When Chris Haffey’s last video part came out in July 2011, the opener of Brandon Negrete’s video Regardless, Chris was already touring with Nitro Circus Live. Staying in shape for several stadium-shows a month and performing all that superman stuff on a mega ramp, entails physical fitness to the max and as a result Chris decided to step back from street skating to continue living the dream with Nitro Circus.
In August 2014, word got out that Chris got back into street skating a little more and even started to collect a few clips for f33t. That alone caused excitement within the blading community, and knowing that Adam Johnson was working on a VOD series with the Vibralux team riders, the rumors about Haffey’s first full-length video part in 4 years soon started to spread.
In November, Adam met up with Chris Farmer and Haffey in ATL and Arizona and things got serious. The first pictures popped up online and people started to realize that a full-length part was most likely going to become reality. The hype grew and discussions got started. Would this part live up to expectations? How serious did Chris take the project and was he even able to skate hard on the street, while still being under contract with Nitro? Time went by, and the questions remained…
That was until this last Monday, when after a long, frustrating day of work we received a magic email here at Be-Mag. While finishing the interview with Chris about this very section, Adam Johnson sent us a raw version and asked for feedback. Time stopped, headphones got plugged in, and the video played. And played, and played again. My cheeks started to hurt from smiling, and I realized that I just shouted on my computer for the first time in a very, very long time, out of pure excitement.
After watching edits on the daily, filtering the Be-Mag news and working in blading for almost two decades I might have gotten a little bit desensitized when it comes to blading videos. But this part took me back to when I was a kid and watched Coup de Tat for the very first time. Somehow, it made me feel like this is all worth it. It gave me motivation to step up the Be-Mag game even more, work harder and contribute better. It made me realize once again how beautiful blading is and how fortunate we are to be a part of it. And for that I would like to thank Chris Haffey. I think we all should.
Interview: Johannes Jacobi Photo: Adam Johnson, Jeremy Stephenson
Hey Chris, Where are you right now and what did you do before answering my questions?
I am in a hotel room in New Zealand at the moment and I just got back from white water rafting in Rotorua.
You recently went to Arizona with Farm and Adam Johnson to film for your Vibralux VOD section. How many days did you spend there and where else did you go to get clips?
Yeah Arizona was one of the trips we went on while filming for this. I think we were there for 5 days. I also did a week in Atlanta with Farm and AJ, spent 2 and a half weeks in Cali with Farm and AJ, and then did a trip to Kansas City with AJ to finish the part up just after Christmas. All up I think we spent a solid 5 weeks or so filming for it.
It is the first time in long a while that you’re working on a street profile. Can you remember the last street edit or video section you put out and how does it feel to be back on the streets?
Yeah it’s definitely been a long time. I think the last street edit I did was the one for the WRS contest at one point but the last real video part I went out and filmed for hard was Regardless with Brandon Negrete. That was a solid 4 years ago now I think? It’s insane how fast time flies.
Anyway touring pretty much took over my life just after we finished that one and to be honest with his passing I felt like I lost a bit of that side of me because I worked on so many parts for his videos and he filmed almost everything for me (along with Lonnie) in general for most of my other major video parts I had in the last few years there. I definitely had mixed emotions being back in the streets. It was amazing to be back out with Farm and AJ though. It felt just like old times.
But like with anything when I thought back on filming sections I only really remembered the good times, and forgot about all the bullshit you have to deal with like cops, heros, cars being parked in the way of spots, little kids running around asking if you are going to be on scarred, sitting in a car for 5 hours trying to find a spot worth filming, and getting into a battle with a single trick for hours to name a few.
I also got so used to being in a controlled environment on tour and that it made it a bit hard to block out the world around me when I was first getting back to skating street. Like with anything though, the more I did it the more comfortable it became. I am honestly pretty happy with what we were able to accomplish, which actually says a lot because I have never been happy with a part in the past when it came out because I always felt like there was more I could do to make it better. While I obviously could do more to make this part better, given my current scheduling situation I feel like we hit the nail on the head as best we could!
Following on Instagram one could get the impression it’s almost going to be a ditch only part. Did you skate other stuff too?
