We just uploaded a new ‘Scraps’ part of Issue 24’s cover boy Dale Starkie in anticipation of the new Welcome Skate Store full length video filmed marvellously by Josh Hallett. In conjunction with this new visual treat we’ve published Dale’s Issue 24 interview online in full! Read what Guy Jones asked Dale who talks about past and present hairdos and sponnos, juggling skateboarding with commitments, filming stories, Welcome Skate Store’s importance and of course the new upcoming video. Get stuck into the interview below then watch his ‘Scraps’ section for further hype.
Introduction & Interview by: Guy Jones
Photography by: Reece Leung
I’m incredibly proud of Dale’s journey so far in this world. Since meeting him over a decade ago he has matured and developed a more considered and wholly admirable output, but the one thing that hasn’t been reduced is his passion or sweetness. Often passion can turn into entitlement and arrogance but Dale’s earnest nature is a firm repellent to these negative traits that so often plague the skateboarding world. From seeing him as a teen desperate to tell me what tricks he’d achieved before even saying hello (on one occasion some Garnier Fructis hair product fell out his bag as he
was excitedly described his stunt, got to get the look if you’re doing something gnarly), to becoming a very well rounded individual, stokes me out so much. His talents are vast but he puts the work in, and this goes for his social skills, which he has now overtaken me at, as well as his shred sticking. Keep being you Dale, we all love you very much!
Firstly, happy birthday for yesterday, how was it and what did you get up to?
Haha, it was a good day thank you. I didn’t really do much, went for some food with some friends and saw my family. My dad got me a pint of milk, Coco Pops and some sweets. The worst thing is that I hate chocolate cereal, I’ve no clue why he got me that.
You’ve come a long way since I met you; from the Bieber hairdo sticking through a backwards cap, to a steeze shaved head, now to something in between but always surprising whoever you were around with your level of gnar. I guess the question here is why did you ditch the shaved head?
I’ll take that as a compliment. The Bieber hair was never intentional, Josh (Hallett) spreads the rumour that I used to straighten my hair but that’s not the case. The hat just added to that Bieber look. I was a fan of the shaved head, very low maintenance! Everyone did that during lockdown and I just kept it going. As my hair was growing back out, it just naturally parted in the centre so I just ran with it. One day I’ll shave my head again but right now it’s feeling good haha.
Okay, more towards your day to day, when your North article came out you were juggling skating with labouring. One of your fears was getting hurt then consequently not being able to work, with threats to terminate your employment. Is this still your current situation?
My day to day has changed dramatically! I’m currently in my third year at university studying Project Management, which is strange for me because I never thought I was bright enough to do so. To get into university I had to go back to college at 21 to get the grades I needed, which was a nightmare, but I got there in the end. When I tell people I study Project Management the first response is, “Oh, like construction of buildings,” but it is actually more diverse than that – from IT to finance, charity and events. The principle is about the process of problem solving and fitness of purpose a project can bring to an organisation or stakeholders involved to bring change, I could go on but won’t bore you!
Now that my time is my own, I have way more time to spend skating and the fear of potentially getting an injury started to fade as I didn’t need to keep the job I had. It’s also helped me on the anger side of skating because when I wanted to try and film something that scared me, all I could think about was the possibility of losing my job, which contributed to most of my anger in skating. Don’t get me wrong, that still happens but I feel it has lessened significantly since being at university. Now that I am older, I have learnt that I will never let a job hold me back like that. There are loads of jobs out there that will understand that injuries happen and won’t just fire you on the spot.
Your sponsorship CV is eclectic, but your current supporters are incredible. It seems like you are fully involved in their projects too, especially New Balance Numeric. What’s it like doing projects such as the camps with NB and who are your favourite teammates in the UK and internationally?
Yeah… my sponsorship history hasn’t been the best in the eyes of the skateboarding industry but at the time, I’ll be honest, me or my parents didn’t have the money to support me in skateboarding. I remember my mum always getting the blank boards from Exit but I always wanted the ones with the picture on. My past sponsors might not be the best, but they did give me the support I needed to skate. Not to mention The Works (skatepark) letting me in for free, I was there all the time. I was clueless to most things skateboarding. I didn’t even know what switch and nollie were until I met Josh.
New Balance is great! Josh Cox, Jeremy Jones, Charlie Munro and Dom Henry, it’s always a fun time skating with them. Hands down my favourite on NB is Tom Knox, and that was the case even before NB so being a part of something that he’s a part of is a great feeling.
I love getting involved with as many projects as I can and the Story Camp that NB sponsor is one of the best to get involved in. The kids are so hyped on skateboarding, and it reminds me of when I was that age and nothing else mattered apart from just going for a skate. Plus I get to skate these amazing skate parks like Spit & Sawdust and visit skate shops like Cardiff Skateboard Club and Decimal Skate Store. Mark (Baines) gets me making sandwiches for the kids sometimes, but I don’t mind haha.
