Dave Appel is a stand-up dude of the highest caliber.Â He has a car that goes really fast, a father that looks like he should be in charge of the entire western Navy fleet, and he’s also an award-winning snowboard designer who has done work for Rome and Forum.Â We share a birthday, but apparently, this isn’t about me. Some people call him Hollywood, but most simply call him Dave.Â He has his finger on the pulse of Orange County, while at the same time being a mellow everyman.Â But none of this is why YoBeat is interviewing him. Dave recently parted ways with his employer, The Program, and well in this economy, that’s news.
Timbro: So, word on the street is that you need a job…
Dave Appel:Â You never see it coming, that’s for sure.Â I came in to work October 16th, and the new GM called me into the office and said, “we are moving Forum Hardgoods to Vermont, and today is your last day.Â The HR lady is here to walk you through your exit papers.”Â He got up and left the office before I could even say a word.
Timbro:Â Woah…that’s how you got let go?
Dave:Â Yep, it took longer for me to type that than it took for the whole situation to go down.
Timbro:Â What did you do there?
Dave:Â Well, it was a lean operation over at The Program.Â We all did a lot and wore many hats. I was the Forum Snowboard product manager, plus I engineered all the boards and dealt with the overseas factories on a daily level.Â I developed the board line from year to year and worked with all the riders to ensure that they rode exactly what they wanted and needed. I guess that is the general overview.
Timbro:Â That’s some pretty high level stuff right there.Â So obviously you were the product of our current economic downturn. The economy is in the shitter, unemployment is way up, and nobody can afford to do anything ever.Â In your opinion, how has this affected the snowboard industry at large?
Dave:Â Well first off, I live in a bubble if you will.Â Down here in Southern California, it appears that the weather affects the snowboard industry more than the economy.Â With my recent found free time, I have spent a lot of time snowboarding up in Mammoth Lakes, CA.Â The economy does not appear to be suffering up there.Â Also, I just read that Mt. High in Wrightwood, CA reported sales up 40% for the holiday period compared to last year.Â It should be noted that Southern California got over 4 feet of snow right before Christmas.Â I’ve also been in in the area, and they were killing it.Â Of course there was a slow start, but once it started snowing, people were buying.Â It’s a tough formula to figure out.Â Obviously there are people in financial hardships right now, I’m one of them with my recent termination.Â However, there are a lot of people that have not spent beyond their means, and they are weathering the storm.Â I’m speaking about individuals as well as companies.Â The companies that are small and growing steadily and are not greedy with rapid growth are still doing ok. As far as your question of being a product of the economic downturn, and I don’t think that was the case at all.
Timbro:Â Oh…juicy.Â Do tell.
Dave:Â “For the record”…I don’t think I was a product of the economic downturn at all.Â I was a product of piss-poor management.Â When I started at Forum, snowboards made up less than 50% of the hardgoods department and when I left, it made up 67%, not too mention my category had the highest grossing margin at The Program. Also, for the first time in Forum’s history, they won 4 Goodwood awards, 2 years in a row while I was there. In regards to the way the boards ride and hold up, I was a one-man show. The graphics of course were done by the artists we all know and love. So, “They” “downsized” and relocated my department from one person (me) to a team of 8 people. It was complete and utter bullshit. Basically I did it my way. I didn’t follow the “Process.” I was not comfortable with f’ing factories over to increase my profit margin. I didn’t have to. Forum was making money and the factories were making money. I think the factories would agree that we had a great working relationship. Bottom line is, some Martial Arts enthusiast got placed as a scapegoat at The Program. In the midst of all of the Directors quitting, he decided to reduce some overhead, so I got the ax, once the 2010 board line was done (credit farmer). I’m bummed that I don’t get to design snowboards anymore, but I never compromised my values and I get to look my face in the mirror every morning and smile.Â Not to mention, you wouldn’t believe the amount of days you get to go snowboarding once you get axed from the world’s largest snowboard company. It’s awesome! As I mentioned before the West Coast has been getting it’s fair share of snow, and I have been riding a lot of powder.Â Which, to quote my favorite Forum rider Jake Bauvelt, “That’s what it’s all about.”
