Gui Khury – Youngest ever to land 1080 degree skateboard jump!

Every now and then, someone cracks out an achievement that is so gob-smacklingly astounding, you cannot but take notice. Even though you may previously have known nothing about the activity, the achievement makes you nod slowly, and say “that will do, donkey, that will do.” Such was the response when Gui Khury recently leapt into prominence. The 11 year old Brazilian managed to upstage the coronavirus in the news headlines for a while with a skateboarding achievement that had commentators, journalists, and skate industry bigwigs seeking out the dictionaries to find new superlatives.

Enter Gui Khury. The Brazilian youngster is but 11 years old, but quite literally has the world at his feet. Like millions of children worldwide, the coronavirus lockdown has forced him off the school benches for a while (if “forced” is indeed the correct word to use for any excuse to miss school).
Gui Khury

Unlike most of his contemporaries, though, Gui did not immerse himself in endless computer games and dilly-dallying. He felt in his bones that something big (not a bone) was about to break, and so he took out his skateboard, and trained and trained and trained. Gui is no ordinary youngster, you see. Like many of his age, he is often to be found on a skateboard. But here’s the rub. There is clearly something very special about someone who can land a 900 degree jump when he’s only eight. That’s a full two and a half rotations, in case you were wondering. He’d gradually made his way up the totem pole, claiming the 540 – and 720 degree landmarks before the big 900 came. In so doing, Gui emulated his big hero Tony Hawke who achieved the feat in 1999 at the X Games.

Enough of the long past, though, although being only 11 years old, Gui’s past is not that long. Let us spool back forward to the present. Guy was chez grandma, in whose garden a vert ramp had been installed. One can just imagine the mix of pride and trepidation that grandma must harbour about all this hazardry involving her grandson, going (up and) down in her yard. Anyhow, as the wheels started rumbling on the smooth planking, Gui felt an imponderable something surging within him. Bit by bit, he built up momentum, soaring ever-higher, and then, when the moment was right, he went for it with all that was within him. Like a ballet dancer, he threw his arms out to aid the momentum, then tucked in. From the moment the wheels kissed the air, there was precious little doubt – here was something great in the making. Gui’s pillow-soft landing was stabilized by a quick back-handed dab on the floor, and then incredulity set in across his boyish features. He had landed a a 1080 degree turn – a full three rotations.

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Let’s make no bones about it. This is one of the outstanding sporting achievements of the year, lockdown or no lockdown. Gui is, not surprisingly, the youngest skater ever to have achieved the feat, and the first in the world to achieve that on a vert ramp. Tom Schaar did the trip-rotation in 2012, but that was on a mega ramp, which allows for more air time to complete the trick. And, boy, did the world ever sit up and take notice. News of Gui’s feat spread far and wide, with mainstream media outlets like CNN and Reuters carrying the story in main bulletins. The skate industry also took note, with congratulations pouring in, not least of which direct messages from Gui’s heroes, like Tony Hawk, Bob Burnquist and Neal Mims. And the funny thing, like often when one steps it up a level, was how easy he made it look.

Just to prove that it was no flash in the pan, Gui has since repeated the feat, incomprehensible to those of us who cannot do three turns on the living room carpet without toppling over. When interviewed for international media, Gui was naturally all smiles, hanging out all 32 pearly whites. If it weren’t for his ears, his smile would have gone right around his head. In a charming moment, he opined that if he landed the trick in a big contest, he might win, or “possibly go to the finals.” Clearly a master of understatement.

The family has spent a lot of time travelling and living in California, and this shows in Gui’s conversational skills. He feels that his English is probably better than his Portuguese at the moment.  He clearly has a very strong support structure at home.  His twin sister Rafaela is his best friend, he says. Dad Ricardo has the octopus eight arm skills required to manage the activities, sponsorships, travel and schooling of a world-beating near-teen pretty well buttoned down. Ricardo speaks with longing of surfing trips to far-off places, so it is not hard to see where the board-under-the-feet idea comes from.  Mom Zardo is the carer, and, as is often the case, keeps the plot upright. Not to forget  grandma Leonor, who got a front row seat to the huge event, and whose eyes, we are sure, are twinkling to this day. On the furry front, their Vizla Tony and Whippet Galgo provide caninely inspiration.  Gui is quick to point out that he is a “dog guy.”

