Friday, June 17, 2011

Interview: Doug Saladino By: Lester Kasai

I often find myself thinking about skateboarding in the late 1970's.  It was a time of a concrete revolution in skateboarding.  A time when there existed many concrete wonderlands filled with banks, bowls, snakeruns and halfpipes.  These skateparks were the first of their kind.  
There were many people skateboarding at that time and there was a group of pioneering individuals who led the pack.  One such skater in that pack, that had a huge influence on me as a young man, was Doug "Pineapple" Saladino.  Doug’s a cool bruddah who always has a smile on his face.  
- Lester Kasai  // June 2011 

How did you start skateboarding and what year was it?
It was 1964, and my next door neighbor at the time put me on a Roller Derby skateboard that had steel wheels. Ha ha ha … that’s actually a true story. But really, it was in the early 1970’s that I started to skateboard as a means of transportation and something to do when there was no surf.
How did you get the nickname "Pineapple"?
My friend Joe Roper gave it to me. At first he started calling me Coconut at our Sunday Bahne Team practices. Eventually it turned into Pineapple. It had a lot to do with the fact that my parents and relatives are from and live Hawaii.
What was your local skatepark back in the day?  I remember some sick photos of you at Oasis  skatepark... didn’t you have a skateboarder magazine cover shot of you doing a footplant at Oasis? 
Oasis was my local park after Spring Valley’s Skateboard Heaven. I actually had 2 covers from that park. The first cover was a frontside air shot at night with crazy time delayed lights in the background.  The footplant was the second shot by James Cassimus.
Who was your first sponsor? I had one of your boards with the pineapple graphic on it... it was so sick. 
My first sponsor was Bahne. During the Del Mar Nationals in the mid-1970’s, the guys that ran the team asked me to come to their practice and check things out. G&S was my second sponsor. They’re the ones who put out the Pine Design with the pineapple graphic on it.
What was your favorite bowl back in the day and what is your favorite bowl now?
Ahh … if I had to choose a bowl at a park, it would have to be the keyhole at Oasis. If pre-skatepark, it would have to have been the Soul Bowl that was at San Diego State College … I have a photo on Facebook of me riding a Fibreflex, Road Rider 4’s and Bennett Trucks. 
Currently, I have no favorite bowls per say. But mine and my son’s favorite skatepark is most definitely Washington Street.
Who do you skate with these days?  I know you have a son that skateboards. 
I skate a lot with my 14 year-old son Shey. We skate tranny a lot together. I skate quite often with my good friend Damon Mills too … I’m always super down for sessions at Washington Street with my friends there. 
Who did you hang out and skate with during the 70's and 80's? 
Jay Adams, Dennis Martinez, Dave Andrecht, Salba, Malba, Scott Dunlop, Bill Ruff, Gino Tocci …
Actually, Me, Salba, Malba and Dunlop were on Kryptonics together. Salba and I still hangout today and skate sometimes … 
You were always able to do all skateboarding disciplines… freestyle, street, slalom and bowls.  You won some contests... can you tell me about some of them? 
Back in the day, many of us skated everything. So, as an amateur, I won and placed a lot in freestyle, slalom and bowl events. 
When I was 13 years old, I won the freestyle contest at Marine World in Nor Cal as an amateur. However, back then, if you took money, you were considered pro. So, in order to keep my amateur status, I donated the money.
As a pro, I won a couple bowl riding events as well as placing in the Top 5 quite a bit. One thing that comes to mind is that I came out of the Hester Bowl Series and entered the Oceanside freestyle contest and took first in it. I was 16 years old at that time.
What set up are you skating now? 
I’m riding an 8.75 Patines Americanos “Pineapple Express” deck. It’s my design and shape. It has a square tail with a chopped nose. It also has a 15.5” wheelbase with O.G. style wheel wells. I’m still riding for Indy and have 169mm’s on my setup. Rob Washburn flows me Bones wheels and bearings … I’m super down with 60mm SPF slims with Swiss bearings.
What helmets are you and your son using now? 
We wear the S-One Premiums. We like the way they fit. The terry cloth liner in the front works great too !!!
What does skateboarding mean to you or what is it that keeps it in your heart?
Skateboarding is something that fills my soul … It also gives me the opportunity hangout with my son. 
How do you see skateboarding today as compared to skateboarding in the early days?
I saw a video of you and my old buddy Adrian Demain... playing some music together at a show... can you comment on your musical background?
I listened to a lot of 1960’s/70’s R &B and funk growing up as well as a lot of oldies from the 1950’s too when I was lowriding. After high school, I started to listen to early punk rock. As time evolved, I got into roots rocks type stuff, rockabilly, blues, R&B, etc. 
Well... if there's anything else you'd like to mention or something you'd like people to know... please do. 
Just a shout out to my beautiful wife Laura and son Shey … love you both and thanks for keeping me skating … Oh yeah … Checkout Patines Americanos on Facebook too …
Thanks for answering these questions Doug... I'm stoked to have this opportunity to ask you some questions... it has been an honor… mahalo and much respect bruddah!!!