Sequence: Chris Ortiz
This year has seen more ams than ever making that huge switch to pro status. David Gravette is one of them, proving his worth in a style that was impossible to ignore. His section in the latest Transworld flick, ‘And Now’ saw speedy gonzales-esque (only with a better hat collection) attacks on every terrain imaginable; not to mention that now-infamous 50-50 documented at the close of his Creature part that was on par with Pat Duffy’s ‘dude, rewind that shit!’ kinked rail pisstake in Questionable. David chomps through rails like an urban pac-man. Some things you just can’t argue with.
We caught up with him on the Bones tour of the UK to get the low down on the Baby Lamb. Watch out for this kid…
Straight off the plane?
The Eurostar actually. I got completely annihilated on the train yesterday and it kept going through the night and so now I’m pretty hungover.
Pretty much to the floor…
You guys don’t really have the same amount of alcohol in your beer as us Brits, so how does it change once you come to Europe?
Well in America I’m not quite drinking age yet. I’ve got my friend’s ID which says I’m 26 and is expired and doesn’t look like me but it works most of the time.
So you’re from Seattle?
Yep, Seattle, Washington.
Is that where you live now?
I pretty much just float around, I’m always traveling but I go back to Seattle for a week or two every couple of months.
Does it rain a lot up there?
Oh yeah, during the winter it rains every day. In the summer it’s really nice.
Similar to the UK then…
Yeah, basically the same weather pattern.
Were you stoked to see that it wasn’t pissing down when you got off the train?
Well, I can’t even skateboard properly because I had ankle surgery about 15 days ago and it’s been torture going to watch people skate every day and I’m just sitting there like “Yeah guys, do you wanna high five?”
How did you do the ankle?
I broke my ankle two years ago and got it x-rayed twice but they missed the break because they’re dumb asses so it’s been bothering me. I had this bone that kept breaking off the end of my talus bone so I got that removed.
So you reckon it’s cleared up?
It should be better in about a week so I hope to start skating then. It’s been about a month and a half, but I hurt my ankle again so I had to go see the doctor to see if the bone had moved because it felt a little bit worse than before. He said I should get it taken out before it went up into the joint. That meant I’d wasted two weeks letting it heal when I had to have another surgery anyway and start all over again.
There’s been quite a spotlight on you in mags as a skateboarder over the last six months. How have you found all of the attention, are you enjoying it?
It’s good for the bank but it’s pretty good considering what you have to do. Well, actually, it can be hard. It’s easy and it’s hard, it goes back and forth.
And how’s it with Creature?
The fucking best. I love it on Creature.
How did you got hooked up there originally?
I was skating a park in Washington and they were on their first Creature trip, since it got re-started and I saw them all there skating. I was riding rep flow for Independent and my rep was with NHS and he told me Creature wanted to sponsor me because they liked that I could skate street and tranny. I was riding for another small company called Santa Fe and it sucked because the owner was a super cool dude but I had to call him and quit. It was definitely one of the hardest things I’ve done but was definitely worth it, that’s for sure.
In terms of the whole team, it’s full of slayers. Have you ripped with Stu Graham yet?
I have been on a couple of trips with Stu and he’s fucking insane, don’t ever give him Vodka Red Bulls!
Who else on the team absolutely slays it for you?
My homie Devin Appelo, he’s one of the new Ams, he’s a fucking good dude. He’s from Portland, so I’ve been skating with him for about three years.
Has he got the Portland gnarl?
Oh man, he’s the gnarliest – chug a whole six-pack and jump the biggest gap you’ve ever seen first try. He doesn’t give a shit – toes through the shoe, board soaked in water, broken – Tre flip footplant 10 stairs, doesn’t give a fuck…
What about the legendary side of the crew, what do you take from those guys?
I like street skating with them, that’s a lot of fun because when we go on trips, they like to go out and fuck around. I don’t know how to explain it – drink some beers and shred a park!
Been logging much footage?
I filmed for the Transworld video ‘And Now..’ for the last eight months.
And what about Creature – is that coming soon?
Creature’s video is going to called Hesh Law. I believe that’s coming out in 2009 so I have about six months to complete my part.
You tend to rip in all sorts of places, but what’s your favourite terrain?
I like transition, just flowing through bowls or long mellow rails, that are low. But they go on for a while so you get on, they’re not too scary to get on, and you just try to hold it.
What’s been the hardest thing you’ve had to do skateboard-wise since you stepped up?
It’s been pretty hard filming for the Transworld video, lots of stress because it was a bit like “here are eight months to film the best footage of your life” and I dealt with a lot of injuries and kept hurting my ankle during the filming. But I got some things…
Which trick out of that particular video were you most psyched on?
