Monday, October 20, 2008

Dustin "Big D" Franks

Interview by: Steve Thomas

If you want to talk about a multi-talented and hugely marketable diamond-in-the-rough, then Dustin Franks is the guy to talk about. Coming into the surf scene on a longboard, his ability transcends all sizes and shapes really well. What’s more, the guy is a phenomenal musician and not to shabby on the art tip. Well that’s all fine and good, but the best thing about Dustin is he is a straight up and down good guy. If you walk around his hometown of San Clemente, California, you will see that he is truly loved by his community. All walks of life know Dustin and he takes the time to know what’s going on with each and every one. The rad-ist part is that when this kid plays in his town he packs the house. I only wish there were more people like Dustin Franks in the world. Here is a long Q&A on D. Franks so you all can get to know him a little bit better. Make sure and check his space at so you can listen wile you read. Now Read!

ST: Last memorable wave

DF: I had a couple of gems on our last trip to Nicaragua that I managed to remember. The memorable ones are usually left tubers.

ST: Favorite food apr├Ęs surf

DF: I’ve been trying to get on the health kick, so I guess I’ve gotta lie and say a good wrap or veggie burrito.

ST: Do you think you could pray the gay away?

DF: I went to Catholic school from kindergarten through junior high. I know they sure as hell wanted me to think so. But, no, I don’t think you can.

ST: Breast fed of ass fed?

DF: Neither. What is ass feeding, Steve?

ST: Coffee, tea or me?

DF: I am my Mother’s son. She’s drank about 4 pots of black coffee a day for as long as I can remember. I closely followed suit.

ST: Black or with milky substance?

DF: Hot and black, baby!

ST: Does your family surf?

DF: My whole family surfs, some more than others. I think Mom’s in a close second behind me as far as water time is concerned.

Did your grandma surf?

DF: Definitely not.

ST: Describe your surfing.

DF: Errr…. I definitely took to the smoother, no bells and whistles approach. I always looked up to guys like Tudor and Curren and tried to emulate them, but have failed miserably.

ST: Do you play music?

DF: Yes’m.

ST: Why?

DF: It’s something I’ve always enjoyed doing, so I just kept with it. I’m still a novice in terms of “real” musicians, not surfer/musician standards, so there’s always something to get better at. It can be super challenging and frustrating, or the most therapeutic and relaxing thing in the world. I usually bounce between the two. Music makes people feel different things though, and I’ve always really admired how good music can impose a feeling upon other people. I’d love to get to the point where I could make something that has that same effect. I’ve got a long ways to go, so I’ve just tried to keep getting better, and it’s been a lot of fun.

ST: What are you working on right now?

DF: I’m almost done with a full length album. The opportunity to spend some time recording fell in my lap so I kind of pieced together enough material to make a record and worked with a very talented friend of mine. We traded off on computer and instrumental duties and made it work. It took a couple of months, but it eventually felt done. Now it’s just in the final stages, getting mixed and mastered and all the finishing touches.

ST: What kind of music bums you out?

DF: Over produced pop.

ST: What kind of music awakens the beast inside?

DF: I get absolutely fired up over good live music. The Replacements are probably my all time favorite band, although I missed my window to see them live. That’s what I would probably throw on if I wanted to get psyched.

ST: Tits or ass?

DF: I pay attention to inner beauty, Steve.

ST: Are you a showoff?

DF: I like performing well, so yeah, I suppose so.

ST: Do you wish you were an Olympic gymnast?

DF: If there wasn’t any sort of work involved in it, sure.

ST: Do you wish your girl friend was?

DF: That would probably mean she would have to be a 15 year old, disproportioned Asian girl, so, no.

ST: Have you ever partied with a midget (correct term: small person)?

DF: I was at a party that Wee Man was at once, but didn’t get a chance to say hello. I’m still looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

ST: Commando or bathing suit?

DF: Does commando mean naked? I’ll go with bathing suit if so. I feel bad for anyone who has to gaze upon my bare ass.

ST: Why do they call you big D?

DF: Because it’s ironic.

ST: Is Franks your real last name or your stage name?

DF: Real deal.

ST: How old were you when you went big potty by yourself.

DF: 14

ST: Why do you Longboard?

DF: I’ve always been pretty lanky. I guess I just felt awkward on proper shortboards. They don’t really fit my style. I’m also pretty lazy.

ST: Do you have your own blog?

DF: Yeah, but it’s still barren.

ST: Sponsors (besides mom and dad)?

DF: Hobie Surfboards.

ST: You like trucks that drive in the desert or something. Tell me about it.

