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Pro Chat: Alicia Fillback: ‘playing with gravity is fun.’

A couple weeks ago, doing our usual vimeo video trawling, we came across the longboard crew Blood Orange and their 2013 edit. That’s when we spotted her… errr, who is that girl bombing hills, power sliding like we have never seen before and charging corners without fear?? It was Alicia Fillback, that’s who! And so, of course, we got in touch…

Photos by Blood Orange

We spotted you in the Blood Orange edit, can you tell us who you are and what you do? For all us Europeans here…

Well, my name is Alicia Fillback and my two primary passions in life are skateboarding and art. I skate hills, parks, streets, whatever. All of it is fun, whether I’m good at it or not… but drawing and painting has always been my first love.

How did you first get on a board then? 

Skateboarding was always something I thought would be fun, but I spent twelve years of my childhood and adolescense fully committing myself to competitive soccer, so I didn’t even learn to push around on a skateboard until high school when my friend Steven let me borrow his board. I rolled down hills a bit but didn’t actually learn about downhill skating until I was 19-ish years old, which is when I started learning how to slide and all that.

And what is it about longboarding?

I enjoy all kinds of skateboarding, but longboarding/downhill is special to me because it has a unique kind of constant flow. Speed is exciting, and playing with gravity is fun.

Any particular nasty bails you can tell us about? And do you have any scars that tell a good story?

All of my scars tell either a really good story, or a really embarassing one. My worst fall was before I actually learned how to actually skate hills, go figure… I could barely footbreak and I didn’t even know sliding was a thing. It was the day before my last day of high school and I was out ‘bombing hills’ with a couple friends. Basically, I ended up with speed wobbles and smashed every appendage along with my dome into the pavement. I had road rash on numerous places on my face, hands, and knees and a bad concussion that left me with no idea of what month it was and very little memory of my last couple weeks of school. I still don’t remember what my graphic design final looked like, and my graduation pictures were kinda brutal. I bought a longboard a week later with my graduation money.

Have you ever charged up to a corner and thought, I’m not going to be able to take this?

Sometimes… but I’m usually very conscious about controlling my speed going into corners, because sliding into cars or off cliffs is not on my to-do list. But sometimes you get in over your head and have to hang on or eat shit. Riding out situations that you don’t think you’re able to is one of the best feelings.

Do you ever get scared or are you fuelled by the danger of it?

I definitely get scared sometimes – you’re either not pushing yourself enough or you’re just stupid if you’re never scared while downhill skating. When it comes down to it, fear is just another motivator. You can let it stop you or you can let it fuel you.

What’s the fastest speed you reckon you’ve clocked?

The fastest I’ve gone is probably only around 55 mph. Not that fast compared to a lot of people, but I’d rather be standup drifting around corners than tucking down straights.

Is confidence the key to avoiding speed wobbles?

Confidence won’t let you avoid wobbles completely, but it will certainly help you ride them out.

Do you live in San Francisco for the hills?

Nope! I was born in Portland, Oregon and lived in the same general area for my entire life until recently. I’m living in Southern Oregon now, only six hours north of the bay area. San Francisco is definitely like a second home to me, and more-so because of the people and friends than the hills (although the hills are awesome of course).

Do you go away on lots of trips to film and adventures?
Have you ever come on a trip to Europe or UK?

I was never able to travel at all until skateboarding, so I feel very blessed and thankful to be going to the places I am. I’ve been all over the western half of the United States, and I’ve seen a little bit of the East Coast in Massachusettes. I’ve been to a few places in Canada, but aside from Hawaii and Puerto Rico, I’ve never been out of North America. So no, I’ve never been to Europe or the UK. I would very much like to visit Europe someday.

What can you tell us about the Blood Orange crew? And how you came to be part of it?

The Blood Orange crew is a small team that mostly hails from Northern California. I think I’m the only non-Californian actually, so that’s kinda cool. The other dudes are Liam, AFB, JM, James Kelly, Jasper, and Brandon Tissen. Every one of those guys are extremely talented and bring their own style and flavor to downhill skating, and it’s really neat and humbling to be a part of that mix. Blood Orange has very strong ties to Caliber Truck Co, so that’s pretty much where the connection started and it just ended up happening from there.

Are you the first girl on the team?

There are at least a couple other girls getting product flow from Blood Orange, but yeah, as of now, I’m the first and only girl on the team.

What’s the longboard scene like in the US? For girls particular?

I’ve seen the downhill community here grow so much in the last three or four years since I’ve been a part of it. I really feel like I haven’t been in it for very long, but it’s pretty amazing to see how much it’s evolved in such a short amount of time. Especially on the west coast, there are pockets of little communities everywhere with locals that skate together all the time and make things happen. The Portland scene will always be my home. For girls specifically, there are more getting into it, but I honestly feel like there are more downhill skater girls in other parts of the world. My girlfriend Carmen and I obviously skate together all the time, but we literally live hours away from any other girls (that we know of) that skate downhill. We tried hosting an all-girls slide jam a couple years ago, and it flopped. It was kinda sad. There are girl rippers here and there around the states for sure, and we have lots of girls that kill it in park skating, so I have confidence that the ladies’ downhill community will continue to grow.

Do you have any other sponsors?

I’m extremely fired up to support and recieve the support of all my sponsors, including Caliber Truck Co, Arbor Skateboards, Rip City Skate, Dave’s Hippy Oil, The Animus Code (my own apparel/arts brand),  Venom Wheels and of course Blood Orange. The people behind each of these companies are all really awesome and I’m very happy to be involved. Big thanks to all of them, and thanks Cooler for the interview!

 

Now take a look at the edit in which Alicia caught our eye:

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