August 15, 2014 - 5:07 PM
KAMLOOPS – When it comes to taking his wheelchair to the skatepark, a 21-year-old from Kamloops doesn’t look at it as a challenge he’s overcoming. He sees it as a fun pass time – part of living his life.
Alex Kilba has been dropping in at the McArthur Island skate park for the last seven years. He decided to start chairskating after watching a video of Aaron Fotheringham do a backflip in his wheelchair.
Chairskating or WCMX has become a popular sport for paraplegics across the world.
When he decided to take his chair to the park after a trip to the Boys and Girls Club, Kilba says he was hooked.
“I just wanted to have fun,” he says.
When he’s skating people often approach Kilba, curious about what he’s up to. On one of his first visits, a kid offered him five bucks to ride off a ramp. Kilba did it.
“The kid didn’t pay up,” Kilba says, laughing.
“When I’m there I feel like one of the guys - not some dude in a chair.”
While he acknowledges it was a bit daunting at first to take his chair to the park, Kilba says the only thing that can get in the way of anyone’s curiosity or dreams is fear.
“The only thing stopping you is you,” he says. “Fear is all a head game.”
One of Kilba’s favourite memories of skating was when he had the chance to spend a day skating with Fotheringham.
“He’s basically the American version of me,” he says, adding the two share similar personalities and were born with spina bifida.
To continue building on his skills, Kilba’s in the middle of raising funds to buy a chair constructed specifically for him so he can push himself to a greater limit. The chair he currently uses is built for daily use. He doesn’t push it too hard because it lacks shocks and could break or hurt him if he drops too hard or fast.
“If it breaks, I’m stuck,” Kilba says.
Life Ink Tattoo has agreed to donate $20 from every tattoo to help Kilba raise the $4300 required to buy the chair.
“I’m hoping that once I have my chair, I can get enough skill for the sport so that hopefully other people in chairs can quote-on-quote 'get off their butts' and go out and do stuff,” says Kilba.
Watch a video of Kilba chairskating below:
Credit: Alex Kilba/ youtube.com
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