Daisy Johannes interview

Great chat with Daisy about how she got into skating, the longboarding community in LA. Thoughts about girl skaters, the upcoming Maryhill She-Ride and ‘West Coastin’ – the documentary capturing the adventure.

Hello Daisy, where are you from?

I’m from the East Coast of the United States. Connecticut, Virginia, Florida. Made it to California about 3 years ago, but my dad was born here, so I feel like I have dual citizenship with the ‘Country’ of California and the rest of the United States.

Where did you start skating?

With my dog and my fanny pack, around my neighborhood, in Los Angeles. Mostly to bars.

Does your dog skate?

My dog loves to skate! It’s silly. We gotta go tandem style though, I don’t think she’s gonna start kick/pushing anytime soon, but she’ll sit on it and ride it if I kick or push for her.

When did you start skating?

September 12, 2011. I got a chunk of money and needed to pay some bills, but wanted to do something for myself that would help me with hours of free entertainment later, and a skateboard was that thing.

Are you now entertained?

Daily. For 9 months, on all levels, with no end in sight. All parts of my being are entertained now. My physical, emotional, and mental selves; my social, my anti-social, my spiritual, artistic, literary, musical, antidisestablishmentarianistic, and my business-minded selves are all entertained. My fixer-of-things, my destroyer-of-things. My home-body, my traveler. My arranger, my collector, my gift-giver. My teacher, my student. All have homes in skate.

Why do you remember the date so well?

Haha!  Because I wrote it down.  I write it all down.  For myself and for the kids.

Had you skated at all before then?

Never successfully, but I grew up around skaters. The owners of skateparkramps.com are family friends from Connecticut. I remember them dragging themselves to my house, on verge of exhaustion from sun and thirst as teenagers, begging for water after a long summer’s skate session. They fought for years to build the first skate park in our town, and they always ripped hard on ramps and a half pipe in their yard. Skating was always in the background of my mind, definitely more interesting than mainstream sports. I have never been a fan of American Football, or Baseball, but I always thought the X Games were rad.

Do you document all your skate adventures?

I do. Many of them. I’ve kept a blog since the beginning. I’ve written a lot; 75,000 words or so. loveonalongboard.tumblr.com
There’s pictures, too.

Why?

Because some people don’t like to read.. haha, joke. I wrote it down… to learn about skating. To find other people that skate. To document my progress. To have something to do between answering and making a constant string of mundane phone calls daily at a full time job. To do something that had to do with skating when I wasn’t able to physically be skating, because there wasn’t really anything else I wanted to do. To write, because something inside me says to.

Is there a longboard community on tumblr?

There is, totally. Tumblr’s messaging system sucks, so I tend to move correspondence with bloggers to Facebook, but here are some other longboard blogs you should check out:

amandapowell.tumblr.com
longlivin.tumblr.com
paulshocker.tumblr.com
ishit.tumblr.com
londonlongboards.tumblr.com
skatedistrict.tumblr.com
emgeeman.tumblr.com
ysa-skate.tumblr.com
bagelsamurai.tumblr.com

Have you found people that skate through it?

I have. Girls, mostly, is what I seek out. And more importantly, others have found stories. I get a lot of love and feedback from it. I’m so lucky to have found longboarding in Los Angeles, a city that speaks its language so fluently, I want people to know about it. If you read my blog and you KNOW what I’m talking about, then you know, but if you don’t know the details, then it reads as an almost creative or fictional story about skate and life. I hope, haha.

Who did you skate with in the beginning?

I skated with everyone I could find. Longboarders I found on the streets until I found a local college longboard club. I met a bunch of the Loaded Family within a couple weeks of skating. Ari Chamasmany gave me a Dervish to play with early on and told me to skate with Amanda Powell when I was just learning to push around. Pete Eubank gave me some old gloves early on when I needed them, Trevor Baird told me the correct form and scientific reasoning behind everything skate related I saw, Ojoom John waited to skate with me on sessions that moved too fast, Dustin Hampton gave me rides to sessions both within and above my abilities, essential equipment at essential times, and fairly accurate advice as to what I should, could, can’t or might be able to skate.


Who is Ari?

Ari is the mysterious black-clad shark in Loaded’s Dervish Sama video, whirly-birding his woes away and making you say “ahh”. Some noobs told me my first session that I needed to buy a new longboard before I could learn to dance, but Mister Ari showed me my second session that you can dance on any longboard. It’s the magician, not the wand.

