Dave Atess: Gnomesteez

The Metro Gnome tells us about how he got into skating, the BC team and his plans for the future. Enjoy
doing the thingHey Dave, how are you?
Great! Thanks for giving me the opportunity to work with you on this.
Where are you from?
Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, but I have lived in Stillwater, Oklahoma for the past seven years.
Why did you move?
My parents wanted to retire somewhere chill. My grandparents lived here in Stillwater and it’s where my mom grew up so she wanted to come back here and have my attend the same college she graduated from. They were deciding between Stillwater and Phoenix, Arizona. I was definitely bummed we didn’t move to Phoenix.
Because you wanted to self combust and rise from your ashes?
It was always a childhood dream of mine to be able to achieve such a feat, so it was really a dagger to the heart when I realized it wasn’t going to happen.
What’s your new dream?
Realistically, I just want to be successful and continue to do what is fun. Unrealistically…. I’d like to fly.
Does anything else give you the thrill of what you imagine flying to be like?
Oh yes. That would be downhill skateboarding!
When did you start skating?
I started skating about 5 years ago. The same year I moved to Stillwater, another guy moved here from California. We turned out to live relatively close to each other in the same big neighborhood and I rode his longboard. It was a blast going down the mellow hills and it sparked a love and thirst for speed that I still can’t quench.
You went straight from zero to DH?
I was more of a “cruiser” at first, only going 15-20mph tops. Then I got into the dancing and freestyle aspects of longboarding because it was easy to find fun spots for that style in my town. I started freeriding and skating fast and more “seriously” about 2-2.5 years ago.
What did you enjoy about dancing and freestyle ?
It was always enjoyable no matter what terrain, so living in a generally flat area was no problem. I was able to practice and skate however much I wanted, unlike downhill where I have to travel.
Do you still skate with the other guy?
Unfortunately, no. From what I hear, he still skates every once in awhile, late at night, hitting the same runs we used to 4-5 years ago. I’m sure i’ll skate with him sometime in the future, but as for right now I think he is busy with other commitments.
What was the community like there?
Early on, there weren’t many people out skating. At least, none that I saw. There were about 4 older guys who were in college at OSU when I was still in high school and I would see them every once in a while but I wasn’t into the freeriding they did at the time.
When did you start seeing more people on boards?
The past two years I have really seen an increase in the amount of riders in the Oklahoma scene as well as the group that skates in my town.
Who else did you skate with in the early days?
When skating started to turn into more of a passion, I was skating with my three buddies Gerrit Hoover, Colin Palmer, Blake Patterson, and Jake Hess. Gerrit still skates with me today and is usually skating with me every time I go out to hit a run or to dick around.
What got you into going faster?
Kicking harder and harder into my local runs. We have one somewhat techy run around 35mph which really got me into downhill, but that’s the only gnarly run we have.  About a year and a half ago on the night of high school graduation I got invited to go to go skate “Tali.”  World class hills on the border of Oklahoma and Arkansas. Top speeds of 70-75mph. You have to go with the right people or meet up with the sheriffs before and abide by all of their rules in order to skate those roads. Next level. Lets just say I was terrified after I saw them. Wasn’t very experienced at the time, but some homies from Bombsquad talked me into it and I’m glad I took the plunge. All about the adrenaline.
You skipped graduation for skating?
Nope, I attended my graduation ceremony and received the invite when I was off celebrating with some friends. Had to end celebrating early and head home for some rest so I could leave bright and early the next morning.
Do the sheriffs skate?
They do not, at least not to my knowledge. They’re really stoked on it, though. Apparently the luge world champions used to be held on one of the hills so they’re used to seeing the adrenaline junkies bomb down their hills. All they ask is that you notify them before you go, you wear leathers, and put up signs at the top and bottom of the runs that let traffic know that gravity vehicles are in use and to stay in their lane.
How did that experience change your life?
It definitely made me crave more speed, more runs, and more skate trips with the guys. I’d like to head back out there soon and really hit the runs as hard as I can. I forgot to mention earlier, the guys who took me there are now part of the BC Longboards team with me. At the time, only one of them was riding for them, and that is Jason Machado. Hardest ripper out of Oklahoma. The #1 person that indirectly pushes me to skate harder. I haven’t asked any of those guys about it but I think that going on that trip to Talimena is what set me up to get hooked up with BC Longboards.
What is the BC crew?
BC Longboards is owned by Brandon Bryant and Marshall Cooper. Bryant and Cooper make the BC. They have a rad guy in the shop working with them every day, that would be Brett. An awesome dude, and always packing heat! We don’t mess around here in Oklahoma. The BC Team consists of Jason Machado, Josh Hughes, Kyle Ramsey, and myself. Great group of guys that I spend most of every skate trip with.
How does Jason push you?
