes to a Laker's game or something.
Who's an up and comer to watch out for?
Kane. He's already up. People are definitely gonna see that Bootleg part and my man Scott is definitely going to open some eyes.
Ledges or Rails?
Ledges definitely. I never skate rails. It's so weird to say that but I never do.
That's good because I can't skate them either.
That's why I need Scott, to hype me up to do that kind of stuff.
Tim O'Connor is a friend of mine and when I told him I was interviewing you he said he likes you because you do “different” tricks than other people.
Oh wow. That's big ups right there!
Do you think you of yourself this way?
Well I definitely try to do different tricks. Nobody wants to see the same thing over and over again. I definitely try to think of stuff that no one has done or maybe people just aren't thinking about that type of trick at the time. But it's for fun. I just go out and try to skate and learn new tricks.
What's your favorite video part of all time?
That's a tough one. You want new or old?
Answer however you want, it's your interview.
My new favorite is Rodrigo—both his parts in the Firm video are absolutely ridiculous. They are definitely up there. Old part—Second Hand Smoke, Jeremy Wray. So gnarly, just complete jaw-dropping stuff.
It was rad seeing him at Tampa this year.
He was ripping. I was all psyched to see him. I got all star struck.
It's so weird to see people that you watched in videos like, ten years ago.
Yeah, it's ridiculous. Like today I went skating with Eric Koston and I didn't even want to step on my skateboard. I just wanted to watch.
What's your favorite skate spot?
Probably 3rd and Army. I like skating that place a lot. Every time I go to San Francisco you can find me there.
What's your Favorite trick?
I like nollies. Nollie stuff.
Name a trick you can't seem to do no matter how hard you try.
Inward heelflips. That's a tough cookie right there. There's only a few people that can do that trick and make it look amazing—I'm not one of them. The gnarliest one I have ever seen was Bobby Rodriguez down the Venice triple set. That is reee-tarded!
What was your worst slam?
Trying backside tailslide shove it on Clipper. I just hooked up at the top and went straight to the bottom on my head.
Give me one good Mic-E Reyes story.
There's a lot to choose from. Hmmm, let me get a good one. At Tampa Pro we were in Ybor City during the St. Patrick's Day parade Jereme Rogers started throwing beads in the cars and at the people driving the floats and they started veering off and almost hitting people so that was pretty fun. And then when we were in the car later, one of the guys that we hit pretty good in the side of the head with a bead drove by us. So Mic-E drove about a half mile with a beer in one hand and beads in the other just to catch up to him and throw more beads at him.
Anything else you want to add because that's all I got for you.
What's up to all my homies—Long beach, Texas boys rippin'. And once again I want to hype up
Scott Kane because he's one of my best friends in the world.