Chris Haffey 666 Rail 2010
from Housebird on 18 Feb 2010
Peep me emptying the trash at 3:09 while Haffey does the 666 rail again for German TV
This feature was part of »Galileo«, an infotainment magazine by Pro7. It was on the air on February 17th 2010
For those of you not familiar with the sport have a look at http://vimeo.com/channels/skatevideos
UPDATE ON FEB. 20TH 2010
I took some time (very little) to write out the commentary for those of you who can’t understand German. Keep in mind I’m not a native speaker myself. There are also a few parts that make little sense because the commentary itself is a bit dodgy.
Doesn’t matter if it’s keeping straight ahead or doing wiggly lines, seems to be no problem for the skater in this video.
He definitely has a hard time balancing, but he isn’t falling.
This mega-grind takes unbelievable 40 seconds to complete.
But is this really possible without cheating somehow? We’re showing the video to a few passerbys to find out what they’re thinking.
»I don’t think this is possible. The rail is too long.«
»Well, what he does is definitely crazy, but… I think it’s possible.«
»I don’t think one can keep it’s balance for this long. Because looking at skateboarders I realised they can only grind a few meters and that’s it…«
»Could be possible actually…«
»No, this doesn’t work…« »No, not for that long.«
»He can’t go through the curves, he can only drive (lol) straight…«
The passengers are doubtful, but what do actual rollerbladers think?
We’re starting to look for some of them in the streets but realize the bad weather has given the cool guys (lol) a hard time lately.
The next skatepark is 40 kilometers (25 miles) afar from Munich.
We meet Nicolas, 17 years old, and Konstantin, also 17 years old. Both have been in the game for four years.
Short grinds on stairs, rails and quoins (lol) are part of the trick repertoire of both of them. But is it possible to grind a rail that long as seen in the video, or is it a fake? What do they think?
»Well, one could try it…«
»Well, it is definitely possible, but it is also very difficult to do.«
Both of them agree it’s possible. With a lot of practice basically everything could be grinded. It shouldn’t be that hard theoretically. (lol)
»There are two differnet spots on our skates we can grind on. One is in between the middle wheels of the frame and one is on the soulplate. That’s basically the outside edge of the boot on which you can grind a rail like this.«
If one is practicing long enough something like the grind shown in the video should be possible, we recall. As long as one isn’t losing interest in getting better, that is.
Quitting seems highly likely because slams, pain and scary moments are undoubtedly a big part of this activity. Skaters must have the ability to take a beating, and the next harsh slam can happen to them almost every moment.
»The greatest risk while attempting a grind is not locking onto the obstacle properly or having the wheels bite the rail, which can make you hit the ground pretty hard resulting in severe pain.«
»As a beginner, you’re eating shit on the regular.«
Konstantin and Nicolas both agree with each other: only the best in the world can perform a grind as seen in the video.
We’re having a closer look on the video. At the end of it the name „Chris Haffey“ is shown.
It turns out that this guy is one of the best rollerbladers in the world.
To visit him, we have to reach over the pond leaving the winterly Munich for sunny California.
Chris calls Long Beach his home.
We’re starting our quest in the largest skatepark in town. This place is crowded, but most of the kids are skateborders.
But after a while we’re spotting this group of rollerbladers in the halfpipe. (lulz) It’s obvious at first sight: these guys are on top of their game!
We’re showing them the video. Do they know Chris, the skater in the video? Have they heard of the video? (TEH ROOTZ?)
»Sure, that’s the 666 rail.«
»What does 666 mean?«
»Well, that’s the lenght of the rail. 666 feet. But I suggest you ask Chris here, he’s the guy in the video eventually.«
»Is this you in the video?«
»Yes, this must have been 8 or 9 years ago. I was 15 at that time.«
»Do you think you still got it?«
»Sure. It’s been a while, but I should be able to do it.«
We still doubt we’ve found him this quick.
But Chris convinces us in a heartbeat. Jumps like this can only be performed by one of the best bladers in the world.
The grinds in the skatepark are no big deal for Chris.
But what about the 666 rail?
Chris wants to try to complete the rail again to prove the video isn’t a mock-up.
The famous rail is 6 miles far-out the skatepark.
It’s still there, just like Chris recalls it.
»We have been skating in the little park over there when we were kids. One day we were bored and started to wander through the neighbourhood and I found this rail. It just had been built and was brand new. It blew me away.«
This rail made of steel inofficially is the longest grind in the world. It reaches 666 feet down the hill, that is 203 meters.
On it’s right side, there is a boardwalk. On it’s left is a steep versant which measures 30 meters (about 90 feet) at it’s peak.
»I try to jump on the sidewalk if I’m falling. If it sends me to the other side I have to grab the rail real quick if I don’t want to fall down the versant. This actual part of the rail is really scary, I should better not lose control at this point.«
The rail has become stub since Chris has been here for the last time. He fills irregularities in it’s surface by using the wax of a candle to make it slippery again.
Chris has to clear 203 meters during the grind. There is a short curve at the beginning and three long ones at the end. (lol?)
»Well, it’s been nine years since the filming of the video… I’m not sure if I can make it a second time… Just joking, this should be no problem at all!«
Wow, that sounds pretty self-confident. But now it’s on, Chris approached the rail and we have a look how long he manages to grind it.
Well… After only 20 meters he loses control and falls off the rail. The next few tries aren’t much different. Chris proceeds to fall off the rail during the first few meters.
»I’m jumping on it the wrong way, that’s the whole problem. I’m out of balance right away and can’t seem to find a proper way to fix this in the process.«
»I have to concentrate more at the beginning.«
Fifth try. He handles the approach really well. Chris has found his form this time and passes the first curve.
This time, he grinds 85 meters till he has to jump off the rail.
Chris found his flow. He manages to grind farther with every attempt and clears the middle of the rail after ten tries. 110 meters.
But then he gets interrupted by an unexpected obstacle.
125 meters in, a few branches are reaching over the rail. Right in the middle of the most difficult curve. This gives Chris a hard time during a few attempts.
»The last time I’ve been here the rail stood here all by itself. There were no trees whatsoever. They have put them here later, that’s what irritates me so much at the moment.«
»What bothers me the most right now is the fact I have to go aaall the way back up everytime. I’ve gone this far and have to go back up everytime, that’s getting really exhausting.«
Over and over again Chris has to skate back to the beginning. 150 meters up the hill. And everytime he fails at the same point again, no matter if he’s touching the tree or not.
17 th try. And he fails again. Chris is reeeally pissed.
»Oh man, that’s frustrating. The tree isn’t that big of a deal, even if I touch it a little bit. That’s a mental thing now, it’s all in my head. I have so much speed after this curve, I shouldn’t have a problem to go past this point. I simply shouldn’t think about these difficulties and stay focused.«
We’re having a short break. Chris is waxing the rail once again and we’re thinking by ourselves if he hasn’t been incredibly lucky by making it ten years ago. Is it a matter of luck to do this rail? Even for one of the best rollerbladers in the world?
But Chris doesn’t even think about giving up. He wants to lace it this time. It is his 18 th try.
He passes the first 100 meters. No problem for him as he has proven before.
He then reaches the critical point, the curve with the tree, and… This time he makes it! He seems to be uncomfortable, but he stays on top of the rail.
Only a few meters left till he finishes the rail…
He’s managed to grind down the rail clearing 203 meters while doing so. After a nine years break he did the mega-grind a second time!
»Man, this feels good… The rail really drove me crazy this afternoon, but this proves you can reach every goal if you’re being patient and if you’re having a fair amount of determination.«
The mega-grind in the video definitely hasn’t been faked. Chris has proven it.