Haha I never really thought about that. It’s kind of an interesting outside perspective! We skated all sorts of things though. It’s a full on street part for sure. Ditches have really just started to come into play a lot more with me because I love jumping big gaps, but as I am getting older my body doesn’t really appreciate that too much. Ditches give me the opportunity to jump the type of stuff I want to jump but land with much less impact. Gaps have always been a big part of my sections and I’ve always said I wouldn’t want to put something out that wasn’t on par with what I have done in the past. Ditches let me jump big stuff while also being mindful of what I am doing to my body.
How is it filming with Adam these days? Is he pushing for bigger tricks or anything like that?
Filming with AJ was awesome. I honestly owe this whole part to him cause I tried to back out of it before we even started and he talked me back into it haha. Now that it’s done I am extremely thankful that he did! In terms of pushing for bigger tricks, he (and pretty much every filmer I’ve ever worked with) just always lets me do my thing, but will make a suggestion for something that he might think I am capable of that I hadn’t thought of. I wouldn’t say at any point he was pushing me to go bigger than I wanted to though.
Since it’s going to be your first street file in a while, the expectations are high and people are really looking forward to it. Did that put any pressure on it and how did you deal with that?
First off I am glad that people are really looking forward to seeing a new street profile from me! That being said it didn’t add any pressure because I don’t really care what people think of me or what their expectations are of me. That sounds a bit harsh, but what I mean is I have always just skated the way I had fun skating or did tricks I thought were cool and thankfully enough people seemed to enjoy it. I never did anything because I thought I needed to live up to any type of expectation of what people or sponsors wanted to see from me. I think I would crack under that type of pressure if I didn’t actually want to do everything I did over the course of my career!
The other thing is I’d like to think that I hold myself to a pretty high standard, and the reason I tried to back out of the part with AJ before we started was because I wasn’t sure I would be able to put out something I was proud of, and I refuse to half ass anything. Especially something we are asking people to pay for! We definitely had to put more work into this than I was expecting as well though. A few extra trips at times that I really didn’t want to leave home, but we were both committed to doing it right and I think we did just that.
Your job is doing shows with Nitro Circus and that’s also the reason that you didn’t work on a street section in the past years. How was your mindset this time? Where you afraid of getting hurt, and how did that affect your spot and trick selection?
Well just in general I don’t enjoy being injured at all, so my spot and trick selection has always been to choose spots I am confident I have the ability to actually do whatever it is I want to try. Obviously injury comes with the territory in skating and eventually you will get hurt, but if I find myself scared that I am going to get hurt on a specific trick or have any feeling of hesitation I know that means I am not confident enough in my ability to handle the maneuver I am thinking about trying. While the thought of getting hurt and not being able to do shows was always in the back of my head, when it came down to it, I really just didn’t want to be injured, period.
Is there such a thing as “no street skating” written into the Nitro contract to make sure you’re not getting hurt?
Definitely not! I am the last person they need to worry about haha. If you check out Travis’s new movie Action Figures when it comes out you will see what kind of things the other guys on this tour get into with their time off and you’ll see what I am talking about!
What trick are you most happy with and why?
I have a couple of lines on a down ledge to a square rail in Atlanta and they were actually the first tricks I filmed for the part I think. It had been a really frustrating day of driving around and getting nothing done and then at 5pm we found this spot, but we had to prep it (rub brick and wax a rough ass ledge) and make it skateable. I ended up getting two pretty sweet lines on it and it just kind of set the tone for the whole project. We stuck with a really discouraging day and ended up getting two things I was really happy with. That was exactly what the filming process was like. It was tough at times but we stuck with it and now that its done I am really happy that we did.
Photo: Jeremy Stephenson
Which one was the hardest one and why?
I think I would have to say all the tricks I got in Kansas City. It was hard enough for me to convince myself to go out there in the first place because I went the day after Christmas and I had a ton of friends and my girlfriend’s friends and family in town and I left warm California to go to the bitter cold of Kansas City. It was hard enough skating in the cold but then wanting to be at home during the holidays made it even more of a mission. Now that all is said and done though those were the last tricks we got and I think they add a lot to the part, so I am happy that I made the decision to go.
Did anything funny happen while being out there filming? Any cool stories you want to share with us?
