Sunday, October 10, 2021

Interview with Birder / Pro Skateboarder Dave Mull

Skateboarding is the best thing in part because I don't know what kind of thing it is. A sport? Not really. A hobby? Doesn't seem strong enough. A ... thing?

Whatever it is, it's the best. It's athletic, but not competitive. It's as technical as gymnastics and as dangerous as football, but isn't full of meatheads. It's artistic, in that there are different ways to execute the same thing and each skater has his own style, or take on the same trick. Plus, as artists do, skaters look at the world differently than the rest of us - seeing the inescapable built environment as things to slide down or jump over or whatever. I just love it.

My brother, Alex, is a great skateboarder. Always has been. I am not, because I have no balance. But we've always enjoyed skateboarding together, and he regularly sends me videos and clips to watch to keep my appraised of the latest. A couple of years ago he started sending me clips from a company called Worble, who was putting out videos based around a dude named Manramp: an anonymous guy in overalls who carried around a piece of plywood to act as a moving feature. A man ramp. They videos ruled, and had a great soundtrack, and featured a long-haired skater named Dave Mull.

Alex sent me a couple more Worble videos and Dave Mull clips and I kept noticing something: there are, like, a bunch of birds in here. There was that Manramp intro where he's got a hawk on his arm. There was an Acorn Woodpecker in the stump jump B-side video, there was a young Red-tail ... I am used to seeing 0 birds in skate videos but now I am seeing birds. Then, Alex send a 2018 interview Mull did with Thrasher (uh, the skate magazine, not the Mimidae), and my suspicions were confirmed: Dave Mull is a birder.

I immediately knew I needed to interview him for Audubon, as I firmly believe in the mission of frantically pointing and waving when I find a birder who is outside whatever you want to think the traditional stereotype of a "birder" is. Dave Mull, pro skateboarder, is certainly outside it. I really enjoyed interviewing him for the National Audubon website.

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