FUCKING AWESOME & LEAVING ALIEN WORKSHOP WITH KEVIN TERPENING

photo: sam mcguire

back 180 in ohio / photo: sam mcguire

If people still value the idea of “paying your dues” then Kevin has undoubtably done his time. Seven years ago he moved from Ohio to LA, working in warehouses, living in basements, and buying groceries at the 99 cent store to pursue skateboarding. He was sponsored by two shoe companies that both coincidentally went out of business (eS’ & Gravis), was almost stranded on an Element side project and he’s still standing. Finally with some stable sponsors and recently leaving Alien Workshop to join Ave and Dill on their new venture, Fucking Awesome, the stage is set for Kevin to become a household name if he wants to be.

You recently left Alien Workshop for Fucking Awesome skateboards. Do you think Workshop is a sinking ship?
I don’t know, Ave and Dill leaving definitely freaked a lot of people out. I know Grant Taylor left and that’s pretty devastating. I think with Mike Hill, Chad Bowers and the brains behind it all – as long as they are there and allowed to do what they want and not some corporate people telling them you need to make stupid shit or whatever, the Workshop will always be a sick company. It’s their baby. They still have dudes, I don’t think it’s a sinking ship. It’s just a weird time for them for sure. I am still a fan of the company, still friends with everyone, and hope they are still around for a long time.

Do you feel like you took a big chance by leaving the Workshop?
I didn’t really feel like it was sketchy or anything. Dill and Ave, they are the two dudes I skated with, the two dudes who made Workshop sick. Not that anyone else wasn’t sick or anything, but they are like the two older brothers who show everyone the way or whatever. They didn’t really even give me a choice – they were just like, “You’re coming with us.” It totally makes sense, they have great ideas and Dill’s a psycho, it’s sick. I grew up riding Workshop forever, it was kind of a bummer but it made sense and I knew later down the line I would be bummed if I didn’t make the jump with them.

photo courtesy of huf

photo courtesy of huf

When you moved from Ohio to LA what was your first impression of the skate industry? Some people talk about how “cool” and clicky it can be, did you experience that at all?
Yeah I think for the first few years I was almost kind of turned off of skating, being sponsored and seeing behind the scenes. It bummed me out for a while and made me wanna have a regular job. People are gossipy and everyone talks about everything. It’s fucking stupid. Meeting certain skaters and shit and feeling like that they had this kind of self-importance vibe, like they took themselves more seriously than they should. It was a shock but that’s how it is with anything. If I would have moved to LA to pursue anything else besides skateboarding it would be the same way.

I read in an interview that when you first moved you used to use shoe stuffing as toilet paper.
I don’t know, I was broke and didn’t have any money. I lived in a skate house with all my friends, nobody wanted to buy that kinda shit, so that’s what we used for a while. It’s pretty fucked up [laughs]. I don’t know how we pulled it off, we had a lot of shoes, I was riding for éS at the time. It was definitely fucking harsh, it might have given me a hemorrhoid or something at the time but I don’t know. If I was still using skate shoe boxes now my butthole would be malfunctioning [laughs].

Did you ever consider just using water? That’s what they do in many other countries.
I mean we’d definitely do like, a shit and shower. But that doesn’t work dude, I thought it did.

You gotta stick a finger up there too though. You gotta clean it out, splash around. Would you do that?
[Laughs] No, I’m not really into fingering my own butthole. We didn’t do that, I would just shower and think it was normal, but would just feel fucking crusty.

Is it true you are banned from skating The Berrics for life?
I guess. I mean, I was banned a long time ago, maybe a year or two after I moved out to LA. I went there recently, they had a Halloween HUF party and I went there dressed up and skated the new Berrics. That place is fucking fun. It was a long time ago, I don’t really even have much to say about that shit anymore.

Someone said it was because you were talking bad about Berra?
My friend Cody [Green] used to be the main filmer, he was like the original person that started the Berrics with Berra and he made the first website and filmed everything. We used to go there before they turned it into a website. Then the whole Berrics thing started and I didn’t really wanna film anything in there, because I just wanted to skate and have fun. Berra had rubbed me in the weird way I guess, me and some Workshop dudes were saying shit, fucking around, you know like how everyone does. Somehow someone snitched to Berra or he found out and freaked out on Cody and said shit about me. He said something in a magazine interview but didn’t say my name. He called me a sourpuss or something [laughs].

