KEESEVILLE — He’s only 5 years old, but his skateboard buddies are calling him the next Tony Hawk.
“I like to skate around,” Matthew Gagnier said, getting ready to roll at the skateboard park in Melissa L. Penfield Park in Plattsburgh.
“I like to grind. I like to drop the half-pipe.”
The Keeseville boy is being raised by his grandparents, Dean and Kim Carpenter, who have had custody of him since he was a month old.
“He’s always been special,” Dean said.
SNOWBOARDER AT 4
Dean brought home the snowboard that first piqued Matthew’s interest.
He works at Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington, and he had been given a snowboard that, he thought, would be just about right when Matthew was 8 or 9.
But Matthew wasn’t going to wait.
There was a pile of dirt in the yard, and he started practicing there with the snowboard. He got so good that Dean took him to Whiteface.
“He’s a natural,” Dean said. “That’s why we decided to get him a skateboard.”
‘LIVES FOR SKATEBOARD’
Skateboarding and snowboarding, Kim said, have been really good for their high-energy grandson.
“He goes from 6:30 in the morning ‘til 10, 11 at night,” she said. “I have to give him melatonin (for sleep).
“Prescribed by the doctor,” she emphasized.
Over summer vacation, Matthew skateboarded almost every day. And even now that he has started kindergarten at Keeseville Elementary School, he’s been able to bring his board to the park in Keeseville at least a three times a week.
“It releases a lot of his energy and keeps him focused,” Kim said.
When Matthew isn’t riding, he’s thinking, dreaming about boarding. He builds tiny ramps for his Tech Deck skateboards, which are scale models of the real thing that he maneuvers with his fingers.