After more than 20 years of being pro for various brands including World Industries when it was still huge, Dan Pageau recently announced his retirement from the professional ranks, but really, who gives a fuck? Feel like the guy’s been off the radar for a while anyway. Well, the skate world actually did give a fuck about Dan’s big announcement, especially when Thrasher Magazine posted his crowd funding retirement campaign on their social networks.
“ No one ever announced his retirement from skating on GoFundMe ” he told me. As confused as I was about the man’s weird announcement, I was stoked to hear that Dan’s still all about NBD’s.
So, you’re retiring from skateboarding?
Well, I retired from professional skateboarding.
Oh, so you’re not stopping completely?
Of course not, I just don’t want to have my name on a board anymore. That’s it. There’s a bunch of great skateparks all within 5 minutes from my house in Coquitlam, BC, so I still skate a lot. I wake up and go to the park for an hour or so almost every morning. There’s no scooters in the morning so I can put headphones on and skate in peace.
It caused a bit of a stir when Thrasher posted your retirement announcement on their Insta account. Why did you decide to put it on GoFundMe?
At first, I just wanted to make an announcement saying I would no longer be a professional skateboarder and post it on Facebook. Then I thought about doing something more meaningful. Something that has never been seen before. I never tried Go Fund Me and had a lot of my pro boards left. So instead of selling the boards to shops, I decided to put them out there. For my family and friends to buy and for them to support my decision of retiring. I signed a couple boards and sent them out to the people who made a donation.
Why did you decide to retire?
At my age and with what I do now, I don’t think I’m relevant enough to still have my name on a board. For me, it’s like showing respect to skateboarding. Plus, I explored so much of it already I’m not sure I can take the progression any further. Like all the NBD’s, it takes a lot of time and energy to figure out how to do them and even if I think there is still endless possibilities, I feel like I reached my limit already.
Just like Todd Falcon.
Haha! His tricks are different than mine, but yeah, I guess we’re just trying to explore what could be done on this four-wheeled piece of wood we call a skateboard.
50-50 transfer, 1998
You’re the only French Canadian street skater who really turned pro for a big American brand. How did it all happen?
Well, back in the mid-nineties, we had that contest in Montreal called the Ramp Rage. I was 15 or 16 I think. There were always a lot of American skaters coming to town for those contests like Kareem Campbell, Rob Dyrdek and a bunch of other guys. One year, think it was in 95 or 96, I landed all my tricks in a row and won. The next year I got second. During those years, sponsors started to hit me up, I went to Europe and Tampa to skate some contests and I guess some people liked the way I skated. I eventually got that call from World.
Who called you exactly?
Rodney Mullen is the one who called me.
That’s pretty legendary.
It was unreal. There’s actually a funny story about how it happened. I was skating for a local company called True Skateboards at the time and I guess they wanted to turn me pro or something and needed me to sign a contract with them. They were going to pay me and stuff, so I was hyped. As I was pulling out of my parent’s house driveway to go sign that contract with True, my mom ran outside yelling at me, telling me there’s someone on the phone for me. I stopped the car, ran back inside and grabbed the phone. It was Rodney Mullen calling to ask me to be on World. I didn’t see it like that back then, but today, I totally think it was an act of God. A present from him. A minute later and I was missing that call, no to mention signing a contract with another local brand.
What did you do after you got on?
I moved to California, bought a house in Long Beach. It was a little paradise with a jaccuzi and a ramp in the backyard. I also started to travel the world, got in the international contest circuit and stuff. I was skating hard and partying hard too.
Gap to lipslide, 1997
Seems like things happened really fast for you at that moment. How long did it take before you turned pro after first getting on?
Not even a year.
Your pro graphic with the hockey player was sick, did you choose it yourself or someone created it for you?
It was my idea, but it was a little different in my head. Instead of viewing the guy getting checked from the ice, I wanted it to be seen from the spectator’s side of the window. Just like if you were the spectator. They did the opposite, but I loved it anyway.
Were you still on World when you skated El Toro?
No, I was on Libtech.
Can you break down what happened when you tried the switch fs board on this monster?
To tell you the truth, I didn’t even know the spot was known or famous at that time. All I knew is that Heath Kirchart lipslid it. It had to be gnarly. Since I had a very good switch fs board at that time and did it at pretty much every rail I went to, someone told me I should go check out this 20 stairs. Went there and the rest is history. I did not make it and slammed very hard, but I stomped on it a couple times at least.
Why where you trying to do it in a line?
Because landing a trick before gave me no choice but to try the rail after. It’s like, ok, the first part of the trick is landed, now let’s take care of the other part. At first I was trying to do a switch nose blunt cab flip out on a picnic table before the rail, but it was taking too long so I decided to go for a tre flip down 5 stairs, nollie 180 up 2 stairs and switch flip up another 2 instead. The try I slammed, I knew the switch flip was bad, but I tried the rail anyway. I shouldn’t have. When I popped to get on the rail, the shitty switch flip was still messing with my concentration. I guess I went a little too slow, stuck at the top of the rail and flew down 20 stairs straight to my neck and head.
Did you go to the hospital after that?
No… It wasn’t as bad as it looks in the footage. I was hurt, sure, but last time I went to the hospital I came out of there with a 10 000$ bill, so since I seemed to be alright and still conscious, I just went home and chilled. Not too long after that, I was on a month-long demo tour through Canada with Underworld. I moved back to Canada soon after that.
Because you needed medical attention?
No, just because after 5-6 years in Cali, I started to feel homesick a little bit. You know how it is. The States are great and all, but I felt like it was time for me to go back home. I went to BC because the weather there is better than Quebec for sure. It was a good compromise for me.
Inside nose blunt slide to fakie, 1999.
Then you became pretty religious, right?
I found God only a couple years after I moved back to Canada. I was partying too much and things were not going that good for me. I moved back to Quebec for a while and that’s where I saw the light. One morning I woke up and asked myself if this was the life I wanted to live. It was like an awakening. I stopped drinking, doing drugs and smoking and started my own non-profit Called One Love Society in Saint-Jerome, QC. Before I moved back to BC, I helped a bunch of kids over there. I have been sober since 2012 and life has been good.
I heard you’re currently studying to become a Baptist pastor, what’s up with that?
Well, I’ve been doing my masters to be a Baptist pastor and I’ve been involved with the church a lot during the last couple years. I’m pretty much already a pastor. I sing and give the prayer every week. I also give inspirational talks to kids. You know, not all of us have good backgrounds and a lot of kids here are in bad situations, so with God, with skateboarding, with positivity, I’m helping less fortunate kids to avoid getting caught walking in the wrong direction.
Noseslide Nollie flip out, 1999.
So you’re also some kind of life coach now?
I’m more of a youth mentor I would say. I try to talk to kids and help them stay positive. Tomorrow, I’m giving a conference about the importance of having a passion in life. Basically, I try to influence people to be a light for other people and to have their own light shining in their hearts too. It can be skating, art, music. Your light could be whatever.
You’re back in BC, are a family man, a retired pro skateboarder, a soon to be pastor. What’s next for Dan Pageau?
I want to keep living a good life with my three kids and my wife up in BC and basically help my community as much as I can. More skateboarding, more music and a whole lot of projects with my non-profit, One Love Society. Maybe a new NBD or two, who knows.
Frontside board slide, 1996
Switch Hardflip, 2001.