#JacksonFamily Interviews with Paul Ayer (CAN)
The #JacksonFamily is a large family of skaters wearing Jackson products. Whether it be Matrix Blades, Ultima Blades, Jackson Skates, skaters are encouraged to tag #JacksonFamily in their social posts and be a part of the largest skating family, from recreational to elite!
Innovation, Development and most importantly FUN are the core fundamentals of #JacksonFamily.
In our interview series, we go behind the scenes and talk with some of our skaters to get to know them a little bit better! This week, we got the opportunity to chat with Paul Ayer of Canada. He and Alicia Fabbri are an up and coming Jr Ice Dance team training in Montreal.
Thanks for taking the time to do this interview! Why don’t you give us a quick intro! Tell us a little bit about yourself — where you’re from, when and why you started skating?
Hey there! My name is Paul Ayer. I was born and raised in Calgary Alberta and my first time on the ice was in 2007, a few months before my 10th birthday. I started figure skating at around 11 and trained in Calgary from then up until around April/May of 2018 when I moved to Montreal to start skating with my beautiful new ice dance partner, Alicia Fabbri.
What are some of your hobbies and how do you balance life being an elite athlete?
Some of my hobbies include playing other sports with friends like football (soccer), hockey on ODRs (outdoor rinks) or lakes during the winter and traveling. But nothing compares to just spending time with my little brother, who is also my best friend and the funniest kid I know, Alex.
As far as balancing things go, I spend time with friends and participate in activities outside of the rink but always with the mind set of not getting hurt and still taking care of myself since skating at the level I want to be competing at can only be done until a certain point in my life. I plan on taking some online courses for the near future and hopefully start going to a University here in Montreal come the next fall semester.
2018 is a new season, new city, new adventure for you. Tell us about your new partnership with Alicia. How did it come about? How has your first season training together been? How is Montreal?
I broke up with my last partner at the end of summer last year and was doing tryouts with girls for almost a whole season waiting for the partner who I felt I could connect with not only in physical ability but personality and motivation to train. When Alicia and I first skated together, I felt that connection immediately, so when she asked if I would like to be her new partner I couldn’t say no and moved across the country.
The actual driving away from my family was definitely very difficult especially since we’ve grown so close over the last few years since my dad was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s, and my brother spent around 200 days in the hospital last year for some health issues of his own.
But the decision to move and skate with Alicia wasn’t that hard to make at all because I know that we have to do what we love, and I know my family believes that too.
Training in Montreal has been amazing thanks to the support not only my coaching team and friends give me, but Alicia and her whole family too. They even hooked me up with an air conditioner when I couldn’t find one in stores! My apartment was reaching almost 40°C! Plus being able to practice my french is pretty cool too.
Training in Montreal, you get to be part of a very strong junior ice dance contingency from Canada. Talk about what it’s like competing in such a deep field of athletes.
Competing for a country who’s as strong in ice dance in Canada is tough. The way I think about it, since we have many strong teams who represent Canada internationally, if we can do well in the country against our own teams then we are more than capable of doing just as well on the international circuit.
You guys had great success at your first JGP assignment in Bratislava, tell us about that experience and what are your goals for the rest of the season?
At our first Junior Grand Prix this year we managed to place 4th overall with a great rhythm dance the first day but unfortunately we fell in a lift during the free dance, so we didn’t put out our best performance we know we’re capable of.
We have a second JGP coming up soon and our goal for that is to put down two solid programs that we can be happy with just like we do in practice. Our goal for the rest of the season is to place top two at nationals so we can compete at the junior world championships.
Any long term goals moving forward?
Because this year has been moving so quickly we haven’t spoken much of our goals for the years ahead but I know we plan on getting onto the Senior international circuit once we move up and then the national team and eventually we want to compete at the Olympics.
So far in skating, what would you say has been a highlight or proudest moment as a skater?
I have so many moments that really stand out for me in my skating career so far, but a couple of my favourites are competing at the 2015 Canada Winter Games not only because of the competition itself but the whole athletes village and all the other sports there at the same time as the skaters and my most recent competition which was in Slovakia with Alicia representing Canada for the first time of my life in skating.
What does your equipment and the #JacksonFamily mean to you?
I’ve been skating in Jacksons for the last few years and love them for the comfort, I’m currently in the newest model dance boot and use the Dance Ultima blades which have been nothing but reliable.