BLADE LIFE: Chris Haffey talks Nitro Circus
Chris Haffey / Double Flat Spin
Nitro Circus comes to North America next weekend, right? What’s going on? When does the tour start?
The actual tour isn’t ’til next year, but we are doing a one-off show in Vegas next weekend, so tomorrow I am heading to a spot in California where they have the ramp set up so we can catch some practice/learn some new stuff before that show.
It sounds like the Las Vegas stop is supposed to be pretty special. What’s the story?
Yeah, Vegas is going to go off! Since it is a single show no one really has to be worried about being healthy for a show the next night, so I think a lot of people are planning some special tricks for this one. Every show is already insane, so I can’t even imagine how crazy this one is going to be. On top of that, they are bringing in some special guests for this one, so it should be the best show to date.
Chris Haffey / Mute 360 / Gosford, AU
How many shows have you done now with Nitro, and where all has that taken you?
I have kind of lost count, but it’s well into the 20s. So far we have hit every capital city (with multiple shows in each) in Australia, five Cities in New Zealand, and then seven or eight other cities in Australia. I had been to Australia a few times for some other things, but nothing as extensive as this tour. I had never been to New Zealand before, so that was awesome to get out there for the first time. My parents had always wanted to go to NZ as well and figured it was a good excuse, so they came out for a few weeks and got to catch two shows. Definitely been sick in terms of experiencing new things!
What was the qualification process like? As a super respected and accomplished master of your sport, what was it like to open yourself up to the criticism of the quote-unquote action sports community?
You say open yourself up to criticism like I haven’t experienced that at every skatepark I have ever gone to since I was 11. (Editor’s Note: Good point. Ha.) Either way, basically I got an email from one of the producers and he said “We have a Mega Ramp-style ramp set up in California and we would like to have you come out and see what you can do with it.” I have been trying to get on one of those things since I first saw one, so I jumped at the opportunity! The possibility of catching any criticism was nothing new or anything that could deter me from getting on a ramp like that. From the day I showed up, however, I caught little to no criticism what so ever! After the first two weeks of ramp testing they decided they wanted to include me in the tour, and that’s pretty much how it went down.
The view from the top.
And training? How is that going for you and what does it consist of?
Training is really not much different from anything I usually do, it’s just on a different obstacle I suppose. Usually, I get an idea and try it on something smaller like a ledge or play rail and then take it to a bigger obstacle. In this case I just get an idea and usually try it into the regular-size foam pit at Woodward West. If I can lock a trick down in that pit I know with more time in the air it should be no problem. Then I just take it to a practice session that we have on the ramp and see if it works.
For your fans that come to the Vegas stop or any stop really, what can they expect to see from you during a show?
You can expect to see a different type of skating than you are accustomed to. This ramp gives me the opportunity to do tricks that you can’t really do on anything else. I don’t have a lot of jumps in the show, but I try to represent blading as well as I can, in a way that is also as impressive as possible to a mainstream audience. It might not be every core blader’s cup of tea, but I feel like at the end of the day I am getting a really good opportunity to show the world what blading is all about.
Tell us more about the shopping cart stunt. It looks really dangerous, you know, flying through the air with a metal beast like that.
Well, the whole show is a two-hour choreographed action sports spectacle. Out of context the shopping cart thing makes no sense at all. It is in a part of the show that has all sorts of “contraptions” in it, including a side hack bike, a boogie board with wheels, roller skis, ect. It’s in there for the shock value that no one in the audience in expecting to see crazy things like that flying over a gap like that. When you just see a quick clip in a highlight video I can definitely understand the “WTF was that?” reaction.
Chris Haffey / Mute 360 / Melbourne, AU
Any plans for tricks on the mega ramp you can share with us?
All I am going to say is I watch a lot of skiing, and I get a lot of inspiration from what those guys are doing. I don’t really like to claim things until they are put down!
How has being a part of Nitro affected your outlook of “core” rollerblading (for lack of a better word) and the regular contests that you’ve dominated for so long?
It hasn’t changed it at all really. I can’t lie and say it hasn’t been really nice to go into a situation knowing that at the end of the day I am going to get paid for what I am doing, and not just killing myself to possibly catch second place in a winner-take-all contest. At the end of the day though I am competitive by nature, so until my body stops me I will be competing. I can say, however, I tend to pick and choose my battles a little more logically at this point depending on shows coming up, and weighing the risk to reward of killing myself in a contest against kids that may have more to prove than I do.
Anyone that follows you on Twitter knows you love to golf. Do you play strictly casually, or are there any thoughts to even pursuing that sport professionally?
There are no 401Ks, severance packages, or retirement plans in blading. Golf is my retirement plan, ha ha. Nah, I am just kidding. I just play for fun, but I honestly feel like if I had the money to play more often, get lessons and all that stuff, in 10 years I could be a problem on the course! I suppose we will see where life takes me!
Back to blading and the tour, what’s the craziest/most unlikely situation you’ve found yourself in since touring with Nitro?
Being on the tour in the first place, I think. If you told me a few years ago that this would be going on I would have just laughed at the idea of getting the chance to skate a Mega Ramp-style ramp, let alone touring the world with the people I am touring with. I mean, just a few months before the first tour started I watched my entire city empty into the harbor to watch Travis set a world record rally car jump down the street from my house on New Year’s Eve. Kind of a surreal situation to be in to say the least.
Looking forward in 2011, is there anything else you’ve got on your calendar besides Nitro tour and hanging in LB when you’re home?
Well, the only Nitro stuff I have for the rest of the year is the Vegas show next week. Even right now though, I would be leaving for Europe tomorrow morning with Frank and Kato if I wasn’t doing this show. There is never a time that nothing is going on. I am rarely at home for long periods of time, but I feel comfortable on the road and being productive in that way. Honestly, when I am home for a week and don’t have a project to work on here I start going crazy. I definitely will be keeping busy this year, and hopefully it will be a little more visible to the core blade community than the past year or so.
All right Chris, cool. I promised this would be short since I know you’re about to hit the road. Good luck with everything.
Werd, thanks man.
Interview by Just Blade
Photos provided by NitroCircusLive.com
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my nigga Chris Haffey killin it macho man style
wishing you all the best Haffey! look after your self! and have fun and do well in europe.. ;)
shaking my head and saying “WOW”!
Fuck yeah Chris! keep on rocking and representing our sport!!!
good to see such an insightful interview.
I’ll love him beyond. He’s in the back of
my mind pushing me to be as he is.
I’ll love Haffey beyond. He’s in the back
of my mind pushing me to be as he is in
awesome interview chris, keep up the awesome work…kill it in vegas!
The double flatspin so awesome!!! :)
Would love to see more clips online of that stuff and all that.
ur pics are sick chris i wish i could roll with you some time :)