Hayley Havick (@havoc719 )is one of the most controversial, striking and outstanding skaters. The CIB and Riedell team rider doesn’t seem to fit into any box. And why should she? Hayley likes to show the world that she is more than just her skating. A conversation about skating hard stuff, San Diego, shocking Instagram followers and pursuing a life true to one’s beliefs.
Hayley, most people know you as a San Diego based skater. But originally you are from Colorado.
Yes, born and raised in Colorado, I moved to San Diego in 2012.
In which ways is San Diego different from L.A. and Long Beach, the places where roller skating is thriving?
San Diego maintains a slower pace, I’d say. I see the L.A. scene as more oversaturated with a real a gold rush mentality. It feels like a completely different planet when I go up there. The San Diego skate scene has always been more authentic to skateboarding, but quad skating is definitely increasing its numbers. We slipped under the rug for years. I also tried to avoid flooding the skateparks during meet-ups, so we kept the gatherings smaller in an effort to be polite to the locals. When I started venturing around to my local skateparks, I could count on one hand how many others were going on their roller skates, that I knew of anyway. It seemed that everyone was in Long Beach or North. Even the people traveling to Cali who follow the scene still seem to spend more of their time in the L.A. county. So we’ve been a really well kept secret in the roller skating world until recently.
Would you say that San Diego also has a lot of great street spots besides parks?
Just as many if not more, such as consistently empty pools, great ditches, and street spots, hills, DIYs and a uniqueness in every county with the differing layout and terrain.
Do you have a favorite street skate spot or park?
Some of my favorite pools are no longer, but I enjoy the big, iconic ditch by where I live as well as the old streets in my neighborhood. My town has character, it had a lot more a few years back, and I thought of it as a magical vortex of a place that often handed me pretty things. My time spent on my skates, terrorizing the streets at night was one of them. It’s still reminiscent for me. I have a favorite bowl and it’s where I tend to skate more than anywhere else: Poods Park in Encinitas also known as the Cardiff Clover Bowl. That’s where I learned. It probably wasn’t the right choice for a beginner (laughs). I would go there often and get hurt, I had to climb in and climb out. It really held the carrot in front of me. It was cathartic, learning how to skate it, challenging enough, but I know it like the back of my hand. It demands respect and I think it’s the most exciting bowl in all of Southern California.
Did getting tips from veteran skaters help you to progress faster?
Absolutely. What was really difficult in the beginning was not having anyone to help me learn how to skate transition or teach me the etiquette. I was just using the internet. I would pull up a video by Lady Trample on beginner tips for ramp skating. I would watch Indy Jamma Jones’, Bambi Bloodlust, Beth Blaszczyk, Duke Rennie, Gloria Zef, and whoever else was in the scene at the time. They were blossoming and paving the way for the new resurgence, they were on the forefront. I watched how they were dropping in, tried to understand how they were pumping or approaching air. I’d put my phone down at the skatepark and go try it, then I’d come back to look again, and repeat. One day a man rolled into the skatepark on roller skates with wide skateboard trucks like I’d seen in the old photos of veterans. His name is Robert Chase and I was so excited to meet him. He told me so many old stories and so much about the history of roller skating, its trials and changes. I felt like I got better just by watching him.
How often would you skate?
I went skating about six days a week in the beginning and when I couldn’t go I was just watching videos of others doing it. Aside from wanting to be in the forefront myself, I just needed to get to the point where I’d feel confident in the skatepark, enough to earn respect or blend in. I eventually made friends with someone who possessed a backyard ramp. He was kind enough to offer me lots of time on it! I don’t think my skating would have progressed as quickly as it did without that. I spent hours trying tricks and things that I couldn’t have learned at a crowded skatepark on a ramp or bowl above my level. Skateboarders have helped me with skating the most and I still wait for their lines in order to apply the mechanics to my approach. I am glad for all the time I spent while leaning alone. I’d go back there in a heartbeat.
Any additional tips on how to improve one’s skills?
It’s all in your head. Go to different spots. Master the skills you have, but step out of your comfort zone each time you go, even if it’s microscopic. Skate with people whose level you’d like to match.
You also went to Australia last year. How was the Shreddagedon experience?
It’s one that I cherish every day. My friends Fink and Amber (Wednesday Shreds) were very hospitable and they made sure I got a good taste of Australia. I had the opportunity to skate at the Mega Ranch and I unlocked a drop-in and a backside stall on the 27 foot ramp, which had been a goal of mine for a couple years. I think it’s nice that Australians actually like Americans, which is not the case everywhere you go (laughs). Shreaddagedon is an event I’m so proud of. Amber puts it together herself for months ahead every year. It’s so authentic to roller skating and I love how they’ve been growing the scene down there.
How much are you able to travel? US-Americans usually do not get as much paid vacation days as for example most European countries where people on average have 24 to 30 paid leave days.
