For most of her life, Mallory Curtis has been most closely identified with basketball. The Cary (N.C.) High sophomore started for her squad in only her second high school season. She's also a varsity golfer, but is usually seen wearing basketball gear.
Yet outside of Cary, Curtis isn't known for basketball or for golf. Instead, she's gained national fame for a psuedo-sport hobby that even she is amazed she has become involved with: Fingerboarding.
As outlined in a terrific feature by the News & Observer, Curtis is among the U.S.'s best fingerboarders, a pastime where fanatics do real skateboard tricks on miniature boards powered by their fingers. Curtis -- or at least her fingers -- are a bit of a YouTube sensation, with her personal channel hosting 127 videos and followed by a whopping 2,528.
At the age of 16, Curtis -- who first tried out fingerboarding because of a keychain which featured a miniature skateboard sporting her basketball number, 15, and the word "Curtin" (one letter away from her last name) -- has already won awards, attended national conferences and even has multiple sponsors. The largest and most recent, Flat Face fingerboards, now lists Curtis as one of their "team members", with the maker of tiny skate park accessories and miniature skateboards planning to defray her cost to an upcoming national convention of sorts called "Rendesvous" which will take place in Boston.
While it's unknown whether Curtis will be able to turn her fingerboarding habit into an actual profession of some sort, it has given the teen and her parents ideas. Curtis' prolific YouTube documentation of her ever-expanding -- and often homemade -- mini-skateparks has stoked interest in a future related to film. Given the amount of time she spends designing the parks for her tricks, architecture or design might also appeal in coming years.
For now, Curtis seems content to keep evolving as a fingerboarder, with the time she devotes to her hobby rapidly approaching the amount she pores into her more recognizable athletic passions (even though she still sports basketball shirts while performing tricks in almost all of her videos).
"It's totally opened her eyes to something that she enjoys doing," Curtis' mother, Sandra Curtis, told the News & Observer. "It's neat that a hobby has grown into something that could potentially be her major or career in the future."
Given her rapidly rising profile, it might worth even more than that in the years ahead.