On the subject of CVs, did you send Mackey your CV to get on New Balance initially? Don’t worry, Oliver Birch sent a rollerblading sponsor tape of Charlie to Paul Shier once and he’s smashing it!
Haha, not exactly. I was on Etnies for a while, and I liked a particular shoe but they just stopped making it. It got to the point that I didn’t like the shoes I was skating in. I was skating with Mark (Baines) most weekends. I pretty much begged Mark to be flowed NB and after about a month he started sending me shoes. He always pulled the card of “I’ll have to run it by Mackey first,” but I’m glad it happened.
How much do you appreciate such an incredible store like Welcome? You were one of the initial riders and the first to get the tattoo. Do you feel that these people have shaped your life for the better and how far beyond just a store are they to you in terms of your personal growth as a human?
Words can’t describe how important that shop is to me, Welcome is the best thing to happen to the Leeds skateboarding scene. I’ve known Tom (Brown) for a long time because he used to visit my school as a youth worker and would always talk and give me skateboarding related things. I remember when he told me he was thinking of opening a skate shop in Leeds, as a kid it was music to my ears as the city didn’t have a skate shop at the time.
I wasn’t one of the initial riders, but I wanted to get on so bad! It got to the point where I would go out filming with Tom (Blackburn), get a clip and go straight to the shop and show whoever was working behind the counter. I still remember the day Tom (Brown) called me to ask if I wanted to ride for the shop, I couldn’t say yes fast enough. I was so happy to be a part of a skate shop in my hometown.
The people involved with Welcome have become my closest friends and I wouldn’t change it for the world. It opened my eyes to different types of skating and hobbies outside of skating, like Blinky’s art. As soon as I was 18 I got the tattoo, Welcome for life baby.
I love the relationship between you and Josh Hallett, it seems to be balanced perfectly between not being too serious and love. Are there any tales you’d like to share, and did you buy an Everton FC top to apologise to him for shouting ‘Just Film’ when he missed one of your gnarlier stunts?
I love Josh, if he needed a fiver and that’s all I had I’d still give it to him. He’s always been there for me and I like to think I’ll always be there for him. He’s the person I called crying down the phone when my first long term girlfriend broke up with me and he made me feel better. He’s spent years filming, driving, and planning for me and I can’t thank him enough for that.
It’s never been too serious. We talk about what I would like to film and what will and not work for filming and what to do with the finished product but that’s as serious as it will ever get. It’s definitely more love than serious haha.
I’ve got a good tale! This was back when all the Welcome and RWTB crew went to Barcelona. Accommodation was tight so Will (Sheerin) and Josh (Hallett) were sharing a bed, and halfway through the night Will was woken up by Josh getting out of bed to see him messing with some t-shirt on a chair. After Josh got back into bed Will could hear dripping water and chose to ignore it and go back to sleep. The next morning Josh’s clothes were soaked. It turns out during the night he was sleepwalking and pissed all over his own clothes and got back into bed. He claims it might have been a glass of water, but he still went out and bought washing powder to wash all his stuff just in case haha.
Ah the famous Everton top! I know nothing about football, all the football knowledge comes from Josh, so I got that shirt from a charity shop and rocked it. He always gives me shit for it. The only reason I said “Just Film” was because Josh was having a go at me, but I was ready to do the trick again haha. He missed it in the first place. It wouldn’t have happened if he had “Just Filmed” the first one.
In regards to exploration you must have covered a solid chunk of Yorkshire now, are there any places or times whilst trying a trick that come to mind? Some of the areas definitely seem pretty gnarly!
It’s not just Yorkshire, we have been all over England while filming for the video. When I was trying to back three into the “Welcome to Leeds” spot, Josh (Hallett) and Reece (Leung) were there and I didn’t really want to try it at all, I was just kicking them away. As I was trying, I saw these guys in hi-vis jackets and just thought it was some builders wanting to watch. Suddenly, these guys started shouting “Get down from there!” It turns out it was the police trying to kick us out of the spot but it’s awkward to get to, that gave me a few more tries and I managed to land it.
As we walked out there were three police vans and about eight policemen and women wondering what the hell we were doing down there. We were all separated so they could talk to us individually. Reece and Josh both had big bags of camera stuff that the police thought would be full of spray paint. The bags were searched and our names taken, but once they realised we were just skating there they let us go. It was kind of a good thing because I don’t think I would have done it without the added pressure.
With the Welcome video coming out imminently do you have any good mission stories and how does it compare to filming for ‘Paul,’ a few years back?