Jason skates hard. He’s not worried to push it to the next level or get super sketchy to be gnarly.  To this day he still surprises me with some stunts he’ll pull mid-run like a sketchy fast toeside check or tucking through turns I thought had to be drifted.  In events, we get really competitive even though it isn’t spoken. It’s always for fun, but I think he’s beaten me twice and I’ve beaten him twice as well. We frequently see each other on the podium. He is also a nurse, making the big bucks at a hospital in Oklahoma City. Josh also works at the same hospital. Always cool hanging out with someone who has their shit together!
What’s the sketchiest thing you’ve seen him pull?
Hauling through our run we call “switchbacks” and scrubbing out. Ended up bear hugging a boulder.
Do they ever have to use their medical skills on hills?
Definitely. It’s great having them around when stuff goes wrong. On our last trip to Arkansas, my buddy and teammate Kyle went down with the rest of us on some space pave when it turned to ice mid-run. Unfortunately for Kyle, he broke his right arm when he fell. Jason was up immediately and over to Kyle to make sure nothing was TOO gnarly. He kept everything under control and they all got to the hospital to get Kyle taken care of.
When did Kyle return to the game?
No less than 3 hours after breaking his arm, Kyle was buttboarding the runs we were skating so he could still get gnarly. Pain killers are to thank for that, but it was an absolute blast cruising next to him and seeing him still so stoked even though the trip took such a bad turn.
BC 6 Freehide-27
What’s your role in the gang?
Honestly, I think they keep me around just to be the Gnome. I’m there to skate 100%, but I’m also there to talk some shit, make everything a little more competitive, and of course to annoy when it is needed. I’m also the youngest so I feel like they all influence me with their own styles to help turn me into a complete skater. When I say complete skater, I mean one that skates everything from hills to park. I can hold my one on a mellow mini ramp, but I have a long way to go with that type of skating.
What does the Gnome do?
The only real gnomes I know of are garden gnomes.Those little ceramic guys that watch over everyone’s flowers and junk.I picked up the nickname due to my short stature. Coming in at 5’7” I’m not the tallest. My actual name is Dave Atess.
Has Gnomeo found a skating Juliet?
I have an awesome girlfriend, Kaylee, that cruises around with me sometimes! She has her own BC board but only uses it for mellow cruising. We’ve been dating for a year and a couple months and she fully supports what I do. It’s great not having a girl who nags about me skating all the time.
How are Stoklahomies different from the rest?
I think something that sets us apart is that we have the drive to go places and skate better hills than we have. I’d expect people to live where I do to be bored of not having any gnarly roads like you see in longboarding videos all the time.
Furthest distance you’ve driven for a hill?
The drive to Golden, Colorado for Buffalo Bill this year was about 12 hours. The drive to Albuquerque, NM is 10 hours. I make the trip to Albuquerque every year so I’m getting more and more used to it.
How do you retain sanity on these ghastly trips?
We usually find ways to entertain ourselves. Always have to have the good footy and good music, and some of the time we talk about past rad skate trips. We always make sure to be safe on long drives.
What do you enjoy about DH skating?
I like that when I’m skating fast I’m not thinking about anything else but skating. My mind is blank except for what my next move is.
When did you join the BC team?
I got on the BC team exactly one year ago this month. It’s been a great journey and it’s only getting better.
BC 6 Freehide-12
How will you celebrate you anniversary?
With the release of my pro model board, the BC Chimaera. Keep your eye out for it, it’s a killer deck!
What’s special about the Chimaera?
It’s a symmetrical shape using the nose of the BC Torpedo, mixed with a combination of micro drop, rocker, W, and some aggressive concave. Locks my feet in perfectly.
How does it ride?
Great. 26” Wheelbase keeps it exactly where I want it under my feet. It’s 35” long, too, so it’s the perfect size for me.
Does it work for full sized adults?
The board will definitely work for anyone. As long as they have a preference for wheelbases under 30 inches, it should be fine.
Why didn’t you name it Gnomephoenix?
BC’s boards have an underwater theme so I named it after the long-nosed Chimeara, a crazy looking deadly fish closely related to sharks that lives in the deep seas of Japan.
On what terrain is the Chimeara happiest?
The Chimaera is the most functional when it comes to fast freeriding and downhill. I redrilled the wheelbase so now it’s sitting at 24” and that makes it more fun in neighborhoods so I can ollie obstacles with the flat tails left from the redrill.
Will it come with the extra wheelbase options?
The wheelbase options will be 26 and 27 inches. I enjoy short wheelbases and this is a very fun shape to have fun with re-drilling to find the perfect wheelbase.
What is the most important thing you’ve learnt about staying safe at high speeds?
Always stay within my limits. Usually I’ll take a chill run down new runs and get a good feel for them before I start to charge them. Being aware of my surroundings is also key. Always looking ahead into turns and down the road if possible.
Why did you decide to start competing?
I started a race series in my town with a few guys who skate here and it was a blast. There’s just something about competing with everyone that makes your heart beat a little faster. Bigger events started happening in Oklahoma between the crew here in Stillwater and the guys from Oklahoma City, it was a blast getting to skate with everyone.
What was the hardest thing about organising the races?
