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C.J. Chango, 12, ollies onto a rail as he practices a boardslide trick at RAF Mildenhall’s skatepark.

C.J. Chango, 12, ollies onto a rail as he practices a boardslide trick at RAF Mildenhall’s skatepark. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)

C.J. Chango, 12, ollies onto a rail as he practices a boardslide trick at RAF Mildenhall’s skatepark.

C.J. Chango, 12, ollies onto a rail as he practices a boardslide trick at RAF Mildenhall’s skatepark. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)

Logan Lawless, 14, attempts a 50-50 grind. Logan and other local youths participated in a USAFE Skateboard Camp last week.

Logan Lawless, 14, attempts a 50-50 grind. Logan and other local youths participated in a USAFE Skateboard Camp last week. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)

Instructor Bill Welk assists 8-year-old Nathan Reyes as he practices dropping in from a ramp.

Instructor Bill Welk assists 8-year-old Nathan Reyes as he practices dropping in from a ramp. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)

RAF MILDENHALL — Attempt after attempt, Logan Lawless continued to skate up a ramp in hopes of perfecting a 50-50 grind inside the skate park here last week.

“I almost landed it that time,” the 14-year-old said to another skateboarder participating in a weeklong skateboarding camp sponsored by the youth programs center.

In order to do this grind trick, the weight of a skateboarder has to be distributed evenly on the board while grinding the board’s trucks on an obstacle. Even though Logan couldn’t land it on this day, he didn’t give up and improved every stab he took at it.

“When you land a new trick, it just keeps you interested,” Logan said. “It’s challenging but rewarding.”

The 50-50 grind was one of many tricks that skateboarders learned and practiced during the camp taught by two instructors with 28 years of skateboarding experience between them.

“The main thing that we’re trying to do is to get them comfortable riding their skateboard,” said Bill Welk, one of the instructors for the 16-and-younger camp.

The first skill that instructors went over is how to fall properly, Welk said. Losing balance and crashing to the ground is almost guaranteed when learning to skateboard, so students learned a battle roll.

“Instead of falling hard on one side of your body, you roll through it,” the Forreston, Ill., native said.

Besides safety, the instructors went over other basic skills, such as drop-ins and how to ollie. They even taught more advanced tricks, which sparked Logan’s interest.

“They’re really helpful in teaching one-on-one instruction,” Logan said.

To help the skateboarders become proficient in what they’ve just learned, the instructors conducted group activities such as games and competitions.

“For the most part, we just want the kids to have a lot of fun and realize that they can do these things that may seem hard to them,” Welk said. “It’s not really about who wins, but about participation and improving.”

Welk and the other instructor, Falco Baltys, were contracted out from the San Diego-based Premise Intelligence Agency. They also taught the camp at RAFs Alconbury, Lakenheath and Croughton, as part of their England tour.


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