We want to be Sky Brown when we grow up
The reigning world champion of park skateboarding and an Olympic bronze medalist is just 14 years old. She's also cooler than we'll ever be.
Wrap your head around this: At 14 years old, Sky Brown is a seasoned veteran on the competitive skateboarding circuit.
How can that be? Because she turned pro at age 10.
Brown’s background is as globetrotting as her competition schedule. The teenage phenom was born in Japan to a British father and Japanese mother, skateboards for Great Britain in international competition, and lives half the year in the U.S.
When we caught up with Brown, she was in Indonesia competing in a World Surf League (WSL) qualifying event. (Confused? Don’t be. Brown can ride a wave as well as she can ride a lip. Skateboarding, after all, started as a landlocked way to surf.)
She is seeking to earn points to represent Team Great Britain in surfing at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris—in addition to park skateboarding. All she did in that discipline at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo was become Great Britain’s youngest-ever medalist.
Her age at that time? Thirteen years, 28 days.
We spoke to Brown about what it’s like to be a world champion, her ambitious Olympic plans, and her thoughts on skateboarding’s ever-changing culture.
How does it feel to be considered a veteran skateboarder, with younger girls looking to you for inspiration?
My dream since I was little was always to inspire. It’s just amazing that we get to inspire these girls. Even though I’m not the littlest anymore, which is pretty crazy, these little girls are just going for it and it’s so cool to see.
How has the talent level of the other girls in park skateboarding changed?
It's insane how much the level has grown since the [Tokyo] Olympics, just watching these young girls spinning and doing all these tricks. A really cool thing about the Olympics is that people get inspired. We’re just one big skateboarding family, really pushing each other. I love it.
In my winning run at the world championships, I had a frontside 540 [where you rotate one and a half times] and a backside 540 [where you rotate one and a half times facing the opposite direction]. There are definitely a lot of girls doing 540s now. I like having them in my run, but I like to show off my power, style, and flow.
What’s your favorite skateboarding trick to do right now in competition?
Honestly, I’m really liking stalefishes [a frontside air grabbing the heel side of the board behind the legs] right now. I get to go high and tweak [pose during a maneuver] as hard as I can.
I like making tricks look as beautiful as possible. And the back flippy thing I do over the box, I really loved doing that in Argentina [at the World Skateboarding Pro Tour 2023 stop in May].
There are people in park doing straight backflips, but I kind of tweak it as hard as possible. I don’t know if it has a name; I’ve never seen it before.
When you were starting out, which skateboarder's style did you admire?
I’ve always loved the surfy skate style, always loved Greyson Fletcher. I love the power he has. Murilo Peres, a Brazilian skater—I’ve always liked his powerful style. It’s surfy and tweaky. Growing up, I was always watching Christian Hosoi and Curren Caples and Pedro Barros.
You always said you eventually wanted to do competitive surfing as well as skateboarding. Is that starting now?
My competitive surfing journey has just started. I’ve always surfed; I surf, like, every day at home. It’s part of my routine every day, and I love it as much as skateboarding.
I always wanted to compete in surfing, but my parents didn’t want me to because it was a lot of competing. Now, they think I’m old enough and that I can handle it.
What are some of your favorite foods to eat and exercises to stay in prime skateboarding shape?
I’m already moving a lot in a day, going surfing early in the morning. But as I’m getting older, I’m realizing I need to start doing more stretching to stay flexible.
While competing in Indonesia, I was eating everything—so much fried rice. At home, my mom tries to put a lot of protein in my diet.
She’s a nutritionist, so she likes to give me a lot of meat and proteins because I need them. We eat rice, a lot of Japanese foods, Japanese curry, fish, eggs, and smoothies.
What are your thoughts on the clothing and style of skateboarding culture?
I definitely like the style part and picking out the perfect outfits for my contests, wearing something pretty. I like to make my skating look as beautiful as possible, and the style is part of that.
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