Interview – Darren Kaehne – Still ripping at 42!

Darren Kaehne

Although we moved in the same circles for many years I never really crossed paths with Darren Kaehne until we were both working at Monster Skate Park around 2006. I was in the shop and Darren would come in on the weekends and coach kids how to skate. As you get older, the circle of guys around your age to skate with decreases and you come across people you haven’t seen in years. I have been lucky enough to skate with Darren a couple of times recently and he is killing it.

So much so I thought we better check in with some old crew and come up with a few questions for an interview to document Dags.  Check out the clips too, tech and smooth, amazing! Here it is folks, the Darren ‘Dags’ Kaehne interview.

AHA: Hey Darren, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. How old are you now? How’s the body handling?

Darren Kaehne: Mostly, really good. The ankles are toast, the lower back is a bit stiff. I’ve got some sort of nerve damage in my neck. It’s all a little frail, but that’s to be expected after thirty odd years of skating. When you get to our age you have to put in way more time and effort, but it’s worth it. After refining my diet and lifestyle, a little I feel fitter, healthier, and more nimble than some forty two year olds. I can’t complain.

AHA: Recently you became a Dad, how are you finding that?

Darren: It’s amazing. Nekoda’s super creative and free spirited, she’s such a unique little character. I learn from her everyday.

AHA: We all have to do things to pay the bills; you are a sparky by trade, what’s that like?

Darren: I love it. Getting a trade was one of the best decisions I ever made, and we definitely wouldn’t be where we are without it. We are fortunate enough that Amy can be a stay at home mum. Which is kinda rare these days.

AHA: How often do you get time to go out and skate these days?

Darren: If I can skate two or three times a week, I’m stoked. We live real close to Mona park, which helps and that’s lit up till late. It’s easy enough to cruise up there if I get a minute spare.

AHA: You’re skating really well now; do you feel like you are still getting better?

Darren: Thanks man! Skating is so hard and if you’re only doing it couple times a week it’s hard enough just hanging on to the things you used to be able to do. I learn new things here and there. But I definitely don’t think I’m getting better.

AHA: Are there any elusive tricks you used to be able to do blindfolded that have gotten away from you?

Darren: Yeah, most all of them! Frontside flips and round rail 50-50’s aren’t that easy anymore. I’m pretty persistent though.

AHA: What are some of the new tricks you’ve added to the bag or re-mastered recently?

Darren: I kind of learned frontside hurricanes on the flat bar recently, I’ve never done them. And I’ve been trying to figure out half cab in tricks, like 1/2 cab feeble, 5-0, crooks etc. But I’m mostly trying to relearn tricks I’ve already done. There were so many back in the day that you would only do once, and we rarely filmed anything, that’s just how it was back then.

AHA: After years of skateboarding do you still feel relevant?

Darren: Honestly, I haven’t felt relevant in 20 years, easily, if ever. I never really took it that seriously. Skating’s always been more of a creative outlet. I was never really too concerned with the whole professional / industry kind of side to it. It almost ruined it for me.

AHA: I keep forgetting. Who else is on the Amnesia team these days?

Darren: “Else”!? Not me. I had to quit ages ago. Not enough time, energy or talent. I still ride the boards, coz they’re good and Chris gives me a good deal on them. As far as the team, it’s Jono power, Matty Dillon, and Simon Liddyard. Maybe some flow kids, not really sure. I think they might be working on a video, so we’ll see. I guess.

AHA: Someone recently asked me about ‘Kaehne Club’ I didn’t say anything as it’s a bit of a secret ‘thing’. What is the first rule of Kaehne Club?

Darren: What?! Never heard of it,! The first rule must be keeping it a secret from Kaehne!

Davo: You always get the last part in the 90’s mornings clips, do you deserve it and is this a blessing or a curse?

Darren: You’re way too modest. Thanks for doing those! Those clips are cool, they’re always super fun to film, and they are done in one day.

Darren Kaehne

DARREN KAEHNE – BS TAIL IN THE ACT 2010 © 📷 LUKE BROWN

Davo: In the last Amnesia video who was that unhealthy looking guy pushing around in your video part?

Darren: When you’re working six days a week, old, fat, out of shape and spending most of your spare time drinking. Video parts probably aren’t the best project to attempt. That was so embarrassing, and I fully cried after the premiere when the realization hit that this was it! I’d been all about skating for so long, and this is what I’d come up with to represent that. I couldn’t even watch it again.

Glenn Scott: Why are you skateboarding better now than when I sponsored you for Criminal Skateboards and SMP clothing in the 1990’s?

