Young Okinawa skateboarders learn from Knight rider
July 17, 2008
CAMP COURTNEY, Okinawa — Young skaters improved their "ollies" and "axle stalls" Tuesday with a little help from professional skateboarder Chad Knight.
More than 40 skaters — from the novice to the promising — showed off their ramp skills and gained a few gnarly moves of their own under the guidance of Knight, who was hosting a free, three-day skateboarding camp at Camp Courtney’s skate park.
Dyrell Cole, 11, said he was hoping to be able to skate down the half-ramp by the end of the camp.
"I’m having some trouble turning and going down the ramp," he said.
But he felt confident considering it was his first time skateboarding.
"I gotta start slow, but it’s going pretty cool," Dyrell said.
Knight, 31, said it’s the kids’ enthusiasm for skating that encourages him to hold such camps. He has skated professionally for 11 years.
The exposure to the sport also keeps kids occupied and out of trouble, he said. Plus, Knight said he knows how exciting it is for kids get exposure to professional skaters.
"I still remember when we had a pro skater come visit us, how excited we were," said Knight, a native of Westerville, Ohio, just outside of Columbus.
J’ira Wilson, 13, said she was so excited to meet Knight that she skipped breakfast.
"My mom showed me some videos of him on YouTube," she said.
For Jamari Wesley, 12, attending the camp means learning how to do an axle stall before his friend Neil returns from summer vacation.
The trick involves riding up a ramp and doing a midturn on the edge of the top.
"We’re kind of competitive, so I’m going to spend all summer practicing," Jamari said. "But he learns so fast, I’m going to have to keep this pace."
Still, Jamari’s learning from a pro — a definite edge over his buddy.
"He’ll say, ‘So what’ — and try all the moves I do and land them in a month," Jamari said. "Right now, I’m just happy to be ahead."
Knight heads to Kadena Air Base on Thursday to run a four-day camp, and is scheduled to host others in mainland Japan.