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3 Florida Skaters Who Made History at Age 14

Who says you can not make an impact as a kid? Each of these Florida skaters have gone down in history for something they accomplished at the age of 14!

Rodney Mullen, was born in Gainesville, Florida and is considered the God-father of skateboarding. He won his first worldwide championship at age 14. He is considered one of the most influential skaters in the history of the sport, being credited for inventing numerous tricks, including the flatground ollie, kickflip, heelflip, impossible, and 360-flip.

Before Rodney Mullen did the flat-ground ollie, and kid named Alan Gelfand moved from New York City to Hollywood, Florida with his family. He started skateboarding in 1974 after his father bought him his first skateboard. In 1976, the first concrete skatepark, Skateboard City, opened in Port Orange, Florida. A year later Hollywood would get its own park called Skateboard USA. History says it was at this skatepark in Hollywood, Florida where Alan did the first ollie ever. He was also 14 at the time. This trick is now the basis of almost every trick in skateboarding. Alan still lives in Hollywood, Florida today.

Paul Schmitt started skating in 1973 on a clay-wheeled skateboard his neighbors had picked up at a swap meet for $3. In 1975, his family moved from Wisconsin to Tampa, Florida, where he skated in the streets until skateparks began to appear. By 1977, skateparks had sprung up all over, and ramps and bowls were now the focus of the sport. Skaters began making little rails on the edges of their boards to help them slide on the concrete bowl. At age 14, Paul made his rails out of wood and fiberglass, so they did not break. However, neither wood nor urethane rails slid well. His Florida skate friends, Alan Gelfand and Mike McGill's suggestion that rails should slide better. So, Paul started making his rails out of a tough, durable plastic called UHMW polyethylene. His rails were popular with local skaters, who dubbed them "Schmitt Stix." These rails were cut out at the woodshop at school, drilled at a hardware store/woodshop where Paul worked, and then packaged in his parents' living room. Schmitt Stix rails soon became popular all over Florida and were sold at several retail stores and skateparks across the state. His next adventure was to start making skateboards. Although the first person to make a skateboard is unknown, we do know that Professor Schmitt has made millions of skateboards. In fact, in 2005 his company reached a milestone in manufacturing its 10 millionth skateboard! Ten million! Placed end to end they would stretch across the United States and back! But Professor Schmitt didn’t stop when his company reached 10 million skateboards! His companies make more than 4,000 skateboards a day; 200 per hour; nearly three per minute! He is also the creator of the program which helps students like you create a hand-made version of one of his professional quality skateboard decks.

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