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Skate Talk With Sky

Sky Siljeg skating

(Photo: Courtesy of Sky Siljeg)
August 2005—Skateboarder Sky Siljeg held a live, online chat with Scholastic News Online. Check out some of his answers to your questions!

Q: How old were you when you started skateboarding?
Leah R., age 11, Georgia

Sky: When I first started skating, I was 5 years old. First time I got on a board, I just started messing around, riding off the curb and getting back and doing it again and again, for hours.

Q: Do you want to be a professional skateboarder when you're older?
Noni L. age 10, Kansas

Sky: I'll be skating my whole life probably.

Q: What's the hardest trick you do?
Elaine B., age 11, Ohio

Sky: The one I'm trying to learn now is a 360 back into the ramp. It's really hard to come back in and switch; sometimes if you're not used to the transition, you'll fall because it's really quick. I started wearing wrist guards because of that trick.

Q: Do you skateboard every day? Do you skateboard to school?
George C., age 8, Arkansas

Sky: I skateboard every day, but it would be hard to skate to school, because a lot of it is uphill.

Q: Who is your favorite skater?
Ross G., age 12, Georgia

Sky: My favorite skaters would probably be Will Powers, Lance Mountain, Benji Galloway, and Wally Inouye. He invented the wall ride and the back side air (I can do those tricks).

Q: How do you talk yourself into doing a trick after you just took a big slam trying to pull it?
Liberty V., age 13, Washington

Sky: I don't know. If I almost did it the time before—or if I come close to it—I'm just going to do it. I just go for it.

Q: Tell us about the movie you're in, Kids Who Rip.
Stephen S., age 10, Missouri

Sky: Kids Who Rip is an action-packed motivational movie that helps kids get out and do action sports. It has skiing, motocross, mountain biking, and hiking. It also features some big name pros before they were famous.

Q: Do you have any suggestions for how to get money to build a skate park in a very small county?
Maggie S., age 13, Washington

Sky: Talk to your parks and recreation agency. Cities sometimes have a budget for parks, and you can get a group of friends to go to the city. There's also the Tony Hawk Foundation that helps with stuff like that.

Q: What's your best trick?
Rachel G., age 7, Washington

Sky: In my opinion it's the front side boneless. Well, it's my favorite trick.

Q: Have you gotten to travel since you are semiprofessional?
Alex T., age 13, California

Sky: Yeah, I just came back from Oregon, from the World Cup Trifecta. It's a three-day contest in Oregon and there are a lot of big pros there. I competed and I helped promote some of my sponsors, like Jones Soda and IPS, Ipath shoes.

Q: How much do you practice every day?
Ima P., age 10, Wisconsin

Sky: I skate at least two hours a day. It kind of depends on whom I'm skating with and where I'm skating. I don't call it practice because it's something I love to do and I just kind of do it.

Q: What do you like to do besides skateboarding?
Sue F. age 9., Texas

Sky: I like to rock climb, snowboard, surf, and long board.

Q: Does skating interfere with school?
Josie W., age 14, Nebraska

Sky: No, it actually kind of helps with school for me. When I get home from school, I go skate and get all my energy out so I can actually sit down and do my homework. It motivates me.

Q: What is your favorite thing about doing skateboard competitions?
Josh M., age 13, Washington

Sky: Going out there and being able to skate with all my friends and meeting new kids from all over. It's just really fun.

Q: Do you surf?
Cassidy, age 12, North Carolina

Sky: Yeah. I do surf. Every time I'm in California and it's not raining all the time, I go surf. I go longboard surfing. I usually ride a 10-foot board in Santa Barbara.

Q: Do you have a favorite power drink or snack?
Ian C., age 12, Florida

Sky: Yeah. I usually drink if there's a contest—and I need energy—I drink Jones Soda Energy. I also drink a lot of water, and I eat soybeans a lot.

Q: Do you have a lucky charm that you wear during or before competitions like a T-shirt or necklace?
Lily H., age 13, New York

Sky: Yeah, I have a lucky necklace that Peggy Oki gave me. She was one of the original Dogtown girls. She's a good friend of mine. It was my birthday and we were trading gifts at the time.

