Pro chat: Dora Horvath, skateboarder

The Hungarian skater turned GB resident on giving up a pro tennis career, dealing with wet winters, and the all consuming nature of skateboarding

Interview by Jenna Selby

You were first flagged up by Emma Richardson on the Rubicon Girls Skate Camps last year and since then you have made quite a mark for yourself on the UK girls scene.…

When I moved to Scotland from Hungary two and a half years ago I had a lot of injuries so I didn’t bring my skateboard with me, I thought I would give my ankles some rest. It was going very well for about a month then I found out about a skatepark close to me. So I bought a skateboard straight away and started skating the British skateparks. The next year I saw there was gonna be a skate camp down in Birmingham. I was lucky enough to skate with lots of girls for the first time in my life. It was the best experience for me so far. I never thought there were so many skater girls. Back in Hungary I can count on one hand how many skater girls there are so yes I am really grateful to Emma for everything she’s done for me!

You used to be a pro tennis player, why the switch to what is quite a contrasting sport?

I started playing when I was 9 years old and played for 9 years. I don’t want to say a single bad word about it. I loved to do it but after a while when I started skating it was getting a bit too much for me. We had to train every day then compete every weekend which was an amazing experience in my life but with skateboarding it was different. I could skate whenever I wanted to – I started going before and after tennis training as well. There was no pressure on me, just me my skateboard and the friends around me, new tricks every day and true fun. I realised pretty soon that I didn’t want to play tennis anymore just skate. You can imagine my mum’s and coach’s face when I told them. 🙂   But I guess they both are proud of me now as well (or I just hope:D)

When and why did you decide on the UK, or Edinburgh more specifically as your new home, surely you’d heard about the weather over here?

In January 2011 I just decided I needed to change the way I was living ASAP. So I talked to my friend who felt the same way and we decided to move somewhere abroad. Another one of my friends lived in Edinburgh and said it’s an amazing place so we went there and I have loved every second of it. Just not the weather! You know if you’re not living here you just hear all these stories about the weather but you never really pay attention to it. Well now I do:) But I would say that the skatepark here is something worth staying for. The UK without rain would be one of the best countries to skate in as there are so many facilities and opportunities.

What’s the long term plan?

I’m still not a person with long term plans. Just living my life and trying to enjoy every moment of it. At one point I will move back to Hungary but it won’t be very soon, even if I miss my family and friends all the time, as the life I’m living here is way better then what I’d do there I guess. Especially after this summer I would stay here in the UK, but maybe just moving down South to enjoy more of the ‘British Summer’ not just 2 weeks, but a month or so;)

Does skating factor highly in where you end up?

Definitely yes I would say. It always was and it always will be. Some people are not happy about that but that’s me. When you start skateboarding you just fall into it, you can’t help it and you don’t even want to change it but all your thoughts and everything which is happening around you is about skateboarding.

What are the skating facilities like where you live now compared to where you were in Hungary?

Here in Edinburgh there is the huge concrete heaven called Saughton Skatepark. It has everything that a skatepark needs..street parts-bowls etc. We have just found other skateparks in the city in the last couple of weeks but those are more playgrounds than skatepark. Those remind me of some of the Hungarian skateparks, which for us Hungarians is still good, but compared to any other British skateparks it’s nothing. In Hungary we don’t have concrete skateparks at all but now it’s getting better. In the last couple years they started to build some new skateparks but it’s still not even close to any higher standard. That is what I like about the UK, that even the smallest villages in the middle of the nowhere have skateparks.

You are probably one of the most motivational skaters about – you see people landing tricks they don’t normally push themselves to do when you’re around and at the same time they look like they are enjoying it! Why do you think this is?

Well that’s a tricky question and to be honest I have no idea:) I love to see someone else landing tricks because you see the happiness and joy what you also feel by the time you land a trick and I guess we all need to share that moment. It’s kinda like when you give a present to someone. It’s not just you give a present and that’s it, no you want to make them happy and that feels amazing for you as well not just for them.(If that makes any sense..:D)

You’ve been skating for Rogue Skateboards for around a year now but you’ve also just been picked up by Roam and Seek, how did that come about?

One day I got an email from Jamie (Roam and Seek) saying Lucy Adams mentioned my name to them and they wanted me to be part of their team. Of course I said yes, I’m always happy when someone recognises me and this is still such a new thing for me that this can happen in skateboarding as well. They are a small company making clothing and have some very sick designs.What I really appreciate is that they are so focused on what they are doing and so far they helped me a lot so I hope we are getting further with it.

What’s it like skating for an all female team? Does it matter to you having the distinction made?

It is just priceless. When I got hooked up by Rogue Skateboards that was just one of the happiest moments in my life. I come from Hungary where I only skated a few times with girls, I never thought I could be part of a team with other GIRLS. I really enjoyed the tour we had last year where we all had the chance to meet each other and I guess when we all skate together we push each other even more and more. I don’t mind skating with guys of course because it is rare to skate with girls but maybe that is another reason why it is so special to be a part of an all female team.

What else have you been up to this year with your skating – any memorable stories?

I think every year I spend here in the UK is just getting to be a better and more memorable year in my life. This summer was the best summer so far.
I had the chance to go on tour with [you] Jenna Selby and Camilla Mullins to Germany and then France to see a World Cup Girls Comp and see all the professionals skating which was a really good experience. Then the summer just began. I went to my first competition-Girl Skate Jam– with girls which was unbelievable for me how many girls actually are in here and the atmosphere for me was just enthralling. I then went to London on the Unicorn Skate Jam which was another competition just for girls. Just two weeks after was the Rubicon Skate Camp which of course I didn’t want to miss after last year’s experience. It was a bit different because it was for rollerbladers, scooters and skateboarders but still a really good week when we didn’t have to care about anything just to skate and get enough beers in the night;).
After these trips I had to sit down for a little while because I spent all my money even what I didn’t even have. Now I have to concentrate on my life a little bit to get some more money and let the adventure begin again:)

Kickflip front boards, pretty much your signature trick…

About four years ago my friend got a flatbar (that one Element made) and for the whole winter time we just went in a garage and skated that flatbar. One day we were filming with my friend and I said I want to try this trick and after around 100 tries(:D) I got it. Unfortunately after that I wasn’t skating much and couldn’t really learn it for 100% but last year I got onto it again and ever since then I’ve tried to perfect it, but I always end up with a broken board or broken shin. Still my favourite trick though.

Now it’s pretty much winter time in the UK for at least the next 6 months what sort of things will you be skating and where?

That is the hardest part of living in the UK to get used to this weather. It’s pretty windy all the time or if it isn’t windy then it’s raining which is the most frustrating thing for a skater. The indoor skatepark here is way too expensive. To be honest I don’t know what and where I’m gonna skate. Last year we even went skating outside when it was freezing it was more iceskating then skateboarding, but still fun. It is annoying that I can’t go on a warm place every single day of course but we always found a solution so I’m sure we will now as well.

Word on the grapevine is that Rogue will be starting on the follow up to ‘As If, And What?’ in the very near future and that you are going to be part of it. Have you made any sections for videos before and are you excited about this one?

We were always filming back in Hungary as well but I’ve never had a whole section or so I’m very excited what can I say. It is a film with just girls and kinda international and I can be part of it, so yes I’m definitely excited. It will be a challenge for me to skate street and not just skateparks but everything for the team;)

Anything else coming up for you?

I would say a big thank you to you [Jenna from Rogue Skateboards] for believing in me and Jamie from Roam and Seek who is helping me a lot just now and Emma who got me into all this. + I love my family!!

Cheers Dora




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