Live at 6 | Young Syracuse Skateboarder Wants To Go Pro
By Chris Venzon – Syracuse, N.Y. (CitrusTV) – How often do you have the opportunity to chase your dreams. For Jacsen Kutik, 9, that opportunity is a day-in, day-out routine.
Jacsen spends five days a week at the Black Mamba Skate Park in ShoppingTown Mall, honing his craft with each jump, grind and flip he practices on his skateboard. If you were to spend a few moments at the skate park watching just the on-lookers, you would understand why Kutik is so special.
“I used to think I was good at skateboarding. I’d never seen Jacsen before!” said Brodie Tyson, an 11 year-old riding a scooter.
“What Brodie said,” chimes in John Austin, or Jaws as he’s known around the park. Jaws has been coming to this park for years, but he’s never seen a skater like Jacsen.
For Jacsen, skateboarding isn’t just a hobby, it’s a lifestyle and a future career.
“I started skating when I was four years old,” he said, “and I want to be the best of the best.”
Marc Kutic, Jacsen’s father, brushes his hand through his hair as he searches for words to describe the pride he has for his son. For the past five years, he’s watched the struggles of his little boy grind through thousands of hours of lessons and practice so that he can excel on a competitive, national stage.
“I have no idea where that drive comes from,” Marc said. “I wish I had that type of focus.”
Jacsen whizzes by and glides up the tallest ramp in the park. As he throws his feet down, the board jumps and spins. Jacsen hurdles and flips his hips, landing the board on metal rail and pausing before safely pushing off and skating back down the half-pipe.
He dismounts at the bottom of the stairs, brushes his long, brunette hair from his mouth and nose, and runs towards his father’s backpack where a triple-chocolate chip cookie awaits. It’s sometimes hard to remember that this 4 foot tall kid is even a kid at all, but moments like these are good reminders.
When the cookie’s devoured, he races back to the park to practice for another hour.
“Sometimes we’ll be here forever after his lessons end,” Marc said. “He just loves it, and I don’t want to discourage that passion.”
The hard work, for Jacsen, has paid off. He’s not yet a decade old, but he boasts nine sponsorships from skateboarding apparel and gear companies.
He’s won so many matches with kids his age that he now competes against full-grown adults at some of the largest skateboarding events in the country in Tampa, Florida.
Jacsen’s goal is to become a professional skater when he’s older, which is a rare feat because of where he lives. There currently are no professional skateboarders from Syracuse, New York.
Jacsen may or may not fully understand the challenges that await his journey to stardom, but right now that’s not what matters. He simply likes to skate and stay in the moment.
“[Skateboarding] is fun, and you get a chance to be awesome,” he said. “Why would someone want to sit on couch all day, that’s not challenging!”