Full Q & A with JEFF KEENAN
He's always grinning... What is he smiling about... ? What is he not saying... ? If you've ever met Jeff Keenan, you get the sense that he knows something that you don't. The sense that somewhere along the way he was introduced to Sinatra's, 'My Way', and decided those would be the lyrics that he would live his life by. What is his way? And how is he so confident in it? As it turns out, Keenan's 'way' is with friends and in the mountains, continually pursuing his love for snowboarding. As an owner and co-founder of DWD, it's plain to see how Keenan's influence and confidence has kept the brand on it's current course, handling it's growth while maintaining a firm grasp on it's roots. Whether it's the day to day at Dinosaurs Will Die, fine tuning the next version of his pro model (The KWON), helping out friends and fellow team riders, or stacking clips for his next video part... Keenan's got it handled... smiling all the while, letting his actions speak louder than his words... and letting his riding speak for itself.
DWD - As a kid, there is TONS to do growing up in Vancouver... what was it about snowboarding that hooked you?
JK - I came from a HUGE Hockey family and the cost of hockey programs were to much for a family of 3 boys. Skiing was less expensive at the time, so my parents took that route. We were all on the slops as soon as we could walk, and the
first time I went snowboarding was 1990. I was 10. I remember watching old Burton movies and they would be at Lake Louise jibbing garbage cans and hitting picnic tables. I remember my eyes bugging out of my skull at the sight of that. It changed everything, I was embarrassed of skiing, I would wear my ski suit and ski in the morning (because I had to) and at lunch I would run to the car and change into my Wide leg pants and Oversized Plaid Jacket before my friends
could see me. I did this for a season and that was it. Skiing was passé and Snowboarding has
been my life ever since.
DWD - Is that what still stokes your love for it today?
JK - To me Snowboarding is my life, it’s a true lifestyle, being out in the mountains with my friends and family, filming and progressing. I’m old in snowboard years,
but I don’t feel it, every time I go out and ride I want to do something that I have never done before. That’s the thing with it, the options are limitless, you can follow the pack and get bored or you can steer your own course. I used to think it was the backcountry that held all the creativity, then I came back to Seymour, Heneghan and all the young guys were riding park like I’ve never seen. Ollieing over rails to quick turns into down-bars and having ideas to ride closeout rails with wooden banks behind them. It was so fresh compared to the basic FSBS down a 21 stair that I was so over seeing. Now, I look at Larson, Hupp, Brewster and so many of the young creative riders hitting street stuff, and I’m so inspired by it.
DWD - How has your perspective on snowboarding and the snowboard industry changed since you were first introduced to it?
JK - I was sponsored when I was 16 and I’ve seen the money come and go within the industry. The financial situation is one thing but the participants are another; those who stick out the bad times are truly the ones that reap the benefit of
the good times ahead. I feel we are in a great position with snowboarding right now. It is coming full circle and the industry is once again in the hands of true snowboarders. Our “Industry” is no different from any other, every industry in the world goes through growth and strategic cycles, and we are a youthful, experimental and innovative group. It took us as snowboarders to revive the ski industry, with sidecuts, twin tips, powder specific boards, camber profiles all come from the brains of snowboarder. If we stay on our path we keep snowboarding alive and strong.
DWD - Is turning something that you love into your livelihood a benefit or a burden?
JK - Burden is pretty strong word, it’s not a burden but a stress. All you want is the best for everything and everyone around you, to balance this is the true key to success. What I loved when I was young is what I love today, there are massive ups and massive downs but in the end you are doing it your way and not answering to anyone other then those who surround you.
DWD - If we were to find you on a 'perfect day'... where would you be?
JK - At 6am already on top of the mountain watching the sunrise with a group of friends. All ready to work and ride, trading off filming and riding cliffs, lines, jibs, and building a jump in the afternoon. Hitting our last feature at sunset and coming home healthy (with a couple of clips) to a bunch of cold beer and positive emails. Haha that would be perfect!!!!
