Here's the first in a series of interviews undertaken by Ali Boulala with the Baker Skateboards team, conducted whilst they were all in Paris last year. We're starting off with new Parisian resident Dustin Dollin, and will follow up with Ali speaking to Nuge, Figgy and Spanky in the following weeks. Enjoy.
Ali: Hello, why are you in Paris?
D: I’m Paris because I fell in love with another French girl.
A: Another, you mean this is the second?
D: Yeah, well I had a wife that was French Lebanese and now I have a girlfriend that’s French. I use my life to travel for love, for the love of anything.
A: So it doesn’t matter if its Paris or Nice, or Katoomba?
D: I wouldn’t move back home to my mother’s house, but if I had fallen in love there earlier maybe I wouldn’t have been a professional skateboarder in the first place. Paris is beautiful for a lot of reasons. I was a little bit sick of living in America, No offence to Americans, they pay me, I love Americans, I just can’t afford the healthcare system.
"Skateboarding is not my job to deal with"
A: If you could erase one thing from skateboarding as it is today, what would that be?
D: If I could erase anything out of skateboarding it would be the death of all my skateboarding friends. If not, besides that I wouldn’t erase anything. Skateboarding is like a tree, it grows and changes. It would be like cutting down a tree because it looks ugly in front of your house. I don’t know, I wouldn’t change anything. Skateboarding is not my job to deal with.
A: So you wouldn’t erase anything?
A: Who or what is pushing skateboarding in the right direction?
D: According to me what’s pushing skateboarding in the right direction? People that are still doing old tricks like Grant Taylor, he looks fantastic on a skateboard, that’s how skateboarding is meant to look. Not posers who are trying to look like Gonz on the street, guys who have natural flow are pushing skateboarding. Natural flow is what is pushing skateboarding and the natural flow of skateboarding will be natural. I look gross on a skateboard so I really respect people with cool flow. I feel skateboarders have become less bitchy, they’re getting a lot more stuff done, they’ve got more power, more strength, more fighting…
A: Less complaining…
D: Less complaining, less bitching, less rich people in the game.
A: Why is it that there aren’t that many pro girl skateboarders, but a lot of girls skateboard?
D: I’d imagine its because parents of girls don’t want their children to hurt themselves, and it takes a lot as a girl to get out there and smash themselves against the ground. It’s a priority to keep girls pretty so they can carry on the family line, it’s a natural instinct from the caveman. No one wants to see a girl fucked up from skating, even when you have a girlfriend who skates and she gets fucked up people on the street always think it’s you who has hurt her, people are so stupid.
A: I got the sense it was going in some kind of Nyjah direction there… you saved it sort of…
D: What’s a Nyjah direction?
A: He said girls shouldn’t skateboard.
D: Oh really? That’s pretty misogynist.
"No public apologies from my mother ever, to nobody!"
A: He said they shouldn’t and then his mother had to apologise publicly.
D: Wow! The thing also about skateboarding is that if you do get that popular you really have to watch your step. That’s what’s good about sticking to the society of the underground, I can fuck up and be a drunk and nobody is going to say shit. But if Nyjah does that shit, pulls down some paintings in a hotel he’s fucked. His sponsors would be out. No public apologies from my mother ever, to nobody! (laughs)
A: Why did the girl wear high heeled shoes that were way too big?
D: You know my friend Flip? His ultimate thing is when a girl is walking on the street and the heels are too big and they’re flapping. I don’t understand it either, it’s the most disgusting thing ever. No offence, but if you don’t know your shoe size you’re obviously not very intelligent.
A: It would be hard to kick flip if you have shoes that are too big.
D: I mean I used to wear size nines because they were sample size and it was easier to get them. Billy Pepper gave me his shoes one time after a DC demo and I wore them till they were burnt. They were a size eight, I was thirteen at the time so would have been a size five or something, it was a pretty funny story. Where is Billy Pepper anyway? I respected him because he was small and I was too when I was growing up.
A: I once had some disgustingly huge Circa shoes from Mark Appleyard. They were so much too big for me, but I filmed a really nice line here in Paris wearing Mark’s old Circa shoes.
D: That’s what happens when you’re in between sponsors.
