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Stockbridge teen to compete in skateboard contest

Special Photo: Chris Coffman (far left) bested several other competitors  to emerge victorious in a recent skateboarding competition, in McDonough. He will compete this month in Utah, for a chance to earn a pre-qualified spot in another contest, in Las Vegas.

Special Photo: Chris Coffman (far left) bested several other competitors to emerge victorious in a recent skateboarding competition, in McDonough. He will compete this month in Utah, for a chance to earn a pre-qualified spot in another contest, in Las Vegas.

A Henry County teenager is preparing for his moment in the spotlight with his trusty skateboard in hand.

Chris Coffman, of Stockbridge, will participate in the Gatorade Free Flow Tour Skate Finals, in Salt Lake City, Utah, Sept. 8, through Sept.11.

Coffman, a junior at Union Grove High School, began developing a passion for skateboarding when he was just eight years old. One of the reasons he loves the sport, he said, is because of the freedom it allows.

"It's an independent sport," said Coffman, 16. "You don't have to have a coach telling you what to do. You just go out and do whatever, and have fun with it."

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Special Photo: Chris Coffman, of Stockbridge, recently competed in a skateboard competition at Hazard County Skate Park, in McDonough. He will vie for a championship, Sept. 8-11, at the Gatorade Free Flow Skate Tour Finals, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Nisa Meineke works with the Gatorade Free Flow Tour. This month's competition, she said, gives aspiring skaters, like Coffman, a chance to shine.

"The Gatorade Free Flow Tour is an amateur platform that has visited 30 different skate and BMX parks this season, and is for amateur skaters and BMXers 21 and under," said Meineke. "Coffman ... took the win at Hazard County skate park [in McDonough] and will be advancing to the Gatorade Free Flow Tour skate Finals, held in Salt Lake City, Utah, Sept. 8-11, in conjunction with the Dew Tour's Toyota Challenge."

She said Coffman will take his first trip to the Finals next week.

"He will have the chance to skate on the professional Dew Tour skate street course, and will have the opportunity to try earning a prequalified spot in the Dew Tour Championships in Las Vegas, Nev., Oct. 13, to Oct. 16, to compete against the pros at the final stop of the season," said Meineke.

Coffman said he is "stoked" about his upcoming opportunity.

"This is one of the major ones," said Coffman. "When I was 12, I went to a contest in Minnesota, but this is bigger than that. Last year, I wanted to win, but I got second. I was really glad to win this year, and get to go to Utah. I'm a little nervous, because this is one of the first big contests I've ever been to."

Regardless of the outcome of the Gatorade Free Flow Tour contest, Coffman said he plans to continue pursuing his passion as a professional skateboarder.