He is the founder of The Gel Lab, a creative collab project that he started years ago with some good friends.  It’s all the good shit… Skating, bmx, musical beats, video, photography, art. As far as skating goes, he’s been running a weekly skate session with the homies and producing videos on YouTube under the title “Gel Lab Shred Session” for much much longer than I’ve been showing up to them. He makes a living these days providing content for Skate[Slate] magazine. Writer, Photographer, Southern California Correspondent. He’s also my birthday buddy. Same day, no way!

What happens at these sessions?

The gnar is shredded. So much gnar. There is a nice, long, steep freeride hill in a business area that has been claimed as Gel Lab’s home turf, but Mister Ari switches up the location a couple weeks out of the month to keep the Po off our tails and give us a different taste of skate.

Are there many girls who join you?

There are not enough girls that skate! We’re getting some things moving here in Los Angeles, though. We’ve started a facebook group called “Girls Skate LA” and we’ve got over 50 members so far! We’ve got a carload of chicks carpooling to the Maryhill She-Ride, and we are tossing around ideas for a girl’s skate competition in the area.

Who are the people behind ‘’Girls Skate LA’’?

Girls Skate LA is the beginning of a larger project Amanda Powell and I have been developing to increase the girls’ skate community. As far as the Girls of LA go these days: Rachel Bruskoff digs downhill, Sammi Leon dances all day, Claudia Arce freerides for freedom, and Jackie Lum pimps it up in a pool. The way we see it, more girl skaters is better for everyone.

Why?

Just imagine being a mundane dude or lady, or a wondrous little kid, and seeing a moped scoot by with two chicks and two skateboards, or a trail of chicks skating who-knows-where; but definitely having an awesome time; while you take the same boring path you always do?! The stoke it brings is endless! Being a girl skateboarder is the easiest way I’ve found to turn frowns upside down. Maybe they’re just feeding off my own stoke for being stoked, but either way… more girls on boards.

What is this project yourself and Amanda are working on?

It’s just in the rudimentary stages of development. We’ll be getting a move on in the fall as we’ll have more free time to develop it as roommates. We dream big, and we’ll be sure to hit you up when we’re ready to get the word out.

Is there an end game?

Eventually we want to be able to sponsor our own team of “Shred Sistas”, to continue to grow the sport and to help keep our skate tribe alive. There’s just about one million things we must do before then.

Downhill competing team?

Well… we do love the downhill… but whatever makes sense at the time.

How would you define success?

Success is…
Doing WHAT I want, WHEN I want, with WHOM I want.
…I want to skateboard, for a long, long time, with rad people.

What are you doing to get more girls to skate?

I’m skating!  All over. And I talk about it. And I put it out there, on my blog, so other girls know that we are out there skating. I try to get the girls I know to get together to skate as much as possible, and we’ve been known to flag down other chicks we see to skate with us, too. We’ve recently added some GoPros to our skate gear, so I’m sure we’ll have more evidence soon! Girls Skate LA! We’re making business cards. Business of Skate!

Earlier you mentioned a Maryhill She-Ride, what’s that?

Maryhill She-Ride! Ahh I’m sooooo pumped. It’s gonna be the largest collection of downhill skater chicks in the history of history.  July 28th and 29th, 2012. It’s the first year they’ve closed the road for chicks, which sounds like a good time to start going! It’s not a race, just a ride. If you’re of the lady variety, and you downhill, go to it.

Who’s organising this event?

www.maryhillratz.com, Skate[Slate], SkateHouseMedia, Longboard Girls Crew, Riptide Bushings will be there, Rip City Skates, Five Mile Longboards, Girl Riders Organization, Longboard Larry, PDX Downhill, Sector 9, Venom, Rayne.
I’m not sure who’s idea it was in the first place, I don’t know that my skate self was born before it was, but I’ll be glad to meet whoever’s idea it was on the hill!

What if you’re a chick and you don’t downhill?

Learn so you can come next year, or grab your balls and come this year anyway. It’s gonna be rad.

How are you getting to the She ride?

Making a huge deal of it, basically. Amanda Powell, Marisa Nunez, Pam Diaz, Ishtar Backlund, and I have taken it into our hands to create a project documenting our roadtrip to and time at the Maryhill She Ride with the Longboard Girl’s Crew. We will be providing the community with an awesome mini-doc. You can expect 2 episodes. One will be released in August, the second in September.



Who is shooting this doc?

We are! We will be doing all the filming and Pam Diaz will be editing the final project.

So it’s a skate trip with 5 girls documented by 5 skaters girls!

Yeah yeah yeah!

What are you most excited about regarding this documentary?

