David Gonzalez – Interview

David Gonzalez by Stephen Cox

Our roving reporter Mr Cox caught up with Flip’s Colombian representative and fearless maniac David Gonzalez on the phone to chat filming for Volcom’s Holy Stokes!, his new ‘Eagle SG’ shoe from Globe, going to see Iron Maiden with Harry Bastard and why he’d be down to represent Colombia in the Olympics. Get well soon David…

So David, how are things? 

All good, man. Just been about getting ready to go to Brazil tomorrow. It’s going to be epic.

What’s the occasion?

We’re heading on a trip to get some more filming done for the new Volcom video, which is out around May time. I’m really looking forward to it. This is the last proper trip for the video. I’m hoping to get a couple of bangers.

Who’s going on the trip?

Collin Provost, Grant Taylor, Pedro Barros and Milton Martinez. Twelve days: Brazil, Argentina and Columbia. I’ll finish up at home.

How’s the part coming along?

Good, man. I think I’ve got around three and half minutes of footage so I’m nearly there. There are so many people involved with this video; it’s going to be amazing. I’ve been going for a really different kind of part to my Possessed to Skate one – I’ve been changing things up a bit. With my previous parts things were a lot more planned, with this one it’s been different. There’s going to be a lot more tranny too.

How did you feel when you were filming for Extremely Sorry? You made an impression on the skating world with that part, but were there nerves coming after videos like Sorry and Really Sorry?

It was actually really fun. It was one of the best times ever. I really didn’t give a f*ck. I didn’t have any surgeries back then or any issues. I was just ready to go. Possessed to Skate was a lot more painful, [laughs]. We did a lot of trips in Europe and South America for Extremely Sorry.

You’ve always been an all-terrain skater of both street and transition, where most skaters usually tend to lean with one or the other. Why do you think that is?

Honestly, it’s just because I enjoy both so much. Skating in Columbia, all we had was the streets. When I got the opportunity to skate different stuff it was just so exciting to me and so much fun. I can’t help myself.

It’s probably why you got Thrasher’s Skater of the Year. How did you feel about that?

Man, I was so stoked. It did get to a point where I was just like, “f*ck it, I’m going for it!” I’ve never slammed as much or as hard as I did throughout filming for Possessed. It was a crazy feeling.

If you hadn’t won that year, who do you think should have got it?

Guy Mariano, man. Or Figgy, he killed it that year too.

I’ve interviewed skaters like Arto and Geoff before, who have mentioned a point where they didn’t need to hit eighteen-stair handrails anymore. Do you feel like you’ve also proved yourself in that way?

It’s not so much about that for me. Hitting the big stuff is where I get my thrills in skateboarding. I can’t see myself laying off this stuff for a while yet seriously. The slams are part of that.

Tell me about the time you went to the Iron Maiden gig with Harry Bastard when he was the Flip TM. 

That was epic [laughs]. I think I was only about seventeen. He bought me a bottle of rum right before the concert. I pretty much drank the whole bottle and got hammered. I’ve always loved that type of music and especially Maiden. I was over on tour that time and we were all supposed to leave but there was an issue with my passport so I had to wait for an extra two days. Iron Maiden were playing within those two days, which was sick. When I found out I was like, “oh my god, let’s fucking do this”. I’m a big fan of British heavy metal. It started off with Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. I’m also into Motörhead, The Sex Pistols, The Clash and the Exploited. I love that shit.

Surely that wont grind too well? David frontside smithgrinds through the Brazilian crust - Photo Arto Saari

Tell us about your band, Ratt Black.

We’ve been in the band for around three years, but the first album has only been around for three months. As a real band, I’d say it’s been a year. Right now we’re not really playing any gigs because we were focused on getting out the CD and doing music videos. We do gigs here and there but we’re trying to get the right booking agent and get going in the right direction. Hopefully we’re going to play in a couple of festivals in Europe this year. We’ve had a couple of people ask us to play. We’re just trying to tighten up our act before we go out and hit it hard.

