How do you encapsulate a person’s legacy when that legacy was larger than life? In the case of Ken Block, whose contributions to skateboarding, snowboarding, and action sports, as a whole, helped to define an entire era, and then were followed by a career in motorsports that was revolutionary on its own, there are not enough words to do justice to the impact that he had on the course of industry, sport, and culture. And even moreso, it was his immense impact on the people around him, his collaborators, friends, and most importantly, his family, that is his greatest legacy of all.
In 1991, Ken co-founded Eightball Clothing, the beginning of a seismic path that would lead to the creation of Blunt Magazine, Droors Clothing, Dub, and ultimately, DC Shoes in 1994. DC was created on the simple premise of, in Block’s own words, “making shoes for skateboarders,” but it quickly grew and caught fire as a cultural force not only in skateboarding, but also in snowboarding, BMX, moto, and more. He had a way with big ideas and was the creative catalyst that shifted the current in ever-exciting directions.
Ideas that Ken Block brought to life in the early 2000s are burned into snowboarding’s collective memory. The every-snowboarder’s-dream of the DC Mtn Lab; a Subaru WRX hitting jumps in New Zealand next to Torstein Horgmo, Eddie Wall, and Chas Guldemond; dropping into Peace Park in a Can-Am Maverick as Danny Davis aired over; driving a Ford Raptor at Baldface with Zak Hale snowboarding–the things that Ken dreamed up and made happen were nothing short of giant, built squarely on a contagious passion for the things he pursued.
In 2004, Ken sold DC Shoes and while he remained close with and involved in the brand, he shifted his focus to motorsports and again, became an inventive pace setter whose relentless drive changed the status quo. Through his Gymkhana videos, rally success, founding of Hoonigan, and wildly popular Youtube videos, Ken’s resonance extended further, inspiring more and more people.
It is through his trailblazing career, unwavering passion, and many, many accomplishments that Ken Block shaped boardsports culture as a whole (as well as that of motorsports, of course), but in a much more personal way, it was how he befriended, supported, and contributed to the success, aspirations, and enjoyment of others, from team riders to friends, and of course, his family, that defined the electric force with which he lived. Ken Block was a visionary who wasn’t satisfied to do things by the book and who always swung big. His ability to think wildly unconventionally and dedication to achieve the unimaginable has long been an inspiration–and will continue to be so, always.
His passing is an incredible loss to the snowboarding community–to every community he was so paramount within–but we are eternally grateful for everything he has given to us all. It is with great sadness, as well as enormous admiration, that we say, “Thank you, Ken” and work to honor his lasting impact as we go forward. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and close circle.
Across the snowboarding community and beyond, heartfelt words are continuously being shared by those who Ken impacted, illuminating the many lives that he affected so deeply. RIP Ken. Thank you.