I met Max Dubler a year and a half ago at a lunch-break bowl session in Los Angeles, CA. I was just getting into downhill at the time and Max and the rest of the Skatehouse guys were the first dudes I had met that liked to skate everything–both short and longboards. Naturally, we clicked and have been shredding together ever since. I am super stoked on Max’s photography and his busted choice of garb ( motorcycle goggles, scorpion shorts & leather chaps). Dude also kills it on any skateboard. Please enjoy the following conversation amongst friends.
I took a piss at your house [SkateHouse] the other day and there was at least 15 Loofah in your shower. They were all in subtle shades of pink. When you’re taking a shower how do you know you’re not washing your face with the Loofah Louis washes his balls with?
Trick question. Louie washes his balls with all of them.
You’re one of the guys in longboarding that skates everything—including bowls, tranny and whatnot. More and more I’m seeing dudes like yourself riding traditional boards along with their longboards. How does that play into where you’re going as a skateboarder, and where you see the longboard-skateboard industry going in general?
My favorite feelings in skateboarding are going fast through corners, grinding pool coping, and mashing my wheels into flatspot-inducing stand up slides. I hate pushing and don’t have the patience for tech skating. It should come as no surprise that I mainly skate hills and parks. I use different equipment for different terrain, but I don’t really draw a distinction between “skateboarding” and “longboarding.” Fast standup slides aren’t really that different from big grinds on coping. I see skateboarding growing and diversifying. More people than ever are skating and media outlets are proliferating. There’s more room for people to do their own thing. Soft wheels, longboards and funky shapes give people permission to roll around and have fun playing skateboards instead of stressing about whether they can do the tricks in this year’s video. Pro skateboarding is going to continue getting bigger, faster, gnarlier, and more technical but I think the industry is realizing that skateboarding doesn’t have to be super serious all the time.
You are from the East Coast originally. How did that affect your skating? Who were your early influences? And now that you spend most of your time in California, how do you compare skating on the east coast from skating on the west coast?
It’s relatively easy to be a skateboarder on the west coast. There is awesome terrain everywhere and the weather in SoCal is always awesome. The whole industry is here so it’s not hard to get hooked up with free stuff. Out east, you have to want it. The weather sucks for 3/4 of the year. There’s less pavement in general and what does exist is haggard. The spots are sparse and hard to skate. Anything you can find, you skate. There aren’t that many skaters and the general public is not that stoked on skateboarding. The kids out there have a little more heart. I got lucky and always happened to live in places with hills and good parks, which is rare. This is what my street in Providence looked like:
I didn’t really watch videos when I was a kid, but I pored over magazines and books. I always liked Slap’s attitude about things and Juice was rad when I could get my hands on it. My parents bought me some books about the history of skateboarding for a school paper so I learned about the old school stuff early on. Jason Adams was my favorite pro.
Let’s talk about photography for a moment. I know you went to school for it. I’ve been personal inspired by your downhill photography, along with others such as Jon Huey, Adam Colton and Aaron Breetwor. It seems that in the past year or so people are stepping it up with their equipment and skill. What gets you fired-up photographically and where are you headed with your shooting?
While I did take a couple years of photo in college, I only ever brought one or two skateboard pictures to photo class with me for critique, and my degree is mainly in political economy.
This is what my schoolwork looked like, I actually sold a couple of these:
The first skate photo I really liked: http://www.flickr.com/photos/maxwellstoreydubler/2864667029/
(I’ve got to give the utmost respect to Jon Huey. Dude actually studied photography, knows what he’s doing, and puts in work. Did you see Skateslate’s magazine? He’s killing it.)
I like when I can shoot innovative skateboarding in a visually-striking composition that shows off the spot. I use different perspectives and camera angles to make pictures that are both abstract and representational with deep space and details that add to the photo. Translation: I like to take pictures with somewhat trippy lines and shapes. The skate pictures should be sick at first glance and even sicker as you look closely, check out all the details, and figure out what the hell is actually going on. I rarely plan things out in advance. The camera is usually in the trunk of my car whenever I’m out skating so I can get some photos when I happen to find myself in a sick spot with good light. James [Kelly] is easy to shoot with. Everyone knows he’s a filthy skater, but he’s also a consummate professional who’s willing to work with me to get the best photos of the sickest skating. He understands the process of making images, has a good sense of how to make his skating look good in photos, and is always down to walk up and do his trick again when I fuck it up. A lot of my favorite skate photos are of him. This year I’m trying to travel more and take pictures of people off their skateboards. I’d like to make some prints and possibly do a portfolio or book on downhill skateboarding sometime.
Here’s a photo of east coast shredder skating: http://www.flickr.com/photos/maxwellstoreydubler/3919016817/
This one is pretty too: http://www.flickr.com/photos/maxwellstoreydubler/3828193368/
You are a founding member of SkateHouseMedia. Tell us a bit how that came about and where you’re going with it in 2011.
I graduated college right as unemployment doubled. Winter sucks and skateboarding rules so I decided to move to California, take pictures, and have Saturday for a few months. About two months after I moved Zak Maytum hooked me up with a job packaging Venom bushings, we all got HD GoPros, and started the website as a way to share all the sick photos and video that was accumulating on our hard drives. That’s how it happened.
Rad! What’s up with product design and all that sort of thing at Madrid and Venom?
Andrew Mercado ran the downhill/longboard division at Madrid. I was hanging out down there a lot because they’re the master distributor for Venom and got to know everyone. When he left to go run Gullwing, he put in a word for me at Madrid and they brought me onboard. It’s pretty much the raddest job ever. I design skateboards, take pictures, and make videos for a living. They’re stoked on my creative work and I’m hyped on what we’ve done so far with the formica downhill boards. We’re working on putting some new boards out in the next few months. First up is going to be a set of 3 double-kick boards that I’m pretty excited about. They’re designed for longboarders who want to start doing ollies and riding in parks, so there will be some longer wheelbases, fuller shapes, and composite construction. The graphics are by the same guy who did the 2011 downhill boards and will feature a narwhal, a skate rat, and a flamingo. Based on the interest I’ve seen in the protos, I think people will be stoked on the final versions. I wish I could talk about the other stuff we’re working on. Madrid is stepping our game up this year.
I’m not too sure I’m feeling the “Sick Tail”. Maybe I just don’t get it. Tell me why skateboarding needs an attachable tail?
The sicktail happened because Zak screwed a kicktail onto his downhill board for Ditch Slap and had way more fun than he otherwise would’ve. I’ve found that the ability to do goofy flatground tricks is crucial when you’re standing around at the top of the hill waiting for someone to change their wheels. It’s not intended to replace your kicktail board; but it’s fun to mess around with. Let’s be real; ollies are awesome.
Sick! That went well, I think. Let’s go skate. Oh yeah, any last words, thank yous, or final brodowns?
Shout out to the sponsors that make my life possible: Venom, Madrid, Gunmetal trucks, and Skatehouse. Crucial thanks to Mom and Dad, Brian at Earthwing, Rus and Alex at the Soda Factory, Brian Peck, Pat Schep, Andrew Mercado, and everyone else who’s helped me out along the way.