From coast to coast, the three Dern Brothers have been making their mark on skateboarding in more ways than one, but 2020 appears to be their year.
The youngest is Kanaan, 25. The first to make a break into skating was Dalton, now 27. And Destin, 30, went to film school. They all skate, but throughout this pandemic, they have rekindled their brotherly bond beyond just staying at home with each other. Their latest project? Turning their parents’ Floridian home into a skatepark and stacking content in the process.
Even before the pandemic, Kanaan and Dalton dropped a shared part for Red Bull that had people buzzing. Then, when the world came to a halt, the Dern brothers hit Home Depot for supplies and then turned their phones to 4K to film the fun.
With so much action coming from the brothers Dern, we decided to reach out for an update. Not only did we get Dalton and Kanaan on the line, but Destin also joined in for a few words.
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I know you guys are from Florida, but what part of Florida are you in? Is that your only place, or just where you stay the most? Didn’t you guys have a place in Oceanside?
Dalton: We are from Apopka, Florida, but we always say Orlando, because nobody has heard of Apopka. I’ve been living in Oceanside for the past five years and then Kanaan moved out three years ago. But, because of the pandemic we didn’t want our parents to be alone going through it, we flew back to Florida. Plus, it seemed like Florida would be a better place to be than California during this whole deal. It paid off, too, because we were able to work on this whole video that came about.
That thing was crazy. It was built at your parents’ house?
Dalton: Yeah, it all came together over there. It started out with a mini ramp, then we got this old waterslide thing called The Fiber Rider. It’s from the 70s and a historic skate piece. Then we just had multiple donations from people that had to get rid of their backyard ramps. We’d find out that there was a ramp that someone had to get rid of, and we’d call them and be there the next day with a trailer.
Kanaan: Yeah, we’d do all the work from taking it down, transporting, and rebuilding it. We got our first mini ramp about 10 years ago, but it wasn’t pressure-treated wood, so it all rotted away. Then a local skatepark called Midtown closed down and they had a pressure-treated mini ramp that someone else had donated to them, and so we got a hold of it from them and have been rebuilding and adding on to everything in the backyard ever since. It just keeps growing and we still have plans to build a lot more.
“We have always been close, but this whole [pandemic] has brought us even closer together. We have been skating together and filming all day. Then, we all get together for big family dinners and even watch movies together.” —Dalton Dern
Let’s double back to the house in a minute. Dalton, how did you first start to get hooked up in skating? And then, Kanaan, I’m sure your answer will be a bit different but same question for you.
Dalton: It all started because we went to skatepark by a school that we all went to as children.Then we found out they had skate events, and we got stoked. We found about a skate shop from that, and we just kept going back to that park and shop. Eventually I came up with a video and gave it to the guys and they started giving me shop decks.
Then I was at a contest and a local board company kind of scouted me out at that. From there, I just kept going to more contests, meeting more people and things went all over the place from there. Just getting out there, being a part of things and skating.
Kanaan: I was mainly just trying to film street footage and make ‘sponsor me’ videos to send in. Then we got sponsored by a skatepark called Graffiti Skate Zone, and he had all the connections to send our footage around. I told him I always wanted to be sponsored by Zero, so they started making that happen and I got on the flow program.
Then Jamie Thomas saw my footage and I started going through him to get boards and send footage. Yeah, it’s just been going ever since.
What was it like getting that first call from The Chief? What is your situation working with Zero like today?
About six years ago I had just dropped a video part and the guy that I was going through, the [sales] rep., showed it to Jamie. Jamie hit me up on Instagram, he was visiting his family in Florida, to meet him at a skatepark that day. We got to skate with him all day. We went to a street spot and at the end of it he gave me the team manager’s phone number and said, ‘hit him up or me with footage from now on.’ Ever since then I have been constantly sending my footage.
About three years ago I moved out to California and started skating and filming with him more. In the past year, I’ve definitely gotten a lot closer to him. I actually started working at Zero, packing and shipping orders plus running Jamie’s collection business, Garage Days. He has definitely helped me out a lot, and being able to skate with him has been really awesome.
That’s rad to hear how you both got started. Next on the agenda, what’s happening now. Congrats on the 2020 videos so far. First, the Red Bull brothers part you guys put out was really good. Then to fire off that quarantine edit, you guys are crushing it! What was it like to work on these projects together? Obviously, the quarantine stuff came by surprise, but Dalton can you talk about filming the Red Bull edit and, Kanaan, can you cover the quarantine edit?
Dalton: The Red Bull part came about because I’m good friends with Peacock and we film together a lot. He had an opportunity to film with some people for a Red Bull part, he chose Kanaan and I. We always wanted to film a brothers part, so we worked on that for about two years because we both kept getting hurt and couldn’t finish the project. One would get hurt, so we wait for him to get better. then the other one would get hurt and ongoing. But finally it all came together and we are really happy with how that all turned out.
Without knowing how long you guys worked on it, it came out really good back in February. Then the Pandemic hit and this quarantine edit came out great, too.
Kanaan: We didn’t see it coming, but we were out there every day for 5 hours like it was our job. We were setting up multiple things, it was crazy. Everything was a project.
Originally, Chase (Gabor) hit me up because he saw a bunch of my [Instagram] stories, like the roof video when everyone was doing the #SkateAtHome challenge. So after I made that they hit us up and said we should try and make ‘the world’s best quarantine video’ however we thought it should be filmed. So we [three brothers] just kept brainstorming. We took multiple walks around the house saying, ‘we can build this here, and set this up there.’
We were filming for about 6 weeks, just building different obstacles, making trips to Home Depot for more wood to make everything happen. Every day, nonstop. We had lists of tricks and just kept going, but even at the end of six weeks we still had so many ideas that we couldn’t even get to. Maybe we can make a part two one day.