Q: Is your family supportive of your skating?
Ima P., age 10, Wisconsin

Sky: Yeah, they're really supportive of my skating. My brother Chad will help me with a trick or two. My mom will take me to the contests. She knows a lot about competing.

Q: Would you consider becoming a skateboarding instructor?
John H., age 12, New York

Sky: I actually already do a lot of instructing. When I skated for the Block Skate Park, I helped with the skate camps there. I won the Tiger Woods Start Something Great award for teaching skaters. Now I do private lessons.

Q: Do people ever ask for your autograph?
Tootie L, age 14, Oregon

Sky: Yeah, every now and then someone will ask me for my autograph. I have a signature bottle coming out in October, from Jones Soda. They have signature bottles for their team riders. It's a picture of you skating, and it has your signature on it.

Q: If someone is just starting out skateboarding, do you think it's worth it to take a class or just get a friend to teach you?
Ezra B., age 9, Louisiana

Sky: Both are really good. I suggest skate camps because there are a lot of other kids there and it helps to encourage each other.

Q: What's your favorite book?
Veronica Z, age 10, North Dakota

Sky: Where the Red Fern Grows. You can never tell what's going to happen. I guess all books are like that, but there are a lot of things I liked about this one. I liked how the kid really liked dogs and he was trying to get enough money to get the dogs to go hunting. It kind of reminded me of me, like I have a passion for skateboarding and he had a passion for dogs and it's not always easy.

Q: What was your most disappointing competition?
Christian, age 11, New Jersey

Sky: Bainbridge Island. It was my favorite park, but it was a jam session. You go until you fall. The first trick I tried I fell on and hurt myself. Not only did I waste a run, but I was limping around. I went back and took my other runs, and the same thing almost happened again. But I got more than one trick in. That happens; there's nothing you can do about it. I watched Tony Hawk fall on a three-foot jump...he just got up and did it again.

Q: Do you want to go to college?
Miles D., age 11, Louisiana

Sky: Yeah, I really do want to go to college. It could help me out in starting a business. There's nothing you can really do without an education.

Q: Does any music get you really pumped up?
Jalila J, age 13, Texas

Sky: If I'm skating a contest, I usually listen to something mellow, to make it so I can actually think and go one trick at a time. I listen to something really fast and hard if I'm in a video. Something that really gets me going so I can go as really big as I can.

Q: Would you ever bungee jump or skydive?

Ernie B., age 12, Delaware

Sky: Yeah, I would skydive. My mom did a lot of skydiving. She told me about it and I'm waiting until I turn 18 to do it. I think that's what I'm going to do on my 18th birthday.

Q: What's the most fun part about skateboarding?
Joey T., age 10, Colorado

Sky: Meeting new people from all over the place. Learning new tricks. My favorite part about skateboarding is if you went to another country and you walked out of a plane with a skateboard in your hands, someone else would know your language—skateboarding.

Q: Where is the best place to go skating?
Gia H., age 13, Kentucky

Sky: My favorite thing to skate is bowls, because you can just flow. It's not like street. Street skating, you go and do a trick and you're pretty much done. In a bowl, you can keep on going and going, until you're tired and out of breath. Then you can stop and watch other people and then go again. Any place with a bowl is the best.

Q: What kind of safety gear do I need?
Stav B., age 6, New Zealand

Sky: I definitely wear a helmet. Head injuries add up. If you get one and walk away from it, the next one can add to it and make it worse. I also like kneepads when I'm skating bowls.

Q: Do you think your friends ever get jealous?
Sandy A., age 11, Vermont

Sky: No, not really. All my friends are just as good [as me] or better. We always teach each other. If I learn a trick, I'll teach my friend a trick. If he learns a new trick, he teaches me. We all play"follow the leader" a lot at skate parks.

Q: Have you gotten any of your friends to start skateboarding?
Katie S., age 14, Texas

Sky: I've gotten a lot of friends to start skating. I got my brother Chad to start skating. I got my brother Josh back into skating. I've gotten so many people into skating—I can't think of all of them. But they all love it. I usually just share the history of skateboarding to people. They say, "That's cool, I want to try this."

Before I sign off, I would like to thank all my sponsors for their help. And thanks to everybody for logging on and asking your questions!