This interview has been done in mid august, while I was in Norway and Derek was hanging with his family in Utah. What to say? I wanted to interview Derek for so long, because he’s a silent soldier with tons of style: he never got under the spotlight for something he did outside of snowboarding, definitively not the kind of guy who like to get in trouble or do everything to draw the flashes to him. He’s on the scene since a long time and you’d never got tired of his riding; his style is fresh and really heavy skateboard influenced and his tricks are powerful and simple, whitout all those frippery that sometime ruin the plain beauty of the move. That said, at the end I discovered a really nice and simple guy, very tied to his family and really down to earth. So I’m very proud to introduce Derek Dennison.
Hi Derek, so let’s start with position and current activity: in regard of me, I’m in Oslo and I’m writing your itw. Where are you right now and what are you doing now?
I’m up at a place called Bear Lake, in northern Utah, hanging with the family & enjoying the tail end of summer. We’ve been coming up here at least once a year since i was just a few years old….so it’s definitely a nice tradition.
Which place on earth do you call home? And where do your roots lay?
Home is Salt Lake City, UT and i’d say most of my roots are here…..i’ve lived in the SL valley since i was about six years old. I’ve also got some roots in Idaho & Arizona as well….i was born in ID and lived in AZ for a bit when i was really young.
Just a triple kink…on the rocks! ph. Sean Kerrick Sullivan
This year has been intense and positive for you: the TWS shootout victory (fully deserved), the new Familia 2 hitting the screens in september and that aim to be one of the banger of the next season and a new pro model collection for Nomis outerwear and technine decks and bindings. Did I forget something? What can you say about all that?
Fully stoked on life right now! The Transworld win was quite a nice surprise…we had such a rough time out there i didn’t know how people would react to the final product. Stoked to have a win underneath our belts. As for Familia II…it’s gonna be dope! My part’s not gonna be super long, as i was battling with a knee injury all season long this past year, but i know a couple of the homies are gonna have bangers….Dylan T, to name one for sure!
As far as product is concerned, i can’t be more happy. Each year i get more and more input on all the gear that has my name on it and this new stuff is by far my favorite to date, for sure! Truly stoked on Nomis & Technine family.
I’m following snowboard scene for a while now, and I think I can state the medium longevity for a rider now is way shorter than before. You came out several season ago and you’re still on the edge, maintaining your status with a constant progression and a stylish, clean and tech trickery that doesn’t get never old. Which is the secret to stay on the edge so longer?
Yeah, this video will mark my seventh year in the game…seven years of having a solid part in the FODT films. I first had a few shots back in “Moment of Truth” when i first met Cole. Then it all officially started the next year with “One Love”, when i had my first full part….then came “State of Mind”, “Cold World”, “Familia”, “Hard to Earn”, & “The Arena”….and then this fall “Familia II”.
I don’t know, i just try to keep my body in good shape and keep having fun. I truly love to ride my snowboard and there’s not much in the world that makes me happier, so i think that helps. I’ve always tried to do my own thing while riding, with an empasis on style rather than just hucking the newest, coolest trick that everyone else is doing.
Let’s get back to Familia 2. The teaser shows an impressive growth and a level for street snowboarding never seen before: the gaps and wallrides dimensions has become ridiculous, the sick factor of the rail has dramatically risen up. Familia the one was already a signal that FODT wanted to reinvent street riding, but I think that the second chapter will be a milestone. How did you reach a such important result?
Well, first of all, let me say that i’m stoked to hear you say that. We’ve always tried to just do us… despite all the hate and the negative feedback we sometimes get….i think we’re finally starting to get props for it. You gotta do right by you and try not to worry too much about what every one else (the “industry) is saying or doing.
Someone say that snowboarding is slowly dying, because of the exagerate media exposition given to the sport during the last decade. Some other says that has simply reached his zenith after the big growth of the last 2 decades. Which is your idea about that?
Ya know, i’ve got mixed feelings on the subject. Snowboarding will always be snowboarding, it will always be fun, and i will always love to ride….and any one else who truly loves to ride will do the same…that is the bottom line, just the way it is. Snowboarding will never die as long as there’s still a select few that are doing it for the love, for the right reasons….because they really, truly love to.