DWD - What influences you?
JK - My Surroundings, I never really put anything on a pedestal when I was young. You see, growing up on Seymour you would see guys like Kevin, Devun and even Peter Line, ripping around. I’d watch what they did and pull little tweaks and styles from what I saw. Seymour was a teaching ground it taught me that nothing is perfect and you can only create with the tools you have. For me these tools are the mountains, ocean, friends and family.
DWD - What are a few of the things that you knew you needed to have in your board (The Kwon) when you were designing it? How does that set the KWON apart from the
rest of the DWD line?
JK - I had the pleasure of riding with Tyler Lepore for two years. He is a tiny guy and rides wide boards. When I stopped riding Option boards, Tyler hooked me up with a couple of his pro model Capitas. They floated in powder like no other board I had ridden before, however it was too stiff for the quick maneuvering I like. I wanted the Kwon to be a little wider for Powder with a more forgiving flex pattern for tree riding. I like to compare the Kwon to an Anti-Hero or
Creature bowl board. It is made to rip fast and strong with a slight forgiveness.
DWD - What are some rad things that you're seeing on the horizon for snowboarding?
JK - Innovation in board technology is insane. The ideas and visions that have come to life and the resurgence of past ideas made better are truly shaping how we will perceive Snowboards in the future. As for snowboarding itself, the paths that one can take are growing year to year. From seeing the streets as a blank canvas to the allowance of split boards into where only helicopters could go, we are pushing into the unknown. As we explore deep into these areas progression endures.
DWD - What advise would you give your younger self now?
JK - To stop going big and save your body, wait I need to tell that to present day me. Ummmm, Don’t take things to personal and don’t hold grudges. Your time will come, and you will be stronger once you know this.
DWD - The people wanna know... when can they expect that next J-Kwon video part?
JK - Well the last one took a couple of years, the next one will take quite a few, lets say 10-20 years.
Follow Keenan on instagram and on facebook, and go get your DWD Kwon board are your local DWD retailer before they're all gone! <w>
"The Nike x Poler Vapen Premium QS Snowboard Boots are the first collaboration boots between Poler and the one and only Nike Snowboarding. Boasting a mid-flex feel for all around riding and a camo tongue and interior liner, this boot will gain you much deserved recognition on the hill with all the performance you expect. The design is inspired by the Mogan Mid 2 with the superb fit and feel of the Kaiju."
You can describe Jake Blauvelt in many ways, but two words that resonate with the dynamic rider are: Well Balanced. From his aggressive riding to everyday life, Jake focuses tons of his energy on being well balanced. Yes, Jake kills it on the board, but to be able to consistently perform at such a high level demands dedication and hard work. Jake eats well, unplugs from everything by going fly-fishing, and knows he's super fortunate to be able to do what he does.
In the final installment of The Postcard Series with Scotty Vine, the Arbor Snowboards crew heads to Washington to hit up Stevens Pass. Scotty is joined by fellow Arbor riders Mike Gray, Ryan McLaughlin, Blake Axelson, and Ian Wood as they go from huge backcountry lines, to killing it in the park, to a firey urban spot. Postcards has been a great series to get everyone stoked on winter and we look forward to see what Scotty Vine and the rest of the Arbor team has planned for this year.
Where the hell is Turkey Head Lake? Well, we can't tell you that. We will, however, show you what it looks like. Sammy Luebke and Mark Carter get lucky with some fresh pow and blue skies in this edit that is sure get you jonesin' for the white stuff.
Eric Jackson's full part from Naturally. Follow Eric on Instagram: @ejackshreds
How do three guys who get paid to surf the world, shoot movies, and design sweet gear still make you want to pick up their tab?
By: STEVEN KOTLER
Chris, Dan, and Keith Malloy in Malibu, California, September 2006 Malloy Brothers.
