It’s easy, and usually totally appropriate, to celebrate the good in somebody once they are gone. In death, we remember their best qualities and finest moments. We can speculate on the great things that were to come but now won’t happen without having to face the reality that most of our heroes shine much less brightly through their second and third acts. It is safe to say that, while an early demise is always tragic, some legacies clearly benefit from ending before they can be diluted.
Keith Hufnagel‘s recent death after a private battle with brain cancer that lasted several years requires no selective retrospective. His life, his interactions, and his career(s) were simply all good.
Continue reading “I wanted to do my best” – Huf in Non-Fiction
Unlike others in the skate-sphere who have passed away, where we have to choose to ignore some of their less savory moments and celebrate their skills and contributions in skateboarding while looking away from their less admirable sides, or having to face the question that if they had somehow altered a couple of decisions they would still be with us. There is none of that. Huf ruled on and off the board.
A standard feature of the skate video full length since the early 1990s is the montage or “Friends” section. Usually a song in length, we get treated to an assortment of tricks from skaters not featured elsewhere in the video and rarely even on the team in a pro/am sense. It is a highlight reel of geographic pals, sister-company associates, flow international team riders, and otherwise unclaimed ‘other’ tricks that went down during the filming sessions.
While occasionally refreshing and at random times containing a surprise banger, these parts are easy to forget. There are, however, exceptions.
For your consideration, the NYC montage from Transworld Skateboarding‘s 1997 Greatest Hits video (itself basically a 35 minute montage of montages). Note: Greatest Hits was the title of TWS’s 3rd video (4th is you count Dreams of Children) featuring all new footage and not a greatest hits video in the typical use of the word.
Filmed mostly by Ryan Gee (I assume), I’m looking back at these clips through a lens 20 years thick and thinking this part does a surprisingly satisfying job of encapsulating NYC skating in the mid 1990s. All the more unusual being produced by a magazine that is staunchly SoCal.
The spots, the skaters, the sounds, the grit, and the crowded, cavernous feel of skating in a pre-skate stopped (and pre-9/11) Manhattan… Huf is popping, Keenan is alive and well, Puleo is doing a variation of the cellar door thing, the Banks are covered end-to-end, and Quim is at his most Quiminess. Some tricks from obscure-only-if-you-weren’t-there legends like Chris Keefe, Ryan Hickey, and Peter Bici give the part a little more authenticity. Now, if only Transworld had sprung for a Mobb Deep track.
I also miss back when it was ok to put the skaters name on screen. Why did everyone stop doing that?