Nose blunt 3 up 3 down in San Francisco. I didn’t think I’d be able to get it, I tried it for about half an hour or 40 minutes. It was a really long ledge and had to hold it for a long time, that was the scary bit.
Does music play a part in your daily life?
Oh yeah, I listen to music all the time. All sorts of different metals, mostly Iron Maiden. I don’t really like rap at all except Andre Nickatina and Lil Wayne. I pretty much listen to those guys all the time, and Hendrix. That’s the playlist.
If there was a record you couldn’t leave home without?
I’d probably have to go with my flower power mix on with all these stoner songs.
You on the road a lot?
Yeah. I went to Australia and China on the Transworld trip. Australia was really good except we did so much skating that we didn’t even go to the beach for weeks. I went to the beach once to pick up herbals, but that was it.
Who was on the list?
All the Transworld guys – Nick Trepasso, Kenny Hoyle, Sean Malto, Richie Jackson, Matt Miller and me. They’re all going to be so good and it’s too hard to pick just one but I’m really psyched on Richie Jackson’s approach to skateboarding.
What about China?
China was a bit of a bitch, I hurt my ankle the second day of the trip so I couldn’t skate. China is just a trip, there are people everywhere and the pollution is horrible, I didn’t see a blue sky for about two weeks. I actually puked for the first three days in a row, waking up early in the morning. Not because of drinking either, it’s just dirty everywhere, you breath in mildew all the time and you see horrible shit everywhere, like people begging with their feet rotting off. It’s really hard getting past the language barrier too, ordering food and stuff. Without our guide we’d have been lost! I’ve been to places where they don’t speak English but you can get by with body language and hand gestures but in China it’s much harder, they just look at you so confused and nod. And you don’t know what you’re getting! It’s also hard to skate out there because it feels like you’re skating at really high altitude and can’t take deep breaths.
So I take it that you repping the United States in Olympic skateboarding is out of the question then?!
Um, probably never. They won’t let me smoke weed everywhere and I don’t want to do anything for them. Fuck.
How about launching a new Gravette spot cream?
I can do, if they really want it. Sheckler’s fucking blown it. I don’t understand why if you have that much money, you don’t just take a step back and try and be a real skateboarder. Why do you want to be on MTV and be into Ultimate Fighting and what not?
There are a lot of young Ams that are looking at the skateboard industry now and trying to move forward and keep skating but when it comes to that side of it, what’s the general attitude?
The worst thing is when you’re talking to a girl and it comes out that you’re a skater and they say “Oh you know Ryan Sheckler?!”, it’s the worst thing to hear. Because you’re like “yeah, but I don’t want to!”. He’ll just come up and try to ultimate fight you. You don’t wanna be the guy that gets his ass kicked by Sheckler, that’ll be the worst thing ever!
You’ve been riding with what looks like a rad Bones Wheels team, everyone stoked on the tour?
Yeah it was a lot of fun, everyone got along really well. I’ve been riding for Bones longer than any other sponsor. I have been rep flow for Bones since I was about 14, getting them through my local shop. One pair of wheels every two weeks!
What’s your preferred set?
51s 3 type formula. Power slides all day and no flat spots.
What countries have you been to on this Bones tour?
They’ve been to more than I have because I showed up late. They’d been on the road for a couple of weeks, but I got there in Brussels, Belgium and then we went to Hamburg and Munich in Germany, then Amsterdam and now onto here in London.
Well, I spent a lot of money! I could have used more coffee shop time but went to some pretty crazy parties and clubs!
How’s the club scene there compared to the US?
It’s good! I don’t go out too much in the States. But the girls are nice here, I was impressed by London’s bird action last night!
Did you see some tight units?
Ridiculous! I was freaking out because I didn’t have any weed yesterday so I was antsed up and there were all these beautiful women everywhere, it was bullshit!
Did you get some?
Pretty much no. I stayed up til 4 or 5 in the morning at some house. It was pretty stupid. They told me they didn’t smoke weed and asked if I wanted to sniff some glue and huff some paint. I was just telling them to roll a joint, instead of passing around some fucking glue! (laughs)
Sounds like a vortex into the 1980s!
They seemed normal, but I guess they were down for glue and paint instead of weed and beer!
I want to say thanks to Crossfire and Bay Sixty 6 for having us and Bones Wheels for doing the trip. Vox Shoes, Independent Trucks and thanks to Shiner, our distribution company. I went to Shiner a few years ago on the Creature trip and everyone got some old school boards and I was stuck carrying them on my shoulder. Spiff life!