An Interview With Daniel Kim, the 2016 Q.S.S.O.T.Y.

January 4th, 2017 | 8:40 am | Features & Interviews | 8 Comments

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Intro and Interview by Zach Baker. Photography by Will-Robson Scott.

Will R.S: “I’ve never even thought to, let alone wanted to do a switch Japan Air.”
Daniel Kim: “You need to empty your mind, Will.”

Let’s talk about influence. Here, in this beautifully flawed American society that we live in, we delight in the idea that we’re all unique. Supported by our convictions that never on Earth has there ever been anyone like ourselves, we (as skateboarders especially) are quick to call out the bandwagoning of others; the adherence to trends that we ourselves, whether we recognize it or not, are also influenced by.

Whether it be “Yo, I ride 8.5 because everyone rides 8.5” or “Yo, everyone rides 8.5, y’all biters. I ride 7.5, I’m different and lit” — we are all borrowing from the same pool of small board brands, nostalgic IG handles, and tricks done in Trilogy. It’s tough to stand out, and perhaps the less a person cares about doing so, the better they are at it.

Turn to Daniel Kim who, within the past year, has gotten what some might call “weird.” Prior to now, he had built a reputation for banging flip tricks, remarkable pop, and thoughtful Pulaski lines. He was on 10 Deep back when German Nieves was the team manager, got boards from DGK for a while, and later worked at Nike for a couple years. Then, his hat started falling off, he grew his hair out, started wearing fur vests, and introduced to us his mysterious new undertaking: Stingwater.

Sparking endless laughter from many and bewilderment from many more, Kim, throughout 2016, threw up all kinds of cryptic promotion for what is maybe a water company, maybe a skate company, maybe just a platform for trolling his favorite skaters. What can be certain, as reinforced by his part in Spirit Quest, Colin Read’s trippy opus, is that Daniel, both as skater and individual, is evolving — no, groeing. I’m entertained by whatever the hell Stingwater is, and I’m still not sure that I even totally get it. Maybe my mind’s not empty enough.

Regardless, in our eyes, Daniel had done some of the most unique and remarkable skateboarding in 2016, earning him the title of Quartersnacks Skater of the Year.

+++++++

Some of the readers may be wondering: did you lose your mind?

Nah man, I just found it.

You worked at Nike for some time, and then in the past year or so, would you agree that you’ve had much more right-brained approach to skateboarding, than say, a few years ago?

I think I just got more psyched on skating. I saw that once you have a regular job, you can’t skate as much. So I started to appreciate skateboarding more. Once the Nike thing was over, I started skating a lot more, and I started realizing that i could just have fun with it.