There are two dread fears in the life of a professional skateboarder. The first is of course the ever-present threat-going-on-for-likelihood of an awful, unpredictable slam. The second is the gunslinger’s ballad: always looking over your shoulder for the younger, quicker new arrival on the Main Street who will finally beat you to the draw and end your tenure as Top Boy. In skateboarding, the role of 'new kid in town' is a well established one by this point, variously played by people like Danny Way, Chris Branagh, Guy Mariano, Nick Trapasso, Scott Kane, David Gravette and Nyjah Huston at different times; a new-gen talent who seems to have skipped the learning years and arrived fully-formed at cutting-edge pro standard with time on their side and a relatively clean injury sheet.The arrival of one of these talents is usually a signal that skateboarding is about to take another quantum leap, and the middle ranks of the preceding generation are about to be ghosted from the game as a result.That talent today is Japan’s Ginwoo Onodera.
Now: much has been made in terms of digital column inches both here and elsewhere about the seismic changes Japan has made to skateboarding culture both at street level and elsewhere in skating’s wide world over the last decade. Within that movement, however, there is a second wave coming that- even by the upsetting standards of the current Japanese cadre who took a staggering 5 of 12 possible medals in Tokyo two years ago- seem destined to burn minds and upset leaderboards all over again. The 13-year-old from Yokohama is already an internet sensation due to his re-definition of what it means to have tricks on lock, rattling out a video part’s-worth of tricks in a couple of hours. At the WST World Championships in Sharjah he held his own - cut knee and all- against a field in which the last 32 were all established contest- skating ’names’, to come out as a Bronze medalist at the first time of asking. Barring the aforementioned injury issue, Ginwoo Onodera seems certain to be a future pace-setter in the comp circuit, be warned. Let's meet the big man himself!
Hi Ginwoo, thanks for talking to us. How was your experience at the World Championships?
This Championship gave me a lot of experience and confidence. I’m grateful that this competition gave me the experience of competing seriously with the world's top skaters, and understanding where I was lacking.
Were you nervous?
I'm not nervous during events, because I'm only thinking about making my technique successful.
What did you think of the Aljada skatepark?
I felt that it was a very wonderful park, with various exquisite details- but difficult!
What can we expect from you next?
I was helped by various people at the competition- especially the people who were running the venue were really nice. I will never forget this gratitude. I look forward to seeing you all again!