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A Decade of DVS in Wake (Part 3)

Author: Staff
Date: 12-10-2008

View the DVS Wakeskate shoe gallery here
View the DVS ad gallery here

(Continued from part two of A Decade of DVS in Wake.
Read part one of this DVS series here.

DVS Wakeskate Shoes

In 2001 and 2002, designers at the DVS shoe company produced their first adapted skate shoes for the wake team, which came in the form of the wakeskate specific Getz and Mayan. “I think the shoe projects that were developed for the team (before I was washed), like the first ever Getz wakeskate shoe was just the first step in showing the commitment to the sport,” says Leatherman. During that time, you saw what is now iconic imagery of Horrell nosesliding along the edges of docks with his electric blue Cassette 3-d prototype and his blazing red and black DVS wake edition Getz shoes. The team's new wakeskate shoes created a stir among riders in the wakeskating community, because they wanted to know what shoes their favorite riders were wearing and if there was a way to get a pair for themselves. Of course, good things come to those who wait.

Iconic noseslide from a classic trio. Rider: Horrell. Photographer: Letchworth. Shoes: DVS Getz Wake Edition (View a larger image by clicking the underlined text above. A special thank you goes out Paco De La Torre of the Butter Gallery, and to Josh Letchworth and his team at JLP [Josh Letchworth Photography].)

In 2003, the DVS wake team rode in what became two of the most memorable shoes to date—the Milan and Dresden. It was also then that DVS gave the team the opportunity to test mesh versions of each shoe, which eventually made their way into the DVS product line as a wakeskate-inspired designs. After wakeskaters did their fair share of waiting and feigning, DVS finally released their mesh Dresdens to the public in 2004, and they became a popular shoe among many riders. That same season, they released a special wakeskate-specific DVS Dresden as a collaborative model with Available in a light gray and beige color way, the Buywake Dresden had features designed specifically with wakeskating in mind (most notably, a closed cell foam tongue), and were produced in a limited run of 500 pairs. DVS and would come together again in 2005 to release their second wakeskate specific shoe for the 2006 season. This time, the collaboration produced an adapted DVS Kenyan, which was a high-end, jogger-inspired shoe that the DVS wake team had been testing since late 2004.

An early blurb from an issue of WakeBoarding Magazine hyping up the potential for a wakeskate specific DVS Dresden.
(View larger image here)

The Limited edition 2004 DVS/Buywake Dresden.

2004 Black mesh Dresden
2004 Yellow mesh Dresden

Changes and Progress with the DVS Wake Program

On the surface, the DVS wake program looked promising as they released their first team film titled Narla, and the wake team was as strong as it's ever been. But on the inside, DVS re-evaluated the wake program and they decided to drop the entertaining DVS wake blog and the team’s wakeboarders, Shawn Watson and Parks Bonifay. “Things are not always easy and we had to reassess what we were doing in the sport. Narla had just been finished, but there was an industry wide recession in the midst,” says Leatherman. Some questioned the involvement of DVS in the wakeskating industry once the blog silently disappeared, while others assumed the worst: that DVS had pulled out of the wake industry entirely. But the doubt from some only proved to solidify the DVS team's commitment to wakeskating. “The wakeskate kids are some of the most passionate riders about their sport, and we did not want to lose our place as a supporter of the scene,” said Leatherman.

The Munition CT from 2007 is probably the most advanced wakeskate shoe produced by DVS. Features include a vulcanized outsole, exotic side panneling (from DVS's friends in China), and a neoprene liner. The shoe also has an orange nylon material on the tongue and heel, which is "Developed by NASA and perfected by DVS to make the best looking PFD knock off in the world."
And in case you're wondering about the inspiration behind the shoe: "Everything in life is inspired by NARLA."--Jim Leatherman
(View larger image here)

DVS formed their wake program by supporting the new standard, and now they are setting it with the release of their new wakeskate specific shoe. And just like every other wakeskate shoe DVS has ever produced, the anticipation from the riders created a palpable buzz. Leatherman and DVS managed to keep the new shoe project under tight wraps for upwards of eight months, much to the dismay of curious wakeskaters. But now Leatherman and DVS have ended the wait, and they are proud to announce their third and most advanced wakeskate-specific shoe that's dropping in the Spring of 2009 at select shops: the Dayton. The new shoe is a limited edition, collaborative effort with DVS, long time DVS team rider Thomas Horrell (represented on the shoe by his company’s Cassette logo adorning the tongue), and former Cassette graphic designer Jason Gregory (aka MAKR). Leatherman and the DVS designers created a shoe that will withstand the elevated level of wakeskating that's common place among today's riders, while maintaining DVS's distinct sense of style. According to Leatherman, the DVS X CASSETTE X MAKR Dayton's features include perforated PU Nubuck leather for durability and drainage, a MAKR laser-etched pattern on the heel cup for added flair, and an insole lined with waterproof nylon and a cork infused EVA sock-liner to keep it light and dry. At the last minute, they added a symbolic, screaming lime green stripe running the perimeter of the shoe’s sole. Recognizable by many riders, this stripe pays homage to one of Cassette’s most memorable wakeskates, the 4-trac (which was lime green in color). And as if a limited edition shoe weren't enough, they've also created an uber-limited package, which includes a pair of DVS X CASSETTE X MAKR collaborative Daytons, a special tank top and a hand crafted MAKR leather wallet. DVS will produce roughly 30 of these packages, but how you can get your hands on one remains to be seen. Keeping with the DVS tradition, a little bit of waiting and wondering never hurt anyone.

Worth the wait! The 2009 DVS X CASSETTE X MAKR wakeskate-specific Dayton. This shoe will be available in select shops this spring.

A sneek peek at the limited edition Dayton package. Pictured is the Dayton and a hand made MAKR wallet.

After a decade of support for wakeboarding and wakeskating, the DVS family has become a welcomed and appreciated presence in the wake industry. Grace has evolved from a sponsored wakeboarder to team manager. As he looks back at his experience with the DVS family, he is grateful for the opportunity it afforded him. “I am just glad I was there at the beginning to help push them [DVS] and show them that wakeboarding and wakeskating can be viewed in a cool way and, of course, a really fun activity,” says Grace.

Horrell took to the ethical side of Podium and the way the Dunlap family modeled it, while always appreciating the personal support from the Dunlaps, Gavin, and the entire Podium family. “Cassette, when I took it back, was pretty much modeled after their way of treating people and doing business. Their support has meant a lot to me throughout this whole thing,” says Horrell.

As for Leatherman, he’s been on both sides of the Podium fence. Reflecting on those early days of wakeskating with his Cassette/DVS teammates, he says, “We all wanted to go out of our way to prove to companies like DVS that the sport was legitimate and could gain some respect from the other board sport industries. We were hoping that other companies like DVS would get on board once they saw the potential of the sport. I think we have done a good job and hope the industry tries to head in the right direction." Today, Leatherman continues to push wakeskating in new directions. He works closely with his friends/team riders, conceptualizes thoughtful shoe projects, and ultimately still has an outlet for his ideas while influencing the direction of the wakeskating. “I am lucky that DVS has given myself and the team free reign over ideas we would like to make happen. I think that’s why we’ve been able to push the sport in the direction we think it should go.”


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