Interview by Alan Ng
Words by Ping Pong and Alan Ng
Photography by Alan Ng
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
I am Chad Dickson. I am 25 years and I am from London, Ontario. I currently reside in Vancouver, BC.
Tell us how you started skating.
It all started when I was 10 years old. I went to the Yukon to visit my mom’s side of the family. My cousin is someone who I’ve always looked up to, and I have always done my best to follow in his footsteps, so right away I needed to hop on board and start skating. He pretty much got me started and when I got back to Ontario. Since then, I’ve been skating everyday, wanting to be able to do tricks when I return to the Yukon. That’s where it all started.
Do you remember your first experience on the deck?
I remember it like it was yesterday. It’s crazy. For my birthday, I asked my dad if he could buy me a skateboard. We went to Sports Mart and what he ended up getting me wasn’t a legit skateboard, just some beginner knockoff. So then I went to my mom’s place and I was there till midnight skating 6 hours straight. I remember riding on the board, trying to keep my balance. It was the most amazing thing that I had done in my entire life. It was pretty sweet.
Through the years, you have definitely become one of the most recognizable talents of the city. This is reflected through sponsorships and your appearances in skate videos. Tell us a bit about your biggest achievements so far.
It’d have to be when I do switch-heels down and up stuff. That’s the trick I always wanted to do when I was younger and I just got a lot of good photos doing switch-heel flips so I am kind of known for that dude who does switch-heels.
You have also been appearing in various magazine covers and sponsorship campaigns by skate companies. When were you first discovered?
I was discovered really young when I went into this skate shop. I got this small sponsorship but then I moved to Vancouver. After only four days since arriving here, I visited the brand new Skate Plaza. It was my first time skating there and I was so pumped. I did a lot of tricks, and by luck, the DC Team Manager was there and asked me if I rode for anybody. I told him that I didn’t have a single sponsor and right on the spot, he told me starting from then, I would ride for DC shoes. From there, I shot a photo in a plaza with a photographer that got published in a Color Magazine 2009 winter issue. That’s how my whole skate career started.
What advice would you give to upcoming skaters who would like to skate better or make a living out of skate boarding?
You’ve got to be super focused on it.. Stick to the game and skate all the time. Always film and shoot photos. That’s the main thing that you’ve got to do. You have to always be able to travel. Even if that means getting a part time job to save money for travel. Yeah, do it and keep on going on trips. Eventually, things are going to happen. For me, I think I just lucked out — my sponsor told me I skated well and that motivated me to improve myself. Then, a few more sponsors came aboard to support and help me continue my game.
One of the very unfortunate incidents was when you got into a serious car accident back in 2008. Briefly tell our readers what happened and how were you able to recover and return to skateboarding.
I went to Abbotsford where it all happened at a buddy’s birthday. We arrived very late. By the time we got to the bar, we only had the chance to drink a couple beers. After the bar closed, everybody was heading back to my buddy’s place. We didn’t have enough room in the cab so my friend and I decided to walk back. We had to go up this very steep hill, as we were walking up and crossing the road— my buddy was in front of me, this black 2008 Dodge Durango came out of now where. He was going 70 kilometers on a 40 zone and he came across and missed my buddy by like a couple feet, and hit me point blank where I went headfirst through the windshield. Flipped over the car and landed at the back my head, with my arm slapped at the back. I ended up having a bunch of internal damage. Having a separated shoulder. I was in the hospital for a while and got a stage 3 concision. I actually don’t remember the day before the incident or three days after. After that, my mom flew down to take care of me. I wasn’t able to skate for 7 to 8 months. All during that time, I ate healthy, I didn’t drink. I exercised. I would tie my arm to my body and go jogging everyday, just to keep my legs in shape to ensure that I would still have my leg muscles for skating. The biggest concern with that was with each my contracts with my sponsors, there’s a period where I can be injured and if I pass that time period, they would stop paying me, but luckily for me, I am good friends with my team manager and the people that help me out. They told me “You got in a serious incident, you almost lost your life and we have your back 100%.” They kept on paying my bills, they hooked me up with gear to stay fresh. When it came to the point when I was out of my cast, and when all my internal injuries were healed up, I started physiotherapy and everything like that. Once that started, I was starting to recover really fast just because I was so on point with it. I really want to get back on my board after that following summer because I was out of the game for so long. Then, once that happened and fully healed, I was on. I was shooting photos and ended up getting two covers and that last video part of City of New Lights.
That’s really inspiring. For someone to have gone through such a major accident and be able to recover so fast and also be able to get back to doing the things you enjoyed is really amazing. I think skaters out there should reflect upon your situation and apply it to whatever happens in their lives. Whether it’s minor or major injuries, having the will to continue is really important.
Yea, exactly. I love talking to people when they are bummed out about injuries, even if it is just an ankle injury. I don’t mind telling my story and what happened to me, and I think it does motivate people and inspire them to work their body out that much harder, through physio or any kind of physical activity that brings them back into better shape to help them rehabilitate.
Aside from skating, you are also in various activities such as golfing and badminton. Tell us about your hobbies aside from skateboarding.
The main ones are darts and pool. Those are the ones that I have grown up playing. My dad and I would go to the pub every weekend to play pool. My buddy’s dad is a pro dart player so he got me into that. He taught me everything about darts when I was really young. I became really good at it. Golf is a new thing I just picked up. So is dirt biking. I did that lots when I was younger. The list goes on. When I was in grade six, I got offered to move to Britain to play soccer. I just felt like I was too young and wanted to skateboard.
Many older skaters today transition themselves into the business aspect of skateboarding, typically becoming artists or designers. Where do you see yourself in the future?
Yea I have thought about that. I come from a line of family chefs and cooks. I have always been interested in the idea of going to culinary school. I’d like to venture into that and try that out. It’d be cool if I could get into that while continuing with my skating. No matter what, I want to always be part of the skate boarding community. It’s the one love of my life.
Who are the skaters out there that motivate you to skate better?
I actually have two of them, my buddies Sean Lowe and Dan Redman. I skate with those dudes all the time and they are always down to skate. Skating with them is a lot of fun. It brings out so much motivation in me; it makes me want to do things and accomplish them. We all get stoked.
What is HYPE?
HYPE is the main point of motivation. People HYPE’ing you up where you are trying a trick and you get super close and people cheering on for you. It’s a positive energy.