Dropping In: Vinny Dalfio

Interview by Reuben Barrack

 During my freshman year at UC Santa Cruz, I bought a copy of the very first Fuck this Video. When it showed up at my shitty apartment off campus, sealed envelope and all, I couldn’t wait to see most of my friends from back home killing it in the streets! After I watched the entire video, not only was I left missing the San Diego skate scene, but it felt as if I had witnessed skateboarding for the first time all over again. That’s the type of magic that Vinny Dalfio brings to every project he’s ever worked on, and no amount of words could honestly convey how I feel about his contributions to skateboarding. 

I’ve always been captivated by Vinny’s style of filming because he captures more than just skating, but also the pure enjoyment of traveling and experiencing life with your friends. That’s something I’ve always wanted to be a part of, and I’m lucky to have crossed paths with Vinny when I moved back to SD in 2017, we’ve been filming together and kicking it tough ever since. I’ve visited cities and states I’d never been to before with the FTV family, and even witnessed some monumental moments in Vinny’s life firsthand during these adventures. It was a dream come true for him to be sought out by Jamie Thomas, someone who he grew up watching in countless skate videos as a kid, to help compile the most recent ZERO video, which premiered at the end of last year. This couldn’t have happened to a more deserving and dedicated individual other than Vinny. His skills behind the lens shined throughout Damn it All and cemented him within Zero’s much respected catalog and legacy.

The phrase “keeping the dream alive” gets thrown around loosely, but Vinny is completely invested in skating for the long run. As we all approach our impending “adulthood,” Vinny is still out there hopping in the van, getting it done every weekend with the Zero dudes and all his homies, while still working a full-time job during the week. Reflecting on all the miles we’ve logged, clips accounted for and memories shared together over the past few years, I couldn’t think of a better road-dogger than Vinny. He knows how to spark you to land your trick and is always right there celebrating with you after it’s handled. You always know he’s going to get fired up, put down the camera, jump on a board, and stack a few bangers of his own! That’s what keeps skateboarding alive, and Vinny has that in spades. I respect the hell out of this human, to say the least. Thanks for showing me what skateboarding’s all about!

Vinny and Teha, recent portrait at UCSD. New Fuck this Video coming soon!

What’s up dogger! Let’s get into it. Where are you from, how old are you and how long have you been skating?

San Diego, born and raised. 27? No— 26. Been skating since I was 11 or 12. Maybe even earlier.

Who were some of your main influences growing up?

Definitely Dale Bunster, for sure. Also, Truman [Hooker] took me under his wing and showed me what street skating is all about. 

With friends like these, Q Perez, Truman Hooker and Wiz with Dogger and Teha on a pit stop in Albuquerque, NM.

Hell yeah, shoutouts to Truman and RIP Dale! You’ve always been so fucking gnarly, how old were you when first ollied the Skyline 21? Well before people were hucking down twompers regularly, I might add.

It was right before I tore my ACL, so I was probably 13 or 14? Maybe 15. I don’t know, my memory is pretty bad [laughs].

How many tries did it take you?

It was maybe three tries. I kicked out on one, did the splits on the second, then landed the third! The sick thing was that Truman was up there trying to ollie it with me, too, but there’s no footage of that because the camera died right after I landed it. Truman backed me up and ollied it as well. We ended up going straight to Mexico, got a bunch of beers and tacos. It was a sick day!

That’s so rad! I never knew Truman also handled it. How did you get so damn good at inverts too?

I don’t think I’m good at inverts. I can still hardly do a proper one [laughs]. You just get hurt and that makes you have to change up your skating sometimes. Doing a handplant has always been a dream trick, for sure. Just being hurt and wanting to do something [different] led into eventually doing a handplant I guess.

Vinny takes fight on this Handplant, somewhere along the outskirts of AZ.

You’ve been filming and editing the Fuck this Video Series for about eight years now. What inspired you to start making your own vids?

Dale Bunster [again]. Back when we were young, he had a video camera and just started filming. It was a joke that we were making a video and we didn’t know what to call it, so we were just like ‘Oh: ‘Fuck this Video.’ Somehow Dale sort of passed the camera gear over to me and I became the one behind the camera. I think it was because I got hurt, so that’s when I started [filming]. That was my way to still be out on the sesh. All inspired by Dale, for sure. Growing up [watching] skate videos and shit, I thought it’d be cool to make one with all the friends. 