DF: I grew up spending lots of time driving around in Baja. You get beat to shit on the dirt roads and so I was always trying to build my trucks to make them a little more durable and that’s what the whole racing deal is all about down there. The cars are built to fly over 1000 miles of the most beat to hell terrain you could ever imagine. Racing is HUGE down there so you kind of get absorbed into it. A lot of the racing community is from San Clemente as well, and so I’ve always had friends that have been into it. I’ve ended up getting to go down for the races and help out a bit and ride in some cars every now and again since I was about 17. I’m a full fanatic now. It’s like my NFL.

ST: If you didn’t surf so much, what the else would you do?

DF: Bowl, drive around, maybe the occasional acid flashback.

ST: Mac or pc?

DF: Mac.

ST: iPhone or Blackberry?

DF: Whatever’s more durable.

ST: Norcal or socal?

DF: I’ve always called San Clemente home (SoCal), but I love going up north.

ST: What’s cencal?

DF: It sounds like a medication to stimulate erections, but I think what you’re referring to is the area from Point Conception to San Francisco Bay.

ST: And where is it?

DF: See above.

ST: I think I live there. Do I?

DF: Yes Steve.

ST: Dogs or cats?

DF: Dogs.

ST: Sneakers or shoes?

DF: Choose.

ST: Fullback or thong? Or nothing?

DF: Brazilian booty shorts.

ST: Bareback or saddleback?

ST: Bareback is for the Injuns.

ST: Giant Puerto or Mavericks?

DF: Both scare the living daylights out of me. If I had to pick one, I’d go with Mavs. At least there’s a channel there.

ST: Beach breaks or point break?

DF: If it’s hollow I’ll take a point.

ST: Chicken or beef?

DF: No red meat for this guy.

ST: Can you imagine being an Hipster vegan?

DF: I imagine it would suck.

ST: So you are a pro longboarder, what kind of art do you do?

DF: Avante garde fingerpainting layered with a multitude of mixed media. Usually things I collect out of the garbage from the local salvation army. It’s very organic in an urban sort of way.

ST: Favorite old skool surfer? 60’s long-donger

DF: Oh geez. I always thought Mike Hynson was a badass. I loved Carson’s noseriding, and then Nuuhiwa was a freak.

ST: Favorite new school surfer long-donger (don’t say me)

DF: Tudor.

ST: Any other sports?

DF: I played baseball religiously until I was 14 and hurt my arm.

ST: Did you play Tball?

DF: Yes.

ST: Did you lose?

DF: There’s no losers in T ball.

ST: Do you believe in magic?

DF: I’ve got a funny joke about that. Ask me next time you see me.

ST: How about aliens?

DF: The idea of aliens scares the shit out of me. My aunt lived in the same town where the abduction that the movie “Fire in the Sky” was based off of. She used to always try and get me to come up and I wouldn’t have it.

ST: Are we the only life form in our galaxy?

DF: Didn’t they find some sort of bacteria on Mars?

ST: What’s your token animal?

DF: I was born in the year of the dog, so I’ll go with that.

ST: If narwhals exist, why can’t unicorns?

DF: I actually captured and am dating a Jewnicorn.

ST: What’s under your bed?

DF: Hell if I know.

ST: How many surfboards do you have?

DF: Probably around 30 or so. I get a chubby over surfboard design.

ST: What sizes? From smallest to biggest.

ST: Everything from a 5’5’ fish to an 11’ glider.

ST: Of all of the surfboards that you have, which ones do you like/how many to you actually ride?

DF: I’ve only got a couple that I’m not really overly-fond of. I usually try and weed out the stinkers and replace them pretty quickly. I’ve got a bunch of boards that are definitely condition specific that I don’t really get to often but that I love having. I’ve got a beautiful 9’2” Ron House gun that I’m absolutely in love with that I’ve only gotten to ride probably 3 times in the 4 years I’ve owned it. I’ve got a 9’9 Terry Martin noserider that works realllllly good but only in very clean and lined up 1-4 foot surf. I’ve got a 6’9 widow maker that is one of my pride and joys that I break out when the surf gets big and clean around home. I’ve got an 11’0 glider makes it out for paddling exercise and when the surf looks like crap. I always have fun on that board. It’s really fast and actually turns on a dime, surprisingly.
My day to day boards for the past year or so have been a 5’10 quad fin, a pulled in 7’ egg with a rakey middle fin and tiny little side-bites, and a 9’4 log that has knifey rails that I pulled off the rack in Hobie. Between those three you can pretty much surf anything no matter how big or small and always be pretty well equipped.

ST: Being Fabulous: Ach-ya or nich nich?


Joel Tudor giving Dustin the Clap as he nose rides on by. Photo:P.Trefz

Little backhand tube at a point never hurts. Photo:Moonwalker

Big D singing his song. Photo:S.Thomas

Starting high going low. Photo:Moonwalker

Floating. Photo:Daniel Franks

Shade. Photo:Daniel Franks

Harmonize. Photo:S.Thomas

Barrels,Barrels,Barrels. Photo:Daniel Franks

Nride. Photo:Moonwalker