Jeff Dalnas is living proof that you can have it all. He holds down a full-time job that he thoroughly enjoys, drives around in a fresh BMW that would make a local drug dealer envious, and he still manages to maintain his status as one of the most recognisable pro skaters of this generation. In the current state of the rollerblading industry, when pro skaters either choose to hang onto their relative amount of fame for as long as possible or turn their back on it all to pursue more lucrative career prospects, Dalnas is a refreshing example of someone who has managed to create the perfect balance.
The Providence, Rhode Island native made a name for himself skating some of the biggest drop kinks ever documented in blading. When people talk about insane stunt skaters, they usually reference Brazilian lunatic Carlos Pianowski or California bruiser Brandon Campbell, but Dalnas has conquered some terrifying steel snakes that put both of the aforementioned individuals to shame. The only reason he is not considered in the same respect is because he does so with a lot more control, making such accomplishments look misleadingly easier than they are. Aside from the shock value of his various death-defying feats that would surely satisfy an X Games crowd’s need for instant gratification, Dalnas has also proven himself to be a highly technical skater. Over the years we have watched as his style has become more refined and he has developed his own signature trick vocabulary, like his impeccable backslide that is arguably one of the best in the game.
At the end of 2013 Jeff Dalnas realised a childhood ambition when he was awarded his first pro skate from USD, the Carbon Free Jeff Dalnas. Earlier this month marked the release of his first ever pay to play section, filmed and edited by Sam DeAngelis, so we decided to take this perfect opportunity to secure a couple of photos from the filming process and pick his brain about a few things.
Wheel Scene: Am I right in thinking that you work in a casino? How do you balance work life with blading?
Jeff Dalnas: Yeah, that’s right. It kinda works out really good for blading. I mean, it’s a full time job at the casino dealing, but they work around my schedule. And being one of 500+ dealers, it’s pretty easy to get a shift covered, leave early or just go away for awhile.
You are one of the bladers who came up by releasing consistently good online videos over the years. What do you think about the move away from physical DVDs towards online videos and the fact that so much of the content is free now?
I think it’s great that people have the ability to just post online videos that are instantly ready to be watched worldwide. A lot people are spoiled from the years of free video section and promos for sponsors, the fact that people now don’t really buy DVDs and everyone just downloads things. I think the pay to view videos and sections are going to be a very common thing from now on.
You used to make a lot of videos with a wide range of people but now you seem to be more selective about who you work with. Is there a particular reason for that?
Yeah, over last few years I’ve been shooting with some really talented people and I just like to keep it at that standard. If I’m gonna go out of my comfort zone and try something, I really want to make sure it’s gonna look as good as possible.
When did you find out you were getting a pro skate from USD? Do you remember how you felt?
Matthias (the owner of USD) just emailed me one day, mentioning I was next in line for a pro skate, almost as soon as they put me back on the pro team for the second time. And what can I say? What better accomplishment is there than getting a pro skate? This is what we all dream of when we were kids, that slight possibility of having your name on a skate
What do you think about the fact that, despite being pro for a major boot company, you don’t really get any of the perks that come with being on a pro team? For example, going on regular tours, traveling abroad etc.
I think with how sales are going lately, the return from these big extravagant trips and tours is not worth it. Us “pro” skaters can probably do a good amount of promoting locally and I think that’s where it’s at for most companies trying to save a few buck for the time being.
There have been a few dramas with The Conference recently, with ex pros being disgruntled with the company. What is your opinion on it all? Do you think there should be clearer guidelines regarding what a sponsor expects from their skaters?
I don’t really follow the drama going on with all that, or know enough about their situations to have an opinion on it, and I’m pretty sure it’s clear what we’re supposed to do here though.
You have received a bit of criticism from people for not putting out enough content – even though you had an edit out earlier this year – does that bother you? Do you read the comments under videos, on message boards etc?
People forget after a few months, or weeks, what you did last if you’re not constantly in the spotlight. I don’t really pay any mind to what people say on message boards. I don’t really go on message boards anymore. I will check out the comments people post under my videos on Rollernews from time to time, which is always great entertainment.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Well, if this video section does well, I’ll probably jump right back at it and make an even bigger and better one.
If you could chose one person that you think has had a massive impact on blading, who would it be?
On blading, or on my blading?
If it’s just blading, obviously Chris Edwards. If it’s my blading then probably my brother – he’s the whole reason I even started skating in the first place.
What would you like to be your legacy when you are no longer able to skate professionally?
I’d like to be remembered as one of the skaters who skated bigger spots and did a lot of stunts, to influence new generation of bladers to still go big and drop hammers!
Photos: Sam DeAngelis
You can download Jeff Dalnas’ Summer Profile HERE for $1.99.
Watch more videos of Jeff Dalnas HERE.
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