Checkout: Willis Kimbel

Willis Kimbel is a kid who rips so much he can even ollie over his dad.
By Mike Munzenrider

Curt Kimbel was a pro skateboarder in the 1970’s and he has a son who rips nowadays, named Willis Kimbel. Willis is a Creature Skateboards Fiend, and while he has yet to match his father’s pro status, he is well on his way there. He lives a nomadic life in his trusty truck, a man living everywhere and nowhere, all at once, shredding from Havasu to Seattle, skating everything the road throws his way, while sometimes longing for home, wherever that is.

Willis Kimbel
Willis Kimbel © Garric Ray

You were just out at Lake Havasu, what was going on out there?
Yeah, I went out to Lake Havasu to skate in this little bowl contest and skate some ditches. Now I’m just back in San Diego, about to go skate this backyard vert ramp.

Are you living in San Diego fulltime now?
I’ve been in San Diego for the last month, but my mission is to not live anywhere. Omar Hassan gave me his old Ford Ranger and I just cruise up and down the west coast. I left Portland maybe six months ago.

Willis Kimbel, Frontside Air
Willis Kimbel, Frontside Air © Garric Ray

How long do you intend to be a man on the road?
I don’t know how long I’m going to do it, I feel like I should do it until this truck dies. There’s times where I get up, and I’m not over it, but I want comfort, like you want to go back to your bed. Especially when you come back from trips, everyone else gets picked up at the airport and goes back to their houses, and I just go to the long term parking garage and start driving again. Your impulse is to see more road but I can’t tell how long I’ll be able to keep doing it.

Does your dad still get out and skate, ever?
Yeah, my dad still rips. He’s 56 now; he still frontside grinds some pool coping and does frontside airs and carves. We go skate, not as much as we used to, but we’ll meet up and I’ll do some airs over his frontside grinds.

You totally covered one of my questions. I was going to ask if you had aired over him, but there we go.
I like it; I think he likes it a lot. When I was little and I’d air over him he was stoked!

Willis Kimbel, Andrecht
Willis Kimbel, Andrecht © Garric Ray

Would you say that he influenced the way you skate now?
Yeah, he did. When I was growing up, he couldn’t skate too much, so I was more influenced by his magazines, I had all his old magazines. And we lived overseas a lot growing up, so I was not current. For my birthday I would circle the page where you could buy shit in a 1977 Skateboarder mag and then he’d be like, “I don’t think we can get this.” I was way off.

Then we came back to the states, and I’d never even seen a board that had a nose on it. I was following skateboarding and I was like 20 years behind. I had all his old skate stuff; I’d look at the magazines, see Tom Inouye, then go outside and grab some weird-ass board with huge wheels and pretend I was those dudes. Then we came back and we moved to San Diego and went to the skatepark, and man, “Woo!” it was on, we went to Play It Again Sports, got a popsicle board, a used one, and that was it, it was on.

Thank you Willis!

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