THE GRIND: Kennan Scott
“Our crew can get pretty wild but I have to keep my wits about me so that I represent my school and children. I guess this is what is really means to be an adult blader. The crew goes to someone’s house to have a BBQ after blading and I go home to kiss my kids goodnight. ” More true words from one of the realest and most inspiring dudes you can meet — Kennan Scott. This 36-year-old teacher, blader, and contest announcer is that loud voice you hear on the mic at the biggest blade events, and after reading this second installment of THE GRIND he just might be that little voice in the back of your head helping you get your life together and figuring out that you do, in fact, have time to make it all work. Cheers to our homie and friend on his expanding family and recent awards — well deserved, player!
* * * * *
Years blading: 18 — I should be wayyyy better by now.
Location: Oakland. CA
Profession: Middle School Engineering Teacher
Favorite blader: Old School: Randy Spizer and Champion Baumstimler; Foreigner: Kevin Lapierre; New School: Broskow; Current Local Hero: Matty Schrock
All-time favorite set-up: Early 2000s Rollerblade TRS with 50/50 frames. My current set up is pretty awesome too, USD Franky Morales Concords dyed black with Create Original CRS frames.
Blade goals: Stay shredding street into my 40s, and shred with both my boys (currently 6 and 5 months old).
Kennan, you’ve been blading forever, and these days you have a family of four and a steady gig and seem to be emceeing more blade events that ever. How do you do it?
I’m lucky, my wife tolerates my disappearing for hours and coming home broke and bloody. It always sucks to come to work broke off but my students love to laugh at my falls. It helps that my work allows me to take days off to go on trips but most of the time I’m a weekend warrior. The emceeing is a passion, I really enjoy the unique view it affords me. I’ve called some of the illest tricks over the years, seeing some of the best tricks up close.
When did you turn into an adult blader? Did you just Talking Heads yourself and one day you’re like “How did I get here?”
I feel like I have always been an adult blader. I am usually the oldest in my crew and that has always given me a sense of being everyone’s big brother. I’ve always had a full time job or school and only got to skate full-time when I was running Monx Clothing. Even then I was doing more business stuff than skating and totally big brothering.
For real though, you’re part of the Juice Sucka Fools posse and now you’re an educator — does that blow your mind?
Yeah, it’s a trip to go from JSFin’ to being a dad and educator. Our crew can get pretty wild but I have to keep my wits about me so that I represent my school and children. I guess this is what is really means to be an adult blader. The crew goes to someone’s house to have a BBQ after blading and I go home to kiss my kids goodnight.
Tell us about teaching and the experience you have in your classroom; what do you teach? Do skills you’ve picked up through blading play a role in your teaching style? (Do you teach with waiter arms at the chalkboard?)
Haha, that’s incredible. I wish I had waiter arms and did stalls on the desks or something like that. I teach middle school engineering, automation, robotics and computer science. Teaching is the best job, and I am very happy to have finally found my calling. I always show my students my Filthjuice edit so they some idea how crazy I am. It also gives them an understanding why Mr. Scott may be limping or bandaged up.
We understand you won an award for your teaching this year. Congrats! What was the award and how does that affect your career?
I couldn’t believe that I won the award, it was real emotional. I won the STEM teacher of the year award for Teach Tomorrow in Oakland. This organization got me into teaching and has been an amazing support network. It’s an honor to be in the conversation with some amazing educators and coaches.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve learned through your career exploits (regardless whether we’re talking the teaching or anything you may have done before that)?
I’ve learned to be humble and patient through my professional life. I’ve had so many different jobs and that lesson has always helped me. As a child actor I did learn how to juggle, walk a tightrope as part of a circus performance. That was pretty awesome and memorable. Most recently the coolest thing was attending the Google Science Fair, meeting Ahmed Mohamed and getting on the cover of CNN Money.
How do you manage the opposing elements of buck-wild blader and motivating, responsible teacher-adult? Is there any mental gymnastic involved or a Jekyll and Hide kinda thing?
You nailed it, I’m totally Jekyll and Hyde. There are times in the class where I wanna just wild out and show my true crazy, but I can’t. There are times at home where I’m super agitated and realize it’s because I haven’t skated in weeks. It’s tough but, it’s life and I love every part of my life. I think I need a punching bag or something though. Do they make a pocket one yet?
