1.) Let's start this mission off by introducing yourself. When and how did you start skateboarding? Who were your past and present sponsors?
My name is Keith Butterfield, part of the Freestyle evolution in the early 80’s. My time in the public eye with FS skating was only from 1981 – 1985, very short time actually, but it was a VERY important time for the sport. Yes I skated with Rodney many times and he was a freak of nature, always so many years ahead of all of us. I started skating FS at about 12 years old, it was something to keep me focused as a kid while I waited for the parents to get home from work. I am a person that always needs something to hyper focus on. During that time the skateboard was perfect and that is the only reason I progressed. I do not have a lot of talent; just a lot of focus. Sponsors in the past were: Vision sports, OJ Wheels, Go Skate skate-shop, Tracker Trucks, Bucci sunglasses, Decomposed, Current sponsors: Sk8kings, Tracker Trucks, KHIRO, OUST.
I was training for a contest and one day just accidently credit carded myself trying a rail trick and the idea came to me and then I kept doing it until I landed it. Then at a contest in LA a TW Mag photographer asked me to do it for a trick tip of the month in the next TW issue. This was 1983, when it came out in the magazine is how everyone saw it. Then over the past 30 years it came out on a lot of skaters videos. Love that trick and all the variations of it! I love when I see people doing the trick in videos, makes me proud. I can get fat and die but the “Butterflip” lives on! J
During the early 80’s Vision was my sponsor and wanted to add a FS deck to the brand. So I was honored when they asked me to create it. I basically drew a band aide shape that I liked, figured out a wheel baseand width that I liked. Then sat in my bed room and just sketched up some pen work of myself skating. I have always loved doing art. Vision made them for a while and made some sick colors. I have seen black, white and bright orange. I have a few saved and they are hard to find these days.
I stopped in 1986 and did all I could do in the sport. At 23 with a fucked up family, skating and surfing wasn’t going to pay the bills and wasn’t going to help me raise a family. It was seriously time to work. There is a time in a young man’s life when he needs to make life decisions and at 23 I had enough fun screwing off. It was time to get serious about my future. I joined the United States Marine Corps and never looked back. I served 21 years and lead Marines in combat twice. Skating gave me discipline and focus that I used all through the Marines and even today.
I had a son that was about six at the time and he wanted a skateboard. As a father, I of course wanted to show him and teach him. Then all of the sudden I was doing the damn Butterflip on a street deck after 25 years of not skating. I was hooked again! I later got a job in Hawaii in 2014 and all the sexy girls are in the water surfing, so I surfed! Maybe I’ll skate FS again one day, not sure. I still have dreams of doing new tricks about once a month. :)
I help Veterans plan their future when the leave active duty. I live and work In Oahu, Hawaii. I am a single father of two teens, I surf, work and paint. People buy my art and I love to paint. It gives me the same intensity and focus I need that skating once gave me as a kid. I need to create and I need intensity, so surfing and art does that for me now. You can see all my art on my facebook page.
Thank you for asking be to be part of all your interviews and all your support over the years. After 25 years away you were the first person that believed in me and asked me to make a pro model with you. That made me feel so good brother, thank you.
To all the kids out there, skating is AMAZING but plan for your future! Not kidding! No one is going to do it for you! Life is short, follow your passions.