He’s been our shop boy, product tester, photo model, skate rat, and all-around cool kid from the very start of COAST.
And today the one and only Kristian turns 11 — successfully completing his first decade on this planet.
He first stepped onto a skateboard when he was three years-old on the mean streets of Copenhagen, and he took to it immediately. In the beginning, he’d ride boards I’d make for him — small, flat boards reminiscent of 1970s surf-style cruisers. I told him he needed to learn to ride around the neighborhood before he could try any tricks, so in short order he became fluid on the little board, weaving on and off the sidewalk, bombing hills and developing a style all his own.
When we moved to Key West, he was eager to take advantage of riding in the nice weather. But at that time, we were spending a lot of time on Stock Island where the streets were pretty beat up, so he asked for a mini ramp at the old COAST shop on Front Street.
Well, that seemed like a good project for our crew of washed-up skaters (with a shop full of tools) and a little kid who was sure to wind up being better than all of us, so we gathered some scrap lumber and built it in a couple of afternoons.
Sure enough within a few minutes, the three of us who built the ramp were bruised and battered, and Kristian had figured out how to drop into the ramp effortlessly. Within a few weeks, he was already better than his old man.
That was four years ago.
Since then he’s continued to skate the ramps, stairs and streets of Key West and beyond, but at this point, there are’t really not too many people around these parts to show him anything new.
So when we asked him what he wanted for his birthday this year, almost without hesitation he said he wanted to go to Woodward — the namesake of the skateboard summer camp made famous from an online reality TV show. After a quick peruse of their website, I basically told him that was an overly ambitious birthday gift which was code for, “probably not this year bud”.
I followed it up by saying what I usually say when he or I want something but it’s too expensive — “gonna have to sell a few more t-shirts before we can get that”.
A week later, Kristian asked me again about Woodward, but before he heard the broken record he said, “maybe you and me can make a t-shirt and some of the sales can go to camp?”
I liked the idea immediately and after some thought, we threw out a few concepts for the shirt.
Ultimately we went back through the catalog of photos that we’ve collected of him skating over the years (see below) and settled on the one that seems to have gotten the best response — the one at the top of the post.
From there, our old buddy Chris transformed the photo into a workable screen print image, and tomorrow we’ll shoot the screen and get printing with the hopes of selling enough shirts to at least subsidize the birthday dream wish.
So if you like the shirt, the story or just want to help Kristian make his way to Woodward this summer, we’re selling the shirts right here on the website for both kids and adults — and all of the proceeds will go towards Kristian’s camp tuition.
Thanks, as always, for all of the support and if you see Kristian on the streets this week, be sure to tell him “happy birthday”!