Ben: Why did you leave Plan B?
Darrell: Conflict of Interest.
How long have you been skating?
How old are you now?
Those are all important questions that I usually forget to ask. Where are you living at these days?
They got me anchored in Long Beach, California right now. I?ve been here for a cool five years, on the up and up.
Is it in the hood part of Long Beach?
Nah man, I?ve been fortunate enough to get amongst the golf courses and suburbs of LB, so I?m very blessed. I live right over by the 605 actually, nice area.
Where did you grow up?
Well, I grew up in the Long Beach/LA area but then I ended up moving to Houston after middle school. So I went to high school in Houston. I started skating with the likes of Scott Kane, Jermihah Vance, Jason Jones, Scott Christianson, TK, Evan Hernandez. That?s a big move at that age.
It?s so hurtful. Moving at such a young age away from all your boys, its heartbreaking man. But I was blessed enough to come across cool kids at school who skated, like Nate Broussard, Brad Heyser, Wayne Patrick, and they kept me motivated to skate. Nate would always give me the hand me down boards, and pick me up, bring me to the skatepark, hit the highway and go skate all night. So that really kept me going. I?m glad I had found them.
So when you started skating, did you want to get spon- sored? Or did you just do cannonballs all day and it
Pretty much man (laughs). I just wanted to do cannonballs all day, and I had no knowledge of skating. I didn?t even know there was such a thing as being sponsored. I didn?t even know there were different size boards that you could buy. I was oblivious to what was going on when it comes down to the P?s and Q?s. But as
far as the act of it, and being out with my friends, and terrorizing things, that?s what I fell in love with. And from that it steam rolled into my friends getting free stuff. And they?re telling me like ?dude, you can get sponsored and get different size wheels and stuff!? And I?m like, alright sick! That would just be prime, you know? Essential as a skater for the rest of your life. After I made the deci- sion to quit the basketball team, I?ve just been skating ever since. The same thing happened to me, quit basketball at 13.
Ahh me to man! At 13! I wasn?t trying to get out there and listen to some dude tell me how to practice, I wanted to be out there cuttin? loose.
So how did the whole getting noticed thing all work out? Well as funny as it was, I was living in the skate mecca, and just skating every day doing what I do. But there?s so much talent and there?s so much going on out there, in terms of who?s hot and who?s not, so it wasn?t until I moved to Texas that I actually got sponsored and hooked up. Then it kind of just steam rolled into me moving back to California. It was almost a blessing in disguise that my parents made me get up and get the fuck out of there. That?s almost the way to do it. Cause its less of a competi- tion and more just being sponsored for your lifestyle.
Yeah exactly. It was ideal man. Like as far as talent in TX, don?t get me wrong dude, its fucking stellar. Stellar talent, stellar personali- ties, a great group of guys that come out of the Texas region. But
I think it just made it to where it was easier to shine almost, just for the fact, you know, the guys who skated in Texas really wanted to make it happen. There?s a lot of skaters in Texas, but only so few wanted to deal with the ridiculous heat, and deal with the crappy cops out there, and you don?t have all the perfect stairs and ledges in Texas, so its all on your motivation. People would
be able to see that easier than someone?s motivation in California where everyone is trying to make it.
I was probably 14 or 15 when I saw your ?Free Your Mind part?, still to this day my favorite video. What?s it like to be asked to film a part for Transworld?
Fucking terrifying. Shit man, I was terrified. But it was great cause it taught me a lot about keeping yourself motivated, and really putting in the extra effort to make it something that people
For the most part, it was Ewan Bowman, who is now the Flip team manager, but back then he was one of the TWS filmers. It was him as well as Jon Holland and Jason Hernandez who did that video. But for the most part Id be taken the trips with Ewan, hop- pin in his Cutless Supreme and hitting the grape vine to San Fran- cisco and back. Crashing at his house, missing school, missing tests, the whole nine. He was my partner in crime. Ewan is one of my favorite humans right now, and has been for many years.
So why did you decide to film most of your part in SF rather Long Beach?
Dude, it did wonders for my skating. I became acclimated to so many different terrains, and so many ways to control your skate- board, cause I was skating with so many different guys. All the de- luxe guys, going on Anti Hero trips, hitting tranny, skating around the city with the crooked guys. It was essential. But overall, SF is
?If im out skating, and Im singing a
GG Allen song in my head, and I want to
go jump down some big stairs, then
I will. The Ill wake up another day and
listen to some Jeezy and want to go
skate ledges and get thick, you know
what I?m sayin??
rough around the edges, and that?s something that I love about it.
So…were you the first one to ever do a dolphin flip?
I?m pretty sure man (laughs). I?m claiming it.
Sick, I wanted to get that straightened out.
I?m pretty sure I was the first one. First person I?ve ever seen or have heard of.
Now, I know you weren?t the first to do cannonballs, but you damn well may be the only dude who puts them in your video parts, so you might as well be the originator of them. What?s your motivation behind them?
