Elbert Kim (Hyeong in Kim)
WCS - Korean Program Coordinator
Elbert Kim, WCS’s official coordinator for South Korea was born and raised in Korea as a child. When he was seven, his whole family was fortunate enough to immigrate to the States in Cerritos CA thanks to his aunt and started the American dream. He picked up his very first skateboard from his uncle when he was in 1st grade, the ones with the scooter handle on top of the deck. The mid 80’s influence of “Back to the Future” triggered his curiosity of skateboarding and the sequel with hoverboards sealed the deal making him want to skate like Marty McFly. Unfortunately, his dream come to an end and had to return back to his mother land in the middle of the god knows where Korea due to my father’s decision during his early teenage years.
During his transition process skating became an outlet for him to express himself. He would always hit the skate spots and hang out with other skaters and started to meet people from other parts of town. Never did he imagine this would be the founding blocks of a bigger movement. Having the love of the sport, the small community grew its size and expanded and skateboarding was just a part of his daily routine. This all changed when he entered Korea’s first pro skater Sang Lee to compete in the 2004 in the Slam City Jam in B.C. Place. This got him more involved in the skate scene in an international level.
That was when the first ever Korean skater ever competed in a WCS sanctioned event in Korean history! Also, it was where he met the whole crew that were involved in building the concept of ISF and held an international meeting. That’s where he met Don Bostick, Danielle Bostick, Heidi Lemmon, Gary Ream, Mike Jacki, international skateboard representatives from distinguished countries and to see the pro skaters he saw in the videos for the first time ever was just a childhood dream come true. The motivation and positive energy he was able to experience still lingers to this day and which set the ground works to build the infrastructure so kids in his area can just enjoy the love of skating.
May it be either luck or fate Elbert was fortunate enough to cross paths with Heidi Lemmon the Skate Parks Association director who guided him to the right direction and hosting civic outreach programs within the community, as well as meeting with Korea’s grass root skater, “Baek” from StuntB Skateboards who dedicated pretty much his whole life into skateboarding. Upon the networks made in the Slam, Elbert laid the pavement for domestic riders like Baek to experience the international skate scene.
Whether it was by chance, Baek’s StuntB skater needed to enter the Kia World Extreme Games in 2010 but there was little to no knowledge of how to register for the event. This is another story but the coordinator at the time was difficult to contact, so with the help of Dave Duncan, StuntB’s skater Jihoon Lee was able to compete and was able to rank 5th place which led to another portal for future events to come.
With Baek and the StuntB family, we focused on laying the foundations by running grom skating events with Top Grom and civic outreach programs in the Korean education system as well as Longboarding for Peace Korea. Now, being affiliated by the Korean government entity named Korea Leisure Council(AKA KOLECO) the Korean skate scene is getting government support to boost the recognition of skateboarding in Korea and Elbert was able to invite over an old friend from way back to Korea in May 2015 11 years after their initial meet and greet.
Now, after a decade has past. Don Bostick was able to pay a visit with Martin Karas to a one week session of skate events and judging procedure training and had one of the most memorable moments although the hectic and tight schedule, the Korean skaters were able to show a little bit of the Korean skate scene and the possible potential Korea has in the field of Skateboarding. Now being the official coordinator for World Cup does put a huge responsibility on Elbert’s shoulder, but at the same time, there is a purpose and positive energy that has emerged upon the visit. He is stoked to be a part of the bigger picture and hope to do great things with the great people I was lucky enough to meet along the way. Skate on!! Dagger style!!