"I ended up in Las Vegas on a search one time...so I slept in my truck that night, did more searching the next day then drove home."

Dakota Roche has been consistently cranking out classic video parts for well over ten years now and that doesn’t come without some serious hard work and dedication. Dakota is known for his commitment to finding new, untouched spots for him and the homies to get down on. As a connoisseur of unique, one-off spots myself, what better to talk about than the process…

Classic Dakota steeze right here, dumpster ride to 180
Photo: Jeff Z

Kicking it off with the basics, name, age, sponsors, etc: 
Dakota Roche, 32 years old, I ride for Cult Crew, Vans, and Cinema Wheel Co. 

So let’s talk street riding, you wake up in the morning, planning to go out for a day of riding, what are you doing to get ready? 
So on a weekend street mission I like to get up pretty early, get out of the house quick, grab a coffee and a quick bite then hit the road. I really enjoy getting out to the zone a couple hours before the rest of the crew to do some searching, spot prep, and just jam on some tunes to get everything feeling right. It’s super therapeutic for me, almost feels like meditation in its own way.  

Do you like to watch videos before you ride? If so do you have one in particular that always gets you siked? 
Definitely. Off the top of my head there are a few AK pieces that really get me hyped. So many dudes motivate me though, it’s hard to narrow it down really [laughs] 

Dakota is climbing onto a roof to scope out a setup, but this may actually be considered stretching as well.
Photo: Jeff Z

You get to the first spot, out of the car what are you doing? Stretching? Trying to find a little warm up spot? Sending it right off the jump? 
It all really depends. All of the above work at one time or another. If we pull up to the spot and it hits me with the nervous excitement, I like to get on it quick while I’m in the zone. Sometimes I forget to stretch at all, but my body still feels pretty good at this stage so it’s all good.  

What is your preferred size crew to hit the streets with? Some people prefer riding alone, some people like every session to be like a jam, where do you fall on that spectrum? 
I think my favorite sized crew is like five people. Stealth enough to hit spots that are a bust, but big enough to have a vibe and have some laughs. 

Are you conscious of what you eat before/during/after riding? 
I really go through fazes with this, but I’m pretty mindful for the most part. I learned that if I’m eating lots of bread/carbs in the middle of the day, I’m weighed down and more lazy for the afternoon session. I feel best mostly eating meat, veggies and fruit.  

Wallride to table over the rail made possible by fruits and veggies.
Photo: Jeff Z

In your opinion, what is the best temperature for outside sessions? 
70 degrees is pretty perfect.

Do you prefer to pedal or drive from spot to spot? Which do you end up doing more often? 
There’s something really special about pedaling from spot to spot, but I end up driving most of the time. It’s not as easy in SoCal because sometimes you’re hitting spots that are like 30 miles from each other in the same day [laughs]. 

What’s in your bag when you go out riding? Do you carry tools? Tubes? Wax? 
Most of the time, my truck is nearby and that’s where I keep all my stuff. I have a tool bag with pretty much anything you’d need to fix a bike and tubes, pedals, grips, peg sleeves, wax etc… I also have my “Make Spots Ridable Again” tool box with bondo, brick rub, a few different saws, hedge trimmers, pry bar, mallet and more. 

You get a flat, are you patching ‘er up or putting in a fresh tube? 
I’ve been patching tubes a bit more lately, especially if it’s a flat from glass or a thorn. Trying to be less wasteful, but if it’s a pinch flat, it’s a fresh tube. 

Do you ever ride with headphones? 
Not too much actually, hear and there. [Editor’s Note: not sure if this was a typo or a pun, but if it’s a pun that’s a pretty good one haha

Basking in that 70 degree California sunshine
Photo: Jeff Z

There’s usually a question about whether you would head to the indoor park or bundle up and still hit the streets in freezing cold weather but I imagine that’s not much of an issue in Southern California, so in this case the question is; When is the last time you ride in below freezing temperatures? Was it productive, and how much do you actually mind riding in cold weather? 
The last time I rode when it was really cold, was in New York on a Cult trip in late October. It really wasn’t even that cold, maybe 45 and windy, but I really struggle with it [laughs]. Slamming hurts so much worse and it’s just way harder to warm up. 

