HOPPS Skateboards Presents ‘Chipper’

For a behind the scenes look at ‘Chipper’ I decided to catch up with dynamic duo Jake Todd and Mark Del Negro. It takes some great friendships and a strong filming chemistry to put out a video project (let alone four), and this new project shows that they both are able to bring out the best in each other’s abilities behind and in front of the camera. Much respect to Kinetic and all Skateshop’s out there that bring skateboarder’s together like this and create a space for independent projects. Read ahead to learn more about these two and enjoy the latest video instalment from HOPPS. Enjoy the ride!

– Jovi

What’s up guys? What are you up to right now?

Mark Del Negro: Coffee and emails. All that good stuff.

Jake Todd: Yooo Jovi. I just got home from work, changing one minor thing on this part before I send the final over to Free. And funny enough Mark is actually meeting up with the homie Brian literally right now to get one last photo for this interview haha.

How did you first link up and start filming together? This is your third part together right?

MDN: We met at Kinetic one day randomly. I was told that day that he was going to be working on the shops new video Silk. It felt natural since all my friends were already skating and filming with him. I was thrown into the mix and here we are multiple projects later. I think this is going to be our fourth project together, either way, I have to thank Jake for dealing with my endless amounts of excuses and melt downs.

JT: So I started hanging out at Kinetic skate shop a bunch and ended up being asked to do their second shop video, Mark was in China when I started filming for them, oddly our paths never really crossed, and I feel like he came back maybe 3-4 months into starting to film for Silk. Ben and Brannon (Kinetic shop owners) kinda threw him at me like ‘you two, film together’. I was so hyped, but maybe he wasn’t haha. But it worked out. Yeah filmed that part, and then we followed up with another shop vid Kings Row, and then I contributed some clips of him for his intro to Hopps part. And now we here. Been filming together ever since. I’m so thankful for that shop video, and Kinetic, because without them, and Mark, I wouldn’t be shit. They’ve taught me so much, and gave me so many opportunities at a young age.

Did you guys approach this new Hopps project any differently than projects from the past?

MDN: We didn’t at first, but once we knew what the project was going towards I think we both kind of freaked out and buckled down. All of our other projects are strictly skating and that’s it, so with it being something for Hopps he knew it would have to be more. I focused on the skating aspect and tried to get what I really wanted. There are still some ideas floating around in my head, but I’ll get to them next time.

JT: I’ve always dreamed of doing a Hopps project. Every edit they’ve ever released has been kinda an instant classic and I’ve rewatched them so many times. When Jahmal approached me about doing a Mark part I was so hyped, I definitely felt the pressure though. I kinda pitched something I had no clue how to do, but it all worked out. I always really loved the old Hopps commercial where the block letters are at the end of the board going through different atmospheres of New York City. I wanted to give a nod to that.

Tell the people a little bit about the ‘Chipper’ character and what he’s up to in the intro of the new part… I feel like Hopps edits always have this cool vibe to them and you seemed to really capture that same vibe nicely in this one.

MDN: There was a shop next to my local skate park that a bunch of us used to hang at during the day. I remember it being an afternoon when most of us were there and the owner called me Chipper when I walked in, from that moment on it’s stuck. As for the intro, that was all Jake’s idea bringing it together to give the people that Hopps vibe! Little dude is enjoying a lovely day in Wilmington!

JT: Dude thank you, that means a lot. I think what he’s up to is kinda the viewers interpretation. I’d rather leave it up to that.

How did you even get him made? Heard he took a nasty spill first go.

MDN: Thank you Josh Fiest you are a beast!

JT: Oh man. My friend Andre Rucker makes and paints amazing 3D prints in his studio. And when I was trying to come up with a concept for Marks part, I immediately thought what if I turned the Chipper character into a kinda real thing. And Andre did that and more for us. He printed him out and painted all the details onto him. He’s so talented.

So it took me quite a while to figure out how to approach getting chipper secured the best way onto a board for him to roll. Literally our first test shot, not even filming yet, we gave him a slight push on the coldest day in December and Chipper hit a rock and went flying, on the way down his legged literally snapped. I went into full panic mode, ran to Home Depot, tried every glue possible to get him back together with no success. Luckily our friend Josh (Feist) is quite the handyman and took chipper, literally put a metal plate into his leg, and sealed him up with some kind of welding glue. And he even got us a much more secure rig for him to ride a board. He saved this project lowkey haha.

Do you think Herr’s will be coming at y’all for a cease and desist?

MDN: I think we were all waiting for that until Herr’s commented on one of my posts, all for it. I am not exactly sure the connection, but if I am not mistaken the owners of Herr’s or maybe a nephew skated at one point and would shop at Kinetic. I think that played a huge part in how all of this worked out the way it did. A huge shout out to Herr’s for letting us rock out!

It was rad to see so much Rodney Square footage in your new part. Slappy tech in full effect! Do you always make a conscious effort to include Rodney Square or other Delaware spots in your parts?

MDN: 100%. If there is a chance to grab a clip at any Delaware spot it’s a great feeling, but I will say I put my self through hell to get footage at Rodney. I’ve skated there for so many years and during any project I will try to grab at least one clip there. I think it looks amazing on film. It’s one of the most rewarding spots to get tricks at. The slappies came with age and kind of resparked the spot for a lot of us. Granite curbs to taller ledges are the best combination. I’ll always have a special place for Rodney and being sure to include the spot in any project I am working on.

