Derek SCOTT: the multidisciplinary pro skateboarder committed to his community
October 19, 2023 / By yann
Derek Scott is an excellent skateboarder, and those who follow Jackalope events have come to know him better in the past year. He is powerful, elegant and spectacular. We wanted to show you more of Derek Scott because he embodies passion the way we like to see and experience it. His action-packed life, his selfless personality and his approach to everyday life is very inspiring. In this interview, he tells us how he gets involved in his community of Salida, Colorado, and also about his life as a pro skater, his mentoring of young snowboarders and his new passion for river surfing.
Hey Derek, thank you for taking the time to do this interview. We are honored to have you be a part of the JACKALOPE family and we want people to know how cool you are! How many JACKALOPE events have you been in? Only the one in Virginia beach and the most recent one in Montreal.
You killed it in both! Listen, before we get into skating, a quick search on the internet about you shows that you are also a snowboard, a river surfer, a community organizer, there is a lot to cover. Anything else that I missed?
I’m also a zip line guide. It was my first job when I was 17 and I still go and take people zip line sometime when my schedule allows it.
Do you go often?
Oh yeah, we’re always having fun up there in the mountains.
Did you start zip line first or was it skateboarding?
I started skateboarding when I was 10 so it has been 16 years now.
In Salida, Colorado?
Yep, I was born and raised here and I will probably end my days here as well.
You lived in California for a bit, what made you go back to Salida?
I went to California straight after I finished high school because that is what you do when you want to become a pro skater. After a while I just realized that you can be a pro skater and live somewhere else. I love where I come from and the community is very supportive. I also like to say that I live in the most gorgeous place on the planet. I also love the seasons and I can go snowboarding. I like it here.
So you stared skating in Salida with your uncle right?
I started when I was ten and then I entered my first contest when I was eleven and I ended up second place and I was hooked from then on. I just love contests. I traveled around doing local contests and I eventually entered my first pro contest at 15 years old in Colorado Springs called Rocky mountain rampage.
When did you start skating vert?
In Salida we only had a tiny bowl and the highest part was 9 feet so I was more of a bowl and transition skater. Then in high school a friend of mine had an eleven feet vert ramp in his backyard so I learned vert skating there.
So you went for the pro career in California, what happened there?
I just wanted to be a pro skateboarder. I had no other plans. My long time sponsor Say I won’t clothing helped me on this journey.
Where did you end up? San Diego? Los Angeles?
Oceanside, where all the vert skaters and transition skaters hang out so that where I went and stayed for a few years. It was fun. I skated everyday and we would go skate public parks but also the monster/DC vert ramp at blackbox but also Tony Hawk’s ramp. There are so many option over there.
Did you enter a lot of contests?
I did not skate that many contests while I was there although I entered one Vans pool party. That was a big one.
Did you get better?
Oh it is hard to not get better when you are surrounded by that many incredible skaters.
Was there something that made you go back to Colorado?
I came back for my family and friends. I just wanted to be around the people that I like. Also I realized that I did not need to be in California since I travel around so much. I like to be in my hometown in between those skate events.
So you wanted to get involved in your community as the pro skateboarder?
There are actually a few pro skaters from here, my good friend Shae Donovan is also from here. But yes, I wanted to be a part of the Salida scene and I contributed to convincing the city to build a great skatepark. It was always the goal.
How did that go?
We did all the fundraising that we could and we accumulated more than 350K in grant so we went to the city and asked them to match the amount that we had and they were cool with it. It took three years, which is actually quite fast to fundraise all that money but our community was very motivated and it worked out amazing. I keep talking about how amazing my community is. Everyone was on board, my friends and even their family were all helping the project.
Is it a good or a great skatepark?
It’s amazing! We ended up with 900k so it is a big space with a pro bowl to host the world cup contest. There is also a huge street section and a smaller bowl for beginners and intermediate. There is also a big pumptrack. It is pretty awesome.
The most important thing for me was to be involved with the design. I wanted to make sure that it was big enough to host a world tour event.
And it did! That must have been fun.
I was incredibly happy and I even cried when it happened because it was a dream come true. It was special for me because I had these 2 separate universes in my life. My friends from skateboarding didn’t know how beautiful Salida is and my people from Salida did not know how fun and spectacular those world cup contests are so it was very cool to have my two separate universe merge into one for once.
Take me to that day of the contest.
It was the best day ever. The reality of it started to hit me when I saw the guys from all over the country and the world arrive in town. I was also thinking of my uncle Michael who got me into skateboarding so it was a day that I dedicated to him. It was a very emotional day. The news came to do a big piece on the event and the project.
Another way for you to be involved is by giving private lessons when you are home?
Yes I do! It is funny because a lot of these lessons are to kids that are from out of town and are big snowboarders. They come here to snowboard and the skateboard lessons is some sort of crosstraining for them.
I really like to give back and share. The main thing that I wanted to do is share my passion and show to kids that it is a life that one can have here. I get along super good with all of the kids from the younger generation and I feed from their motivation to skate. I learn a lot during those lessons.
Do you see yourself as a role model?
No! I’m just trying to be a good person. I just want to share my knowledge and my experience from the skateboard world.
Are you going to have a pro skater lifestyle your whole life?
Haha! I know the clock is going to run out eventually and this is why I get involved with different aspects of the culture like fundraising, design, lessons and all of that because I want to keep doing it as long as I can.
You also had a skateboard company for a while?
Yes but that project is done and I ride for ATM now and my pro boards just came out. I’m stoked to ride for them.
So you skate contest and you also skate for demos during events like Jackalope and skate safari. How do you approach that? Is it different?
That is a tough one. Contest are more strategic and you want to get points whereas during a demo you want to make an impression on the crowd. It is really different and contests are fun but during demos or cash for trick events I feed off the crowd’s energy a lot. There is less pressure for sure.
You sure did made a great impression during those two Jackalope events! Before we wrap this up, I wanted to ask about your other passions for snowboarding and surfing!
Yeah, I love snowboarding and I started even before I started skateboarding. Our local mountain is amazing and is only 20 minutes from my house. We have some of the best snow in the country and I coach a team young competitive snowboarders. We travel all over for contests and it’s a pretty cool job. As for surfing, we just got this artificial wave built in the city so I started going there a lot. It is so much fun. During summer, I get to skateboard and surf every single day.
Well Derek, you seem to have a great life in a beautiful place. Thank you for sharing and inspiring us with your skating but also with your life. Have fun on the board and hopefully see you around at the next Jackalope!