The Follow Up: Dave Mayhew
I first met Dave around 1995 when he was a young skate rat. He was on Maple at the time and those guys would often travel up to San Jose to skate with MJ. As the years went on, Dave left Maple to ride for A-Team with Marc. Me and Dave still hung out because we were both on Osiris and it wasn’t long before enjoi started and Marc asked Dave to be part of it, so we were once again back in the van together. After Dave left enjoi, he moved back to Wisconsin. We kept in contact and even did a demo in his hometown to help boost the scene out there and show support. It was rad to see that Dave hadn’t quit skating when his "career" ended. The thing is, so much has been said and written about Dave and the notorious D3 shoe, but very little emphasis has even been placed on his actual skating. He is hands down one of the most underrated technical street skaters to ever do it. I mean, really—to this day, how often do you see kickflip nosegrinds to nollie flip out? i remember watching him at a demo do a frontside 360 ollie to nose wheelie, then proceed to do it switch! I was talking to him a few months back and he mentioned he was working on a video part. I was hyped—hyped as a fan, hyped as a friend and hyped to know that after all these years—after all the D3 BS—at the end of the day, Dave Mayhew is still just a skate rat at heart. He isn’t bitter; he isn’t washed up; he is out there skating because it’s in his blood and he’s doing it for the fun of it. And if you can’t respect the man for that, then you are probably into skateboarding for all the wrong reasons. We started enjoi division for the guys who bled to make our company what it is today. It’s a place where you can find the answers to the whatever-happened-to-Dave-Mayhew types of questions. And here’s your answer: he’s still shredding and having fun. Enjoi! —Louie Barletta
Marc Johnson: What's up, man? I haven't talked to you in, like, 15 years, dude. What's going on?
It's been a long time. It's been a while since I exited the skateboard world.
I'm sure people will be reading this who don’t know a bunch of this stuff. Actually, I’m even a little unclear about a few things. So we rode for enjoi together?
So you were the first dude on enjoi! Then in 2003, you broke out of California and left skateboarding completely. What sparked that move? I remember talking to you and your house sold in, like, two weeks. You were, like, “I’m outa here; I’m fucking outa here,” and you jammed. We didn't talk for years. I think I saw you out in Madison a few years later. But let’s go back. Catch me up on the whole process. You had this long skateboarding career and then you just dipped, just vanished.
Yeah, basically. To start it off from there, it was pretty much a mixture of a few things all happening at once. You started enjoi and I was hyped on it. Then you left for Chocolate, then Osiris Shoes continued to get worse—worse and weird! It kinda ended on a sour note. So I felt like all the time and effort I put into skateboarding with these companies came to an end. I felt like the writing was on the wall for me in terms of a professional skateboarding career. That said, I also have a bad ankle and at that point skateboarding was going into more stairs—bigger stairs and bigger handrails. That was stuff my body couldn't take, physically.
Yeah, I remember before we would go on trips you’d have to go get a week of real gnarly deep-tissue massages.
My ankle is wrecked. The rest of my body feels great. One bad ankle. I could literally roll it on a quarter. It's just weak.
What was the original problem with it?
It was around the time we met and I had just got on Maple. I went back to Wisconsin to visit. I was missing the home crew: Aaron Snyder, Pete Lehman, Steve Celentani. I was in this switch-ollie phase. I did a seven-stair rail, an eight-stair rail and then there was this 11 stair that I wanted to try. This was the beginning of filming for what turned out to be Seven Steps to Heaven. So I tried to switch ollie over the 11-stair rail. I basically landed on the ground as if I was still on my board. I didn't twist my hips to land with my feet running, so my right foot rolled and the ball of my foot hit the ground and split the skin open. I basically just laid there bleeding. I remember Aaron pushing me back so I couldn't see it. Pete was there and it was crazy. One of those things—the ankle joint is such a small joint. I didn't break anything but I tore things. After that, when I would jump down things I would land like a tripod, you know? My front foot would be flat and then I would land on the ball of my back foot. So, thankfully skateboarding was at a point where jumping down big stairs and all that stuff didn't come in ’til later, or else I wouldn't have lasted very long.
This is, like, late 1994?
'95. Damn, dude!
Everybody gets hurt skateboarding and you just troop through it. Then in 2003, it was time. I wanted a few other things in life, like what I have now: a wife and kids.
You bailed and you were, like, "I'm going to look for a wife and kids. I'm gonna pick up six pairs of socks. I’m gonna hit the store.”