“The back smith on the roof actually took me four days to land. I would only be able to try like 20-30 times and then I would just be dusted. Then, finally, on the fourth day, I landed it.” —Kanaan Dern
Destin, I know you said you have been filming a bunch with your brothers. Did you film most of that quarantine edit?
Yeah, we filmed all with our iPhones, because we don’t have a legit camera right now. The fisheye shots were with that phone fisheye lens called Deathlens. We figured out how to use the zoom really well and we turned all of our phones to shoot 4K, 60 FPS. That was the first big edit we have done like that, we usually only make little skatepark edits with our phones nothing like that.
We were constantly yelling back and forth to each other asking if the phones were on airplane mode, haha. We wouldn’t want to be in the middle of filming a trick and have to redo it, which did happened once or twice.
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Which trick took the longest to film?
Kanaan: The back smith on the roof actually took me four days to land. I would only be able to try like 20-30 times and then I would just be dusted. Then, finally, on the fourth day, I landed it.
The handrail on the roof was another one. My dad came home while we were putting that up there and he was not too happy, haha. ‘Get that shit off my roof, right now!’ We would always try to build the craziest things when he wasn’t home—he is just worried about us getting hurt. He also doesn’t want us messing up the roof.
Once it is done and over with, he is cool with it. It was hard for him at some points, though. Some times he actually had to leave. Our mom would calm him down, but our dad gets stressed out.
That reminds me, someone wanted me to ask about your mom’s family dinners?
Dalton: Hah! that was probably Chris [Ortiz]. I know he loves the family dinners that my mom always cooks, and they share recipes. They also send each other food.
Kanaan: Yeah, if you look at our mom’s Instagram [@juliederns] it is all food posts. Restaurants, the food she has cooked—she just loves food. So, that makes sense, haha.
Dalton: We have always been close, but this whole [pandemic] has brought us even closer together. We have been skating together and filming all day. Then, we all get together for big family dinners and even watch movies together. It has been great.
“We had a shopping cart to get pushed into Bam’s bushes. We were riding a gorilla statue on skis being pulled by a car. Then, his skate barn is just non-stop skating every night. We were going hard in there.” —Destin Dern
So what’s up with you guys right now? I think Dalton mentioned you guys were at Bam Margera’s castle yesterday. What all do you guys have going on at the moment?
Dalton: We just filmed a whole edit up there. It was a bunch of jackass shenanigans, wild skating and everyone just having one hell of a time.
Kanaan: Yeah, the edit should drop in the next week or two. We were just pranking each other non-stop. Dalton was throwing flour at people to wake them up.
Dalton: Yeah, and we had a taser!
Destin: We had a shopping cart to get pushed into Bam’s bushes. We were riding a gorilla statue on skis being pulled by a car. Then, his skate barn is just nonstop skating every night. We were going hard in there. Bam came through and skated with us for a couple of days.
Kanaan: This guy we know is doing a video magazine that is set to release soon, and one of the issue is on Bam and his place. He has different segments in the video on local ramps so they are in the process of filming one at our house, as well. It’s called HD Video Mag.
Dalton, what’s it like traveling around right now? How are the major cities you’ve been to between all of the protests and pandemic restrictions? Are you guys flying at all?
No way, I don’t want to get anywhere near an airport right now. We have been road tripping.
Going through all of the major cities has been crazy. Seeing cops with their sirens on all over the place, lots of ambulances plus all of the people in the streets—it’s just seems hectic and sketchy right now.
We are looking forward to getting back to Florida and staying away from the cities until this all dies down.
They were making us wear masks, pretty much everywhere we were going. Right now in North Carolina there is a curfew at 8-o-clock, so by the time we get going–we are not really morning people–and warmed up, we have to start heading back because of the curfew. Otherwise, it could be a $1,000 fine or 60 days in jail if they catch you out past 10pm!
Holy shit! That’s gnarly.
Yeah, I’m not trying to play that game.
Well, is there anything else. What else is going on with the Dern family? Any other interesting things going on with you guys and/or your fam?
Kanaan: We are just trying to film street footage constantly. I am filming for a Zero part, we are doing an am video.
Dalton: I’m coming out with a part for my shop sponsor, Tactics. I’ve just always wanted to come out with a solid part for them. I’ve been working on that for a little bit now, hoping to bring it together pretty soon.
Kanaan: North Carolina has a lot of really good spots, lots of hidden gems. I’d say it is probably easier to get footage here than anywhere else. A lot of rails and stuff that we like to skate.
Destin, are you helping to film for those two upcoming parts?
Destin: Yeah, a little bit. I’ve got a couple cameras and went to film school, so my cameras aren’t the best for skateboarding now. I get a lot of long lens angles used, but I am looking to get a better camera to actually follow them with. I used to have a VX growing up and I would always be filming with them, but I sold it for a more cinematic camera. But the pandemic has especially brought us closer together filming, even just with the iPhones.
It has made me realize I need to get back that much more into skating and filming more with them. I’ve even been out getting tricks at some of these street spots, stepping my game because I took a break from it. All of this has really brought me back into skating, so there has been that bit of a positive thing out of all the negative that is going on. At least we are coming closer together, and getting back to what we love doing.
It was rad to see clips of all three of you in that stay-at-home edit!
Well, guys, I’m stoked we were all able to hop on the phone, I know you guys are in the middle of traveling a bit. Thanks for taking the time to connect! Any parting words from you guys to all of the skate homies out there? The world is a wild place right now…
Dalton: Stay positive. Keep ripping. Keep moving forward!
Kanaan: Don’t let people hold you back, just keep going!