How Kenny Reed Became Myanmar’s Olympic Skate Coach

Kenny Reed had a non-traditional skate career. Instead of being location-based, he traveled the world extensively in search of untapped terrain. His urban safaris still stand out as shining examples of how skateboarding can take you on journeys into the unknown. Reed is continuing that tradition post pro skateboarding. He breaks down how he became Myanmar’s (the small country in Asia formally known as Burma) Olympic Skateboarding coach during his new interview with The Bunt.

I was living in Barcelona for a long time. Then, I moved back to Upstate New York in 2014 during the winter. I started teaching kindergarten at a school nearby where my parents live. I was into that. I did that for three or four years. And then, this opportunity came. Somebody hit me up and said, “Hey do you want to try this thing, coaching a skateboarding team?” I didn’t know if that was something that would work. It was never something that I ever felt that I needed as a skater. But at the same time, I didn’t want to totally dismiss it. And think it was something that I couldn’t do, or figure out a way to make it work. Not in a traditional coaching way. But in a way that would fit the needs of the skaters there.

I decided that I would take the next year off, and try it. It was a good opportunity. I’m glad I did it. But it was tricky to figure out what that would look like. It incorporated a lot of different things—not just coaching someone, and teaching them how to do tricks. I also looked at what would best help me progress as a skater when I was in that position. The skaters there, their history is brand new. They haven’t been exposed to cross-cultural exchanges with other skaters in other countries. Myanmar was all but practically closed down to foreigners and anyone coming to visit until 2012. And it didn’t have internet until 2012, either.

Listen to the entire episode above. The bit about Myanmar starts at 10:56.