Darren: No way! I was so much better then, we just never had video cameras around to prove it. Once when Currie told us we are putting out the Criminal video, next week. I was so confused, like “ I haven’t even filmed anything?”. That part was some random gathered up footage, and one day of “filming”, before I had to head off to work, delivering pizzas.

Glenn Scott: Tell us a funny story about Shane Azar and ‘The Nest’.

Darren: That was a long time ago, and some of those memories are a little fuzzy. Azar is a lot younger than us, so he was just a young skate rat kid; we were kind of in party mode. Hogs used to give him grief, for sure. I had a soft spot for him coz I could see my younger self in him. Sort of. I have fond memories of that time period. Most of that should be left in the past where it belongs. We are all grown up now, have families and are completely different people, thankfully.

Steve Tierney: I’ve been killing myself filming the new ‘Street Teagues’ part and you keep stealing the spot light, what do I have to do stop you?

Darren: Ha-ha! Not even, I love that part. There’s such honesty to it, real street skating, searching, spontaneity, creativity. And it shows.

Purush Wilson: How are you finding learning vert after 30 years of street?

Darren: Foreign and terrifying.

Purush Wilson: What vert tricks on your tricks to learn before you die list?

Darren: just proper back-to-back backside airs. Pumping in and out getting higher each time. That would be amazing.

Purush Wilson: Are we gonna see a 540? That shit is real scary!

Darren: I very highly doubt it. Don’t skate vert anywhere near enough, you should move back down! I’d love to skate it more, but I find it gnarly to even mentally prepare.

Purush Wilson: Have you been getting any handplant variations? That shit is scary, the whole upside down standing on one hand 14 foot above the flat bottom thing doesn’t come naturally to most street flat land skate rats.

Darren: No chance, ever. But I’m a big Auby Taylor fan. I love where he is at, just full mid/ late 80’s Jeff Phillips inspired vert revival.

Darren Kaehne

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT SUNSETS? © 📷 Richard McGibbon

Shane Azar: Is it true you once shaved your entire body? What was the purpose?

Darren: Not true. The eyebrows never came off. I heard they take ages to grow back. But yeah, that was some just kind of psychological reset.

AHA: Chad Ford sent me a clipping of you from the newspaper from 2001 to ask you about. Nice suit, what was going on there?

Darren: The worst! I just cringe every time that’s brought up, and thank god the Internet wasn’t really a thing back then. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s what you learn from them that really counts. And I learnt a lot.

AHA: All right! Enough of that nonsense, I’ve posted all the questions from our friends that are fit for human consumption. Where are your favourite skate spots to hit at the moment?

Darren: Just skate parks really. Skateparks are so good nowadays, and you don’t get kicked out! Honestly, I’d love to get in the streets more often, but it’s hard to find the time or motivation.

AHA: You were involved with getting the new Mona Vale Park together; tell us a bit about the fight and the result?

Darren: It had been rumored about for ages. As soon as I got a job at Pittwater Council in 2014, I was in everyone’s ear about the skatepark, from the Mayor and the General Manager down. The ball just got rolling. Thankfully they listened, and we had a really good working team. That park is super fun, it turned out really well. Not perfect, but nothing is, right?

AHA: Right! Are you pushing to get any more new facilities on the Northern Beaches?

Always. A new low budget one just went in at Terry hills. There’s one coming up in Belrose. I think Curl Curl might still be on the cards, hopefully. Kierle Park is also possibly getting a full upgrade. It’s so rad that the councils are finally starting to realise how important good skateparks are.

Darren Kaehne

DK MANLY TAIL 2009 © 📷 CHRIS YEOH

AHA: What is some advice you could offer to local skaters pushing to get a park in their area?

Hassle the fuck out of your local council, Mayor, and councilors. Go to council meetings, sign up for the agenda. Get numbers involved. Petitions, visual representation. Draw up some rough plans. Anything that shows you’re enthusiastic, and takes any extra work out of the hands of council employees.

AHA: Who have you been skating with lately?

Darren: No one, really. I like skating either alone or with one or two others, so whoever is down. I’m not really that social, honestly. I go to the park and barely talk to anyone.

AHA: Who’s winning and who’s sucking at skating in 2018?

Darren: The people who are winning – are the ones still doing it. Especially the older crew. The ones who are talking about it or reminiscing and are still fully capable are sucking.

AHA: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer all our questions. And putting up with everyone. Any last words or shout outs?

Darren: Thanks to the crew that are still skating & inspiring. A big thank you to the crew still flowing product here and there and thanks especially to my family and friends.