X Games Austin 2016 Q&A: 11-Year-Old Skateboarder Brighton Zeuner

In this year’s X Games Austin, Texas, which began June 2, 11-year-old Brighton Zeuner is the youngest female competitor. She’s competing in the Women's Park event. If she finishes in one of the top three spots, Zeuner will become the youngest X Games medalist ever, beating Alana Smith's 2013 record by eight months. 

Sports Illustrated Kids caught up with the sixth-grade skateboarder from San Diego (who skates the vertical ramp in her family's backyard!) to chat about preparing for difficult tricks and her hobbies outside of the sport.

How did you get involved in skating?

My brothers started before me and I wanted to tag-along!

Which skaters inspired you to become a competitive skater?

When I saw an all-girls skate, I knew that that was what I wanted to do. Like Nora [Vasconcellos], Lizzie [Armanto], and Alana Smith. All those girls.

When you try something out, it could be potentially dangerous. How do you stay safe while still compelling yourself to do daring tricks? 

I try something in a foam pit or I learn [small] tricks to work my way up to big tricks. 

Do you ever get nervous before trying a new and difficult trick or when you compete? If so, how do you stay calm?

I just think to myself that it’s a contest and I’m here to have fun. For me, contests are always fun. There’s a good vibe. It can be a little nerve-racking sometimes, but it’s fun. 

What’s your favorite trick to do? 

I like to do a backside disaster. It’s where you do a 180 on top of the coping and then immediately get back in. It’s really fun! 

What other interests or hobbies do you have outside of skating? 

I like to get my nails done and shop and go outside with my friends.  I like swimming and making fun videos and archery. I’m a girly girl when I’m not skating!

How do you manage both skating and school? 

[I’m enrolled in] a charter school with some other skating people that I can take on the road with me and do my schoolwork. 

What advice would you give to other young girls who want to try skateboarding? 

I would say get a group of girl skaters and just have fun. That’s what I did. It’s just more fun with girl skaters. You progress better. I definitely advise being with girl skaters. 


Catch Brighton compete at X Games Austin this weekend on ESPN and ABC. And for more on the competition, check out Celia’s interview with 15-year-old skateboarder Alana Smith!


Photos: Twitter (action), Grant Brittain (profile)

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