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Monday, March 10, 2014
Connor Champion talks Mighty Healthy

By Chris Nieratko

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the underground skate apparel brand Mighty Healthy, and to celebrate, they've got a number of collaborations lined up throughout the year including co-branded pieces with Huf, Kevin Lyons, Visual by Van Syles, a Gino Iannucci signature line and a Frank 151 book. Their first collaboration on deck, with Black Scale, drops this week. The Blvck Mighty collab will be available in select retailers worldwide and will be limited. To promote the collaboration, Mighty Healthy had Brandon Kuzma film the above video spot with team rider and Raleigh, N.C.'s finest, Connor Champion. We rang up Champion to see what he's been up to. It's been two and a half years since Mike Sinclair interviewed you for your ESPN Amateur Hour interview. What's changed in your life?
Champion: Not much, just been to a lot of new places and met new people. Skating a lot and going wherever that takes me. I moved to New York a few months ago. I'm just trying to settle in and brave this winter so when it warms up I can fully appreciate my new surroundings.

You seem very reserved to ride for Skate Mental. How do you fit into Staba's Dynamic?
I can be reserved for sure, but I think it works out. Our senses of humor are definitely somewhere on the same cloud. Everybody over there is tight. I've known Plunkett and Trevor [Colden] for a long time. Brad and Brian are two of my favorite skaters of all time. I'm just hyped to be down.

What's the Raleigh skate scene looking like these days? Who's going to be the next guy to come out of there?
It's alive and well. Definitely a little different than it used to be, the Internet has changed the game everywhere. There is a little less sense of local community than there used to be. I think a lot of people realize that close community is what keeps scenes alive though and it is starting to get it back. There are a lot of people ripping at home, but the two that stand apart are Ron Parker and Thomas Dristas. Thomas crushes anything you put in front of him and he's got a big bag of tricks. Ron is a skater's skater -- he will skate anything with the best style on the planet. Both are gonna give Cacka a good look in the near future.

Ever feel the need to move out West to try and chase the skate dream and make it big?
All the time. I like it better on the East though. I like skating from spot to spot, instead of driving to some gnarly spot to just get kicked out. I think the way I skate is more conducive and productive when I'm in a more East Coast like environment. I like San Francisco a lot, but I'm an East Coast kid for sure. 

Mighty Healthy is celebrating their 10-year anniversary. How did you get on the team and what's it like being Gino's teammate?
It was random. Ray hit me up one day and was like, "What's good?" He's been hooking it up since. How could I not be down to be on the team with GOATs like Gino, Danny [Montoya], and Pete [Eldridge]? That's a squad! Sadly no Gino stories. We only met one time when I was super young. Hopefully I'll get that session in soon now that I'm up here.

Connor Champion in his adopted home of NYC, modeling the latest from Mighty Healthy.

Would you prefer to watch Gino grocery shop or watch Nyjah's DC part?
Gino shop.

Tell me about this Black Scale collaboration.
It's tight! All the pieces look super good. It's clean and simple. I think it is a great showcase of both brands into one small line. It's a perfect blend of the skate oriented side of "street wear" and the more high fashion side.

What does the word "Americon" mean to you?
It's actually a Slayer reference, but when I first saw the stuff it made me think of the American Dream by not the normal means; kind of the American spirit of go get it your way.

What's your game plan for the rest of 2014?
Skate and enjoy the warm weather in the city. Travel when I can and keep it moving.