CCS Holiday '23 Collection - Our Biggest Drop Yet

A skateboarder peers over the edge of rooftop overhang, sizing up the drop. The camera zooms out, revealing the abyss he is scoping... double overhead. In a flash, he has dropped in and then off. His form is good, knees bent, and he sticks the landing!
Alas, his tail snaps under the impact and the skater crumbles to the concrete, not seriously injured by bummed for sure.

Thus opens the montage section of Transworld Skateboarding's 2001 video Sight Unseen, considered then and still an all time classic. It's a great drop in and a great slam that starts a memorable montage in a legendary video.
But who was this rooftop ripper? He wasn't listed in the credits alongside all the other montage participants. Was he just some random kid who submitted footage? Is this the only footage from him, ever?

It took a little digging and some help from the online skate community, but we were able to identify the daredevil as Kyle Hagerty. And once we got his name he was easy to find because he's kinda famous. Not for skateboarding, but for teaching people how to grow their own food from the online accounts called Urban Farmstead. He also is a fire fighter and is now our hero.

Kyle Hagerty grows food

We reached out to Kyle and he was nice enough to talk about his sponsored skating days as well as what he is up to now.

CCS: As a huge fan of the Transworld Sight Unseen video, your uncredited drop in that kicks off one of the montages is an all-time classic trick. Can you talk a bit about that it?

Kyle: We were in SF for the day and were driving through the presideo just looking for spots when when came across I group of guys skating a big parking lot bump under a bridge. Turns out that group included Rob Welsh, Henry Sanchez, Joey Pepper and a few others. We stopped to check out the spot and I immediately noticed the roof. It looked gnarly, but possible. So I climbed up with my board, gave it one look the just dropped in and went for it. I guess nobody was expecting me to just go for it because nobody was filming my first attempt. That got the attention of the group that was skating nearby so they came over to watch. I broke my board after a few tries which is the shot in Sight Unseen, then Rob Welsh gave me his board and after a few drops with those tiny wheels I broke his board. The closer I got was rolling about 6 feet to a big crack that took me down. I didn’t really hurt myself and would have kept trying, but then the cops rolled up and kicked us out. A few months later I was working at a skate shop in Monterey when Sight Unseen came in and I was stoke because I had no idea I was in it or who most of those guys were that day at the Presideo. I found out recently that it was Vic Neyra who filmed it.

That was definitely one of the gnarlier drops I’ve done, but yeah I was pretty into those big drops those days.

Sight Unseen Drop In

Were you upset you were never credited? I think you might be one of the only skaters not named in the credits... other than that rollerblade guy.

    No, I was just stoked to be in it, I don’t think I ever even noticed I wasn’t named in the credits.

    Did you ever go back to try to get that trick?

      I never really thought about going back, but in retrospect it would have been rad to go back and land it. 

      Kyle Hagerty Drop In

      With a little research I saw you had the opening part in the 2003 Kre-per video. Do you have other parts to your skate career? Other sponsors?

      I had a part in a local skate shop video 68 Skate, I think it’s still up on YouTube. I was also sponsored by Dogtown Skateboards and Bills Wheels skate shop in Santa Cruz. 

      Did you ever ride those Kre-per trucks with the bat wings?

        I did, for a couple years, then they moved me over to the Grind King team when they realized Kre-Per trucks were ridiculous. They always skated well though. 

        Kre-per trucks CCS

        Kre-Per Trucks in the Holiday 2001 catalog

        Was there any particular time or incident where you transitioned out of skateboarding as a primary activity or identity?

        After high school I started my career in the fire service and for the first few years I was working seasonal for CalFire, so I pretty much had to stop skating because I’d be out of a job if I ever got injured, and before that I was on crutches about twice a year, so I chose not to take that risk. Now I’ll skate every once in a while, but not nearly as often as I should. 

        When did you start gardening? And when did you start making videos related to that? Is this any 'unexpected path' for your life or have you always been interested in something along these lines?

        I used skate with a guy who owned a landscaping company so I worked for him when I was in high school. After that I stated growing vegetables and would just plant bigger gardens every year until I bought my house with a big empty yard in Sacramento and started @urbanfarmstead on Instagram. Then I moved to a new place and started my Urban Farmstead YouTube channel in 2020. I’ve always enjoyed gardening and and learned a lot about filming and video editing from my skateboarding days. 

