Hopps Welcomes Mark Del Negro
Where did you start skating?
Is that where you're living now?
Yeah I'm still in Delaware.
Oh, that's rad you're still holding it down. Well, Delaware sits between Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington DC. What's the scene like there?
Skating has grown a lot ever since Wilmington got it's own DIY spot and Newark has a couple skate parks. I see more kids skating downtown each summer, which is sick. The spots we do have are good but they can be a bust so a lot of the time we are searching for new things to skate. Most of the time the best ones we come up on are in the areas where skating wouldn't slide too well.
It seems like you tend to have footage from all around the world….Philly, NYC, China. Is there a certain crew you tend to roll with or is your squad pretty varied?
If I'm in china I'm filming with Tommy Zhoa or Stephen Khou. Which is the Helas crew. If I'm in Philly or NYC its usually Chris Mulhern or Jake Todd.[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="800.0"] Mark back smith grinds in China / Photo by Florian Lanni [/caption]
Where would you say has been your favorite city or spot to skate?
R√©publique in Paris. It was tricky to get used to the smaller tiles and the ledges, but once you skate it for a little bit its the best.
What kinds of skaters or scenes did you grow up being stoked on? And what do you think influenced your taste?
Fairman's was the shop I'd go to because my Dad knew about it from working around there, so at that time I liked Bam Margera, Mike Maldonado, and Kerry Getz. During those days I would see them all the time at the skate parks and be super hyped.
I'm always curious about this….for my generation, growing up on the east coast, I looked to the Eastern Exposure III scene as kind of my main inspiration. You're a full generation younger but you grew up right in the middle of the east coast bubble. What scene/city/videos did you most identify with and look up to?
Anything out of Philly and New York. I always enjoyed EST and Statics coming up because my older friends would watch them on repeat at the shop. Plus growing up around Brannon John and seeing him in those kind of videos would get me hyped. I'd say Photosynthesis was my main inspiration once that came out. That made me change up my skating and how i looked at it. Also liked Chocolate, Girl, and Lakai videos a lot then too.[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1176.0"] Kickflip in China / Photo by Florian Lanni [/caption]
When did you first start getting hooked up from Hopps? And how did that happen?
I just got back from LA and was working at Kinetic (skate shop). My friend Rob Williams who runs Pusher Wheels was the rep for Hopps as well and he stopped in the shop the day I received a link to my footage. We watched it and he liked it. From there he asked if I was riding for anyone, but i was just skating. So he forwarded it to Jahmal and thats where it all begun.
With you living about 3 hours away from NYC, where the majority of the Hopps dudes live, has it been hard to skate with them very often?
Yes, it has been. Usually if I'm in the city its pretty random so it doesn't always work out being everyone is on different schedules. Its been a little better lately with HOV sessions and being able to come up more.
You skate the Municipal Building, in Philly, quite a bit in your new Hopps piece. Would you say that spot has become sort of the new Love Park?
Only because Love Park is gone. Love park was way better with the amount of lines there were possible and different areas to skate. I enjoy Muni as well but it definitely doesn't offer as much.
I've heard a lot of stories about that spot, have you seen anything crazy go down since you've been skating there?
All of Philadelphia is pretty insane. I saw a homeless lady piss off the stage at muni in broad daylight. You always have people tweaking out and bums being shady. Never seen anything too crazy go down, just little things here and there. Its the middle of the city so of course you get all types of people. Those kinds of people keep it entertaining though.
Yeah, I was there last weekend and saw a dude steal a gold chain right off a skaters neck and in seconds the skaters swarmed and were beating the shit out of him. That place is nuts.
I've heard you have a pretty heavy full time job…..how has that affected your skating/filming?
Not being able to skate as much, you feel it when the weekend rolls around. I try and get on my board as much as possible once I'm done working so I don't get too rusty. At the same time though, I don't always want to skate or film. It all depends on the week and how I'm feeling. Its good to take a break here and there.
Probably one of the most important things for a sponsored skater is having a good filmer at his disposal. Who do you typically film with?
I've been going to Philly a bunch and filming with Mulhern. If he's busy I try and link up with Jake Todd. He's always down to go out. Also my friend John Handy who lives near me sometimes films so thats always good when nobody wants to come to Wilmington.[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1433.0"] Filming the Hopps piece with Chris Mulhern / Photo by Tony Lopez [/caption]
So, how's it feel to be a part of the Hopps crew?
Once I saw the brand and what they were about I wanted to be a part of it. The graphics and the videos they made were always sick. Meeting all the dudes throughout the years everyone was super cool and it was easy to skate with them. It never felt forced. Very hyped to be joining the crew.
And what can you tell us about this new video piece we're about to watch?
Rolling up to the city and skating with my friends is how this piece happened. Ideas were thrown around then one finally stuck and here it is. Working with Chris and Jake is always easy so for something to come out of us meeting up so much is awesome. Thank you everyone for the help and support in making this happen.