How 11-year-old Gui Khury made skateboarding history with first 1080 on a vertical ramp

Even before he was born, Gui Khury owned a skateboard, and even before he could walk, Khury was learning to skate.

“I saw this mini skateboard made for kids and I went crazy so that was his first toy,” Khury’s father Ricardo tells CNN Sport.

“He used to push (himself) from the table to the couch; since he was two years old, he could push himself.”

That perhaps goes some way to explaining why, at the age of 11, Khury is already breaking new ground in the sport.

Earlier this year, he became the first person to land a 1080-degree turn — three full spins in the air — on a vertical ramp near his home in southern Brazil.

In 2012, American Tom Schaar landed a 1080 on a mega ramp, which allows skaters to jump higher and at greater speeds compared to a vertical ramp, while Tony Hawk was the first to land a 900 on a vert more than two decades ago.

Hawk, who is widely credited for helping to popularize skateboarding, was among the sport’s famous names to congratulate Khury for adding an extra half-turn to his record.

“Bob Burnquist, one of my favourites, he did a voice call … Tony Hawk also, he said some cool things,” Khury tells CNN Sport.

The advantage of youth, says Khury, is that it allows you to spin faster in the air, but the downside of a lighter frame is that you don’t generate as much speed, and therefore height, off the ramp.

With more time at home amid the coronavirus outbreak, he was able to make the short, 15-minute drive with his parents to a ramp in his grandmother’s backyard each day, setting his sights on a history-making 1080.

Little by little, the trick seemed to become more manageable.

“I felt like I was going to make it because the last two that I failed I got very close,” says Khury.

“And then when I dropped in, I just felt something in my head like, ‘Oh my God this is it.’ And I just landed it.”

As his wheels returned to the ramp, Khury had to squat out of the landing with his board drifting slightly to the left. He regained his balance and celebrations ensued.

Khury’s father, who was filming at the side of the ramp at the time, shared his son’s growing sense of anticipation with each attempt.

“He got really, really close, we were just waiting for when it was going to happen,” he recalls.

“I was so proud of him because I know he’s been in this battle to land this trick and he has a lot of determination. He was dreaming about it and now he did it, it was amazing.”

Khury’s first skateboarding lessons took place at the Y.M.C.A. in the beach city of Encinitas, California, and from there he has made steady progress through the sport’s history books.

At the age of eight he became the youngest skateboarder to complete a 900-degree turn on a vertical ramp, and last year he became the youngest athlete to compete at the X Games.

Having finished school for the summer, Khury says he is practicing two or three hours a day in Curitiba with competitions on hold amid the pandemic.

“Whenever there’s one that I can go to, I’ll go as quickly as possible,” he says, adding that he hopes to perfect the 1080 in order to execute it in competitions.

READ: What we will miss from Tokyo 2020

It’s an exciting time for skateboarding following the sport’s inclusion in the Olympics; July 26 and 27 would have seen the sport’s debut at the Games with the street competitions, while last week would have marked the park events.

As for Khury, he hopes he might be able to compete at the Olympics in the future.

“That would be so cool,” he says. “It’s always been my dream for skateboarding to be at the Olympics and now it’s finally here.

“I can’t wait till next year.”