Keith Hufnagel, Pro Skateboarder and Entrepreneur, Dies at 46

Keith Hufnagel, a experienced skateboarder who grew a San Francisco streetwear retailer, Huf, into a world wide clothing corporation by the similar identify, died on Thursday at his house in Los Angeles. He was 46.

A assertion from the firm reported the result in was mind cancer, which Mr. Hufnagel experienced for two and a 50 percent several years.

Mr. Hufnagel came of age as a skateboarder all through the 1980s in New York Metropolis, exactly where skate boarders formed a gritty subculture that utilised the city natural environment as a playground. In 1992 he moved to California and turned a expert, using for businesses like True Skateboards, Thunder Vans and Spitfire Wheels.

He was notable for his “pop,” the seemingly effortless way he leapt on to and about tall obstructions, and for his fluid lines by way of scary terrain, even even though dodging website traffic or dashing down a steep hill. He toured the world as a professional, and he appeared in indelible skateboarding movies in the middle to late 1990s and the early 2000s.

But close to 2001, he mentioned in a new interview with the unusual-sneaker sale internet site Goat, he started to marvel about his foreseeable future after skateboarding.

“I’d been traveling for over a 10 years, seeing what was occurring in Tokyo, New York, L.A., London,” Mr. Hufnagel reported. “I was hitting all these major metropolitan areas and observing this streetwear and sneaker lifestyle going on.”

So Mr. Hufnagel and his wife at the time, Anne Freeman, determined to open a boutique in San Francisco. Ms. Freeman required to focus on women’s apparel, but they located that the current market was oversaturated.

“So I was like, ‘Well, I’d like to do a streetwear strategy retail store of what I see close to the planet,” Mr. Hufnagel claimed. “We didn’t have a business prepare or everything. We just designed it materialize.”

In 2002 Mr. Hufnagel opened the initially Huf, a streetwear boutique that carried rare sneakers and apparel by manufacturers like Supreme, in San Francisco. Huf experienced a minimalist inside design and style that highlighted its goods, and the suppliers also displayed and marketed works of art by skateboarders and artists like Aaron Rose and Haroshi.

In time Huf expanded to new spots and grew to become catnip for sneakerheads, who waited in line for hrs to devote hundreds of pounds on restricted-launch Nikes or Adidas.

Mr. Hufnagel designed some of these prized sneakers himself, together with custom-made Nike Dunks, tie-dyed in the colours of the San Francisco Giants, and the Nike Air Max 90 HUFquakes, with a colorway that looked like a crackling fault line.

The shop sooner or later formulated into a label of its very own, showcasing apparel sometimes branded with a straightforward “H” logo and from time to time with additional profane slogans. Huf clothing grew to become recognised for irreverent T-shirts, capacious and durable trousers and hoodies, and constrained operates of products and solutions pegged to musical acts like Smashing Pumpkins, cartoon people like Felix the Cat and items like Budweiser.

The company also produced skate footwear for many years, and supports a team of skilled skateboarders. Mr. Hufnagel, of system, rode for his manufacturer.

“Our garments retails a little bit greater than your typical core skate manufacturer, but our clothing winds up appealing to a broader spectrum of men and women,” Mr. Hufnagel told WWD in 2009. “We absolutely take purpose into thing to consider, so you can skate in almost everything we make, but you can use what we make in a wide range of features outdoors of skating.”

Huf is now sold by main action-sports activities-themed merchants, like PacSun and Zumiez, and has stores in Los Angeles, New York and 16 locations in Japan. The enterprise is at this time owned by TSI Holdings.

Well-known skate boarders the entire world in excess of mourned Mr. Hufnagel’s loss of life.

On his Fb website page, Tony Hawk termed him “a skating legend” and “a pioneer Diy businessman that valued integrity around profits,” introducing, “Skateboarding is collectively mourning today.”

Mr. Hufnagel was born in Manhattan on Jan. 21, 1974, to Monica and Robert Hufnagel. His mom was a nurse, and his father worked for Metropolitan Lifetime Insurance policy. He received his initially skateboard when he was 4 and took up the sport in earnest as a teenager.

He graduated from superior university in 1992 and briefly attended San Francisco Point out College, but he dropped out just after 6 months to become a skilled skateboarder for Enjoyment Skateboards. In 1993 he signed with Jim Thiebaud, a founder of Real Skateboards and an government with Deluxe Distribution, which distributes Authentic and other skateboard hardware manufacturers.

“Huf is a effective skater and acknowledged as one of the optimum olliers in the environment,” Mr. Thiebaud advised The San Francisco Chronicle in 2005, employing the skateboarding phrase for leaping with the board. “He lands completely, and not in a gnarly, aggressive, attacking-the-streets way.”

Mr. Hufnagel satisfied Ms. Freeman in the early 1990s. They married in 2001 and pooled their financial savings to open the initially Huf keep. Their marriage finished in divorce, but they remained near good friends.

He is survived by his wife, Mariellen Hufnagel their small children a brother, Chris and his mother.

Mr. Hufnagel advised The Guardian in 2011 that he was happy to see Huf increase with out sacrificing its motivation to the subculture that started out it.

“We generally consider treatment of the skateboarders,” he reported, “but you have to imagine of the even larger image mainly because now you are offering to the globe.”

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