The next few questions are from Jeff Z, who knows Dak a lot better than I do

Jeff Z: Exploring is a big part of riding for you. Finding new spots is always  fun, but you obviously take it to the next level. What’s your motivation? 
My motivation is just how much I love the process of it all and how rewarding it is finding something you’re stoked on. My riding and video parts would not be the same if it wasn’t for the search. It’s essential. 

Jeff Z: Let’s try to get some stats…how many miles do you think you’ve driven? How many days spent? And where is the furthest you’ve driven for a single day for the sake of searching? 
I’ve easily driven a couple hundred-thousand miles on searches in my career. Days spent would be pretty hard to figure out, but I’d say 1-2 entire days per week since 2007ish. I ended up in Las Vegas on a search one time(4.5 hours away) so I slept in my truck that night, did more searching the next day then drove home. But I’ve been like 3 hours away from home on several searches then drove home that night. 

This probably felt amazing. Curved wall-rail icepick back in 2014
Photo: Jeff Z

Jeff Z: Do you typically search solo and then come back with friends and a filmer? 
Yeah, I prefer to search on my own then come back with everyone another time. I can’t think of many people who’d wanna be dragged out for hours and hours sometimes coming back empty handed, I don’t blame ‘em, but I love it. 

Jeff Z: How many of the spots we’ve seen in Cult videos over the last few years were fruits of your labor? 
A good amount for sure. That’s the thing though, I’m doing this for the whole crew, not just myself. If we’re homies, chances are I’m looking out for you when I’m finding spots, like “Woah, Sean would love this spot!” It’s just as rewarding seeing one of your friends get a trick at something you found.

Jeff Z: Obviously there’s always going to streets/neighborhoods you’ve never been to, but overall, is there much area left in Southern California that you haven’t covered? 
I’d say I’ve pretty much been through 95% of Orange County time and time again. I’ve done quite a bit in the Riverside area as well, but LA seems endless to me. Still have lots of hours to clock there and definitely SD as well, I don’t know much down there at all.  

Back to Pat…

As far as I know you’re SoCal born and raised, would you ever consider moving elsewhere? Ever think about coming out to the East Coast long term? 
I love all the time I’ve spent on the East Coast and I really love the style of spots in Philly and NYC more than California spots. I can see myself really enjoying spending 3-6 months out there, but it’s hard to imagine not living in California, I love it here. Austin and Nashville have also been places I’ve considered, but the beach has a hold on me. 

As you can tell, Dak is no stranger to hopping up on a roof.
Photo: Jeff Z

Totally random one to wrap it up here; I’m sure you’ve talked about it in the past, but I came across the part the other day and I’m intrigued, what was the plan for the first clip in Stay Fit when you fell into the puddle? Were you going to 180 the railhop and land fakie in the water intentionally? Or go over the whole thing?  
The goal was to 180 the rail and land fakie in the puddle, I thought the splash would look sick on video all slowed down…well I did land in the puddle, and there was a splash, but not exactly the way I was thinking [laughs]. I got out of it with just a very sore body, no broken bones or anything. 

Anything you’d like to plug before we wrap it up here? Upcoming projects or anything like that 
I’ve been working hard on another Native Land part for Cult, this will be number 4, it’ll be out this summer. Also, we have some really cool Vans stuff in the works, I have a shoe colorway and some new signature apparel coming early next year. So stoked! 

Peep some of Dakota’s legendary video parts below and click right here if you want to read some more P’s and Q’s interviews with your favorite riders.

2 thoughts on “P’s And Q’s – Spot Searching With Dakota Roche

  1. Dakota has and still shines super bright✨✨ love his style and over the years the fruits of his labor of love are always over the top!!

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