Timbro:Â Yes!Â I’m so sick of people beating around the bush.Â You just dropped some science right there. Ok then…what do you do from here? Most people say that “higher-ups” in snowboard companies can never readjust to the non-bro sector.Â Any thoughts on that?
Dave: Are you considering me a “higher up?”
Timbro:Â Hey…I’m asking the questions here! Yes…yes I am.
Dave:Â Oh, in that case, well…I never really thought of myself as a higher up. But to answer your question, it’s really simple.Â I’m currently doing this interview, so all the bros will be reading it, and if some people don’t like what I’m saying, then, I wouldn’t want to work for them.Â On the flipside, I have a mechanical engineering degree, and I can function just fine in the non-bro sector, I’ve done it before (you all enjoy box wine and nacho cheese sauce don’t you?)Â It’s actually not that bad.Â Basically there are people that can make decisions and those that can’t.Â Fortunately, I can, and if there is a snowboard company out there that wants to hire me, great. I love making snowboards.Â Â I love snowboarding and it will be a major part of my life forever no matter what my job is.
Timbro:Â Ok…now that we know about Dave Chapelle the employee, let’s talk about Dave Attel the man. I really like your father.Â How does that make you feel?
Dave:Â It’s where I get all my confidence from.Â My father is awesome, he’s my biggest influence in life.Â Without him knowing it, his actions are punk rock and true.Â That, is character and attitude.
Timbro:Â Heck yes.Â As a follow up, I want to get in his golf tourney this year.Â Tell him I shot an 84 last summer, and I’ll bring plenty of hot ladies.
Dave:Â You are always welcome to my Dad’s golf tourney.Â In fact everybody is.Â The one bummer is that it falls on the same weekend as the West Coast Invitational in Mammoth.Â I’m trying to get Oren to change the contest date.Â My Dad’s tourney came first.Â Plus, a lot of snowboarders play golf as well, and they should be able to do both.
THE CAPTAIN. GTMO 1957.
Timbro: This one time when I was hanging out with you, we were walking around Government Camp, and all these pro dudes (Kier Dillon, Jussi Oksanen, etc) were stopping to chat you up.Â Did you pay them to do that? I thought that was pretty cool.Â I don’t really know any “celebrities.”Â I met Bob Villa once on Newbury St. in Boston.Â He was such a dick.Â Honestly, I want everybody to know that.Â Bob Villa is a complete cock hole.
Dave:Â I don’t pay anybody, I’m broke.Â I guess when you are involved in snowboarding for a long time, you see a lot of the same people, it’s a small industry if you will.Â Since we’re on the subject of pro dudes though, I mentioned before that I worked with pro riders to design exactly what they want and need.Â Honestly, that was the best part of my job.Â To work with those dudes is such an honor and amazing.Â I hope on some level, the last thing they are thinking of is their snowboard when they are standing up on some cliff or drop-in ramp ready to hit some potentially life-ending feature.Â Government Camp in the summertime is the best place ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Â I love that place.Â Snowboarding, lakes, skating, six-packs of tall boys at the bar, huckleberry shakes, do I need to continue?Â If I could afford a “Summer Home” it would be there.Â By the way, HCSC does an awesome job making it FUN!Â That is not a plug, they actually kicked me out of their park last year because Forum didn’t sponsor the camp (budget cuts).Â Anyway, I still like what they are doing for snowboarding, whether or not I get to ride their park or skate their bowl.
Timbro: That reminds me, do you ever read Sarah Morrison’s “Best Week Ever” here on yobeat?Â Well…she used to live in Burlington when I did.Â Back before she was “famous on the internet,” she worked in the Verizon store.Â She was the greeter.Â Anyway, one day I go in there and I tell her that I need to get a phone asap because mine broke and I needed to be on a plane in a few hours.Â She asked me where I was going.Â I told her I was heading to Hood.Â She then shouted “Volcano Cones!”Â I thought that was pretty weird.Â Anyway, I think she’s kind of a babe, and if she saw this she might want smooch.Â You don’t really need to respond to this. Holla atcha’ boy, Sarah.
