Forever young

Young, young at heart compete in Grind Haven skate, bike events
Matt DeYoung
Jun 23, 2014

Brian Flickinger isn’t ready to let go of his youth just yet.

The 22-year-old from Grand Rapids was one of five finalists in the skateboarding competition at Saturday’s Grind Haven, part of the Bikes, Boards & Beach Series event in downtown Grand Haven this past weekend.

Dressed in almost all black offset with a lime green bucket hat, Flickinger and several others wowed the swelling crowd of spectators with some serious air and plenty of high degree of difficulty tricks.

While there was money on the line for the winners, Flickinger said there’s more too it than just the chance at a cash prize.

“We try to stay on our boards as much as we can before jobs take over our lives,” he said with a smile.

At 28 years of age, Spring Lake’s James Gagnon was probably the oldest competitor at Saturday’s event. With a family to support, Gagnon has a job — he’s a retail store manager.

But he’s managed to hold onto his youth by skating as much as possible.

“I’m definitely one of the oldest guys out there,” Gagnon said. “I have a wife and two kids, but I’m still doing it. I love it. Skateboarding is something I do in my down time. It’s kind of a release from life. It reminds me I’m still a kid.

“But it’s definitely one of those things, you feel it more with your age.”

Gagnon doesn’t plan on giving up his favorite hobby any time soon.

“Until I can’t do it any more, I’m going to keep doing it,” he said.

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