Caught Up: Keegan Valaika

A So Cal native by birth, but really more of a snowboarding gypsy these days, Keegan Valaika is a Jedi on his board. He’s real quiet and he’s got that sleepy, Tom Penny style. His cat-like reflexes always find him back on his feet--and better yet back on his bolts. We like Keegan and so should you.

Age: 17

Home: Some gay TV show, California.

Sponsors: Ambiguous, Burton, Electric, Active, Gnarly.

Where’d you grow up shredding at?

Nowhere really, just started shreddin’ with my pops on trips ‘n’ stuff.

Do you have a home mountain?

Nope, but if I had to claim one, it’d be Bear.

Who was your first sponsor?

Either World Industries or Ambiguous--OG shit, (laughter).

You’ve been in a number of rail jams, do you ever think the set-ups are getting tired?

Yeah for sure, they are getting pretty standard. I think the Vail Session does a dope job of changing their stuff up. Wish I could a been there for that one, it looked fun.

What would you do to make them better?

Have magic carpets so we don’t get too tired to shred, or escalators on the stadium set-ups--those would work too.

What’s up with the Burton Love series boards? Is one of those your model?

Love is a dope ass Coalition line of boards (available only at select Burton retailers) that Burton let me and Mikkel (Bang) make. They’re designed to ride everything from Oslo powder to sunny So Cal. We get to do whatever the hell we want so your never gonna see similar stuff at all. I design the 52, Mikkel designs the 62, and we collab’ on the ones in between. I’m super stoked on the way they turned out this year, and the ’09 line is lookin’ even better.

What do you want to get out of snowboarding?

Just to have fun and not worry about all that other crap, I want kids to be stoked on my riding enough to go buy a movie just cause I’m in it, pretty much like I do with skateboard vid’s.

What’s the last skate video you bought because someone you were stoked on was in it?

Elementality, Brent Atchley ... youtube it. It’s that good.

How was that Burton Get Off On The Bus Tour?

It was dope. We went everywhere including Bear. We were so dirty though--like live on a bus for ten days and don’t shower dirty. Vegas was kinda wack, we got some good footy of some wasted tourists though. And eventually we got kicked off the bus, changing the name to the “Get Off The Bus Tour.

Yeah, we heard you guys had to get off the bus in Colorado ’cause the driver couldn’t handle it anymore.

Yeah, he hated everyone, but he was always super cool to me for some reason. I think it was just ’cause I didn’t say much and just gave him high fives all the time. Apparently he liked all the Forum guys so I don’t really know what his deal was.

What’s the coolest place you’ve traveled to so far?

Red Mountain, Colorado. I had so much fun riding legit pow for the first time.

If you could have any non-snow sponsor who would it be?

La Serena or something--It’s this really good mexi’ spot at home in Laguna.

Who are you riding with these days?

Mostly Mikkel (Bang), some with Luke Mitrani and Joey Hodges.

What are you into besides snowboarding?

Guitar Hero, skimming, skating and videography.

How was your winter, what did you do?

Winter was pretty good; I lived at my homey Casey’s house in Boulder, Colorado with Burton filmer Aaron Hooper. We just rolled around and filmed rails for a while, and then later we got to go meet up with Wyatt Stasinos in Red Mountain and hit up some pow. That was probably the best part of my winter, except for when I broke my ribs the last day.

How’d you break your ribs?

We hiked around this little peak to get to a cliff to pillow line and a really tiny chute. Wyatt tried to cliff to pillow line but missed his line and you couldn’t tell he even hit the pillows. Hoopz told me to hit that shit cause it looked fresh but as I ollied out off the cliff the lip gave out and I just fell a good two stories onto a rock, it should be in the Burton movie. After that I had to climb up a freaking triple black diamond of powder to get back to the car. Thanks to Blottz, Hoopz, and Wyatt ’cause if it wasn’t for them I would probably be down there still.

Are you going to summer camp?

Yeah I’m gonna go to Hood and shred with Miiks, hopefully film some more stuff for the Burton movie.

I heard a while back from Matty and Nate that you were going to be in BozWreck II, is that still the plan?

Hell yeah I am. The skateboard video of snowboarding. It’s one of those videos you watch that just makes you want to shred. It reminds you why you started snowboarding in the first place--because it was fun.

What’s the last package you got in the mail?

I got a mini dv tape with all Ryan Tarbell’s footy for the movie I’m makin’.

What’s the lowdown on your movie?

I’m just puttin’ together something with all my homeys that aren’t filming with anyone. It’s gonna be free, didn’t have a budget or anything, so its just whatever my homeys and I filmed with our digi’ cams. Should be ill though. I’m gonna make a teaser soon hopefully.

What would your perfect day on hill consist of?

Sun, powder, a perfect kicker, and all my friends.

What’s one trick that people should stop doing?

Back smith, back tail--whatever the hell you want to call it. You can’t do a smith on a snowboard ... you don’t have trucks.