Jagger Eaton was 5 when his dad, Geoff Eaton, bought him his first skateboard and built a mini ramp. After seeing his son’s growing interest, Geoff opened Kids That Rip in 2006, a spacious indoor skate park in Mesa, Ariz. It proved successful: A second facility recently opened in Chandler.
“That’s insane to me that he did that,” Jagger said of his dad. “I worked hard too, but I mean, to do this, that’s amazing. I wouldn’t have been anywhere without him.”
Jagger made a world record at X Games Los Angeles 2012 as the youngest-ever invited athlete, at 11 years and 129 days old. Now 14, the Mesa teen still speaks about the experience with reverence.
“I’m skating with the idols, the people that got me into skateboarding. Half of those guys were the people I watched when I was 7 in skate videos,” Jagger said. “I was treated like an adult, and I was treated like a friend.”
That accomplishment has proved lucrative to Jagger’s brand, manifesting in television appearances, endorsement deals and 136,000 Instagram followers. But that’s not why he skates.
“It’s freedom,” he says. It’s a sense of freedom I don’t get anywhere else in my life.”
Know your skating terms!
Drop in: When a skateboarder stands with their board at the top edge of a skateboard ramp or along the edge of a bowl and drops down onto the ramp, allowing them to gain speed quickly. It is difficult to learn because it’s scary, but it is how most skateboarders enter bowls and vert ramps.
Kick flip: The skater and board jump up, and then the skater uses his or her feet to flip the board 360 degrees before landing on it. A “kickflip back lip,” short for kickflip backside lipslide, is when the skater kickflips and then lands with one lip of the board on a rail.
Vert ramp: A form of half-pipe that transitions from a flat bottom to a vertical section on top. This makes it easier for a skater to take off because they naturally go straight up into the air.