Tucking a stalefish at the Huntington VPS. Photo by Anthony Acosta.
Keegan Palmer talks skateboarding, travel and 4th Place at the Huntington Vans Park Series.
At the most recent Vans Park Series event in Huntington Beach, California, a 14-year-old lad from South Queensland managed to take fourth spot in the men’s division. His name is Keegan Palmer and he’s shaping up to be Australia’s next top-dog tranny shredder. With floaty bonelesses, steezy nosegrinds and huge backside 540s, the kid is great to watch on the board. And considering he gets to spend eight months of the year travelling the world, he’s a humble young fella. In amongst a busy schedule of skateboarding, world travel and distance education, Keegan made time for a quick chat about his life so far.
Interview by Nat Kassel.
Hey Keegan, congrats on coming fourth in the VPS! That was your best result in the series so far, you must be stoked.
Thank you very much. I wanted to make a final on my first year on tour so bad. I knew it would take some time to improve. I had to miss Brazil because I broke my ankle on a Nike SB trip in Sydney. It’s really hard to push up from the challengers division on the series because everyone rips so hard. So yeah, it really felt great. I was so stoked.
Pretty gnarly for a kid who’s only 14. What’s it like competing with a whole bunch of grown men?
Thanks, man. It’s cool being on tour with everyone because it pushes your progression forward so much. If you don’t go for it then you’re not getting through. The guys you’re skating with are so good and they really inspire you to go hard. I feel pretty comfortable with everyone. We all skate together over in California in the off time.
Are you the youngest dude on the whole tour?
No, I think my mate CJ [Collins] is about six months younger than me.
Sounds like you’ve developed a bit of an American accent. Are you spending a lot of time in the US these days?
[Laughs] Yeah, Jack [Fardell] gives me a lot of crap about it. I’ll be in Oz soon and [my Australian accent] will come back. It just seems like you adapt automatically to where you are, it’s weird. But yeah, I am spending a lot of my time in the US now because of trips and competitions. It makes it a bit easier to launch from here.
Do you still have to go to school back in Queensland or do you get to spend all your time travelling the world and skating these days?
No, I don’t go to school but I’m part of a distance education program based out of Queensland. I travel most of the year – at least eight months – so you just can’t keep normal school stuff happening. But the distance education thing is cool because you can do it online. Sometimes it’s hard to study after skating 20 hours in a day but my mum is a saint for putting up with me.
Do your parents come along on all these trips?
My parents have been really busy with their own stuff so I did Australia by myself, because it’s home. Most the trips I do have been with a good friend and filmer Josh ‘Peacock’ Henderson. Dad was able to come to Canada [for the VPS event in Vancouver] with me. It was great to do a trip together – it’s been like two years.
Nice, so it sounds like you enjoy the travelling lifestyle?
I love travelling and meeting new people and seeing new cultures – it’s the best thing ever. Skateboarding really has a way of bringing people together. It’s rad; I think the best part is skating with new people and new spots.
What are you doing when you’re not skating comps? Have you got other stuff happening in your life?
Lately it’s all been competition, I went to Canada, did the Dew Tour, the X Games and the VPS at Huntington Beach. I usually just skate with my friends here in Encinitas. When the comps aren’t on I go on trips with Peacock, travelling and filming stuff. I like to surf when I have the time. Right now I’m at Camp Woodward in Pennsylvania having a break.
They call you ‘The Fidget Spinner’, who started that nickname and why?
[Laughs] one of The Boardr guys started it. I think it’s because I never stop moving.
At one point, the VPS commentators mentioned that you’ve been breaking a few hearts out in Southern California. What’s the story there?
If I answer this I might get in more trouble. There are definitely a lot of girls in Southern California.
You only just missed out on scoring a spot on the podium. Is that the next goal for you?
Yeah, most definitely, that would be a dream come true. I’m going to try hard for that.
Blasting a backside air, Malmo VPS. Photo by Anthony Acosta.