Dane Berman just came up with one of the heaviest parts to date. Check out behind the scenes of the battle for the ender that took the world by storm.
──DANE BURMAN (ENGLISH)
[ JAPANESE / ENGLISH ]
VHSMAG (V)： Your "Hope to Die" part was gnarly... but before I jump into that, you also had "Damn It All" earlier this year. So this is your second part this year?
Dane Burman (D)： Kind of my third. I actually did another video in between that. I had some friends from Australia come and stay at my house. That was Jack O'Grady and Levi Jarvis, and two other kids from Sydney. They came and stayed with me for maybe a month or two, and we filmed the video while they were here. I had maybe three minutes of footage in that too. It's been my third part this year.
V： Three parts in a year, that's insane. How long were you filming for this "Hope to Die" part?
D： Maybe seven or eight months. Pretty much all of it has been filmed while we've had the COVID stuff going on. While all the schools and businesses have been closed, we've been filming and skating as much as we can. It's been easy to go skate. We don't have to wait for the weekends. We can skate the whole week.
V： What was the process like for filming a part like this? I mean, all the tricks are gnarly...
D： This is the only type of skating I really know. All of my parts, I try to skate like this. It's what I like to see, and it's the funnest for me to do. That's just what I always try to go with. Basically I know what tricks I'm good at, and I try to do the best versions of those that I can. Then once I have one of those or two of those filmed, I start thinking about new tricks that I'd like to see myself do, or tricks that I'm not as good at. Or I try to look for something that's a little different, just to spice it up a little bit. I'm always going to have an okay 5-0 in a part, or a bigger front feeble, or a big 50-50, or something like that. I'll try to get those first, and just have them ready to go. Then I work from there. I just build on that. Besides that, it's just lots of driving around and looking for spots. I skate spots that not too many other people skate, so I can't just watch videos and see a spot that I like and go to them.
V： Don't you get burned out from doing so much gnarly stuff? When you put out a video part, I'm sure you have a pressure to outdo the previous one.
D： I just love skating. This is what I want to do. I want to do this forever. I always have the drive and I want to be better than myself. I want my next part to be better. That doesn't necessarily mean an extra stair or something on the trick that I did, it might just mean a handful of tricks that I've never really done before. Or I might do a trick that I do a lot in a new way or at a new spot. As long as there's some type of progression, then I'm happy with it. It felt good to be out there, pushing myself. Then right at the end when I was just looking for that one last trick, it just didn't feel as natural. I got burnt on that.
V： You were out for two and a half years because of a knee injury, right?
D： Yeah. I went to Barcelona, on a trip with friends in 2017. Right near the end of the trip, I was trying to grind a rail, and I fell and I hit my knee on the rail. I tore everything in my knee. I did my PCL. I did my meniscus. I tore my patella tendon and broke my patella, which is pretty much everything in the knee except for the ACL. Coming back from that was over two years, two years of it hurting every single day. I'd go and skate, and just falling off a curb in the morning would be painful, and I wouldn't be able to skate that day. I thought that I wasn't ever going to be able to skate again. Because I was doing all the physio, and I went to doctors and got injections for my knee. I got the cortisone injections, and I got PRP injections. None of those helped. Then the physio wasn't really helping. No doctors had any idea of what kind of surgery would help. There was nothing I could do. They're like, "Your knee's probably just going to hurt." Then, I don't know how or what it really was, but I think mostly it was diet. I stopped eating bread as much. I tried to cut as much gluten out of my diet as I could. My knee slowly stopped hurting. Once it stopped hurting, I was like, "All right, fuck. We're on. I'm not wasting this. I'm going to try and skate again. I'm really, really going to try." All of the filming for "Damn It All," I was mostly skating hurt until maybe the last month or two. Then I got maybe 10 or 15 tricks in the last couple of months that were probably the better and bigger tricks in my part. Then from there, I filmed that video with my friends, and then this video. I've been really trying to not waste feeling good.
V： What pushes you? Where does the drive come from?
D： I don't know. I don't have anything else. I love it. It's given me everything I have. Skateboarding has given me all my best friends. It's given me every good experience in my life. It's taken me around the world. I've been everywhere. It's given me a living. I pay my rent with skateboarding. Every single thing in my life that I have has come from skateboarding, so I owe skateboarding, you know?
V： As for your style of skateboarding, you have mentioned Eric Koston as your influence. He's a pretty different type.
D： See, influence is a strange word, because people look at that and think if you're influenced by someone you're going to skate like someone, but I'm not at all... He influenced me to be who I am and skate the way I skate. I was so shocked and so blown away by the way he skated that I was like, "Man, I've got no hope of being as good as him. I'm going to have to find my own route in skateboarding." My other favorite skateboarders were Stevie Williams and Josh Kalis. I loved all the old Love Park footage. That's why I used to skate switch so much when I was younger. So many switch flips, and switch heels, and all that sort of thing was all from those guys. I was skating switch all the time. I just didn't have the skill to go any further than just flipping the board once on flat ground. I was like, "I'll throw it down some stairs, but I'm not taking any of this into ledges."
