Skateboarding’s next generation |

Skateboarding’s next generation

Elyse Brightman

Gavin Bottger, a 7-year-old who hopes to become a professional skateboarder and compete around the world, can recall the first time he was ever on a skateboard.

"I remember, I had a skateboard and I saw pictures of my dad pushing me on my stomach," the South Lake Tahoe boy says.

Bottger travels around the country attending competitions and regularly falls into the age groups of 12-and-under or 10-and-under. According to his dad, Scott, it's a disadvantage, but it's really all about the experience.

Despite the big age difference, Bottger often finds himself in the finals and even places 2nd and 3rd.

Bottger has been skating for a year and a half and his trick list includes 360's, ally-oop 360, backside boardslide, blunt fakie, crailslides and he can ollie 10 stairs. His favorite trick to perform is a tuck knee air.

He practices everyday at local parks, including the Skatehouse Skatepark with its indoor bowl, and has a ramp in his backyard. Another way he learns new tricks is by watching skate videos online. John Cardiel is his favorite professional skateboarder to watch.

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"He's got cool style," Bottger said who also recalled the time Cardiel sent him a skate package in the mail full of hats, t-shirts, trucks and other skateboarding goods.

Bottger travels all over California and other states, including Michigan and Arizona, for competitions. This summer, he has about 10 trips planned including King of the Groms in Arizona and the Tim Brauch Memorial in California. He hopes to make it to the Topgrom Championship, an international skate series consisting only of skaters 13 and under. When he gets the chance, he stays local. He competed in the El Bowlrrito at the Skatehouse in May.

Out of all his travels, Bottger says his favorite skatepark is Lake Cunningham in San Jose.

His favorite parts of skateboarding are traveling, learning new tricks, meeting new people and making new friends. He says most of his friends from school don't skateboard.

Bottger, a first-grader at Sierra House Elementary, also enjoys snowboarding and BMX.

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