The Keegan Valaika Interview
So after watching the videos this past snowboard season there are a few people I was rather impressed with and one was Keegan Valaika. He is a powerhouse on a shred stick whether you put him in the streets or back in the hills with big jumps and lines. One of the busiest and most influential riders in the game today took some time out of his super busy and amazing life to answer some questions from me, here is a little look into the mind of Keegan. Photos: Blotto Binky: First off, how is the winter treating ya so far this year, get any super bangers you want to talk about? Keegan: Na. No bangers. Binky: How is life being one of the best snowboarders in the world and coming from Laguna Beach, do you still paddle out bra? Keegan: Laguna’s the shit. I definitely am way down to surf when I’m back home. I usually only get a chance in the summer though… Plus, wetsuits bug the shit outta me. Binky: Lane (Knaack) and I were wondering if you could introduce us to LC or Kristin Cavallari if we came down to Laguna? You know them chickens? Keegan: Nope. can’t say I do. Kristin is definitely fine though. Binky: What would be your most ideal day… snowboarding or whatever. Keegan: Probably an unlimited heli tab in AK with all the homies, sun, and no sketchy avalanche conditions. Binky: How do you think the industry is these days… What do you think of the way legends are being treated that paved the way for all of the pros these days? Keegan: Legends? I guess that depends who you consider a legend right? Personally a lot of the dudes who are legends in my eyes are treated like shit these days. For the most part though, guys like Jeremy and JP who the majority of snowboarding looks at as “legends” seem to be doing pretty damn well for themselves if you ask me. Binky: What direction do you think snowboarding should be going… I know you are a sick film part rider that does 3 parts a year, but don’t you think some contest realm should be involved with the pro rider? Keegan: No. I have no problem with dudes who do the contests and everything. If that’s your thing great. It’s just not mine. If people started making me do contests I would probably quit. Binky: Did you go to Vancouver for the snowboarding event of the year!!??!!(sarcasm) Keegan: Na but I heard Scotty got 3rd. That’s tight. I’m way down for Scotty. Binky: Yea Scotty is the F’n man. He looks amazing in bronze. Looks like you guys have a pretty sick team with Gnarly… wanna tell me about the clothing program you got going? Keegan: Well, It’s still kinda in the works right now.. But, basically it’s a clothing company. We pretty much put all of our favorite snowboarders on the team and try not to take the whole company thing too seriously. There’s too many companies out there these days that are just so serious and trying way to hard to be whatever image they think is “cool,” sometimes you gotta just sit back and laugh… that’s kinda what we’re doing. We have guys like Boznuts who everyone knows in snowboarding but then we also have homies like Nick Russell who haven’t really blown up yet. For me that’s probably the most exciting part, being able to put whoever we want on the team, regardless of where they are on the “exposure meter” or how many other big companies they have running ads of them. The clothes aren’t trying to be super trendy or anything like that, we’re just making stuff that our team likes to wear, like Jonas has a sick jacket coming out in Fall so look for that. Binky: Got any sick film projects set up for Gnarly this season? Keegan: This season I’m doing the Transworld video. That shits gonna be amazing. I’m so stoked to be apart of that crew. Next year though, I guess you’ll just have to wait n see what happens. I think we might be starting a film company… Binky: Hmm… a film company? That’s rad, snowboard video’s need something new. Where ya been and where ya still planning on going? Keegan: I’m on a plane flying home from Prague right now. Shit was so ridiculous, to tell you the whole story would take way to long. To sum it up I flew to Europe with a passport that expired the day after I got to my destination… boner move on my part. So yeah, I can’t even explain how stoked I am to be finally coming home after 3 extra days of passport bullshit. Binky: I know this is a stock question, but who are your influences in snowboarding? Who got you into the game and who is keeping you psyched on the game? Keegan: Boznuts got me into snowboarding for sure. The way he rode was just so much different from most of the dudes out there. His style got me so hyped to go snowboard. I probably burnt out my VHS player with his part in true life. Lane Knaack, Joe Eddy, Ricky Tucker those were some other dudes I was really hyped on growing up. I think they all kinda share that natural ability to make shit look super easy. Binky: If you weren’t snowboarding and inspiring a new wave of youth riders, what would Keegan be doing? Do you have other aspirations in life? Keegan: Probably skateboarding. That’s really the only thing I could do every single day and not get sick of. There’s a lot of other shit I’m into though that’s completely unrelated. My hobbies change all the time though, right now I’m really into drawing and shooting photos. I’ve always wanted to rip guitar though too, so I dunno. I try not to think about that shit too much. I’m happy where I am right now. Binky: Tell me about Gnarly clothing and John Francis, how have you two managed to get a sick and unique clothing company together without the big dogs trying to smash your success? Keegan: Just hustlin’ right now. We’re definitely not making any money yet. If we could just stop losing money that would be good enough for me. Just be able to have this thing staying above water enough so that we can make everything we want to make and still be able to pay a team. That’s the ideal. Binky: How is Gnarly setting themselves apart from all the stale clothing companies in the industry? Keegan: I dunno man. I guess were just trying to not take this shit so seriously. you know? Like be able to laugh at ourselves every once in a while. Clothing companies are too serious these days. Binky: For all the kids out there that love your style and the threads you and Francis are making, where can they get their hands on some Gnarly Clothing? Keegan: I’m pretty sure activemailorder.com is the only online retailer right now. So yeah, scurry on over there for some goods. Also, be on the lookout for the next line coming this spring/summer. That shits gonna be amazing. Binky: Ok here we are gonna do some word association… please no more than a three word answer. B: Olympics – K: oh well B: Double Over Head Surf -K: barrels B: Skateboarding – K: Illest shit ever. B: Gnarly -K: homies B: Bob Klein -K: dank B: Backcountry Booters -K: soft B: Jersey shore(the place) -K: never been B: Jersy shore(the show) -K: guido B: Double cork’s -K: gnarly B: Double kink’s – K: annoying B: Bear Mountain -K: endless park B: Jeremy Jones(the REAL one/Big Mountain) -K: ballsy B: Jeremy Jones(NOT the real one/Jibber) -K: blah Thank you Keegan for your time and a lil peep into your life. You need to come to Tahoe and shred with Lane and I for a few days for Kingstock 4/20/10. Its gonna be a blast. Big ups to Blotto for the ill shots and another huge thanks to John Francis from gnarlyclothes.com, Snowboard Mag, Bob Klein, and all the kids out there who love snowboarding like Keegs does. It’s not all about spinning to win. Have fun. Enjoy the shred. For more photos of Keegan check out www.blottophoto.com.