Interview and intro by Bram De Cleen | Photos by DVL | From Issue 124
It’s only been a couple of months since I sat down with Daan Van Der Linden in a car next to an Antwerp handrail and did a Q and A with him for his Expand feature in Kingpin. The short interview would end up discussing Daan being a hater in general, and particularly of certain clothing trends and people that are too serious about contests, as well as a love for Fred Gall, Andy Roy and Pentagram. Put together, this provided a look into the little man’s taste and attitude. Daan also mentioned that, at seventeen years of age, he already has ten years of skating behind him, just like his brother, and that he spends a lot of time, though “not as much as you’d think", at Area 51, his local skatepark.
The intro to that interview said that he is developing a taste of his own, which is definitely true, but it is also obvious that there are people behind Daan who made it possible for him to live the life he’s lived so far, and who put the things that he’s grown to like in front of his eyes. For each zero to hero story that skateboarding (or at least advertising) loves so much there are other guys that grew up in an interesting skate scene, with a supportive background and Daan is unquestionably one of them. He grew up in a town with a good skatepark, a decent skater-owned skate shop and I think you can tell those things by the way he skates and the way he sees things.
Before doing this interview photographer Davy Van Laere and I spent a night at the Van Der Linden residence, with some of the people that know Daan best. Hosted by Daan’s mother Katina it was a very nice evening, the chicken soup was already on the stove when we entered the house. We came up on some stories that we would’ve never heard if it wasn’t for the help of those present but the conversation that night was too long to transcribe. Nevertheless I would like to thank Katina, Nick Bax, Job Van Der Linden, and Jeroen Sars for their much appreciated help.
Job Van Der Linden is Daan’s brother and a very talented skateboarder himself. “Holland’s best" Daan even claims. He’s been skating a little bit less, lately, but he’s doing his thing, whatever it is.
Nick Bax is one of Daan’s best friends, a teammate on Vans and 100% Skateshop and an Area 51 local.
Jeroen Sars is the long-time owner of 100% Skate shop, also an area 51 local, obviously, and Daan’s first legit sponsor. He started sponsoring Daan after having skated with him in the final heat of a Dutch mini ramp championship. Jeroen had this to say:
“I was a bit skeptical about sponsoring him at the time, especially because there was already a lot of attention for him and he was still really young. I didn’t want an Eindhoven local to skate for a skate shop in a different city though. So I went and asked his mom first. I had only seen this kind of talent two times before in my life, those guys were Mike De Geus and Wieger Van Wageningen."
Daan, you don’t have a smartphone. You don’t have Skype. Why not?
No I’m not on Skype. And I don’t really like smartphones; they make people dumb. Almost everybody I know has one, they’re always looking at their screens. It would drive me crazy.
You do check out the Internet once in a while, don’t you?
Yeah, of course, I check out some skate shit. I even have a Facebook account.
Do you just watch anything that comes out or is there stuff you watch again and again? You’re growing up in a time where there are more single clips and video parts than full-length videos.
No, I definitely end up watching certain stuff again and again. I always check a couple of parts before I go skating.
The ones I really watch every single day are Stevie Williams’ part from The DC video, Antwuan Dixon’s from Baker 3 and then some Cardiel stuff. After that I am ready to go.
That’s a crazy mix.
What do you mean?
It’s a special combination of styles. You’ve got two gangsters and then some Cardiel.
Haha. I don’t know. I don’t watch them because they’re G. Stevie just handles ledges that are so high that it’s absurd to watch. And Antwuan Dixon does fucking hard shit and he’s just chilling. Cardiel just always goes for it one hundred percent.
I can only agree. You skate all types of stuff yourself, as well. I always thought you were more of a transition skater.
Yeah, everybody does, I don’t know why.
Did you skate more transition when you were younger?
I don’t know, not really, I always just skated - everything really. I skated a little bit of vert as well, when I was younger. In Den Bosch - so scary that thing.
All of the guys you mentioned are American. Do you ever watch European skateboarding?
No, not really.
Wow, you never saw the old Blueprint videos, for example?
Yes, I did, actually. Fucking sick. Nick Jensen. Nowadays, I only watch a couple of websites. Thrasher, the Deluxe website and then YouTube.
Why don’t you watch other stuff?
I kind of like it like this, actually. I don’t need anything else.
Do you think you only watch these things because other people have influenced you?
Yes, for sure, those are the things you see when you walk into 100% Skate shop.
They always had hard videos and magazines. I never really watched anything else. The Eindhoven skate scene is a bit smaller right now, but when I was younger I saw all these guys doing really crazy stuff, for sure it influenced me. You know, “Eindje grrr “.
Do you think you would’ve become a different type of skater if you grew up in another city? Or in a different era?
I’m not sure. Haven’t thought about that, really.
Do you think somebody like Sewa (Kroetov) could’ve come out of Eindhoven?
That’s a tough question. Haha, I don’t think so. Wax isn’t really allowed in Eindhoven. Just kidding.
I know, you do technical stuff as well. And Eindhoven used to have a really tech skate scene. Have you ever seen The 98 Play-Offs? (A mixed Eindhoven/Antwerp shop video, focusing on technical street skating)
Yes I have. Fucking sick video.
