The future stars of action sports
The Next Generation
The future of action sports looks bright, thanks to these 18-and-under athletes who will usher in the next generation. Pay close attention to these names, as you'll likely be hearing a lot more about them in the years to come.
At 15, Alex Midler is already a street skateboarder to watch. When he was 12, he became one of the youngest skaters to make the semifinals at Tampa Am, and he started getting paid by his sponsors at age 13. In 2013, he won the Woodward Street League Showdown Championships. He also helps organize a charity skate event called the Roll-a-thon, which benefits children with cancer.
Last January, American snowboarder Chloe Kim, then 13, made her X Games debut in Snowboard SuperPipe. She got a silver medal, not all that far behind veteran champion Kelly Clark, who took gold. Kim wasn't even old enough to compete at the Sochi Olympics, but she could have been a top contender there, as well. Now 14, she'll be Clark's biggest threat in the years to come.
You'll likely be seeing Jake Marshall's name on the ASP World Tour one of these days. At 15, he's a three-time NSSA National Champion and winner of the 2013 King of the Groms. The Encinitas, California, native also skateboards and snowboards.
Cody LaPlante, age 12, won the USASA National Championship title in slopestyle in 2012 and 2013, then in 2014, he won the halfpipe title and the overall combined title (thanks to getting second in slopestyle and fourth in skier cross). The Tahoe-area native landed his first double flat spin at age 11.
Motocross rider Adam Cianciarulo joined the Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki team last year at age 16. Now 17, this year he started his first complete supercross season -- racing in the 250 class -- with a series of wins. He won three of his first five races, holding a commanding lead in the overall standings until a shoulder injury put him out for the rest of the season.
Alana Smith became the youngest athlete ever to medal at X Games, after winning silver as a 12-year-old in the Women's Skateboard Park contest in Barcelona in 2013. Last year, she became the first female skater to land a McTwist 540 in a vert competition. She also rides the MegaRamp, and she's now 13.
Tyler Fernengel, 18, was a motocross racer before he switched over to BMX around age 12. He got his first sponsor at age 14, and now 18, he's recently moved from his hometown of Detroit, Michigan, to Southern California to pursue a career in action sports and continue competing in BMX dirt, park and street contests. Last year, he made the move to Haro Bikes' team and placed ninth at Simple Session.
This Tallinn, Estonia, native has been making waves in the freeskiing world for years already -- and she's only 12 years old. By age 10, she was doing switch 900s, landing on the podium at major international slopestyle contests and getting hundreds of thousands of views on her YouTube videos.
Snowboarder Toby Miller, 14, was throwing double corks in the halfpipe by age 13. In 2013, he won the USASA Nationals in halfpipe. Coached by Shaun White's longtime snowboard coach, Bud Keene, Miller often gets to train in White's private pipes at Northstar. His goal? To win gold at the 2018 Winter Olympics, where he'll be 17.
Kanoa Igarashi, now 16, is a top contender on the ASP North America Pro Junior Series. At age 11, he broke the NSSA record with 30 surfing wins in one season. Although he grew up in Southern California, he's a full-blown celebrity already in Japan, where his parents are both from and where he returns often.
Sixteen-year-old Katie Ormerod made a name for herself just recently when she became the first female snowboarder to land a double cork 1080. She landed her first double backflip at age 15. Hailing from Yorkshire, England, she learned to snowboard on indoor dry slopes. She competes in both halfpipe and slopestyle, and in 2013, she took second place at the Burton European Junior Open.
Younger brother to pro snowboarder Ben Ferguson, Gabe Ferguson, 15, is making a name all for himself. A dominating player on the U.S. Revolution Tour, last winter, he earned his first invites to X Games and to the Burton U.S. Open.