Plenty of funny stuff happened off the blades spending so much time with Farm and AJ, but I think the funniest thing that happened was actually the most frustrating at the time. The entire filming moved relatively slow in terms of clip production unfortunately and while we were in Arizona we had our last day planned out and we were going to start the day at a famous Arizona spot that both Farm and I had tricks in mind that we were both really confident on, to hopefully start the day off on a good note and carry the momentum from there. Everything was going perfect, we were up early, got some brekkie and coffee in the system, and were on the way to the spot at about 9:45am. We parked the car and got our stuff together and started walking into the ASU campus and as we rounded the corner to the spot we saw that it was a massive construction zone. The entire area was all fenced off. If that wasn’t bad enough the entire purpose of the construction was to make the spot unskateable. They were installing these massive metal bars in rows every few feet all the way down the ledges we wanted to skate. At that point it was so bad that it was funny and Chris and I just got in my car and drove back to California straight away and that was the end of our otherwise very productive trip to AZ haha.
Did Farm get some good stuff together as well? How was it being out filming with him again?
I think it goes without saying that anytime Farm has his skates on he is getting absolutely unreal shit put down. Unfortunately a lot of the time we were out filming together he was hurt, but that also didn’t always stop him from getting rad shit done anyway. I couldn’t have asked for a better dude to have around for encouragement and advice even when he couldn’t skate though. It was awesome being back in the streets filming with him and AJ. We fell right back into the swing of things and it felt like no time had passed since we had last filmed together. He also gave me some great ideas for tricks to try at spots that I would have never thought of because he sees things with a completely different eye than I do.
What plans did you make for 2015 already? Can we expect some more street action again, or is the Nitro Circus schedule packed again?
2015 is going to be a really busy year! The Nitro schedule is more packed than it has ever been, so I am guessing it’s pretty unlikely you’ll see any more street action from me any time soon. I’m hoping that this part is good enough to hold everyone over for a while!
After all these years being on tour with them, does it start to get boring or is it still as much fun as it was in the beginning?
Hell yeah it’s still as much fun as it was in the beginning! I think it’s actually getting more fun the more we do it. The ramp we have is my favorite thing to skate in the world I think. It is just big enough to be a little bit scary without being so scary that it’s not fun. It feels like floating when you are in the air, and that is one of my favorite places to be! On top of that the group of people we have touring has become like family and the stuff we get to do during the off days is always unreal. I honestly don’t think I could even imagine a better situation for myself to be in right now. It’s a dream I never knew I had come true!
Do you sometimes think about yourself in let’s say 5 years from now? What in life makes you happy besides blading and what job could you see yourself doing in the future?
I definitely always think about the future, but I also try my best to just let things happen how they will and enjoy each moment as it comes. If you are too focused on the future you could miss out on what’s happening right now, and thankfully what’s happening in my life right now is something I definitely don’t want to miss out on! A lot of things make me happy outside of blading right now though. My girlfriend being the main one, and as I am getting older family is definitely on my mind a lot more and having one of my own is something I think about a lot. My girlfriend is Australian and I love it out there, so I could definitely see myself ending up out that way with her.
In terms of work I have a lot of things I could see myself doing and have a few connections that might make some of them possible, but at the same time as long as I have a happy and healthy family I could see myself doing a lot of different things. I really just can’t see myself ever being in a 9 to 5 or office environment. I find working with my hands to be really rewarding. Long story short, if you had asked me at any point in my life so far where I would be five years later I wouldn’t have answered correctly and it’s always been way better than what I would have imagined, so I can’t wait to find out!
Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer our questions. Any shout outs?
No worries man! I’ll have to start with AJ because he is the whole reason this thing happened in the first place, and then talked me back into doing it when I tried to quit. Farm for being Farm, but also for spending countless hours driving around with us even when he couldn’t skate and making all the trips that much more fun. My girlfriend for being the most amazing girl in the world and for dealing with me leaving for weeks at a time in the only few months I had off of touring. Thank you for understanding! I love you. The whole VX team for being bad asses and for all the guys who already put out VOD parts and set a high standard to follow! VX for being an awesome company and sticking around through thick and thin all these years. Kato and Remz for doing the same thing and making the best blades in the business. Julio for being the President and running Youth and Them Bearings to keep my grinding and rolling fast. Matt at Intuition skateshop for the continued and amazing support and getting me whatever I need on real short notice at anytime! Isaac at Eulogy for keeping wheels under my feet and making a good enough one to stand up to what I put them through. Be-mag for caring to ask these questions and anyone who took the time to read it. The biggest one I would have to say is a massive thank you in advance to anyone who buys the part! Hope that you guys all enjoy it as much as I enjoy being able to release my first full street part in years! I know I’ve missed a million people but those are all the people that made this project specifically a reality!