2013 has had very few announcements of skaters changing sponsors or getting promoted in the ranks, but Keelan Dadd turning pro for DGK skateboards was definitely big news. The Palmdale, Calif., native, who first started skating for DGK in 2008, has been working hard to get to this point. He's fooled many, myself included, with his switch stance skating. He's regular-footed, for the record, but if you watch his "Parental Advisory" video part, you'll notice he skates switch in most of his clips.
Dadd spoke with XGames.com about his switch skating, breaking down some of his best clips in "Parental Advisory" and explaining how he uses social media to generate board sales.
XGames.com: Were you trying to have your whole part skating switch?
Dadd: I wasn't intentionally trying to have it turn out like that, but that's how I skate now. I'm always skating switch, and skating switch is like the one-up, so I choose to skate switch more than regular.
Did your "Parental Advisory" part turn you pro or did you know ahead of time that you were going to be pro?
I heard a few things, like I might be getting a board, but I didn't want to take it too seriously because I didn't want to be expecting something and not get it when I want it. This part sealed the deal, like if there had been an idea to do it or a [valid] reason to do it, the work is there to show why I'm pro now.
How was the party you had in Long Beach, the first night of [the] Agenda [trade show] with [rapper] The Game, to celebrate your turning pro?
That party was wild, man! Everybody from all the companies showed up to show love and Chris Brown showed up and performed a song. The Game was there and he performed a lot of songs. We popped mad bottles of Dom P. It was a nice turnout with a lot of pretty girls and all my homies. Even my sister was there, it was crazy.
How did "New God Flow" by Pusha T, featuring Kanye West, end up in your video part?
I had another song in mind, but Brad Rosado set it to "New God Flow" and it went so well together. He said to me, "I know this isn't the song that you wanted, but you will like it, so enjoy it." It happened to be one of my favorite songs and it worked out perfectly, like it was meant to be. It showed exactly what I was trying to show -- some skateboarding with some style in it -- and Kanye West came through for me again.
Talk about your opening line of a switch 360 flip followed by a switch double heelflip and then the big switch ollie over the guard rail into the lot.
That was during my first trip ever to Atlanta about two years ago. I was skating pretty fast because I was super hyped to be there. That's also when I first started doing switch double heels. That line was like my introduction to Atlanta.
Talk about what you went through to get the crooked grind on the green rail at the four-flat-five.
That rail is crazy. It's out in Palmdale [Calif.], where I used to stay. I cut the rail at four o'clock in the morning the day after Halloween. The same day, I hit up a photographer, seeing if he wanted to get the photo because I pretty much had just that day to try it. So I cut the rail, which I shouldn't even be saying, but me and my boy went out there after a party, determined to cut it so I could get some clips on it.
Hours later I had the filmer and photographer meet me at the rail and the people who worked there were telling me I couldn't skate there and that I had to leave. I told them, "You don't understand. I'm not going anywhere. I called a filmer and a photographer and one of them came from three hours away because I said I was going to get this trick, so I'm going to get this trick." I did a back 5-0 first and it ended up being my second DGK ad ever and a while after that I did the crooked grind. That spot's been helping me out.
Another clip from your part that I'd like to know more about is the switch tailslide 270 heelflip out.
This is another crazy one. That angle you saw in the video was the second angle, which is crazy because we never even planned to have a second angle. The tape with the main angle got destroyed, so that second angle was my savior. Eric Longden saved my life with that trick. I had that trick in mind, but I didn't have a spot to do it on. That day we were filming a commercial and for some reason he was there at the right time and he pressed record at the right time.
The overcrook on the 12-stair rail was a trick I didn't expect to see you do. What were you thinking?
That was scary. I remember going there with these dudes that only skate big rails. When I saw that rail I said, "Y'all tripping." I tried to boardslide it and couldn't, so I went for the overcrooks. I had it once but the next time I got stuck at the top of the rail and ended up falling and landing on the ground near the bottom of the rail. I got up only to have the same thing happen, but I cut my shin open this time. I kept skating, though. Luckily the next few times I tried it I rolled away. That was definitely one of the scariest tricks in my part.
Was that your worst injury filming for this video?
I had this clip that didn't make it in the video, but I think it might get released later on, where I'm doing a nollie heel into a bank. Even though I got the trick, I had to try to do it better, and when I did I fell on my face. Not only did I fall on my face, I also chipped my tooth and I suffered a concussion. It was wild. That situation was all bad.
What's changed since you turned pro?
I see it as a bigger picture now. I was working towards this and now [that] I am pro I have to keep my image up and not let anything get me down, like distractions like girls and partying or the usual reasons why people mess up. Now that I have signature products, I have to focus on getting these sales. I have to show my fans and my supporters that I won't let them down.
How do you plan on using social media to get those sales?
Social media is the number-one thing right now. By bringing people into your lives, you're letting them be a part of what they're buying. Instead of just telling a kid to buy my skateboard, I'll show him why he would want to, so that when they're buying into something they know exactly what they're buying and who they're buying it from is not just a company with my name on it. It's my product and my movement. They're the reason why I got the product in the first place, so I have to keep them updated on and involved with what's going on.