Matthew Derrick aka Matt D is a staple in the San Francisco skateboard scene. If you've ever made your way up Market Street and popped into DLXSF for a sheet of grip or to burn a few hours watching the latest skate videos, you have undoubtedly met Matt D and most likely have gotten into a deep discussion about skateboarding with him. Matt is an encyclopedia on skate history and his giddy childlike passion for all things skateboarding seems to grow by the day. Unlike many a jaded shop owner, Matt has always been cool as a cucumber to everyone that has entered. As someone who had the pleasure of working alongside him, I'm not sure I ever heard a bad word or sentiment come out of his mouth towards another skateboarder or human (which is unbelievably rare for a skater). As a fixture in Deluxe Distribution's flagship store, Matt has proudly championed the brand as its number one advocate. If you don't believe me, pop into the shop and let Matt promptly tell you everything there is to know about Deluxe, then he'll most likely tell you everything there is know about skateboarding.
How did you discover skateboarding?
The deepest seed would be the episode of C*H*i*P*s where they skate Skatercross in Reseda. I didn’t really know what I was seeing, but carving through a snake run looked like so much fun. Then Back To The Future, like the rest of my generation. It took a few years to find a board to borrow, and seeing my first skate mags was a mindblower. Eventually worked and saved enough to buy a Per Welinder street shape (didn’t know at the time he did a few stunts as Marty McFly), then some lightly used trucks and wheels from Jeremy Fish.
What brought you to SF and what year was that?
My first trip to SF (that counts; technically I was in SF for a little over an hour on an impromptu road trip) was specifically to go to DLX! I was living in Portland, OR; either ’98 or ’99 Jeremy Fish called me. “Hey Matt D – I know SF isn’t exactly close to Portland, but you are my only childhood friend on this coast; I’m having an art show/window display at the DLX shop, and if there’s any way you could make it that would be rad”. “Are you kidding?!? You’re showing your art at THE Deluxe shop?!? In SF?!? Of course I’ll be there; that’s amazing!!” I had no money to do so really, but also had no real responsibilities back then, so I scraped together a train ticket and checked it out. His show was rad, then we crushed karaoke up the hill at The Mint. Incredible weekend and I was hooked. Definitely did not expect to have keys to the shop a couple years later! The seed was planted on that visit; I knew this was where I wanted to be. The deep skate history, the music and art scenes/history, the food, the general commitment to social freedom, and the shocking beauty of the place…scraped together barely enough for a first/last/deposit on a place for way too much money (in the East Bay first; Dot Com Boom#1 was in full effect). 2 jobs, 60ish hrs a week, but I was here and it was amazing.
When you got to SF what was the scene like? What spots and pros were poppin?
So I moved to Albany (CA) June 2000, and moved to SF one year later (shout out to the Fillmore House). East Bay year I was working my ass off, but we had regular night sessions at Dublin or San Ramon parks (they had lights), and the Marin St wallride was close to one of my jobs. Was super stoked to pass the “Ron Allen gap” on my way to work. Would BART in to SF and link up with Fish, gradually getting more comfortable on the hills. I was stoked to hit the classics: BART banks, Ft Miley, EMB, Pier 7. Internet existed, but was obviously nowhere near as omnipresent as it is now, so Thrasher, Transworld, and whatever was playing at 510 or DLX was the “content” of the time, and just meeting amazing creative rippers who had come here from all over the world for the same basic reasons.
How did you end up working at Deluxe?
Like almost any opportunity, it’s all about timing and connections. Jeremy Newhouse was leaving to tour with his band, which bumped Dennis Fougere up to manager and left a vacancy for Assistant Manager. I knew Dennis via Fish, and had the right combo of retail / customer service excellence and deep skate nerdery necessary to take it to another level.
For most people FTC is the most well known shop in SF, but DLXSF has been holding it down for decades in the city and yet the shop has remained relatively unknown. Why do you think that is?
Well, they do have a 7-8 yr head start on us, and are obviously legends in the skateshop world (and let’s say it: pound for pound, the best “shop videos” ever). But also: we are in an interesting role as a retail skateshop, but also part of Deluxe Distribution. We do our thing, but also maintain solid relations with our skateshop peers, including our nearby neighbors. Homies, not “competition”. We do our best, but aren’t out for global domination (yet).
