Read the exclusive interview with skateboarder and Darkstar co-founder, Chet Thomas as he talks skateboarding, personal goals and the creation of the Darkstar brand.
Chet Thomas: I started skateboarding when I was 8 years old because of my older brother Ryan. He was never into traditional ‘organised’ team sports for reasons we all can relate to. I came home from school one day and saw something I had never seen before in my life: a wooden obstacle of some sort pushed against the curb. We now know them as quarter-pipes. He threw a skateboard at me and said “skate that.” I was hooked at my very first kickturn. At that point, I quit every team sport I was participating in — soccer, baseball, and hockey where now a thing of the past and I have never looked back. Like many kids these days, I skated every minute that I could: before school, during school, after school, weekdays and weekends. Basically I lived, breathed and dreamed about skateboarding every minute of every day. By the time I was 13 years old, I was sponsored by Powell Peralta and appeared in my first video called Public Domain. I had no idea at the time how this video would impact my life and set the stage for my career in skateboarding for years to come. At 18 years old I turned pro and 6 years later at the age of 24 I started my first company, Darkstar Skateboards, with my younger brother Matt out of my parent’s garage in Huntington beach California. Today, he and I still manage the brand through Dwindle Distribution and I skate as much as is physically possible. At my age, it’s not the easiest thing to do, but as long as I can walk, I will skate in one way or another.
1. When and how did Darkstar originate?
Darkstar originated as a wheel company in 1997. I felt there was a need for better product to be made and wasn’t happy with the urethane available from other brands, so I started Darkstar out of my parent’s garage with the main goal of making the best wheels possible. Working closely with pros and a local wheel manufacturer, master urethane was created. In 1999 Darkstar moved out of my parent’s garage and began to be distributed through world industries, which in turn became Dwindle Distribution. With Dwindle’s in-depth knowledge and expertise in skateboard manufacturing, we expanding the Darkstar brand into making decks. To this day, we still hold the same goal as the backbone of the brand — to make the best product possible.
2. Who is in the current team?
Ryan Decenzo, Greg Lutzka, PLG , Adam Dyet, Dave Bachinsky, Manolo Robles, Cameo Wilson , John Hanlon and Am Reemo Pearson.
3. How important is it to have a good set-up and how does Darkstar Completes stand out from the rest?
It’s important to have a good set-up for multiple reasons, but I think the main reason is this: the better product you have, the better the board performs and functions. With better performance it gives the skateboarder the best chance of progressing and becoming a better skater. Trucks should be responsive, turn well, and hold up to the abuse of grinding on concrete ledges and the impact of large gaps. Wheels need to be fast and avoid flatspotting. The deck itself needs to have proper concave functional shapes, correct wheelbases for the length of the board, and be as strong as possible. This is why Darkstar Completes stands out from brands priced at the same level. Each of the components works as it should and they are designed to give the first time skater the best experience possible.
4. What are the few skateboarding basics you need to start with?
For me, the most important thing is to learn how to push properly. It seems so basic, but it’s critical if someone wants to progress as a legitimate skater. From there, learn to Ollie (a skateboarding trick where the rider and board leap into the air without the use of the rider’s hands). These are the building blocks of every other trick in skateboarding.
5. What does the future for Darkstar look like?
The future of Darkstar looks great. We will continue to build great product with strong graphics, support a well-respected pro and amateur team, push the brand on social media, and focus on a few major collaborations with much larger brands.
If you’re into the skateboarding scene and want to read more, take a look at our breakdown of the boards to own if you are new to the skater scene. We’ve also got the gear to go along with it in our Top 5 Vans Shoes to Own feature. To shop our latest collections head to a Sun & Sand Sports store near you.