After the first 2 days with these chicks collectively, this is what we came up with. I’m mostly excited just to hang with such radness.  So much synergy and good vibes, and so much skate! The documentary is going to be awesome because we all had to commit to going and working on a project very quickly, and we did. It’s going to be great to see our work come together as a final project. I’m just stoked other people want to see that as much as we want to participate. Also… Skateboard!

How did you hook up with the rest of the gang?

Hmmm. Well they all stayed in So Cal after the Maryhill FOS. I’ve met the girls except for Ishtar previously. On Sunday morning we met at callbacks for a casting call in LA looking for girl longboarders (random), and then we headed to the hills to get on with more important things: doing downhill. After an exhausting and exhilarating afternoon in the sun, we headed home to relax, and realized we would all be parting ways quickly given current plans.

To be honest, we dreamed up the project as a way to make sure we had more time to spend with each other. Chick shredders are hard to find, and we want to show the world what we’ve found in Lady Stoke, because that’s what we feel the world needs. We know it’s what we need.

In the next 48 hours we brainstormed, conference called LGC Spain, quit jobs, missed flights, cancelled races, filmed, produced fliers, created a proposal package for sponsors, and collected almost half of what we need to make the trip a reality.

Have you skated Maryhill before?

Nope. Never skated a closed grip run before. Can’t wait to not worry about a car in the blind corner. Woo!

What did you ride in the beginning?

I had a Sector 9 I bought complete with Gullwing Sidewinders and cruisy wheels. Bought a Loaded Dervish on Paris Trucks with Orangatang Nipples and yellow Stimulus a month after I started skating.

Do you still ride either?

I lend my Sector out to friends that want to learn how to skate. I’m a Dervish girl for cruising and dancing. Just got the new Dervish Sama with kicks from Loaded and I sadly have not even hopped on my old Dervish since. Have a downhill board for downhill, which works much better than a flexy board for going fast.

What is your skate self?

That’s the tiny being inside me that skates.  I don’t really feel like it’s me sometimes.  Has a mind of it’s own, and a drive of it’s own.

Does it have a name/hobbies?

It’s just how the universe has it’s way with me. Makes me it’s minion to get the message out. How musicians say its not them making music, or artists say it’s not them making the art.

Even tinier than your little human self?

So much tinier!

You ride for Loaded?
I ride for Daisy. I do get hooked up with flOwTANG wheels to keep me spinning and the new Dervish Sama was a timely gift from Loaded for a music video shoot I recently did.  All of which I’m very grateful for.

Are you a famous musician?

Oh geez, no way! Musicians might as well be magicians to me. I just skateboard everyday and someone asked if I wanted to skate in a music video, so I said… Shityeah!

How did it go?

It went great! I’ve never done anything like that, or been to the places we filmed, or skated together with the group of girls I skated with, so the experience was well worth it. Plus I met surfer chicks! Whoop! The final project is going to appeal to a large number of people outside of the sport. Expect it to increase the overall longboarding market, more so than be a top-of-the-line longboarding video.

What’s your downhill setup?

I’m currently riding a Bustin prototype pre-EQ. I have 50 degree Paris Trucks on the front, with a 42 degree “Prandal” in the back. Purple Venom 87/ Yellow Venom 85. Orange In Heats from Orangatang, unscrubbed. I’m only gripping these days. It’s not perfectly dialed, gonna go softer bushing in the front, and get a better board for my size, but I’ve put miles on that board for sure, and loved them all. Ojoom Pucks all day and all night.

Are any of those your sponsors?
Orangatang Wheels. Ojoom Pucks. (Yellow puck steeze, FTW!) Rampage Skate Park Equipment has sponsored me in some form for decades. The Bustin board was a gift from Sara Paulshock after doing downhill on my Dervish. (Which Loaded, and I, do not recommend, btw.)

I’ve recently started sponsorship with a start up board company from the east coast of the US, Blue Sky Longboards, and I’m pretty pumped on the plans they’re pushing.

(New Year’s Resolution: Use more alliteration…. Winning…)

High five for the alliterations, how do you reward yourself?

I self-high five and giggle in the mirror.

What’s your role in the Blue Sky?

Well, I’m definitely picking up the role of “hype girl”, because Blue Sky Longboards is awesome. They have been fully supportive of me thus far as a Team Rider, in more ways than I would know to ask for. I’ll be wearing hats for Product Development and West Coast Rep as well. I’m more than pleased to help Blue Sky grow as a business as they’ve showed me very quickly that they’re pleased to help me grow as a rider. Synergy is everything. When Blue Sky says “Push,” Daisy says “How far?”

Till you feel it in your belly.