“It was a joke that we were making a video and we didn’t know what to call it, so we were just like ‘Oh: ‘Fuck this Video.’” 

What’s your favorite video of all time? Or even your top three, if that’s easier to pick?

That’s really hard. I guess top three, I’d have to say would be the three that I grew up on: Baker 3, Zero New Blood and Flip Sorry. Probably seen them all over a hundred times, maybe more. That’s a tough one though, because now you have videos coming out so frequently. All the homies are making really cool videos. But yeah, those would be the top three, for sure. 

What does FTV mean to you? 

Skating with the homies. Anything goes. Just have fun.

Let’s talk about your dog, Teha. She’s the glue that holds the crew together and gets us hyped to land our tricks! How did Teha come into your life originally?

Shit. Yeah, that’s a gnarly one… my mom passed away when I was 20. And right before she passed away she had gotten Teha, and it just made sense to keep [her] once my mom wasn’t there anymore. Been the reminder ever since. Love Teha, try and bring her everywhere.

Dogger’s den, peep the OG FTV poster in the background with Zero wall bangers galore.

That’s what’s up, carrying on that legacy and having your mom there with you on the session too, in one way or another. What’s been your favorite FTV trip to date?

Every [trip] is probably my favorite, but probably the most memorable is the one that you and I went on the summer before last. Fuck, we hardly made it back from that one. Everything went real, real, good. But, it just goes to show you that anything can happen and glad that we’re still here together right now because you just never know… definitely an eye opener. Yeah, that was the best trip. We went all over!

Yeah! We went to AZ, Denver, New Mexico, and Salt Lake City. What was the best part from that whole adventure?

Probably Denver; rolling 20 heads deep, drinking beers at every spot, getting clips every day. A lot of clips. Whole trip was just so flawless, it’s hard to just pick out just one highlight. Shoutout to the Denver boys for sure!

It got pretty buck, too, with all the boys partying in Jaz’s backyard.

Pretty sure we got them evicted [laughs]. Thanks Jaz, sorry!

Haha! Then D-Blaze hopped off the roof and landed on that table, right? Smackdown style maneuvers out there.

Team Dickered, to the fullest.

Vin Dog knows how to reel in these clips on either side of the camera. 5050 yanked into the bank, Tucson, AZ.

Speaking of that trip, I remember when you first got word from the Chief that he wanted you to be a part of the Zero Army. How did it feel to be acknowledged and get an opportunity like that from someone you idolize as a kid?

That was a gnarly one, for sure. That trip was supposed to be one of the last trips, like ‘Alright, you’re 25/26, you have nothing going for you other than you’re out fucking around skating with your homies. Kind of need to go try and figure out your life a little bit more,’ so to say. Figure out a way to pay rent, and that adult side of life. 

So that was kind of the last hurrah trip for us, and I think it was the last day or the day before that we were about to go home. I looked down at my phone and I think I had to stop the car and hand my phone to you. I was like ‘Wait, dude… can you read this to me?’ Definitely was in shock for sure. Still going out with all those dudes a year later, pretty crazy. Just goes to show you that even at 26, if you keep following your dreams you never know what might happen.

“…even at 26, if you keep following your dreams you never know what might happen.” 

How was the process different filming for Damn it All versus FTV?

At first, it was a whole lot different. You got Jamie Thomas, and with all the videos I grew up watching… I look up to all of those dudes, so I was definitely a little nervous at first. After the first couple months, it became pretty natural to the point where it’s just like going out with [FTV] dudes. Different, but very similar. They’re the homies, for sure. 

You’ve also had the chance to travel extensively while filming for Damn it All. What was your favorite trip while working on the vid?

Barcelona, for sure. A dream come true! That’s the one place I always wanted to go, and thanks to Jamie and Zero, I got to go out there and skate with all the homies. Time of my life, for sure.

You also recently had a photo in Thrasher for the Damn it All article doing an Andrecht at the crazy train ditch in Del Mar. Was that your first photo in a mag? 

I once had a tiny little thumbnail in a Transworld Mag when they were still going, but it was super tiny. I don’t think it even counts as a photo. But yeah, I was trippin! Thrasher photo is [another] a dream come true.

Was that Burnett or Rhino who shot that?


Oh, it was Hodge! Hell yeah.

Dozer! Thanks to Kurt, definitely would not have been in there without [him].  

In between filming for Zero and FTV, you also mobbed out to China with our good homie Q Perez. What were some of the highlights from that trip?