Yeah, it is like 8-14 days for the yearly average! It’s certainly looked down upon in some professions if you exceed that amount of time off. I guess we tend to be workaholics here. Thankfully, I have a private business and I’m able to create my own hours in conjunction with my other lines of work. If I had this sort of “tic-toc” 9 to 5 job somewhere, I don’t think I’d be able to maintain it. Young people going on a vacation for months at a time and returning to their same job is not a common happening her. It was even difficult for people in my circle to respect my reasons for travel. It was an attitude of, “Why are going off to this place, roller skating, instead of work.”
No way! Was I naive to think that the lifestyle in California especially on the coastline totally helps to accept an alternative way of life?
I feel like it is changing. A lot of people want to travel and get creative with their means of income. People are seeing work in a different light and are pushing against the old rigidity. There are more ways to make money now, be it be social media, start-ups, nomadic work, the marijuana industry.
Speaking of social media and creativity. You are your own show in this sugar-coated Instagram roller-skate-bubble. While people share vegan food photos and cute pet dogs you post dead animals and stories of you eating meat. Are you getting shit from people for this sometimes?
People mainly follow me for my skating, but I am not my skating. And when the content is not something that can be predicted in some realm, it confuses people. I lose hundreds of followers after posting something that doesn’t fit the box they made for me to stay in! More so, for the things that have a shock value. For people who don’t know me well, they might get offended or put off. Yes, I do eat meat, and occasionally wear fur and leather. I sleep under a big cowhide at night, I don’t have heating, so it keeps me weighted and warmer than any blanket would. In this way, I respect the use and If I’m going to eat or wear animals, I believe they should be honored and utilized wholesomely and gratefully for their purpose.
Where does this belief come from?
It’s probably the way I grew up. My dad hunted and sourced most of our meat – like bison, elk, moose, and venison. I was grateful to live off the land in that sense. I don’t think eating meat is cruel, I think supporting industrial farming is. It’s a sick way of mass handling animals, their health, in addition to the strain that the industry puts on small, individual farmers. So, whether you eat meat or not, I think it’s important to support a sustainable source of local farmers, producing clean, high-end meat and other animal products, rather than just boycotting. If you hate what they are doing, raise statues to all their competitors, the little guys. I do understand that some people think animals don’t deserve to be utilized or consumed. And I don’t have a problem with that opinion, it doesn’t have to be mine to respect it.
Another passion of yours is being a special effects make-up artist. That was the reason you came to California a few years ago.
I started in high school doing theater makeup and behind the scenes work. I was already an artist, and during that time, I think I was trying to become tattoo artist. I was only 18 and very unsure of what I wanted to become. The summer after my high school graduation, I was presented with an opportunity to move to San Diego and work under a family friend. She had spent many years as a Hollywood makeup artist, as part of the LA local union 706. I wanted out, so six months later I moved and immediately started working and doing some schooling. I was learning first hand, under very established makeup artists and getting knowledge I couldn’t get from a school. I now freelance in film/television and continue my craft throughout the year for numerous occasions.
You try stuff out first on yourself?
Yes, that’s how I learn. I also don’t know many people who’d be willing to sit still for hours while I put all this uncomfortable stuff on them! I try new techniques on myself as a trouble-shoot for jobs. This can sometimes get interesting, so bless the hearts of my neighbors. One time, I was preparing a horror short-film I’d be working on. I needed to create a way to produce immediate blood flow in a slit throat scenario. It had to be executed in the middle of the take, and they wanted to see blood continue to pool outward from the actress’ body. I decided to attach surgical tubing to her by weaving it underneath her clothing, and attaching the end to her neck. Using syringes, I pumped gallons of blood through the tubing to get the splatter and pooling effects. So, there I was on the porch, leaning over, syringes in hand…. (laughing hard) … and blood squirting outward. I had just moved in and my new next-door neighbors were coming back from a walk when they saw it. I was so embarrassed, I just ran inside and didn’t say anything.
Do you enjoy to scare or confuse people?
I’ve definitely taken it down a few notches over the years. When I was younger and going through that “coming into one’s own” phase, I got a rise out of tripping people out! There is so much conformity where I live and I always managed to stand out wearing obnoxious outfits and veils, dying my hair a new vibrant color every week, or heading out in some conglomerate makeup masterpiece I’d come up with. I think I thought of myself as art and I really liked being controversial. I liked cuddling with my poisonous snake or showing up to court for my illegal acts of skating. I was bursting at the seams and I wanted to express just how much infinite limitless I had in me. I made people in the same room so uncomfortable or distracted, and I enjoyed it. I’m still expressive, but less contrived. Maybe it has to do with getting older or maybe the magic starts to run out, but eventually you have less desire for people to see what you are, and you could slip under the rug instead.
This interview originally appeared in DogDays Yeah!Book. 2019/20
Interview by Marta Popowska
Photos by George Medina