In my belly, in my paws, in my hip flexor!

Should we be expecting a blue mini DJ downhill skateboard?

Ah, we make have something like that up our sleeves… The skies are blue.

What sort of skating do you enjoy?

Well, dancing was my first love, but downhill swept me off my feet prior to the Catalina Island Classic. I’ll be freeriding soon, recently nailed 180s; I loved tech sliding for a week when I stole Kyle Chin’s board; I bought a streetboard but haven’t really learned to ollie it yet (feeling bad…must go outside…) but I can do a rock to fakey, ah ha! I’m dying to get in a pool with a good set up, and I cruise all day on my board for transportation like it’s my car.
Ahhhhh! I just love skating.

How did you get into downhill?

Well it was only a matter of time, I had seen downhill since the beginning. Amanda called me up to skate at Venice Beach while Marcus Bandy was taking photos for her Wheelbase Magazine interview. Marisa Nunez and Sara Paulshock were in town, so I called out of my duties the next day to meet them and skate. We headed to GMR, a place none of us had been, and I watched Sara and Marcus take a run all nice and carvey and flowy. I never knew you could do that! I’d only seen pro riders go all out on runs before all gnar-like. I wanted to watch them do it like 10 more times, but the skies were ready to rain, and we only had time for one more. Amanda gave me downhill bushings, Sara gave me downhill wheels, I jumped on my Dervish (flex 1) with Jessup grip, and came out 3.5 miles later unscathed and in LOVE. I think it only takes one successful run to get into downhill.

What did it feel like, skating with so many rad chicks?

It felt amazing to be out there with the girls, and it felt right to be following them down a run. Like they knew something I didn’t and I needed to know it as soon as possible! The ride itself felt like I died twice, and meditated for 45 minutes; like I was a child, and the king of the world, simultaneously. I think it takes about 7.5 minutes to get down carving it out. I wrote a blog post about it.

You skate a lot with the Loaded guys?

Homie status, since the beginning. They were among the first people I met in the skate world, and the community is a large part of why I kept coming back. I’m moving into the new Loaded House of Skate soooon.

Moving in with whom?

Amanda Powell, Dane Webber, Dustin Hampton, Trevor Baird, and a crash pad for Loaded Ambassadors coming into town for events and filming.

That sounds pretty sweet!

The sweetest.

Do you compete?

I raced at the Catalina Island Classic on my 8th day of doing downhill. I knew it was above my skill level, but they needed girls to make a girl’s division.

How did you convince yourself to race on your 8th day of going super fast?

Amanda asked me to race 3 times, and Brent Dubendorff told the skate community he needed more chicks 3 times. Emailed Dubes that if he could find me tiny leathers, I would find everything else I needed and race. Within 18 hours he had said “Done.” I needed help with SO MANY things in order to race, but I got them all, so I just kept going with it. I went on every downhill run I could find a ride to until the race. Thanks to the Skate Gods, and to Carly Richardson for somehow wanting to ride down mountains when both she and the community were so young.

What was the race like?

I lost. Ah ha! 6 out of 6. It was the most technical course I’ve seen to-date. I high sided on the last tight off-camber right, and hurt my shoulder to the point of immobility in my last practice run. I raced two heats unable to put my predrift hand down, and don’t think I could have physically done anymore. It was perfect for me, minus the pain, to be able to watch the girls race 3 heats. I saw enough to know that I wanted in the club, that these cats are much more gnar than me, and that I had a lot of work to do to be on their level, including “dialing my set up.” (Dustin Hampton advice.)

The whole experience was an amazing glimpse of the race world and a gnar course way before I was ready for it. It was great to be able to experience a world so many of my homies had talked about first hand, to hang with the clan, and to meet so many new bright shiny skate faces.

Can’t wait for next year’s when I know how to downhill.

Did skate life change after Catalina?

I did not skate for two weeks after Catalina due to my shoulder, and my appetite for downhill increased voraciously. I’ve put in a few hundred miles of grip runs with local crews since. Joe Gutkowski, Matthew Peckson, and Michael Melone helped foster “Downhill Daisy” shortly before and after the race.

Substantial opportunities have come up since Catalina in my skate life, but a lot of that actually coming to fruition has to do with the video: Raw Run with Daisy. Matt Peckson filmed it on one of the “training runs” he and Joe Gutkowski took me on prior to the race. Joe was pretty sure at the time that I ate shit hard on the run because another rider came down way before me, and was stoked on how I handled it instead after seeing the footage. He edited it to the tunes of my homie, Joey Paranoia, and released it while I was AT Catalina, which was awesome to come back to.


