As you scroll through this blog you'll see I have a genuine soft spot for board companies that offer something a little different. Maybe it's nostalgia, maybe it's from my own passion for thinking out how to build something you have an image in your head of, then covered in saw dust and paint a few hours later admiring what you have just created? There is something very cool about the skate companies out there still building boards the old way, or should I say the proper way... and I'm lucky enough to be able to offer a bunch of these brands to skate shops in NSW.
2013 see's the return of DEATHBOX SKATEBOARDS after a hiatus andDAVE HACKETT has been kind enough to give us an insight into where this brand comes from and what it's all about. Dave went above and beyond in providing a unique perspective and a bunch of cool images from his personal archive. I hope you get as much of a kick reading on as much as I have in putting it together.
AHA: Hello Mr Hackett, thank you so much for taking the time
to answer a few questions for the folks in Oz. So for those that don’t know, a
quick run down. How long have you been skating for and when did you turn pro?
DH: Thanks AHA - Been Riding Skateboards For Over 40 Years
Now- Turned Pro In 1975 When I Was 15.
AHA: What is your favorite terrain to skate these days?
DH: I’ve Been Riding All Terrain My Whole Life- These Days
It’s Perfect Bowls And Pools. I Like Stuff In The 7-9 Foot Deep Range.
AHA: You took out an event at The Indian School in New
Mexico ditch a few years back. This is one of my dream spots and I was
fortunate enough to ride there a while ago. What is your dream skate spot?
DH: Funny You Mention Indian School In The Same Sentence As
Dream Spot- That’s One Of Mine For Sure. I Wish I Had My Own Empty Pool, Shaped
Like The O.G. Dogbowl, 8 Feet Deep, Lot’s Of Flat Bottom, Perfect Coping,
Rippable Shallow End With Perfect Coping, Three Deathboxes- One In The Shallow,
One In The Deep And One On The Side, Two Love Seats, Two Lights, And A Set Of
AHA: In 1982 Glen E Friedman shot the ‘Hackett Slash’ which
has become one of the most famous and iconic skateboarding images ever. Tell us
a bit about the session where the shot was taken?
DH: I Really Don’t Remember Much It Was So Long Ago And I
Think We Were Probably Wasted- But What I Do Remember Was I Went There With
Olson And Arab. Jay Alabamy And Glen E. Friedman Were There Shooting. Deep Into
The Session Olson Said “Hey, Try My Board!” - So I Grabbed His Board And
Started Slashing About....His Board Seemed So Loose And Surfy And I Just
Started Whipping These Insane Slashes On This Really Harsh Coping And Making
It- All Of Them...It Was Really Wild- Glen Was Right There- Documenting It All
And Bam! He Got The Shot- It Wasn’t Planned And I’m Just Stoked I Was In The
Right Place At The Right Time!
AHA: How do you feel about competing in different events in
2013. There seems to be a massive surge in veterans events going on these days?
DH: I Love Competing- I’m Getting Ready To Defend My 2012
Oceanside Open Master Overall Slalom Racing Title In Two Weeks- Now It’s Called
The U.S. Nationals. I Would Compete In More Pool And Bowl Events But They Need
To Create A Division For Us O.G. Guys.
AHA: Who are some of your favorite guys from the old guard
still out there shredding at the moment?
DH: Obviously Duane Rules, But I Like Watching Cab,
Christian, Miller, Mcgill, T. Hawk, Salba, Grosso, Sergie, And One Of My All
Time Favorite Warriors Is Tmag- No One Tougher Than That Dude- He Can Still
Blast A 20 Foot Bs Air On The Mega Ramp At 50....
AHA: What about up and coming young punks, who should we
keep an eye on?
DH: There Are So Many Good Young Turks Coming Up- My
Favorite Is Daniel Cuervo! But Also Watch Josh Rodriguez, Josh Mattson, Mike
Owen, Brad Mclain, Austin Poynter, Alex Sorgente, Sky Siljeg, Curren Caples,
And My Other Favorites- Travis And Justin Rivera.
AHA: Surfing has played a huge role in influencing the style
of many skaters over the years. Are you getting out in the water much?
