Three Parts with Danny Wainwright

It can be pretty hard maintaining a 20 year relationship with anyone, let alone with a skateboarding company that has thousands of other partners including team riders from across of the world. Clearly it has worked with Danny Wainwright and Vans as they celebrate their 20 year anniversary with the Danny Wainwright Chukka Pro.

Now Danny is sat on the train in Barcelona trying to explain his relationship with not only Vans but with his own video footage. The results below make up commentary on 411, Fifty Fifty's 'Jus Foolin'' and the beloved 'Day in the City 2' as well as some shoe talk.

Read the interview, watch the footage and send hate mail via my Instagram. 

Over the past twenty years with Vans and you've been directly involved with three of your own pro shoes. How have you managed that?

My first shoe was back in 1993, it was definitely a sign of the era. At the time (and still now to be honest) I was into running trainers, the super high tech stuff so in the design process I kept on trying to get it slimmer and less "90s chunk" but it didn't turn out that way haha but still being someone from the UK with a Pro shoe was a huge deal at the time. It still kind of is really.

Then the SUMS came out, that was my second pro shoe for VANS. I didn't have my name on that shoe though, but that's a whole different story haha.

Now we have the Chukka Pro, it's everything I like about the original Chukka but with the new Pop Cush Insole, a corduroy and pig suede upper and for the foxing tape I stripped it back and added the checkerboard patch to keep things interesting. I'm hyped on it, I feel like it's definitely my shoe especially when i've been so involved with the design process and it skates well too, which is the point isn't it? Hopefully other people will be into it too. 

You've been with Vans for this long but has there been a shoe that has stood out recently?

They're doing a great job at the moment, the product just keeps on getting better. I was a big fan of the AVE, it was something so different from what we've done before, I remember seeing the artwork wondering if it would work, you know? As soon as I saw it on and had in hand I was stoked. It skates super well straight out the box and it lasts. I'm sitting on a few pairs for sure.

I'd be remiss to not ask you about the lockdown in Barcelona, how has it been over there?

Oh it's not too weird, if anything this is probably how Barcelona should be. There's no tourists obviously which is bad for some businesses but everything feels a little more relaxed, even if there is a pandemic. 

Over those years you also rode for Powell, were you treated as the typical 'UK/Euro' guy on the team?

I'll lean a little more into the yes side, it was more on the graphics though. Powell sorted me out for a longtime so I'm not talking too much smack on them but my graphics would always hark back to being English/British. Heraldry, shields and lions which were so cheesy. The flags and that Wainwright Manor stuff was horrendous. I was born in '75 and the English flag was used by skinheads, I mean it still is, I didn't want that on my board. I'm not flying that flag.   

How did the filming for the first Powell video?

It was a great time I flew out to San Jose to meet up with Steve Caballero. We literally would be skating and filming each other all day but also proper 'Dad-Camming' it, eat and repeat. I didn't really know how to film a proper video part or even how important it truly was though, Cab schooled me for sure.

He was self-editing and editing me as we were out skating. I'd be getting lines and he'd tell me what footage I already had haha! 'How about you do a Heelfiip instead of the Kickflip','You've already done that on something harder' that kind of stuff. I don't have that many tricks haha.

The whole thing was the first video part I had to work for which wasn't for Fifty-Fifty. When I was younger if tricks didn't come easy I didn't want to work for them. I obviously didn't understand but if Steve Cab is telling you how it is and that you needed to get clips, then you're going to be like 'Okay!'.



I filmed my 411 Profile with Anthony Claravall over a month and a half. When I was in the states I'd always hang out with him so when he'd come over to Bristol it would be the same.

The poor guy, he was straight edge, he didn't drink or smoke and at that time I'd smoke a lot of weed too which I'm embarrassed to say. Anthony would have to stay on the sofa whilst me and 5 other dudes were blazing bongs all night. Poor dude, we laugh about it nowadays. 

The 411 part was something I really filmed for. I put myself out there with this.

I'm stoked on the Little Lloyds footage, that was the first time I did Backtail Bigspin out and Backtail Backside Flip out. I'd never done those kind of tricks really, that's where having a filmer like Anthony involved is so important, he knew what you could do and gently push you to do better and it worked out.

Damn there's a lot of Kickflips and Treflips in this too.

Would Cab be down for all that repetition?

Haha no way, Cab would not be happy with that.

Did you feel like the 411 part helped push your skateboarding career?

Well that was never really on my mind but it got a good reception. I remember there being a demo or something at Lloyd's and Jamie Thomas came over and said it was 'Refreshing' and that he was stoked on the 'different types of and different skateboarding' I had put out.

I didn't think it was that different. But it's quite nice that people came up and said stuff, you know what I mean?

Did you have that in mind when putting together your part? Was there anyone you were watching at the time?

No, I can't remember. Seriously I've never really been into watching skate videos. You know? I mean, I have 5050 as well. We would sell all the new shit and new videos will come in. So I've watched them in the store. Anything new would be looped on in the store and you don't really pay much attention to them.

I'm not about to go home and put the fucking skating on you need an escape sometimes. The sort of goes with mags. Rarely I'll flick through one and then just put it down and never pick it up again. It's pretty weird.

What is it about Bristol that it as a city produces great skateboarders? 

