Dave Bachinsky is from Lowell, Massachusetts and grew up skating with his best friend Manny Santiago. Since 2013, he’s been watching Manny skate SLS and waiting for his opportunity to make it in. He came close at the Pro Open in 2016, but was officially able to seal the deal at this year’s Tampa Pro by being the highest ranking non-SLS Pro in the contest. We caught up with Dave to get the lowdown on his Tampa experience and how he feels now that he’s officially a part of SLS. We’re definitely looking forward to seeing what he brings to the table in the 2017 season.
You’re from Lowell, MA and grew up skating with Manny Santiago. He’s been in SLS for a few years now. What’s it like to join your good friend on the contest circuit?
I think it’s going to be amazing to just get up there on the course, run wild, and skate as much as we can. Over the last four years, watching Manny skate the contest with all the friends that are in SLS—I’m just super hyped to get up there and skate with them. I’m just ready to get on the course and have the best time. It’s pretty amazing.
You had an incredible weekend in Tampa. What were you thinking going in? Were you just on a mission?
Yeah, it’s been two years of really trying to get into SLS. Having those contests come along every so often where you have the opportunity to make it in—I really try my hardest. Flying down to Florida is always a thing for me because I lived down there for like seven years. It’s cool to get back into the vibe. Waking up in the morning and pushing down to the park, just getting back into that little ritual. Skating down the road in Tampa and seeing seashells on the side of the road, it reminds me of when I was living down there and just gets me hyped for the day of skating. I get down there and skate until I can’t move. I’m always stoked to be back in Tampa and make the most of it.
How did it feel making it through the Qualifiers and into the Final? Were you nervous?
It was pretty wild. I remember doing my first run and they were like, “Yeah, that’s not gonna cut it.” It was like a 70 and you needed like an 83 or 84 to get in. I was like, “Damn, I really gotta step it up.” With the Skatelite being all slippery, I ended up wiping my wheels off on the wall to get rid of all of the gunk. As a kid growing up, I listened to a lot of Talking Heads. I had written “Once in a Lifetime” on my grip just like I did when I was a kid. I saw that and thought, “Make this one count.” I had been practicing all day and it worked out. Of course, the kid before me just did a flawless run and it was unbelievable. The crowd was just screaming. I was like, “Alright, I gotta kick it into gear and make it happen.” It just lined up and worked out.
You skated the Pro Open in Barcelona last year. How was that experience?
I did skate Barcelona last year. I was super hyped to get out there and skate. I really tried to make it and just missed making it into the Final by one spot. So yeah, I’m hyped to make it in this year.
Is there anything that you do to prepare for contests?
Yeah, I built a little backyard dojo set-up. I get the legs going in the morning on my little quarterpipe—just trying to figure out new tricks. I’ll go to Manny’s and skate his TF and stuff like that. I flew into Tampa like four or five days before the contest and got my body used to that time zone and just practicing skating. So I had a couple of days before just to figure out a line on the course. Every park is so different. I grew up in New England. In the winter, all we had was indoor skateparks with Skatelite. Then coming to California, it’s all concrete. So you have to get used to the slickness of it. It was nice to get in early and practice like that.
How do you determine what to try in a contest? You’ve gotta go for stuff that you can make, but you’ve also got to get the points. How do you balance that?
It’s definitely interesting. For the first two days, I figured out a run. I looked at the overviews and planned it out—what I was going to hit. I was staying on one side of the park. So I really tried to revise that and make it so I would skate the whole park from left to right. SPoT has a lot of transition, flat bars, and rails. So I made the most from working from one side of the park to the other. And I tried to use the lines that I already had dialed in my mind—which was the rail, skating the ledge, then hitting the hip.
Which SLS skaters stand out the most to you? Now that you’re in the contest, you will be skating against all of these guys.
It’s funny. All of the dudes SLS are friends. They’re all great people and so diverse. Evan (Smith) is a real crowd pleaser doing wild stuff. Joslin is just going huge. Luan has style for days. And then Cody McEntire, he can skate everything. That’s what I love. He can do the rail, the quarterpipe, get tech on the ledge—he can do it all.
What are you looking forward to the most about skating SLS this year?
I’m so happy to be up there with the boys after two years of really trying. And just getting out there and skating with everyone. That was my goal. I just watch my best friend be in there for three years. The fact that I get to stand on the same course with everyone and run wild is amazing. I’m so hyped to get in and go skate.