Sourpuss?
The thing is, I probably was. When I was younger, I was like fuck this, fuck that. I would run my mouth a little bit more. I think I’ve calmed down now. I don’t really care. As long as I’m doing what I wanna do, I don’t really give a shit. I actually have seen him since and he didn’t say anything to me. I don’t have any reason to hold on to it. It was so long ago, if I saw Berra now I wouldn’t give a fuck.

photo courtesy of huf

big melon on the stoops euro tour / photo courtesy of huf

It sounds like you were hurting for cash back then. How are you doing now?
That was just a time – I had a job but quit because I thought skating was maybe gonna work out and éS paid me a little bit of money, but you know $500 a month is really hard to live on in LA. I wouldn’t be trying to do it still, if I was still making $500 a month now. It’s not really worth losing your mind, not having a place to live, not being comfortable. I’m definitely doing a lot better than I was doing before, thank god. I tricked enough people into paying.

So you’re saying if you were still being paid $500 a month you probably wouldn’t be pursuing skateboarding as a career?
No, definitely not. I would still go out and go street skating and maybe film tricks but I wouldn’t like be beating myself up about trying to go out and film my next part or trying to make more money. I’m 26 years old now, I’m still a skate rat, but it would be pretty harsh to still be trying to survive off of that same amount of money. You get to the point where it’s like, alright, this is probably not gonna work out…

What was your lowest point? You sell boards and gear to keep surviving?
Hell yeah. There’s this old dude, LA Dave – he’s like 5 feet tall, he just has this skate store [LA Skate Co] and he buys product and shit from skaters. I would go in there with like 10 pairs of éS and boards and that’s how I would live. That’s how a lot of people have lived. He gives you like $20 for shoes and $20 for a deck. It’s kind of a rip-off but he always has money. It’s crazy, no matter how much shit you have or what it is, he will buy it off of you. I don’t know how it works. If you don’t have any money and you have to eat, go there. He has never once denied me. I had some old boards I didn’t ride and old Gravis’s and I thought there was no way he was gonna buy any of this shit but he took it all and just gave me $300. I don’t know how it works, so fucking weird. If you ever come to LA, go to LA Dave. He’s sick, definitely saved a lot of people from being broke.

courtesy of chromeball

courtesy of chromeball

Some people have claimed Dyrdek “ruined” the Workshop. What do you think?
I think he might have done a little damage to be honest. I like Dyrdek, he’s nice and cool and pretty funny. I’m a Workshop fan, deep down inside, way beyond me being on the team at one point. I don’t know. I just kinda wish Workshop stayed this really core deep-down thing that didn’t have to have one foot in the mainstream side of skating. But when you turn on MTV and he’s like dancing on a huge laptop and has really bad Workshop hoodies on, it kind of hurts you. But it is a bold statement. Someone might leave Workshop or Girl or Chocolate to start a new brand that is super fucking skate, but one day that’s gonna get big, and one day it’s gonna have to do some lame shit, so I don’t hate on those dudes at all or what they’ve had to do.

Kevin_Terpening_Jenkeminterview_quote

Are you friendly with Dyrdek? Could you call him up and hang?
I’ve skated with him during Mindfield and hung out with him years ago but I would never say I’m like Dyrdek’s homie or anything. If I saw him now he’d be like what’s up man and know each other but I wouldn’t be able to have lunch with him. I think we are totally different types of humans.

I remember actually skating a spot with him. It was me, Cody, Dyrdek and a photographer or something. To get there we had jump a sketchy fence and pretty quickly a helicopter came and started kicking us out. They were on their loudspeaker saying “Get out of the ditch!” We all thought we were gonna get arrested. We jump out and then these cops roll up and they are like “Get down, get down!” so we’re all on the floor. All of a sudden one of the cops is like, “Are you Rob?” Rob is like yeah… “I’m Rob Dyrdek”… And they are like, “Oh shit! Never mind!” They took pictures of him and got autographs. We all got out of it. That was a one of a kind experience.