DH: Well Yeah, Of Course! For Guys Like Me And Jay, Surfing Is
Number One, Skateboarding Number Two- When The Surf Is Up We Are In The Water-
The Rest Of The Time We Are Riding Perfect Pools- Which Is The Same As Perfect
Waves In Our Minds...
DH: I Surf Allot Around Here In San Diego- I Like Blacks,
Seaside Reef, Boneyards, Brown House, Lowers, Uppers, And Up North- Malibu,
Zuma, Point Dume, Rincon. I Surf Everything From A 6’-8” To A 10’-6” And
Probably Have 9 Boards All Sizes In Between.
AHA: Death Box Skateboards are being produced again, tell us
how Death Box started?
DH: Well, originally, back in 1999, I heard that Stacy
Peralta was doing the DogTown Documentary; DOGTOWN AND Z-BOYS because he called
me and told me he wanted to interview me. I got to thinking what an Impact that
film will make on bringing back Respect for my Generation of Guys and Wider
decks. (At that time and all during the 90’s it was hard to find a deck wider
that 8” or a Deck with a “Directional Shape” - Basically everything was
I think Black Label and Beer City were producing a couple
wider decks, but my Idea for DEATHBOX was let’s ONLY do Wide and Directional
Shaped Decks and Focus on Pool Riding and the Men who were some of the first
Pool Riders and build the brand around those guys. It just so happened that Tod
Swank and Pineapple were thinking along the same lines, so we all decided to
create the brand together with Tum Yeto backing it. The original DEATHBOX Team
was Jay Adams, Brad Bowman, Mike Folmer, Myself, Tom “Wally” Inouye, Doug
“Pineapple” Saladino, Wentzle Ruml, Rick Blackhart and Steve Olson. Blackhart
& Olson Dropped out at the last minute but eventually made Guest Models
AHA: What is the design process to create a DeathBox board
when it comes to producing an original shape & graphic?
DH: Well, without revealing any personal design “Secrets”- I
do allot of research with shops and online to see what size (Width &
Length) is selling, then I do the same with shapes; wide tail? Round tail?
pointier nose? more or less concave?
I ask myselfthese
questions and more before I sit down at the computer to draw the shape in
illustrator. Once I have the shape, I start playing with different imagery and
logos that I create in illustrator/Photoshop for that deck- If the new deck is
a teamrider’s new model, I usually either ask them to provide the artwork and
shape, or I will work with them to create whatever they want- But try and keep
it in the “DEATHBOX STYLE” of Artwork, Look and Feel of the Brand.
I try and keep all of DEATHBOX’S artwork and Image HARDCORE,
but not all Evil/Devil Worship Crap. Were HARDCORE SKATEBOARDERS - Not weak
Evil Scumbag pieces of shit!
AHA: You have had some pretty heavy hitting names on
DeathBox with signature & guest models in the past, what do you have
planned for this round in the Death Box story?
DH: HA HA! Yeah, I’m pretty Stoked on how many HARDCORE
Purely GNAR Skateboarders have Ridden on DEATHBOX- Even Random Dudes who Kill
it- Like Ricky Stiles, Dave Reul, and Will Kimball. I really don’t have
anything “Planned” for the next round in the DEATHBOX story, but I will tell
you that I’m looking for some SUPER GNAR YOUNG POOL & BOWL WARRIORS who can
carry the Torch and “Light Up The BOX”!!
AHA: Your other skate hardware project is BLACK LEATHER
RACING tell us a bit about that and the type of gear you produce with that
DH: BLACK LEATHER RACING or (BLR) was started about 7 years
ago by myself and Steve Olson. We were going to all these Slalom and Downhill
Races and seeing all the racers wearing Silly Lycra tops and Tour De France
helmets and just looking like Poofters Mate! We didn’t fit into ANY of their
team concepts of what a HARDCORE SKATEBOARD RACER should look like- So we
started our own team- BLACK LEATHER RACING TEAM! We wear all Black, sometimes
Black Leather Racing Jackets and White shoes- We have “A Look” and Chicks Dig
Us. We make Racing Decks- Downhill, Tight, Hybrid and Giant Slalom Boards,
Longboards and Cruiser Decks and Completes as well- We have some KILLER SHIT!
