Skating w/ Tony Gao & Simon Sun



At a recent skateboarding competition in Shanghai, we met up with Tony Gao and Simon Sun, two young, up-and-coming skateboarders in the Chinese skate scene. Tony, now 15-years-old, first became interested in the sport at the mere age of five; he saw someone playing around on a skateboard near his house and was immediately captivated. He pled with his father to buy him a skateboard. Fast forward one year, Simon, his older cousin, saw Tony on his skateboard and was inspired to follow in his footsteps, picking up the sport himself. This was at a time when not many skateboarding resources were readily available online in China, so Tony’s father became their de-facto coach. He took the two to the local bookstore and found found an instructional book on skateboarding. Meticulously studying the book, he used to verbally coach the both Tony and Simon as they practiced. Tony smiles as he recalls these memories: “My dad, he doesn’t know how to skate, but he can teach. If I’m doing something incorrectly, he can see it right away. He instructed us as we skated.”

在前不久的一次滑板比赛上,我们遇见了来自西安的滑板兄弟高群翔孙坤坤,两位正在滑板届崭露头角的中国年轻滑手。今年15岁的高群翔,已经和滑板打了十年交道。五岁的时候,因为看见家门前有人在滑板,高群翔缠着爸爸给他买了第一块板。接下来的一年里,表哥孙坤坤也受到弟弟的影响跟着一起练习。最初,高爸爸就是他们的启蒙教练。那时候网上的滑板视频还不多,高爸就带着兄弟俩去当地的书店,被他找到了一本滑板教科书。你没看错,正是纸质教科书。在自己细心研究后,高爸以口头教学的方式带着兄弟俩一起练习。说起这段经历,高群翔也觉得很好笑。 “我爸爸虽然不会滑,但他会说啊。我哪里滑的不对,他一眼就能看出来。我们在一旁滑,他就用嘴巴教我们。

Simon Sun 孙坤坤
Tony Gao 高群翔

A decade later, Tony would become a national skateboarding champion. At the finals of this year’s G-SHOCK CHINA BEST AM competition, Tony took first place, finally realizing a dream that he’s hung onto for all these years. Shortly after, he took the championship title at the Huzhou Extreme Sports Competition, again showcasing his world-class potential. Tony shares of his competitive experience and how he feeds off the crowd’s energy, saying: “I love the atmosphere of a competition. When I see other skaters land new moves, it makes me want to get even better. When there are more people watching, I get more hyped up. Being around really talented skaters makes me want to push myself even harder.”

十年过去,当时的滑板小子已成长为现在的全国冠军。在今年的G-SHOCK 硬碰硬 CHINA BEST AM总决赛上,高群翔便把这个他期盼已久的全国冠军头衔收入囊中,并且又在不久后举办的湖州极限运动大赛上迅速再摘一个冠军,充分证明自己的实力。作为一名人来疯式选手,高群翔向我们分享了他轻松拿下比赛的秘籍:我特别喜欢比赛的氛围,看到别人成了新动作,我就有加倍的动力想要去学。人越多,我滑得越兴奋,和厉害的人一起玩,他们能带动着我一起进步。

But behind Tony’s victories are the countless hours of practice and innumerable challenges he’s had to overcome. Recalling one of his most memorable injuries, he taps on his two front teeth and says, “These are fake. I’m lucky that my family is supportive. When I knocked these out they took me to the hospital right away. But do you really want me to share more about my injuries? I don’t remember most of them that clearly. It’s mostly the positive times that stick out in my mind.”

光环背后,练习的过程中自然吃过不少苦头,问起受伤的经历,高群翔却只是轻松地敲了敲自己的门牙:中间这两颗牙都是假的。好在家人都很支持我,牙掉了就带我去医院看呗。  真要说受伤的事情吗?我都记不太清了,我只能记得滑板特别开心的事了。

As long as it’s not raining, Tony says he’ll be out skating, and as we chatted, it was evident how much skateboarding truly meant to him – he clung onto his board the entire time we spoke. “I used to be a good-for-nothing kind of kid. I was bullied since I was young and didn’t have too much confidence. Skateboarding is basically my whole life now. I’ve made a lot of friends because of it, and it’s given me much more self-confidence.”


Photographer: Wang Chenwei / 摄影师: 王晨玮
Photographer: Wang Chenwei / 摄影师: 王晨玮

The two cousins have differing opinions about skateboarding becoming an official part of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Tony finds it a bit ironic when he recalls his experiences of skating in public. “I guess it’s a good thing, now the way that people look at us on the street is different. It used to be unfriendly, like we were hooligans or something, but now people generally have a more positive towards us.” He continues, “Now that it’s an Olympic sport, a lot of different regions are in a rush to put together teams to compete, so it’s a chaotic period. But for me, I’m still just focused on my own skating.” Likewise, Simon also intends to concentrate on bettering his own skating. “We only care about making ourselves better, and as long as we continue to enjoy skating, that’s all that matters.” The simplicity and purity that these cousins hold towards the sport is a shining example to those who want to become successful in any endeavor. To find out more about Tony and Simon’s stories, check out our video at the top.




Contributor: Ye Zi
Videographers: Ye Zi, Damien LouiseYang Bingying
Photographer: David Yen
Additional Footage Courtesy of Liu Maomao

Additional Images Courtesy of Wang Chenwei



供稿人: Ye Zi
视频摄影师: Ye Zi, Damien Louise, Yang Bingying
图片摄影师: David Yen