It kinda happened like that. I’m super happy.
That’s sick! I remember you had that palace in San Diego. I just remember the front room with that fucking staircase and that jacuzzi in the back. It was sick! I remember you put that on the market and in two weeks it was gone.
Dude, it was, like, three hours!
Yeah, so fast. I talked to you two weeks later and you, like, “Dude, I'm out. Later.” I was, like, fuck.
You know, I moved away from my parents. They are great people so I got to move back to Wisconsin and spend time with them. My mom passed away a few years ago, so it was great to move back and spend time with them.
And your mom got to see you get married and have kids?
She got to see her grandkids. That's awesome. That's good.
Yeah, it’s a hard thing to lose someone you really care about. I’m thankful she got to experience those things, for sure. And now we’re back in San Diego.
When did you get back to San Diego?
Almost a year ago—June 2017.
Wow, so you were gone for about 14 years? Damn, dude!
In that time I owned a skateshop back home.
Yeah, so I stayed in skateboarding. That was a fun thing to have and it kept me into skateboarding. All the kids that rode for the shop kept me motivated and kept me filming. We made shop videos. That's what this video is that's being posted on here. It's not super current stuff. I do have a few newer things in it, but a lot of it is several years old.
But you were skating? Regardless of leaving California, you've been active in skateboarding the whole time, consistently?
Yeah, for sure!
Just on a different side?
That's what’s rad about skateboarding now: the stuff we grew up doing—late shove its, no complies and all that other stuff—is becoming cool again.
That's the craziest thing to see.
It's kind of like you don't have to jump down the biggest stair set. You can do a whole variety of stuff that is now cool again. I go meet homies down in SD on Sundays. Slappy's Sundays—we just slap red curbs and those dudes kill it!
Nosegrind Photo: Cory Peterson
It’s crazy how there are pockets of curb communities and stuff—really gnarly curb skaters. I see stuff on Instagram, like this dude Ira. His Instagram name is @curbkiller and he ain’t lying.
It's gnarly what some of these dudes are doing.
Yeah, I think it's cool. It’s weird. It's like there's no straight line anymore. There's no one road to travel. It’s, not like, “Ah, man, if you’re not dressed like this and doing these tricks and hanging with these people then you’re kinda corny,” or whatever. To see pole jams, wallies, no complies and people are making careers out of that stuff! To see that—pockets of really gnarly curb dudes, stunt psycho insane stuff and super-tech dudes. It's pretty fucking amazing. Oh, and bowl riding and transition skating! There was a period in time when dudes were insane at that stuff but it wasn't what was hot at the time.
Yeah, that's true. It's coming full circle and it's keeping the older generation hyped.
If a late shove it is cool, like, my ears kinda perk up. “Oh really, baby? I can do this!”
Oh, I got late shove-its!
Let me dig in the filing cabinet, go way back and pull out a fucking late shove it.
It's rad right now.
It’s so rad right now. And the same with clothing—there's no set clothing style.
I think one of the coolest things about it is how inviting it is for everyone. Kids don't have to step on their board for the first time and expect to work up to a double-kink handrail. There's a lot of variety now.
Yep, you can get with your squad and wear whatever you want and do whatever you want. It's like skateboarding is a lot more inclusive then exclusive now.
Definitely. And it's about getting out and finding cool spots, not just trying to one-up somebody at the same spot.
That's part of the battle, doing those tricks and finding new spots.
Oh, dude, it's so rad to see people go to these crusty, weird spots and being able to come up with interesting stuff. I feel like that was missing for a long time, or at least it was missing in the public arena. You know how people get on these trains of thought and this is what everybody's going to do for a while?
So how did you end up back in San Diego?
So, the skateshop thing was fun for awhile but then my business partner and I split ways. It wasn't what I wanted, but in the end it all worked out. My wife and I have two kids and my oldest was just about to start school. We had visited San Diego a few times. My wife has some family out here also. It just seemed like the time was right to make the move. We went headfirst and made it happen.
So, you've done a full circle twice: Wisconsin to Wisconsin and San Diego to San Diego?
So, you guys are really enjoying it down there?
Oh, yes! Totally.
And you live super close to the beach?
Yep, about half a mile from the beach. The kids love it. I'm not a super big surfer beach dude, but it’s fun.
Yeah. Shit, man, you can just walk down there and stare at the water for an hour.
Yeah, most definitely. It's very therapeutic, that's for sure.
Yeah, man. Anything new going on?
