Tuesday, July 14, 2015
SLAPCHAT: With Danny Sargent
If there was a Mount Rushmore of curbs, Danny Sargent’s face would be on it, three stories high, right between John Lucero and Tom Knox. At the apex of his career it seemed as if there was no angle of concrete in the San Francisco Bay area safe from the wrath of Sarge’s trucks. But now, after moving his family to Minneapolis, Danny Sargent is getting a sample of the pain every midwestern skater felt back in the day trying to emulate his video edits on sketchy middle america crete.
“Out here the curbs are all weathered,” Sargent comments. “It’s not like out west, that’s for damn sure.”
But even if he’s mostly hitting bowls and parks nowadays, Danny Sargent is still a slappy god. “For me it was always a way of life,” Sargent says. “You go out and you slappy around.. it’s just what we did”.
A beacon of inspiration for curb fiends past and present, I was honored to collect Danny Sargent’s accumulated wisdom on the intricacies of the slappy for this edition of Slapchat.
First Off, what counts as a slappy? Do you have to get your trucks involved? Some folks consider a noseslide on a curb where you don’t lift your tail a “slappy noseslide” or a slapped in blunt slide a “Slappy blunt”?
I never understood that shit...slappy noseslides and shit. A slappy is when you fuckin’ hit your front truck and then your back and grind.
This is the question where I usually reference you slapping the big block at EMB in New deal’s 1281 as an example, so I’m stoked to take this straight to the source: Is there a height limit on the slappy? When you’ve got guys slapping up knee high hubbas and grinding down them, is that still a slappy?
It’s not really a slappy if its a wallride up. When I did that Embarcadero slappy I did it front truck first. It was a slappy, not a wallride 50-50.
Have you seen the footage of Jake Johnson slapping up and grinding down hubbas, or some of the stuff Guy Mariano has done...pushing up walls into backwards 5-0s and stuff like that?
Yeah, Jake Johnson was the one who did that wallie 50-50 down Clipper. That was pretty awesome but it wasn’t a slappy...It’s a slappy if you hit your front trucks first.
So what about a feeble?
I don’t think that’s a slappy. I used to see people do that, crash into a feeble, but there’s no front truck.
Frontside or backside?
Both feel awesome when you do them right...cruise down the street, crash into a frontside slappy up the curb onto the sidewalk, bash up instead of ollie is fun though.
When are your trucks best for slappies?
I always set up new boards and wheels and keep the same trucks. I like trucks worn in. Now my trucks last forever. I get tired of looking at my boards before they actually wear out.
When you were at your peak, how quickly would you go through a set of trucks?
At my peak when I was doing slappies every second all day and all night I was probably changing trucks every couple of months. I’d get to my axle in a week or two.
What gets you more stoked: A nice, smooth and styled out slappy on a nice buttery curb, or powering through a square, crusty, dry curb?
It makes you feel good if you can slappy gnarly stuff. We used to have a curb outside of Thrasher that guys started skating during lunch, and it had no paint on it. We’d just try it and grind it just a little bit and then it got the metal from our trucks on it and started to look like a real curb. I like a good smooth Yellow or red curb you can slappy all day. I guess its a struggle to skate a raw ass curb...but it’s real satisfying when you can slappy anything.
Toughest variation you can/could do?
I don’t know, there aren’t very many variations. Slapping the Embarcadero big block I guess, or something with no paint on it.
That trick is kind of the gold standard when it comes to slappies. When I ask other guys about the gnarliest slappies ever done that always comes up. What were you thinking when you did that? is it something you hade been working up to for a long time?
Not really. That was the biggest slappy I had ever tried up to then. When I went down there that day I tried it about ten times maybe and I was feeling it, so i kept trying and then I just did it. That’s the same day I switch backside 180ed the Embarcadero seven. I had a good day. It was all spur of the moment. Now I kind of wish I had thought about filming and where to go, but back then you just went out for two or three days and got what you got.
Craziest slappy you’ve ever seen?
Sean Martin used to do the sickest real slappies switch...I never did that. Another one that stands out in my mind is Mike Archimedes at Embarcadero. There were three steps going into the plaza with a corner and he frontside slappied up all three stairs in a row without taking his wheels off the ground. Three stairs with just enough room between them for your board. I never really understood how that was possible.
Did you have a slappy sensei? Someone who inspired or even taught you?
I remember Tommy Guerrero doing a demo when I was living in Portland. When I moved back down to San Francisco it was all the city guys. Guerrero, Mike Archimedes, Julien Stranger...those were the ones I saw doing slappies. Them and Ricky Winsor in Sacramento.
Wax: when is it appropriate?
I have never used wax.
What’s the worst you’ve ever got wrecked on a slappy?
It’s not really that far from the curb to the ground so you can’t get hurt that bad, so there’s nothing memorable. I’ve never really gotten wrecked on a slappy.
What kind of set-up do you prefer for curb skating?
I ride the same board for everything. I don’t have slappy board. Just a regular popsicle shape.
What makes a good curb?
I like red, painted curbs, or yellow or white. Painted curbs are good. In San Francisco you’ve got ones at the bus stops, long ass red curbs going down hill. Those are fucking awesome to frontside slappy. If you lock in right frontside or backside you can just go and slappy forever.
Do you still like to look at the grind marks on your hangar after a session?
I like looking at the different colored paint on my trucks afterwards, especially when you get like 3 different colors, red, yellow, white...
Do you catch yourself scoping out curbs when you are just running errands...hanging out with your family, etc...?
I’m always on the lookout, especially out here in Minneapolis because curbs are so hard to come by here. My girlfriend trips out about it. I’ll be looking at handrails or whatever and she’s like: “what?” I think we’ll all be skaters in our 70’s and still be like: “Sick! Look at that!”
Have you ever gone to a skate park and then found yourself having a slappy session on some curb in the parking lot?
I remember this one time in seattle there was this street contest, NSA Amateur, and there was this street course that was really solid but me and Ben Schroeder just skated the curbs in the parking lot anyway...when it was time for our runs we hadn’t even practiced on the course.
Why are slappies so rad?
Slappies rule. It’s the best street trick. Ollies and slappies. It’s a natural street skaters trick. I love slashing and grinding. Keep skating and have fun. Enjoy the ride.