After a bit of international to-and froing, we fired a few questions Gui’s way, and not long after, the WhatsApp buzzed in the replies.  Here, then, the interview as it went:

– How did the skateboarding bug first bite you and how old were you?
I was 4 years old I started skate lessons at the YMCA Encinitas. I saw the other kids flying on the ramps and I wanted to do the same.– How soon did it develop from fun boarding to competition?
My first competition was at 5 at the Halloween party and since that day I love competition.  It makes me skate better.

– Tell us about your development through the years, and your achievements in early competition.
Competition was also a chance to meet new friends and see new places this was the best about it. I always liked flying and big ramps and the older guys at the skate park were learning to do 540s and I wanted to try to be one of them.

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– You made world headlines recently by being the youngest rider to complete  a 1080  and the first ever to do so on a vert ramp.  How long have you been building up to this?
After trying for months,  I was the youngest ever to land a 540 to then 720s. And at 8,  I was the youngest and one of  of only 15 in the world to land a 900.

– Did you expect it when it happened? Were you confident going into the maneuvre?
Yes I was expecting it, since  I got really close couple times. And I knew it was coming.

– Describe your feeling when you completed it.
I was so stoked when happened I couldn’t believe myself. I watched the video several times on my way home.

– You received huge attention for this tremendous achievement. Please tell us some of the media outlets you featured on and how it felt to get this worldwide attention.
It is great to be featured on the news everywhere. But the best thing was when I got messages,  reposts and calls from my heroes on skate like Tony Hawk and Bob Burnquist.

– Did you get some calls from sponsors and teams after this news became public?
Yes my sponsors where so happy for me, all of them sent messages. And new ones called.

– What is your training regime?
I practice for 3 hours a day usually on the board. Then there is fitness training with my trainer, but, because of the lockdown, we haven’t been able to.

– Brazil has been badly affected by the coronavirus – how has that impacted your training and competition plans?
It actually helped me because I’m doing home schooling and eating better at home with more energy to practice.

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– What competitions do you participate in?
All competitions are cancelled now I don’t know what’s going to happen for the next few months.
The competitions I like the most are X Games,   Nitro Circus  and Vert Attack.

– Do you travel lots and where to?
Yes I travel to compete during the year nationally  and internationally. Mostly  to California and Europe.

– You speak English very well and confidently. Do you spend a lot of time in English-speaking countries or with English-speaking people?
I moved to California when I was 2 till 6 years old. I speak better English than Portuguese haha. I also go to an international school in my town.

– What is schooling like? DO you have a favourite subject?
I like PE and reading.

– Tell us about home life. Mom, dad, siblings, cat, dog, chicken, goldfish?
Mom and dad always support me with everything.
I have a twin sister and she is my best friend.
I have 2 dogs, Tony and Freddie. I’m a dog person.
– What other sports do you follow?
I like soccer and tennis.

– What are your other hobbies, if any?
My hobby is fingerboarding when I’m not skating.

– What music do you like most?
I like surf music and punk rock, because of my dad.

– Do you follow motocross or motorcycle roadracing at all? If so, is there any rider that you prefer?
I like motocross.  I saw it at X Games and I loved it. I wish I could fly like them.  I don’t have a  favorite rider.

– What sponsorships do you have?
The heart supply
187 pads
Saga overdrive

– What are your career goals?
X Games gold medal on vert, mega ramp and park and go, and to go  to the Olympics.\

There we have it, a young man clearly on the up and up.  If he were to stop skating tomorrow, his achievement will still stand there for the ages. He won’t though, because if there is one thing we discovered about this affable young man, it is that there are no limits.

Seeing as he’s such an achiever and clearly loves motocross as well, we have issued an executive order declaring him an honorary motocrosser.

Interview: Tinus Nel