Yeah, so I'm still trying to make some things happen in the skateboarding world. Keep my head in it. It's hard to ever have it out of your life.
Frontside noseslide Photo: Cory Peterson
If you’re a real one then it's always going to be there.
It's in the blood. Currently I'm working with a homie, Todd Hess. He's a Wisconsin dude. We’re working on a distribution out of Wisconsin to shake things up a little bit, take a different approach on things.
A distribution out of Wisconsin? Oh word. Really?
Yeah, for a bunch of different reasons.
Yeah, I mean—you got room for a player in there?
Oh, for you? You know it!
You want to do a brand? We should do a brand, dude!
I mean, we’re about that business. We want to make this cool and fun. The business is definitely something we would need to talk about.
Yeah, you know me—all day every day I'm about that business.
And we want to keep tight company, you know? We don't want to deal with anybody just to make money. We want to do cool stuff for people and not just steal all the profits. Offer good things to people that are working or skating for our distribution.
Yeah, kinda like break away from the traditional distribution model and behavior?
Yeah, you know that's something we want to give a try. Todd has worked in skateboarding for a couple of decades. He’s seen the ups and downs from helping people. We took a look from the outside and thought of a different style to try and help shops with a few ideas we have. Your board situation—I’m not sure where you’re situated.
All I can say is I have some ideas. I've got tons of ideas. We could do a board brand tomorrow. I’ve been doodling around for a year now. After this we can talk again and talk business.
We still have a few things to set up on our end. You've always been down with the Wisconsin heads.
Dude, full circle, full circle. So tell me about putting out this part.
Well, at first I wanted to use it to promote my old shop, but then it became something that was just kinda sitting around. I ended up sending it to Mike Burnett to see if Thrasher would post it just for fun and he was, like, “Yeah.” Then Todd sent it to Louie Barletta and next thing you know Louie is calling me and wanting to do something with enjoi for it. I wasn't really expecting anything from it. It's just a piece of my life, but it all worked out to be pretty rad! I’m hyped on Todd and Louie!
It gave me another opportunity to have a board. I've always wanted my homie Skam to do a board graphic for me. Crazy thing is, he did the board and the song for it. He's such a talented dude.
It’s always rad when it works out that way.
Yeah, I’d like to thank all the people involved: filmers, photographers, my homie Perea on the edit. So now I’m just going to keep on skating and looking forward to running into old friends here in SD.
Like Ed Dominick? Ed, call Dave!
Yeah, I think I was the first person Ed took photos of, way back before Maple.
Ed, if you're reading this, you better fucking call Dave!
We had some rad days with him.
Oh, the Maple days were the best, skating with Donger and Jason Carney. Those dudes were the gods to us growing up.
Switch hardflip Photo: Cory Peterson
Yeah growing up with all that H-street, Life and Planet Earth videos.
I still watch all those videos.
Speaking of the Life video, my homie Alex was trying frontside 360s and struggling. I looked up the Life video on my phone and showed him Donger’s and said, “Look how he dips them.”
I just saw some post of Donger’s frontside ollie over the water fountain to frontside wallride. That was incredible. It would be incredible today and it was, like, 25 years ago or something.
He kickflipped tail grabbed over a trashcan!
It was insane to somehow end up on a team with those dudes.
For sure. A-team was kinda fun but weird.
You know, with A-Team we handled what we had to handle.
Oh yeah, that's for sure. The business was taken care of.
Tailslide Photo: Mario Andrade
Exactly. Plus, to get to work with Rodney Mullen. That dude. Seriously, man—I just ran into him the other night. Dude, he’s like a sasquatch, a yeti. It's just folklore now.
Like he doesn't exist?
Yeah, rumor has it he was somewhere.
Yeah. But in all, I'm in a great place. Life is amazing.
So you've been around skateboarding for, like, 25-30 years?
It’s always awesome when someone can take so much clean experience and then channel that into a project or business. You don't have any dirt on you so that’s rad. Dave Mayhew, squeaky clean. A squeaky clean G.
Yep, my parents raised me well.
Damn right they did.
You know, I've been screwed over by the industry and it seems like a lot of people have. But that's a whole other talk. The “shoe” in the room.
Dude, we could turn this thing into a bloodbath. Wipe skateboarding’s butthole with a few people. It’s, like, “Nah, we’re good. Let's take the high road.” Dude, skateboarding is still one of the best things invented—ever! Thanks for doing this. Hyped to chat, as always.
Marc, thank you for hitting me up for this. Let’s talk business!
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