Chris Haslam & Kevin Harris: Out Of The Wild (Part 2)

Continued from Part 1

TWS: When did you first hear of each other?

Harris: I heard of Chris when he started skating Richmond [public] skatepark. With Chris, the word innovative kept coming up.


TWS: I remember a flurry of chatter about Chris when he was still relatively unknown and it was always the same thing—you can’t pinpoint his influence. I’d never heard that before.

Harris: What impressed me was that he skated the way he wanted and didn’t seem to care what people thought.

TWS: Where did that that wide berth of influence came from?

Haslam: I think part of it was growing up in Singapore and the delay of the videos. They were random videos—one was called Skateboard Superstars. And Eddie who ran Go Sports was from the ’80s so I had a lot of ’80s influences coming from the store. I’d try to forget [what era a trick came from]. I was also trying to learn the tricks that were supposedly the hot tricks at the time, but were probably three years old by the time [I became aware of them].

Harris: I tried to learn tricks from the magazines and I’d learn them differently than they were actually done. There were no videos. I’d come down to California and see the skater who actually did it and only then realize that it was different.

Haslam: I think more people need to learn tricks like that. The other day I was skating and tripping out because some of the tricks reminded me of skating in Singapore. Like hardflips, my brother always thought those were called impossibles because he saw it in a mag and couldn’t really follow the sequence.

TWS: Do you get that Singapore feeling often?

Haslam: Back when I was a kid, that feeling of how rad skating was took place all the time. Landing a new trick for the first time isn’t as pure a feeling but it’s similar. Wanting that feeling keeps me going.

TWS: When did you first see Kevin?

Haslam: I had seen Kevin in some of those old videos and when I moved to Richmond, I started hanging out with some of the people who worked at Ultimate. [Harris' skateboard distribution.] The first time I saw him skate live was at RDS Skatepark and Kevin was doing one-footed spins and I tried them.

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Harris: None of the other skaters ever noticed me. Chris blew me away. Sometimes I’d just watch him skate and he’d land a modern trick and then do a total 1975 trick. I admire Chris for learning that stuff in the first place but even more for finding a way to adapt it into his skating.

Haslam: I don’t see why we should put a time limit on a certain trick or technique. Who cares what type of skater you’re called? Doesn’t matter to me. When I see skaters like Kevin I just want to be able to do what he’s doing, but I haven’t figured out the balance part of it yet. Every time I’d see Kevin at RDS, I’d want to learn some of his tricks so bad but then I’d leave and get sidetracked and when I’d see him again I’d get bummed that I hadn’t been working on them. I can’t do most of the freestyle moves that I want to.

TWS: It seems like you skate with no discriminating filter.

Haslam: I like a lot of tricks in older videos. They could be the simplest things, like Alphonso Rawls doing a weird slappy to bonk over a curb—that’d be sick to do on something else nowadays. It seems like there’s a time period for tricks and if enough time goes by and somebody does it again, it’s seen as sick. A lot of people ask me where I get my tricks from and a lot of them are from trying a trick that’s fifteen years old and it turns into something else. Most of the time it comes from somebody else’s hard work.

Harris: Chris is right about the time lapse with tricks. When I go to skateboard parks, the younger kids think my skating is new.

TWS: Was it difficult to know how your skating was being viewed? Kevin had contests, which meant everything back then, but you didn’t have that gauge.

Haslam: After the almost video I think I was appreciated for my skating instead of people thinking that I looked like this dude, so I should skate a certain way. I used to have no money and a shaved head and then I grew the hair and beard out and actually had money to buy the clothes I wanted and this turned into an issue for some people. That was my big introduction to how harsh the [industry] world of skating can be. I was just like, screw it. Who cares what people think? I thought skatebaording was about skateboarding. So I was super psyched when people liked my skating.

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TWS: You crushed the TransWorld 2006 Reader’s Poll.

Haslam: I was really surprised. That gave me the motivation to do more of what I was doing.

TWS: Do people tell you they appreciate your take on skating?

Haslam: The older skaters, like my age, will comment that the Cheese & Crackers video got them back into skating mini-ramps or just skating more. Stuff like that is always awesome to hear. A lot of people told me that they were burnt out on skating and what they thought was the repetition that skating has taken these days. They told me that the video was so different that it gave them something new to get sparked on. That was good to hear when we thought it was going to flop retardedly bad for a low budget project.

TWS: You were nervous about the reception to Cheese & Crackers, right?

Haslam: Yeah, fifteen minutes on the same ramp? But we just went for it, three months of solid skating in the warehouse. By the end I was so sick of the damn warehouse. But I think it was the right time for the video. Mini-ramp seemed to have gotten lost and we always thought it was fun to skate. We wanted it to be like the older videos, kinda shitty like VHS to VHS recordings, but in a new school way.

Stay tuned for the final part 3 coming soon!

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You may not be able to tell, but Kevin is spinning like a madman right here.

Photos: Blair