On the other hand, it definitely has blown up to a point where it makes me sick sometimes. I guess i just always think of the late 90’s as the golden age of snowboarding. It was still relatively young & fresh…and the whole emphasis on image & ego was no where to be found. Don’t get me wrong, I think progression and growth are a great thing….to a certain extent. It’s no secret that i’m not a fan of all these new spin-to-win rail tricks & triple cork nine millions that kids think they need to do now. I have always thought and always will think that style & smoothness is far more important than how many times you can spin around on your board. Just because you CAN do something on your board, doesn’t mean you always SHOULD. I don’t know, that’s just my opinion. I think that…above anything…is killing what i think is the true essence of snowboarding.
Where is that killer steep wooden down rail appeared in the first familia where you and the guys throw presses and lips?
Haha….that’s in Cole Taylor’s (TM for T9 & flimer/owner of FODT & good friend) back yard. He needed a new set of stairs leading to the bottom of his yard & we figured we could make a pretty sweet snowboard feature at the same time….kill two birds with one stone. We spent the majority of the summer a few years back constucting that monster. It’s so damn long and steep….it can hurt pretty bad if you make the whole thing. if you make it off the end of that thing it stings your feet pretty good coming down on the flat. I’m stoked though…i’ve had a few shots on that thing over the past few years, and there’s still a couple of tricks i wanna get on it.
What does Derek do when not riding a snowboard?
Oh boy…that’s a good question. All kinds of things, to be honest. I’ve got a pretty big, awesome family here in UT and i love spending time with them. Hanging with good friends. I like to skate here and there in the summer….mostly just mellow tranny stuff. I bought a new surfboard earlier this summer and have been out surfing a decent amount this year. I love a day on the lake in a nice boat….i’ve been really stoked on wakesurfing a bunch lately…especially if you’re behind a big, nice boat. I like to golf. I like to play baseball when i get the chance. I love music and am always stoked to find new (or old, more often..) stuff that i’ve never heard before. Mostly just hangin with family and friends…doing something active…that keeps a smile on my face.
Not definitively just another rail guy ph. E-Stone
A guy I know some years ago drove your crew in search of spots when you came down in Italy to film and shoot right for Familia 1. He wrote about you all that you act really professionally, searching for the perfect spot and then setting everything on for the session, putting first video and photo material and not enjoying your pro status and partying hard all nights. It seems that you guys from the other side of the Atlantic take things way more seriously than us in the “old world”. How did snowboarding change your life? Do you live it like a sacrifice or it’s all natural for you?
Hahaaa…don’t be fooled, we definitely like to let loose quite a bit when we get the chance!
Snowboarding has definitely changed my life….and to be more honest, it really IS my life. I have lived snowboarding since i was in junior high and would split right after school to ride when ever i could. It pretty much defines and rules my life. I would say that it comes pretty natural to me….as far as the act of just going snowboarding. There are definitely times here and there when you don’t totally feel like riding, or you want to go do something else, but i don’t think it’s ever a “sacrifice”. It has always been something i truly loved to do….so even if you’r not completely feeling it one day, as soon as you strap in, you can’t help getting stoked!
Your new board feature a top with old audio cassette picture on the top. Are you an old music nostalgic or you simply like the ol’ cassette feeling?
Yeah, most of those tapes are mine…ones that i’ve had since i was a young teenager. I grew up listensing to my Dad’s old vinyl and he used to make all kinds cassettes from his records for us to listen to….so i guess you could say i was a pretty big “cassette guy” before the whole CD revolution took place. Like i said before, i’m just a huge fan of GOOD music, so the cassettes just represent a time/place/importance/love in my life….and i thought that’s as good a thing as any to put on my board….as music is a huge part of my life. But speaking of old vinyl….E Stone & I just finished up my graphics for next year (12/13) and we used a bunch of old records & record sleeves for the image…..pretty pumped on how it turned out! Keep an eye out fori t….
Full kitted Giants supporter
And what about your new signed collection from Nomis? Which were the main features you work on while designing it? Did someone helped you in the process? They appear to be simple and functional pieces, with heavy streetwear style influences..
That’s exactly what i was going for….something with a little bit of style, but mostly just simple, nice pieces. The fit is the most important part for me. I’ve always had a bit of a different style when it came to my pants (kind of a 70’s bell bottom thing) and i wanted that to show up in my signature stuff. My homie Jon Loether at Nomis helped me out quite a bit on getting everything dialed in.
Ok Derek, thank you very much for your precious time, any last shout before enjoyin’ the august sun?
Family first! Friends, you know who you are! And all my sponsors for having my back…T9, Nomis, Neff, Celsius, Smith, & Technique….and thank you Ross, for lining up this interview!
Definitely enjoying the August sun….but already fiending for some snow to fall.