So when do you get to blade? What’s the routine? How does that work with the wife and kids? And congrats on the newest addition to the ranks! You guys have a beautiful family and Coltrane is gonna be a great big brother. Does the distraction of blading cause friction on those elements of your life?
Thank you, you’re awesome for saying that. Coltrane has really stepped up in the months since Maseo was born. He just started kindergarten and has really grown up even faster. I never get to blade, it’s horrible. I’ll go two weeks without having any time, missing countless amazing sessions. It makes it really hard to stay on point. I always feel like I’m warming up again. I think because I always put family first the wife doesn’t mind too much when I do sneak out on a Saturday and leave her with both boys. When I was filming for my Filthjuice part Karen was especially supportive. She understands how much blading means to me and how much of a part of my life it is. I was a blader when she met me and we took trips to places like Marseille just so I could blade. She’s a true JSFer.
How has being part of the Oakland/Bay Area blade scene contributed to your commitment to blading?
The Bay has one of the most dedicated scenes there is. My dedication is a reflection of the others. We are truly a family up here and support each other completely. I wouldn’t have lasted this long without my juicedsuckafoos keeping me motivated and amazed. This has been my family since I moved out west. They are always there to push me to lace a trick or critique a trick for an edit. JSF will never let you put out something wack.
At what point in your blading career did you realize you might not get paid to blade (enough) and had better get some other shit lined up?
I don’t think I’ve ever been good enough to make a living from blading only. When I ran Monx I tried to make a living from it but it barely paid the bills. I had to work other jobs at the end and that really hurt since my goal was to make my passion a profession. I really admire people like JJ and AJ who have never lost their focus on blading. They are true inspirations. I was lucky though to have an engineering degree and something to fall back on that pays well.
What about skating with people that made an impression from a young age that have gone on to become mainstays? I’m thinking like B Smith, Ivan and Vic… How did watching their careers evolve impact the scene?
My little brothers are the best. When we say that JSF is the best crew we mean it. I have learned something from all of them including Sneaky, Keane and Gene, the newest pros to join the long list from JSF. I’ve really enjoyed watching Smithers, Ivan and Vic grow into stand up dudes. Dudes who you’d want to have your back in a brawl or pub crawl. We just celebrated Vic’s 30th and it was an incredible feeling to be joking about Brandon Smith’s high school graduation party at the same time.
Tell us about a formidable media experience from your blade youth — be it a magazine, video section, soundtrack clip or something.
In 1997 I went to Lausanne for the skate contest they used to have there. It was the best experience of my skating career to that point. I had watched the contest clips in the previous VideoGroove and was so excited to be there. It was also the first time I had traveled for blading and that became an addiction that I still have. I remember how excited I was for the VG that had the coverage from that year. Skate videos have influenced much of my life. Videos like Elements 2 and the VGs made me want to move to the bay, and at some point Broskow made me even want to wear tie dye. I would watch BMC sections in the morning, before classes, then in the evenings before crashing.
If I had to name a few favorites: I always think about DLs Coup de Tat or Elements 2 sections. Vinny’s Amateur, Elements 2, or Sell Your Soul sections. In fact pretty much all of Elements 2. Wysong’s BFG section. Randy & JJ from VG4. Louie VG14, Petty’s Ghostface section from VG7. So many to name. I grom out on videos pretty hard. 4×4 Team Dare sections, anything by Team Dare truthfully (VOD, VX,Strange, Life+… doesn’t matter). Jochen Smuda Clip 3, Rian Arnold Vine St, John Bolino Pariah, Victor Arias V, B. Smith 4Life… I could list forever.
For the past few years you’ve been on the rise as mister event emcee guy. It’s great because you (and especially the Scott/Garcia duo) do amazing work, and it’s kept you traveling. Where all have you performed emcee duties this year, and what’s next on the schedule?
The dynamic duo is holding it down on the mic that’s for sure. Thanks for the love. I really enjoy emceeing for many reasons and it’s always an interesting ride. It’s great working with ESG, we have a 15-year friendship so it’s like we are just watching a skate video and talking. He is also the one person I can lean on when I didn’t see if it was a 900 or a 720, if it was inspin or out… It’s really nice to have that level of comfort and trust with someone in such a fast-paced scenario.
Pretty much every year for the past few i’ve done at least three events. This year they are Pow-Wow, Oakland Blade Jam and the Blading Cup. I wish it could be more! If anyone wants me to come out, holler, I’ve got a strong resume. I really want to get out to Europe and feel the vibe there.
