INTERVIEW BY TYLER FARRINGTON, @TYLERFARRINGTON
John Sullivan is no stranger to blading. He has sections spanning the last two decades. His style is impeccable, and he has the trick vocabulary to match. He is without a doubt one of the greatest rollerbladers the state of Texas will ever produce. His skating is continuously evolving, and he just keeps getting better. He has a long list of accolades including winning the first Texas street comp as well as the last Eisenberg’s Hoedown. This year he added another accolade to his resume by becoming a father. He is an amazing photographer and a humble human. It was great to get his insight on these questions. I hope you enjoy this interview as much I did. Let’s get to the questions with Mr. Dallitude himself.
How’s fatherhood? She’s adorable man! I have always heard that time flies once you have a little one.
Being a father is everything I thought it would be plus more. I’ve wanted kids since I was like 20 yrs old and I’m turning 37 this year, I thank God for allowing Aarin Gates to come into my life to help share the life of our daughter. She is killing the Mom game every day, it’s just absolutely awesome to answer that question haha.
“Being a father is everything I thought it would be plus more. “
How long have you been blading and how did you get into it?
I started rollerblading in the summer of 96 after my cousin brought over a pair of Bauer F3 street hockey blades, the first moment of hearing that buckle click into the boot I knew I was attached to these boots with wheels on my feet. It was unlike any team sport I was playing at the time and ultimately ended up quitting basketball to continue this passion I had. Years and years later I am still rolling and have not lost one bit of passion for it over these 23 years of rollerblading.
Who do you think inspired you the most coming up as a younger blader?
One of my biggest influences in rollerblading came from Jason Howard, Texas Legend. He took me under his wing sometime around 2000, giving me wheels, frames, clothes and all kinds of extra stuff he was getting from his sponsors. Eventually was able to hook me up flow for Razors Skate Co. He gave me a place to crash anytime I came to Austin, and really felt like he was treating me like a little brother. I will always keep that close to my heart and love ya buddy!!!
Any advice for those starting out?
Advice I can give for anyone starting out is to be patient with the process, find your balance, comfort, and swag under your wheels. Maintain a job unless you got some rich parents, skate parts can get expensive. Make sure you have a girlfriend or boyfriend that is genuinely okay with you skating, you will find out quick if she or he is not. Last, just be thankful you get to rollerblade and enjoy the countless memories you will come across thru the years with the homies.
How do you think the Dallas scene is doing? What do you think sets it apart from other scenes?
The Dallas scene is awesome, it has changed so much over all these years but is still going strong with new bladers popping up all the time. I would say a lot of park skating gets done for most of our meetups, Thursday night skate is our biggest meetup usually and really is just a bunch of family catching up from the week, throwing back a couple fosters, getting turnt on tunes, and just vibing with one-another. My explanation of Dallitude would be your swag, style, whatever you wanna call it. I’ve heard so many different things but that’s my meaning of it.
How do you think blading has affected your mentality and the way you go about things in life?
I feel skating has always brought me vision, mental conquering, attention to detail, and how to embrace myself and style. It helps me deal with bad days and can add sunshine on an already beautiful day. Total expression can be displayed every time you put your skates on.
What is your current setup?
I am riding a few different pairs of USD Aeons. Skates are like sneakers; I like having something fresh on my feet so I keep like 3 setups kinda ready to go. I think thru the process of Candy I skated 5 or 6 different Aeons in about a years time. I tend to think of you have fresh skates then you have that fresh swag.
I’m looking forward to seeing Candy! How has it been working on this project?
Candy Blade Video has been such a humbling and amazing experience. Losing our brother Keaton was a huge heartbreaker for all of us, personally one of if not the biggest loss of my life. When Ant Medina came to me about this project I was instantly on board, what better way to show homage to Keaton Newsom. Aside from the skating part of this video, our relationships as friends has brought us all closer in the Texas scene. I personally have so much love for everyone in Austin, the New York trip, Cali trip and everything in between has meant so much to me.
Is there anyone that you would like to collab with or give a shout out to?
I would like to spend a week or so in Cali with E-Rod trying to bust something out. We’ve talked about linking up just hasn’t happened yet. I would also like to link up with the Kelso’s and shoot something with them. I’ve always been a huge fan of their brand, skating, and filming. Plus, a trip up that way would be awesome, be able to shoot pictures in Philadelphia.
Are there any projects in the works that I didn’t mention?
No projects in the works but as soon as the world gets better from the Virus, I would like to get Candy scheduled up with the guys and also have a bbq. Play kickball, blade, chill and enjoy each other’s company.
Your photography clearly speaks for itself. I know the last time I talked to you, you mentioned you were going get a website up and running for your photography is that in our future?
So I do have a webpage in the works but it’s so hard for me to sit still in front of a computer screen for a good period of a time to really work on it. Giving this time at home till who knows whenever I’m going to get a lot of things on the computer done. So yes be looking for my webpage and getting to share my photography.
Some of John Sullivan‘s breathtaking photography:
Are you going to be selling prints and booking shoots through the site or will it be more for showing off your work?
I’m going to use the webpage to showcase my work but also sell prints. I have ideas in the works, mainly I wanna do all the work myself. Printing my work is the only thing I can’t do my self but would love to do all the picture framing myself.
Is there any location or subject that you would like to photograph that you haven’t?
There are so many places I wanna capture. From cities all around the world to getting some underwater housing and doing a shark dive or some kind of underwater adventure. Gotta get my scuba certification first but in due time.
Is there anything that you would like to tell our industry/community?
I’m not too sure what my advice is for the rollerblading industry, I guess to just set the path for our future. Allow kids growing up to get those same feelings we did when first staring out. Give more sponsorships to the youth as well, you’re older you should have a job to buy skates and support our industry.
Do you have any surprising facts about yourself?
I’m a pretty basic guy with not too much element of surprises, I know I love kids and am beyond blessed I finally get to call myself a Dad. It means more to me to have our daughter Keatynn than about anything in the world.
Is there anyone that you would like to thank for their support?
In conclusion I wanna thank Aarin Gates, for helping me through my highs & lows. She is an amazing mom, person, and best friend. She has taught me the value of what a smile can do to my day. She gave birth to our daughter and I am forever grateful. Love ya gurl!
I also wanna thank Tyler for taking his time with this interview, I love Texas and all the people I’ve been able to build bonds with thru these years. I miss you Keaton Newsom and hope you enjoy Candy up there in them clouds playa.
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