WCS 30th Anniversary—Dave Duncan Interview

April 3, 2024 / By vanessa

The Voice of Skateboarding

In the world of skateboarding, few voices resonate as loudly as that of Dave Duncan. His infectious energy and genuine passion for the sport have made him a beloved figure in the skateboarding community. Beyond his impressive skills on a board, he’s been out there building ramps and street courses as well as taking on the role of hype man, MCing most skateboarding events worldwide.

For more than three decades, he’s been incredibly active in the community, always ready to lend a hand or offer a word of encouragement. Recently, we had the privilege of sitting down with him to reminisce about some of the wildest moments he experienced in World Cup Skateboarding history.

A True Passion for Skateboarding

From the moment our conversation began, it was evident that Duncan‘s love for skateboarding runs deep. “I’m just a huge fan of skateboarding,” he shared with a grin. “I mean, I absolutely love it, and when they hand me the mic, I just speak from the heart.”

Duncan’s excitement is contagious and his enthusiasm extends beyond the sport itself; he is all about spreading the stoke of skateboarding and bringing people together to celebrate the lifestyle. “Bringing together all these skateboarders and fans to celebrate our unique culture and witness the world’s best skaters in action—it’s a dream come true,” he stated.

Duncan’s 6 Best Moments in World Cup Skateboarding History

1. How it Started for Duncan and WCS

Duncan‘s journey with WCS began with his transition from amateur to pro skating in 1987. Initially involved in ramp construction for WCS events alongside Tim Payne, Founder & President of Team Pain Skateparks, Duncan’s hands-on experience paved the way for additional roles, including judging and announcing at iconic events like Savannah Slamma, where he collaborated with legends like Frank Hawk, the father of Tony Hawk.

As Duncan’s reputation grew, so did his involvement in WCS events across the globe. From building ramps in Hawaii and Münster, Germany, for the World Skateboarding Championships to constructing vert ramps and street courses for Slam City Jam in Vancouver, he played an important role in bringing skateboarding to the world stage.

“I just feel like we did this stuff in the 80s…I’m very blessed to just keep this life that I love, able to travel the world and thanks World Cup skateboarding and all the promoters out there that bring us around to help showcase great skateboarding thank you guys it’s been an incredible ride.” Duncan exclaimed.

2. Duncan’s WCS Most Unforgettable Moment

One standout memory for Duncan is his 40th birthday celebration during the 2002 Quiksilver Bowlriders Tour. It all started in Marseille, France, during a bus tour across Europe, hitting up big events and countless skate parks along the way. At one of the events, they surprised him with a cake out of the blue. Imagine Duncan, standing on a lifeguard stand with the other judges, with thousands of people and skaters cheering around him to highlight his birthday. It was a total blast and still gives him those warm fuzzy feelings when he looks back on it.

Talking about the event in Marseille, John Cardiel’s trick over this big gap during one of the Cash for Tricks resurfaced in his memory. “I remember he tried a 360 and landed kind of low, broke his board, and he came back up and kept trying and finally landed on a broken board—the whole place went berserk. Yeah, big moment in World Cup Skateboarding history.” he recalled.

3. Three Decades of Mystic Sk8 Cup

Mystic Sk8 Cup holds a special place in Duncan‘s heart, having been involved in the event for nearly three decades. From its early days in Germany right after the fall of the Berlin Wall to its continued presence in Prague, Mystic Sk8 Cup has been a celebration of skateboarding culture at its finest.

With legendary skaters like Tony Hawk and Bob Burnquist gracing its ramps, the event is filled with unforgettable moments and incredible tricks that marked history. While Dave couldn’t pinpoint one specific trick that stood out, he acknowledges that each year brings loads of jaw-dropping moments. It’s not just about the tricks though; Mystic Sk8 Cup embodies the essence of freedom, happiness, and good times, making it one of Dave’s favorite events.

4. Vans Triple Crown and The Combi Pool

Duncan began constructing ramps for the Vans Triple Crown in the late 1990s. In 1998, Steve Van Doren , the iconic legend behind Vans, enlisted his expertise to design and construct a skatepark. He pitched a modernized version of the iconic Combi Pool from the Pipeline skatepark, offering a fresh take on the best competition pool from the 80s.

The Vans Triple Crown event, boasting elite skateboarders like Tony Hawk and Chris Miller, provided a prime stage for showcasing talent. Memorable moments included Pedro Barros and Clay Kreiner‘s audacious jumps over the gap in the round pool—an achievement Duncan fondly recalls as significant milestones in the history of World Cup skateboarding. “Two big tricks which I never thought would ever happen when we designed and built that pool, so a couple of big moments in World Cup skateboarding history right there,” Duncan reminisces.

Duncan’s collaboration with Vans also led to the construction of ten more skateparks nationwide. This effort coincided with legislative changes in Sacramento, California, making skateboarding a less legally risky activity for cities. This shift paved the way for more public skateparks across the country.

5. The Mega Ramp for X Games

Duncan discussed the impact of Danny Way bringing The Mega Ramp to the X Games, noting that it elevated skateboarding to a whole new level. The Mega Ramp’s massive scale, with an 80 to 100-foot drop-in and a 28-foot quarter pipe, symbolized skateboarding’s arrival on par with other extreme sports like snowboarding and motocross.

Duncan acknowledged Danny Way and Bob Burnquist for pushing The Mega Ramp to the next level, propelling skateboarding into uncharted territory and capturing the attention of audiences worldwide.

6. Tony Hawk’s iconic 900

The most iconic moment Duncan experienced was Tony Hawk‘s 900 in 1999, describing the atmosphere at the X Games when Tony attempted the trick. He recalled motivating Tony to attempt the 900, knowing the crowd’s excitement and the significance of pushing skateboarding’s boundaries. Despite Tony’s initial doubts, he persevered, attempting the trick multiple times until finally landing it. Duncan highlighted the overwhelming excitement felt within the skateboarding community upon witnessing Tony’s success, recognizing it as a pivotal moment in skateboarding history.

“During the ESPN interview, Tony expressed it in a way that really stuck with me. It was something along the lines of today being the best day of his life. I asked him how he felt, are you happy you made it, or something like that. But his response was simple but profound – he thanked everyone and said today is the best day of my life. It was a big moment for him and for all of us witnessing it.” Duncan recalls.

Dave Duncan‘s vibe at JACKALOPE speaks volumes, and we’re proud to have such a pioneer as our announcer. Bringing infectious energy to every moment, Duncan lights up the scene, capturing the heart of the skateboarding community. Whether he’s rallying the crowd on the mic or tearing up the bowl, Duncan’s commitment to skateboarding is genuinely inspiring, leaving a lasting impact on everyone at JACKALOPE.

“Thanks everybody! World Cup skateboarding for 30 years, let’s go for 30 more. Yeah, let’s go! Are you ready? I’m ready, let’s go!” – Dave Duncan