Heath Kirchart's Guide to Life Post-Skateboarding
Turns out being a pizza delivery guy kicks ass.
Photo by Brian Gaberman
For nearly two decades, Heath Kirchart made his living riding a skateboard. That's not an easy job to get, and most people who get it cling on as long as possible, until their body fails or the kids stop buying their boards, whichever comes first. So it's weird that in 2011, when he was 33 and one of the most popular skateboarders in the world, Heath filmed a farewell video part for Emerica's Stay Gold. After the video's release, he asked Emerica to quit making his pro shoe, asked Alien Workshop to quit making his pro board, asked all his other sponsors to stop paying him, and just… quit.
In the years since, he's taken on a series of super-adventures—bicycle touring across the US, rapid running through the Grand Canyon, climbing Yosemite's El Capitain, building a boat and attempting to sail the length of the Baja Peninsula—and in between scaring the shit out of himself and almost drowning in the Pacific, Heath works odd jobs when and where he can find them.
"The jobs end up being hobbies," he explains. "Just fun stuff to do." Things like delivering pizzas, installing windows, and tending bar. "I just think that life is really long," he says. "And I didn't want skateboarding to be the only side of life I saw."
So what does Heath think of those other sides of life? Presented below are his thoughts on each of the jobs he's had post-skateboarding, ranked on a scale of 1–10, 1 being super shitty and 10 being, presumably, something like pro skateboarder.
Tune in to Heath's episode of Epicly Later'd tonight on VICELAND at 10 PM, and watch a clip below.
Vending Machine Guy
My friend Dan Rogers was opening a call center in North Hollywood, and he was going to have maybe 40 employees through there a day. I was like, "I'm buying vending machines and putting them in there." I just broke even after a year, but I loved doing it. I'd buy whatever was on sale. You try to buy candy around 33 cents and sell it for a dollar. I stocked it with what I liked, but I think I listened to what the consumers wanted, too.
I love buying a shit ton of candy, filling the machines, and seeing what sells.
I loved the vending machines. I would do that again in a heartbeat. I love buying a shit-ton of candy, filling the machines, and seeing what sells.
Job Rank: 8
Building Renovation Guy
I own a skateshop in Des Moines called Subsect. We were looking to move it downtown, so I ended up buying a building. It was a shithole. It was right when I decided to stop skating [professionally], so I was like, "I can do whatever I want. I'll move to Des Moines, renovate this building, and I'll be the general contractor."
We did a lot of the demolition—tore out the storefront, tore out all the walls, and threw stuff in the dumpster. But anything like the masonry work, you hire someone for that. I worked with a glazer, which is a window guy, and put in all the windows. I rented the fucking scissor lift. You hire someone to redo the floors.
You hire an architect to get the plans from the city. You hire a plumber. But if it came to like painting or something, anything a monkey could do, I did.
I hated it. I'm not going to do that again.
Job Rank: 2
Some friends of mine had worked in bars their whole lives and decided to start their own—Black Hollywood. They tried to go through the skateboard world to raise money and had a hard time, so I said, "I'll buy more than one share of what you're selling, but the catch is I want to work there. I'll start at the bottom and work my way up."
I started as a bar back, worked my way up, and became a bartender. So that's what I do now, two nights a week—Fridays and Saturdays. It's easy. I go into work at either 9:30 or 11:00, I get off at 3:00, and I have spending cash.
There's something about getting paid in cash and walking home with $150. You feel rich. And right now at the bartending gig, I probably make somewhere around $200 a night… $400 a week, and I just feel rich.
Job Rank: 8
Team Manager Guy
About a year after I was done skating, Justin [Regan] quit Sole Tech to go to Vans, everyone moved up, and Emerica needed a team manager. I'd always envisioned that I'd skate till my 30s, then I could be a TM and maybe I'd have enough money to retire at 40.
It was really awesome at the beginning because Emerica was doing pretty well. But when budgets started to get cut we weren't traveling as much, and the job they were asking me to do was nag the riders about Instagram and website interviews—being on Jerry [Hsu] to do Instagram posts… that's a fucking lame job. I was like, "Well, OK. This has evolved into something I don't like." It just wears on you.
At the beginning, it was really fucking awesome. Then toward the end, bugging people to review their shoe for fucking whatever—fucking online mail order—it just kind of got old. They didn't want to do it, I didn't want to make them do it, but we both had to do it.
Job Rank (beginning): 9
Job Rank (end): 5
Pizza Delivery Guy
Salman Agah opened up a pizza shop in downtown LA with this guy, Toddy G, and they had these little dirt bikes. I said, "Fuck, man. That looks like so much fun, You ever need a guy, I'll do it." He was just like, "You want to do it? How about you start Tuesday?"
No one's happier to see you when you show up with a pizza than somebody who's high.
I loved it. You hung out at the pizza shop, made pizzas, talked to the cooks and everything, then an order would come up, and you'd get on this little dirt bike, ride that thing as fast as you could, park it up on the sidewalk, and you'd get to go in like all these old buildings in LA and see what they looked like on the inside. And you'd deliver pizzas to people who would be so high. No one's happier to see you when you show up with a pizza than somebody who's high. You just get to make someone's day, and they're so fucking excited.
That one was probably the best job I ever had.
Job Rank: 10
Production Assistant Guy
I have this friend, Jeff Vallee. He's the guy I've done a bunch of the adventure-style trips with. He wanted to be a photographer around the same time, and you know what photographers do: When they can't get that job, they do production assistant work. He worked with Urban Outfitters, he was in good with the producer and said, "My friend Heath would do this with me." I'd end up buying a $300 flight to New York and work for three days. It was like, set up the catering, unpack the boxes, load everything up. I was running to go get Starbucks. I was running to get the food. Shit like that.
Over a weekend, I would make like 750 bucks, and I'd basically spend 750 bucks on the whole thing because I'd go to New York, and we'd just go eat really well and drink.
In the end I got to thinking, I think I liked that job because I was working with my friend.
Job Rank: 9
Stock Buyer/Holder Guy
I mean, it's not really a job, I don't think. But I've made more money doing that than anything I've ever done in my life. It's just putting your money somewhere and the money does the work.
My dad explained it to me and got me investing in index funds, and I started reading everything I could about Warren Buffett. But what my dad taught me to do is basically what Warren Buffett's been touting for the last five years: Put all your money in S&P 500. That's where the bulk of my money is. Everything else is in Berkshire Hathaway, which is basically an index fund too, because he owns so many companies.
There's no real job, and there's no real intelligence behind it. It's what all these people tell you to do, but no one else does it. Everyone tries to beat the market, where I'm fine with just being the market.
That one doesn't even rank.
Job Rank: N/A
Watch Heath talk more about odd jobs and quitting skating on tonight's episode of Epicly Later'd at 10 PM on VICELAND.