"I don’t believe in shit besides making sure your friends get home safe"
A: The Baker team is a group of pretty extreme personalities, even for skateboarding. It has gone from being one of the most rowdy teams in skateboarding to one of the most sober teams, why do you think that is?
D: I think the reason that the Baker team has become sober is that they’re trying to get shit done for Baker 4. Their styles don’t seem to change, apart from when Reynolds went sober his style changed a little. The reason is those guys have lived through some terrible shit and they blame it on alcohol, if that’s their reason then that’s fine. Whatever you blame anything on, if you’re dedicated to proving the point of it, it’s a good thing. I blame alcohol for keeping me alive, other people blame alcohol for destroying their lives. If you focus enough on drinking or skating, it’s fine with me. But the reason why is because too many bad things were happening.
I’ve drank and not much bad shit has happened to me, but other people drink and bad shit happens - you can blame that, you can blame God, you can blame the devil, you can blame fucking world peace, or anti-world peace, you can blame Donald Trump. At the end of the day for me I don’t believe in shit besides making sure your friends get home safe. They’re doing it because it’s what the fuck they’ve got to do, and that’s how skating works. Skating shouldn’t even exist it’s so tricky to defy gravity everyday, you’re lucky to be alive if you skate. People on Baker are sober right now because they believe it’s better for them, I believe that I am not going to be like that because I know that I skate better when I’m drunk, other people don’t.
A: If you could decide who would be the first girl on Baker, who would you choose?
D: There was this chick at the demo (Editor’s note: Samarria Brevard) the other day, I think she rides for enjoi at the moment? She did the best tre flip off the jump ramp.
A: Better than Josh Kalis?
D: It was basically a Kalis tre flip. (To the group) Hey, did anyone get that girl’s name from the enjoi team? The girl with the dreads that did the dopest tre flip ever?
Unfortunately I can’t remember most peoples name big ups to her, sorry I forgot your name! She rides for enjoi, she’s got dreadlocks and she does better tre flips that I will ever do.
A: French or American?
D: She’s American. I mean but of course if I could have Marisa Del Santo from Zero I’d take her, she’s obviously the best girl skater that ever existed.
A: If you had to choose Nyjah neck tattoo or Sheckler on the back?
D: If you had to choose you’d take both because they’re both shocking.
A: But you have to choose one
D: Just one or the other?
A: One or the other…
D: I would still do both (laughs) Fuck it, all in! I can avoid questions very easily if I want to.
A: It doesn’t have to be anything to do with their personality.
D: Ok, let me change that answer. Sheckler for sure because he’s a fucking legend.
A: That’s what everyone else said, so you’re safe.
D: Because Sheckler has never really had a video part and he’s one of the most famous skateboarders in the world. Nyjah has tried his whole life to be the best skater in the world. I’d get a Sheckler tattoo, he donates to charity which is fucking nice, he’s got the deepest darkest feelings of any skater. Nyjah, every time I’ve tried to be nice to him he’s been mean to me.
A: Anyway, what do you know about Sweden?
D: I had this really good friend called Ali Boulala, and another good friend called Lewis Marnell, that decided to move to Australia for a little because Australia is more fun and less harsh on the drugs and drinking. But besides that, ABBA! I’m sure everyone said that before?
"live your life to the fullest because it doesn’t last long. Don’t ever, ever let anyone make you feel unhappy"
A: No, they haven’t
D: But not much because I’ve never been to Sweden believe it or not. Even though one of my best friends lives there.
A: The official Swedish Twitter account is given to a random citizen each week to manage, if you could manage the Twitter account of Australia what would you tweet about?
D: If I could Twitter, what? I’ve never used Twitter. I would say have fun, stay alive, don’t drink too much Aussie cunts!
A: Now to the pastries. In other countries they celebrate military victories and Saints Days. In Sweden we celebrate cinnamon buns, waffles and saffron pastries - thoughts on that and what pastry would you celebrate?
D: With Sweden celebrating pastries, I think that’s better than celebrating death. How many more funerals do we need for people that die in wars? Wars are garbage. Whatever pastries are cheapest to give to people in the next war.
A: Any recommendations for our readers?
D: For the readers out there, live your life to the fullest because it doesn’t last long. Don’t ever, ever let anyone make you feel unhappy, don’t fight them for it because their life could be terrible, you never know how bad someone else’s day has been.
A: That’s good.
D: That’s how I feel…