Sean Darst skates for two of the most respected companies in the industry and he’s friends with many of America’s most well-known bladers, and he only has two online edits to his name.
Sean Darst has been a pillar of the Chicago blading scene for some time, but it wasn’t until he released an online edit for boot sponsor Valo back in 2010 that anyone outside of the United States began to take notice of his skating. Two minutes of footage is all it took to convey that Darst is a stone cold killer on skates. This one profile contains such a wide variety of spots, all of which he manipulates beautifully to show that he can stomp gaps, throw himself at ballsy stunts and link together lines with the control of someone that just stinks of natural talent.
That was over three years ago and despite cameos in various Haitian Magazine montages, a brief appearance in Malcolm Heard’s online video Two Times and taking a few slams while filming for Sean Kelso’s KCMO, there wasn’t much fresh footage of Darst kicking around. He did have a section in Abstract Art II, but very few people outside of the USA have actually seen it. That all changed when Create Originals announced that he was the latest member of their amateur team with a fierce introduction edit that dropped last September. The video features Darst charging at everything, including disaster rails and full cab truespins, like he has no doubt in his mind that he’s going to land them. His raw style is fascinating to watch, and this edit proves that he thinks long and hard about the obstacles he chooses to skate and the way he approaches them.
“In LA it is really easy to take advantage of what you have because everything is the same every day and you can lose sight of why you went there in the first place.”
He is one of the core members of the always engaging Haitian crew and currently lives in Kansas City, which is sporting one of the strongest blade scenes in North America at the moment. With a couple of edits in the works, a solid network of industry connections and an impressively unique approach to street skating, there is little doubt that 2014 could be a big year for Sean Darst. If his past performances are anything to by, we can expect some high quality sections from him over the next 12 months, so take a moment and get to know a thoughtful blading protagonist that is brimming with promise.
Wheel Scene: The first edit many people have seen of you is your Create Originals section. How did you get hooked up with them?
Sean Darst: Billy O’Neill was taking trips back and forth from Oakland to LA to film for his Haitian part. In that time we had been talking back and forth about the whole idea. I owe a lot to Bill. He has always looked out for me since I met him back in 2011 in Chicago.
You are on Valo as well, right?
Yeah, I’ve been skating for Valo for a while now. Jon Julio is another person who has been looking out for me for a long time, and I wouldn’t want to be a part of any other skate company.
What have you been up to recently?
Well, right now, I’m currently living at the KCMO compound. I’ve just been skating with all the dudes out here and hanging out with my girlfriend. I’m going to be going back to Chicago for a couple of weeks to help the boss man Brian Bina with printing for the new Haitian line, so be on the lookout for that.
It seems like Haitian are making a big impact on the blading scene at the moment. What is daily life like hanging in that group?
Living with six-to-seven other people can get pretty out of control. Every morning you would be woken up to loud music and the smell of tik in the air. Me and Khonsu had the attic space, so in the summertime it would be over 100 degrees in the morning (laughs). Once everyone was up, we would all get together in the living room, play some jams and talk about where we wanted to skate for the day.
When we would go out and skate and film it felt like nothing else mattered, like the city was there for us to capture, and that’s what we did. Some of the greatest times I’ve ever had were definitely riding around in that van. That’s the greatest thing because the ideas we had, or Haitian had, were from all of us just riding around the streets of LA, skating and swapping ideas back and forth. Then when we got back to the Gime, some people would play more music, Malcolm and Davis would start capturing and editing, and people would collaborate on some really good meals in our tiny ass kitchen. After that we would maybe hit the streets again, this time to party, or smoke a foot-long and watch one of the 1,000 VHS videos we had and call it a night.
What have been some of the most memorable moments from hanging and travelling with that crew?
There have honestly been enough things that happened I could write a whole book. Some things that come to mind are seeing the house for the first time and wondering how we got so damn lucky. Building two rooms, walls and everything in the attic with Bina. Printing the first line of shirts in our own backyard. Finding quarter pipes in the trash while looking for a skate spot and creating the compound in our front yard. Getting boxes and boxes of the first issue delivered to our doorstep. Doing the local hill bomb with Rob G and all the homies. Our trip to SF, which was decided the night before. Playing music through the night; you could literally hear it from blocks away. Getting chased on the freeway by some hood rats at 7am. Picking up Otto for the first time then taking him downtown the very next morning. Me and Bina running a cafe. Just being in the van six-to-eight hours a day, skating and having a great time, not thinking about anything else. The creativity and vibes were on another level. Getting in a deadly car accident with all the homies and all of us surviving. Meeting and getting to know Brandon Negrete. You opened my eyes to many things. RIP, brother.
Am I right in thinking you are from Chicago? What prompted your move to LA and how is life different there?
I am from Chicago. I guess what prompted me to move there was just a change in skating and scenery. I had moved to LA when I was 21 and skated Chicago since I was 13. Also the whole plan had developed while we were filming Two Times. There are good and bad things about both cities though. It’s really hard to skate Chicago in the winter, so that was a big thing. In LA it is really easy to take advantage of what you have because everything is the same every day and you can lose sight of why you went there in the first place. Looking back, I would definitely like to live in LA again and Chicago. They are both really beautiful places.
Have you been filming for anything recently?
I have some things in the works right now as far as footage with both Haitian and Valo. I was trying to get some pieces with Sean Kelso for KCMO a little while back, but I fell and tore me knee open, so I couldn’t skate for a bit. I’m going to be dropping something new soon.
Are you working at the moment?
I’m working at a restaurant here in KCMO at the moment. I’d like to do some travelling in the spring, so I’m just saving for that.
What interests do you have outside of blading?
Outside of blading, I like to play guitar and the piano. I also like to write a lot and keep a journal; it’s nice to look back on. You would be amazed how many things you forget. Other than that, just hanging with my girl and the homies.
Photos courtesy of Haitian Magazine
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