Skateboarding isn’t what it used to be, mostly because so many people are ridiculously good at it nowadays. Currently, it’s rare that I trip out on how g’damned good someone is. But if you’ve ever seen Dan Plunkett skate in person, I guarantee you’ll lose your mind with sinful envy.
Dan has the ability to skate so insanely fast and borderline reckless, while somehow doing every trick so completely calculated and in control. The guy is just so gnarly.
CCS caught up with Dan and chatted about Skate Mental, his Atlanta crew, the demise of Elwood and his new spot on the HUF Footwear team. If you’re not a fan yet, it’s only a matter of time.
What’s up, Dan…what are you doing right now? I’m going to Amsterdam tomorrow so right now I’m just running around. I got to pay rent, do laundry and get everything done before I go.
Who are you going on the trip with? It’s kind of a little Skate Mental trip. Me and Brad [Staba] are going to be out there for two weeks. Brad’s got some buddies out there and we’re going to see a distributor and stuff and I’m going to skate in Amsterdam Am.
Are you filming for anything in particular? I’m kind of filming a part for Skate Mental, so I guess whatever I get will go to that, so I guess I am filming something. But it’s not going to be coming out for a while. I just started.
You’re originally from upstate, right? Yeah, it’s called North Tonawanda, New York. It’s right in the middle of Buffalo and Niagara Falls.
How did you end up making your way to Atlanta? Well at 17, I quit skating for some dumb reason. One Spring I just didn’t start back up because none of my friends really skated anymore. So I went two years with no skating. I was just lurking and doing nothing really. I decided I wanted to start back up so I moved down to South Carolina to where my Dad was at the time. And I started skating a bunch there and then I started visiting Atlanta. And after visiting so much, my buddies Justin [Brock] and David [Clark] were like, you should just move here. And I’ve been here for about 3 years now. That’s the long story short, right there.
What’s up with the DTE and LOC crew you guys have going on? It’s called DOWN TO EARTH and LORDS OF CHAOS. It started off as a dumb joke and went from there. Now we all have tattoos…DTE x LOC tattoos with a little skull. They’re like gang tattoos I guess, but not really. They were writing LOC on their boards and I was writing DTE on my boards and then when I moved here, we kind of just jumbled them together and formed a brotherhood [laughs].
You were riding for Traffic for a while. How did you get on Skate Mental? It’s kind of weird how that happened. I kind of got on by just hanging out with Brad. But before that I was out in SF and got a box sent out there and something happened; like I was in the office at Deluxe and Mic-e gave it away or something. I’m not sure exactly what happened. But then they started hooking me up with Krooked boards for a little while and then Ricky got all bummed out and called them. I was still on Traffic for a little while. And then I was just hanging out with Brad a bunch and trying to get a hold of Ricky and couldn’t get boards for months at a time. I know that he was busy. He’s got a job as a car salesman and three kids so I know he’s a busy dude. And then this one random Nike trip, Brad was just like, “Yeah, you’re on the team.” I was like, “What? Ok, awesome.” We didn’t really talk too much about it before that but he was like, “Yeah it looks like you have yourself a board sponsor.” It was crazy, but awesome. It just kind of worked out randomly. And I’m pretty stoked on it.
How was it going from a relatively small board sponsor to a bigger brand like Skate Mental? Not much has changed skating-wise. But I get to travel a bit more. That’s all I want to do, just travel and skate so it’s been a definite plus. More traveling and meeting more people. It’s sick.
You were riding for Elwood when they went and pulled the plug on their skate program. Was it a shock when it happened? Yeah, it was a huge bummer. I was really bummed for Kenny and John and Dan. Those dudes. And I was also bummed, but Kenny built Elwood up for like 15 years only to have that happened. So it was just a huge bummer. I know Kenny’s trying to do something new now, so hopefully that works out for him. It was all kind of nowhere. I remember I saw Drehobl in SF and he was like, “Oh, you hear what happened?” Then he told me and I totally thought he was just f**king with me. I was out in SF and we were about to go into the real premiere and he told me that right before the video. I was kind of just in shock and in awe. So it kind of ruined my video experience. I just went to the second premiere after that because my mind wasn’t in the right state at the time.
What’s summertime like in Atlanta when you’re not skating? In the summer it’s way too hot in the day to skate, so we go to the river a lot. There’s this cliff jump and you can also float down it in tubes. It’s awesome. Then we just wait til the sun goes down to skating downtown. And we got this new skatepark that’s a block away from my house. When it’s summer, it’s good to just beat the heat. Stay out of the sun during the day or just go jump in the water or something. Other than that, it’s just lurking around [laughs].
So you recently left Nike SB for HUF. How did that happen? I was riding for Nike on flow for…sh*t, like 6 years or something. And then I just randomly got a call from Huf out of the blue and I was really stoked. I wanted to wait it out and see how it worked out with Nike, but you’ve got to take a risk every once in while, so I just went for it. It’s been great, man. I actually go off the phone with Keith before you called me. I’ve been doing a bunch of trips with Huf now. We got a great team and new dude on the team. It’s not official yet, so I don’t want to say who it is. But we got a new dude on there. I love the team, Huf’s a rad dude and it worked out great.
What HUF shoe have you been feeling lately? I’ve been skating in the Genuine for a while, which is like a slip-on that you can turn into a regular shoe. But then I’ve been back on the Choice, which is probably my favorite shoe right now. I’m really feeling that one. I’m really feeling the insoles on the shoes; they’re super thick and squishy. I’m feelin’ them.
So, what are you working on next Dan? Just tomorrow, go to Amsterdam for two weeks, which I’m really stoked on. I’ve never out of the country, outside of Canada. I don’t know if that really counts. This is the first time really getting out of the country and using my passport. I’m really excited. I come back and we got a little West Coast HUF trip. So I’m just trying staying busy, best I can.
Sequence Photo: Coulthard, Still Photo: Brook Courtesy of Skate Mental.