Amongst the many marvellous members of all ages and abilities at Worthing Gymnastics Club, one is using the strength, balance and agility gained from his sessions to reach new mountainous heights.
Charlie Lane joined the club when he was 6 years old and even as a young chap, his positive attitude and daring approach saw him achieve new skills and win regional medals. He continued the same manner and transferred the techniques gained from gymnastics to snowboarding and at just 11 years old, he’s already making a name for himself.
Snowboarding is somewhat a family tradition in the Lane family but with natural talent and strong ambition, Charlie soon took his passion to the next level.
In 2015, he joined the British Ski and Snowboard Academy based in Austria and began his pursuit to turning pro alongside future Olympic snowboarders and skiers. After a full winter season away developing his skills, tricks and fitness, at just 8 years old, Charlie was deservingly awarded an elite athlete status by the Great Britain Snowboarding Team.
Charlie returned with a solid foundation of skills and tricks and entered many of the UK indoor and dry slope events. He started splendidly with a win at ‘Junior Jam’, an U12s competition in Hemel Hempstead and also won both the Big Air Series and Air Attack Slopestyle at Chill Factor in Manchester.
These achievements lead him to become both English and British National U12 Indoor Slopestyle Champion in 2016.
Pushing The Pro’s
In the winter of 2016 he entered The Brits held at Laax, Switzerland. These are the UK’s National Championships for Snowboard and Ski and at just 10 years old, he became the Under 12s Champion in Slopestyle, Big Air and Boardercross racing.
In some of the events at these championships, Charlie’s scoring was so high he featured in the adult standings – 5th for Halfpipe and 7th in Big Air. A great achievement amongst top professional snowboarders which included Billy Morgan who went on to get a Bronze at the last Winter Olympics in South Korea.
If 2016 wasn’t already a bumper year, he also went into 2017 as a record breaker – the youngest Brit by nearly two years to complete a backflip – we wonder where he got that from.
Charlie loves his sport and what the hard work brings, he’s always demonstrated good sportsmanship and being humble of his ability but there was one stand out testimony to his kind nature at the 2018 German & Austrian Nationals.
In the judging of the Under 12s, there was a mix up. Charlie had won the event but the boy who performed second best wasn’t even on the podium. The coaches realised the mistake during the ceremony and appealed to the judges who then appropriately adjusted the standings.
This meant the current boy placed third was to hand back his medal, gifts and prize money and leave the podium.
Astonishingly, Charlie refused the sponsored gifts and prize money and insisted that all four boys should stay on the podium. He was more than happy only to be crowned the Austrian and German National champion with the trophy. This act of selflessness gave the boy in fourth the chance to be part of the presentation at the top step with Charlie who took him up their.
Amongst The World’s Best
In the 2017/2018 winter season, Charlie participated at the Valley Ralley Series, a regional slopestyle competition held over four weekends in Austria. He won three of the four events and was crowned King of the Mountain and left as the number one European slopestyle rider in u12s.
Still aged 11, Charlie was entered into the prestigious World Rookie Tour, an Under 16 international event also known as the breeding ground for future Olympians and professional snowboarders.
Charlie had to first pass regional qualification against Europe’s best riders and he did in fine form qualifying in 8th position.
The finals were held in Austria which saw 90 entrants from the top snowboarding nations around the globe including Japan and America. Charlie was the youngest competitor there and battled superbly to secure a credible 15th spot.
And to finish a brilliant season, Charlie came 2nd in the German SBX Trophy and finished as the number one u12s snowboarder in the TTR World Rankings made up of the worlds professional snowboarders.
Back in Blighty
Charlie returned home from the slopes in the summer and caught up with family, friends and of course school work. But this didn’t stop his fitness training and attending gymnastics. After a short stop, in October, Charlie headed back to Austria to prepare for this forthcoming long winter away.
No one saw these remarkable achievements coming but they haven’t come without the sacrifice of spending many months away from his family – a true testament to this young man’s character who’s making us all immensely proud.
Training at WGC in the Summer and out on the slopes and tubes all over Europe during the Winter, Charlie and his loyal and super-supportive parents and older brother Ben have developed what seems to be a winning combination.
But things haven’t always been easy for Charlie and his family, especially over the last few years, but their positive outlook, motivation and drive has seen them on the up and Charlie as one to watch in the future as an ambassador for both gymnastics and snowboarding.