It was pretty much the most random trip you could ever think of. Q just goes, ‘Hey, you want to go to China? The homie’s going to take us out there.’ Seemed like one of those way too good to be true type of things [because] we’re getting per diem, they’re going to treat us like kings and blah blah blah. But, the homie Bug ended up coming through super hard and got me and Q out to China for free… Just the opportunity to go see a place like that and also not have to pay for it, because if we had to pay for it we wouldn’t have been able to afford it. That was a huge blessing, seeing something so different from our world. It’s insane over there. Meeting all these new people, it’s crazy. Can’t believe all the places skateboarding will take you.

“Can’t believe all the places skateboarding will take you.”

What did it feel like to skate some untouched spots?

It was nice! Made it a lot harder when you come back to skate [in SD] because you’re like, “Ah, fuck. We just had marble plazas for days and all this new shit that nothing’s been done on.’ Yeah, going out to places like that is crazy. 

Fresh catch on a tuna mission, fish is almost as big as Vinny’s smile! Photo by Chase Cruz

You’ve also been killin it in the fishing game lately. How did you get into fishing, and is it your escape from all the constant skating and traveling?

I think I started fishing off longboards [at] La Jolla Shores. There’s a Windansea surfboard fishing contest, or something. That’s pretty much what got me sparked on it. I saw these dudes coming back on these little surfboards with fish as big as them and I said, ‘Whaaaat, I want to go do that!’ Also, I got into fishing from my brother [Vito Dalfio], Eugene [Kim], Sam [Abbott] and Sean [Williams]. The fishing crew! 

And I don’t necessarily even need an escape from skating and traveling. I compare fishing and skating to be pretty similar, you know? Whether you’re on the hunt to go find a spot, or you’re on the hunt to find out where the fish are. Somedays you get lucky, somedays you get fuckin’ busted. 

“Somedays you get lucky, somedays you get fuckin’ busted.” 

What do you guys usually fish for when you go out? Tunas mostly, or any specific school of fish?

It’s evolved now that we got ourselves the little boat. So I’m pretty strict on the tuna mission. I kind of want to just go catch some tuna. Get some nice sushi, you know? All the other dudes, they like to stay a little closer to shore. They don’t trust our boat, we’ve almost sunk a couple times. But yeah, I can’t wait until summer rolls around again, go catch some fish!

For those who don’t know, you also work full-time as a landscaper. What’s the biggest challenge with balancing work, filming and skating?

I do some tree trimming, and every once in a while I’m pulling weeds and doing bullshit like that. It’s really just tough on the body, a little bit. And time consuming. I can only get out skating during the weekends, but also that makes you want to get it a little bit more. Got to get it harder than if you could go out every day. It’s hard to find the balance, I’m still trying to figure that one out. Not really too sure about that one, yet.

No stranger to the wall crawl, Vinny handles a Wallie boardslide in Albuquerque, NM.

Now that Damn it All is done and the new FTV is close to wrapping up (!), who has parts and what’s a ballpark date for a premier looking like?

Let’s see: Little Tuna [Carson Parkinson] came through, gave us a little blessing on a part. I tried my hardest to weasel out another part. Definitely all the OG FTV dudes will be appearing in a team montage, if you want to call it that. [Also] footage throughout that trip we were on, we got a couple sections. The Denver boys hold it down pretty hard with one of my favorite montages. Fuck, Cruise Mosberg, he was supposed to have a real sick part. He actually just hit me up yesterday and we got some issues going on with that. I don’t think it’s going to see the light of day. 

You, fuckin’ Reuben. Got a Reuben part that I’m real, real stoked on. Been putting in work for that one, so I’m hyped to get that one out for sure. There’s probably a few other things that I’m missing, but it’s not that major of a video. [We’ll] have three or four solid parts and all the homies. Trying to get it out as soon as possible, I think we’re about ready. Praying to the skate gods that Thrasher will answer the emails [laughs]. [Want] to get it up on the site, so that may hinder the timeframe it comes out, but we’re pretty much ready to drop it. Hopefully soon!

Looking forward to it man! It’s been a fucking journey and a blessing getting to share a lot of miles and memories together. I’m stoked, can’t wait to see it when it’s done. So, who are some of your favorite local skaters putting it down right now, and in general?

