MEMORIES OF TIM MCDOUGALL ~ 1978 ~ 2017
Tim ‘Dorfus’ McDougall is our seventh inductee into the Slam Hall of Fame. As you’ve no doubt heard by now, Dorfus suffered a heart attack in his sleep and tragically passed away on December 23, 2017. Known to skaters around the world for his roaring frontside grinds, his kind smile and the humble respect with which he treated his friends and family, Dorfus’s induction into the Hall of Fame is bittersweet.
Above: Dorfus, 2004. Portrait: Steve Gourlay.
Originally hailing from Adelaide, SA, it wasn’t long before Dorfus became a household name in Australian skateboarding. As an up-and-comer, he was always keen for a road trip and he soon became known across Melbourne and the east coast for his powerful, high-speed skateboarding. Dorfus had two Slam covers in 2005: the first was a howling frontside air over the Pizzey hip at the Halloween Jam, where he fittingly dressed up as a werewolf. The other was the Photo Annual, going 11 o’clock frontside around the cradle at Rye.
Around that period, Dorfus was travelling back and forth between Adelaide and the west coast of The States, and he soon moved to Portland, Oregon. At the time, there was an abundance of gnarly tranny parks popping up, plus the world-renowned Burnside and a thriving punk scene – all of which appealed to Dorfus. He had pro model boards on US companies Fire Wood and Porn Star, but was better known in Australia for his time riding for Hoon and the infamous Hoon Runs that ensued over the years.
It was in the US that Dorfus met Evette Reyes. They married and had twins, Murray and Emma, and eventually moved back to Adelaide in 2010. Dorfus was a steel fixer by trade, and earned a crust by working construction jobs over the years and building skateparks. Between his kids, his work building skateparks, bowls (with the odd over-vert section) and skateboarding itself, he seemed to have a lot to be passionate about, which definitely rubbed off on those who knew him.
In Slam Issue 83 , Dorfus described his favourite terrain as, “The most daunting of bowls – mass vert, pool coping, loop-de-loop upside-down grind shit.” During his life, he destroyed all of the aforementioned with power and at a pace that had to be seen to be believed. Roll on at high speed in peace, Dorfus.
Standing tall on a Smith grind on the over-vert pocket at Klamath Falls, Oregon, 2006. Photo by Joe Hammeke.
Words by Craig Westergaard
One push and Smith grind into the bank. The first I knew of Tim’s skateboarding was at Reynella Ramp in South Adelaide, ’round about 1989. He was killing it from early on; throwing up saran wraps, head-high frontside ollies and big melons to fakie.
We got our first taste of travel in the form of skate trips around the mid-’90s – doing missions over to Melbourne, then Canberra and Sydney, and later, the unforgettable ‘Skulladulla’ missions.
Early Melbourne trips were usually based around catching a few punk gigs we’d heard about, drinking copious amounts of booze, and skating hard after sleeping in the car or on a makeshift swag next to the bowl or park.
Skulladulla trips became an annual New Year’s convoy. Endless good stories could be told from these trips alone. A few standouts would have to be Dorfus shitting off the vert; Sam ‘Hellchild’ Bennett and Dorfus’s double line over the face wall; the sizzling barbecues; the ‘Summer of ’69’ [card game] – keep betting on 69, it always pays off; and partying in Jezza’s [Jeremy Butterworth] ‘Fuck Off’ bar in Weston Creek.
My main point would be Tim’s role in motivating everyone to get off their arses and start doing trips like these in the first place.
The New Age Burnouts started in around 1997 and went through until around 2002. We were a noisy-arse punk band consisting of Dorfus and Meegan on vocals, Adam Block on bass, Tim Westergaard on drums, and Mike Lee and myself on guitar. Booze was drunk, thrash was played and good times were had.
The band played gigs at the Land of Promise, Producers Bar, Cranker and the Art House in Melbourne. I absolutely loved it when Dorfus spewed on stage at the Flagstaff Hotel ‘Mutiny’ gig, only to unfold an empty carton, cover the spew, stand on top of it and finish the set.
Tim’s good nature and undeniable humble attitude are what sets him apart from a lot of others that skateboard at his level. People picked up on these attributes and formed good friendships with him right around the globe. Gonna miss ya fucking heaps, mate.