1. THEY'VE HAD A LONG DAY
For the Malloy brothersChris, 35, Keith, 33, and Dan, 29going to work means,as Keith describes it, pursuing "the lost art of beinga waterman."
"A waterman," explains Chris, "knows how to swim, surf, bodysurf, paddleboard, spearfish, and freedivebut really it's about having a rhythm of life dictated by the ocean's moods."
Which is to say being a waterman is a bit complicated. It can mean inventing new kinds of surf quests, like Keith and Dan's 2004 paddleboard mission along 50 miles of the central California coast. Or making movies with their surfer-artist crew, the Moonshine Conspiracy. Or lending a hand on a commercial fishing boat. Or designing products for their employer, Patagonia.
Take last year. In February, Keith packed up his biodiesel Dodge truck and surfed, climbed, and hiked from Bend, Oregon, to Cabo San Lucas and back again, meeting his brothers along the way for forays into everything from forest onservation to sustainable agriculture, which were documented in a book, Bend to Baja. Then Dan left for a monthlong bullet-dodging, wave-hunting sojourn through Liberia, while Chris went off to scout locations for a surf movie in Chile. In May, all three put together, literally, Patagonia's flagship surf store, in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California, painting the walls and installing the gear racks.
Next, they headed to Indonesia, partly to test Patagonia surfboards but also because the 2004 tsunami had crushed the northern end of Sumatra and the brothers had decided, as Dan puts it, that "the whole damn archipelago had given us so much that it was time to give something back." So they did: $162,000 via SurfAid International, comprising a $150,000 Moonshine Conspiracy donation (equaling the profits from their 2003 Indo-based film, The September Sessions), plus $12,000 from a benefit they hosted with Patagonia. They followed that with two days of labor in a community garden.
By the end of the year, the Malloys had surfed more than 330 days each in a combined 11 countries, including Panama, Fiji, and Micronesia. "Our lives are about perpetual motion," says Chris. "We don't ever sit on our asses."
2. YOU OWE THEM ONE
Last October, I paddled out into the lineup at Huntington Beach, California, with Dan Malloy. It was a perfect dayof shining sun and overhead dream wavesexcept that we were at ground zero for surfing's hotdogging rude boys. Worse, the 2006 ISA World Surfing Games were just up the way, so the water was ego-to-ego with pro riders.
Which meant the only waves I caught were when Dan blocked for me. Dan was once a competitive pro himself: He won the 1996 OP Pro Junior and placed second in the 2000 U.S. Open of Surfing. The same is true of Keith, who in 2000 was one of just 44 surfers to qualify for the world championship tour. Even Chris, who's always eschewed contests to chase monster waves, once accepted an invitation to the Big Wave Invitational in Memory of Eddie Aikau, on Oahu's North Shore. And yet, one by one, they all dropped out. Dan explained why best in 2002, when his confession that competition was making him "lose my love for surfing" made surf-press headlines.
Unfortunately for me, Dan also grew tired of Huntington; after he went ashore, I couldn't even get scraps. Finally, I shoulder-bashed four takers out of the way and sailed down the line. To say I rode that wave with any noteworthy ability would be to ignore the guy to my left pulling a 360 aerial and the guy to my right ass-deep in a tube, but then the cheering started.
"Wow," said the guy closest to me, "that must have been some wave."
"It wasn't that great."
"Well," he said, pointing over my shoulder, "that's Dan Malloy making all the fuss."
"We always need to surf vicariously through everyone else, too," explains Chris. "That's why we quit contests. We'd get so excited for other people, we'd forget to compete against them."
3. THEY CAN HANDLE IT
To understand the Malloy brothers, start with their dad. In the sixties, Mike Malloy held his own at Topanga, the SoCal break famous for fast waves and ferocious localism. He made ends meet laying industrial pipeline. In 1975, he moved his family to a small farm in Ojai.
