Paying it forward is not a new concept. It first saw the light of day in Greek playwright Menander’s Dyskolos. However, author Lily Hardy Hammond is credited with coining the phrase in her 1916 book In the Garden of Delight.
It returned to the limelight after the release of Pay It Forward (2000): a two-hour long drama, starring Haley Joel Osment, Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt, about a young boy attempting to make the world a better place with his social studies class project.
As young ones, life is three things: play, eat and sleep. Once adolescence kicks in and the carefree vibe of childhood yields to the rampant hormones bubbling beneath the surface, shit can hit the fan. Due to social structure evolution and culture defining matters, there comes a moment whenyoungins start living their identity crisis, desperately try to fit in and care way too much about what their peers may think. Through trial and error, advances and setbacks, the path to find oneself ultimately defines what kind of adult one becomes.
For Nigel Hearson, “fitting in” found its true meaning when skateboarding became a part of his life. Now with skateboarding in his lifestyle, Nigel feels the need to give back to the skating community who welcomed him arms wide open. The 18 year-old is well aware his chances of making it to the pros are slim, but he decided to counterbalance that by working in the skateboarding industry. Two years ago, he started a small company named Dicer Apparel, selling t-shirts, hoodies, beanies and such apparel. The company is one to support any creative mind who has a vision behind its projects. Nigel’s biggest wish with Dicer Apparel, is to keep it real and truly represent what skateboarding means to him: freedom, family and caring for others. It’s become his way of saying thank you.
Get Born: First, can you tell me a bit about yourself? Where are you from, your age, the basics?
Nigel Hearson: I’m 18 years old and come from RDP [Rivières-des-Prairies], a Montreal borough. I’m currently taking the « Business Management » class at Cegep de Maisonneuve in order to develop my street wear brand Dicer Apparel. I’ve been skating for a few years… say 5? I started skateboarding in high school. At the time, I was in search of an identity so competing against others guys wasn’t always fun, but eventually it became just plain fun to skate. It’s what I think of at school and outside school… it’s my lifestyle now.
GB: What got you into it?
NH: I got into it because my sister wouldn’t stop buying me skate clothes, skateboards and stuff like that. So I tried it and just loved the freedom it provided me. There were no rules. You just went out, did what you wanted to do, how you wanted to do it and for whatever period of time. That kind of freedom can’t be found in other sports. I love it.
GB: What would you be doing without skateboarding? Where would you be?
NH: Well I’d say skateboarding is a big part [of my life], because it influences all of my other activities. I do love photography, so when I’m not skating, I take pictures of people. So I guess, photography, but I don’t know… skateboarding takes so much of my time.
GB: Why do you feel skateboarding is essential to your life?
NH: I’d say because it’s the first time I really feel comfortable doing what I do. Before, I was always trying to find where I was going, what type of group I’d fit in. When I first started skateboarding, people were so open, helping me with tricks and building my boards… I felt like I was part of a family and I loved everybody in the community.
GB: What’s one skateboarding era you wished you could of lived in?Why?
NH: I would say the start of it. When people were just shredding waves, you know! When it started with those banana boards. That time looks dope! It was just riding, no flip tricks: just rolling.
GB: Do you have a philosophy about skateboarding?
NH: Do whatever you want to do, whenever you want to do it.
GB: In your opinion, how has the industry been doing in the past few years?
NH: I find it’s becoming a bit too commercial. The bigger brands own everything. Contests have become so big you barely see any non-famous pro skaters participating. It’s losing a bit of the family-like feel [that I like about it].
We should promote more skate shop events and little town jams and less of the big contests like Street League. It should go back to a family feel. Less about the money and more about showing people who don’t skate what skateboarding is. The big events broadcasted on television don’t give an accurate representation of skateboarding. Those events are stressful; you lose the sense of freedom!
As for companies, if a skater-owned company buys out a little company it’s all good, because it stays in the skateboarding community. If it’s a bunch of people who don’t know much about skateboarding that take over little companies, then when I take issue with it.
GB: You’re 18 years old and CIO already. Could you tell me about Dicer?
NH: As of now, I’m the only one behind Dicer and it’s been going on for two years. It all started skating with my friends. We wanted to build a little crew, so we made silkscreen t-shirts, really ghetto, but people were repping them and liked what I did. I kept on making them and realized that I wanted a career that would keep me in skateboarding. So, I try to make it with my company. It’s still quite small, I don’t even have a website for it yet. People who want my stuff come to my friends and me. It’s a one-on-one, in person type of transaction. I know all of my clients. It’s not just a transaction through a computer screen. Eventually, I want to build a website and reach people outside Montreal, all while keeping the family-vibe. I want people who buy my products to follow that lifestyle.
GB: Do you already have a team set up for the company?
NH: Well there are no real sponsored skaters. It’s more like if you’re down with the crew and skate with us daily, then you’re in it. Plus, it isn’t limited to skateboarding. Anyone doing creative stuff for themselves can be supported by Dicer. Artists, photographer, you name it.
GB: What feeds your desire of being involved in the Montreal skateboarding scene?
NH: When I started skateboarding, I was horrible and was just doingollies and people who were really good treated me as one of their own. They were always helping… so when you get love like that you’ve gottagive it back. You can’t turn your back on people after being helped along by some many. Spread the love!
GB: What is your biggest challenge being a skateboarder and CIO?
NH: As a skateboarder, I would say commit to tricks. As a brand, all I want is to represent the skating life. My biggest fear is that I don’t get it right. I really want people in the community to like my stuff.
GB: What’s coming up soon? Any projects, video parts, clothing line to announce?
NH: Nothing much, I’m keeping it mellow doing some designs here and there.