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skateboarding 11-year-old closer to Olympic dreams

skateboarding 11-year-old closer to Olympic dreams

For 11-year-old Fay Ebert of Toronto, being named to Canada’s National Skateboarding Team is just one step closer to competing at the Olympics. If she qualifies, it will make her one of the youngest Olympians. However, with the summer 2021 Olympics in Tokyo still hanging in the balance, skateboarding remains on the verge of exploding to another dimension of Olympic legitimacy.

For Ebert, who loves the no rules part of the sport—she couldn’t ask for anything else. She got her start when she was just eight years old after her father saw an ad for a skateboard camp at Impact Skateboard Club. Today, she spends hours at CJ’s Skatepark in Mississauga with Trint Thomas, co-manager and master coach.

There are two Olympic skateboarding events: street, which takes place on an urban city profile that includes stairs, handrails, curbs, benches, walls, slopes; and Ebert’s specialty, called park, which takes place on a hollowed-out course with a series of complicated curves. However, to broaden her experience, she practices both disciplines.

“Fay is a natural to skateboarding,” says Thomas. “When you watch Fay attack her tricks, it’s easy to see she has a high skateboarding IQ.”

It’s her focus on the execution of the skill that raises her game. “She doesn’t land one for the sake of landing it. When she does the trick, she wants it to look good and doesn’t like feeling out of control. Her style is very powerful, fluid, and she’s able to exert this power and strength through her tricks, making it look effortless. You have to see Fay to understand how she’s able to fly in the air and manoeuvre herself from one trick to the next. Skateboarding is easier than walking for her.”

The first time Fay got on the board, it just seemed to fit, and today she would find it hard if it wasn’t a part of her life.

“When she gets into a bowl, she can see her lines before they happen, and that’s where the visualization comes in,” says Thomas. “She’ll stand at the top ready to drop in with a plan in mind of the different areas she’s going to skate and where’s she’s going to perform her tricks. There is no wasted time. Not only does she lay down her trick, she knows how to gain speed from them— there’s no pushing or pumping. There is a smooth transition, yet she can exert speed and power through each trick to her advantage. That plays into her training and how she learns.”

For anyone wanting to give skateboarding a try, Thomas suggests checking out a few camps and learn to skate programs like those held at CJ’s Skatepark, where you can rent equipment. CJ’s has also expanded with virtual skateboard lessons.

Ebert says if you like to fly, give it a try. “And don’t be afraid of how you look—everyone looks silly in the beginning, but if you keep trying, you’ll succeed.” | @fayskate