That's a tough question. I don't think it's just skateboarders, it seems to be everything.  There's musicians and a sound: Portishead; Massive Attack; Roni Size; Tricky that whole Trip-Hop Drum'n'Bass as well as the younger Hip-Hop scene. The same goes for arts, graphic designers, writers even street artists like Banksy too.

I guess Bristol is a city that allows creatives to thrive which includes skateboarders. There's some mystical shit and some powerful energy in Bristol. 

Sidewalk Magazine // Day in the City 2 // 2002

Yeah, well, that was two days if I remember rightly. ‘Day in the City’ was two days so we went to Liverpool one day and went to Leeds the other day. At the time we were filming for the fifty-fifty video. I remember we took the best stuff out and kept it for Just Foolin’.

Isn’t it kind of cheesy though? 

What part of it?

The music, the concept and the leftovers?

No, this is of it’s time. Random beats, footage from outside of London and you’ve got to take something from it? How about that manual at Mandela Gardens? It does the rounds still and the spot barely gets touched.

Well, a few of us headed up north, Will Ainley, Flynn and Tidy so it became a good excuse for a mission as well as getting involved with the competition. 

A bunch of the footage is definitely warm-ups for other sections. The best example is the line at those steps in Everton is it. There's the Fakie Ollie and a Half Cab. So, I did a Half Cab and a Nollie Flip which we kept for the 50 video. 

Actually going over it there's the footage at what is now New Bird DIY and we managed to skate that quarter/bank spot in Leeds.

Yeah the spot if a bust now.

You've got to be kidding me right? We skated there for hours, thats a shame. Maybe they shouldn't have built a such a rad skate spot there. The fountain was empty there too.

As for the manual at that garden spot. I'm stoked its still a thing. What else has been done there?

The Tom Harrison gap to Nose Manual.

Wow that is gnarly, that is way better.

Well funnily enough we ended up winning something like 500 quid for the video contest, it's especially funny when you realise it wasn't all the best footage we got.

Fifty-Fifty // Just Foolin // 2003

You racked up a lot of footage for this video.

There's hours, there’s so much stuff we didn't use Me and Tidy Mike filmed that video. Obviously Mike filmed me and I filmed all the other boys because I used to love filming. We had Flynn Trotman, we’d call Flynn the General because he’d be militant ‘You’re doing this and getting that’ / ‘Everybody's got to get five clips today’. So yeah, we had a lot of footage and we had a lot of good shit too. 

Stalker was fucking killing it, Will Ainley and Wileman, Zach, just everyone was on one. We got some really good shit and we were all together saying ‘it's gonna be dope’. I told Mike that we shouldn’t edit it and get someone who knows what they’re actually doing. We were still on iMovie which you could still do something good on.  So I got Alan Glass to edit it.

Bearing in mind the editing, what's the story behind the black and white transition midway point?

It makes the park in Yate look good I guess, but in truth it's terrible. It was built by some rogue builders. The transition is all over the place and it's hard to skate, instead of being smooth it's wavy. Proper hideous stuff but you've got to earn every trick and concrete parks can be better like that I think.

When you grew up skating proper shit-holes like Dean Lane you just had to deal with what you had and makes the most out of the situation. You've got to learn your way around it, figure out the lines and which part of the coping to come off at. Everything that's built now is so perfect that it's almost kind of boring in some ways.

There's also the black and white tech at an older Macba to talk about.

Oh yeah, ollie up onto the back wheel, hop over, nose manual and nollie flip but the fucking wheels touch down but we won't talk about that. We'll have Wecking Bollocks on my case. So, the black and white was probably Alan trying to hide it or something.

The secrets, the dirty secrets of UK skateboarding.

The tricks down London Bridge are still up there with textbook skateboarding and still get talked about. What was the day like? Did you think lets get these two tricks and do one?

Yeah, they still do the rounds don't they?

That was coming to the end of filming for that video. I think we just went to London and we wanted to go to the steps, I basically wanted to try and get something. I didn't even know what I wanted to get but I mean those things are not big. They’re small stairs. I mean doing a tre flip down Lloyds is much harder than London Bridge.

Honestly I think just the way it's filmed. It just looks good on film from that angle above. What I’m trying to say is yeah it’s a 360 flip but it's the filming that makes it. Plus it feels like i’ve not done a 360 flip in fucking years. I used to have them on the regular, it was Kickflip and 360 Flip as the go-to tricks. If there was a gap or something like that, if I could Ollie it then I could Kickflip it. I wish that was the case now, but it definitely isn't haha.

As for the Fakie flip. That was a trick I really had at that time, it just worked. Stoked.

Was the case that if you can do it at Llyod's you can do it anywhere?

Not really, I mean I was everywhere and travelling a whole lot. I was sort of all over. I’d stay in the States all the time, so you’d end up learning on perfect spots.

I think fucking Vaughn Baker's Backside Nollie Flip is probably the best thing done down it to be honest. It just fucking looks amazing and it's a trick that I could never wrap my head around. I only ever did a few of them.

So it looks like we got everything, now we're here have you got any advice?

Don't read the YouTube comments haha.

Good one, thanks.

Shop the Vans Danny Wainwright Chukka Pro here

More Danny Wainwright via Vans and Ben Powell here

Photography by Sam Ashley

Interview by Fraser Doughty