Chris Pfanner Interview
Yama to Anti Hero; Nigeria to Austria to San Francisco.
Vans and Anti Hero team rider Chris Pfanner is crushing it right now. He recently got the cover of Skateboarder. Has an entire section of the newest Skatebook dedicated to him. He's had a series of gnarly Vans ads and then most recently Anti Hero's site posted five Fridays worth of amazing footage of him. All that momentum seemed to be leading to him going pro and yet he didn't and he has no idea when he will. I'm guessing it won't be long now, especially if he keeps on his am hustle the way he has been.
My main question is when are you turning pro? I got no idea. You might have to ask Julien [Stranger] and the heads over at Deluxe about that. It's pretty much up to them. They know when the timing is right. But I'm not too bothered about that; not much is going to change. I'm still gonna be skating and doing everything I do on a daily basis.
It seemed with these five Pfridays on the Anti Hero site, that it was leading up to you turning pro. Really? No, I had a bunch of footage that they've seen out in Europe already. I had a little video part last summer with some of the footage and then I gave it to Deluxe and I wanted them to post it as a news thing but they were like, "With all the stuff you were gathering, we could make something else with it," and that's how we came up with the Five Pfridays.
I was waiting for the big announcement after the fifth Friday that you were gonna go pro and it never came. Well, there have been talks about it, turning me pro some time soon but as I said, it's not up to me. I don't know when it will happen but maybe sometime in the near future.
Do you think it's Jim Thiebaud holding you back out of jealousy of your hair? No, no, no, I don't think so. He hasn't been rocking the ponytail for a while now but I don't think he's holding me back.
But he's going bald. Yeah, that's what happens when the years start climbing up. The hairs get fewer as well. It's a natural thing, I guess.
True. The guy is almost 50. So you moved to The States recently, huh? Yeah, I came out here two weeks ago. I've been staying in San Francisco and I plan on staying out here for the next two months. I came out here with my girlfriend as well and I have a work Visa which is an extended stay but she just has a 90-day tourist Visa. So we're gonna do this for a while and we'll see how things work out for both of us. If she can find a job we might consider for the future that we move out here for a little bit.
How did you get on Anti Hero in the first place? Someone from Deluxe noticed me and started sending me wheels and trucks. At the time I was riding for a European board brand called Yama. It was kind of obvious that I would get on a U.S. board brand and so they started flowing me Real boards. One summer Julien came out to Barcelona, that's how I met him. I was sitting out at MACBA and he was like, "Can you show me around? Where can I find some tranny stuff?" We got to know each other and after that the guys at Deluxe were like, "We'd like to put you on Real as an amateur." I was like, "Well, I know more guys on the Anti Hero team like Tony Trujillo and Andrew Allen through traveling with Vans and I met Julien already. Do you think they'd be down if I ride for Anti Hero?" They were totally down for it.
How stoked are you to be on that team? Those are the baddest dudes in skateboarding. Of course I'm stoked, man! It's the biggest honor you could ever have skating on the team with Julien, Trujillo and John [Cardiel]. Just the way they approach skateboarding, the way they see things is amazing. I can't think of any other company to ride for. I'm really happy how things worked out.
Who do you consider the sickest dude on the team? John, straight up. The power, the mentality about things, he's a super nice person and his whole approach to life in general is great. Whenever your head is hanging you just have to think, "What would John do?" And instantly the fire sparks and you're looking toward the light again.
Recently you had a Vans ad for Cardiel's shoe. That had to be huge for you. I was so stoked on that. When I shot that picture I didn't know it was going to be used for that. When I saw the ad and said, "Chris Pfanner for John Cardiel," that was a huge honor. I would never put up a poster or pictures of myself skating but this one, in a couple of years, I'll look back at it and I'll be really proud about it.
You're Austrian by way of Nigeria. Who would you say the most famous Austrian ever is? We got a couple. Arnie Schwarzenegger, who is ruling California. Jorg Haider, he was an Austrian politician who was super right wing and he got into a car accident and died and that's when all the stuff came out that he was gay; his politics were totally against that. Then we have Franz Fuchs, the guy who made letter bombs and accidentally blew up his own hand.
Have you had to deal with any racist garbage growing up there? Yeah, it was crazy. When I was 10 I moved to Austria from Nigeria. I was there by myself for the first four years at a boarding school. There were not many people of color so I had to deal with a lot of skinheads. As I grew up and learned to defend myself more and more it got less and less. But I got picked on a lot of times. You just have to stand your ground and some way you get through it.
That sounds awful. So what are your plans for the rest of the year? The plan is no plan; that's how I've always kept it. I'm happy with the way that everything is going. I hope that I stay healthy and strong and can keep on shredding as much and as long as possible. That's the plan, keep it going.