Uploaded by vice on Dec 1, 2011


DAMIAN SANDERS: Life is about taking risks.
If you don't take risks, why even live?
What fun is it to walk around in a rubber world and be
afraid of everything.
You got to go out there and try to outdo people, because
then it's progression of the world.
It makes it more fun to live.
You've got to go big, and the next guy's going to try to go
bigger, and that's what it's all about.
JERRY DUGAN: Damian was one of the most comfortable people in
the air for sure, at that point, and
probably to this day.
He just had a sense about him in the air where he was just
totally comfortable up there.
DON SZABO: Damian was real influential and go, go, go,
and building jumps and having fun and getting footage and
just riding.
He would just love to ride.
TOM BURT: Damian Sanders was so much fun to watch because
he had just incredible style in the air.
Pretty much no one touched his style for years.
When the video realm came in, it was kind of like Damian was
on top of that.
KEVIN ENGLISH: There was this one shot in Snowboarders in
Exile where the camera's real low and it's looking up at
Damian, and he's just pointing up.
And that's how I felt--
that's like, that's Damian.
DAVE SEOANE: Well, the first time I saw Damian, I was
actually still in high school.
And I knew Damian from--
he lived near where I grew up in an area
called Calaveras County.
And he had a big quarter pipe at his house, which
was a half hour away.
So we'd skate.
And then the first time I saw him snowboarding was in Iron
Mountain in probably '85.
And I remember they were all riding these Avalanche
snowboards and they were kind of like really
stiff ironing boards.
And I watched Damian ride down the hill and he grabbed the
lift tower, and he grabbed it and he spun around, 360, a
couple inches off the ground.
I was like, wow, he's so good.
That guy's spectacular.
And he's got good hair.
I think he was just like the city kid who
moved to the hills.
And so he had spiky blond hair and spider web eyeliner.
So Damian learned how to fight really quick.
DAMIAN SANDERS: I was moving from San Jose, where I lived
as a city boy kid, skateboarder and stuff.
And I was young.
I was 13 years old.
And we were moving up to Bear Valley.
And I wanted to buy a Burton snowboard.
It was the only snowboard company that even existed or
that I knew about back then.
And my brother told my mom to hold off, because he was going
to make a snowboard.
He had a little woodshop going.
And sure enough, I got that snowboard-- the first one he
ever made, the first Avalanche ever, in '83.
We went up to the local mountain.
I made about six or eight turns on my first run ever,
just in the powder, just bouncing turns, and it was
flipping my lid thinking it was the
best thing ever invented.
There was a competition at Soda Springs-- the world
And this would have been about '85.
And I didn't know there was another snowboarder in the
world, let alone have a a world championship.
So I went over to that, and I remember walking around the
corner from the parking lot and I saw about 50 boards
lined up in front of this lodge.
And I about shit my pants.
I couldn't believe there was 50 other
snowboarders in the world.
And so I went into the lodge.
Everybody was all the same type of people-- these surf
rat looking guys, skaters.
Back then, if you snowboarded and somebody else snowboarded,
you were instantly friends, because there
was so few of us.
I had way more balls than brains back then, so I would
hit any jump just for people to go, holy shit, you see that
kid fly that jump?
I had a little white mohawk and I just dressed like a
little new wave fag.
So I was hitting all the jumps I could, and just to show off.
I would break my neck to show off.
And sure enough, I ended up in the hospital on that Soda
Springs competition, but it was pretty fun doing it.
MIKE MCENTIRE: Damian was one of the most ballsiest people
that's ever been involved in snowboarding
to this day, dude.
You can look back at his footage from 20 plus years
ago, and it's fully legit.
The guy was jumping off 60 foot cliffs for fun.
And I would go up riding at Squaw, and I'd just be taking
runs with my boys and look up, and there's Damian popping off
mainline going like 50 feet for the hell of it.
And you're like, damn, dude.
What's up with that guy?
He's freaking nuts.
I saw him bust out some stuff, no cameras, just gigantic.
For fun?
That's killer, man.
I love that.
That just shows what's in someone's heart.
INTERVIEWER: What do you think the silliest
snowboarding trick is?

DAMIAN SANDERS: Every trick I did last year.
When people started flipping, that was a huge deal.
The first flips ever, we were all on this little jump exit
at Donner Ski Ranch.
It was right underneath the trail lift, and it was like a
little ski jump kicker.
I think it was Steve Graham, myself--
Steve was a nut.
He would do anything anytime.
I remember trying it over and over again and doing three
quarters of a flip so many times-- just clearing my head
and smacking the snow again and again.
And then finally, one time, I came all the way around,
landed on my feet.
And I about shit myself, I'm still standing!
Rode away from it, and then, started
getting bigger and bigger.
And then I started laying them out.
And then once you can lay it out and control your spin,
then you'd sit there upside down and go, dude, I want to
pull around yet.