Dave:Â wow! Volcano Cones are delicious!Â I do remember introducing you to my friend Megan from Newport Beach, when we all lived in Vermont, and you were kind of in to her done up look.
Timbro:Â If she’s back in the O.C., you may tell her I said hello, and that I will gladly buy her a taco at her earliest convenience. Moving on. My friend Tom says hi.Â Do you remember that time me and him were in your hot tub in Mammoth drinking Wine Coolers?Â That was awesome.Â His head is fucking huge.Â I think it was a combination of the altitude and the water temperature, but we each had, like, two “Blue Hawaii” flavored wine coolers and were drunk off our tits.Â When we woke up, we had these really burning doo-doo’s, too.Â It was weird.Â Care to add anything to that?
Dave: Tom fixed my Mom’s iMac. “He was such a nice boy.” Anyway, see, this is what I’m talking about with snowboarding.Â Hot tubs and wine coolers.Â We used to have this springtime routine in Mammoth, we would ride and then hang out by the pool drinking wine coolers. So awesome.
Timbro:Â Used to? You should never retire from fun times.
Dave:Â Yeah, My friend’s wife loves the wine coolers, so I guess we are keeping it going.Â Speaking of fun times, the best times of my life have been while I was unemployed. I didn’t have a job when I got married and that was awesome!Â Ask anyone who showed up…
Timbro: Dude!Â That was a low blow! I felt terrible about that.Â In fact I still have your wedding party favor. True story. Stop commandeering my interview!
Dave:Â Plus the last couple months, I have been shredding and sledding and drinking and having a great time!Â In fact, not to sound like a surf dick here, but I got “laid off” so long ago, that I had some great days at the beach surfing.
Timbro:Â True or false, the words “surfing is for jerks” has been uttered from your lips.
Dave:Â Since you brought it up, it’s probably true.Â Here is the deal.Â Surfing is fun. Period.Â However, the competition aspect and the “geographical territory thing,” and the “I just moved here from the East Coast and I fuckin’ surf all the time bro,” — I hate that shit.Â Go surf, have fun.Â I don’t care where you are from or where you live, if you like it, do it.Â Just don’t tell me about it.Â I grew up 20 miles from the ocean, so before you can drive, that’s a long way.Â So, I skated.Â No one in skating ever talks about how their spot is cooler than yours.Â Whatever, where was I going?Â Some of my best friends are “surfers,” that’s just what they got into.Â I guess I just hate office surf talk.
Timbro:Â I can back that. Moving on…Do people tell you that you look like anybody?Â I get Jason Schwartzman sometimes.Â Not sure what to make of that.
Dave:Â That’s funny.Â I can see that.Â I used to dye my hair black and I got the “you look like Nick Cage” thing.Â I think from Valley Girl to be exact.Â It was fine, until one of my best friend’s said he thought Nick Cage was a douche bag.Â Oh well.Â Do like Dillinger Four?Â I really like them, but sometimes I think they get overlooked, at least in my playlist.
Timbro:Â They are ok, I guess.Â I never really got into punk rock. Except for Clean X. They were boss. Wait, has this interview been mostly about me?
Dave:Â Kind of going that direction
Timbro: Ok…down to business for the last one.Â What makes you marketable?Â Why should a snowboard business hire you?
Dave:Â Oh man, well, I do a great job.Â I’m educated, motivated, and I actually snowboard and love it.Â I will make a snowboard company money while maintaining the integrity of SNOWBOARDING (that is what we all love and got into this mess for.) as well as maintaining mine and the company’s values.
Timbro:Â Well said.Â Thanks for your time Dave.Â Remember us little people when you’re back on top.
Dave:Â It’s all about the little people, myself included. I’ve never been on top, and I never want to be.Â I’m just stoked to be A PART of snowboarding.Â It’s given me more than I deserve in life and I hope I can return the favor.