Looking for the next Shaun White? Seattle may not seem like the most obvious place to find him, but an 11-year-old in the Washington suburbs is making a name for himself in the same style that White once earned plaudits en route to his overwhelming snowboarding dominance.
The young Washingtonian in question is Keala Cole, an 11-year-old who calls Edmonds, Wash. home and who primarily rides the courses at the Summit at Snoqualmie resort. As fist reported by Seattle network KING 5, Cole isn't pulling off 1080s yet, but at 11 he's already doing flips off quarterpipes and grinding slopestyle courses at a developmental pace that has onlookers absolutely amazed.
"It's just absolutely amazing, natural talent all the way," Joe Pope, Park Director at Summit at Snoqualmie, told KING 5.
Cole's obvious talent has already helped the youngster land plenty of attention. While he doesn't have any formal sponsorships, Cole receives free boots from Burton, glasses from Oakley, clothing from Volcom and skateboards and the like from World Board, among other free swag.
The home-schooled 11-year-old also appears to have the drive to succeed, too. Those who spend time around Snoqualmie insist that Cole would stay out on the slopes all day if allowed to.
Still, the early success is a far cry from a bona fide professional contract, something which would completely change his everyday reality. The Cole family knows that if and when that day comes they'll have to reach out to a professional agent — Kimo Cole, Keala's father, has already had preliminary discussions with some agents — but they insist that they'll only go down that road so long as Keala continues to have fun with the sport.
"Just because he's a rad snowboard kid doesn't mean he gets to be a punk," said Kimo Cole told KING 5. "The whole goal is to keep it fun, to keep him wanting to do it."
Added April Cole, Keala's mother: "He doesn't ever want to have a real job. He's told me that. I think he was three when he first told me that."