So what’s the coolest thing you’ve done as a blader or teacher or dad or husband or son?
When I was younger, I was a child actor and worked with stars like Robert Dinero, Whitney Houston, Denzel Washington and of course Bill Cosby. Definitely check out the Rock Town Press podcast titled, “The truth about Bill Cosby’s Penis” it’s hilarious. The coolest though was when I had my own show on Nickelodeon called the Nick Hit List. I got to interview amazing artists and travel to insane events. I went to an NBA All-Star game, MTV Unplugged live events, Nick Awards and more. It was a dream come true.
Has working and experiencing more of the world changed you as a blader? If so, can you explain it?
I have been fortunate enough to see many parts of the world thanks to rollerblading. I’ve met great people and learned how to curse in several languages. I’ve learned to appreciate so many different cultures and styles of architecture. I mean as a blader you are always looking at architecture anyways — it’s really fun to think about the different types of obstacles that I’ve skated. Bladers everywhere are so open, it’s amazing.
How much priority do you put on filming and get clips? How has that impacted your blading?
Right now it’s funny to say but I’m more about getting clips these days. I barely get to skate so when I do I’m trying to be the most productive, plus with Filthjuice I finally have someone willing to point a camera in my face. I’m at an age where I will really only skate something if it feels safe, or is my preferred terrain. Filming for the Filthjuice profile was awesome because I finally got to go around and find things that I wanted to skate. So now I look for specific things to skate and film. In between I catch a few soul sessions with the homies on practice stuff but I tend to get more hurt doing that than anything. I’m currently recovering from putting a big hole in my shin while skating a dumb ledge. Funniest part is that I didn’t even notice until I got home and it was too late to get stitches. Healing at my age takes a long time though, I’ve had this hole for like six weeks.
What about stretching and stuff, got a routine? Anything that keeps you feeling limber and capable?
I used to stretch regularly before sessions, now it’s more sporadic. I don’t have a lot of time and get really juiced to blade so I often just jump right into it. I had a really good routine of various stretches and yoga poses that I used to do. One time I was directing traffic in a Warrior 1 stance and Rob G ran up on me, knowing that I was the only homie doing yoga on blades. That was pretty funny.
How many people do you know that are really young and talk like they’re old? What do you want to say to them?
I want to tell them that I will suck their blood, hahahah. I’ve always been proclaiming to be a blade vampire, living off the juice of younger skaters. If you’re young and feel old, I’m sorry. I’ve had bad knees since playing football in high school but I I never let it get to me. I spent years fighting injuries to my knees but feel younger than ever these days. It’s all a mind set, and trying not to fall. Really it’s about not falling a lot — you’re gonna fall and at my age it’s gonna mean not skating hard for a while. Like I said I’m currently recovering from putting a hole in my shin on some stupid little ledge.
Anything else we didn’t talk about that we might want to cover?
A quick side about sponsoring olderbladers. Every skate company should have a legends/legacy team. Olderbladers that are vital to their local scenes are completely worth hooking up. Olderbladers, such as myself, may not be able to put out a grip of content but our influence is stronger than some two-minute clips. I’m not saying we should have pro goods, but OGs are vital to continuing the scene and thus growing the sport. I’m lucky to have hooked up with USD because they understand that and support my skating. In turn I support the brand and work to strengthen its image in the bay area.
Okay then I guess it’s time for the you-know-whats.
Shout outs— of course, what would an interview be without those. Big shouts to my JSFers, Fithjuice and USD skates for keeping me rolling and motivated. Without their support and that of my family I wouldn’t be able to keep going. Shouts to my little blade brother BFree and the whole crew of the Oakland Blade Jam. Shouts to Krans who is about to marry one of my best friends in the world. Shouts to my BFL fam, you make watching football fun. Mad love to all the bladers that keep me inspired, especially the mathuzela of blading, Julio. Mad love to DAP, V3000 and Drew Blood… thanks for putting me in front of the lens so many years ago. Shouts and love to all my NY vets and my Cali OGs that keep this sport alive. Props to anyone who has been skating for over a decade. Mad love to my Create Originals family — Brian and Hakeem, Pow-Wow Tribunal, Blade Cup Orange Shirt crew, and all those who live and die for this sport.
Photos by Erick Garcia aka FILTHJUICE