Fun. Absolute and utter fun. There?s no like, oh damn..this is real tight..or…oh yeah I?m gonna go do this for my video part, and everyone is gonna like it. I just love doing cannonballs. Because, wether you land them or not, there fucking awesome. And you can
?Hesh or fresh, whatever the fuck you want to do, it all the same energy and its
Nollie FS Crooked Grind
do the variations. 180?s, the back 3?s. I?m a fan of the variations.
Now, if Corey Duffel or Reynolds did a cannonball in there part, people would be like, what the fuck, why is he doing a cannonball? Why is it that some people get away with shit like that?
Its just that skaters have different energies man. That?s what skating is all about, bringing something different to the table. You know what I?m saying? Like, no one wants to see Reynolds do a cannonball down some stairs, because thats not what he came
Gap To Frontside Nose Slide
out doing! He came out doing beastly ass kickflips, doing the most perfect ass frontside flips, and fuckin getting hamboned with the piss drunks. That?s Reynolds man! That?s his energy, and I love him for it. And my energy is getting hamboned, having fun with my tricks, and living life to the fullest. Doing cannonballs is my style as an artist. And that?s not his style as an artitst. But Im sure he can appreciate my cannonballs like I appreciate his kickflips. It?s just two different energies that are picked from the same place, with different styles. All of us skaters have the same energy, it all gets
?It was almost a
blessing in disguise that they
made me get up and get the fuck out of there?
?But as far as the act of it, and being out with my friends, and terrorizing things, thats what I fell in
grabbed from the same place, no matter how you?re gonna put it out there. Hesh or fresh, whatever the fuck you want to do, it all the same energy and its all relevant.
Even just little things, like that hand flip you did before the switch shuv manual in your ?This is my element?. You just don?t seem to care, and just skate more spontaneously then most, which is so rad. What is the attitude behind your skateboarding?
My attitude in skateboarding is how I feel when I wake up that day. (Laughs) Whatever mood I?m in when I step on my skate- board you know? If I?m out skating, and I?m singing a GG Allen song in my head, and I want to go jump down some big stairs, then I will. Then I will wake up another day and listen to some jeezy and want to go skate ledges and get thick, you know what I?m saying?
I appreciate anything original, and anything that makes
people go like…ewww, or ughhhh why would he do that. I like the rebellion of it. As Ben Schroeder says in We Are Skateboarders, ?Mongo? Fuck yeah mongo! Fuck you, I?m going to push mongo on purpose.?
Man, I pride kids in doing whatever the fuck they want, and having that self- esteem that says, hey man, however you look at this, it doesn?t matter, because I like it. I?m going to use Jake Duncombe as an example. When Jake came out, the kid had a freak?in mullet,
Heek Flip Bar
he was a pimply faced rugrat, doing Benihanas over everything, just having the time of his life. That?s what I got from all that. And all the Australians, as good as they are, love Benihanas! They?ll do them all day. And everyone hates on benihana?s! But they are fun. Have fun, you know?
You seem like a very positive dude. What?s your take on all the hate?
Hate comes a dime a dozen. It?s very deep, and it?s very frugal.
BS Lipslide To Fakie Nosegrind
Usually when someone hates on somebody, I?m looking at the per- son like, man, you sure did a lot of research to hate on this other person. So I don?t see the person getting hated on as the target,
I see the person hating the one with the issues. But it ain?t gonna slow my step.
Speaking of hate, how is it being on Element?
Its awesome man. I have no complaints. We?re doing some good things this year, revamping the team a bit. I have only good thoughts for Element?s future.
I was stoked to see you in ?Make It Count? the Element documentary. What did you think of that film?
Switch 360 Flip DeVille
I liked it. There was a lot of stuff I learned from it. I didn?t know
the entire history of it. I can only say I watched it once, but I really enjoyed it.
It?s hard with the hate towards Element. Element didn?t start off corporate, quite the opposite actually, and same with something like Vans, they just happened to grow
so big. What is your attitude towards riding for a corporate company?
I think it all depends. Just because a company goes corporate, doesn?t mean you have to go corporate with it. You are your own person, you are your own human being, you control your own legs, your own mouth, and everything you want to do, even if
their angle is that of a corporate nature. As long as you are being yourself 24 hours a day, 365 a year, then its only easier for them to make a decision if you fit the mold or not, because you are not going to change who you are, so there going to have to either accept it, or just part ways. And I?m so fortunate and blessed that Element is as big and corporate as they are, and still have a very core energy when you walk in there. Like when I want to go in there, I?m not calling to set up a meeting. I?m just walking in there, sitting my ass down and shooting the shit with those dudes. That?s the energy I have, and it hasn?t changed since I?ve been on Real, Plan B, or Element. I?ve brought the same energy to every one of those companies. And that?s why I think that I?ve had the blessing of longevity, cause I?ve been real with myself and people. And that is something that you can?t buy, or learn, its just some- thing you have to be. I know I appreciate it when someone is
being real, whether I?m going to like person or not, it?s the truth from them, its how they do it. Its not a facade. And that?s what I tried to pride myself off with those companies, and they under- stand that. I?m not some perfect kid. Damn I didn?t even finish school. So I?m obviously gonna live and do things differently then what you?re used to or expecting.
