by Andrew Andras
I remember the first time I saw Kyle at an IDSA sanctioned event. He was quiet-natured, with a small, lean body frame and a baby face to go with it. I thought he was maybe a 14-year-old kid or something. After seeing some of his race performances, I found out he was 20 years old! Nonetheless, I still dubbed him as a “Youngblood”, a term I used when referring to a group of new young talented LDP racers that were appearing in the sport. Kyle and myself were originally introduced at the 2014 Miami 24-Hour Ultraskate event, but I will never forget the day I really “met” him on a course:
It was a hot and muggy June in the state of Georgia and we were racing day 1 of the 3-day, 188-mile Chief Ladiga event. The day 1 race course is a 38-mile distance and I had planned an all out attack on a tough incline section to separate myself from the draft train. When the lead group reached this spot I put my head down and went to work on a furious push pace. Without looking back I could hear the draft trains foot smacks and rolling wheels dissipate in the distance as I pulled away. Finally, when I could not bear the pace anymore and started to let up on my attack, I slowly raised my sweat-drenched face and tried to slow my heavy breathing to recover. I took a look back behind me to see how much I had separated from the rest of the field only to find Kyle was still on my wheel holding pace. Not only did he hang, but he looked fresh and unbothered. He had a look on his face of someone just standing in line at the grocery store waiting his turn to check out, just completely unfazed by the environment or the pace. At that moment, I met “The Yanimal” and what he was made of. The rest of those stages I kept thinking to myself “This guy is going to be a great Champion one day.” Now, I’m excited to officially announce Kyle “The Yanimal” Yan as your 2017 SkateIDSA Overall Tour Champion.
Kyle grew up in New York City, a place known for producing most of history’s greatest push racers. I don’t know what it is — the long city commutes to get around town or the skill of surviving in a sea of pedestrian and car traffic — but whatever NYC does to longboarders, it has definitely given this guy some great skating abilities that he carried over to the race course time and time again.
For years we use to joke with Kyle and say he was always the bridesmaid and never the bride due to a string of 2nd place finishes in almost every major IDSA sanctioned event. When it comes to consistency, making it on the podium, or racking up points from race to race over a season, he has definitely proven himself second to none.
In 2016, Kyle started to hit his top form and it showed during the Adrenalina Marathon in San Diego. Kyle captured a big first place win and did it in major fashion: Kyle completed the 26.2 miles in 1 hour 33 minutes! Only a minute off the fastest time ever recorded for that distance. Then, 7 months later he traveled to the Netherlands for the Dutch 24-Hour Ultra Skate where he was the 4th person in the world to hit the elusive 300-mile mark, completing 307 miles in 24-hours to be exact.
2017 proved to be “The Year of the Yanimal!” Kyle came so close to producing a perfect race season as he took first place in almost every event he entered.
This past race season Kyle solidified himself in the skateboarding race world as the real deal in any and all distances. Race him in a sprint on the streets of NYC or on a long distance course like an Ultraskate and you’ll find this guy not only stuck to your rear wheel and chilling, but out in front and pulling away.
Kyle is still residing in NYC where he works as an IT engineer for Google and will be working on his master’s degree in network security. What more should we expect from Mr. Yan in the coming race seasons? We will have to wait and see. Until then, keep training folks, because the bar has been set high after 2017. Congratulations Kyle Yan and thank you for a spectacular year of racing!