The first thing that comes to mind is the most recent trip we went on to Milton Keynes, to go back for this back smith on an out ledge I landed on but didn’t get. After about ten tries I slammed and couldn’t bring myself to do this back smith. I made a bet with Will (Sheerin), Jack (Hackleton) and Zeta (Rush) that I would buy them all dinner if I didn’t at least land on the board that try. Suddenly Josh was like “What! They’re not even doing anything, I drove here and I’m filming,” while Reece (Leung) was laughing in the background. Josh was joking obviously but it made me feel bad, so I promised that, if I didn’t do it that go, I’d buy everyone dinner. Luckily, I landed and rolled away that go so I was saved from having to buy five people dinner. Not the best story, but it makes me look good haha.
In comparison to filming for ‘Paul,’ I feel like I’ve grown in trick selection and choosing what and where I’d like to film something. ‘Paul,’ was more about going out every weekend and filming as many things as possible. This time I’ve tried to skate different things instead of just jumping off the biggest thing I can see.
How did writing an in depth review of Royal Trucks come about? Don’t worry, I once reviewed Habitat Footwear.
So if you don’t know, Royal have redesigned their trucks from the ground up. I got a sample of the new trucks before they came out to try them out, as I wasn’t sure I wanted to ride for them.
I got them, tried them, but it wasn’t great. As they were samples I thought they might still be tweaking things and they did ask me for any feedback, so I made an eight page powerpoint with diagrams of what I would improve. It involved pros and cons, a cross section diagram and a conclusion. I don’t think they took it that well, I haven’t had another pair of Royals since.
Who’s the best and worst at ping pong at Welcome?
I’m going to do this like a quick fire on The Bunt.
Best – Tom Brown.
Worst – Harry Townend, sorry bro.
Please take this as a compliment, but regarding your coming of age in skateboarding, ‘constructive’ bullying was rife especially in the north of England. Do you feel it ever got too gnarly? Did you take anything away from it and how would you advise people’s approaches in future as it is definitely a very fine line between jovial banter and straight up being a prick. (Feel free to lay into me here.)
As I was growing up, I definitely felt like some people just didn’t like me because of bullying. It got to the point where I would never go to Hyde Park because I knew that’s where all the “cool people” skated and I didn’t want to embarrass myself. But, looking back, it didn’t help that I sheltered myself from those people because it made it worse for me. I remember Tom (Harrison) inviting me back to his flat to chill and I felt so out of place, but I can’t thank him enough, as it made me feel part of the crew. After that, I started skating and filming with Josh and the way I was viewed by some people started to change because I was getting good street clips. Kind of sad in a way, but it motivated me to push my skateboarding.
Today, all my close friends give each other shit but we all know we are joking. Sometimes when someone films something amazing I’ll call it filler or tell them that it needs redoing haha, but when it’s just me and them I’ll tell them how amazing it was and that I’m hyped for them. My friends know how much I love them because I would never say anything like that seriously.
As for advice, I feel over the years bullying in skateboarding has lessened as it’s not as exclusive as it once was, welcoming more people than it ever has. There are all types of skateboarders out there today and I think it’s great. Just be open minded, we all skate for the same reason, I can’t explain that reason but we all know what it is haha.
The t-shirt you gave to Louie Barletta with the iconic screen grab from the intro to his Bag of Suck part is amazing! Are you hyped to ride for such an amazing company and how was it jamming with Captain Lou?
Haha thanks, I honestly don’t know how I came up with that idea but Bag of Suck was one of the first skate videos I watched and I was hooked. I’ve always loved Enjoi’s aesthetic and team so I’m very happy to be riding for them.
Skating with Lou was great. He skates a tiny board, like a 7.5, which surprised me. The only thing is that I felt he saw me as a random flow kid, if that makes sense? That’s what happens with big American brands flowing people all over the world, though. He probably meets people like me all the time. Like everyone who’s sponsored, you just want to be more involved with the brand and go on trips. Hopefully in the future that might be the case, but right now I like the product I get and can’t complain about the amount I do get so thanks Enjoi.
Outside of shred sticking what do you like to get up to mate? Chilling with homies doesn’t count unless it’s a good Chris Parsons story.
Outside of skating it’s normally just chilling with friends, building remote control planes or chilling in the steam room with Will (Sheerin). As for a good Chris Parsons story, I don’t know why but he loves going egging. I lost my egging virginity one night with Chris, we went and bought eggs and hid behind a tree waiting for cars to pass so we could egg them. He hit about three cars and there was one egg left. He really wanted me to do it so I waited behind the tree and hit this passing car and it made the loudest noise, I think we all ran off after that haha. Another time we were walking past this house with eggs and one of the windows was open, Chris threw it and got it straight in the open window. He’s called that move a ghosty, because it doesn’t make a noise when it hits.
There were a few of us at a spot recently and we got egged from a passing bus, we all cheered because we know how funny it can be.
Words of advice and recommendations if you’d be so kind Dale?
Would just like to say thanks to everyone who’s supported me in skateboarding, you know who you are. Come visit Leeds, pop into the new Welcome Skate Store and most importantly tell your friends you love them, you never know when someone you love might be struggling.
Dale Starkie – ‘Scraps’ Part – Welcome Skate Store