PHOENIX— “When you’re sitting at the skate park watching all the kids, it’s like sitting at the ocean watching the waves,” declared Shannon Papa, U-Haul Trailer and SRI Program manager. “It’s very fluid.”
Shannon’s 13-year-old son, Nick, has been skating since he was six years old, and that’s just the word he’d use to describe his skating style: fluid.
“I usually prefer parks with quarter pipes and bowls so that I can flow around the park easily,” Nick mentioned. “Those are the most fun in my opinion.”
Finding his rhythm
Nick started going to the skate park when he was six and would practice for two to three hours a day. After a while, he started making friends and learning from the more advanced skaters. Though skating was hard work and required a lot of practice, it was obvious that Nick had natural talent.
“My first competition was when I was six or seven years old,” Nick recalled. “It was at my local park, Union Hills Skate Park. I remember I was super scared, but after I did my runs, it felt really good because I got that off my back.”
Since then, Nick has competed in skateboarding competitions all across the country.
“Nick has back-to-back victories at the Union Hills Classic, which is extra sweet because it’s his home park,” Shannon cheered. “He’s won events at the California State Games and the ATV Award at the King of the Groms Contest several times.”
Even though Nick’s hard work has been rewarded with a board sponsor, for him it’s less about winning and more about the love of the sport.
“Usually, I’m not competitive at all,” Nick asserted. “I just skate for the fun of it. I like that I get to skate with my friends. The competitions are really fun, and I get to meet people from all over the world. It’s really opened me up to lots of new experiences.”
Enjoying the ride
Right now, Nick’s focus is on learning as much as he can and enjoying the ride … even if it’s a bit bumpy.
“If you’re going to be a skateboarder, you’re going to have to get used to falling,” Nick laughed. “Some days, you’ll fall 100 times. Another day, you’ll land everything. The most challenging part is when I’m trying to learn a new trick—especially if it’s a hard one. I won’t leave until I’ve got it.”
“I admire how he approaches a new trick or new skill,” Shannon praised. “I’ve seen him study another person, then take his board in his hands and go through the motions so that he can visualize how it’s going to go. Then, he’ll just keep at it until he masters it.”
“The main lesson I’ve learned from skating is to never give up on a trick or the sport itself,” Nick declared. “It takes hard work, determination and perseverance. I just hope that I don’t stop skating because I’ve made a lot of good friends, and I hope to go pro when I’m older. But, I just want to stay at it.”
Keep up with rising star Nick Papa on Instagram: @thefakenickpapa.