Getting to where you want to be in life is a dream that no one but yourself can fulfill. You’re the only one that can improve yourself, granted the right support makes the struggle easier. For Darryl Demps of VNLA Skate Company this was the case exactly. Darryl is sponsored by two Jamskating teams known as VNLA and Kounterfit, but he wasn’t just placed on the team, Darryl had to put in the hard work to get noticed by these teams.
Darryl A. Demps Jr. was born on March 25, 1995 in Austin, Texas and is still remaining in his home town today. As Darryl grew up he went to school just like any normal six year old, but a field trip would soon change Darryl’s world as he knew it. The teacher made an announcement that the next field trip would be at the local roller skating rink. Finally the day had come to go learn how to roller skate, so six year old Darryl and his father both started their way to the skating rink. “I remember my dad teaching me how to skate and when I finally got the hang of it, I fell. When I fell I remember someone rolling right over my finger,” says Darryl. After that Darryl didn’t really get into the roller skating picture until he was in the sixth grade. Darryl became a regular: showing up every weekend and skating for hours at a time.
Two years after Darryl began roller skating, he decided to visit another rink called Playland Skate Center. When Darryl first walked into the building, he noticed a man doing some flares and windmills along with bits of footwork and ground work. “This is where I met some of my greatest friends,’ says Darryl. “We actually became so close that we formed a team called Diverse Effect.”
The passion for Jamskating began to flare from Darryl’s creative mind and the love for the sport grew quickly in Darryl’s heart. Darryl says: “I fell in love with the freedom that Jamskating gives me. I mean you are able to create any move you want to. There is no such thing of a bad move in Jamskating. I love seeing everyone with different styles, abilities, and just how their personalities are reflected off of them when they skate.”
When Darryl first started Jamskating he knew he wasn’t the best, but he knew he could roll with the best if he worked hard enough. In the summer of 2009 Darryl had discovered a website called Jamskatingonline attached to the website were hundreds of videos of people from previous events. Darryl scrolled through and found Brandon Perea’s 2009 WSA solo performance. “I remember the ad that came before the video, ‘Brandon Perea for Vanilla Jr.’ he was wearing the red and black Vanilla Juniors, but at that time I didn’t know what a ‘Vanilla Junior’ really was or Vanilla and WSA for that matter. As I dove deeper into the website the more passionate I became to Jamskating. I looked up Vanilla’s website and at that point I just knew that I wanted to be sponsored by Vanilla.
“I knew I was terrible at the time so I practiced in my garage pretty much every day. I practiced even in the Texas heat,” Darryl announced. By the end of 2009 an announcement was made that Brandon Perea was making his way to Playland Skate Center for the $10,000 skate challenge. Darryl wasn’t intending on missing this opportunity for any reason. When the day of the competition arrived Darryl decided that his goal wasn’t to win. For Darryl the goal was simple: get noticed. Darryl battled and only made it past the first round, but his faith wasn’t shaken because he had met his goal! Darryl got noticed by Brandon Perea and the two had an amazing night skating together.
Darryl decided to create a new goal: go to an event. “Although I couldn’t afford to travel, I still practiced constantly until 2010, when another Brandon Perea challenge was announced in Houston, Texas. My goal remained the same: skate, do a decent job, and get noticed. My goal was accomplished,” says Darryl. By 2011 Darryl began making sets he was proud to show off, his musicality was getting decent, and he was just becoming a better skater. SummerJam was announced in Cookeville, Tennessee around this time; Darryl also announced to his parents he was going no matter what. Darryl made his way to the event and upon his arrival he was astounded and very nervous. “I eventually overcame my fear and got into some of the cyphers that Diamond or Tony would be watching.
The event soon came to a close and Darryl went back to his normal life in Austin. In early 2012-2013 Darryl actually took a break from jamskating because he thought that by that point he’d never get sponsored. Although letting go of this passion was the hardest thing to do Darryl decided to put all of his attention to school. One day the owner and CEO of Vanilla Skate Company called Darryl while he was working and asked if he wanted to be sponsored. Darryl graciously accepted. Darryl quickly got back into the skating game again and he has been there ever since. Not long after the Vanilla sponsorship Darryl attended an event called LAMAE. Kounterfit Krew had been scouting Darryl for his skating ability for a little bit and finally on the last night the owner of Kounterfit Krew, David ‘Smitty’ Smith asked if Darryl would like to be part of Kounterfit too.
Nobody can deny that Darryl has a very unique skating style and personality as well. Darryl can be fierce when he needs to, passionate, and even a little goofy! VNLA member Diamond Walker says: “Darryl has a very unique style that is mixed with creative footwork transitions. He reacts to the music no matter what song is playing. His character on the floor stands alone.” Darryl without his skates on is someone that lights up a room, but when he gets his skates on…his personality could be spotted from miles away. Darryl brings so much to VNLA and Kounterfit. He’s a great example of dedication and hard work.