CARLSBAD — Children who excel in action sports finally have a platform to showcase not only their talents but their personalities as well. Many of the 144 athletes featured on past episodes of FUEL TV’s “New Pollution” hail from the North County region.
Host Matt Beacham, a Carlsbad resident, has the enviable job of hanging out with action sports prodigy and bringing out the best in them. In the first episode of the fourth season, Austin Poynter, 14, showed Beacham that his talents also lie in bowling and skim boarding in addition to skateboarding.
“It was really cool, it was a fun and good experience,” Poynter, an Oceanside resident said about his four-day shoot with Beacham. “He’s like a little kid so it was easy to get along with him.”
Scott Paridon, executive producer of “New Pollution,” said Beacham, 32, has a personality that brings out the best in the athletes on the show. “Matt makes them feel at ease, he’s very self-deprecating,” he said. “I think the fact that he’s a pro-surfer gets him some respect from the athletes as well.”
Working in the center of action sports with kids is a perfect fit according to Beacham. “It’s totally refreshing to hang out with these kids,” he said. “It’s such a dream job; it’s not one you plan for. It far exceeds any expectations I ever had.”
But not every young athlete has a personality geared for prime-time television. That’s where Beacham’s ability to shed light on each athlete as an individual becomes invaluable. “I talk to them like they’re an adult,” he said. “Most of these kids are pretty humble. The last thing they want is for you to hype them too much.”
Watching the introverted kids come out of their shell is one of the most rewarding experiences for Beacham. “Bringing out the thoughts of the really shy kids, that’s always really cool,” he said. “By the end of the second day they feel like a friend to me.”
In fact, Paridon attributes much of the success of the show to the athletes. “I think first and foremost it’s the kids and athletes that we select,” he said. “Not only are they great athletes, but they’re just great kids.”
Most of the talented youth have been mastering their craft for several years. Poynter has been skateboarding for five years. With a preference for vert ramps and pools, the teenager said he skates nonstop. “I like forgetting about schoolwork or anything. I’m in the moment when I skate,” he said.
Other past guests continue to progress in their sport. Athletes who were featured in seasons one and two include skateboarder Chaz Ortiz, who won the 2008 overall title in the Dew Tour Street Skate division at age of 14; BMXer Dennis Enarson, who won the BMX Dirt Dew Tour in Portland, Ore., in 2007; surfer Alana Blanchard, who won the women’s Pipeline Pro twice in both 2006 and 2007; and snowboarder Ellery Hollingsworth, who made the finals of the X Games Superpipe and Winter Dew Tour Superpipe contests this winter.
“There’s really nothing like it in action sports,” Paridon said. “These kids are going to be industry stalwarts for a long time.”