D. David Morin was the face of Kryptonics in Southern California and beyond during the mid to late 1970s. After you read his interview you are going to wish you would of had his job.
How did you originally hook up with Kryptonics?
I originally hooked up with Kryptonics while I was attending the University of Colorado in Boulder, circa 1975. I had met Duane Hermanson, the then VP, and he told me about their wheel development. Jimmy Ford was in the shipping department and was busy pushing Kryptonics to expand their product line from deadening formulas to reduce industrial machine vibration to more resilient compounds for the burgeoning skateboard wheel market. We went up against Road Rider wheels and OJs.
I rode for Krypto's while finishing college as an R & D guy, and started meeting a lot of the early street racing guys. Randy “R” Smith was a local favorite on the cool-looking Turner skates. I skated as a kid in Hollywood and used to go to the Teenage Fair at the Hollywood Palladium and watch the Hobie team. My early skateboards were Makaha decks with Hobie wheels with Chicago trucks.
What was your title at Krypto?
I was a sales rep and all of California was my territory. I paid my way through law school sellingKrypto wheels.
Were you involved in wheel design or designing the great Kryptonics ads?
I was never involved in the wheel design or the advertising. That was all Jim Ford back in Boulder. He was brilliant. I thought our ads really stood out, and I couldn’t wait, like everyone else, to see what was next every month. Jimmy was really clever, and the production was top notch.
My job was promotion mostly, starting with giving wheels to skaters like Gregg Weaver, Rodney Jesse, Stacy Peralta, the G&S team, Jim Muir, Jay Adams, Tony Alva, David Hackett, Duane Peters ...Then it was the Krypto team during the Hester Series with Steve Alba, Micke Alba and Scott Dunlap. I think I sponsored Bobby Piercy also. The street racing scene was hardcore. Krypto tried to break into it. I was driving 100 miles a day while attending law school in San Diego just to hand out wheels, stickers and T-shirts to skaters like Pineapple, Steve Cathey, Dennis Martinez, Ellen Oneal ... and also up around Venice and all the way out to the Inland Empire. I was everywhere and had a cool Porsche 914-6 that got me around until George Powell totaled it one day.
What about favorite skaters or crazy stories from that time?
As far as great skateboard stories, the whole era was epic. Capitola, the Catalina Classic, the Hester Series, the skateparks and all the characters ...Rich Novak and the Santa Cruz guys: John Krisik; John Hutson; Fausto; Steve Olson ... Signal Hill, La Costa ... there’s so many people and places. It was a whole world. Gregg Ayres, Neil Blender, the Bones Brigade guys: Lance; Cab; McGill; Tony Hawk; and so many more like Ray Allen, Vicki Vickers, [Dave]
McIntyre, Bolster, [Craig] Stecyk, [James] Cassimus, Glen E. [Friedman], Mullen, it goes on and on. Lots of favorite skaters — Jay Adams was one of my faves, as unpredictable as he was stylish.
When did you leave Kryptonics?
I left Kryptonics in 1980 when I took at job at Surfer Publishing Group. I had been announcing professional skating for years (and surfing) and freelance writing for SkateBoarder quite a bit.
When I graduated from law school Dave Dash asked me if I wanted to be publisher of SkateBoarder, as he was moving on to a newer mag at Surfer Publications and needed a replacement. I said yes. Then I became editor-in-chief after it broadened its scope to become ACTION NOW.
The big skating boom was over in the early ’80s and advertisers were dropping like flies. We couldn't survive so we adapted. We expanded our editorial base in the hopes the expanded advertising base would follow. We were covering all the extreme sports well before that phrase was invented. You’ve heard of the X Games? We started X-Journalism back in 1980, combining all the radical action sports, aka extreme sports, into ACTION NOW: BMX, snowboarding, skating, etc. I guess we were too far ahead of our time.
Why did you kill skateboarding?
That’s so funny and ludicrous that people think I killed it, but they do. I was at a rehearsal dinner a decade ago and some guy married to the bride’s sister got drunk and figured out who I was and came after me because I killed skateboarding.
Why would I kill the hand that fed me so well for all those years? Skateboarding was very good to me. But it’s cyclical. SkateBoarder first came out in 1964. Then after four issues it died. It came back in the early ’70s. Then died. At its zenith, SkateBoarder was a 200-page glossy monthly, chock full of ads. Everyone wanted in the market and the magazine. By 1980 we were at 84 pages and nearly unsustainable.
Everybody had gone away. All the big boys...gone. We were forced to expand or die. We tried. But to say I killed the sport is pretty aggrandizing. I was a reporter. That’s like saying I killed Lincoln if I reported Lincoln was dead. I somewhat recall our editorial staff talking about the upcoming issue and what the cover should be. Paul Haven, Cassimus, Stecyk and myself always tried to put a clever spin on our covers. The mag tone was very tongue-in-cheek, and like any publication, we were in the business of selling newspapers, or in our case, magazines. I don’t even remember the exact cover — it was so long ago — but we had a long story about “is skateboarding dead and can it survive?” We were poking the sacred cow. The readers were outraged, but the once mega-industry was already gone due to lack of sales ... yet we were to blame.
What was your life and career like after Kryptonics?
My mom was an actress and my dad was a lawyer, but me and law never got along. Stacy Peralta got into acting and was doing guest-star roles on Charlie’s Angels and movies and stuff. He encouraged me to pursue it. After ACTION NOW I went to Saddleback College and hosted a cable show for two years and acted in a student film.
I sucked. So I picked the thing I had the least amount of talent at and moved back to Hollywood to pursue that. I went on to do more than 200 national commercials, 40 guest-star roles, 40 films and a couple of sitcoms as a series regular. My credits are on IMDB.com.
I also trailed directors and was making short films. I ended up writing and directing two features, Cold Play and Johnny. At that time I was living in a loft in downtown L.A. and got a film acting gig in Kenya, Africa. After a month in Nairobi, I decided to move there. I bought a one-way and sold everything I had and flew to Kenya Oct. 1, 2011.
What are you doing these days?
Currently I’m teaching a seminar series on the cinematic arts in Nairobi (Slingshot Seminars on Facebook) and a nine-week Hollywood acting course. I own Slingshot Productions and have numerous projects in various stages of development. Otherwise, I live on the coast on the Indian Ocean near Somalia in Lamu. My current life credo is “teach art or make art.”
Kryptonics was the halcyon days for a lot of us. I know it was for me. So many memories, too many to remember.