Sea to Sky skateboarders have 30 years of professional skateboarding experience to draw on in Squamish, not to mention a new ramp to ride regardless of the weather.
Newly established at the back of Sequence Board Supply is a three foot mini ramp, built by skateboard champion Eric Shestalo. The 40-year-old former pro is offering his coaching services at the store in hopes of relaying decades of experiences to kids with an interest in the sport.
"My big thing is taking out the elitism and bringing in the originality and creativity," he said. "There is a good, healthy skate scene here. I think Squamish is the new Whistler - it's way more hard core down here."
Shesalto is no stranger to teaching. The father of two ran his business, Skate Coach BC, for four years at people's homes in West Vancouver, North Vancouver and throughout the Sea to Sky corridor before setting his sights on a permanent coaching venue. He said that parenthood, along with a variety of wins and high placing medals from various international skating competitions, have helped him establish a good connection with youth.
"The hottest skiers and skaters are in Squamish," he said. "The thing with skating is that if you don't have a trainer, you have to be our own coach, medic, sponsor and manager so lessons are good for both the kids and the parents. Parents are shelling out big bucks for the clothes and the boards, they should be able to see the results."
Originally from Ontario, Shesalto arrived on the Whistler scene in 1991 and moved to Squamish last fall. Recognizing a thriving skateboard culture in Squamish, he approached Sequence owner Mahmoud Haghighi about a pairing up to teach lessons at the store. Maghighi, a 70-year-old chemical engineer who stays in youth retail because it "keeps him young," was happy to diversify his business.
"I love this business, I try to keep it because it makes me very happy - I don't want to retire," he said. "After the Olympics, things have been a little slow so the ramp will be better for sales."
Shesalto guarantees his students will learn one trick per session or get their money back. Shesalto has skated in commercials for Nintendo, Nokia and Nascar.
For more information or to book a lesson stop by Sequence Board Supply at 38066 Cleveland Avenue, Squamish, go to www.skatecoachbc.com or call the store at (604) 892-6314.