The marketing of it almost keeps it honest in a way, cause if a skater is going to change from one company to anoth- er, then its like what you said, the skater has to have their own person integrity to not accept less than the company adapting to them or it?s not going to work out. And if the skater switches up themselves too much, then they just become confusing, and therefore people can?t put them on their team, and it will be pretty obvious that they just change for companies.
Exactly man. It becomes a facade amongst clothing they wear, or the way they speak, or who they hang out with. It just becomes so fabricated, and that?s not skating. I mean, I hope its not just some kids being like, man, I want to ride for Zero, and rock tight pants, when that?s not their vibe. You know, what good is that if they can?t really enjoy Danzig, or the Misfits, can?t enjoy the lifestyle. It has to be a lifestyle. And that is why I appreciate companies like Zero, because it?s awesome for the kids who do live that lifestyle, cause then they are with like energies, and it only makes it a fuller experience for them. But the kid whose like, oh man I?m gonna start rocking this shit so I can get on, that?s where it
How do you feel about this baby boom of skateboarders over the past few years?
I?m really excited man. I?m stoked on all the kids that are going out there trying to shock. I?m always a fan of a kid who is just going for it, nd taking opportunity and making something of it. Most peo- ple have opportunity and they just never take it. They got to be out there pushing themselves, and progressing, and kicking my ass of what ever tricks I did back in the day. And more power to them. Does it ever scare you, like what the fuck, where did
this dude who is switch flipping Carlsbad with ease
Hell no. Never. I?ve never sensed pressure from another skater
in my life. It?s always been appreciation of their skills. I?m not the best skater in the world. And I know that. I don?t think I?m ever good enough for any god damn thing (laughs) But that just goes with wanting the most and wanting to push all the time and not just sitting back and cuddling with whatever you did. But in terms of other peoples skating, I?m just such a fan of skating that I?m
on the edge of my seat like, damn, what else is gonna go down, what?s next, and where did it come from? Sometimes I won?t look at a magazine for a while, and then I?ll look at and get some ideas for newer tricks my way. It?s all about progression and creativity, having fun and destroying.
I believe what it takes to create heroes, especially with skateboarding being so saturated these days, is original- ity. Something that skaters have that they can claim their own. Reynolds, Smolik, Lance, Muska, Jamie, Gonz, and even someone like Richie Jackson, all those dudes have something they can claim there own. When I think of you, I think of dolphin flips, cannonballs, stylish hand drags, nol- lies/switch back 180s, Ollie over to front blunts on
Clipper, and Cymande.
Man that is music to my ears right there. That?s how I want to be remembered. That made my day. I?m on the right track!
I think there?s a lot of people that would say the same thing. Do you feel like your originality is what created your longevity?
Most definitely. Anything that has to due with originality, or indi- viduality, or anything that makes people question… is awesome. Now, as strange as this may sound, you and Zac Efron both killed Santa Monica high school. He did some above average acting, and you destroyed the 14 stair and the greek gap in your ?This Is My Element? part. Were all those tricks done in the same day?
Yeah man, I?m pretty sure they were. That was on my birthday. I was like, dude I wanna go skate for my birthday! So me and my friend went to Santa Monica, met up with a filmer, and just had a ball.
You got your ender on your birthday, that?s so sick. That switch backside 360. How did that one feel when you rolled away?
Dude it felt amazing, because I?ve never done one before that one. That was the first one I have ever tried.
That goes back to that spontaneous thing…
Thats what it was man. Me and my friend John were just skat- ing, trying some Nollie cabs. Then I sat down and got to smoking some weed, and I was like, oh okay, nollie cabs are just switch back 3?s if you just roll the other way. So I just tried a nollie cab in reverse, and it just worked out.
So you pretty much just learned switch backside 360s
that day… really?
There is no pretty much to it, I definitely did. (laughs)
You?ve come from a pretty tight knit crew of friends. Being that element has so much money, naturally, that?s going to take away from that unity, because, and I know how brash this sounds, in someways the money is what brings people to the team, do you feel like its harder to get that tightness between the skaters on the team?
No man. (laughs) I,m sorry man, it sounds like you wanted a yes out of me. As far as all the people I skate with on Element, I?ve known for years. Chad Tim Tim lives literally around the corner. Nick Garcia lives with me now, I took him to get his life sorted, get his skating going, and Ricky (Bedenbaugh) the filmer, I?ve known for years. It just all came naturally. I don?t do stuff unless I can put my heart into it, and wake up everyday feeling right. No matter how much money you make, the real wealth comes from wak-
ing up and feeling a million bucks, not having a million bucks. So that?s how I pride myself with my business decisions, the com- panies I ride for, the people who I?m around. If I have to torment myself to be somewhere, I wont be there. As far as going out and skating with the guys, and being part of a team, they make it really easy to go out and just have fun. And you know man, when you do get to the point where you have a lot of money, and you have been true to yourself the whole time, it makes that icing on the cake a whole lot sweeter.
Any last words my guy?
Payday baby, Payday.