Amateur Hour: Donovan Piscopo
Skateboarding is at an age now that yesterday's heros are creating the dudes of tomorrow and it's pretty amazing: Steve and Alex Olson, Thomas and Grant Taylor, Tony and Riley Hawk, Chris and Zach Miller. Skate sons going pro will be commonplace soon. Alien Workshop and Vans rider Donovan Piscopo is another example. His dad, Anthony Piscopo, was sponsored back in the day and he did all the right things to guide his son in the right direction and make sure he wasn't a kook. For me, as a father with another on the way, it's pretty inspiring. I just bought 100 cinderblocks to build a 24-foot granite ledge in my driveway in the hopes that one day I can be skating with my sons.
Are you related to comedian Joe Piscopo?
No, but I do get that a lot. All my teachers on the first day of school, that's all I get asked usually.
He was allegedly into steroids. Do you use any performance enhancing drugs to help your skating?
No, I'm sober. I keep a normal mind state.
At what age did you want to be The Fonz?
I think when I was 13. When I started thinking for my own.
Did you want to be The Fonz or Anthony Van Engelen when you grew up?
Probably more my dad.
Your dad owns a skateshop, right?
Yeah, Pawn Shop Skate in Covina, California. It's like a rock's throwing distance from my house. It's doing good, a lot of locals. We have a miniramp in the back and everyone is always there hanging out.
Is it actually a pawnshop? Do people try and sell you stolen stuff?
We get that a lot. People will call and ask if they can pawn diamonds or gold. But no, it's just a skateshop.
Has anyone brought in anything crazy?
Plenty of times. Lots of guitars. We have this huge sign saying "Pawn Shop" and then, really little underneath, it says "skates." It's funny when all these tweakers come inside and sell us the stuff.
Do you have to pay for griptape?
No, but I probably should.
Word on the street is that you're on Alien Workshop now. Is that true?
Yeah, about a month ago I got asked to ride for them and that's who I always wanted to ride for and it felt right and that's what I wanted to do. I just skate with the guys a lot, like Anthony Van Engelen. He asked me to ride for them and that was huge. It's what I wanted to do so it made sense.
What happened with Zero?
It's alright. I have to say thanks to Jamie Thomas for everything he's done. I rode for them since I was 12 and I'm 16 now and he's done a lot for me. I love Alien Workshop and that's really the basis for it, but I have the biggest respect for Jamie and his company but this is what I wanted to do.
What is it about Alien?
I don't know, it's just the company itself; I just like their vibe.
Being a fan of the company, who should go pro next? Jake Johnson or Gilbert Crockett?
They both should be pro by now but I can't really say. They're both like top five and incredible. I can't choose. I'd like them both to be pro.
What if they each had half a graphic? Like a shared pro model?
Whatever works. That'd be cool.
When did you start skating?
Well my dad used to ride for SMA when he was a kid so I've always had a skateboard my whole life but when I really wanted to get into it I was five years old.
Him being sponsored what kind of advice has he given you?
Pretty much to do what I want. He has helped me so much. Everything I've done is because of him. He put me on the right direction. All the advice he gave me worked for what I want to be doing. I grew up skating with him. He's pretty much my best friend. He skates with me more than trying to be some kind of soccer dad.
Is he still ripping?
Yeah, he still skates. He skates more tranny now. He used to skate street when he was a kid but he has a full time job at the San Diego Water Department so he has to take it easy.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Just get more tricks, film a lot more and hopefully get a video part done. Hopefully when the Alien video comes out I can have a full part in that. I'm also trying to work on this Internet thing for Alien to introduce me. Hopefully that gets done by June.