If you don’t know Kevin Yee, you should take the time to do so. When I got back into skating after a college-themed hiatus, I rented every skate video on Netflix. There was Kevin Yee in VG23, skating trees, his shins, and negative makios down big ledges. My mouth stood agape as it appeared rollerblading was really all over the map.
When I moved to San Francisco four years ago, I was fortunate to spend time with the tall kid from Minnesota who sees an insane city’s terrain in ways no one else does. We’ve had some really deep, dark, and light conversations in that time. He’s knocked me out at the skate park. The guy rips in every sense of ripping.
On Jan. 7, 2013 Kevin stopped by my apartment in the Mission district of San Francisco. He only lives a few blocks away. He sat down on my computer and wrote the following column for Blade or Die. Other things we wrote that night appeared in the latest issue of the Radvocate.
Here, without further ado, are words from a man juiced on life, inspired by all of us, and ready to shred…
Kevin Yee Intro by Wolfman Found in Shred Forest
My name is Kevin Yee. I had a section in VG 23 and the man standing to my left, hammering away at a typewriter and sharing a spliff with me, says that I opened his mind with that section.
Well fuck it, I’ll just say that you can kill me now and I’ll die a happy death knowing that I contributed to another human being’s love for rollerblading. You see, I love this activity. I quit soccer 15 years ago to rollerblade and I never looked back until last Thursday at around 8:15 pm.
I went home to visit my family for Christmas and New Years.
Ever since I started blading I have felt distant from my family. My sister had a baby named Elanor Nori Johnson. This baby has given me the gift of grace. I never thought I would be able to feel comfortable around my family again.
Blading was the only thing I held onto when I left Minnesota. But Nori has given me the opportunity to become a new person. My family has always been a heavy weight, Nori is as light as a feather. Thus it is with all family, our parents perspective on us predates ours.
The process of western individuation demands the human being to define themselves against a perspective with an unfair advantage. Yet the individuation process succeeds insofar as the human being has the discipline to dream of being from another family, a family of superheroes.
The rollerblading community is my family of superheroes. But now I see that in order for me to know this little girl, Nori, the seaweed baby, I have to accept that the mediocrity I see in my family is a projection of the mediocrity I see in myself.
What a relief it is to be a little normal, which makes me more weird than crazy. A much more fulfilling life, oh to be weird!
Sooo at 8:15 pm I got in a van to go to my first soccer game in 15 years. After 20 minutes my co-worker Arup engineer needed a sub and I was put in at center forward.
I always wanted to be a star forward. But once I was on the field I felt lost in an intense warp and so I tried midfield.
I always wanted to be a midfielder cause my friend Caley Lawson in middle school got all the girls and wore girly-looking Birkenstocks and threw me into the goal at a soccer practice when I was fighting him / getting attacked by him.
But once I got in the midfield I felt anxious. I realized that the midfielder has to be a social extrovert and keeping everyone in mind was for an introvert, like myself, a super awkward undesirable position. By then my lungs were 2 miles away so I subbed out.
So I thought, while raiding my coworkers water jug, “At least I’m getting a workout I thought, and also WTF I used to be an Olympic development soccer player—I really fell off! Damn cigs!”
After the Arup Ninja soccer team started the second half I got subbed back in as a defender. Damn, just my luck I always had to be the defender! But then I started to realize that at least this way nobody bothered me and I could be lazy.
It was a beautiful night in the mystical broccoli forest and just beyond the glowing green turf soccer field was a mushroom patch of psychedelic concrete transitions. Seeing that reminded me of the time when I was transfixed by some skateboarders ollieing over a trash can in a tennis court while I was at a a soccer practice.
But then I snapped back into the present moment and defended an attacker.
After clearing the ball, one of my team mates said good job and I thought, “this is fun!” Then I realized that I had always been a defender and will always be a defender because it is a position most suited to a spacey, aggressive, focused introvert.
I remember one thing I said to Pat Lennen that he liked. I told him that I had always been a defender in rollerblading but now I want to be a striker. Well, he liked that because he believed that I was better than I knew and told me so.
Shit, I’d like to be a striker at Soccer too. But it ain’t goona happen cause I too stoked on being a striker in blader. Fuck traditional sports anyways. But maybe I could have been a millionaire skateboarder…
NAH, I live with two skateboarders and they agree with me that MAINSTREAM IS ICE.
Xsjado and Other News
In other news, the Xsjado 2.0 is the hottest european ninja blade on the market. The toe straps are a bit long if you have a ninja sized foot, however, a sharp scissor can easily remedy.
The first trick I did on the blades was a California Roll down the capped china ledges in San Francisco, er that was the third. Anyways, the 2 piece cuff system reduces the strain on the velcro top straps while simultaneously allowing for perhaps the greatest negative and positive ankle extension and reduction along the lateral plane of the body (sorry did that make sense?).
Furthermore, the plastic added onto the instep and ankle strap creates the support that the previous Xsjado desperately needed. I have high hopes that this will also create a blade that retains its support for a longer period of intense savage creative ripping.
Finally, the one piece soul system eliminates the intrinsic rakettyness of moving parts. To be honest, I never replaced the soul or the royale plate individually so this just makes sense.
Finally, the entire blade is something like several centimeters slimmed down, and is ipso facto more ninja my ninjas.
In conclusion, the Xsjado 2.0 is absolutely superior to the Xsjado 1.0 and I will never be interested in blading on the 1.0 again. However, I am told that Powerblading frames do very nicely with the thicker padding of 1.0. That said, the 1.0 parts are all interchangeable with the 2.0 parts. Thus, the 2.0 is the release of a variation of possible blades.
The theme of Xsjado has always been difference from the herd but not a fucking hippie. The hipster artist athlete! And that means a blade that subscribes to relativism, as opposed to the absolutism of a traditional mold.
Therefore, I thank you to Jeff, Chris, JC, and those dudes in Germany for making blading more exciting for me that it has been since the first time I tried the 1.0.
Love happiness and a bit of Phish in private:)
Brian Krans 7 pulls Interview:
- X-Men comic books
- The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
- The Heroes Journey by Joseph Campbell
- Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
- Fear and Trembling by Soren Kierkegaard
- Every Haruki Murakami book ever written.
- The book Brian Krans is writing to my left on that loud fuckin’ typewriter.
- Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
- Siouxsee and the Banshees
- Gillian Welch
- Adam Robert
- Brian Eno
- King Creoste and John Hopkins
- Jean Marie
- Quitting smoking
- mint green
Cities you Blade
- San Francisco
- San Diego
- New York City
Places you want to Blade
- Mexico City
Current favorite INTERNATIONAL Bladers
- Dustin Werbz
- Richie Eisler
- CJ Wellsmore
- Rian Arnold
- Gav Drummmrollll
- Jochen Smuda
- Chiaki Ito
Stay Fakey collective Members
- John Voss
- Tyler Noland
- Tomas McGovern
- Danny Malm
- B Krans
- Gene Steegal who proved that anyone who is willing to come to my stoop and go into the hood with an open mind could get a section in my video, especially if you are down to 180 off of a 10 foot high victorian house stoop across from Philz Coffee.
Mission District 4 Life
Kevin would like to thank all of his illustrious sponsors including Xsjado, Ground Control, Circolo, Rise Above, Stay Fakey. He also extends thanks to Matt Rice at Dealwithitsf.com for filming for and editing 3 or was it 4 Yee sections this year.
Happy New Years from Blade or Die, and look out for Brian Krans’ section in the upcoming blade flick by the Stay Fakey Collective!!!!