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Denton’s skate team inspires local youth to dream big and dream Denton

Denton’s skate team inspires local youth to dream big and dream Denton

Sam O'Donnell smith grinds the Denton Skate Supply truck on Saturday, November 14, 2015. O'Donnell is currently working with several city council members to get a skate park built in the center of town. Photo by Kristen Watson/DRC

Denton’s skate team inspires local youth to dream big and dream Denton
March 30
22:00 2016

Austin Jackson | Staff Writer


Physically resembling a modern-day Jesus Christ, Denton Skate Supply team-rider Sam Durbin kick-flips and drops jaws as his flowing brown locks and burly brown beard streak across Denton Skate Park’s lamp-lit-sky.

As dusk is replaced by darkness, the 22-year-old rumbles into the metal couplings of the macaroni shaped corner, banking aggressively near the top of the ramp and building up speed before diving down the quarter-pipe like a surfer racing a wave.

Reaching his session’s peak velocity, Durbin, aka “Dirty Durbz,” bombs up the trapezoid like “purr-e-mid” ramp. Before liftoff, he pounces up from his crouch, scissor kicks his feet diametrically away from one another, and backfoot twirls his battle-tested DSS skateboard into a barrel roll while his front foot pushes the deck helicoptering around 360 degrees.

Cheers of “d-d-d-Durty,” “whoooa” and “daaayum” accompany the clattering pops of skate decks slapping into ramps: a standing ovation, skater style. Among the cheering were brothers Cooper and Parker Lefco, aged 12 and 10, as they waited on their ride mom to give them a ride home. 

“It motivates me,” Cooper said of Durbin’s skills. “They’re fearless. It’s sick to see how big they go and how they’re not scared at all. Watching them go big like that and landing stuff is cool.  It makes me want to be like them when I’m doing little stuff too.”

The Lefco brothers said they’ve seen Durbin a few times skating local spots and hanging out at Denton Skate Supply, but they mainly followed his stuff on the Denton Skate Supply YouTube channel.

They said skating alongside Durbin and guys from the Denton Skate Supply team inspires them to push themselves further with hopes of one day being good enough to skate on the DSS team.

Durbin said he’s embraced the leadership role since he began riding for the team, taking pride in helping young skaters pick up the sport he loves.

“A lot of skaters have a bad rep, and I understand,” Durbin said. “Sometimes I go to a lot of skate parks, and I get disgusted with what I see. But those aren’t true skateboarders. True skateboarders will go out of their way to help.”

Durbin followed through with his words – he said he and a friend helped a little kid nail his first kick-flip Monday night.

Durbin said the goal of joining his team of “true skaters” at Denton Skate Supply inspires local kids to be great.

“It’s got people motivated,” Durbin said. “We’ve got a shop, so there’s like an objective. It’s cool. We’re all about having fun and getting people involved.”

The team consists of seven of Denton’s elite riders who represent the shop as well as the Denton skateboarding scene. The Denton Skate Supply team announces each new addition to the team by filming the members as they artistically express their skills on the sprawling Denton canvas. 

The central location welcomes skateboard enthusiasts and has helped plug skateboarders, young and old, into the vibrant growing community.

Derek Vitiello, who said his official title is “Shop-Ops and Long-board Cook” at Denton Skate Supply, said he’s been pleasantly surprised with how the team has impacted Denton’s skating community.

“[The sponsorship] gives these local skaters status in Denton and helps out really great, unique skaters,” Vitiello said. “It really helps the younger guys get interested when they come out and the team-guys are killing it. It’s always good to see the younger guys get stoked up about skating.”

In 2013, Crit Kiley opened Denton Skate Supply under the name “G5 threads” before changing names and moving locations to its set-up just off the Denton Square.

The current park and build is a more centrally located facility. Denton Skate Supply has not only brought skaters together, but has also collided the worlds of skating and local politics, petitioning and drafting proposals to build a skate park that’s within riding distance from UNT campus.

Beyond the culture, the team’s bucket-hatted skater Patrick Kelley said Denton provides all the obstacles a skater could desire, including stairs, ledges, ramps and rails.

“Culturally what I really like about Denton is that it’s just oozing with that whole artistic mindset,” Kelley said.  “Skateboarding and art go hand in hand. With Denton being a big, artsy city, it’s attractive, and skateboarding falls right in line with that.”

Durbin also appreciates the unique landscape Denton provides, opting to skate his favorite spots around downtown Denton instead of public parks.

“Until I can’t walk, I’ll be on a skateboard,” Durbin said. “Even when I can’t walk, I [will] still be around hanging out.”

The passion for skating Durbin shows both on his board and his feet. Mentoring aspiring adrenaline junkies is something admired by the shop’s co-owner.

“The DSS skate team riders are looked up to by many local youngsters getting into skateboarding,” Kiley said. “I think in turn that helps give those kids the drive to want to learn and maybe one day make it on the team.”

Denton Skate Shop does more than just invite other skaters to its locale to build the skate scene.

“We’ve done some demos in the past at local music festivals and even a public library,” Kiley said. “We set up some homemade ramps and let the people enjoy watching the team shred. This all helps the outside community see skaters doing their thing in person and maybe spark an interest for them to want to learn.”

But while leading the charge to spread the gospel of skate, at the root of it all is just a group of guys having fun.

“We’re guys that are just loving the sport and having a good time doing it,” Durbin said.

Featured Image: Sam O’Donnell grinds the Denton Skate Supply. Courtesy | Kristen Watson/DRC

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