Is it going to be hard to balance that with skating?

It’s easy; I have so much free time. When I get back from trips there’s nothing to do. In skateboarding you have a lot of free time. We just make it happen. But skating does get in the way of doing gigs.

Do you think your notoriety in skateboarding help your band?

I don’t even care to think about that. Skateboarding is something I’ve always done. You do it for so long that you also want to do something else. That’s what my band is. I do it for fun. Better than being a drug addict, [laughs].

Your new Globe shoe is out. Why is it named the Eagle SG?

It’s random. The name came from a TV show I used to watch back home called Águila, which means eagle in English.

I think everyone is always sceptical about how much involvement pros have with their shoes. 

I’ve been really involved. We’ve been trying to make this shoe for around a year actually. A long time. The last two I had, I liked them but I wasn’t involved with the little details. With this one I got involved in that way. I really had to make sure it was comfortable in the right ways. I think people are going to like it. The insole is much better for impact.

twannnnnggggg! – Photo Arto Saari

You’ve been involved a lot with the X-Games and Street League. Is there a sense that Nike SB have sort of taken over these kind of events? It seems to me that other brands aren’t represented on the same scale.

Yeah, of course they’re taking over skateboarding. Skateboarding has changed so much over the years that I don’t see know where it’s going to go, you know? It keeps moving. The big brands are putting in the money. I get invited to the events and I go. Why would I say no? I’m stoked to be in Street League. I get to represent Columbia. I know the events are sponsored by other brands but I think they’re trying to bring skateboarding to another place.

That place is The Olympics.

For sure. It’s definitely going.

Is representing Columbia something you’d want to do at The Olympics?

I’m going to say yes. By then I’ll almost be thirty and winding down with my career a bit. I’d do it, why not?

Will the format be the same as Street League?

Exactly like Street League. That’s how all the contests are now and Street League started that.

I know Geoff Rowley is a huge influence of yours and a good friend. What are the feelings like at the Flip camp since his departure?

For me, it’s been pretty weird. Geoff brought me into skateboarding in a big way. For the new kids not as much, even though the whole team is bummed. It sucks, but it’s nothing to do with us, it’s the politics. It is what it is. Despite that, Flip is going to keep going. It can’t stop.

Like you said earlier, it’s a weird time in skateboarding. A lot of people are leaving companies they have been with for years and even decades. Take Guy Mariano or Gino for example. 

Yeah it’s completely changing. The guys that were at the top before are now a little older and probably want to do their own thing. It’s just the way it goes. After that many years it just comes as a shock to people.

What’s the skating scene like in Colombia today?

It’s a small country. The scene is definitely growing but when you compare it to somewhere like Brazil it’s very different. It’s big there. There are probably about ten riders in Colombia who are really good to go. But there’s no money there, no magazines or ways for people to get properly paid yet. It’ll get there though.

The shadow and the crail to finish this. Photo Arto Saari

Modesty aside, do you think you have anything to do with that growth?

Maybe, I’m just a kid that came from a normal ghetto neighbourhood there and happened to get good enough at skateboarding to make a living out of it and get a life in America. I see kids when I go there and they remind me of myself when I was about ten or twelve years old: shitty boards and shitty shoes. My life has changed so much since I started getting paid from skateboarding and getting free gear. Skateboarding changed my life. I’m so thankful for what I have. So stoked. I keep an eye on the scene there. A lot of my social media is posted in Spanish and I respect skaters and fans from home. I keep in touch with the dudes there. It’s hard with all the travel though. I do plan to get a good bowl built there at some stage; it’s unbelievable to think there still isn’t one.

I know you’re busy with the Volcom video but when are we going to see Ridiculously Sorry?

It’ll happen within the next few years for sure.

Cheers for this David, any more plans for the rest of the year? You going to be chatting up some more Monster girls?

[Laughs], nah f*ck that! It’s going to be a busy year with the Street League contests and filming. Thanks man, chat soon.


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