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Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun. Now there's a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky. You were caught on the crossfire of childhood and stardom... -Pink Floyd»
(introduction: Ed Templeton) I’m sure Heath Kirchart is thrilled that there is a website now dedicated to his professional skateboarding career. In my understanding it’s the kind of thing he would hate. When I was asked to be part of this website I felt like I was being asked to write a eulogy. But Heath’s not dead, far from it. He just made a major life choice and is very much alive. »
This major life choice was to officially end his pro skateboarding career. I think we tend to romanticize skateboarding and build a myth around the whole idea of going pro and becoming a personality in the skate world. It’s seen as a dream job, getting paid to do the thing we love to do and would be doing anyway. We forget the actual pressures put on these pro skaters to perform, the fact that a collection of sponsors all pay this person money and expect them to produce footage, photographs for ads and magazine articles in return. They are expected to go on tour, and smile at the demos while doing their best to impress the public. And that’s not including the pressures they put on themselves, which in Heath’s case were palpable. These pressures often place a wedge between the reason one began skateboarding in the first place, and the business end of it. »
So by saying goodbye to professional skateboarding, and telling his sponsors to stop paying him, Heath has cleanly broken the chains of that career responsibility. He is now beholden to no one, and can skate when he feels like it, and enjoy skateboarding without the self-imposed pressure to be the best he can be. He clocked out. The thing is, he didn’t have to clock out. Everybody loves Heath. He could have kept collecting money for years. His pro board and shoe would continue to sell. Even half of Heath would be better than many in skateboarding. Yet, I don’t think he sees it that way. »
He knows he could keep his pro skateboarding career alive for years to come, but he chose not to. Maybe like Wayne Gretzky he wants to leave while on top, or maybe he’s just not having fun anymore. If you have set a personal standard for yourself that you realize you will no longer physically be able reach anymore without hurting yourself or going insane, then maybe the smart thing to do is cash in your chips while your still ahead.
So I will write a eulogy, not for Heath as a person, but for the death of his professional skateboarding career. »
Here at these glowing pixels of your computer screen we come to bid farewell to one of skateboarding’s brightest flames, extinguished now, and gone from us forever. Heath Kirchart entertained us with his heart-stopping video parts, and captivated us with his quirky and mischievous personality. He freaked us out when he stalked people filming tricks at his favorite spot UC Irvine. Under cover of night and dressed in black, a multitude of young skaters tried to emulate his mercenary style and loner ways. He often preferred to let his skateboarding do the talking in magazine interviews, not for lack of insight, but because he thought that was the only thing anyone cared to see. »
Today we grieve the loss of a great professional skateboarding career. Although it’s painful, remember that Heath Kirchart’s pro skate career is in a better place now, free of pain and suffering, relaxing on fluffy white clouds, waiting for all of skateboarding's finest to one day retire. Skate career heaven in an empty place; leave it to Heath to be a pioneer. We will miss you Heath Kirchart’s pro skate career. Rest in peace. - Ed Templeton
One time we went to jail together because we called the cops on ourselves. We didn't have a ride home and we were drunk”- Bob
Bob: One time we went to jail together because we called the cops on ourselves. We didn't have a ride home and we were drunk. So we had this idea that if we called the cops they would take us to the drunk tank and let us sleep and we would just wake up and go home. So I dialed 911 from a pay phone and told them there was a dead body. We just sat by the pay phone and laughed for a few minutes. The cops came 5 minutes later and when we told them our plan they werent amused at all. They took us to jail. It sucked.
Jeremy Klein: One time Heath and I lit fireworks at some gas station in Texas. Someone called the police and we and had to go to the courthouse at 2am (that morning). The judge of whatever small town we were in came to the courthouse in her robe and slippers just to make us pay a $50 fine for lighting fireworks at a gas station. Man, times sure were fun back then.
Greg Hunt: Heath loves to gamble. The two of us were driving from Ohio to Texas and he wanted to bet on the arrival time in Houston. He bet me 20 bucks we couldn't average under 72 mph and make it there in less than 12 hours. Heath hates to lose, so when we arrived in less time, he offered double or nothing if we kept the bet going all the way home to Los Angeles...another 1500 miles. The bet was for the same 72 mph average (a 22 a hour drive) and arrive by 9:14 the next night. It seemed like easy money to me, so we shook on it and kept moving. This time Heath was determined not to lose. He'd drive slow and always take his time at the gas stations buying snacks to delay time. I drove the final stretch and was so tired by the time we got home that I made a wrong turn off the exit by his house with only 4 minutes remaining. It looked like that had cost me the game and Heath was loving it. I raced through some red lights and we pulled into his driveway at 9:14 exactly. We'd just drove across the entire country and it was a tie. That's why I like Heath. Never a dull moment.»
A Viking... A modern day one who watches CNBC”- Greg Hunt
Bob: Misunderstood. Allot of people are intimidated by him for some reason. He is actually one of the funniest people I know.
Leo: That old guy that's retiring.
Dave Swift: Determination.
AVE: Navy blue Dickies uniform and gnarly-ness.
Greg Hunt: A Viking...A modern day one who watches CNBC.
Bob: Because 1,000,000 man-crushes cant be wrong right?
Leo: He’s one of the very few pros, from then & now, that makes skateboarding cool & bad ass.
Dave Swift: He's proven by his actions on a skateboard that he is legendary.
AVE: Stupid question.
Greg Hunt: Because there's never been anyone remotely like him...and there never will be. »
With so many people milking skateboarding to the very last breath, it's awesome to see someone go out while still on top”- Dave Swift
Bob: I've known Heath for 10 years now. That entire time he has been filming and going on trips for the companies he rides for. Now he can just relax and do whatever he wants. He's been talking about it for ages so it didn't surprise me. At the same time, I feel like skateboarding is losing one of its best.
Jeremy Klein: Very classy, but, I personally don't like it, I think there should be a bigger deal about it. and I don't care what anyone says.
Dave Swift: It's sad that the era of his gnarliness is in the rear view mirror. With so many people milking skateboarding to the very last breath, it's awesome to see someone go out while still on top.
AVE: Bummer. I hope he still comes on Workshop trips from time to time. He's always good fun to have around.
Guy Mariano: I look up to Heath for that. He knows he could hang around for years and collect checks. He is going out on top of his game, and is not going to put out parts/photos of stuff he doesn't believe it is worthy of a pro skater. I also feel like, fuck if Heath is retiring, what the hell am I doing here?
Jake Phelps: Smartest move. I wish I could have done it. »
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Skateboarding for skateboardings sake, Heath is a beast.
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