Amateur Hour: Kyle Frederick
Levittown's own Kyle Frederick is another of Chris Cole's Pennsylvania protégés. He is the first name [besides Cole himself] announced to Cole's new Omit clothing and if the fast-tracked careers of Tom Asta and Ishod Wair are any indication of the weight Chris Cole vouching for you holds, then it won't be long before Kyle is a household name. As Chris Cole puts it, "I picked [Kyle] for Omit because he is one of my favorites. He also is as underdog as can be. On the skate side he will salad grind tré flip on a flatbar and then miller flip a five-foot spine. It's ATV style." Not much else needs to be said.
You got the Cole package?
Pretty much, yeah.
You have some big shoes to fill as the next Cole protégé after Ishod and Asta.
They're amazing, Chris, Ishod, Tom, I look up to all those dudes even though we've been friends for so long. It's definitely awesome to have them as teammates. It's definitely some big shoes to fill but I'm trying my hardest. I'm trying my hardest to shred every day.
How does it feel to be the first guy Chris announces and no one knows who you are?
It's definitely a little overwhelming but it's pretty rad. I kind of feel a little special being the first one out. But I'm trying to film and go on a bunch of tours so people know who I am, try and get that name out there.
Chris give you any advice or tell you not to blow it?
No, not really. He just told me to do me, which I'm trying to do. I've been skating for a long time, still having fun with it and just trying to keep my head on straight, skate every day and have fun.
Is it annoying having two first names?
Not really. I think Frederick was more of an old time first name. I don't know anyone with the first name Frederick anymore. It doesn't get in the way too much but I feel like there are a lot of Kyles. I met a Kyle last night and it's always kind of weird because you shake their hand and you're like, "My name is Kyle," as they say it.
Try having the name Chris. What did you do as your day job before you got skate-famous?
I've been working since I was 13 but when it got to the point when I needed a little more income I was a union ironworker. That was kind of intense. It's a four-year school program with work during the day. It was pretty hectic building skyscrapers in Philadelphia.
What's the tallest building you worked on?
In Jersey we added onto Shore Memorial Hospital and that was nine stories, close to 100 feet; that was a little nerve-wracking.
Were you walking around on the steal girders?
Yeah, you're tied off most of the time but there are instances where you can't be so you can move around and that's when it gets a little scary.
Does that kind of situation help your skating or does your balance from skating help you in that situation?
I think the balance from my skating helped that, for sure. It was always good because every time we had a building going up that could be a possible skatespot in the making.
Did you ever make any suggestions to add something skatable?
No, but it would be so rad if I could, like "I don't know if this doorway is going to work, probably should put a little more runway before this set of stairs."
Ever seen anyone fall off a building?
I've heard of a lot of horror stories. Working in Philly, I never saw anyone fall off a building but I witnessed a shooting happen across the street from where we were working. I haven't seen anyone fall but it does happen all the time. It's pretty common. My step-dad is a union ironworker, that's who got me into it, he's fallen a few times. Nothing crazy but a good 20, 25 feet. Broke his wrist. He's put a drill through his hand; he's done it all. He's been in for 25 years.
Coming from that background and potentially having to work like that for the rest of your life, how much do you appreciate this opportunity to chase the skate dream?
Oh, man. So much. That's why as soon as it turned wintertime I headed out to California. I have a place to stay, a good amount of friends out here that can make things happen. Yeah, I definitely don't take it for granted. I don't have money but that's nothing. As long as I have food and water and my skateboard, that's all I need. I'm trying to do everything I can to make this work because I love it. I hope I never have to ironwork again. You only live once.