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Chris Cole On The 2020 Olympics, Learning To Skate In Philly, And More…

On our last Field Trip to California, our friends at Kershaw Knives asked us if we wanted to spend the afternoon hanging out with professional skateboarder Chris Cole. Kershaw’s connection with him stems from a skate tool that he helped to develop, and it’s called the Kickflip. Skateboarding doesn’t have much to do with camping, but I’ve always admired street skaters like Chris because they’re outside every day, all day. They explore their city in a way that is entirely unlike anyone else. They see it differently because they interact with it differently. Every morning they head out looking for new places to skate, powering the wheels by burning calories. I don’t skate myself, but I think that this way of interacting with a city is beautiful and unique. It’s a lifestyle that demands a certain level of fitness, dedication, and curiosity.

chris cole

Chris got his start in Philadelphia, and there are many videos of him tearing around the city in a t-shirt when there is still snow on the ground. He became obsessed at an early age and practiced on days when fair weather hikers would rather stay inside and watch Nat Geo. After thousands of nasty tumbles, he ended up exactly where he had dreamed. He was a sponsored, professional skater that was awarded “Skater of the Year” by Thrasher Magazine twice (Danny Way is the only other guy to pull this off). Chris also won the gold medal at the X Games twice. In addition to that, his character shows up in many skateboarding video games. As I said, I don’t skate, but I have played as him in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. This made meeting him a bit surreal. I doubt there will ever be another time in my life where I walk up to someone and say “hey I’ve been you digitally many times.”

kershaw kickflipChris Cole worked with Kershaw to develop the Kickflip, a skate tool that adjusts everything you need to on your board. It has a kingpin pipe wrench, a small nuts pipe wrench for mounting the baseplate to the skateboard, and a hex key and phillips to adjust everything else.  It’s the perfect size and only weighs 3.8 oz. “”You tighten the bolts quite often,” says Chris. “You have to keep your trucks secure. Over time, it vibrates and loosens up the hex bolts.”

After Chris became firmly established as a professional skateboarder, and according to many, a true ambassador for the sport, he started to get involved in other areas. He created a scholarship that sends kids to Woodward Sports Camp, and I have to say that this story is one of the most touching moments in Motivation 2: The Chris Cole Story. There are so many kids that want nothing more than to skate the way Chris does, and the documentary captures these powerful moments of the kids packing up and heading to camp. It changes lives, and it’s inspiring to watch.

People unfamiliar with Chris Cole will be introduced to him in the 2020 Olympics if they tune in to the first time appearance of skateboarding as an Olympic sport in Tokyo. He will be a commentator, and he’s excited to see how it will play out. As Chris noted in our interview, the subjective nature of skateboarding will make it challenging for judges to award scores. Street skating, in particular, is so nuanced and stylized that it will make developing a universal standard quite tricky. That said, it’s an exciting step forward for skateboarding, and we’ll most likely see an increase in new riders in a sport that is already growing each year steadily.

I’ll close by thanking Kershaw Knives for setting up this afternoon for us. It ended up being a fun day trip away from the campsite, and it exposed us to something completely new, which is what traveling is all about, right? Chris was a class act, and if you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend watching Motivation 2: The Chris Cole Story. It’s a well-done documentary that both captures his life story, and follows the history of skateboarding along the way. I loved it.

chris cole

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