Boy wonder turned international ahtlete

01 March 2016

Penang has many gems—from food to skate spots in the eyes of Koya Miyasaka, a 17-year old skateboarder from Japan.

Fresh off a skate trip during the school holidays, Koya Miyasaka faces the reality of life… school.

But he laughed it off, since the assignments was due only on the first week and he has just had the time of his life in Langkawi.

“The school holidays? There are good and bad days ”, he answers honestly when we asked how his skate trips went. “My Bali trip got cancelled and my days in KL and Kota Kinabalu were daunting as I was sick the whole time. I was on medication, but at least I got some clips and that was good!” Other than skating, Koya spent the holidays with his close friends and family, and even though feeling annoyed that school opens just right after his 17th birthday—he posted a 17-trick line video on his Facebook page as gratitude to all the warm wishes.

To those who might find the name familiar, 12 years ago Koya was the prodigy who had a sponsor-me-video on Youtube—most notably one of him ollie-ing a flight of stairs at an age when the skateboard was a tad bit higher than himself. Fast-forward today, Koya reminisces his skating history; his first visit to the Youth Park in Persiaran Kuari, Penang. “I saw a huge skatepark with all these skaters and that made me wanted to be just like them. So, when I was 5—I got a really small skateboard from Toys R’us and it pretty much started from there.”  Not only was Koya’s love for skateboarding instigated by a trip to the local skatepark, he also looks up to Gombak skater Usher as a mentor—proof that one’s surroundings play a big part on one’s undertakings and success. He has always set his eyes on becoming a Red Bull-sponsored athlete and in November 2015, Koya officially became the first Red Bull Athlete based in Malaysia to be managed by its European arm.

With so much going on, Koya still calls Penang his home. “I consider myself Malaysian more than Japanese” followed by a burst of laughter—he explains why the island is close to his heart. “One thing you can’t find in other countries is decent Malaysian food. As I was growing up, I was eating nasi kandar, nasi lemak, ayam betutu, roti canai, curry mee… and even if you find them (outside of Malaysia), the prices are tripled and the taste is just ridiculous. It’s not even Oriental”.

When asked about the challenges of skating in a small town like Penang he responded sincerely, “There aren’t many skaters so I have fun sometimes at the park all by myself but most of the time I skate with my mates from school. Skating-wise, Penang is really hard since the park is constructed weirdly and there is barely a skate shop which opens everyday, so it’s hard skating here compared to KL.”

Not limited to skate parks—we asked Koya for recommendations on the best spots to skate in the streets of Georgetown.

Prima Tanjung (double set of stairs) - “My fav”
Gurney Plaza (triple set stairs) - “Hit & Run!”
Vantage Point (gap to rail) - “Only decent rail spot (?)”
Straits Quay - “Nice cruising/dating spot”
Island Plaza - “Funny guards and hit & run double set”

Koya acknowledges the help he’s had along the way—“Shout outs to my family for always letting me travel and allowing me to do what I love, Redbull Malaysia  for making me an official Redbull athlete, Hellbent for all the boards I broke, Tunetalk for all the credit to call people, Screwthebox for letting me crash at the bachelor house, Zone 5 for hooking me up with the kicks and wheels, Ciara for helping me with important bizzy biz, not forgetting Saiful and Jessica for the hardwork!”

One last tip we wanted to know from this self-proclaimed Penangite—is nasi kandar  meant to be enjoyed before or after skating? Like a true Malaysian, he quips, “I would say nasi kandar after skating and roti bakar before skating.”

Nasi kandar is magical.

By Smek Almohdzar

This article is related to PENANG

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