When all was said and done, watching Daniel Patrick's competitive skateboarding career from the stands was more difficult than the grind-ramp-1 ski run he showed at the skateboardcross world championships at Hollywood Park on Saturday.
For six long years, he had to watch as skateboarding stars like Dominique Moceanu and Bobby Nygaard became legends. But his biggest motivation in the sport came from listening to hip-hop music and searching for 1990s inspiration.
"Growing up watching 'Back to the Future' on TV, I was just getting the personality of the skate park theme," Patrick said. "It was just like this culture revolution and me being around it, skateboarding became more important in the '90s. It was the camaraderie and the guys who I was skating with."
Patrick, a 25-year-old from Pasadena, will make his home in Long Beach, but he still brings back the Calabasas Skatepark to every competition.
"It's kind of like, if you get by in the local skatepark and you come here and skate, you always smile," he said. "Even if you finish fourth, you see it as a win."
Growing up as a fan of local skateboarder and O.C. favorite Brian Ross, Patrick now calls himself the Crash King of the A-frame.
"I try to do as much new stuff as I can," he said. "But I try to keep it as simple as possible to make skateboarding easier for people to learn the trick."
Patrick got into skateboarding at age 14. At 18, he won the SuperStar 2007 International event at Skateland Inc in Fullerton, earning a slot in the 2008 X Games in Salt Lake City.
"I wanted to do as well as I could against older guys," he said. "To me, it was still fun. It's a fitness thing. I've been skydiving, so I'm very comfortable flying around on my board."
Now, Patrick is skating with a mission. He raised the $300,000 he needed to fund his first competitive skateboardcross world championship, but he came up short by just 1.56 seconds to current World Championships champion Georgy Lobanov of Russia, who won his fourth title.
Patrick qualified for the championship with a fourth-place finish in the FIS U-23 skateboardcross championships in Croatia in December.
"He's just a unique athlete," Skateland's Jimmy Resendiz said. "He was always good at skateboarding and now he's great at this new discipline."
"I just kind of let it go," Patrick said. "I was happy with myself but now I'm like, 'OK, let's see what I can do.' This year, I want to be better than I was last year. That would be my goal. Just being here is a goal in itself."
In the men's competition, Big Bear's Zach Gaynor-Lee missed a long descent to finish second; UCLA's Alex Au placed third. San Diego's Kassia Van Alstyne won the women's world championship, leading all the way after riding a perfect 12 lap in the preliminaries to prevail over American Courtney Conlogue, who faded late in the competition and finished fifth.