Interview: Land Paddling UK
Pics: Dan Carroll and labelled
Colourful, outspoken but in it for the pure enjoyment and stoke of the sport Britonian land paddler/longboarder/SUPer Dan Carroll (aka Parker Kane if you follow him on Facebook) is forging his own path. Crossing from flat land to parks, bowls and downhill Danny loves it all – so much so that he shapes his own land paddle gear and is planning on taking the land paddling stoke to the road. We hit up Dan for chat and to see what makes him tick.
How did you first get into riding land paddle gear? Was it a natural evolution of longboard skating?
I got into land paddle to aid my longboarding. I was practicing manuals, which is where you stand on one end of the board and lift the opposite end and try to ride on two wheels for as far as possible. When I was practicing I noticed as soon as I found the sweet spot I lost momentum, I had to kick again to rediscover my sweet spot. It was a little frustrating so I built a paddle from some dowling with a dog toy on the end for traction. This way I could keep momentum without losing my sweet spot. I really enjoyed the upper body workout and started going for long journeys. I had been doing this for nearly a year before realising it was actually a sport.
What appealed about wielding a stick and what benefits does it give?
I really like the speed and flow, it’s great fun and you forget you are also exercising. After a couple of months I noticed how much stronger my core was and now had abs.
You now make your own decks but what land paddle gear did you first use?
I have always made my own gear but I do own a Larry Old School Dancer longboard. It’s based on the design by Adam Colton. He is the heartbeat of modern longboarding for me and I try to incorporate as many of his tricks into my skating/paddling as possible.
Talk us through your current setup – what’s your favourite combo and why?
I have a few set-ups: I ride the El Gordo with Independent Trucks for free-ride and shredding hills. The El Gordo Stumpy with Carver C7 Trucks in the bowl/skate park and the El Gordo Expedition with Revenge Trucks for long distance or a cruise with both kids on the front. All of my set-ups have 75mm wheels and above.
When did you first make a board under your own brand label? What prompted this and how do your designs differ from others?
I designed the El Gordo about four years ago as I wanted to ride SUP stance. It was just shaped from an 18mm piece of ply. Flat, no features, but I wanted to see how a wider board felt. I really liked it and planned to improve it but the birth of my first son came along and I forgot about the board. I went for a cruise about 18 months later and fell back in love. So I built a press as I wanted concave and kicks. I also wanted to pay attention to the topside of the deck as most just cover in griptape. I decided to cover the top in fabric and incorporate that into the structure using resin. I tie dyed some fabric and finished the grip by crushing jam jars and sprinkling the fine glass on wet resin. I also wanted a soft deck for comfy long distance and barefoot riding, so I put a foam pad under the fabric. The attention and interest the board gained was amazing and after being asked where did I get it I knew I had something special. Six months later I had design rights and was ready for a brand name. I wanted to travel and promote land paddling so Nomadeck was born.
How often are you in the workshop shaping?
I’m always shaping or tinkering. I think of it more like a funshop than a workshop.
Talk to us about the paddle (or paddles) you’re using and why you’ve chosen them. Do you think ‘sticks’ are an overlooked part of the set up?
I only use wooden paddles as I don’t like the environmental effects caused by fibreglass and carbon fibre. I use sustainable hardwoods in the construction. I double tip the paddles with different grades of rubber each – one for pushing (soft rubber) one for stopping (hard rubber). I have two paddles, a short paddle for freeride and skate parks and a long paddle for everything else.
Where’s your local place to ride and what’s good about it?
I live in Brighton which some say is the longboard capital of the U.K, maybe even Europe? So there is a large skate community with about eight miles of prom to paddle/skate (not all smooth unfortunately) and lots of hills – urban and rural.
Do you have any burning ambitions to hit up foreign tarmac? If so where?
Yes! I have converted a 7.5 tonne horsebox into a motorhome/workshop and plan to go where no board has gone before. We will be travelling along the Atlantic from France to Liberia following the sun. I want to show the kids how to ride and build their own equipment from recycled goods.
What do you think about the land paddling scene in general? How big do you think it could get?
I think the scene is misunderstood by the majority of skaters and once its potential is known, the sport can be huge! The paddlers I have met so far have all been lovely people.
We know you own a stand up paddle board and have been known to get out for a float. Does SUP still appeal?
Yes, my SUP will be coming with us for sure – I adore water. My first love was surfing and with SUP I can do that into old age I hope.
How does land paddling compliment on water sweeping do you think?
I purchased my SUP after already land paddling a few years but I’m sure it gave me a head-start. The paddling technique isn’t the same but the muscle groups are and so it should improve everyone’s time on the water.
If you had a choice would you go for land paddling or water based SUP?
A lovely sunny day you would most likely find me on land but if the waves are pumping then I’ll be enjoying what Mother Nature provides. Riding waves never fails to put a smile on my face – it’s the greatest feeling!
Do you still ride longboard skateboards without a stick? If so do you prefer flat land or downhill?
I love longboard dancing which has evolved from longboard surfing styles. I used to do some downhill but since becoming a father and fracturing my heel I moved to fla tland dancing and incorporate dance moves when I paddle.
There have been a handful of comps in the UK during the last few years. Would you enter if there were more?
I did take part in the first UK land paddle race. It was a great experience but I’m not sure if I would enter another comp like that. I skate for fun rather than competition. A long distance trek would appeal more to me.
Got any skate heroes you admire and look up to? If so who are they?
Adam Colton. He has nothing to do with land paddle but has inspired me to skate the way I do. Another great skater is Aboubakry Sadikh Seck from Paris. He has great footwork and flow.
What about inspiration in general – what gets your juices flowing?
I build from reclaimed materials and love finding something new to see if it has potential. I hope to find many interesting materials on my travels. I am blessed to be part of a sport I love and seeing a first time paddler’s face light up is wonderful. I am working on a new kind of blade which will allow for greater slides and can’t wait to explore its potential.
Any final thoughts on land paddling – at home or away?
I would like to see some events: speed trials, obstacle course, slide jams, hill climb challenges and long distance treks in the UK. These could be done individually or in teams. Land paddling has a massive future in this country – come and give it a try.
Peace, Love and land paddling – Dan, Nomadeck Board Co – www.facebook.com/Nomadeck-Board-Co-586195631513566/?fref=ts