Well, might be a little biased, but definitely going to have to say you because I’ve been there firsthand too many times and I just see you fucking work your ass off. You always come through, your part is going to show it, too. I don’t think I’m going to be the only one thinking that after the vid drops. Fuck, the list goes on for days. Wes Kremer, for sure. [He’s] high up there. Nick Suarez. I don’t know, we’re sitting here at OB park. You got [Chris] Coogan and Mikey [Morris]… ah man, the list goes on. There’s so many homies that just always keep the hype going. Little Tuna! Yeah, I don’t know. Pretty much all my favorite dudes are just all my homies, for the most part. 

Honored to be mentioned in there, mad love! Much respect. Besides filming for Zero and FTV, what other projects have you been working on? I want to see this Kurt ‘Dozer’ part I’ve been hearing about!

Just filming anything we can. Who knows? Got a Kurt part that’s in the works. I think we might sneak it into FTV, we’ll see. Only time will tell, just have to stay tuned and find out. See what’s in store.  

Vinny following Hodge hopping onto an 18 wheeler, doing what dozer does best. Photo: Will Owens

As a diehard proponent of the VX aesthetic, why do you prefer filming with this camera? Any chance you’d ever transition into filming HD? 

All the skate videos I grew up watching, they’re all VX. That’s how I fell in love with watching skateboarding. When I got a camera, all I knew was that ‘I need that camera with the handle on it that’s in all those videos.’ Once I finally got my hands on the VX1000 and learned how to use it, there’s kind of no turning back. Lately, it’s been getting really stressful going out filming high priority tricks and knowing that I’ve had footage glitch in the past, or that I’ve had tapes eaten. Pretty much everything you could think of has happened. I just have the gnarliest anxiety. 

You don’t actually land the trick until you get it home and it’s logged on the computer. So, it’s a real love/hate relationship with the VX, they break all the time. I’m growing more of a fan for HD, but still I’m going to find it really tough to make the transition. I’d be down for the long lens, for some of the banger tricks. But I could never imagine holding that big ass camera with the $4,000 fisheye in my hand. I don’t see that happening any time soon.  

“You don’t actually land the trick until you get it home and it’s logged on the computer.”

That’s the truth, man! 

I got my trick yesterday, and I’m stoked, but the camera glitched three times before I actually got it logged. I was just like, ‘Fuccck, I finally did this trick I’ve been thinking of for over a year,’ and it’s like ‘Naaah, you might actually have to go back and do it again because you filmed it on a 100 year old camera!’ [laughs] Like fuck, I’m not doing that again! But, luckily it worked out. VX for life, most likely!

Just a few of the VXs in Vinny’s collection. Always bring back up on the sesh!

So sick, snuck in a little last minute banger for the vid! What’s this I hear about you having some resolutions as a result of that clip?

Supposedly, it’s day one. But I didn’t think I had the maneuver in me. Called one out that was maybe a little out of my realm. Kurt had actually just quit smoking, and I was like ‘Fuck, that’s cool!’ And kind of joking with him, I said ‘Well if i get this trick right now, I’ll quit smoking too!’ Somehow I actually got the trick, so I figure I owe it to the skate gods to quit smoking. No more ciggys. It’s day one, 5 o’clock, made it this far! See what happens. 

“Somehow I actually got the trick, so I figure I owe it to the skate gods to quit smoking.”

Congrats! Making the effort, that’s what’s up. What advice can you give to someone trying to make their own vids and working a day job?

Just get out as much as you can, pull those double shifts. Go out filming after you get done working. Go light up a spot if you have to. Wake up early on the weekends, take advantage and get a full day in. Go hit five or six spots instead of two spots, you know? Get yourself out there as much as you can and the results will show. 

Thanks again Vin! Stoked we got to sit down and pick your brain a bit. Anything else you want to say before we end this? Any shoutouts to mention?

I think we’re good, I don’t know. I’ve never done an interview before, so it was a little awkward for me [laughs]. Hopefully I didn’t sound too stupid. Just shoutout to all the homies and everyone that’s down to get it! Thanks for having me, Reuben. Love you buddy.

Love you too! You killed it dude.

Vinny may have weaseled out another part, which is no surprise. Just like this Moleplant in Tucson, AZ.

Checkout the mini gallery below with more visuals of Vinny and the Zero team, along with the FTV crew, provided by Reuben Barrack, Koki Kasai and Will Owens.  

Follow Vinny on insta @vindogg and @tehadogg. Also, stay up to date for the release of @fuckthisvideo 5 coming soon! Be sure to scope more rad photos from @kokikasai_ and @will0o0 as well!

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