Pint sized pro, Allysha Bergado may be under 5ft and only 17 years old but she’s clocked up 9 years on a board already! Aged 9 she was competing and at 12 gained her first X Games Barcelona invite, now 17 she’s a veteran of skate without the wrinkles. What she lacks in physical height she makes up for in the bowl, vert and park. Backside airing over all of us! Since the X Games in Barcelona last May, she’s been skating all over the place and has just returned from a trip to Japan with Lizzie Armanto and the Mahfia crew. We try and ask her about everything!
Interview by Hannah Bailey
What made you head over to Japan to shred?
The four of us (myself, Lizzie Armanto and the MAHFIA production crew Kim Woozy and Johnny Varsity) had been talking about a trip to Asia for the longest time so we decided to finally make it happen. We decided to film an episode for MAHFIA as well as shoot a video for Penny Skateboards since Lizzie rides for them.
Had you been before?
I have never been to Japan before…this was my first time there and it was epic!
What you been up to over there?
The first couple of days we mainly figured out how to get around Tokyo. We had to find banks and English maps since everything is in Japanese. The subway system was tricky to figure out but we got it in the end. We filmed all around the city and got to go to some skate parks. The parks there are fun to roll around and Tokyo is definitely a scenic place to film a video! We hung out with a couple of Japanese skaters from Tokyo: Ace Sugimoto and Chihiro Uchida who took us around to different spots and introduced us to a lot of other Japanese skaters. We got to meet so many new people and it was an amazing experience.
What has Japan got to offer us skaters?
Japan has a lot of really good skateboarders that the world has not seen. I think that in a few years the level of skateboarding there will definitely continue to increase. Skateboarding is starting to become more popular over there, and sooner or later I think that Japanese people will get the opportunity to come out to America and skate. The skate parks there right now kind of don’t have that much to skate and everything that has to do with transition is relatively small…and there aren’t that many skate parks…so I think there will be a lot of street skaters coming from Japan. But hopefully they’ll build better skate parks over time!
Have you bumped in to many girls in the park over there?
We definitely skated with a lot of girls at the skate parks in Japan. Chihiro is like the Lisa Whitaker (girlsskatenetwork.com) of Japan so she arranged some sessions for all the local girls to come skate with us. There were at least 5 or more girls at each skate park that we went to! It’s interesting because although skateboarding isn’t as popular in the mainstream there, I think that there are a lot more girl skateboarders in Japan than there are where I come from. It’s super awesome, and not to mention, they all rip. The Japanese skate scene seems really accepting and encouraging for girls who want to skate. (A huge thank you to Chihiro Uchida for showing us around. We hope to go back soon!)
You’re only 17 now, so when did you start skateboarding?
I started when I was 7 years old, when I saw my dad and his brother skating in the front yard one day. I was 6 at the time, so for my next birthday I wanted a skateboard and I got one! I started rolling around the front yard, then when I was 8 I went to my first skatepark, then I went to my first contest at 9.
Picked up fast then!
Actually no, I have a photo. It’s as big as me. I was so small, it was like a longboard! I’m small now!
What do you think kept you dropping in?
I think what kept me dropping in was the fact that I fell so in love with skateboarding, so quickly. I’ve never gotten bored with it, and I loved it right from the start. I don’t recall thinking “I don’t want to skate anymore”. There were times when I went to a skate park three times a day! I’d have my mom and grandpa take me and they’d sit and watch me skate for hours. The family support really helped me keep going with my skating. When I was younger, some of my family would go to each contest and cheer me on. Outside of contests, I was able to just get into my own little zone and learn new tricks every single day. I’d watch other people skate and study how they moved their bodies and whatnot. Eventually I’d go for certain tricks that I saw other people do. Up until I got my license my mom drove me to Vans skate park in Orange County 3-4 times a week which is 45 minutes from where I live. She’d stay and wait 5 hours just so I can skate. I also met amazing friends and it was easy to connect with people who shared the same passion as me. I’m linked with them on a whole other level than my friends at school, and I think that also affected me sticking to skateboarding.
Who are your favourite people to skate with?
I skate with Lizzie Armanto a lot, it’s really fun when everyone is there and a good session is going on. I don’t have an exact favourite, but all the pros are awesome and cool. It’s fun to see everyone skate, they all have a different style so I can learn from all of them.
Who inspires you past and present?
When I was younger I used to watch a lot of skate videos, I was really impressed by Lyn-Z Adams, Mimi Knoop, Bucky, some of the legends like Steve Caballero and Christian Hosoi. They still inspire me today. And all the new skaters I’ve encountered, they inspire me also. Anyone who has a drive to keep on skating is inspiring!
Do you have any aims for your skate?
I think I’ve achieved most of it already to be honest. I didn’t think I’d be here now when I was younger. I just did it as a hobby, I didn’t think I’d be travelling for it. But hopefully women’s skateboarding will grow and there will be more opportunities. To be on the same level as guys so it can be made into a career for us. That’s what I would like to see. But for now, skateboarding for fun is perfect!
What’s the skate scene like where you live?
In LA, there are not that many girl skaters. San Diego is where the girls’ skate scene is. Cara Beth, Mimi and Lyn-Z are all from there.
Where do you skate in LA?
There’s one park called the Cove in Santa Monica, and sometimes I skate Venice skate park. But mostly I like skating Vans Comb in Orange County.
Words of Wisdom for beginner skaters?
I think they should know that it doesn’t matter how many times you fall because that’s a part of skateboarding. Get up and do everything again. Not give up! Skateboarding is one of those things where you’re not going to get it right away. You got to keep trying. Even if you are the best skater in the world you are going to encounter something that’s hard to get. It might be frustrating, but in the end it will be all good!
Finally do you think you will keep skating all your life?
Hopefully! Until I can’t anymore, until I’m old and my muscles are all strained…
Allysha is sponsored by Hoopla Skateboards, Etnies Shoes, MAHFIA.TV, Bones Wheels, S-One Helmets, 187 Pads & SoCAL Skate Shop
Read our original Pro Chat interview with Allysha Bergado last January here