Kevin Harris

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Kevin Harris (born August 14, 1962) is a professional skateboarder from Vancouver, British Columbia. He specializes in "freestyle" skateboarding. Harris is known for his fluid style, which incorporated complex manual variations with exceptional footwork. Stacy Peralta has called him "the most natural skater I knew." He was most active in competitions during the 1980s but is still involved with the skate scene. He owns and operates Canada's largest skateboard distribution center and continues to perform demonstrations.

Vancouver City in British Columbia, Canada

Vancouver is a coastal seaport city in western Canada, located in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia. As the most populous city in the province, the 2016 census recorded 631,486 people in the city, up from 603,502 in 2011. The Greater Vancouver area had a population of 2,463,431 in 2016, making it the third-largest metropolitan area in Canada. Vancouver has the highest population density in Canada with over 5,400 people per square kilometre, which makes it the fifth-most densely populated city with over 250,000 residents in North America behind New York City, Guadalajara, San Francisco, and Mexico City according to the 2011 census. Vancouver is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities in Canada according to that census; 52% of its residents have a first language other than English. Roughly 30% of the city's inhabitants are of Chinese heritage. Vancouver is classed as a Beta global city.

British Columbia Province of Canada

British Columbia is the westernmost province of Canada, located between the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains. With an estimated population of 5.034 million as of 2019, it is Canada's third-most populous province.

Freestyle skateboarding

Freestyle skateboarding is one of the oldest styles of skateboarding and was intermittently popular from the 1960s until the early 1990s, when the final large-scale professional freestyle skateboarding competition was held.

Contents

Early career

Harris was born in Richmond, British Columbia. He began skateboarding at 13 years old and like most skaters of the 1970s, he started on a mass-produced, plastic "banana" board. At first he rode all types of terrain and built what most local skaters agreed on as the best half-pipe in the Vancouver area. Even with a ramp in his backyard, he eventually focused on flatland freestyle.

Richmond, British Columbia City in British Columbia, Canada

Richmond is a coastal city located in the Canadian province of British Columbia. It is part of the Metro Vancouver area. It is the major part of Lulu Island.

Half-pipe structure used in sports

A half-pipe is a structure used in gravity extreme sports such as snowboarding, skateboarding, skiing, freestyle BMX, skating and scooter riding.

Harris was first sponsored in 1977 by Nippon Cycles, a Vancouver bike and skate shop. He began skating demonstrations with the "Ripping Squad," a group of Canadian skaters that rode a portable half-pipe painted with the Yin/Yang logo.

Mid career

By 1979 Harris’ skills caught the eye of Steve Cathey, a professional skater from California. Cathey, who represented the Gordon & Smith skateboard company, offered Harris amateur sponsorship.

Underground scene and the rise to popularity

In the early 1980s skateboarding was destitute, viewed as an embarrassing fad by non-participants. The Canadian contest circuit dried up and Harris often drove over 24 hours to California just to remain involved in competitions.

In 1982 Harris competed in the freestyle competition in Del Mar, California as a sponsored amateur. There weren't enough amateur contestants so he skated against the pros and finished in third place. [1] Stacy Peralta, Harris' idol stopped him in the parking lot and asked him to ride for the Bones Brigade, Powell Peralta's skate team. The Brigade quickly became the most dominant team in skateboarding and Harris found himself teammates with Tony Hawk, Lance Mountain, and Rodney Mullen among others.

Powell Peralta

Powell Peralta is an American skateboard company founded by George Powell and Stacy Peralta in 1978. The company rose to prominence in the 1980s as skateboarding began maturing as a sport. The company featured the Bones Brigade, a team featuring the era's top competitors. Peralta left the company in 1991 and Powell continued to produce skateboard equipment as Powell, Bones Bearings and RollerBones. The two company founders reunited to produce the company's now classic inventory under the name Powell Classic.

Tony Hawk American skateboarder and actor

Anthony Frank Hawk is an American professional skateboarder, actor and owner of the skateboard company Birdhouse. Hawk is well known for completing the first documented 900 and for his licensed video game titles, published by Activision, and is widely considered to be one of the most successful and influential pioneers of modern vertical skateboarding.

