MALIBU, Calif. — After a quick breath in and push off, Kimi Setz lets the adventure begin.
It's the way the 8-year-old begins every drop-off the half-pipe at the Malibu Boys and Girls Club. Kimi is one of dozens of other children who have been able to take full advantage of the skate park at the club this summer.
What You Need To Know
- The Johnny Strange Legacy Inspire program offers Boys and Girls Club members skate lessons and gives them the chance to try out new skills and socialize
- The program was created in partnership with the Strange family and the Pacific Skate School
- Strange was a Malibu native who frequented the Malibu Boys and Girls Club
- He was an avid adventurer who became the youngest person to climb each of the seven summits at age 17
"There’s so many things they have here," Kimi said. "Like, the chalk is very slippery, and I can do power slides. And I don’t have a halfpipe, but there is one there, and I can go skateboard on [it]."
It's not just the skate park though that's unique to this community. It's a skate program inspired by one of Malibu's own.
The Johnny Strange Legacy Inspire program officially launched last summer. It was put together in partnership with Johnny's dad Brian, the rest of the Strange family and the Pacific Skate School — all as a means of inspiring kids just like Johnny.
“I wanted to honor him in a way he would’ve wanted," Brian said. "He would’ve wanted kids to run and jump and be one with nature.”
To kids in the Malibu area and well beyond, Johnny was an inspiration. The world record-holding adventurer became the youngest person in the world to climb each of the seven summits at age 17. He died six years later while base jumping in the Swiss Alps, but his life was forever an example of pushing the limits of what you think is possible.
"Johnny’s phrase he would always say is 'impossible is nothing,'" Brian said. "His legacy is one that pushed the limits as a child and a young adult."
Look around the skate park, and you'll see the program has brought plenty of smiles — with kids of all ages coming together, learning new skills and testing their limits.
To Kimi, it's all about trying out new tricks.
“I’ve learned to drop in from the huge ramp and rock and roll," he said.
Plus, every time Kimi lands a new trick, it's a new thrill.
“I feel very happy and I’m proud of myself," he said.
At the end of the day, that's what it's all about to the Strange Family and the club itself: being able to keep Johnny's legacy alive, even if he's not physically there to see it.
"He always had a smile on his face, and it makes me proud to see other kids with the same smile and energy I know Johnny would love," Strange said.
"His program has the word inspire and our mission has the word inspire," said Kasey Earnest, the club's executive director. "He was about inspiring others to crush barriers and live life to the fullest, and we are all about creating positive, constructive paths to their future."
The program making it easier for kids like Kimi to carry on that legacy every time they step on the skateboard.