Mike Malloy is now 59 and runs a cow-calf operation north of Santa Barbara. His toughness is the stuff of family legend. One evening, at Keith and Dan's two-story beachside bachelor pad in Venturafive miles from where Chris lives with his wife, Carla, and two-month-old son, LucasI was standing next to the outdoor grill with their friend Chris Del Moro when Chris Malloy began arranging the hot coals with his bare hands. When I suggested tongs, Del Moro laughed. "Mike never uses tongs either," he said. "He just reaches in and goes for it. Whenever Dan and his friends do anything hard and painful, they chant, 'Mike Malloy, Mike Malloy, Mike Malloy.' "
As teenagers, the boys hitchhiked 15 miles to Ventura to surf and spent summer stints in a tepee they built on the beach. When Chris turned 18, in 1990, he moved to Hawaii. "He was unbelievably fearless when he got here," says big-wave rider Shane Dorian. "He went from six-foot California slop to 25-foot Waimea without blinking."
Two years later, Keith followed. In his first week, he surfed a dangerous outer break called Himalayas. In 1993, at 18, Dan went to Polynesia to ride Teahupoo, one of the world's heaviest waves.
Yet as all three boys will tell you, the toughest Malloys are their mother, Denise, and their 25-year-old sister, Mary. Mary was born blind and deaf and with severe cerebral palsy. She requires constant care. "We can go catch 30-foot waves," says Chris, "but then we come home to a sister who can't walk or talk or move her hands without shaking, and a mother who was up all night long with her for the first seven years of her life. You very quickly realize that every day is a gift and that you need to treat it with respect."
4. BECAUSE IT'S A WORKING LUNCH
Early on, the Malloys were a lot like, well, other extremely talented professional surfers. They picked up their first sponsor in 1987, when Channel Islands Surfboards founder Al Merrick gave them a contract for boards and spaghetti dinners. They've come as a package ever since. Their first big endorsement deal was with Billabong, in 1991. When Billabong president Bob Hurley launched Hurley International in 1998, they went with him.
In April 2004, the Malloys jumped to Ventura-based Patagonia. The surf industry was dumbfounded: Why work for a company best known for mountain apparel? "Bob Hurley treated us like family," says Chris, "but we were really tired of the entire Orange County surf paradigm. It's become Hollywood. It's no longer a sport; it's a look."
The Malloys had befriended Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard in 2000, when Keith bought the Ventura home where he lives with Dan across the street from Chouinard and his wife, Malinda. When he began talking to them about the viability of building out Patagonia's surf line with sustainable, function-first products, Chris recalls, "we told him it would work and that we wanted in."
They've since had a hand in every aspect of Patagonia's surf line, from advertising to the design of the Cardiff store. Inside, you'll find the Malloy-designed 80-percent-non-petroleum-based wetsuit (most are 100 percent petroleum), along with non-Patagonia waterman essentials like spear guns and paddleboards. The apparel includes organic-cotton versions of layers from their own closets, like an overcoat modeled after Chris's old army jacket, andfollowing a typical Malloy notion of what's practicala side-vented shirt that allows you to comfortably hold a surfboard while riding a horse. "Surfing takes work," says Keith. "We're making durable work clothes."
5. IT WON'T GO TO THEIR HEADS
"Look," says Chris, "don't write that we're these do-good humanitarians. Don't write that we're rabid environmentalists. We're just fun-hogging tube junkies. But we've realized we can have all the fun we want and still leave something good behind."
6. THEY COULD MAKE YOU A STAR
The Malloys started shooting movies in 1999, when Chris and then-unknown musician Jack Johnson borrowed $100,000 from Bob Hurley andalong with Keith, Dan, and othersstarted surfing and filming around the planet. They named themselves the Moonshine Conspiracy.
