"If we don't find him that's okay, 'cuz we had a rad time anyway!"
For anyone who hasn't seen it, the 1987 skate film "The Search for Animal Chin" is an all time classic. I personally don't know why it didn't get the Criterion stamp, but some great work just goes unnoticed.
Considered one of the first skate movies made with a storyline, the crew of guys, known as The Bones Brigade, travel across the US and beyond to find a skateboard legend named Won Ton Animal Chin, a sensei of the skateboard, forced to go underground and hide from the public. The Brigade takes it upon themselves to hunt for Animal Chin, in hopes of finding something deeper from their practice. As the movie clarifies, the search for Animal Chin isn't so much about the destination than it is the search, and the adventure that comes with the hunt.
I wear this sweater a lot, and sometimes people will ask about the old guy on the back. "Why, have you seen him??" I'll ask. I had this sweater made while I was living in Colorado, and though I've never been a skater, I understand the sentiment, and support it all the way. While I was in Mexico last month, I was walking down the streets of Sayulita on one particularly cool evening with my sweater on. I heard a man shout from his truck full of surf boards, "You lookin' for Chin??" I said, "Sure am!" "He lives here! I see him every day!" he yelled back laughing.
There's a moment in the film where the boys end up at a weird nightclub with built-in skate ramps. Rad Man, a quick-talking ex-skater in a tux holding an ever lit cigarette, tells the boys "If you look too hard for Animal Chin you're never gonna find him." His intention is to remind the boys to enjoy where they're at. Keep looking, but don't forget the joy of the journey.
Towards the end of the movie, the Brigade sits at a campfire recollecting their epic day in the desert. Finally one asks,
"Guys, do you think Chin was really here?"
"Well, did we not have fun?" One says.
Every day in every way, keep on truckin', my compadres.