Will you be doing more racing?

I’ll be competing soon, and living large in LA’s Longboard Land of Oz until then. I have not planned fully which races yet, but I should be making it to a few at least. I plan on going to Pam Diaz and friends’ Jacagua Extreme Downhill race in Dominican Republic in September: http://loadedboards.com/2012/07/jacagua-extreme-downhill/

I will be making my way to NYC come Bomb time, to spend some time with the Blue Sky family and some old time homies, as well as looking for good excuses to visit Virginia, Florida, and Austin, TX.

What’s your favourite place to skate?

Malibu, GMR, Venice Beach, and wherever Gel Lab’s weekly session is. Preferably all 4, each week, with the homies.

Where would you like to be in 3 years?

In 3 years from today, I would like to be approaching 30 years old, healthy, happy, loved and loving. My life seems to change so quickly and in such monumental ways, I don’t think I’m in control of the next 3 years in much detail. I will develop dreams to guide me, react to reality, and fight for freedom along the way. Hopefully make enough dough to keep the wheels spinning.
Skate just makes it all easier and better, so I’m sure I’ll still be around these parts.

What do you do when you’re not skating?

I play monkeys with my dog; I do yoga; I schedule appointments for 18 year olds to go to job interviews; I skype with my favorite person: Jamber (Rose) and my sidekick: Electric Geoffrey; I try to hang out with my non-skate homies; I go to Starbucks; I call my Mom. I’m still trying to commit to: sewing instead of shopping, cooking instead of eating out, drinking less coffee, saying “no” to chocolate, running instead of not running, quality over quantity, and I would like to do all of the following things more often: Traveling, rock climbing, backpacking, camping, slacklining, yoga, swimming, diving, surfing, white water kayaking, trail running, selling knives or boards or something awesome, hooping, soccer, ultimate frisbee, dancing to sweeeet beats, producing, driving, working, laughing, seeing friends I haven’t seen lately, meeting and making new ones, and spending holidays with my Mom.

Why would you say no to chocolate?

I don’t, really. I just should sometimes.

Does yoga help your skating?

Yoga definitely helps with skating. Skating is the first sport I’ve participated in that doesn’t have an organized warm up/stretch/workout routine to it. So, I must yoga.

Your mom is a huge influence?

My mom is… the reason that I wake up in the morning, when I would rather sleep. The ultimate motivation behind every forward-thinking move I make. When it’s time, I’ll transfer that motive to my children, but at this juncture, it’s my mom.

Any advice for any young women reading this who may be nervous about diving into the deep end?

Go confidently forward, don’t stand hesitantly on the fence. Life is easier that way. Skate is easier that way. Everyone that is really, really good at longboarding, could at one point barely push around. They’ve just put in a lot more hours skating. Get out there. It’s so awesome.

Anything you would like to say to the world before I conclude?

Just that I loves ya, and you’re awesome. Ah, hah! The most attractive thing you can do is whatever your thing is. Just do it, enjoy it, and commit to it. Life is good when you’re immersed in what you do best.

Choose 3 numbers between 1-36.

7, 18, 34

7 – What is your favourite meal?

Pizza, and any meal consisting of chicken, carbs, and vegetables.

18- What is/was your favourite Cartoon?

Rugrats. Was. I don’t watch TV much.

36:  Pearce D’Arcy asks: What is the last hill you would like to skate before you die?

I suppose the road to Mt. Baldy. It’s the gnarliest shit around these parts, and I’m terrified of the thought. 60mph through tunnels and into hairpins.

Daisy. You’re a little bundle of rad. It has been awesome talking to you. Be good.

Thanks, G. You do it well. See you at the Bomb, I hope.

Any thank yous?
To all of my pre-skate homies for trying to understand.  To Rachel Bruskoff for saying “no” to softball, “yes” to skating, and getting up every time she falls down with a huge smile on her face. To Cory Hirschman and Sam Hay for showing me how hard I want to shred when I grow up. To the Adams and SkateHouseMedia for starting and keeping the top spinning. To Mander, Jamber (Rose), and Aimee Frappied for everything.

Links:

My blog:  http://loveonalongboard.tumblr.com

www.blueskylongboards.com
www.skateparkramps.com

Gel Labs’ Thursday night beats sessions via interwebs:

http://mixlr.com/the-gel-lab

You tube stalk:

Joe Gutkowski: http://www.youtube.com/user/joegutkowski
Joey Paranoia:  http://www.youtube.com/user/joeyparanoia
Gel Lab:  http://www.youtube.com/user/GelLabVideo

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