And then you can do it off of anything.
So I was hucking huge airs off of cliffs or huge kickers and
just stalling it out in the air and grabbing the board and
poking it and just looking at the ground.
And back then, it was so cool, because no one could do it.
Now it would be nothing, but it was cool at the time.
There was guys that could flip before I could, but nobody was
grabbing their board or anything.
I think I invented the iguana back flip and some other
things where I was trying to grab
different ways upside down.
And that was after doing flips for almost a year.
KEVIN ENGLISH: Damian, Squaw Valley, doing massive iguana
back flips.
It was ridiculous.
TODD RICHARDS: For a while, he was full grabbing wherever,
like back here.
But you couldn't even say shit, because Damian was going
10 times bigger than anybody else.
I still say that today.
If you're going 25 feet out of the half-pipe and you just
happen to just do the wackest grab, we'd be
like, oh, that's gay.
The dude's still going way bigger than you'll ever go,
and it's insane.
At some point, you're just like, who gives a shit?
STEVE GRAHAM: Damian was always my favorite rider.
I still wish he was riding now.
We'd love to ride with him.
My funnest times ever riding was back in the early days in
Tahoe, just chasing Damian.
We were just a couple idiots.
We wouldn't look at anything.
Just, oh, what do you think?
Oh, yeah--
No landing, no--
And we pulled that off for a while.
I don't know how I'm still even walking.
I was taller.
The scariest time I ever had snowboarding is really any day
we'd go riding with Damian.
Because if there's anyone I've ever met, he's going the
biggest, the highest, the fastest--
pushes you.
DAMIAN SANDERS: I'd have to say Steve Graham was probably
my favorite of all time, because he was
such a badass rider.
And he would do anything at any time, hucking off of
cliffs and stuff.
And he really pushed me.
He pushed me more than anybody ever did in snowboarding.
And we saw things different than other people did, because
we were both about the same talent caliber.
We could see how you could hit a jump and fly 80 feet over
there and land on the downhill-- something else that
nobody else could see, because it was just
out of their realm.
And I had more fun riding with him than
anybody because of that.
DAVE SEOANE: I think that Steve Graham was a total
catalyst to Damian because both those guys were out of
their minds, where I think Damian had a lot more control
of what he was doing, and Steve just went for it--
shoot first, ask questions later type of
personality back then.
And so those two together--
that's where I think the sport really got pushed with those
two guys jumping off of things and flipping off of everything
really big.
I guess that's the biggest thing I was influenced by.

KEVIN ENGLISH: For personal style, Damian was the guy,
just because he was so unique.
My hair was fully blond, Damian style faux hawk kind of
thing going.
Then I'd take the hair spray and get to go straight up.
And I'd do this before I'd ride every day.
And I'd look in the mirror, and I'd be like, yeah, Damian,
that's pretty sick.
I saw how Damian wrote his name in all capital letters.
And it was just "DAMIAN." That's all it was.
So I started signing my name that way.
I'd say he influenced me a little when I was a kid.
DAMIAN SANDERS: Getting all that popularity was so fun
back then, especially when you're young.
You're in your early 20s or late teens and everybody knows
your name and everybody's, can I get your autograph?
TODD RICHARDS: Damian was a spectacle.
In all those movies, he was the dude out back
flipping the landing--
landing with just--
be gone, he'd land out in the flats or
go bigger than anybody.
The Penthouse chick was his girlfriend, and
she was always naked.
And he was always trying to show you pictures of her
without her clothes on.
And he had stupid hair.
And he had a posse of weird dudes dressed in black that
may or may not have been women, I don't know.
It was just weirdness.
But that was Damian.
And it was just like, oh, here comes Damian.
TOM BURT: He's definitely set himself out from the crowd.
He had his Billy Idol hairdo and his headband and--
but that's just what was going on.
Neon was in at that time.
Damian was the guy you wanted in your house to have over for
dinner, because he's going to do the
dishes before he leaves.
But his image might not have shown that to the public.
DAMIAN SANDERS: Back then, snowboard
clothes barely existed.
And it was like we were wearing anything that we got
off the street that we wore to a nightclub or we would wear
leather jackets with logos on the back.
Anyways, it was pretty funny.
And anything that mixed with ski gear, because there was no
such thing as snowboard company or snowboard gear yet.
STEVE GRAHAM: I don't know.
I think Damian liked a couple of the pieces more than he
lets you on.
Like in Exile, he was wearing that one--
it was like four colors.
It was amazingly painful.
But I don't know.
It was just at that time.
'89 was just neon.
And I see it come back, like neon tie dye, you know?
And just-- oh, two things I really love.
TODD RICHARDS: We need someone like Damian in
the industry still.
Especially someone that's got that much flare
and he's out there.
But at the same time, he could get along with anyone's
grandparents as soon as they got over the fact that he had
a fricking mohawk.
