SARASOTA- One Suncoast resident is skating his way across the globe and scored some gold medals in the process.
It was a jaw–dropping win for 21 year old Jake Illardi in Munich, Germany.
“I never thought it would be like this,” he said.
Osprey’s very own, took the gold last month in Red Bull’s International Roller Coaster Contest. It’s an attitude he’s had since first picking up a board.
“Skateboarding means everything to me because I’ve literally been doing it since four years old. My grandmother bought me and my twin brother skateboards for our birthday and it’s the only thing I want to do,” he said.
It all started at Sarasota’s Payne Park, where Jake said he first started skating at just 8-years-old.
Now, he’s traveling around the globe, from Montreal to China to Prague, where he scored the rank of 14th in the world by The Boardr.
He said he owes his success to his support system.
“My family, my brother, and my grandmother has always been since day one. They’ve always been pushing me,” he said.
And his mentor, Tim Storck, who has celebrated several of Jake’s wins from Sarasota.
“He’s done it basically on his own and his work ethic is great and it was like watching one of my own kids win something,” Storck said.
Jake said Storck is like a second father figure to him.
“He sponsored me and my brother, gave us boards, wheels, bearings, and help with our contest entries. If I went out of state, he would help with plane tickets,” he said.
Illardi isn’t stopping anytime soon, recently scoring a win in China, pre-qualifying for the 2020 Olympics.
Jake recently moved to Los Angeles, where he will be working on video projects. In August, he’s taking on another contest in Vigo, Spain.