Thrasher just announced its 2016 Skater of the Year, and it's Kyle Walker.
Kyle, who hails from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, had steady coverage this year, with heavy performances in Volcom's Holy Stokes!and Real's Surveillance series, along with an insane commercial for his first pro shoe with Vans. However, it wasn't until late last month that he solidified his bid for SOTY with the release of his jaw-dropping part in Vans' No Other Way video—a section that he ended by grinding a rail with six kinks in it...
Kyle, 22, turned pro for Real last year. As SOTY 2016, he succeeds 2015's winner, Anthony Van Engelen.
That's pretty cool! The next time Kyle is in town we should introduce him to OKC's most X-treme athlete – Mat Hoffman. They could drink some Mountain Dew, compare bruises and then do wild tricks off the Gold Dome and Milk Bottle building. That would be fun.
Outside of what I learned from playing Tony Hawk in college, I know absolutely nothing about skateboarding. I've never heard of Thrasher magazine, Real's Surveillance series, and "grinding a rail with six kinks" sounds like something you'd get in trouble for doing at a strip club.
That being said, Kyle appears to be the real radical deal. Check out this video from way back in 2012. It features Kyle and another pro skateboarder from Oklahoma, Peter Ramondetta, trying to injure themselves around OKC and Tulsa:
Fun Fact #1: Kyle skates right by my friend's house at around the 2:15 mark.
Fun Fact #2: Not only is Kyle a good skateboarder, he may also be an accomplished time traveler.
Knowing how Oklahomans latch onto any famous or accomplished person with Oklahoma roots, I was curious to see if any other local media outlet has mentioned or covered Kyle. I couldn't find a thing. I then searched through The Oklahoman's archives and found this photo from October 1989. It was taken about four years before Kyle was born...
Yeah, that's kind of weird. It makes me want to spin my totem to see if everything is real. I guess it could be Kyle's dad trying to injure himself before Kyle was born, or it could be a different Kyle Walker trying to cause a skateboarding ruckus before it was cool. Either way, it's good to know Kyle Walker exists. He'll make a great Ogle Madness 11-seed. You can check out his Instagram here.