Explain what a sterf grind is. (“sterven" is Dutch for dying) And what is a sterf grind back to life?
Sterf grind back to life is a new thing for me. Fucking dangerous. A sterf grind is a backside 180 to fakie five-o. Back to life is when you turn it back to regular.
Why sterf grind?
Uhm... because if you miss that one, you’re dead. There’s no getting out of that one.
What is an Amica?
An Amica is a little car with two seats that you can get without a driver’s license; old or disabled people mostly use them. I bought one when I was sixteen with some contest money that I won. You needed a driver’s licence for a scooter but not for an Amica. They’re supposed to go 40 kilometers per hour but mine did 70. You could park it anywhere, even on the curb. It was great, they’re usually built with two separate seats but I got mine from a really fat lady, so it had one really big seat. We fit four or five people in there once, we drove to all the local spots. I actually bought the Amica in memory of Willem Wiegels.
Who is Willem Wiegels?
Willem Wiegels was a really friendly skater from Tilburg who passed away two years ago. He had an Amica as well. “RIP Willem" was the first thing I wrote on my Amica, with a big black marker.
You recently quit school, and you’re not going back.
Yep. I had already gotten down to such a low level that it would take ages to work my way back up and get a decent diploma. I just don’t have enough patience, man.
You seem to have a lot of patience for skateboarding.
What do you mean?
You spend an enormous amount of time on your board, and learning tricks takes patience.
Yeah, I guess there are those days when things don’t really work out, but even then, you’re still out playing. I mean that’s how it feels to me. It’s not the same as something you have to do.
Do you know what Bryggeriets is?
It’s the indoor park in Malmö, right? I’ve never been there.
It is, the thing is that they have a skate school there. They teach skating as a subject and use it in other classes as well. In between classes the pupils can just skate the park. Do you think that would’ve been a better school for you?
Haha, no man, not at all. The thought of it alone, that would make skateboarding a lot less fun for me I think. I mean, the reason why I started skating...It’s the best thing ever. You’re doing somethingbut like I said, in the end you’re just out playing. You just bring along a skateboard.
You recently got on Vans Europe and Volcom Europe, and you’re getting paid to skate now. Are you afraid this will sometimes lead to having to skate, or doing things you don’t necessarily feel like? Like skating demos or something?
I hope not. I wouldn’t mind skating demos, really. The only thing that would bother me about those is the audience, maybe. People that don’t know what it’s like to skate, they’ll expect certain things, but they have no idea what skateboarding is. They think it’s like football. They don’t know the feeling. It’s just playing. It’s hard to explain. It’s something you do with your friends, just like football. But you do it together, not against each other. But there’s no competition. That’s the biggest difference, I think. Then again, with Street League and all of those things, it’s kind of going in the opposite direction.
The pictures for this interview have been shot on two trips, one to Mallorca and another one to Greece, the crew on both of those trips was pretty impressive, you were skating with Chris Pfanner, Willow, and other famous skaters, did this make you feel any pressure?
I would’ve been most hyped if I were there with my hometown friends and my brother, but I definitely didn’t mind, they were all really friendly and the trips were fun.
You got a lot of stuff on those trips.
The spots were so smooth: perfect run-up, perfect landing. I can’t not skate that kind of spot. Also, you know you’re just going to be home again a week later, so better skate those spots when you can.
You skate contests, too, and you do pretty good in them most of the time. But competition bothers you. You told me about Booze and Cruise (a drink and drive bowl contest in Eindoven) And about how you’re worried that it’s going to be different this year.
Yes, last year the winners just got beer, and this year there is money to win. I’m just a bit afraid it’s going to attract the wrong people. I just hope it doesn’t change people’s attitudes. Money sucks. You can really feel it in the atmosphere when somebody is there for the money and not to have a good time with beer and music and skateboarding. Last year we were just going for it, almost everybody was a bit drunk and just having it. There was no real competition. I hope it’s going to be like this again this year.
Are you involved in the organisation of this event? Or in other stuff at the skatepark?
No, but I really enjoyed the event last year. I don’t really do anything aside from skateboarding at Area 51. Up until a while ago skaters ran it, but now there’s a manager and all these other people that have nothing to do with skating. They want to turn it into a profitable enterprise.
I didn’t know that. What do they plan on doing?
Change things. Changing the rules, coming up with new stuff. I don’t get that. When something is good it’s good. I don’t understand why people always want more, and different stuff. Skateboarding is skateboarding, simple as that. They shouldn’t be messing with it like that.
That’s clear enough. I think we’re almost done here. Last question, what are your plans for the next year?
I plan on doing the same things that I’m doing right now - skateboarding and partying.
You got any trips planned?
Yes, a bunch: with my sponsors and with my friend Remco, too. We’re going to make a video: Straat Paraat.
I’d like to thank skateboarding, my sponsors, my mother and father, Jonkobob, Rex, Jeroen Sars, Jeroen Bazuin, Rik van Dijk, Sebastiaan Vijverberg, Ricardo Paterno, Glenn De Roo, Jort Wester, Caspertje Hallebeek, Davy Van Laere and everybody else, they know what’s up.