AHA: What can skaters expect when they get a DeathBox or BLR
plank under their feet?
DH: Straight Up- 100% Canadian HardRock Maple Decks actually
produced in Canada- NOT CHINA! and SUPER SICK and BAD-ASS Graphics you can
Scare your Chick With- None of this Silly
ALL OUR STUFF IS CONCEPTUALIZED, DESIGNED, TESTED, AND PROVEN BY REAL
SKATEBOARDERS FOR REAL SKATEBOARDERS!
AHA: I’m sure you have a vast quiver of skateboards, what are
your 3 favorite completes and how do you have them set up?
DH: I probably have and ride at least 20 different decks in
my current quiver and I ride them all- All for different applications and
terrain. My 3 favorite completes are: L-R, 1) My 9X38” Sean “Duck” Mallard
Downhill Model with Randal Downhills and Abec 11 Centrac wheels, 2) 9.5X35
DEATHBOX Pirate For Big Pools and Bowls with Jay Adams Tracker Trucks, and 3)
My 9X34” Kenny Mollica BLR Pocket Pistol Foam Core Slalom Racing Deck with
Radicals and 3dM Avalon wheels. All my Decks are set up with KHIRO Bushings,
Risers and KHIRO HARDCORE HARDWARE and NITRO Bearings- The World’s Fastest
AHA: You have just joined Jay Adams on the Tracker Trucks
team, how did that all come about?
DH: I started working with Tracker as the Creative Director
on their new History of Tracker Trucks Book Project, which I always thought
they should do...and in talking with them they asked me if I would be
interested in Joining Jay on the Team and it’s a good fit. I still love INDY
and will always dig the History I had with Fausto and Eric Swanson, but since
those guys are Gone (God Rest their Souls) INDY Just hasn’t been the same for
me. Don’t get me wrong, Rhino is a Soul Brother and has Always taken great care
of me and used to send me whatever I wanted or needed the next day, but now
Everyone is on INDY and where once Tracker Ruled the Industry before INDY,
Tracker is like the UnderDog Company and Truck now and I find that more of a
Challenge to help Rebuild the TrackerBrand with Jay and the new Riders we have. Plus allot of people don’t
know this but Tracker not only makes A LARGER selection of different size
Trucks but almost every trick ever invented on a skateboard aside from some of
Duane’s tricks were invented on Trackers and Almost every Gnarly INDY rider
once rode for Tracker before they got on INDY too including Salba, Bowman,
Alva, Danny Way, Bucky Lasek, Cab, - The list goes on and on...The new Jay
Adams Trackers turn SO Good it’s Crazy- And they are Strong as Hell!
AHA: Are you doing any design work with Tracker Trucks at
the moment? Anything new in the pipeline?
DH: Right Now I’m focusing on the Book which is a HUGE
Project. Tracker is always coming out with new stuff, next in the works are
Wider versions of Jay’s Axis Truck which will be about the same width as a INDY
AHA: Any plans on getting down to Australia to surf or
DH: I wish! I’ve never been to Australia, and have wanted to
go for years!
AHA: Thanks again for taking the time out for this
interview, any shout outs to crew or sponsors before we wrap this up.
DH: I’d Like To Thanks All My Sponsors Including KHIRO
BUSHINGS AND HARDWARE, OSIRIS SHOES, NITRO BEARINGS, TRACKER TRUCKS, DEATHBOX,
BLR, 187 PADS, AND PARADOX GRIP TAPE! I’m Looking For A Clothing Sponsor And An
Energy Drink Sponsor Too- So Hit Me Up!
Thank You Guys And Stoked On You Picking Up Deathbox And
Blr!! I’m Looking For Some Warriors To Represent Us Downunder On Blr And
So Let Me Know Who Can Throw Down!!!
DH: Here’s a Final Thought:Call your dreams into reality everyday by affirming this...
spirit open the way for me to experience Health, Wealth, Love and Perfect Self
Expression in Perfect ways under Grace.”