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The plentiful hills of San Francisco, welding... Chickens.

    Written by
  • Sean Holland
    Photography by
  • Dave Chami


There are two things that come to mind when I first listen back to my quick chat with Dennis Busenitz. The first is the contrast between how gnarly his skateboarding is to that of his humble, laid back temperament. The second: How thick and downright crook my Australian accent is. As I wince at the sound of my nasal drone, I’m almost surprised he didn’t need an interpreter. Maybe all those years he spent skating with Dave Chami has him slightly accustomed to some Australasian twang. These guys have worked together on numerous projects over the years and as the following images will attest, they made some sweet, sweet magic.


Sean: I always think of you as a born and bred San Fran dude, but that’s far from the truth, right?

Dennis: Yeah, it’s a little more complicated. I was born in Kansas, moved to Germany when I was about 6 months old and then moved back to Kansas when I was 15, then California when I’d just turned 19.

 Was that move based off your relationship with Deluxe?

Totally – They were sponsoring me and they helped me move out to San Francisco and I basically just stayed here. They were a huge help.

San Francisco has always been considered one of the true skate meccas of the world. When you’re actually living and breathing it, does it still have that buzz about it?

 Definitely. It’s so different to any other city, just because of the hills, that’s what really makes it so unique. I mean, sure plenty of cities have hills but there’s nothing quite like SF. Also, the size of the place is really neat. You can just get around the whole place with your skateboard.

I recall a Real ad years ago, maybe when you turned pro, that had some mention of them saying you might be lured away from a professional skateboarding because welders got paid a lot…

Really? I can’t remember that.

Shit, that’s my inner skate nerd kicking in. I think it was just like some little bit of throw away text… Let me re-phrase. Were you a welder prior to a professional skateboarder?

[Laughs] Well, after I finished high school, I did a year of welding school. During that year is when I got hooked up with Deluxe. I finished it, but I never had to get a full time job with it or anything like that. But I have that trade and I’ve welded plenty of flat bars.

“It’s so different to any other city, just because of the hills, that’s what really makes it so unique. I mean, sure plenty of cities have hills but there’s nothing quite like SF.”

I guess having your name on a skateboard let alone a shoe, helps keep that trade on ice. Speaking of which, your latest shoe dropped last week, how many models is that in the quiver?

This is my fourth one, not including all the colour-ways and stuff. I didn’t work as closely with Adidas on this one as I have the previous ones, but I’m definitely happy with it. If I wasn’t you wouldn’t be seeing it, because I would have made them change it, you know what I mean. If my name was on something that I wasn’t in to, that just seems stupid to me, and defeats the whole purpose.

In such a crowded market it’s amazing how your shoes have become a bit of a staple. I was at the local park yesterday, where there were maybe 10 kids skating and 2 of them were wearing your shoe, then today I even noticed the guy that made my coffee was wearing a pair…

 That’s something I’m really proud of, and I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity. It’s pretty rad to have some kind of an impact in skating… even if it is just through a product that you are selling… [Laughs]

You do alright on the board too mate…

Thank you [Laughs] I’m definitely stoked.

So, you’ve recently moved out of SF and gone a little bit country?

Yeah, we live an hour and a half north of San Francisco. We have a lot more space there and it’s a lot more mellow for the kids growing up.

Have you created your own little Busenitz utopia?

[Laughs] I’m trying to, but turns out it’s a lot of hard work. My wife has her chickens and garden and everything she’s in to and I just tinker around and play with concrete, building things to skate. It’s nothing too crazy. All trial and error, but it’s great. I’m just trying to have fun with it.