An advocate for Burlington’s new skate park (opening next month), Kyle Burroughs has a new movie coming out, “Best Ever” that celebrates street skating. A Certified Raw Nutritionist, Burroughs is a strong proponent of street skating who is also hoping to steer skaters to a healthier lifestyle that isn’t reliant on corporate sponsors and products like Mountain Dew.
Name: Kyle Burroughs Age: 32
Family: Mother and father, Ann Latulippe and John Burroughs; brothers, Andre and Rene Latulippe
Occupation: Owner of Wholey Cacao
Primary sport: Skateboarding
VS: When did you start skateboarding?
KB: I started when I was 12 years old. When I grew up there were no skate parks. There is something different about being out in the street with everyone else (including people who aren’t skateboarding) and being a part of the scene in town. I grew up just skating in the streets and finding spots and there’s something really magical about that. People aren’t exploring and going out with their buddies and being part of the street scene as much now and I’d like to get kids into that. Make the city your park and find places where it’s OK to skate. You can be respectful of others and not be confined to a box. In the street, you can express yourself a little more creatively.
VS: What are some of the moves you’re most proud of?
KB: Since I’m really into street skating, rather than parks with ramps and bowls, the types of moves I do are flip tricks, manuals which are like wheelies, and skating ledges. One of the most difficult things I’ve done is flip tricks on stairs. It’s also one of the scariest things. In California I tied for first in a competition with a switch kick flip down a flight of ten stairs at Oakland’s Town Hall.
VS: What are you still working on?
KB: Everyone has a usual stance – either regular or goofy. When you do a switch move, you have the other foot in front. I try to do switch as much as I can and try to be more ambidextrous. When I was younger I always pushed with one foot and over the years that has caused an imbalance in my feet and legs, so now whenever I push, I push switch. One piece of advice I give to kids is to push switch as much as possible.
VS: In spite of your love of street skating, haven’t you been involved with new skate park in Burlington?
KB: I do want the new skate park and I have been promoting it. I was part of the group that got it named the Andy Williams Memorial Skate Park for A-Dog (the Burlington DJ and skateboarder who died in 2014 from leukemia, at age 38). I want there to be a park but I don’t want kids to forget about street skating. So often parks get to be corporate places with sponsors like Mountain Dew and Gatorade. Getting little kids to be drinking that stuff is not what I’m about.
VS: I’m guessing as a certified raw nutritionist you don’t drink that stuff. Tell us how you got involved with that field?
KB: I was going to become a professional skateboarder and I grew up on the standard American diet. I was just about to turn pro with a skateboard company when I got sick with vertigo and the doctors didn’t know what it was. I did my research on-line and found a video of David Wolfe making a smoothie. He’s a guru of raw food and I loved his energy. I had never heard of the foods he was using but I bought the ingredients and made a smoothie and all my symptoms went away. I wrote him a thank you letter and discovered that he was doing a permaculture class at his place in Hawaii. I didn’t know much about permaculture but there was an essay contest to take the class and after I sent the letter I was encouraged to apply and I did. I went to his house and met him personally and learned about permaculture. I saw him a few more times when he was on the East Coast and took his class on-line through the Body and Mind Institute so now I’m certified to teach raw nutrition and do one-on-one consultations.
VS: When did you start your business, Wholey Cacao?
KB: I started it in January 2011. David Wolfe pioneered the idea of raw chocolate and that’s what I do. All my chocolate is cold-processed, which is a process that only came to America in 2006. After I took David’s class I came back to Vermont to look for raw chocolate and couldn’t find it so I started making it for family and friends. You get about 50% more of the health and anti-depressant benefits from raw chocolate. It’s one of the top ten healthy foods in the world. I got into the Burlington Farmers’ Market in 2011 and now I’m a permanent vendor in summer and winter. I also sell my chocolate to City Market, Healthy Living and some other health food stores.
VS: Is skateboarding growing?
KB: Yes, definitely. It’s getting bigger and bigger every year. Two of my good buddies, Chris Colbourn from Williston and Jordan Maxham from Barre, just came out in the biggest skateboarding movie ever, a $3 million project called “We are Blood” which was number one on iTunes. They were flown out to Dubai, China and Brazil for that project.
VS: Why does Vermont turn out so many good skateboarders?
KB: We’re becoming very well known around America as being one of the strangest places to produce amazing skateboarders. I just think the community of skateboarders here is very friendly which has a lot to do with A-Dog and some of the older guys. In other places you have to earn your stripes but here there are so many new skateboarders with all the colleges that people are open and welcoming. A few skateboarders in my generation were the first to start getting real sponsors and the ones just below us are at the highest level in the industry.
VS: Tell us about your movie, Best Ever, which uses all-local talent?
KB: We premiered Best Ever last December at Arts Riot and about 300 people showed up. My friend Stephan Echo and I were making a video with A-Dog (Andy Williams) but he passed away before we could finish it. We decided to complete the movie in his honor and to celebrate the sport of street skating. Nowadays, skating has been taken over by the corporate world and we wanted to take it back to its original roots and make a real street skateboarding video. Some of these big skateboard companies aren’t even owned and operated by skateboarders. We used one of A-Dog’s songs in the movie and have a tribute to him in the beginning. We used all local music including Kat Wright and Rough Francis. See VTsports.com for a link to the movie.
VS: The movie has also evolved into a product line, hasn’t it?
KB: We decided to make a brand out of the movie. We have an Instagram account called “besteververmont” with pictures of our skateboarders. Stephan has a background in clothing so we decided to make some T-shirts. We wanted them to be hip and cool but we were also conscious of where they were made and what material so all our apparel is made in America and we try to use organic cotton. We’ve got T’s, hoodies and tote bags which we sell from our website Besteverstore.com and in some local retail stores and skate parks.
VS: People think of skateboarding as a young person’s sport. Is that accurate?
KB: Ever since I’ve been skating, I’ve seen people from five years old to 50. The cool thing about skateboarding is there are people of all different ages. Older skaters are showing that you can skate into your 40’s and be the same level as the top skateboarders in the world. I used to think I’d be done when I was in my 30’s but I just placed first in the game of S.K.A.T.E and the High Ollie contest at the A-Dog Day event. When I was 25 people were telling me I had to give up the sport because I was too old. If you take care of yourself and eat right and exercise right you can skate well into your late 30’s and 40’s.
Featured photo by Blotto.