Most of the events I organize are outlaws so it’s always nerve racking when I’m left wondering if we’ll get rolled on by the police or not.
What was your first race?
When I started the race series it ran for 8 weeks, with a race every week. Sometimes the OKC guys would come down and race and other times it was the 6-8 guys from Stillwater that would show up. We had a point system to determine who made it to the finals of the series and the final race was intense. I ended up winning that race and took the series which made it even more fun. Since then, I’ve started to travel more and get out to bigger events so I can race with a bigger crowd. Our events in Oklahoma are starting to get anywhere from 35-50 riders participating so it’s great to have new faces show up to compete.
Now, I’ve been to 14 events with 9 podium finishes and I love getting out to every event I can. The biggest event that i’ve been to was BBDH 2012 in Golden, Colorado. BC Longboards got me out there and it was the best skating experience I’ve had yet. I raced with two very good downhill skaters and that was really rad. My second heat at that event ended up being in the rain and it was nuts…never skated any mountain roads in the rain considering I don’t live very close to any mountains.
Which podium are you happiest with?
Either my 1st place finish at the Triple Threat outlaw or my 3rd place at the AO Groundhog Day outlaw here in Oklahoma because I had stacked heats throughout both races.
What do you enjoy about organising events?
It’s a blast to be able to skate with everyone from around the midwest and compete with new riders that couldn’t make it to previous events.
What event has the best party?
The biggest event that I went to this past year was Buffalo Bill and I didn’t make it to the party after the race because I had to head back to Oklahoma for class the next morning. However, a night before the freeride day I went to Boulder and hung out with a ton of people at the Venom warehouse and that was a blast.
BC 6 Freehide-40
How was 2012 for you?
A roller coaster for sure. Balancing school and skating was tough, and some of my business classes were really tough for me.  I had quite a bit of injuries including the recurring hip bursas that plague me. At the same time, I picked up some great support from all of my sponsors including my wheel sponsor, Metro wheels, who helps me slay hills as much as I want by providing however much urethane I need under my feet. Met some awesome people and skated with riders that I look up to. My entire crew here in Oklahoma is going strong and only getting bigger so I’m excited to see what happens in the future.
What do you plan for 2013?
Travel more, compete as much as possible while still having fun. I hope to continue to represent the rad companies that support me and help them expand during the year as well. I also hope to keep my good grades up in college and keep my scholarships so I don’t have to take out loans and all of that jazz. I’m hoping to stay active as much as I can and mountain bike whenever I can’t get out and skate to stay conditioned. Whatever it takes to balance hard work and having fun.
Who are your other sponsors?
Metro Wheel Co, Buck Trucks, Riptide Bushings, and Advanced Slide Labs. I also get some support from G-form.
BC 6-2
When did you link up with them?
Riptide has been my longest lasting sponsor, got hooked up with them in 2011. Buck Trucks and Advanced slide labs picked me up in ‘12 along with BC and Metro.
Will there be Gnome wheels soon?
I would really love for there to be a wheel out of Metro called the Gnomes because they would be Metrognomes and I think that would be funny. Unfortunately I don’t think that will happen.
Are we going to see the Gnome on hills outside America?
I’d love to get out of the countries for the traveling experience and to skate different hills. Not sure if that will happen sooner rather than later but I hope it happens eventually.
Pick 3 numbers between 1-41.
3, 27, 35
3 – What impact has longboarding had on your life?
Longboarding has led me to travel a lot more in my life. I’m spending money on experiences rather than material items and that helps to maintain happiness and live a positive lifestyle.
27- What did you do last weekend?
Traveled to Fayetteville, Arkansas, with my new flow BC teammate David Pierce to get some footage for the upcoming video on the BC Tuna. Skated with some great friends I don’t see very often and kept it chill.
35 – Mason McNay asks: Are you on the sex offenders register?
No, but my dirty stache may leave you thinking otherwise.
IMG_6284It’s been really fun talking to you homie!
A great time was had! Thanks again for the opportunity!
Any thank yous?
Thane Magazine! Shout outs to sponsors and supporters: BC Longboards, Metro wheels, Buck Trucks, Riptide Bushings, Advanced Slide Labs, G-form. Big ups to Metro Wheel Co and Buddy Carr for making 2012 one hell of a year and supporting me with the most expensive part of skateboarding for me. John Jackson, Owner of ASL, for supporting me and having me out at the lab in Arizona for a week of shredding! Marshall Cooper and Brandon Bryant of BC Longboards for keeping the best wood under my feet, giving me an opportunity to design boards, and getting me out to events.  I also have to give a big thank you to Ray Young for being my first sponsor (Bliss Longboards) and keeping me stoked on skating early on. Oh! And my parents!
www.youtube.com/cro0zfl3xd3x   My YouTube channel
http://krlongboarding.tumblr.com/      Kyle Ramsey’s blog on Oklahoma skating
www.skatetheeast.net            Supporting the homies! Rad site run by Mike DiPietroPhotos by the talented Kyle Ramsey!