By Karen Blackledge
The Danville News
DANVILLE — Justin Strubing and Patrick Duffy have skateboarded around the globe.
“Skateboarding is the best thing ever. It’s crazy to be paid to do what you love to do. I would do it regardless,” said Strubing, 37.
He and six members of the Vox Footwear Team visited Danville’s downtown Fun Box Boards to sign autographs and later put on a demonstration at Hess Recreation Area.
“It’s something you just do instead of walking. It’s an awesome mode of transportation,” said Strubing, of Los Angeles. Skateboards and Vox shoes bearing his name are carried by the Danville shop.
The oldest team member at 39, Duffy, of San Diego, has been skateboarding since he was 2. “I borrowed a neighbor’s board,” he said of his first ride.
“When I learned my first trick in 1989, I became really engulfed and couldn’t stop. It snowballed and I got good really quick and it’s all I ever wanted to do,” said Duffy, a professional skateboarder since 1993 who has demonstrated his skills throughout Asia, Africa, Europe, Central America and Australia.
Team members with them were Bryant Chapo, 24, of Albuquerque, N.M.; Drew Dezort, 28, of San Diego; Shaun Gregoire, 27, of Arizona; and Mike Nypaver, 26, of Ohio.
Dezort explained Vox footwear is specifically made for skateboarding.
He said their team finished a tour a month ago. It included San Diego, Vancouver, Montana and Colorado.
The team, which can grow to 15 members, is on an East Coast tour which started in Virginia Beach and heads to New York, Massachusetts and onto Maine.
“Most of us are street skaters,” Gregoire said of team members asked by Vox to join. “They saw my work on a video,” said the team member of three years.
A member since February, Nypaver said they call him “the wild man” of the team. He said some members are paid through products or per diem with some having other jobs. He also teaches outdoor education.
A skateboarder since he was 12, he said he “saw people skateboarding and thought it was the funnest thing to go fast and be creative and do weird things with a board that didn’t seem possible.”
“We’re all pretty impressed with Danville’s skate park,” he said.
While it was the team’s first time in Danville, Duffy said he taught at Woodward, Pa., several years ago. Duffy has had his name on about 200 different skateboards since 1992. “They come out about every two months,” said Duffy, a Vox team member for five years.
Strubing’s boards with his name on total more than 100, including the Santa Cruz 40th anniversary board. A team member since 2006, he has been skateboarding since he was 9.
He and Duffy, who also have their names on Vox shoes, signed skateboards with their names on, including those of Alex Erb and Zack Baylor, both of Danville.
“Skateboarding is good for a lot of reasons — it keeps kids out of trouble, teaches discipline, is good exercise, keeps you in shape and teaches you to never give up because you’re going to fall down and get back up and do it again. It’s a very free-flowing, individualized sport,” Duffy said.
During the autographing, Fun Box Boards was packed with visitors and just enough room for shop mascot Nollie, a yellow Lab, to move around.
“Vox chose us as a destination. We are a big supporter of them,” said Mario Tulino, who owns the shop with his wife, Lisa.
Having such celebrities in the skateboard world here brings notoriety to the business, Lisa said. “It solidifies who we are and is their way of saying thanks,” she said.