Gap to lengthy lipslide at Fulham’s keyhole bowl, 2004. Photo by Steve Gourlay.
Lofty corner frontside air, Vic Park, 2007. Photo by Mike O’Meally.
Words by Luke Brown
Tim ‘Dorfus’ McDougall: larrikin, skateboarder, humble legend. Dorfus enriched my life in every encounter I’ve had with him over the past 20-odd years. One of the first times I saw him was at Brisbane’s Kuraby Skatepark in the late ’90s. With a slight tilt of the head and a sinister eye, like a bird of prey sizing up its next meal, he floated a huge transfer over a vast platform expanse, seamlessly landing into the elongated bowl. I don’t think anyone has done it since. I was convinced he was a mature bowlbarian around 10 years my senior. Little did I know that we shared exactly the same age and birthday to the day, October 25, 1978.
On my first trip to the mythical 32-foot ‘Pothole’ in 2002, Dorfus was wearing tiny stubbie shorts and running 64mm wheels. He hucked a beastly frontside air at 10 o’clock out of the mouth of the full pipe, slapping down into the massive vert wall chute at the entry. At Caloundra’s beer-fuelled jousting matches, I don’t ever recall Dorfus ‘trying’ tricks. He just casually adjusted his trajectory and completed the job like it was always meant to be done like that from the beginning.
He was happy as a pig in mud at the Bel co Bowl Jams, grinding the absolute shit out of it – his trucks barked louder than anyone. He nailed multiple tricks over the channel, including a memorable Lien to disaster. At this time, I discovered that Dorfus had the innate ability to sleep while standing up. I was having a conversation with him and he was in an upright position with a drink in hand. He’d mumble “Yeah” at appropriate times until, after a while, I discovered that he was actually snoozing between each exchange.
Noah Phillips spat in my ear the other day, “Dorfus has the keys to Pizzey.” In broad daylight, while Dorfus roared a frontside five-o grind around the corner, an ember from his truck bounced off, burning brightly as it tumbled down the tranny and came to rest in the flat-bottom, still glowing! When the crew finally focused, Dorfus had grinded over the hip into the shorey. Gatekeeper Seb Steele announced, “Dorfus, you have the keys to Pizzey.”
In 2008, Dorfus picked me up from the airport with a grin, handed me a beer and took me straight to Burnside. There are loads of dead spots where you lose speed, but he made everywhere look fast. A display of destruction! When long-time locals tell you stories of Dorfus, you know he’s made an impact.
Dorfus didn’t care about social media. He’d communicate with me by a phone call, which was always nice. When we talked, he spoke mostly about his kids, Murray and Emma. Most recently, he was stoked because Muzza had started skateboarding and was dragging him to the skatepark regularly.
Dorfus was the most genuine bloke I ever met. He was part of everyone’s crew all over the world. Catch ya soon, Rum Skull – cheers with a Coopers until we grind again.
“Loop-de-loop upside-down grind shit.” Dorfus carve grinds backside, Florence, Oregon, 2006. Photo by Joe Hammeke.
“I didn’t really know Tim as ‘Dorfus’. I just knew him as Tim. My brother, my best mate, a son, and most importantly a loving father to his beautiful children. I will always be there for them. With me and the whole of the SA skate community, we will always help them remember their dad. I love you, Tim.” – Ben McDougall
“It wasn’t just Dorfus’s skating that was raw and powerful. His foot odour was just as gnarly and unforgettable. His first shoe deal with Etnies included 365 pairs of socks, so he could bin a pair each day after he skated… I still can’t believe he’s gone. They broke the mould when they made Dorfus. He always brought the stoke to every session. He didn’t care how well you skated. As long as you had a positive attitude, you were in. Until we meet again, keep the Coopers on ice and save some pool coping for the rest of us.” – Campbell Harvey
“An entire Hoon run on one t-shirt.” – Jim Fowlie
“The humblest mongrel I have ever met.” – Simon ‘Sac’ Reynolds
“Dorfus was me best mate. We built a park or 30. I don’t care how many parks we built, I don’t care how many places we went, but I do know I miss him. He was me mate I could always call (he’d drink three beers with me over the phone) which would remind me what real mates are.” – ‘Hellchild’ [Sam Bennet]
“It ain’t the years, it’s the miles. I really don’t know many people that will live so much in 90 years as Dorfus did in his 39. He was a phenomenal human. His skating life speaks for itself, but there are so many things I will miss him for. Most of all, that laugh. Fuck me, that laugh! Anyone who knew Tim knows exactly what I’m talking about. I feel truly privileged to have been able to have him as my friend for so many years. May he be forever shitting from the highest places imaginable. You will be forever missed, my brother, and the world just ain’t the same without you. Love forever.” – ‘Grub’ [Ben McMorrine]
Burnside took a beating every time Dorfus slayed the joint. 50-50 up and in, 2006. Photo by Dan Podkowa.