He's just a nice dude.
DAMIAN SANDERS: Funny story about how Dana Nicholson, Jeff
Miles, and I met.
I was with Paul and we're on the lift and we're cruising
up, and I see these two guys in leather jackets, black
pants, and red berets.
They looked like total LA gangster-type guys.
It was so funny--
gangsters back in the day with a little bit
of fashion to them.
So they're snowboarding underneath me, and I go, look
at those guys.
Those guys are cool.
And Shaun Palmer's all, what a fag.
And then I'd snowboard up to them, and I'm, how are you
guys doing?
And they're all, hey, what's up?
And they acted like they didn't know who I was.
And so we started riding together, just because
everybody kind of was friends back then.
And come to find out, they traveled from Southern
California all the way to this resort to meet me because they
knew I rode there, and they had seen me in magazines.
And they're all, we want to ride with that guy.
That guy should be our friend.
And sure enough, I just saw them, and went,
these guys are cool.
So the rest was history.
We ended up being friends for 25 years now.
Threesome that never left each other's sides.
We traveled the world like that.
DAMIAN SANDERS: Like a little girl.
I was probably 19, 18?
No, I hadn't even learned how to drive yet.
DANA NICHOLSON: No, you were 16 right there, dude.
DAMIAN SANDERS: 16, when I learned how to drive.
DANA NICHOLSON: Look at you.
You like a fruit right there, look.
Look it.
I got--
DANA NICHOLSON: I got pink pants on, but he looks like a
fruit loop, look.
DAMIAN SANDERS: Look at that look.
Holy shit, that's Dana.
DANA NICHOLSON: Look at the factory--
DAMIAN SANDERS: 20 years ago.
Look at your color scheme.
Holy shit, dude.
DANA NICHOLSON: Somebody should have
pulled me aside and--
DAMIAN SANDERS: Look at those gloves.
What the fuck am I wearing?
Mr. Roboto over there.
Look at those things, dude.
DAMIAN SANDERS: Look at that outfit.
DANA NICHOLSON: Oh, that shit.
DAMIAN SANDERS: That's some good looking clothes.
DANA NICHOLSON: Yeah, that's solid.
Look at your little pink with the white and black.
Fucking Boy George shit.
The white shades.
DAMIAN SANDERS: We were like Wham!
This is at the first competition that I ever went
to, when I told you I went to Soda Springs--
that's from that competition.
That's my style back then--
no highbacks, just little straps holding my feet onto
these little piece of shit bindings.
DANA NICHOLSON: That's a frog suit for sure, dude.
I don't even know how we came up with this.
Well, we had racing back in the day.
Everybody thought you had to wear these
speed suits to race.
You might save a quarter of a second off of your time, like
it mattered.
DANA NICHOLSON: Did it work?
DAMIAN SANDERS: No, it never worked.
What happened is I put this on and then I had a shirt over
it, or a jacket, and then somebody took a picture of it,
and it ended up in a magazine.
And then every single time we had a photo shoot, they were
like, could you wear the green outfit?
That photographed real well.
Fuck, the green outfit again?
It's got a Donner ticket on it.
That means another photo shoot probably 15 years ago at
Donner's Ski Ranch.
So we used to have to take our shells off, because they were
hard boot shells and we'd walk around with inner liners, and
then when you got to the resort, you'd
put your shells on.
DANA NICHOLSON: But the thing is, dude, we'd ride these
fucking ironing boards, and we killed
everybody in the hard boots.
We just crushed them.
DAMIAN SANDERS: This came out--
I remember I was so pissed, because this was the first
time I had ever grabbed the board on a back flip.
And my leg blocked it.
And so I was all, fuck, nobody's going to know.
And back then, it mattered so much what your friends thought
about if you were the first guy to do a grab
back flip or something.
DANA NICHOLSON: We were rocking fucking with posters.
DAMIAN SANDERS: Fall line posters.
DAMIAN SANDERS: Oh, I was stoked when this came out.
This ad came out, and it was right across the street.
This was in Carmel or something, but they had one
right across the street where we were
hanging out at the beach.
And we'd go down to the beach, and I'd be able to go, hey,
check it out over there.
Look at that billboard.
That's me, baby.
That was back in the day.
Oh, that's some funny shit, dude, seeing this shit again.
DAMIAN SANDERS: Here's where I was trying to be a rock star
for about 10 years there.
That's the necklace I was talking about.
You could take off and cut yourself.
DANA NICHOLSON: Oh, that was your Danzig thing.
DAMIAN SANDERS: My Danzig necklace.
DANA NICHOLSON: That was your Danzig period.
God, every outfit's gayer than the last.
DANA NICHOLSON: Yeah, that paid the bills, though.
DAMIAN SANDERS: That hairdo.
There's more.
Gay, gay.
DANA NICHOLSON: Look at that.

Good and fruity-- that's perfect, huh?