Listen, I’m a 35 year old man with very little grasp on what is cool. I mean I do tricks from the 80’s, what would I know? Ben Keegan, on the other hand, is part of a wave of people who I genuinely believe are the future of skateboarding, and know exactly what direction things are headed. Ben has an unbelievable natural talent on a skateboard, and an east coast style on a board – skating at breakneck speed, with technical, mind-blowing tricks, and unafraid of shit, rough ground. I caught up with him to talk about coming from a family of skateboarders, repping grassroots companies, and to get tips on making sick Instagram clips.
For anyone who doesn’t know you, who is Ben Keegan?
CV5’s gnarliest. I don’t know what more there is to say, haha.
Where did you grow up skating?
The first time I went properly out with my brothers – we went straight to the Herbert spot in Coventry and pretty much never left. There’s perfect flat ground and a ledge. We didn’t need a skatepark. Shout out to Holbrooks Bowls too, in case we needed some transition.
Did your brothers get you into skating or was it something you were interested in before they picked it up?
I tried to skate back after playing the THPS games, but really got in it later in life seeing my brothers getting into skating. I just remember thinking it looked so fun, so I got my dad to buy me a setup and I ain’t stopped since! Having my brothers about and always having someone to skate with probably helped too.
Who is the best skateboarder in the Keegan family?
Well, we’ve all got tricks each other ain’t got, but their switch game is weak, haha. I’m gonna have to say me, but I got a little sister who could low key be on some Sky Brown shit, so don’t know for sure!
Do you skate with Matt and Jamie often or are you all kinda on your own thing these days?
Yeah we get the occasional link up, which is sick, but with them working jobs and not living under the same roof it ain’t as easy as when we were younger.
You skate with the dudes who run Sumo – How did you get involved with those guys?
Always had mutual friends, but in the past couple years, we just drove to Leamington to skate, and they were always actively going to find spots and film. That’s always what I’m trying to do, so we’ve been good homies ever since. With filming for the first Sumo vid, we formed a tight little crew. Big ups to Cal for all the work for that. Coincidentally, a couple of us ended up going to uni in London at the same time, so it’s been a blessing.
Is supporting grassroots companies run by skateboarders something that is important to you?
Yeah man, for sure. I’ve only really had encounters with these types of companies. Jim at Ride has always hooked me up, then Tom at SUAS, to now with Sumo. Everyone is doing their shit because they love skateboarding and that’s the shit! You gotta support that!
You managed to get over to Paris earlier this year – how does skating over in France differ to skating here in the UK?
Paris is so good – you’ve got République and like 100 other spots, but also just the pavement is so smooth which makes pushing anywhere easy. It’s something you don’t get as much over here. In the UK there’s just tiles and skate stoppers to eat shit on. They got it nice in France.
Was it difficult to get out there with all of this Coronavirus business popping off?
It wasn’t actually that bad at all, we kinda went at the right time just before August. I’m not sure how doable a skate trip would be now, but nothing was that different when we went – just had to wear a mask on the train over, and that was about it.
Did you manage to visit any legendary spots?
We were only there for a couple days, but République and Le Dome were the main two spots we skated. I heard Le Dome might be destroyed too, so I was glad to skate there.
You post some amazing clips on Insta – do you think Instagram has become the place for people to see the best skateboarding footage?
Instagram has been good for Skateboarding. It’s reaching a lot more people and it’s an easy outlet if you just want to post something you landed. To be honest I prefer not filming on phones. I like filming for something like a full video and waiting on the clips. I get way more motivation to skate that way.
What kind of skateboarding clips do you think people like to see on Instagram?
I personally like to see clips from my homies because it’s the only way to see the session if you ain’t there haha. I am sure everyone loves anything from skaters they follow, or seem to like the quirkier clips that make you say “WTF”.
Who are your inspirations in skateboarding – who informed your style and the kind of tricks you are into?
My inspirations definitely have changed over time. When I first started, I thought Geoff Rowley was the illest: Just the way he would slam and get straight back up and go again. I always just found the skating I just love seeing is people going fast and shit, it’s always way more exciting, like with the GX1000 boys going crazy. Would also say Mindfield by Alien Workshop inspired me a lot, with just the range of skating – from Kalis to Dill to Jake Johnson, it always gets me hyped to skate.
What are your plans for next year? Any trips planned?
After Paris I ain’t really got nothing lined up. Everything’s so unsure right now. If possible I would like to get to get out to Barca or Amsterdam for sure. Outside of that, we’ve got the second Sumo vid coming, and maybe a little part with my boy filming in London.
Who else do you film with in London?
George Hardiman is on cam a lot if we’re out in the streets, but Cal from Sumo films too. If anyone’s about and we’re skating, someone will jump on the cam: London is good for that too, there are so many crews to go skate with.
How have you found living in London?
I have found living in London a bit mad to be fair – In a good way though. It’s definitely a change from Cov, with the amount of people and cultures, but with a lot of good homies here, and bare spots and skateparks all a walk or cycle away, I really can’t complain too much.
What are some of your favourite spots in London?
It would be hard to single out one spot that would be my favourite, as it all depends what you’re trying to skate. Stockwell is definitely one of my favourite parks, but living 30 secs from Queens Road, I gotta give that spot my bias. People bring ledges and kickers down, but I can skate those curbs and flat ground for hours haha.
Do you think you would continue living in London after uni, or is that a bit too far in the future to think about?
I am definitely enjoying my time here: it’s like the skate mecca of the UK. You meet a lot of new people here too. Post uni – I honestly don’t know. I’m sure I could probably stay put for a good while, but just don’t think i could live here forever.
Anyone you want to thank?
Thanks to you, Ade, for asking me to do this interview – Terribleco has been around in Cov since I started skating, so it’s nice to still see this shit goin’ strong! Shout outs to Ride, SUAS, Sumo too: all local to Cov and been hookin’ it up!