Chris calls their projects "home movies." And they are, featuring scenes from a trip to their ancestral Ireland or shots of friends hand-making guitars. Their first film, 1999's Thicker Than Water, shot on 16mm, felt like a return to an earlier era of subtle, wide-angle surfer storytellingalbeit injected with doses of some of the best wave riding ever captured on celluloid. It also sparked Jack Johnson's careerthe soundtrack was an underground hit. They've released four more films, involving such co-conspirators as Kelly Slater, Eddie Vedder, and Ben Harper.
"Thicker Than Water swung the pendulum back to the right brain," says Surfermagazine editor Chris Mauro. "It was a monumental shift."
7. THEY MIGHT TELL THE SUPERMODELS STORY
Usually, they hate to talk about it. In 2001, the brothers appeared in a Vogue shoot on the North Shore. "We didn't try to be in that," insists Chris. "We met the photographer at a benefit for an elementary school. He asked if we wanted to spend the next day rolling around in the sand with supermodels. Dan was single. Keith was single. The surf was flat. Who doesn't want to wrestle with supermodels?"
For the Malloys, the answer really does depend on the surf. In 1996, Dan modeled for Ralph Lauren for a few days in New York. But when they asked him to continue on to Florida, a swell was hitting the California coast. He went home.
All three brothers are over six feet and chiseled and surf like demigods. Are they just interchangeable?
Complementary is more like it. Chris, who does most of the talking, tells me about a time all three showed up at a local break and saw a guy they'd had a fight with out in the lineup. "So," he says, "I was thinking about how to logically explain my actions, Dan was worried about how the guy felt, and Keith just said, 'Fuck him, get in the water.' "
8. THEY'LL TALK TO YOU
Not too long ago, Dan smashed his cell phone with a rock. He wasn't angry, just making a decision. His laptop is next. Nine times out of ten, Chris's voice mail is full. If you get through, he might call you back. Keith won't. In 2003, Surfer's Chris Mauro had to convey to ABC that, no, Keith didn't want to be The Bachelor.
9. THEY'LL DRINK IT
One night before I was to go surfing with the Malloys, Chris called me. "Hey," he said, "if I don't make sense it's because we've been drinking. But I helped my dad move cows today, Dan's been doing a monster surf session, and Keith's gone boar hunting. So I guess dawn patrol is out of the question."
I arrived at Chris's place the next afternoon to find him skinning a leg of the boar Keith shot. He lectured as he worked: how to tease the skin away from the meat; which of his herbs would make the best marinade. For a waterman, Chris spends a great deal of time pondering his backyard. The acre is already home to chickens, ducks, two large German shepherds, and a steer. He recently added a pair of baby boars.
Keith, meanwhile, is launching expeditions to icy, virgin breaks. "British Columbia, Alaska, the east coast of Canadamost of these spots are completely unexplored," he says. And Dan's working with surf-film director Taylor Steele on a new movie.
But at the moment, Chris just wants to drive over to his brothers' place to surf and eat. "I don't know if there will be waves," he says, "but we'll get wet, watch the sun set, and cook some food. That'll be good enough for todayactually, that's good enough for most days."
Last winter, the K2 Snowboarding team headed to British Columbia and convened on the snowy slopes of Whistler. There, they filmed for new video series, Seek and Destroy. Judging by the teaser, it seems that Whistler was the perfect destination for this well-equipped group of riders who tackled some of BC's infamous backcountry terrain with aplomb, and settled natural features and park lines alike. Enjoy this sneak peak of Seek and stay tuned next week for the first episode. Featuring Shaun McKay, Matt Belzile, Lucas Debari, Jake Kuzyk, Alex Rodway, Danny Larsen, Jordan Mendenhall, Leanne Pelosi, Mason Aguirre, Kyle Miller, and Matts Kulisek.
Enjoy this short teaser highlighting our winter of 2013. The Smith Snowboard team enjoys the perks of the Idaho landscape, living life to the fullest while searching for the next backcountry gem. Smith Optics is located in the heart of Idaho where we don't pretend to be from someplace else, this is our home, and we're keeping it real in our backyard.