We sat down with Skull Skates founder PD and asked him about his history, being independent and the key to his 40-year longevity as Canada's oldest skateboard company.
Where are you from?
Earth ...North America ...northwest quadrant …land dweller.
How did you first get introduced to skateboarding?
My brother 10 years my elder introduced me to my first taste in the 70s just after the urethane wheel was introduced, he skated the decade prior during the steel and clay wheel era ….from the first ride which I remember distinctly I have not been able to put it down.
How and when did skull skates get started?
In 1978 in Regina Saskatchewan because we wanted to make a better skateboard.
What skateboarders influenced you early on and who inspires you now?
Early on it was Tony Alva and Jay Adams, t.a. especially because he laid down the blueprint that most of us still read from to this day.
What about art and music, any specific people to highlight as influential?
art there are way too many to list but some are Seen, Doze, Ramallzee, Futura 2000, Dali, Vaughn Bode’, Andy Warhol, Roger Dean, m.c. escher, Picasso plus various punk flyers and zine makers.
Music is very vast spanning many styles and eras, I like the bass guitar so that is a constant thread but am also particularly drawn to arrangement and production choices made by various musicians, producers etc.
How would you describe the past and current connection between surfing, skating, and snowboarding?
Same shit, different pile ….semantics differ but the goal of all is to have the machine evaporate from your experience as you are doing it, at that point, any lines are blurred or removed between approaches.
What is your biggest challenge of running your own business?
There is nothing that is seen as a big challenge from our perspective, all is possible if you are realistic and fiercely dedicated in equal measure.
Do you feel like it is more difficult to build a global brand being based in Canada?
Not sure as we never actually set out to build anything but rather we just kind of do our work each day and hope for the best.
Any advice for a young skateboarder thinking about starting a business?
I would ask what is your motivation? also, who are your customers? if everyone is a business owner then who are the customers?
What is your process of creating and selecting graphics?
We don’t generally get to graphics until we have done a very thorough structural and functional design effort, we do not have a set process but we do about 90% of our graphics in-house and the balance with collaborators …we just make what we like and hope other people like it too.
What is the story behind the collab towel artwork?
We have always had a strained relationship with the concept of commerce and as a way to ease our feelings of suit dummy involvement, we create graphics like the “ product “ graphic on the towel as a way of mocking the emptiness of consumer culture.
Can you explain the connection to Slowtide?
Dario was a certified skate rat at one of the shop locations when we were in kits, years later Dario started Slowtide
and Skull was in the need for a kick-ass towel …simple and correct.
I remember once seeing a collab Skull Skates surfboard, do you ever get out to Vancouver Island to surf?
I don’t surf water only land …we love the island though, lots of good people over there.
Where is your current favorite skate spot?
UBC skatepark and crosstown random distance runs.
Do you participate on social media at all? Thoughts on the future of it?
We do but just barely, our job is to engage people on a tactile level and therefore cannot condone the pouring of one’s soul into an electronic device.