La Jolla teen defends downhill skateboarding title

SAN DIEGO -- As downhill skateboarding continues to grow in the United States and abroad, skaters hope the sport can make its Olympic debut in 2024. No one would love that more than La Jolla resident Nick Broms, who rose to the top of the sport almost as fast as he rockets down the hillsides.

When Nick got his first skateboard at the age of eight, his obsession began.

"I found all these sweet YouTube videos on people just raging down hills going 60, 70 miles per hour and it was like wow, I gotta do this," Nick said.

Nick has since toured all over the world competing in the International Downhill Federation, a group comprised of the world's best downhill skaters. The 16-year-old defended his junior world champion title in April and then won the open and junior division in the second leg of the international tour off Australia's Gold Coast.

"That was the best feeling of my life, for sure," Nick said. "I didn't really expect to do that, I mean I felt fast on the track."

"He's always been fierce, a fierce competitor since he was just like a little kid," said Nick's dad Michael Broms. "So to see him find something that he just loves and if you watch him go down, it's like ballet."

Nick practices on the trail down to Blacks Beach, where he averages up to 45 miles per hour. But that's relatively slow compared to competition speeds.

"I got clocked in at 71 (miles per hour) in Romania last year," Nick said.

"We've kind of put our head in the sand a little bit," said Michael Broms. "What do you do? He's passionate about it, he's an adrenaline junkie and he's just good."

But mom and dad find some comfort knowing he's well protected in competition.

"Helmet, built-in knee pads to the leathers, built-in elbow pads to the leathers, built-in spine protectors so it's surprisingly safe," Nick said.

Although La Jolla High sophomore misses a lot of school to pursue his passion, he says he's learned an invaluable lesson outside the classroom.

"You just enter this state of not really thinking about anything else just because the only thing you have to be thinking about is what you're doing in the present," he said. "I think that's something that I've applied to my life in many ways so this has taught me a lot of life lessons as it has skateboarding lessons."

And there's no denying he's a fast learner.

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