Skate shops are notorious for being the hubs of the skate community. DLXSF is certainly a hub for the local SF skate scene. Do you feel that this has changed at all seeing how people can order their products online now?
Overall online definitely has changed things, but we still see people wanting a physical, “real life” shop experience. Can’t feel concave online, or choose a top sheet color, or see how Rowan’s new shoe fits. Our location is fairly prime for meeting up to skate in The City: close to downtown, close to the Mission, SOMA park is 453 yards away…and after we buy the new TV, we’ll have more video premieres – can’t really do those online (Zoom is not the same).
What have been the biggest changes you've seen from behind the counter over the years? In terms of skater sentiment, purchasing habits, attitudes towards shops, etc?
After almost 19 years(!) behind the counter, I’d say overall people are the same – nice ones and jerks, cool kids and spoiled brats, and so many freaks (the good kind and the bad kind). There’s certainly been change though – skateboarding continues to grow, and not only do kids start younger and younger, but people continue skating into progressively older years. Most of the guys I looked up to when I started skating are still doing it at a high level – look at Lance and Tony! Buying-wise: way more cruiser/commuter boards than when I started at the shop (even after the onslaught of motor/battery/remote/electric shenanigans). With the internet, people are able to do more research, which is great in theory, but sometimes challenging when somebody is aggressively convinced of something that is just not true…can be amusing though. Most exciting is probably how many different types of people are skating these days! Way more girls/women, and folks in general from all ages, and all walks of life.
The city has changed immensely from being a cultural and artistic center to overrun by massive tech companies thus pushing up the rents (some of the highest in the nation) and forcing locals out through gentrification. How has this affected the skate scene? Does the skate pad with 8 dudes sharing rent still exist? Can it exist?
It has definitely gotten outrageously expensive, but there’s definitely tons of rad-ness here still for sure. The skate scene is super strong! Still skate houses full of 8 dudes; they’re just paying $600/month each instead of $100…prices are high, but there’s also a lot of ways to make money here too. If you want it badly enough, you can make it happen.
You've seen many different eras and crews come and go throughout the years. Any eras stand out to you as your favorite(s)?
Oh man; I could never play favorites! Not enough room to shout out everybody; I will just say that it has been my distinct pleasure to share time with such wonderful people, and I am so proud watching them all become such amazing adults. Proud parents, amazing artists, incredible musicians, and certainly kick-ass skateboarders! (You just meant at the shop, yeah? Otherwise, the answer is the Silly Pink Bunnies, obviously)
What's one of your most memorable moments from the shop?
Once again, hard to choose out of almost 19 years of rad-ness, but a couple off the top of my head: live shows in store: Boogereater and Hightower, so many video premieres, The “The Jerk” party for Frank Gerwer’s pro shoe (complete with Pizza In A Cup!), the Odd Future popup was insanity, Hosoi’s book release party (and specifically watching old contest runs of his with live commentary), Todd Francis’s book release (when the pigeon first graced our front), and while it wasn’t at the shop, our 20th anniversary rock show with Motorhome, Free Beer, Mc Rad, and Drunk Injuns was definitely a Life Hammer.
What do you envision the future of DLXSF to look like given the current economic landscape?
Good question…up until Covid-19 sequestered us all, we had been crushing it; skateboarding has been so strong. This freeze is challenging for sure, especially since we don’t sell online. But skateboarding is stronger than ever - we’ll use this break to assess, re-evaluate things, make some new plans, and come back ready to kill it even harder!
How can we continue to support DLXSF and in general where can everyone learn more about the shop?
For the time being, we have no online sales and are unable to do local pickup even. Have some potential things in the works with the good folks at Vans that could prove exciting…stay tuned to our social media (@dlxsf on Instagram /@dlxskateshop/ Twitter @dlx.skateshop on Facebook) and keep buying Deluxe products from your local skateshop! (Also go follow Matt Here @MDSPB)
If you could have a skate sesh with one skater dead or alive who would it be and what spot would you skate?
I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with Mark Gonzales many times now (which remains insane to me), but have never rolled with him; an afternoon pushing through Manhattan would probably be a terrifying treat (I fear cars). A few more real quick: downhill driveways with TG, Cherry Hill with Mike V (even though not “period accurate”), and Sadlands with Blender. Ooh, and Skatercross with Shreddi Repas!
Thanks Matt D... Congrats Matt on making your way towards 20 years with Deluxe - you're a national treasure!