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a few words with Geoff Dermer at Vic West  


a few words with Geoff Dermer at Vic West

by Ashton. Apr 24, 2004


Ashton: What Park did you grow up skating?

Geoff: I grew up in Vancouver and I think about 1989 I first went to China Creek. It's a skatepark with two bowls on Broadway at Clark in Vancouver.

Ashton: How long did you skate China Creek?

Geoff: That's where I was first brought into the culture of skating. Back then there were all sorts of people skating. Every night in the summer time, there would be like 50 dudes with dreds and Mohawks doing laid-back grinds and hand plants. It was a crazy, crazy time in skating, and I was always kind of the youngest kid there. Then after street skating became more popular I just stopped going there. I started getting more interested in curbs.

Ashton: Have you always lived in Van?

Geoff: I was born in Vancouver. I guess five or six years ago I moved out of my parent's house, and for the last five years have been living right downtown.

Ashton: What you think about Vic West, what's your favorite thing about it.

Geoff: My favorite thing about this Park is that it's not congested. A lot of parks that get rushed up, sometimes they get built by people that don't skate for whatever reason. They just get built with obstacles too close together. Unfortunately taxpayers waste hundreds of thousands of dollars on parks that people don't skate. They just don't know what they're doing. I've been to tons of parks that are pretty much write-offs. They pretty much just put money down the drain by just contracting the job to, like their uncle's brother or something. So like, New Line with this Park. I heard this is the first time they used this polished shiny cement, that's the kind of thing. And how it has transition and street stuff and just how big it is. This may be my favorite Park in the world I think. I've never seen photos of a park that looks this good, let alone skated one.

Ashton: Yeah, it's a really nice Park.

Geoff: Last summer I did a tour to Newfoundland and I skated like 37 parks, and this is the best one.

Ashton: What's your favorite trick

Geoff: Ah, it changes daily. The first one I land each day? I don't know. Could be a switch trick or a grind one day. Maybe a front side rock on transition, or pivot to fakie on a quarter pipe, or the Ollie off a curb downtown in a lane of traffic, swerving in and out of cars on Robson. All the G's in their lowered boom cars, snakin in and out, showing them what's really up. Stuff like that.

Ashton: How long have you been skating?

Geoff: Well, I'm 24 and I've been skating 15 years. I've been skating since I was 9. That's a pretty long time. I have been skating for as long as my friend Nikki here is old. So that's quite a while. It's done a lot for me. I've grown up skating and now I have a job in skating. I am team manager for the United Team. I organize tours and demos like this one to help promote United's clothing and promote the team, to help them out by getting the team more coverage and exposure which in turn will show that united is a unique grass roots local company that really cares about helping their riders. I also make sure we get footage for our next video and to put new stuff on our web site united-riders.com. You can see footage of our guys riding there. It's been really cool. I've been to Tampa, I've been to Jamaica.

a few words with Geoff Dermer at Vic West

Ashton: Doing what you love and getting paid for it?

Geoff: Well getting paid..... I make enough to get by and that makes me happy. I just want to skate and see the world and meet new people. Experience how rad skating is all over, whether it's Victoria here today or anywhere you go, there's always people having a good time skating. And it's like minded people to. You don't find skaters that are like, too aggressive, bored, or into much other than just having a good time and enjoying life, you know.

Ashton: Who motivated you to start skateboarding or was there anybody?

Geoff: I think I just knew I wanted to do it. I saw someone Ollie up a curb one day and I just couldn't even believe it. The board jumped up on the curb and he stayed on it. I just totally freaked out. Even before I saw that guy do an Ollie, I had a board and I knew how to ride. I was already comfortable on a board so I knew I wanted to Ollie up a curb. It took months. I remember how I practiced forever because I didn't really learn with anyone. I just learned on my block by myself. So after learning to Ollie up curbs, I went to the skatepark and learned to launch out of the bowl.

I was always just motivated by the kinda guys that could motivate me with more than just their skating. I was motivated by guys like Jimmy Miller, guys that devote their whole live to skating. Not just the guy with the best tricks that cruises around. I like the whole social aspect of skating, and the people who just know everyone and are liked. There were guys like that at China Creek. Like you see the older guys that are just down with everyone and are such good skaters. People like that motivated me.