V： You had that nice nose manny nollie flip out. That was super smooth.
D： Yeah. I got some slightly tech moves that work sometimes, but not too often. I think the tech side of skateboarding frustrates me too much. I just like to go fast and scare myself.
V： The title of your new part is a song by Orville Peck. How did you use his song?
D： Orville used to skate when he was younger. He read all the Thrasher mags, and he looked up to all these skateboarders back when he was younger. Jamie Thomas was one of his favorite skateboarders. Recently he reached out to Jamie and was like, "Hey, when I was a kid you were a huge influence on me. I just want to thank you for it." I liked his music and I realized that me and Orville followed each other on Instagram. I talked to him a little bit, and he was super cool. Then while I was filming for this part, I'd go around and pick everyone up in the morning to go skate. The morning music would always be Orville songs, and we'd be listening to that, trying to get pumped to go skating. It was just good vibes in the morning. Then one day, the guy that filmed the part with me, Vinny mentioned, "Hey, why don't you skate to an Orville song?" So we ended up using his song, Zero made a board with him and it all came out at the same time.
V： So for this part, you came back from your knee injury and felt good the whole time filming?
D： I had a couple of small injuries. At one point I hurt my hip really bad, and I didn't skate for like a month during it. I was on this trip to Denver. I tried a trick for way longer than what I should have, and I kept slamming on the same part of my body over and over again. My whole hip just swelled up. My whole leg down past my knee went all bruised and purple. That put me out for a little while, but... Yeah, mostly just felt good for most of the filming of it besides just small things like that.
V： Was there anything you wish you had? I want to discuss that rooftop treflip.
D： Yeah. I wish I had that. That's a funny one, because I went there twice to try that treflip. The first time I went there, I landed on every single one. I was just landing on them over and over again, and slipping out or falling forward, or I'd fall off the roof. I fell off it a few times. Then in that clip, it's hard to tell, but because I landed with my feet together at the front of the board, I actually put my front wheels through the roof. They put a hole in the roof. That's why I fell forward and off the roof. Then I went back with this big metal sign and I put it on the roof where I land, and I tried again. I tried it for hours, and it was just the same thing, sticking, and slipping, and falling forward. There's something about the way the two roofs are on the downhill. I couldn't get my balance right to ride away. I tried it forever. It was super hot, and the roof has... It's this hard rubber over the top of it. When you fall and slide on it, it just melts your skin off. You know if you slide on a vert ramp on a hot day or something, and the wood just burns you? The whole roof was like that. All my forearms, and my hips, and everything, all the skin was melted off from sliding on the roof for so long. Maybe when it cools down I'll go back and try it again in the wintertime, and see if it makes a difference.
V： What goes through your mind when you're battling for a trick for so long?
D： I've been skating for a long time. I've been skating for 27 years. Nothing in my skateboarding life has ever come easy. I was not ever a talented skateboarder. None of the tricks I learned came easily or naturally for me. From the time I picked up a skateboard until my first kickflip was like four years of skating every single day. Kids these days pick up a skateboard and they're doing kickflips in the first week. It took me four years to land my first kickflip. At that time, we didn't have the internet. I didn't have anyone else that I really skated with. It was just by myself. When I'm trying a trick that takes a really long time, it's just like, "This is how I skate." I go through a process. Nothing that's worth doing is easy. If it's hard for me, then it's obviously something that is going to mean something to me when I do it. I just try to stick with it for as long as I can.
V： Which trick are you most stoked to have in the part? The ender 50-50 at the Staple Center?
D： The ender's a cool one. It's another 50-50. I do so many 50-50s... That one took me like five years to do it. I've been trying that for my last three or four video parts, to try and get that 50-50. Something's stopped me from doing it every time. I went back maybe 10 different times to try and do that. I'm stoked it finally worked out this time. All the buildup and the years that I've been going and trying it for are what make that one so special for me.
V： Could you walk me through the process, how you got that trick?
D： I don't know why, but on that side of the Staples Center, they have security that comes out really fast. Every single time, you only get like five minutes there. If I got more time there, I probably would have done it the first time. But you always only get five minutes, and then you get kicked out. You get there, and you just have to run up the stairs. You have no time to roll up and look at it, and try to get psyched. You just have to start trying it. Then the first time I tried it, I was almost doing it. I took a couple pretty bad slams. When you go from the rail to the hubba, there's a bit of a little gap. You have to lift up over the gap. I kept on hanging my back truck up in the gap, and I was falling down the hubba forwards, and flipping off the end of it. Basically that is what would happen the first three or four times I went there.
V： That sounds horrific...
