CJ Collins competes at the Vans Park Series on Aug. 3, 2018 in Huntington Beach, Calif.
Frankly, Roman Pabich could get used to this.
A stylish, fluid effort on the Shanghai course led the 17-year-old from Ocean City, Maryland, to claim the first skateboarding victory of his career in the Vans Park Series circuit Saturday in Shanghai. Pabich put up 88.17 points on his best run, outscoring teammate CJ Collins, 15, who tallied 84.33 points for second place.
Brazil’s Luis Francisco cruised into third with 82.33, ahead of Team USA’s Patrick Ryan, who finished fourth with 77.33, while Curren Caples, seventh, gave the Americans four in the top eight.
Pabich has been making waves in skateboarding circles since his early teens. A road trip from Maryland to California led to an extended stay for Pabich and his older brother Cedric, also a skateboarder, when their father hurt his back and didn’t want to drive the family RV back to Maryland. Instead, their mother came west and the family of four settled into California life.
Collins, from Anaheim, California, has been a pro skater since he was 10. He’s already a regular on tour and placed fifth at the Vans Park Series finals last year.
Pabich, Collins, and many of the teens they skate with, make up part of a new generation of fresh-faced skaters seeking big air and smooth rides at parks across the world as skateboarding makes its Olympic debut in 2020.
So far, Pabich has embraced life on the road.
“My favorite thing about this tour is all of the places that we get to go to skate with our friends, and these parks that they build for us. It’s insane — we are like VIP status everywhere, it’s the best — thank you!” he exclaimed after solidifying the win.