In the midst of a summer where she's killing it in comps, we chat to the Austrian skater about how things are getting easier for girls, the joys of skating park and trying to have a normal facial expression while pulling tricks
Words and pictures by Jenna Selby
The first time I ever saw you skate was watching Porno Paul’s ‘Dirty Skateboard Movie’ and there you were killing it in Spain…
That must have been 8 or 9 years ago. I was still in school and we had to spend 3 weeks in Spain each year to increase our language skills. After 3 years in Barcelona I chose Bilbao, because I knew Ianire [Elorriaga] was there and I wanted to skate with her. After a couple of days I also met a group of English skaters and had some fun sessions with them. Paul asked me if I would like to film a line and sent me a DVD afterwards. Unfortunately it never worked, so I totally forgot about it – until now – please put it on youtube someone, I’d love to see it!!!
More recently you’ve put out various edits – one was used for your entry for The Alliance XGames contest (which saw you take 3rd place)
I always like to put out new clips. They mostly happen spontaneously and there are definitely going to be more!
You have a long list of competition accolades – but it wasn’t always the case that you were interested in entering them was it?
I’ve been skating competitions for many years, but living in Austria you have to decide either to skate with only guys at comps or to travel more or less far. When I was in high school I had my focus on studying, skating was what I loved, I just didn’t think it would “get me somewhere". After I’ve finished school all I wanted to do is skate and travel and I’ve always liked competitions – that’s why I end up in a lot of them nowadays.
Vienna is a pretty sweet place to skate for both park and street (and some of the most friendly skaters you can meet!) right?
Yes Vienna surely has some talented skateboarders with a lot of potential. I hope to see more making something out of it! Vienna is quite an old city, so most of the spots are rather rough. We’ve got some good ledge and stair spots, but I guess what Austria should be really known for is the Landshausplatz in Innsbruck – best spot I’ve ever been to!
Have you ever skated that weird factory spot with the benches (below)?
Yes, I think everyone in Vienna has. The spot is not only next to the garbage incineration (front designed by famous artist Hundertwasser) but also to a university and it’s actually not a bad area. The ledges are just outside an underground station; I guess that’s why the alcoholics are there as well.
Vienna’s most famous spot is the Donauinsel (Danube island) for sure – a must for every skateboard tourist!
Austria has turned out the likes of world-class skaters such as Chris Pfanner. But rather than move to America to make his living, he has opted to stay closer to his home so he can keep more grounded with his skating. Can you identify with this?
I think it’s really difficult to make a living as a professional skateboarder and it’s getting harder and harder. As a European you have to go broke if you decide to move to the States. For me, moving there has never been a question, because there haven’t been any opportunities so far.
You’re a bit of a skate park diva – do you prefer it to skating in the street?
I’m not a big fan of clichés mostly because they are not true.
I work in an indoor skatepark – five days week, so of course I often skate in (that) park. I grew up skating the streets and I still love to, but I don’t like Vienna’s spots so much.
What do you get up to in the skate park?
It’s an indoor skatepark in the south of Vienna. We give coaching lessons for girls and boys of all ages, but the majority are between 6 and 14 years old. I also have to deal with management and administration, it can be hard work sometimes but I love it!
Part of the ideology of Skateistan is that skateboarding isn’t considered a male or female sport but just something to do for those who are interested. Do you feel that the attitude towards female skaters will be different in the next generation because the kids are being taught by a female skater so they just think a girl skating is normal?
I think the attitude towards (female) skaters is already completely different than it was when I started.
Nearly everyone skates or has already tried at least and you can buy skateboards in supermarkets. I don’t like all aspects of its popularity but it has definitely gotten easier for girls to start skating and be accepted.
Your style has previously been described as “power and style". However sometimes I don’t think everyone realises just quite how many tricks you have up your sleeve. (Tre flip down the 5 set at NASS 2013 (clip below) or the flip off the ledge at The Unicorn Jam for starters).
As I’ve already said, I never really go out filming. My clips have usually filmed within a few hours when a camera was around, so of course I have some more tricks that I haven’t done in any of my clips. I don’t think I’m saving them or anything – I’m just trying what feels right at that moment. I’ve never really skated stairs, even though I know that I probably could, but sometimes you see a spot and think why not!?
You’ve recently been hooked up on Blue Tomato – how easy do you think it is for girls to pick up sponsors at the moment?
I reckon it’s always hard to pick up a sponsor and it’s even more difficult if you’re a girl. This might not be the case everywhere, but it clearly is in Austria. I’m glad that I get support from Blue Tomato and also from Red Bull – otherwise going to all the comps would be very difficult – THANKS!
You work hard for your sponsorship, you’ve travelled and placed at all the comps you’ve been to this year – is that what you’d recommend to other girls looking for support?
I travel and enter comps because this is what I want to do. Even though representing is appreciated by sponsors I wouldn’t want to go somewhere because I’d feel I have to. You have to have your heart in it; otherwise I don’t think you can really achieve anything.
I’ve heard you’re a bit of a "rock head" - any tunes you like listening to in particular when skating?
If I have to, I would rather say I’m a “hip hop head", but I also like rock, sometimes metal and even pop, it really depends on what mood I’m in. My iPod is on shuffle constantly so I get a good mix while skating.
Are you currently in the middle of studying something?
I stopped studying about a year ago. I studied business administration which was horribly boring but also useful. As I got the chance to work at the skatepark fullt ime I immediately took the chance. I really want to concentrate on skateboarding as long as it’s possible and I can always get my diploma when I’m 30 as well!
So the final question is…you and "skate photograph faces". Most people care about how the trick looks, you are more concerned with your facial expression haha why is this??
Because sometimes I have the weirdest face when doing a trick. I don’t get to shoot photos that often, I want the output to be as good as possible so I always hope not to make a face :o)