July 04, 1988 12:00 PM

Showing off skate-of-the-art kick turns, wheelies and curb grinds for applauding spectators, daredevil Danny Kramer looks every inch like skateboarding’s hottest new star. It’s only when a fan asks for his autograph that Danny is thrown off balance. To the rescue comes his mother, Donna, 38. “Danny can’t write,” she explains. “He’s only 3.”

Actually, he’s 3 going on formidable. According to Vision Sports of Costa Mesa, Calif., the 40-inch, 40-pound Danny is the youngest skateboard phenom in America to be sponsored by an equipment manufacturer—and perhaps the youngest sponsored athlete in any sport. His next-oldest colleague on the company’s demo team is 14. “His teammates are in awe like everybody else,” says Vision Sports’s marketing director Brad Fanshaw, whose camera crew discovered Danny while he was waiting—in full “thrasher” regalia—to see a skateboarding exhibition last March. “Can he skate?” asked the cameraman. Could Shirley Temple hoof? Could Margaret O’Brien cry on cue? “That night,” says Fanshaw, “the cameraman came in raving and showed his tape of Danny. He was remarkable.”

Living in Lawndale, Calif., with his mom, dad David, 38 (a financial analyst for Hughes Aircraft), and brother Tommy, 6, Danny got bitten by the bug while tagging after his cousin Jeffrey, 14, an avid skateboarder. As a joke, Jeff gave Danny a tot-size skateboard last Christmas, and “he took to it like a duck to water,” recalls Donna.

This summer, Vision Sports will keep Danny busy warming up crowds at skateboard exhibitions. In exchange the company will give him a new board and a stylish outfit. Well, make that most of an outfit. “We’re custom-cutting him a pair of shorts,” says Fanshaw. “Up to now, we haven’t needed any his size.”

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