Life after professional skateboarding isn’t a breeze for anyone. True, some have the forethought to have a backup plan while others are lucky enough to transition straight into an emerging market, but most former pros don’t have a plethora of options.
With his catalog of video parts, contest wins and CKY cameos in the late ’90s, Getz cemented his status as an east coast legend and, unlike most pros, virtually guaranteed himself an extensive career without having to leave his beloved Philadelphia. After fading out of the limelight in the early 2010’s to focus on Nocturnal Skateshop, Getz recently jumped back into the fire and took the reins at DVS to propel his longtime shoe sponsor into the future. While it’s no easy feat to get DVS back to where it once was, this move is akin to Kerry’s long history of doing things his way. It’s worked out for him in the past, so it’s hard to hold doubts against Kerry’s aggressive will and ability as one of skateboarding’s greats.
After hearing of his newly appointed TM position at DVS, we decided to catch up with Kerry about all things involved with the tedious task of taking care of grown men and maneuvering the tides over at DVS.
Before being approached by DVS, what were you up to on a day-to-day basis? Were you working on any projects?
No, I didn’t have anything going on. I was just a stay-at-home dad. My wife and I took in three of our nieces and nephews before having our first child, so we went from zero to four kids really quick. I pretty much had to drop everything in my life and focus on being there for these children. That’s what my day-to-day has been for the last three or four years now.
I heard you were doing physical therapy. During your day-to-day duties, are you still on the board at all?
I just went to my second physical therapy session yesterday, and it’s already helping. I’ve got a bunch of stretches I have to do at home, three times a day, and I’m definitely on track. I’ve been living with this back pain for two years and this last year’s been brutal. It’s been keeping me from being able to live my day-to-day life, and I was hardly able to skate. I want to be healthy, I’m so bummed on not being able to skate and feel normal and even lift stuff and do things around the house. I’d be in so much pain just cleaning the house. I’m trying to be healthy and just get back on my board and get back to a normal life.
Nice to hear, hopefully you’ll be on the board sooner than later. So going back to your new TM duties, how were you approached by DVS?
I pretty much was reaching out to them, sending them emails of Instagram posts I would post about my shoe, throwback pictures of it, talk about it with kids, and I would always get well over a hundred comments when I posted anything about my shoe. People would say, “you should bring that back!”, so I would just toss it over to DVS and let them know I was getting great feedback — “I’m not sure if you guys are interested, but I would love to bring this shoe back, size it down a little bit, make a few changes I wanted to make when it dropped in 2000”. It took a few months, but Paul Shier (the team manager at the time) had left to go to Adidas, and they were all throwing the idea back and forth about releasing my shoe, and they approached me to do the team manager job. That’s how it all came about. They contacted me, reached out to me, like “We want to do this whole re-release for your shoe, but, on the side, how would you feel about taking on the team manager position?”
Oh wow, so it just snowballed organically then. You’re on the DVS team page right now, are you also going to be in a “legends” type category on there?
I think so. I told them that there’s not much I can do aside from park and ramp stuff, but with all the injuries and — I’m going to be 41 soon, I barely get time to skate, I don’t have a Berrics right up the street from my house, I don’t have a TF, I don’t have an indoor park, so it’s so tough to stay on point out here. I’ve had a back injury for two years, and I had knee surgery three years ago. I haven’t been on my board enough to feel comfortable kickflipping four stairs. I’m there as a legend on the team, and to re-release my shoe. DVS has been a part of my life, and I’ve been such a part of theirs, I feel like they just wanted to reach out and it’d be a perfect relationship to bring me back.
Considering your history with the brand, is the transition from Pro to Team Manager bitter at all for you or do you feel like nothing’s really changed?
You know, I never wanted to do it. I always saw team managers dealing with so much shit, and dealing with skaters, and I never wanted to be in that position, like, driving the van. I kinda let them know that’s not the position I wanted to be in, traveling, because I just don’t have the time. Maybe things will change in a couple of years, but as of right now, I just can’t. I always told myself I would never, ever step in that position, but with DVS, it’s kind of a little bit different. My role is a little different than I would imagine being a team manager, and I feel comfortable doing it. I’m stoked to be able to come on board and talk to the owners and feel them out, where they want to be with a team. A lot of people left the team already, we heard about Daewon being in the Adidas video- so here I am, I take control of the team and one of the biggest dudes on the team kinda went his separate way. I’m in a weird position to rebuild a squad. Everybody’s got to be on the same page, in terms of putting people on. There are so many amazing skaters out there, you have to be picky of who to choose to expand the brand.
With so many talented, unpurposed skateboarders floating around without shoe sponsors, and with the DVS team looking a little light, what kind of qualities are you looking for in your ideal team rider/roster?
With me, I can’t stand how picky skateboarders are and how they pick people apart because of their shoes or their shirt and shit like that. There are little flaws about certain people, but if you promote them the right way and steer them in the right direction, their clothes shouldn’t fucking matter. I’m really trying to just zone in on incredible skaters with a good work ethic — dudes who want to skate everyday and get great content for the brand and film nonstop, like how I was. Every single day, I was out making sure I got content. Once I couldn’t do that anymore, I kinda fizzled out. I just want workhorses, and well-rounded skaters who can skate a park, a mini ramp, a bowl, a little of everything. I’m just looking to build a team of well-rounded skaters.
We all know that DVS isn’t the hottest skate shoe company right now. Did you have any reservations about jumping back on considering how things fell apart previously?