D： My No Cash Value part was the first time I tried it, and I couldn't get it, obviously. Kept getting kicked out. I think I went twice for that, and got kicked out both times. Then I tried it from my Holy Stokes! part. I went there with Volcom dudes. I had Milton Martinez with me. He was at the top of the stairs trying to block security for me while I was trying it. Then the security tackled Milton, and they held him down and they tied him up. They called the cops. It was crazy because they fully had him all tied up on the ground when the cops came. The cops were like, "You guys are just security. You can't be tying people up." The cops told the security to let him go, and it was fine, but pretty nuts for a while. Then after that one, I was like, "All right. I got to stop coming back. The security is getting too gnarly. They're trying to arrest people here." I let it go for a few years. Then I went back and I looked at it again for the Damn It All part, but I just couldn't imagine myself trying it, the way my knee was feeling through that part. I went there and I looked at it, and I just got kind of bummed thinking about it. Like, "I don't know if I can even ollie onto this right now." If I take any weird bails, or even running down the hubba could fuck my knee up again. I half tried it a couple of times when we were filming that video, but there was no real ... It was never really going to happen.
V： And then finally you made it happen with this part.
D： Yeah, I was feeling good. I went there again and looked at it, and I was like, "Fuck, I think I'm feeling it. I think I can do it now." I called up Mike Burnett and told him, "Hey, do you want to come shoot this trick?" Because when Mike comes, you're shooting something for Thrasher. It's serious now. There's no half trying. You're really going to fucking try it if Mike's there with the camera. I put myself into that situation on purpose, just so that I would make myself really fucking try. I went there and I tried, and the rail would not grind. It's this square, soft aluminum rail. Every time my trucks would hit it, I'd just stop immediately. I'd fucking dive into the hubba, and just slam. I tried five or six times the one day, and would just stick every single time. Then security kicked us out. Then we went back the very next day. I waxed the rail as much as I could. Same thing happened. Just stick, stick, stick. Would not grind, and I could not figure out how to get the rail to grind. Then the security came again, kicked us out again. Then the next weekend I went back again, and I put copers on my trucks and it was grinding. I was like, "All right. I got this now." I grinded down and I would land on the hubba. It was the first time I'd actually got onto the hubba and actually been rolling down it. I was like, "Holy shit, I'm fucking flying down this thing." I'd hit the kink at the bottom and just slam. The first times I made it to the bottom of the hubba, I don't know if you can see in the footage but there's these big metal fences. That was all fenced in at the time, because they were doing COVID testing inside the Staples Center. They fenced off that whole side so the people couldn't get in to where they were doing the testing.
V： Yeah, I can tell the place was fenced off.
D： I thought that I'd be able to do the grind, go down the hubba, land, and then slide and stop before I hit the fence. But I was going so fast that, when I hit the kink at the bottom of the hubba, I cleared all the way and hit the fence immediately. My wheels hit the ground and I hit the fence. People were like, "That was kind of a make, I think." Then security came again, and kicked us out again. I couldn't use that as my ender. My wheels hit the ground for a second. That doesn't really count. I went back again, and we opened all the fences up and dragged it to the sides. We got kicked out by security again once I'd opened the fence. I hadn't done one where I made it to the bottom. They came out and they were like, "We're calling the cops." I ran up the stairs to go again, and then the cops pulled up. I was like, "Fuck." The cops were kicking us out. The police were telling us we had to go. I pretended to shut the gate. Then we walked down the block, and we just sat in our cars for half an hour. Then I was like, "Fuck it. I'm just going to run back and give it one more go." I ran back, opened the fence up, and then just jumped on it. It was that one more go after I ran back, and I did it and landed it, and we just left. It was a whole thing. It took so long.
V： Fuck... congratulations. One thing I noticed though, you didn't have a spotter on that one. You almost got hit by a car after you landed it.
D： Yeah. I don't think we were even thinking about it at that point. The road that I land in isn't really that busy. We also didn't have too many people, because we were just trying to rush and I ran over. I pulled the fence open. We had the two dudes filming, and that was it. You can see, as I'm riding away, my friend is actually skating down the street. He was usually the spotter. He was skating down there, trying to get there, but I just ran in and ran up and went for one before he even got there. He would've told me there was a car coming if he got there a little sooner.
V： I think everyone's pretty much aiming for SOTY toward the end of the year but you have three parts.
D： Yeah, I think you're about to see a lot of really, really heavy parts come out. I'm pretty sure I'll get forgotten about in a couple of weeks.
V： No way. No one's going to forget that ender at the Staple Center.
D： We'll see.
V： So you survived the battle. You just finished your third part of the year. Anyone you want to thank?
D： Obviously I'd like to thank Zero, because I'd have nothing without them. Liquid Death, because they pay my rent and because the water is delicious. Like to thank Vans for ... Obviously they're helping me out a lot too. They've got this interview going for us. Just all my sponsors, really. I couldn't do anything without them.
Born in 1987 in Sydney, Australia. He's known for being one of the gnarliest skaters out there pushing the limits. His sponsors include Zero, Vans and Liquid Death.