There is risky: Serving hot wings at your wedding reception. There is riskier: Putting a car payment down on “22 Black” at the casino. And then there is Zak Maytum.
Toting a relaxed demeanor and smashed-up helmet hair, Boulder-native Maytum, 22, thrives on taking risks on a day-to-day basis.
“It’s the only way I feel like I can live sometimes,” he said.
But whether he’s starting his own business at age 17 or pummeling down a mountain on his free time, Maytum finds himself succeeding at every turn.
And Sunday was no different. Maytum won the first Pikes Peak Downhill on a picture-perfect day where 84 skateboarders careened down Pikes Peak Highway at speeds of more than 50 mph as part of the International Downhill Federation World Championship qualifiers.
Maytum’s win cemented him into second place on the IDF World Championship leaderboard.
Jimmy Riha finished second followed by Byron Essert in front of more than 1,000 spectators.
“It was a good win. And it was a fun and exciting course,” said Maytum, who finished first after his last run clocked in at 2 minutes, 11 seconds. “I mean it was a little different because none of us had ever practiced or raced on this course (before this weekend), so we didn’t know what to expect ... I’m just glad I was able to have some good races and hopefully I can keep this momentum up.”
Maytum enjoys racing in the sport he found at age 12, but his focus usually revolves around his company Venom Skateboard Products.
“I mean the win is nice, but I have some business trips to worry about now,” Maytum said. “It’s funny. I started this because people said you couldn’t make your own wheels outside a factory. And I said you could, and got mad no one believed me. So I made my own wheels five years ago and then decided I could make some money from it too. Now, it’s just growing and growing.”
After making his own wheels using a molding board and the ingredients to make Urethane (which most wheels skateboard wheels are made of), Maytum’s plan was just to make a little side money – that’s all.
But his endeavor didn’t go to plan. To date, Venom Skateboard Products have sold wheels, bushings and other apparel to more than 100 shops across six continents.
“It’s fun to get to be involved with what you are passionate about every day,” Maytum said. “It’s a dream to be even a part of this sport. It’s just a dream.”
The race that featured 10 turns and a decline of 1,000 feet before the finish line 1.4 miles from the start.
“This will be a great, great race for years to come,” said Denver-native Kyle Wester, who finished sixth. “All the best were here. We had guys from Sweden, Switzerland, Brazil and Peru. Ask any of them, there isn’t a cooler or more beautiful race than this one.”
The only major injury on the day was when Mike “Vegas” Snyder misjudged the banked hairpin halfway down the course and crashed. He broke his tibia and fibula.