Interview by VHSMAG, Photo by Simoyan, Special thanks: Monster Energy & Dorcus
VHSMAG (V)： When did you start skating?
KEYAKI IKE (K)： I started skating when I was in the first grade in elementary school. My local spot was Ogigahama Skatepark in Wakayama, and iS OLLiES after I moved to Osaka. I’ve been skating for 12 years now.
V： Who were your influences?
K： I used to watch a lot of Daewon Song videos.
V： You skate for Daewon’s Almost. Have you been talking to the guys in the US?
K： I think that’s how things work from here. I’m going on a trip with Almost thin month. About three skater from the global flow team will be selected and we’re going to San Francisco. I need to get something good. This will be a very important tour for me.
V： You’ve been entering a lot of contests in the US.
K： Yes, most of them are Damn Am but I can barely make it to the finals. The result is not really good (laughs). Now I can make it to the finals but it’s hard to go on the podium. I’ve entered Tampa Am too but I could only make it to the semi finals. It’s getting better every year though.
V： Any memorable thing form the contests?
K： What I found out from the contests in the US is that there are trend in tricks. I mean, there are trends in Japan too but the level is way higher. For example, I felt the trend for last year was kickflip frontlip on rails. Everyone was doing it. Also skaters are more hungry. They hit obstacles super hard…
V： You’re one of the candidates for the Olympics. You’re having a lot of coverage in media, right?
K： I guess, I always tell them that “It’d be nice if I can make it in the Olympics.” A newspaper did an article of my lifestyle the other day… (laughs)
V： So how is the selection for the Olympics going?
K： Nothing is going to be finalized this year. There’s an Asian Championship in Jakarta in August and I won the contest to enter it, so I’m going there. The final selection will probably made some time next year.
V： Okay. Your part had just released through Monster Energy. How did you get on the team?
K： I had a little video I filmed when I was in elementary or junior high school, and the TM at Monster saw it. That was the start but there’s a rule that to get on the team, you need to be certain age. I was too young to get on back then. Now I’m older and they offered me to get on.
V： Then they had been waiting for you to get older. How did the video part come about?
K： I had a Monster part last year called “Almost Dawn” and Dorcus was planning to re-edit it and get it in their DVD. But a year passed and Monster asked me to work on a new part. I wanted to concentrate on one part so we decided to use it for both Monster and Dorcus.
V： You released your last part in February last year, so that means you filmed for about a year?
K： No, actually I started filming in October. I have contests so I couldn’t film until October. So it took about six month but practically I filmed the part in about two weeks.
V： What do you mean?
K： Well, I filmed like three tricks in one day… I got all the tricks that I tried.
V： That bigspin at Hiroshima’s famous huge stairs. You didn’t have to go back to get it, you only went there once?
K： I didn’t have a spot that I needed to go back. That bigspin was the very first day that I started filming. I got three clips that day. The very first line in the part, back noseblunt on handrail, and that bigspin. It was all in one day.
V： For real? That’s an awesme way to start the filming… Most of the tricks in the part were hammers. Which one is your favorite?
K： All of them took the same amount of time but the nollie flip was a hard one because I got super tired. The stair was huge… But what I think about the part, I didn’t have enough line so the overall balance wasn’t so good… I wish I had more lines.
V： Is there any ritual you do before you try huge spots?
K： For example, for the ender front feeble, I thought to myself that “If I land this, I can catch up to Yuto Horigome. (Laughs)”
V： You have that sense of rivalry in your generation, huh?
K： We’re good friends but I see where he’s at and what he’s been doing.
V： You have to change that with Almost trip this month then. I was watching that ender and noticed your heel was on the tail. Wasn’t that sketchy?
K： I tried for like six times but I couldn’t grind the whole thing. My wait was back and wasn’t completely on top of the rail. So I tried to get full on the rail and that’s what happened. I get more stable when my heel in on the tail.
V： Then how do you feel now that the part is done?
K： I think I could’ve done more. I want to film and stack more footage.
V： There won’t be handrails and stairs left for you to skate in Osaka. Is there anything you want to accomplish through skating?
K： Hmm… let’s see… I guess I want to be the second Japanese skater to win the SLS.
V： What’s coming up for the rest of the year?
K： After the Almost trip, I have the Asian Championship in Jakarta in August. I also have other contests coming up too.
V： Lastly, because Dorcus’s new DVD “FRONT LINERS” is coming out, I need to ask this question. What’s your favorite type of stag beetle?
K： That’s obvious… Dynastes hercules.
V： That’s rhinoceros beetle!