One thousand and thirty-two. That precise number is not the average number of beer cans recycled after this year's Canada Day party or bones broken by Evel Kneivel—it's skateboarding's longest standing world record. In 1979, scrawny Canadian teenager Kevin Harris shattered the two-board 360 record in the same coliseum that unleashed Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones onto Vancouver, Canada. It took over 20 minutes to complete and started an unprecedented career as one of the most proactive skateboarding entrepreneurs in the world. His pro model for Powell-Peralta boasts one of the skateboarding's most iconic graphics, he started the world-famous Richmond Skate Ranch, co-owned the RDS Skatepark, hosted the first professional mini-ramp contest called The Mini Chin Challenge, published the first Canadian skateboard magazine called Concrete Powder, opened Canada's first and longest running skateboard distributions called Ultimate Distribution, organized hundreds of contests and toured the globe doing demos with Tony Hawk and the elite Bones Brigade.
And this was a guy whose mom was so concerned about his poor grades that she actually completed his high school homework for him.
Competing as a professional freestyler, Kevin was ranked second overall by the late-1980s. Like a travelling evangelical fanatic, he has crisscrossed the world doing demos in parking lots, shopping malls, skate shops and skateparks for over forty years to preach the power of skate. When the industry ignored freestyle, he simply started his own competition network, The World Freestyle Round Up, in 2011. Folding his previous experiences with successful businesses and competitions into an encapsulated enterprise, Round Up showcases skateboarding's artistry in a simple distilled form. The World Round Up podiums look like the United Nations of skateboarding with Japan, Germany, Canada, USA, Sweden and more all represented.
While brands have long attached themselves to the more aggressive alternative aspect of skateboarding, a few vanguard companies are connecting to the more accessible artistic orientated side. Apple, Mercedes, Vogue have all used flatland skating to convey skating's counterculture approach to movement. The ability to freestyle in your garage or any flat patch of concrete offers universality unavailable to the rest of skateboarding.
Freestyle is now seen as a language that conveys artistry and creative expression but Kevin uses it to expose people to all aspects of skateboarding. "I'll travel around the world and meet people who get emotional as they tell me how they saw me skate a demo at some Podunk shopping mall and some share stories about spending formative years at one of my skateparks. They'll explain how skating exposed them and taught them lessons that transcend the physical activity. Of course, I had no idea that it would impact people decades later, and it is kind of mind-blowing, but that is exactly what happened to me when I saw the G&S demo at the local Dairy Queen in the 1970s."
Freestyle has the ability to airdrop into any flat surface and showcase skateboarding's artistic expression live. Kevin has experienced firsthand how dynamic that engagement level can be, which is why he continues to demo to this day.