Evan Smith and Travis Glover

Floating Through Air With Greatest of Ease

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By Sonny Amato
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 21, 2006

WOODWARD, Pa. -- There are two types of skateboarders: The ones who land difficult tricks and the ones who make it look easy.

Typically, the "making it look easy" part comes with age, experience and maturity.

But young hotshots Evan Smith and Travis Glover don't see it that way.

Smith, 15, is a park skater with a baby face, hair down to his shoulders and a repertoire of tricks that would make experienced skaters blush. His is one of the faces of skateboarding's future, but he's too laid back to even consider the pressure that comes with that kind of label.

"I'm just out there skating 'cause I like it and if it's something I get money out of, then that's cool," Smith said. "You can't think too much while you're skating. Especially about that kinda stuff."

There's no money in being an amateur, just cool perks like traveling around the country and meeting some pros. But Smith's family pipeline introduced him to the big names early. When he was 6, Smith's uncle, Mike Speranzo, visited him in Orlando and brought along guys like professional vert rider Jesse Fritsch.

"He loved 'Uncle Mike's friends,' and you could see he wanted to be like those guys," said Speranzo, who is an amateur skater and the director of skateboarding at Camp Woodward.

"I bought him his first board when he was 8. Then he came up to my skate park in Pittsburgh every summer and just kept progressing. Now he's a monster. He's unbelievable."

Watching Smith carve out a park course from a distance, you'd never know that he's not even old enough to drive. From effortless kickflips off the deck with eight-foot drops to frontside hurricanes down the rail, he looks more comfortable skating than walking.

It was his skillful nonchalance that opened a lot of eyes when he placed 19th at the Tampa Am last year -- one of the most prestigious amateur competitions.

At Woodward, he skates, hangs out and shoots hoops with Glover, whom he met two years ago at the camp.

Glover, 16, is from Duluth, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta. He watched skateboarding on TV and begged his mom to buy him a board. He's one of the only African Americans in a camp full of young skaters and he, too, makes the sport look easy.

"Every day I skate, I try something new," he said. "How many people can say that? And it's taken me places I've never been before, like California . . . man, the weather is like really perfect out there."

He's had a chance to travel with the Free Flow Tour, the amateur wing of the Dew Tour, and has plans to compete more this summer.

"Travis has a heart and that special something that all good skaters have," Speranzo said. "And you can see how much he enjoys riding, which is really the key for these guys."


© 2006 The Washington Post Company

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