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The Original *Useless Wooden Toys

 

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Chad Cooper


Interview by: Andy Howell

When and where did you start skating?

I was 10, It was summer of 83 on family vacation in Charleston SC, we walked into McKevlin's surf shop on folly beach.

What was your first board?

Santa Cruz dark green Ramp/Street concave with Indy's and huge Sims wheels.

 

When did you decide to start collecting skateboards?

In about 2008, I decided that I needed to get back on my board for many reasons, so I started looking for a deck from my days past to ride, next thing you know I was buried in reissues, each one reminding me of younger days.

 

Had you collected anything before then? If so what?

I think as kids we all collected things; comics, star wars figures, old concert tickets, but nothing seriously before this.

 

Please tell us about your whole collection?

I have about 200 decks in total... Schmitt, Vision, Alva and of course New Deal!

 

How many New Deal boards do you have?

In the New Deal section, I am up to 130 different models, 30 or so pieces of the original artwork, 10 sets of wheels, about 50 pieces of clothes, a dozen tech decks, stickers and more!

 

What did you like most about New Deal?

There are several reasons I am Deal4life. Growing up east coast, Schmitt Stix was always my 1st choice, they had lots of East coast riders, and the shops pushed them pretty hard. The riders transitioning, I guess ND had me from the start, But It's the Art... I mean I always loved the team and the videos, but the Art stood out. In a time when other companies where trying to simplify and do price points decks with small graphics, New Deal was putting out 12 color screens nose to tail, and the Professor was always pushing shapes forward.

Who was your favorite ND skater and why?

Man that's a tough question.... if I had to pick one probably Morri, as a kid I skated more transition, so I loved that he skated it all, his video parts showed his personality,  and that 1st graphic by Chris Miller still an all time favorite… The way Sarge crushed those Safeway curbs... 

I have to give Neal Hendrix and honorable mention, Growing up in Winston-Salem NC, we would run into him at Wally's Ramp and of course Eastern Vert. First Pro I knew, made it accessible and a reason to follow the brand.

 

What is your most prized item in your New Deal collection and why?

That is a really tough question, each item has a story to it... the rarest thing I have, besides all the Original Art is probably my Howell Disco Gangsters Deck. I don't think there's another in mint condition out there, although in collection that can always change tomorrow! 

I will say that certain decks SPEAK to me! Having so many decks displayed on my walls, you find that certain decks really grab your attention... Montesi Lady of the night slick(Andy Howell art), Olande Scream slick (Justin Bua art), Knigge Skypod slick (Jose Gomez art), Morrison Handbird (Owlcat art) to single out a few of my favorites.  It would take me weeks to pick a top 10, I tried once. Hahahaha

 

How is your collection displayed today?

I have about 100 on my walls, unfortunately some are in boxes, I have a few wall racks I rotate the later years models through. With so many it's impossible to display it all in my little apartment. And of course you can see most of it on Instagram under the @antitarheelchad handle.

 

What are your thoughts about the New Deal re issues?

At firstIi had mixed feelings! I mean sifting through thousands of reissue pictures on the internet looking for those last models I need, who wouldn’t be apprehensive! Now I am Looking forward to them, will be nice to ride a few of the old shapes, and I really appreciate the lengths to which the artists have gone to reinvent the graphics while preserving the originals.

 

As far as what you're looking for today what New Deal boards are you looking for?

Well I always keep a top 3 most wanted on my Instgram..... right now that consists of the Armando Barajas Devil Woman slick, Rene Matthyssen Spirt Warrior slick, and the Fred Olande Two Character Piece.

 

What do you think of the New Deal/ Enjoi Collab?

I think they are awesome, love the play on the originals and I think it's really cool Caswell road one of those back in the day, I heard he was stoked... Too small for me to ride, but there will be a set added to the collection for sure...

 

What are you skating today?

Today I have a couple set ups, I ride 9.25s these days... I have A Stranglelove Pendleton collab with Indy 169s and Speedlab wheels globes. And POLAR dick men also with 169s and Speedlab 60mm strange house collab.

Favorite collecting stories and advice for collecting 

Collecting these Useless Wooden Toys can be challenging and frustrating, the amount of hours I can never reclaim while searching the internet chasing a 10 year old photo, exhausting even the hint of a deck like a cold case on tv, I have attempted to source a rug from the picture  once to find a deck....obviously unsuccessfully.. Other times it's carpet bombing anyone listing 90s decks for sale, asking if they have new deal. I won't give away too many techniques hahaha.

Sometimes it's like magic, I saw a Insanely overpriced Montesi on ebay, and rather than harassing the guy, I thought to ask what else he may have. turned out he was a Surfer/landlord in San Diego who had taken 6 decks from someone when they couldn't pay the rent. I ending up buying them all and getting 3 of rarest decks that day... and the battle over the Montesi deck that was listed initially led me to one of my best friendships in collecting.

My Best day in collecting… On Black Friday a couple years ago, a good friend and I drove from Charlotte to Raleigh to meet Jose Gomes in person, Jose was moving out of his house there, and had told me he had a bunch of his original line art there in the attic. When we arrived we walked in the attic and there was 40 or so decks he had found layed out for my inspection... So many decks I never thought i'd find, then we spent a few hours going through all the line art from his days at New Deal, Planet Earth, Adio....  I think Jose had as much fun as I did. The whole ride back from Raleigh I couldn't believe the treasures in the back seat. That will be a hard day to top in my collecting lifetime, but I won't stop trying to find the next big honey hole of 90s Skateboarding history.

Any closing comments?

There are lots of valuable resources out there: websites like artofskateboarding.com and skullandbonesskateboards.com, Sean Cliver's 2 Disposable Books. However I wouldn't gotten anywhere without all my friends I've made, a good network of people helping to look for you is priceless! You guys rock and you know who you are.

 

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The New Deal Collectors