scorecardAfter my videos went viral on TikTok, I started teaching Gen Zers how to skateboard. My classes sometimes start at 5 a.m. and my waitlist keeps growing.
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After my videos went viral on TikTok, I started teaching Gen Zers how to skateboard. My classes sometimes start at 5 a.m. and my waitlist keeps growing.

Kaila Yu   

After my videos went viral on TikTok, I started teaching Gen Zers how to skateboard. My classes sometimes start at 5 a.m. and my waitlist keeps growing.
Careers7 min read
  • George Wang is a 39-year-old skate coach and comedian based in Monterey Park, California.
  • Wang has worked as a skateboarding coach for several years, and in March started a TikTok account to showcase his skateboarding skills during the pandemic.
  • After several of his videos coaching a 6- and 4-year-old clients blew up, Wang began to receive messages from other Gen Zers interested in learning how to skateboard.
  • Now, Wang teaches half a dozen classes every day all over the Los Angeles area, and charges anywhere from $200 to $280 for four one-hour lessons.
  • Wang says his classes are all about building confidence. For aspiring skaters of any age, he wants his videos to inspire them to give skateboarding a try.
  • This is his story, as told to freelance writer Kaila Yu.

Skateboarding has been a passion of mine since I was a little kid, but I never considered it as a career.

I was born in Colorado Springs, and moved with my family to Monterey Park when I was 13. In my 20s, I sold tattoo supplies and traveled for 10 years on the road working tattoo expos. At 28, I decided to pursue standup comedy, and continued working in the tattoo industry as a side hustle. But it was hard to make ends meet in the arts industry while living in Los Angeles. After 10 years, I was broke and desperate, applying to any odd job I could find.

In 2018, a fellow comedian referred me to a skateboard coaching opportunity

The job was with Woodcraft Rangers, a nonprofit partnered with Los Angeles Unified School District. After two months of training, tests, and orientations, I learned to build a skateboarding curriculum and manage kids in learning environments. I received a CPR certification, and started coaching October 2018.

I coached classes after school hours from Monday through Friday for three hours each day. I taught about twenty kids per class, and each semester would end in a skateboarding championship against other schools. During my time as their teacher in the 2018-2019 school year, Huntington Park High School won first place twice.

In October 2019, I left the position because of differences over teaching methodology. I had received several disciplinary warnings for sharing tricks that students had landed on Instagram. The program was completely against using online media to promote the classes, due to privacy reasons, even if the parents signed waivers.

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In March, my girlfriend suggested I start a TikTok account to occupy my time

Like many others as the pandemic hit, I was struggling financially after Los Angeles went into lockdown and all of the comedy clubs shut down. At first, I wasn't eager to join TikTok, because although the app thrives on humor, I didn't think the format worked for my style of standup comedy. Still, I started posting comedy videos and skateboarding tricks.


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Soon some my videos began to gain traction. In a few months, I'd gotten to 10,000 followers, but then the growth completely stalled.

It all changed in July, after a memorable coaching session with my 6-year-old client Silas

During class, I filmed him hitting his first nose stall, getting over cracks, and hitting a boneless — an old school skateboard trick where you grab the middle of your board while skateboarding, pop it up with one foot, and then land back down on the ground with both feet.

He fell so hard many times during the class and I felt terrible, apologizing to the little guy, but he just kept saying: "Don't be sorry, I want more coach!" I was almost moved to tears while editing the video because I felt overjoyed to be sharing my love of skateboarding with such a little fighter.

I posted the video on July 29, and it quickly shot up to over 800,000 views.


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♬ Final Destination - Praying Mantis

The following week, I posted a video teaching my fearless 4-year-old client Reese. In our lesson, she learned how to kickturn and landed her first trick. The video hit almost a million views immediately.


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That same week, my account shot up from 10,000 to over 50,000 followers.

By accident, I found myself in the middle of a skate culture revival on TikTok

After my videos went viral, I received thousands of emails and dms, mainly from young women, inquiring about skateboarding lessons. Many said that the coaching videos I'd posted were inspirational. While other videos online of professional skaters sliding down handrails or hitting death-defying tricks are incredible, they just aren't realistic for beginners. Instead, a TikTok of a little kid struggling just to get on her board can inspire others to pick up a skateboard for the first time.

Currently I'm coaching five to six kids a day, and the waitlist keeps growing

Since August, I've become a full-time skateboarding coach. I can't even come close to fulfilling the demand. I also teach two group classes a week with ten kids each, in Irvine and Los Angeles. On TikTok, I have over 115,000 followers, and am gaining more each day. With each new follower comes new requests for skating advice and lessons.

I'm doing better than I ever have financially, creatively, and emotionally. Just two months after posting my first coaching video, my debts are paid off, and I can afford to take my dad out to dinner every night. Private coaching rates range from $200 to $280 for four one-hour lessons. Most days I don't even feel like I'm working because I'm having so much fun.

With coaching, each day is completely different. On Thursday for example, I'll start with my first client in Venice, meet another kid in West Hollywood, then head to DTLA and Pasadena, with the last lesson in Bellflower before I head home to Monterey Park. It's two to three hours of driving each day and I teach as long as the sun is up, starting at 5 a.m. and ending around 8 p.m. I try to schedule breaks for lunch when I can, especially when I'm down in Venice, to lay out and get some sun.

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Most of my students are complete beginners, so usually the first class is all about building confidence

We'll start by warming up with some jogging and practice falls. Next up is stance, determining whether they should use their right or left foot. Then it's on to basic tricks. The goal is to find a rhythm so that they can do their first push — jumping on the board and pushing the ground with enough force to ride your board with some speed. I always end the class with a ride on my electric skateboard and free skating to remind them that it's all about having fun.

Since I get requests from all over the world for coaching lessons daily, my next move is launching an app — an Uber for skateboard coaches. The app would connect students from around the world to trusted and qualified skateboarding coaches in their area.

Through my work, I often feel like I'm also a life coach, getting endless questions from my students and TikTok followers about life, school, boy problems, and more. I don't have a website or any professional marketing materials; people have to find me through TikTok and I want to keep it that way. I'm think of my job as kind of like your mysterious sensei, like a martial arts guy who lives in a tree in the woods.

Ultimately I want to empower all the 'in-the-closet' skateboarders — those who dream of skateboarding but are too scared to try it.

As a young boy, I never imagined that at 39 I would be sharing my skateboarding passion with the world. It feels great to feel like a kid again and do what I love every day.