We managed to get a little bit of time with Austyn Gillette just before his new shoe for HUF was released. Unfortunately we found him at the tail end of recovering from different surgeries whilst sat on the footage which we were greeted with this morning. If you haven’t seen the part he put together for his new shoe then watch it HERE and enjoy this little window into his world at the moment…
Hi Austyn how are you doing? What have you been up to lately?
3 knee surgeries has taken me out for 10 months and I am coming to the end of that so just living really, camping with my dog, not much else just trying to get better.
We were big fans of your Quik video part from 2012 filmed all from a moving vehicle a while back. Have you got any more plans to film anything unusual like that with Colin Kennedy (the filmer) or anyone else?
Yeah we were meant to do one this year, but that didn’t happen with me going into surgery, but I guess that’s still open as we are buddy’s. I guess he’s holding out for me to do it again, well I hope he’s holding out for me! I think he’s got another idea he wants to do so we will see. My knee surgeries have really put everything on hold. My life the last year has been shit, but I am getting through it, going to a bunch of doctors. I am already pushing around, not popping my board or anything.
Your new shoe is really interesting and seems influenced by non skate footwear, what shoes do you wear when you’re not skating and did this influence your shoe design?
I guess I wear Oxfords or Clarks. More traditional shoes, more dressy. I guess that influence came from those that I grew up with, they were skaters but they also played music and they wouldn’t always wear skate trainers. It kinda rubbed off on me I guess. It looks more pleasing to look down on than looking at skate shoes, just my view though. You know a skate shoe serves a purpose as much as hiking shoes serve a purpose. When I’m not skating I’m not thinking about it. I don’t want to come across jaded but when I’m skating, I’m skating. When I’m not, I’m not.
Between your two main sponsors, HUF and 3D your bosses are two serious skate legends – Brian Anderson and Keith Hufnagel. Are they guys you looked up to when you were younger? Do you get to skate with either of them much?
Brian more than Huf. Brian still fully skates, HUF has got busy over the last few years so it’s harder to call him up on a tuesday afternoon. Growing up I would say Brian before HUF, then later people like Colin Kennedy (The filmer) introduced me to Huf. Huf for sure influenced me later on in my life and Brian in the early days. Looking at it now it’s clear with the way I skate that they paved the way even without me really knowing it. I kick it with Brian easier though as we have been hanging out for years. He always has his board with him, like if we go out to eat or to the bar he will have his board with him – he’s a full blown skate nerd.
Frontside heelflip from Austyn’s HUF part
Was it a conscious decision to skate for skater owned independent companies or did it just happen naturally? How important do you think smaller independent companies are to the industry and scene right now? Are there any companies that you particularly like or respect?
Skating is turning into something more mainstream, how I see it. It might have started mainstream kinda, but it seems that every 20 years it flips round. It seems more skaters are coming back into it to run it. I prefer skater owned companies for sure, but to be fair I was interested in seeing what these bigger companies had to offer me but it was clear that there was a lot of empty promises and basically it turned out to be bullshit. You couldn’t get to the top with these guys, everything just seems out of reach. It’s nice to know that you can get your own board with a skater owned company. With those other big guys you can fly first class for a couple of years but not get much out of it. I feel we are gonna see more of that from the guys from my generation! As for brands I like, my buddy’s brand WKND skateboards, I also like all the accessories brands that have sprouted up like Poler, hell I even like Polar the Pontus deal, I like what he does.
There are a lot of highly anticipated new videos coming from independent companies this year – Polar, Palace, Isle, 5Boro. Do you keep up with videos still, any video or footage you are particularly looking forward to?
I guess that I have been off the skate radar a bit. I’m not aware of many of these Videos, the only one I have seen is the Vans video. I bought that on I tunes. I am a fan of Greg Hunt for sure.
Talking of WKND Skateboards, we have seen a lot of skits on your instagram with Johan Stuckey (WKND owner). Who’s the brains behind these videos?
I’m the brains behind the operation! Haha, my Instagram is basically me just being bored though.
Who pulls in more likes, You and Johan’s skits or photos of Walter (Austyns Dog)?
Walters pics for sure!
Austyn’s dog Walter from @austyngillette on Instagram
What happens to Walter when you tour and travel to film?
My brother looks after him for me which is cool. He gets dragged into these conversations all the time. He (Walter the dog) had two Graphics on 3D, I think it has gone to his head a bit. I didn’t even push for it Brian (Anderson) did that. His royalties are a few bones I guess but he gets to come camping with me. That’s his real royalties. I like taking him on camping trips. I have been going with him into the wilderness. It really seems to change him. He’s a different dog when he’s camping. Wow! I guess seeing it and being there humbles you. Heck it humbles both both of us as we are doing that together. We are on a life journey hahaha!
Thanks Austyn and good luck with your recovery.
Interview by Dave Wilton-Atkinson
Shop for Austyn’s new shoe on HUF HERE