5boro Rider Danny Falla isn’t what you’d call, your average pro skateboarder. He’s grown up skating on two different continents, been skating twice as long as most dudes his age, works part time to make ends meet and still manages to stand out as one of New York’s finest.
CCS caught up with Danny to get an idea of the past, present and future of a true New York original.
Watch “A 5BORO Minute With Danny Falla” and scroll down for an exclusive interview with Danny.
You grew up in South America, right? Yeah. I was born in Peru, in Lima and I lived there until I was 13. I moved here just as I was about to turn 14.
Did you move straight to Queens? Yeah. My dad already lived in New York and my uncle had already lived here. My Mom knew that we were going to come here at some point, but I didn’t really have any idea when. I just knew that I had family in New York. One day my Mom decided to move here with me and my brother and we moved to Queens.
Did you speak English already when you got here? No, not at all. In Peru, in school they teach you English but I didn’t know I was going to come here so I didn’t take it serious at all. I think the most English I learned was from watching skate videos or from things that I wanted to know what they meant. Peru is very American influenced so I was already curious about what things in English meant, or what a certain song was about. The really hard part was actually talking and pronouncing words.
Were you already skating in Peru? Yeah, I started skating when I was super, super young. Skating was huge in Peru at the time, around like the late 80’s. That’s when I started. My other brother, Lorenzo, he had a bunch of friends and they all would skate. And I always wanted to do what my brother was doing so I would follow him and his friends everywhere where they would skate. There was one skatepark there. I remember that right before I started skating, Sergie Ventura did a demo at our skatepark. And I remember seeing photos of that skatepark later on. He was there doing crazy airs. Over there it was so hard just to even get boards. Back then, everything was from the States and stuff was super expensive. Just a deck was like $90. If you got a new deck, you had to use it until it was completely done. Even though skating was big, it wasn’t accessible for everybody.
I remember seeing you back in the day coming around the city with Rodney Torres. How did you guys start skating together? When I first started getting to know people, I met a bunch of Columbian kids who I used to skate with. And I used to skate Flushing Meadows cause I used to live right by it. Rodney would show up and he was always nice. He’d say hello and we’d small talk but never really talk much. I’d keep seeing him around the city. One day he came up to me and was like, “Yo, I heard you did this trick at Flushing, that’s pretty sick. We should go skate” And I was like, “Yeah, sure.” I gave him my number but I didn’t think he was actually going to call me. I was like, “C’mon, this is Rodney Torres, why would he call me to go skate?” And a couple days later he gave me a call and we became really good friends.
Who were some of the New York guys you looked up to then?Definitely Rodney, because I’d always see him out skating. And then Geo Moya of course. I actually met Geo before I met Rodney. And Keith Hufnagel. And then when the Zoo York videos came out, I always used to watch Peter Bici’s part. To this day I’ll watch his parts and get so psyched to go skate. He was always the nicest dude and had the best style out of all those guys, I think. And Gino, of course Gino. It’s funny because when I moved here from Peru, I didn’t know anything about New York skating. I used to watch the Plan B videos and what I saw in those videos was so completely different from New York.
You’re known as a manual and ledge skater predominantly…how do you think the spots you grew up skating influenced you? Well, I used to skate Flushing all the time. And I’d try to skate it every way that I could. I always looked up to my friend back in Peru. When I stopped skating, he moved away to a different neighborhood. And I saw him years after right before I moved to New York and he was still skating. And I saw him skate and he would do the longest noseslides, tailslides and crooked grinds. And I was like, “Wow, that’s what I want to do.” Then skating at Flushing Meadows, the ledges were perfect. And the grate…I would always think, “If my friend was here he’d just sit on this thing and try to slide it as long as possible.” And because of him I wanted to slide longer and further. And then there’s all this other stuff you can do at Flushing. You could manual the ledges and then there are ledges that go down the long steps. That’s a pretty good manual.
You work a regular job, right? I have a little part time job at a little retail store in the city. I was working at KCDC for a while and I kind of wanted to see something else, you know? You’re around skating all the time and you’re going skating all the time, it gets too be too much. I’m already a skate nerd and working there, I just needed to get out of there for a little bit. So I had a friend who worked at a Diesel store and he was like, “Yo, holla at me if you want to get a little part time gig”. So I just work there like two or three days a week. But I might go back to KCDC. It’s a good environment and everyone that works there is really cool. They have a mini-ramp in there and everyone comes there to skate. It’s in a real cool neighborhood too.
As far as pro skaters go, you’re definitely more underground. Do you see yourself as someone who’s sort of doing their thing on their own terms in the industry? Definitely, a little bit. I’m not trying to be in everyone’s faces all the time. It’s cool that people respect my skating and what I’m doing while I’m not in every YouTube video. I think I like it like that. When I started getting hooked up, I wasn’t trying to get hooked up…it just sort of happened. It was awesome, and not that I didn’t want it; I just didn’t want to have too much pressure on myself.
Do you feel pressure to get coverage now? Yeah, definitely. I think my sponsors are pretty cool about everything though. It’s like 5boro, they’re like my family. And if somebody in my family were telling me to do something, I’d do it. I just have a good working relationship with everyone. Like Tombo, my team manager, he’s one of my best friends. And Steve and Nardelli, we always throw ideas at each other. It’s never like, “Oh, you should try to grind this handrail,” or something crazy. They know how I skate.
How did you get on 5boro? I use to see Steve around the city all the time skating around. And I didn’t really know him. I just knew that he owned 5boro and he skated like a maniac all over the city. He approached Rodney and me, and at the time I was getting flowed from Arcade. He asked if we were interested in riding for 5boro. I always respected 5boro and I always wanted to ride for an East Coast company. At the time I was real psyched on the younger people on 5boro. Back then 5boro had a different image. It was more older guys, and I wasn’t sure if I really fit the 5boro mold because I didn’t really skate transition or anything like that. And the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to ride for them. And I met some of the guys like Joe Tookmanian, Willy Akers and it was back when Westgate was on and Suski. I went on a trip with them and I clicked with the team. And it went from there.
What are you working on now for the future? Right now we’re finishing the 5boro video that should be out this summer some time. Everybody’s parts are really amazing. Jimmy’s (McDonald) a machine. He films something every time he goes out. And Joe Tookmanian has been on a mission like crazy. He’s been doing the craziest, sh*t. And Willy’s (Akers) part is going to be amazing too. I’m hoping to have a full part. KCDC is filming a video too, so I’m looking to have a part in that. Right now we have a deadline for October.
Frontside Flip Photo By David Manaud
Frontside Bluntslide & Backside Tailslice Photos By Deeli
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