It’s just a few minutes after the last school bell for the day, and Kaelen Faux is at the skateboard park getting ready to ride.
He straps on his safety gear and eyes up the bowl. He has the choice to chat for a bit or skate, and he takes the obvious choice for a nine-year-old.
Faux glides effortlessly up and down the sides of the bowl, turning back and forth, placing his feet up and down the board to get the right motions. He looks two steps ahead, eyeing up one side of the park from the other, watching for other skaters and even from foreign objects being thrown by his baby sister nearby.
His long hair, never cut, flies out from under his helmet and he smiles as he flies over the concrete.
This is where Faux is most comfortable, thanks to a solid mixture of nature and nurture.
His dad, known around town as Hippie Mike, is Faux’s proud dad. Skateboarding is a special bond they share, as Mike has been boarding most of his life, too.
This summer, their family traveled around the south coast of B.C. for the 25th Bowl Series Skateboard Competition.
Faux cleaned up at the competition, which was actually a series of five competitions at some of the area’s original-style skate bowls — stretching from North Vancouver to Whistler. Skateboarding competitions go by ability, not age, and this year, Faux was often competing against skaters much older than he is, and being bumped up in divisions due to his skills.
He shrugs it off a bit and keeps working at his newest tricks while his dad watches from the sidelines.
“He’s naturally good at it,” Mike says. And that’s not just a dad talking up his kid’s sports ability. Mike is a long-time skateboard instructor who has taught more than 1,000 young people to love skateboarding, through lessons in Surrey and now here in Hope.
“He grew up around it,” Mike explains. “To have my own kid not only enjoy what we enjoy (his wife Carrie Williams also skates) but is good at it, because you hang out doing the same things together, well there’s not many activities that like that.”
They both see the positive, passionate lifestyle that skateboarding provides. The family travels around to different parks to work on their skills and have fun together. They live in Sunshine Valley, but spend a lot of spare time at the Hope Skate Park.
It’s designed in the style of the old bowls, and that makes it unique, Mike says.
He would love to see more youth in Hope give skateboarding a shot. And now that skateboarding is an official Olympic sport, making its debut at Tokyo 2020 Summer Games, he thinks it’s the perfect time to see an uptick in activity at the local park.
And with more kids using the area, he would hope to see the District of Hope give the park a boost in return.
“Skateboarding in general builds confidence in kids,” he says. “You’re setting your own goals, you accomplish them, and you move on. You create your own speed and environment.”
Right now, Faux was working on his fakie shove its.
Want to know what that is? You’ll have to stop by the Hope Skate Park and have him show you.