Chipper at Rodney. Photo by Jake Todd.

The Doom track is super sick. Was it difficult picking a song for this new part?

MDN: We did go through a lot of songs for this part and some points I didn’t think we would ever find the right one. It’s difficult to find music these days with so many skate videos dropping and then you get stuck listening to the same sounding songs. It becomes a nightmare and can easily kill any spark you did have. Once we heard these songs I was jumping around like a little kid. With Doom’s passing I was listening to a lot of his music but it never really crossed my mind to skate to him. I think it was a the perfect touch for the part- Thank you again Jahmal!

JT: Music is such a headache these days. You obviously want songs to mean something and have longevity. Mark and I were so set on him skating to rap, and especially in skating, soooo many songs have been used. I probably made like 4-5 different edits to a variety of music genres until Jahmal came through with the song suggestions. As soon as I laid it on the timeline I knew it was the one.

Do you have a favourite Hopps graphic? Seems like every graphic has a lot of thought behind them.

MDN: It’s hard to set up most of my boards, but yes I have a couple. Jahmal’s SADE board is heavy, the J Wing, and the Massimo Mongiardo series with the school bus board and baseball game board. Those boards always reminded me of early ’90s graphics.

How was your guys’ recent tip in Miami? And what’s really good with those boxing moves Mark!

MDN: Those moves wouldn’t last me 1 round! It was a little nerve-racking due to covid, but man it was nice to get away from winter for a week and skate in some shorts. The crew was great and so were the empanadas. This was my second time there and I understand why it’s a lot of peoples winter escape. So nice down there.

JT: Mark was fired up! Miami was a much needed break in my life at least. It was kinda our first big trip since covid. I felt a little funny about going down at first, but we drove, we obviously wore our masks, everyone got tested for covid before leaving and the day we left out of Miami, didn’t really go anywhere that felt wrong or sketchy. It was a super successful trip for Mark and the whole crew we had. Honestly best trip I’ve had in so long. Thanks Stewart.

Switch frontside crook. Photo: Brian Weglicki.

Wait I think Jake is also responsible for putting your dance moves on full display for everyone to see also. What was good with that dance clip in full Eagles gear?

MDN: Of course. He waits for people to slip up. I think the Eagles won their first playoffs game the year after the Superbowl, so in my mind, I was thinking we had another ring coming, but that was short-lived. That’s how we all act after a win at my sister’s house.

JT: Oh dude that’s like the most requested Mark clip haha. Just putting that to different songs. Think the Birds won a playoff game, Mark was probably feeling it and threw up that dance. I screened capped it and have so much fun with it. Sorry Mark, all love.

Tell us a little bit about your role at Vans Mark? And Jake you’ve helped out on a few Vans projects as well right?

MDN: I work with skate shops along the Mid-Atlantic, Texas, and Louisiana. My title is Wholesale Marketing Coordinator. We help market new products, instore buildouts and events. I am usually on the road but as of now I’ve been working from home, which is a blessing. We were able to continue do our job, but on a digital platform, which I have to thank the internet for.

JT: When HOV New York was cracking I had some really awesome opportunities to film shoe launches and wear test for Chima shoe and Gilbert Crockett’s first shoe, and other freelance work. And then Vans, before covid, did the Wrecking Crew edits, and I got to show them around Philly for a week and film some for that. Thanks Rye and Sheats.

Backside 5-0. Photo: Jake Todd.

Is it difficult to manage your work within the skate industry while also being a sponsored skateboarder? I know for a lot of people once they go industry side it makes it a lot more difficult to keep up with the obligations of being a sponsored skateboarder.

MDN: I can see other positions definitely taking over skate time, but as for my job it works out pretty well. I still want to skate almost every day so I usually make time to skate when on the road. Especially the longer days during the summer. A lot of my routes have little crumbs or skate parks I can stop at.

What makes the Half Cab ‘the finest skate shoe ever made’?

MDN: Keenan Milton – 20 Shot Sequence and Fred Gall – Sub Zero’s Real Life. They made that shoe look so good and to this day when I am lacing up a pair those parts play in my head. I can’t forget Scott Johnston either. So many of my favourite skaters ran that shoe and gave it that nostalgic feel. In my eyes, the Half Cab is timeless.

There are so many classic photos in Half Cabs out there. Does a favourite one come to mind?

MDN: Matt Reason’s Vans ad for the Half Cab is beautiful. The all yellow page with the shoe on the bottom corner and his back smith at LOVE in the top corner was sick. The lay out of that ad is so random but that has always stood out to me.  Fred Gall’s switch back tail at LOVE. This isn’t a Half Cab reference, but Keenan’s switch crook photo in Vans at Wallenberg is the one! Damn had to nerd out a little bit.

Switch varial flip. Photo: Josh Stewart.

Finally I gotta know.. how did you end up riding for Sixteen Skateboards at the age of 12? That Transworld ad was wild!

MDN: That happened from skating in Tampa AM. I met the TM at the time Rodney Johnson, RIP, and that was really it. That ad was during a trip in Seattle for the Sound of the Fury contest. Jumping down those steps back in the day led me to skating curbs today. That was my first legit ad so I was stoked. The colours were insane, but yeah that was a good time. Bowl cuts, neon pink trucks and sets of stairs. Luckily I found out about ledge skating shortly after.