Eh, kind of. I’m going to be giving input on shoes and stuff like that — colorways and whatnot. I don’t know, we’re in a tough position. I’m trying to learn the job, learn the team, learn everything that’s going on, and try to figure out where we could be two to three years from now. So many brands are sponsoring so many fucking people, and kids can’t even relate to their brand, because they don’t even know who the fuck rides for their company. It’s like, 40 or 50 people are on the fucking team, and so many are flowed, it’s like — God, man, who is your team? Back in the day, when I rode for a company, you knew exactly who the eight to ten dudes were on that team and that was that. You could relate with Plan B, or every company. Now, it’s just a clusterfuck. I’m just trying to really focus on eight or nine guys, exclusively, and really push them and have the brand market those guys, and not get too lost with all the fucking guys on the team.
Are you going to put Kyle Nicholson on?
Yes, Kyle Nicholson is definitely on DVS. No one gives him a chance, because of stupid shit, and I don’t like that. I think he has a chance, and every east coast skateboarder knows how amazing he is. Every east coast shop knows that guy rips. He’s incredible, any time he goes anywhere he just fucking kills it. That’s the type of skaters I’m looking to put on the team. Wherever they go, they leave their presence, a mark at the park — like, “damn, Kyle showed up and he killed it.”
Other than the team, what have been your top initiatives in changing things up for DVS?
I haven’t really been in that position just yet, it’s still so new to me. Like I said, I’m just trying to build a good team of eight to nine guys right now, and we’ll take the next step from there of what to do. It’s just too early, and like I said, I kind of separated myself from skating for a few years. I got aggravated with it, and I needed to take a break from it. It was all just a mess. I want to stay behind the curtains and do our own thing and have fun with it, and if anyone doesn’t like that, they can go fuck themselves.
Even though you’re not in charge of design, have you seen anything eye-catching in the new catalog?
I’ve seen a lot of the shoes and stuff like that, and I’m stoked on a lot of the things that they’re doing. We’re definitely going to add some shoes to the brand that hit home runs in the early 2000’s, and modify them to fit in to shoes today. We have some ideas, but like I said, it’s so fresh and new to me, and I’ve really only worked with the brand for over a month.
Fallen Footwear recently announced that they’ll have to bow out. With that in mind, how do you foresee DVS’ role in skate footwear given its current state? It looks like all skater-owned brands are having a hard time these days…
Yeah, that’s tough. That scares me with any of the core brands. It’s a scary thing when you see Fallen going down, because they were such a huge part of skating. I can’t speak for Jamie or his situation, but I’m so new and fresh to this job that I don’t have answers for a lot of things. All I can say is I was brought on board and these dudes told me, “let’s have fun with this, let’s not take it too seriously.” It is super hard to compete with what’s going on in skating right now, so we just want to do our thing and build a team that everyone can relate to, and that everybody knows are raw and killing it on DVS. I just want to take some steps back and go back into the 90’s and early 2000’s feel and just do our thing the best we can.
How do you think DVS can compete against the current big brands in footwear?
I mean, that’s hard to say. I can’t even really answer that. How do you compete with a company who’s flow budget is beyond what our entire company is worth? I don’t want to compete against them. They can do their own thing, and come in and flow 400 people if they want. Competing isn’t an option. We’re just going to stay focused on what we want to do.
Being a shop owner puts you in the streets and gives you a clear look into what consumers are looking for, an advantage plenty of team managers would kill for right now. How has the Philly scene reacted to your remarriage to DVS?
Everybody’s super pumped. Everyone I’ve been talking to through social media is stoked that they gave me the opportunity to do it being on the east coast and whatnot, so we’re stoked. I’m just going to go in, put some rad dudes on the team, and do some fun things. I’m going to let these dudes shine, let them have a chance to have fun and make some money and be able to skate everyday. I’ve heard nothing but great feedback from everybody that I’m in this position. And everybody is so stoked that I put Kyle on. The owners love Kyle.
Speaking of previous sponsors, how did your long term relationship with Habitat fall apart, and was there any bad blood as a result?
I guess it was the transfer to Tum Yeto. I don’t know the whole deal, but I know I was probably the oldest and most washed-up dude on the team, so who do you kick off — the dudes skating and doing rad things and still getting photos, or the dude who’s always hurt and can’t skate? They always said they’d keep me on board and give me a board, but it just felt like I needed to go my separate way.
I’m riding for this company called Terror of Planet X. It’s out of Delaware from a friend of mine. He started it about two years ago, and it’s going pretty damn strong. He does rad collaborations with artists all over the place — for example, Stan Lee, the creator of Spiderman. He’s doing awesome things, and I saw that out of the gate that his brand was doing things differently, and he was so professional with how he was going about building the company. He wanted to do a guest board, and I said “look, I’m not riding for Habitat anymore, I want to ride for this company and support it and back it on my end”, because I think what he’s doing is incredible. There are so many small brands and so many companies starting, but there was something about how seriously he took stains, graphics, everything. He’s a fucking workhorse, and I like that. I like people who have a vision and work their asses off and don’t let anything get in their way.
Congrats on all the success Kerry, it sounds like things are lining better than ever. But before letting you go, can you tell us one of your favorite Fred Gall stories?
Oh man, I’m trying to think of something that’s not too dirty. Okay, this one’s not crazy, but we flew into Hong Kong, and we’re running through what’s basically the Vegas of Hong Kong, and Freddy and I are just walking the streets at three, four in the morning with forties in our hands, popping in and out of casinos all night, going through watch stores that are open at three in the morning, Rolexes everywhere, walking down the middle of the street with no cars in the road. That’s a really cool memory of me and Freddy because he wasn’t too out of control, we were both just having fun together, drinking some brews, and having a great time. That’s probably my favorite memory of Freddy — just feeling that we were cool friends. That’s my favorite moment with Fred.