Spit polish your crash helmets, dust off your decks and wipe down your wheels… Boarding’s back with a vengeance and Chris Pfanner’s rolling deep with Team Vans.
Unless our eyes are deceiving us skateboarding seems to be enjoying something of a renaissance at present; take the tract of London-based, boarding crew Palace Wayward Boys Choir who dotted the pages of i-D last summer and have since led the four-wheeled resurgence with their high-profile appearances here, there and everywhere (Vogue included).
Always bang-on trend, London played host to Vans’ annual skate comp Downtown Showdown last weekend, as Old Spitalfields Market was transformed into a skating mecca; seeing the world’s best skate teams throw down for a slice of the £50,000 prize purse. i-D online headed down early and took the chance to grab a strong coffee and a few words with man of the moment Chris Pfanner. Having successfully navigated the barrage of high fives and hugs – his grin ever-widening – we took a seat and talked home comforts, career milestones, style and of course skateboarding…
Let’s start with the relocation. You’ve recently left Barcelona and it’s world famous skate scene for Nuremburg. Tell us about that… Obviously I loved Barca, but it was a case of skate, come home and skate some more. That’s not to say there isn’t a skate scene in Nuremburg, but my friends are a little bit older. It’s more relaxed, more of a home. I get to see my girlfriend and family. Eat some good food, drink some beers. It’s a nice place to come back to after touring.
Tell us about your style… Why do you skate so fast? That comes from my time on Yama. It’s a first or nothing mentality, you skate really hard all day. I’ll always admire the crazy technical stuff, but for me progression is pushing hard and hitting gaps. That’s my skateboarding.
What’s behind the enduring appeal of skateboarding? It’s always with you. Once you’re a skateboarder you’re always a skateboarder. I’ll be walking with my girlfriend or out to eat with my family and constantly be scoping new spots.
What’s your go to shoe? I like the classics; Half Cabs and Era Pros. Although a few of the Vans team myself, Andrew Allen, Gilbert Crockett and Chima Ferguson have been working on a shoe called the Stage 4, which has been pretty amazing. Just taking the bits we like from all our favourite shoes and putting it together. It’s been really cool.
What’s the plan for the rest of the year? I’m going to be touring Japan and America for the remainder of the year, but other than that there’s no real plan. Just keep skating for as long as I can. Keep enjoying it. Stay healthy. I can’t imagine doing anything else at the moment. I’m lucky.
Finally congrats on finally turning pro. That must have been a good feeling… For sure, it was nice. A good birthday present. The board came out well too, the graphics look great. But either way, not much has changed I still skate and do everything I did before.
Text: Joseph Clarke Knowles
Photography: Nathan Gallagher