The Grimness and Grace of Heath Kirchart


Somehow, though a combination of reticence, grouchiness and no small amount of punishing gnarlitude, former Barbarian at the Gate and sometime bikini contest judge Heath Kirchart has over the years perfected the quality/quantity cocktail of skateboarding career moves that most never get right and others probably shouldn’t even bother with, to the degree that few dudes’ video parts are as hotly anticipated as the greasy-haired fellow who these days motors across the country decked out in somebody else’s military medals. It’s a beautiful thing, that such a willfully antisocial weirdo can surface once every few years, command our full attention, and yes, cement his place in the history books by earning the title of TWS’s Best All-Around Skater.

In terms of what he films Heath Kirchart generally isn’t reaching for the high-hanging tech/gnar fruits plucked by the likes of Chris Cole and Eric Koston, and he’s not chasing the biggest/highest/farthest challenges for bonus points either really. And it’s not as though he pulls from a bottomless bag of tricks either (shoutout to the bluntslide and backside flip). But there’s a kind of contemptuous recklessness in the way he skates, heaving himself onto a handrail or slowly twirling ten feet out of some skatepark bowl. And intensity. Oodles and oodles of piping hot intensity.

This sort of grim nonchalance fuels Heath Kirchart’s thundering bloodbath of a bookend to “Mind Field” on a suitably dour Morrissey note as we lap up the usuals (backside noseblunt, switch kickflip, frontside noseslide, frontside tailslide) and some newer ones (switch heelflip, backside lipslide bigspin, kickflip nosegrind, the JT Aultz/ollie over to noseblunt slide); in the meantime we’re treated to a hyperventilating owl and an effort to loosen up the collar of the shoelace belt look for summer ’09. It’s not a party exactly – it seems like it never really is with this dude, even when him and Jeremy Klein were terrorizing shrubberies over a decade ago – but when he gets his inner whipsaw or whatever revved up there aren’t many who shove-it out over gaps or bomb frontside boardslides down hubbas or eat shit better than Heath Kirchart really. And it was nice to see the TSM covers, years old though they may be.

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10 Responses to “The Grimness and Grace of Heath Kirchart”

  1. mort goldman Says:

    *stands up and claps

  2. Captain planet Says:

    Yeah he is an intense determined skater. Always puts out good parts.

  3. theProgram Says:

    dead on.

  4. art hellman Says:

    rolling thunder is still one of my favorite parts

    and yes, I agree that he just has that certain Heath-ness about him

    remember the Heath candy bar deck…inspired genius!

  5. Watson Says:

    Heath is one of those few skaters who is truly ahead of everyone. Basically he does shit, and people catch up to him.

    And is it just me, or does anyone see a young fledgling Heath lately in Leo Romero?

    As for the crack cocaine, I may be wrong, but was he not selling it rather than buying it? God I love that video.

  6. Rikku Markka Says:

    To Watson,

    Heath was (very) begrudgingly selling that crack. Every bit of morality came through in his body language and facial expression as that crack rock sat in the palm of his hand, as if to scream, “Eww!! Get it off, get it off, get it off!!”

    If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about Heath’s video parts over the years (from The End, to This Is Skateboarding, to Sight Unseen), it’s that he no longer grinds handrails. It’s a boardslide, bluntslide, or tailslide. There were just two grinds in this video; the KF nosegrind, and the 180 to fakie 50-50. I don’t need to see him grind rails, his flying through the air (and the speed at which he does it is enough for me). But it’s just something I’ve noticed in this current gold rush of kickflip in (and/or out of) feebles and back Smiths.

  7. Sean Says:

    Slides are to handrails as backside tricks are to ledges? Just a little bit smoother looking in general?

  8. Vitis Says:

    dude, im sure heath smoked crack in the 90’s, cmon. it wasn’t this evil entity to them then, it was just smokable cocaine. which is what it is, i suppose. plus, in epicly later’d, o’dell asks him “didn’t you buy crack in that video?” and he says “yeah.”

    heath kirchart thanks: nobody.

  9. Watson Says:

    Just because O’Dell asks it and Heath says it don’t mean it’s accurate. Especially if Heath was in fact smoking crack at the time, which I highly doubt he was.

    I got that shit on VHS son. He’s slangin, not suckin the glass dick.

  10. Frejya Says:

    Not only is he an impressive skater but I love that he is not another one of these loud-mouthed moronic skaters that talk too damn much. His part in Mindfield was amazing and I wish him the best after he *retires*.

    Also, I think he would be my perfect boyfriend.

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