That’s crazy. I would assume it’s hard for him to skate street without being bothered..
Yeah even during that time, that’s what would happen. Imagine that too, all these people think you are not just a reality TV star, but also a professional skateboarder. You probably haven’t skated that much lately and then you gotta do a pop shove it crooked grind everytime or everyone thinks you suck. Imagine what was going on in his head. There were times when we would be skating, he’d be totally sucking and kids would show up to the school yard and all of a sudden he’d just start ripping because these kids were there and he had to. He had to get on point because he’s this fucking dude. He would just start skating better. Maybe it’s some ego thing, maybe it’s like, “I can’t have these kids think I’m not good at skating.” I wouldn’t even have filmed that part in Mindfield if I was him. I would have been like, “Fuck no, whats the point? I’m gonna take away from all these other people in this video.” There’s no point, if you’re already that big.

You got any fallback plans besides skating?
I just was in SF with Ave and Benny [the Workshop filmer] and we had multiple nights where we were talking about that shit. It was hilarious, how fucked we would all be. Benny would be the best one out of all of us cause he’s a smart dude and knows how to use his brain and shit. I don’t know what I would do… I would probably call up HUF and be like can I work at the warehouse again? I don’t know. Really. I read something before, this magazine just asked all these pro surfers the same question and it was interesting to hear what they had to say about it and how you pretty much set yourself up to be laid-off one day, and you don’t prepare for it, and you are fucked. You don’t know what to do and that transition is just devastating. It would be cool to do something in skating for sure, that’s all I know, I don’t know how I could do anything outside of skating. That’s the fucking question, huh. There’s still a lot of dudes who are in their mid and late 30s, that all they do is skate and they are gnarly, especially people like AVE who really really dedicated their soul to skateboarding and that’s it.

KevinTerperning_Jenkem_Quote3

I barely graduated high school, but I did do that. I’m not stupid but you know, you kind of dumb yourself down being wrapped up in skating for so long. Hanging out with Ave and Dill… I just think… these dudes just have to wake up in the morning and be like, how the fuck am I still doing this? Fuck. Looking at it now, I’m 26, I wish when I was 20 that I had told myself “Alright, when you’re 30, if you’re still doing it in skating, that’s cool. But just plan ahead and have something that you want to do when you’re that age.” But when you’re a skater and don’t have a normal job, time just flies by and you don’t really think about anything else.

Has time gone really fast for you the last couple years?
Dude I’ve lived in LA for 7 years and I’m like what the fuck have I done? I don’t even feel like I’ve done one thing. I have but its just gone by so quick, I feel like I should have figured out more things by now. I think it’s mostly like trying to account for 7 years. Looking back, and thinking like, was there a lot of wasted time? Was I just confused? Those years where most kids would go to college and then they are 2 years in and have that breakdown like, what the fuck am I doing? That weird freakout, I’ve definitely had that a few times. But now, I’m psyched – I didn’t think a lot of my friends and myself were gonna make it but we are.


Words: Ian Michna
Photography courtesy of: Sam Mcguire & HUF.
All sorts of crap over on our Facebook
Get brainwashed on Instagram

Comments

  1. danny:

    This is the kind of person I think belongs in skateboarding and I have much respect for anyone who follows their intuition and does not latch on to fading trends in the industry. Really psyched to see more of Terpening and pretty much all these dudes making choices for themselves at this point. This is the future I have been waiting to see. The bag of skateboarding is full of doody right now, and the bottom is beginning to fall out. See you all in the street.

  2. rogan josh:

    I used to love the berrics. fresh videos every day featuring pros and unknown skaters.
    it was interesting to see everyone’s unique approach to the same small park.

    the park has a fake car service station – it looks like some interior designer thought of the idea. that’s not skateboarding.
    the arty corner wall is sick, and all the obstacles are cool, but why not just have some graffiti.
    don’t thrown mountain dew up on the wall, fuck mountain dew.
    fizzy sugar water shouldn’t be consumed by skaters, or any other humans.

    the new site sucks, I still like the bangin vids and battle commanders, but now it just seems to full of ads, all these other gimmicky videos

    every ad blasts the volume into your earphones, and if you click on the volume button, it’ll open a pop-up.
    it’s everything I hate about the internet in one site, except there’s no where to leave my comments about scientology.

    I found jenkem because I like skate sites, but the berrics bored me.

  3. dickbutt:

    fuck steve berra

    fool is a kook

  4. Patrick Walsh:

    Well done and said Kevin, and thank you for the toilet paper reference I forgot all about that interview.

  5. this guy’s so sick since i watch the eS europe tour. but ironically the shoes sponsor that support him always sinking.an now everything’s getting fine thanks to Keith Huf

Leave a comment

*
*

Classics

LOAD MORE

website by dedleg