The image says it all – getting barreled on a skimboard is insane! We were curious who the person behind all this is. His videos are full of energy and it’s great fun to watch him skimboarding or wakesurfing. In this blog post we are honoured to interview skimboard world champion Austin Keen. From Laguna Beach to our blog, let’s ask Austin some questions and make sure to watch his videos!
Austin, why is skimboarding fascinating for you personally?
My first experience with skimboarding was sliding in the tide pools with a wooden skimboard where I grew up on Tybee Island Ga. To me it was something I could have fun with at the beach when the waves were not good.
At which point did you realize skimboarding is more than a hobby?
When I first saw videos of legends like Bill Bryan and Paulo Prietto skimboarding big shorebreak in Laguna Beach. I knew I had to experience more of the feeling of surfing on a wave on a skimboard.
What was your biggest success? 2013 was your year, right?
Definitely 2013 when I won the United Skim Tour World Title. 2014 was also a great year for me as I officially were making my living of my skill. And yes, in 2016 winning “The VIC” World Championships of Skimboarding.
Where is the perfect place for skimboarding? What’s so special about it?
To me it is at Aliso in Laguna Beach. This is where I grew up imagining and dreaming of being, and now I’m living here. Laguna Beach has so many good spots for skim boarding in such a small area. On the right days the waves are great, water is clear, and the beaches are beautiful.
In 2015 you started wakesurfing and soon your famous „hijacking a boat wake“- videos appeared. How long did it take you to time all that perfectly?
The timing came very natural to me as a skimboarder. Hijacking a boat wake is my favorite thing because it makes me feel like I’m skimboarding out to a wave that lasts forever. The first time I ever tried it, it took me about 3 tries. The most difficult part was making sure the boat was set up right to make a good wave but once you are on it you do not want to stop riding it.
Do you have any tips for wakesurf-beginners?
Tips are always easier in person, but wakesurfing is really easy to learn as a beginner. Any board sport is about keeping your weight centered, and feeling your momentum to make proper adjustements when necessary.
What do you think is your most important character trait that brought you where you are now?
Being motivated and driven. I am thankful to also have an entrepreneur mentality that is helping me carve a brand new career path in a sport that has never had that before.
What’s a typical day of Austin Keen?
I’ll wake up, have some coffee and breakfast, check a couple emails, go get some waves or drive down to wakesurf, come back for lunch and relax, and if the waves are still good go for round two.
If the waves are not good, I treat my career like a job. I will sit at my desk, edit videos, follow up with emails, come up with social media and content ideas.
Skimboarding, wakesurfing – what’s next? :)
I would like to create more lifestyle and action sports content. I just started working on a “Episode” series. Episode 1 is on my Youtube and Facebook, and Episode two is coming in the next week. I would like to learn and experience new things and collaborate with other talented artists and athletes.
Do you have a “life motto”? If yes, which is it? And a few last words to people that are eager to surf…
I think there are a lot of “life mottos” to live by. But one that has always been my pinnacle motto is “ If you know what life is worth, you will look for yours on earth” – Marley. This is about seizing the day, and making the most of your life, and not waiting to die to go to heaven – because if you know what life is worth, you will look for yours on earth. Make your passions and ideal lifestyle your biggest priority.
Thanks a lot for your time, Austin!
P.S.: Thanks Tyler Brooks for the photo.