Werner Herzog is a legendary filmmaker and actor who is known for taking risks and making art that is specifically interesting to himself, but the German director is not exactly known for his ties to the extreme sports world. And yet, last week, he joined skateboarding magazine Jenkem Magazine for a video call in which they discussed skateboarding for a conversation that was pretty fantastic.
Herzog waxes poetic on the beauty of skateboarding, which to him is the constant failure, over and over and over again, in the pursuit of that one successful run or landed trick. He marvels at watching a skateboarder try over and over — “so many failures, that’s astonishing, yes” — before finally getting it right for a “clean run,” which when said in Herzog’s German accent is tremendous. The best part is how he explains why he enjoys skateboarding compared something like David Blaine’s stunts, which he doesn’t like, because the latter is for personal fame and glory while the former is a pursuit for one’s self and inner gratification, not to garner attention.
At the end he explains how he’d score a skateboarding video with a “Russian orthodox church choir” in order to create a “strange feeling of space” and make it feel almost sacred. The interview delighted skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, who was thrilled to see it and the introspection into the human condition and spirit is delightful to watch.