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Photo courtesy of Kaia Chan, Photo courtesy of Kimi Sato, Photo illustration by Madeleine Chen

Kaia Chan: Ice Skating

Most of us think of football, basketball or swimming as traditional sports. However, Gunn also has many student athletes who participate and excel in more uncommon sports.

Sophomore Kaia Chan, a competitive ice skater, is one of these students. Chan has been ice skating for eight years, and before the COVID-19 pandemic, Chan was skating five to six days per week. However, due to state and county health restrictions, she now skates four days a week.

Chan regularly competes in both individual and team theater on-ice competitions. According to Chan, ice skating competitions are divided into levels, and skaters compete against others in their level. “You have a pro-gram, which is your own routine when you’re skating to music with jumps and spins,” she said. “You get points for jumps and spins and deductions for falls and other mistakes.”

Chan enjoys meeting people through ice skating. “I get to meet a lot of new people and also make new friends,” she said. “I also like that it’s challenging but also fun at the same time. [It’s cool] when I learn a new skill, and get to go show my friends.”

Although ice skaters perform many challenging tricks, Chan’s favorite is the double lutz, which is a toe jump that requires the skater to take off from the back outside edge of one skate and land on the back outside edge of the opposite foot.

Chan emphasized that ice skating is not an easysport, highlighting the mental challenges and importance of self motivation in skating. “Being able to mentally push yourself is hard because it can be frustrating if you don’t get something on the first try,” she said. “But it’s important to be able to continue to motivate yourself.”

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