        I think I’m likely the only person to be in both Thrasher magazine and Better Homes and Gardens magazine. 

        Kyle Hagerty Thrasher BHG

        What is some general advice to someone wanting to start a home garden but is intimidated or having little success?

        Start small with a few of the easier plants like herbs, maybe some tomatoes, peppers and squash, and pay attention to what works for you and what doesn’t, then expand your garden and plant more challenging things as you lean. People often go overboard to early then get overwhelmed and give up because they feel like a failure. It’s like trying a kickflip before you learn to ollie.  

        What is the your favorite vegetable for growing or eating? 

        Definitely tomatoes. There are hundreds of different varieties and they all taste better than anything you can buy at the store.

        Is there any veggies you just hate?

        No, I pretty much like them all and grow or have grown most of them. 

        I saw at least one recent skate trick when you had to kick up some concrete to set irrigation in your garden... are you still skating? Do you have any favorite current skate brands?

        Yeah, I get out on the board every once in a while but not really enough to claim that I still skate. I still have a stack of Dogtown boards at home, so I’ll probably just keep skating those. I don’t really keep up with the brands but my good friend Alex White works for Krux and they seem to be putting out some cool stuff lately. 

        Kyle Hagerty ollies

        You're also a 'fire jumper'. Can you explain what that is?

        I’m not actually. That was probably an assumption from someone who knew I worked for CalFire. Smoke Jumpers sky dive out of airplanes to fight fires with hand tools in remote areas. They are pretty much all bad asses. I work for a city fire department. 

        So do you just serve as an urban fire fighter or are you also fighting wild fires?

         I work for Sacramento Metro Fire District now which is pretty much all urban, but we also send engines out to the larger forest fires throughout California. This summer I spent the entire month of July deployed on a  few different fires throughout the state including the Dixie fire. 

        Maybe tell us about a hairy fire fighting situation? Have you ever feared for your life?

        The most hairy fire situation I was in actually took place before I joined the fire service, when my friends and I almost accidentally burned down a house when we were pumping out a pool to skate. 

        We were pumping out the pool and decided to put the generator inside an empty wooden hot to that was right next to the house in order to muffle the noise. The pool was nearly empty when we smelled smoke and ran around the back of the house where the heat from the generator exhaust started the hot tub on fire and flames were about to extend the house. We grabbed some buckets and had just enough water left in the pool to extinguish the fire before it got out of control. Close fucking call, but the pool was epic and we skated it for months. 

        If there is one (or a couple) fire safety awareness concepts we can get out there to folks, what would those be?

        Keep a good fire extinguisher around and know how to use it. Most fires start in the kitchen and can be easily extinguished, but they grow quickly. 

        Kyle's part in the 2003 Kre-Per Show video

        Do you find that a lot of fire fighters used to (or still) skate?

        In my experience, no, not a lot, but some do. It goes along with that thrill seeking, hanging-with-the-boys lifestyle, so it seems like more would. I love this job and would recommend it to anyone, especially skaters. Now is a great time to get into the fire service with almost every department hiring at the moment. The best advice I can give to anyone looking to get into the fire services, especially the youngsters out there, keep a clean record, because the background investigations to get hired are no joke. 

        Any final words? Any shout outs from back in the day or currently?

        Shoutout to my buddy Peter Gunn whose probably pouring concrete for a skatepark somewhere and still ripping. And shoutout to my girl Alex White for staying true to what she loves, still sheddin', and for the work she’s doing to progress the woman’s skate scene. Thank you to Vic Neyra for getting getting me in one of the most epic skate videos of all time, and thank you to Grant Yansura of WKND and everyone else who’s tried to track me down after watching Sight Unseen.  Thank you for this interview, it’s been a while since I’ve had an interview that wasn’t just about growing food. 

        Sight Unseen Drop InAlternate attempt - similar result - Photo by Peter Gunn

        Huge thanks to Kyle for taking the time to talk with us and for, you know, putting out fires and saving lives.
        You can follow his urban farming adventures on the Urban Farmstead Youtube channel and Instagram.

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