Words by Evette Cortez McDougall
I was married to one of the greatest, kindest, gnarliest men ever – Tim ‘Dorfus’ McDougall, and I mean that in the most respectable way.
I came across this interesting, scruffy fella in the fall of September 2005. At that time I had a roommate named Joe Hammeke. I remember hearing him and others say Aussies were in town, and I didn’t think much of it. I was heavily into music and not much into skateboarding, though I respected it. I didn’t know that year Portland [USA] would be swarmed with skateboarders from all over the world.
At that time, I had a special watering hole that I’d frequent, called The Sandy Hut. This is where I met for the first time a thick-accented, flannel wearing, wild-looking fella. I thought, This guy looks really interesting! Funnily enough, I kept running into him over the next several weeks – as if this guy was meant to be a part of my life.
For the next several years I found myself camping, travelling to California, Mexico, Canada, Costa Rica and Australia with this burly, wonderful human. His smile made me comfortable and free to be me. In the next three years came the twins, Emma and Murray, the guiding lights to our lives. I never met such a passionate, humble, hard-working individual that cared nothing more than to do good for his family. We had many wonderful times with the boo’s, our friends and family, that I’ll never forget. During these times I realised Tim let me be me and I let him be Dorfus.
The last time I saw Tim was before Christmas. He was in my barbershop and I gave him a haircut and cleaned his scruffy beard. He was excited to spend his next few weeks off on holidays with the twins. My kids barely understand at times that he is no longer with us. We’re crushed knowing he won’t be there to show Murray new skate tricks or to teach Emma not to be afraid. And for me, a friend to have a Coopers and a chat with on the front porch.
You’ll be missed, Tim. We will always love ya forever. Your Family.
Words By Andrew Currie
Tim ‘Dorfus’ McDougall was a presence that had to be felt. Whether posted up beside a campfire, crammed in a van full of skaters on their way to the next war zone, or, of course, during any session that Tim committed truck to concrete. His was a presence that commanded respect and admiration. A presence radiating from a person who lived completely in the moment.
Anyone who saw Dorfus skate knows that he was the absolute master of drawing lines in a bowl… but, what makes a ‘master’? Well, with Tim, the brilliance was in the unplanned purity of his flow. ‘Flow’ – it’s an interesting word. We know what it means in terms of Tim’s skating, but for all of us who knew Dorfus beyond the skater, the word ‘flow’ describes so much more.
Even though my friend Tim was a few years younger than me, I always felt like his student, under his tutelage, like a younger brother. Tim McDougall was somehow ageless and timeless. I was always in awe of this beastlike wildman on a skateboard, who could then be the most peaceful, calming person away from skating.
Dorfus knew what it meant to flow. Fluidity was inherent in him. Tim McDougall taught me that no matter how fast and hard the twists and turns may be coming at you – choose your line, charge it, and then let it flow. Call that ‘grace under pressure’. I just call it Dorfus. Tim inspired skaters of all ages, and from all over the world, to roll faster, and grind harder. And yet, for a bloke who was such an inspiration to so many, Tim McDougall was the essence of humility.
Dorfus – a proud and loving dad. Dorfus – a mate, in the truest sense of the word. Remember those grinds and that power. Remember his smile and his laugh. We love you, Tim, forever.
A man, a flannel hanging on the railing, and a you beaut back Smith, Port Cook, 2005. Photo by Steve Gourlay.