Also seeing all sorts of things motivates me. I saw a guy earlier that seriously could have been like 50 and that's totally motivating to me because I'm 24, and some days I wake up my ankles are feeling pretty shot already. I just figure if these guys are like 50 and still skating, then that's almost as motivating as seeing a guy do a big switch flip crooked grind down the rail. That's pretty rad, that people can do it for so long. Who else is like that? Oh, Rodney Mullin. The guy's like 37 and he just keeps inventing new tricks.

One of my favorite parts about skating is it's not ... finished yet. It's going to keep going. It's not going to stop. Maybe this second somebody skating a piece of cement in Malaysia at the edge of the jungle just did the very first nollie triple big spin flip to nose manual or maybe somebody just did the biggest 33 stair turkey grind ever. It's going to get crazier and scarier and more techish.

Ashton: You think skateboarding is going to keep getting crazier? Bigger sets? Bigger rails?

a few words with Geoff Dermer at Vic West

Geoff: I think so because kids are doing it younger. Guys like Ryan Sheckler or Tosh Townsend, are like kick flipping 15 stairs when they are 14. I don't know how they are going to make it to my age, I hope they do. I just don't think the progression is going to stop. People are going to be doing new variations because there's so much to do. Watch the new whatever video, the new workshop video, the new girl video, the new DC video. In almost every video, the thing that seems to be becoming more popular, is to be more unique. It's not like the biggest kick flip or the biggest rail slide. It's like, do something different. Do something that people might not have seen for like 10 years but do something .... just weirder.

It's like art. The more abstract or unique, it makes it that much better, kind of, so uniqueness is an awesome part of skateboarding. People have so many different styles and tricks that they go to. My "go to" trick is maybe, like a turkey grind, another person's might be a backside lip slide. Everyone's sort of got different roots on every trick that they use. On good days they'll land a new trick and it'll be so totally different than another guys. It's all chaotic. There is no conformity in it. There kind of is. I mean we all look like skaters and we all do kick flip's but you pretty much can do whatever you want if you skate. You can do anything. You can go do tricks over puddles. You can go skate a railroad track or a gap. Put a garbage can on its side and that's something to skate. That's something that I am super psyched about. You just need your board. You can just be with yourself, your board, and some cement. You can have a totally good time wherever you are.

When you travel around the world you find that if you skate, and you break out your board, whether you're in Europe or Australia or Japan, you will automatically have this crew. When the skaters show up and you are a skater, it's like the comradary is there. People that have been skating forever like it turns you into a different kind of human being. We look at everything a bit differently. Kinda just like, different than everyone else. Our eyes are trained to see differently. Like when we see a set of stairs, it's like "that's a skatable set of stairs". If there's a big ledge downtown, probably a skater looks at it every 20 minutes and thinks woah, I want to Ollie off that, so we think a little differently than the rest of the world, so that's a pretty cool part about skating.

Ashton: Skateboarding definitely has its own culture.

Geoff: Yeah, it's something that I see is changing. I hang out with a lot of young kids. I hope it's all good. I think it's going to be all good. It's kind of because in the last few years it's gotten a lot more popular and a lot more accepted. With all the skateparks nowadays it seems that maybe it just all comes a little easier. Like tones of kids sort of hang out at the parks. Maybe they don't all totally love skating. It's like kids use skateparks like they used to use basketball courts. It's like the new place to take care of the kids. It's all good. It's all cool. I just get bummed out when some of them aren't thankful that they skate. It seems to me when I was younger people were more passionate about just being a skater. We were so far and few between that if you met another skater you were like "holy shit, let's go skate". It's kind of like now with the young kids, like super young kids, "well, of course you skate, everyone skates". It's all good, I think it's all good. I think young kids appreciate because they can go to parks and see all the different generations at once you know. Like right here in front of us waiting to drop in we got like a 50-year-old dude, 30-year-old dudes, 20-year-old dudes, 10-year-old dudes

Ashton: There's always a wide range of people that skate. I think that's one main thing I love about it.

Geoff: Yeah, skateparks are good for that, it's like you get to see all the different peoples styles.

Ashton: Everybody's in a good mood. I like hanging out at the skatepark. Thanks Geoff.

Geoff: Cool man.

a few words with Geoff Dermer at Vic West

Right now Geoff skates as much as possible and lately has had quite a bit of coverage in videos and magazines, so his sponsors are stoked. Satori's video just came out it's called "Searching for Roots and Culture" The video he is filming for right now is called North 2, "Port Moody Blues".

Ashton -

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