Kurtis Colamonico was once considered one of the top professional skateboarders in the world, having spent the 2000s traveling and competing against the biggest names in the sport. But with the birth of his son, Colamonico became more interested in teaching the next generation of skatepark legends, which led to the formation of Skate Kids.
"I love skateboarding, and I love kids, and I wanted to push kids in a positive direction," Colamonico says. "Skateboarding always kept me going in a positive direction, so I wanted to help kids use it like I did."
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As Colamonico sees it, skateboarding teaches kids such life lessons as perseverance, physical and mental toughness, and how to accept yet overcome the inevitability of failure. As with any other sport, it also helps to keep kids active and engaged in something in a world full of distractions. And Skate Kids is an opportunity for him to give back to some of his older students, so they don't have to balance high school, working and skating, as he did.
"I recently got to employ two of the teenage kids whom I've taught," Colamonico says. "Now they're working with younger kids. That's making two kids better at once, and now the older kids don't have to go and work a hard job that leaves them too tired to skateboard."
What started as an elite skateboarder giving lessons to a handful of kids has quickly caught on in Long Beach and OC. Colamonico recently hosted his first youth competition, regularly holds camps when school isn't in session, and is looking to team up with local schools to work on an afterschool program. And many of the companies that sponsored his career are onboard to help out with his new program.
"Skateboarding can be expensive when you're a kid growing up," Colamonico says. "I remember not having the money for tournaments or new gear, so I wanted to make everything more accessible to kids, no matter how much money they have. I wish there was something like this when I was a kid."