Lance Mountain American skateboarder

Robert Lance Mountain is a professional skateboarder and artist who was one of the prominent skateboarders throughout the 1980s, primarily due to his involvement with the Bones Brigade. As of August 2017, Mountain continues to skate professionally and his sponsors include Flip, Nike SB, Independent Trucks, Spitfire Wheels, and Bones Bearings.

Harris enjoyed his greatest success as a professional during this period. Skateboarding was also becoming popular again and by 1984 a legitimate subculture had begun. In 1985, Harris placed first in Venice, California and second at Del Mar. During the preliminary round of the Del Mar competition.

In 1986 Powell•Peralta issued Harris' first professional skateboard model. The deck’s design featured iconic Canadian graphics: a skeletal Mountie, in front of a backdrop of maple leaves, holding a beaver by the tail.

Later career

In 1985 Harris began distributing Powell Peralta skateboard products in Canada and quickly grew Ultimate Skateboards into Canada's largest skateboard distributorship.

In 1986 Harris took possession of the half-pipe built for the world championships held in Vancouver for Expo 86 and used it as an anchor for the Richmond Skate Ranch, an indoor skateboard facility featuring multiple ramps and wooden park features, including the "mini Chin", a complex multi-ramp structure designed by Lance Mountain. This provided Vancouver skateboarders a safe haven from the winter rains and nurtured a handful of skaters (Colin McKay, Rob Sluggo Boyce and Rick Howard among others) that continue to impact the skateboard industry. The Ranch closed in 1993 but Harris joined forces with Colin McKay and opened the RDS indoor park in 2003.

Expo 86

The 1986 World Exposition on Transportation and Communication, or simply Expo 86, was a World's Fair held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada from Friday, May 2 until Monday, October 13, 1986. The fair, the theme of which was "Transportation and Communication: World in Motion - World in Touch", coincided with Vancouver's centennial and was held on the north shore of False Creek. It was the second time that Canada held a World's Fair, the first being Expo 67 in Montreal. It was also the third World's Fair to be held in the Pacific Northwest in the previous 24 years as of 1986 and as of 2019 it still stands as the last World's Fair to be held in North America.

Colin McKay Canadian skateboarder

Colin McKay is a professional skateboarder who is widely recognized for his involvement with the original Plan B Skateboards "superteam" as well as the subsequent relaunch of the brand in 2005.

Robert Doucet Boyce, better known as Sluggo, is a professional skateboarder, snowboarder, break-dancer, gymnast, stuntman, and businessman from Vancouver, British Columbia. Sluggo is best known for his skateboarding. He is also the first person to perform a back flip to fakie on a vertical skate ramp. Sluggo currently shares ownership of a skateboarding distribution company, Centre Distribution, and oversees the day to day operations of RDS Skate Supply and Red Dragon Apparel. He has two children, Liam and Araya.

Harris' pro model was re-issued from Powell Skateboards after his partipation in Ruby Ridge was released to the press in 1993.

Ruby Ridge standoff in Idaho in 1992

Ruby Ridge was the site of an eleven-day siege near Naples, Idaho, U.S., beginning on August 21, 1992, when Randy Weaver, members of his immediate family, and family friend Kevin Harris resisted agents of the United States Marshals Service (USMS) and the Hostage Rescue Team of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Following a Marshals Service reconnoiter of the Weaver property pursuant to a bench warrant for Weaver after his failure to appear on firearms charges, an initial encounter between six US marshals and the Weavers resulted in a shootout and the deaths of Deputy US Marshal William Francis Degan, age 42, the Weavers' son Samuel (Sammy), age 14, and the Weavers' family dog (Striker). In the subsequent siege of the Weaver residence, led by the FBI, Weaver's 43-year-old wife Vicki was killed by FBI sniper fire. All casualties occurred on the first two days of the operation. The siege and stand-off were ultimately resolved by civilian negotiators, with the surrender and arrest of Kevin Harris on August 30, and the surrender of Randy Weaver and the surviving Weaver children the next day.

In 2007, Harris stepped back into the competitive scene, and entered the WFSA world freestyle skateboard championships, (being held in Vancouver).


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References

  1. Mullen, Rodney (2004). The Mutt: How to Skateboard and Not Kill Yourself. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers. ISBN   0-06-055618-8.