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skateboarding Writing

Remembering Keith Hufnagel

Today (25/9/2020) I woke up to the sad news that skateboarding lost another great individual, Keith Hufnagel. When I think of Huf, I think of three things:

  • Huf had a wicked ollie. His effortless snap inspired a lot of people to pop higher.
  • Huf skated fast. Whether he was rushing through downtown New York or bombing the San Francisco hills, Huf had everything under control.
  • Huf had a bowl cut. That’s right, Huf’s platinum blond bowl cut was dope. Nobody is repping that hairstyle with his style.

We’re all going to miss you Keith! Condolences to his friends and family.

I remember meeting Huf back in 2005 when DVS were premiering their first video ‘Skate More’ in Brussels. Here’s the interview originally published at caughtinthecrossfire.com I would have liked to upload the audio but my Discman is beyond repair… Peace.

Keith Hufnagel Ph. Ted Newsome

• How long did ‘Skate More’ take to make?

Keith Hufnagel: The idea of doing the video came about 2 years ago.

• This is the first ever DVS video, so was it hard to live up to any expectations people might have?

KH: Sure, yeah! (Laughter)

• Often skaters will be working on several projects at the same time. Is it hard to sit on footage or even lose it to another ongoing project?

KH: Oh yeah! Obviously I have to share a lot of my footage with REAL, but some of the stuff I wanted to keep specifically for the DVS video. When I had to film a part for another companies’ video, I found myself picking bits out of my DVS footage which is tough. Then you have all the footage that doesn’t even get used…

• Keith, you’re known for putting out clean, powerful video parts. Is this intentional, or are you secretly stock piling a load of manual madness and after black handrail hammers somewhere?

KH: (Laughter) No! Well… Yeah we’ll be dropping a special edition DVD with all that stuff in there! (Laughter)

• Growing up in New York and living in San Francisco, would you say those environments have helped mould the way in which you skate i.e. cruising the urban landscapes of the Big Apple and learning to control the speed of San Francisco hill bombing?

KH: Definitely. I mean it makes you skate that way with the hills, and if you ride them then you’ll learn to go faster. If you don’t learn how to control it then you fall! You can’t look like a pussy on the hills! (Laughter)

• What would you say is your favourite Monty Python movie?

KH: Yeah, I used to the watch the ‘Holy Grail’ one a lot.

• Looking at you own video parts, is there anyone in the team you would like to swap with, or perhaps swap with a person from an old video?

KH: The Gonz in ‘Video Days’.

• Well who do you think should have been Skater of the Year then?

KH: Daewon! (Laughter)

• JB had to do the annual pilgrimage over to the States in order to build up his career. However, now the tables have turned and lots of American pros are spending a good 6 months each year flying over to Barcelona and Europe to get things done. Did you ever think such excessive travel was going to happen?

KH: Some people are doing it, but others have family at home and other priorities. If you don’t have any of that then you can just go live in Barcelona for however long you like.

• On a random note, I remember seeing a fuck-off massive DVS sticker on Joey and Chandler’s fridge in ‘Friends’. How did that get there? And which of the two skates?

KH: I think its connections, like one of those guys knows Kevin, Brian or Tim (Gavin), and someone in the show throws it on… (Laughter)

• Can you think of any actors or actresses you would like to see skate?

KH: Dave Chappelle skates.

• With street-plazas popping up everywhere, do you think they will become the norm? Do kids not want to skate tranny anymore?

KH: Well, I think we already have a lot of skateparks built in the States.

• This was more a question for Jason Dill, but seeing as he’s MIA, perhaps you could answer for him; Skateboarding comes across as being very image orientated with ads coming out showing the newest rider rocking a gold chain and striking a pose. Some might even go so far as to say that the companies will favour sponsoring somebody because of their marketability. Do you agree? Are you influenced by such phenomena, a victim of it or playing along?

KH: Yeah, people definitely go through with such plans if they know they can make money off it, but you also have to know how to skate- it’s the skating that should get you noticed.

• But when you have companies with team line-ups that read like an 80’s glam rock band, surely they can’t be relying solely on the skater’s talent..?

KH: It happens in other sports too; Tennis, for example with Anna Kornikova.

• Yeah, but she just changed career altogether and grabbed the modelling money.

KH: Nah, she’s just hot!

• Alright, now we are going to do a bit of word association. Just tell me the first thing that comes into your head. Brussels?
KH: Fries.

• The Osiris D3?

KH: The money.

• Keenan Milton?

KH: Keenan just makes me laugh when I think about him.

• Finally, what does DVS stand for?

KH: It just means ‘devious’ I think…

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