Get to know our city commissioners: Dane Skophammer

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About seven years ago, Parks & Recreation Commission Chair Dane Skophammer decided to start his own business, “Iron Sand Malibu,” in which he hand-makes beautiful and unique artisanal kitchen cutlery. Photo by Riley Smoller.

Malibu native, ex-chef, ex-athlete and current artisanal knifemaker with two kids, is chair of the Parks & Recreation Commission  

Dane Skophammer has lived in Malibu all his life (except during college) and grew up taking advantage of every outdoor activity the town has to offer — surfing, fishing and hiking, along with participating in basketball and football programs.

That’s one of the big reasons he wanted to serve on the city’s Parks & Recreation Commission. 

“I wanted to make sure I felt like my generation was being represented, and for people that grew up here to continue to have a voice,” he said. “For example, the ‘Snack Shack’ was here when I grew up, and I want it to be here for my daughters.”

However, Skophammer points out that it’s not just about his own children, it’s about what’s right for the entire community and the city. 

“I’d like to build a pool for the city, and make sure the snack shack gets up and running,” he said. “But I think our priority going into the next fiscal year will also be to get the new skate park up and running.”

Skophammer has been making his presence known at recent City Council meetings, where he chooses to give in-person reports on what’s happening with the Snack Shack and other projects, gently putting pressure on the council to remove any roadblocks necessary to get it done sooner than later.

“Our city has a problem, and I believe we have a solution. Let’s not sit on this any longer than we have already,” Skophammer urged at one recent presentation. “We can do something now that will impact the children of this community this season; that would show we care about our sports programs, our children, and preserving the legacy of past generations.”

“I think it’s the responsibility of the chairperson to make sure things happen,” he explained in a phone interview. “Otherwise, we would just go about our business in our own little commission meetings, and council wouldn’t really know what was happening.” 

He also gives a lot of credit to the Community Services city staff that supports their efforts. “They’ve all been pretty amazing,” Skophammer noted.

After graduating from Malibu High School, Skophammer attended and played football for UCLA. Unfortunately, an injury in 2002 ended his future prospects in that sport.

He launched a 14-year long career as a chef right here in Malibu, starting off as a busboy at Allegria, then moving on to the kitchens at Marmalade, Nikita, and Duck Dive. He ended up as the executive chef of the highly rated Malibu Farm restaurant.

Even while working 12- to 14-hour days in the restaurant business, Skophammer still managed to find time to be active in the Malibu community — he’s a member of the Point Dume Fire Brigade, served for a couple years on the city’s Public Safety Commission, and volunteers for the annual homeless count.

About seven years ago, Dane decided to start his own business, Iron Sand Malibu, in which he hand-makes beautiful and unique artisanal kitchen cutlery. The craft combines his knowledge of the culinary world with what an uncle in Paso Robles taught him about custom iron work.

The Iron Sand website describes how “bladesmithing” became a “profound passion,” in Skophammer’s life. He used wood from Malibu vineyard wine barrels and metal scraps salvaged from the Woolsey Fire, and decided to take a risk and go into the knife-making business full-time.

“It’s going good,” he said. “The knives are exclusive and unique, and I have a number of regular clients. It was a big jump to get out of the restaurant industry and into this, but it’s been successful …The kitchen knife as a collector’s item is a fairly new thing.”

Dane sometimes ventures out to offer knife sharpening services, and ends up selling many of his knives that way — he finds that people are more likely to buy a knife if they can hold it in their own hands first. His creations all have Malibu names: Zumirez, Little Dume, Big Dume, and Birdview.

Skophammer was appointed to the Parks & Recreation Commission by City Councilmember Paul Grisanti on April 12, 2021, for a term that will last until January 2025.

Dan Skophammer.jpg

About seven years ago, Parks & Recreation Commission Chair Dane Skophammer decided to start his own business, “Iron Sand Malibu,” in which he hand-makes beautiful and unique artisanal kitchen cutlery. Photo by Riley Smoller.