(Aug. 21, 2013) -- Meet UTSA student and skateboarding enthusiast Will Flores. He's been riding a board ever since he was five years old.
Earlier this month, nearly 14 years after he received his first skateboard, Will was invited by Red Bull to compete in the 2013 Summer X Games in Los Angeles, Calif.
Flores attended the X Games as one of six Red Bull Phenom Street Skateboarding finalists. Earlier this year, Red Bull put out a call for amateur street skaters between ages 15 and 19 to submit 60-second videos of themselves street-skating. Flores and his fellow finalists were personally invited by a professional skateboarder to compete in the X Games based on their submissions.
"It was an amazing experience meeting skateboarders from around the world who were just like me as well as the pros that I grew up watching on TV," said the 19-year-old UTSA marketing major.
The X Games competition that Flores took part in tested him and his fellow amateur skateboarders on their street-skating abilities. The competitors took turns doing 45-second runs on a set course over an 18-minute time period. According to Flores, scoring was based on consistency rather than the difficulty of their tricks. Ultimately, Flores skated away with a fifth-place finish in his first professional skating competition.
At the moment, Flores isn't quite sure if he'll pursue a professional career in the sport. He said he's still considering several options for his future.
"Professional skateboarding is a whole different world compared to skating for fun," said Flores. "They say that hobbies aren't as fun anymore when they become a job, but in the long run, it would be amazing to be able to say that I make a living doing what I honestly love. For now, I'm just going to keep skating hard and see where that takes me."
Regardless of whether he decides to try his hand at skating professionally again, he knows that skateboarding will always be a major part of his life.
"Skateboarding is the freedom to do whatever you choose, free of strict rules and constant competition," said Flores. "It's blessed me with friends, experiences, great memories, a unique mentality and so much more. I could go on and on trying to describe what it feels like to land a 360 flip, bomb a hill or grind a rail, but it's something that has to be experienced to be truly appreciated. Hopefully you'll catch the love, just like I did."
Do you know someone in the UTSA community competing in an extreme sport? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will consider your submission for our next installment of Meet a Roadrunner.
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John Marshall High School Auditorium, 8000 Lobo Lane, San Antonio
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