We caught up with Lois Pendlebury, one of the raddest and baddest UK skateboarders, to chat about the girls' scene in this country, snowboarding and where she gets her swag (clue: it isn't Topshop)
Interview by Sam Haddad
Hey Lois, what's up?
Hullo! I'm pretty good thanks, just drinking some tea; leaving for a swim shortly. Been building up my distance a bit, going to try do 100 lengths (about a 1.5 mile) in about an hour, it's not amazing but it's a little achievement for the day. Properly enjoying going swimming recently but its ruining my hair! Any tips for hair protection whilst swimming??
Emh, not really... But the last time we spoke to you (for our cover interview last year) you were planning a winter season, how did that go?
It went! I worked hard (as a chalet host), played hard, failed in getting first lifts, shared a 2 bed roomed apartment with 6 other girls (big-ups to '6 girls 1 shower' crew!), made some great friends, got a chub on and I developed an enthusiasm for snowboarding.
Were you a natural?
Hmm. It's hard to say. Before I went to France, and right through the work training, I had so many people telling me I was going to find it easy because I skate and that I'm going to be great at it - rather than believing the hype, I began to feel the pressure of meeting other peoples' expectations! Haha! It was my first time snowboarding and my first time in the mountains - I didn't know how to get on or off a lift, what was at the top of the mountain, what layering I should wear, how to do up bindings, nothing! It was totally new territory for me. I guess you could say I picked up the basics pretty quickly. I pretty much learnt to ride by myself as all the people I first went out with were skiers - I was constantly trying to keep up with them - not realising that skiers generally go faster than snowboarders.
It's a lot easier than skateboarding though right?
I'd say one's snowboarding apprenticeship is massively shorter and less painful than one's skateboarding apprenticeship period! After a week on the hill most people are able to comfortably get down runs and enjoy themselves; but if you want to learn tricks and jumps you really have to apply yourself and take some risks, particularly as one progresses. By the end of the season I could do a few things that I was stoked with.
Did you get bitten by the snow bug and do you have plans to go again soon?
Yes! I love snowboarding! It's not skateboarding but it's a pretty good substitute. It's a great way to pass the winter as it's tough to skate throughout the winter in the UK. My favourite thing about the whole snowboarding scenario is that it is super social; on the hill, in the bars, at work - there are always good people around to hang out with. Peoples avoiding the hibernation!
I just got back from a short sojourn in Tignes to catch up with the winter crew and have a cheeky morning on the hill. Tignes is rad in the summer, lots of things to do - skateboarding and trampolining to mention a few activities. I timed my visit with the Gypsy Feeling Skate Jam so got some good sessions in and filmed a few tricks too.
I will be returning to Tignes this winter to work at Scotties Bar. Less partying more snowboarding me thinks this year - fingers crossed for snow! Big ups to the Claire, Harry and Will, Owain at Scotties, Jose and PG, Pom and the Gypsy Feeling boys, Duncs, Sarah, Paddy, Cat and all at the Terrachu, DJ Lindo, TC and the Loop Bar crew!
How did it feel to be on the cover of a magazine, were your friends and family proud of you?
I was honoured to be asked to do the Cooler cover - I never expected to be asked! I find it quite scary having photo's taken but at the same time it is a great opportunity to work with a professional photographer and actually have some pictures taken in which I don't look like a total goofball! Gosh my Mum was so proud, she sleeps with the magazine on her bedside table and practically tells anyone that will listen - all rather embarrassing really! All my friends and family were obviously really pleased for me.
Tells us about the Skate Series which you ran last winter?
The idea behind the ‘Ladies Skateboard Series UK’ was to provide a platform to showcase the talents of the UK's female skateboarders, and award the overall winners with CASH prizes. It was comprised of three contest stages with the final event of the series hosting a skate contest and skate lessons, an art exhibition, an art workshop and fundraising activities for the cancer charity Lavender Trust - not to mention a banging after party. It was a resounding success; plenty of ladies of all ages and abilities participated, the level of skating was impressive, our sponsors - Roxy, Oakley, Acrete, Shiner, Death, DC etc were generous and there was lots of coverage of the event and the girls who competed. LSSUK is a real grass-roots event, with a focus on fun, progression and inclusion; I'm happy to say that plans for LSSUK 2011 are in motion!
When we spoke before you were worried that not enough young girls were getting into skating, are we in a better position or have things stayed the same?
There seems to be lots of younger girls up and coming in the States and in skateboard hubs like Malmö or Barcelona but in the UK there doesn't seem to be similar growth. It is something which is probably in line with the rates of British girls' participation in sports in general.
What do you think about girls vert being ditched from the X Games?
I'm not sure what the exact reasons are behind this decision - last I heard girls were getting equal prize money, now there's no event for them to compete in . . . It's quite shocking actually, something that could have quite a profound negative effect on girls' vert skating - there are some serious rippers coming up too who are stepping up to the big ol vert ramps and giving them what for!
It was fun hanging out with you at the Roxy Pro. Did you enjoy the surfing?
Haha! Surfing! I don't think what I did counted as surfing but I sure had fun in the water and hanging out with the Roxy ladies.
And you had a skate with pro snowboarders Cheryl Maas and Aimee Fuller, what was their skating like? Should you be worried?!
Those girls, Katie Ormerod also, could do anything if they put their minds to it!
Are the skate parks good in Biarritz?
The indoor one isn't too bad and chics get in freeeeee! Woop! There are a few concrete parks around the area that are worth a visit too.
How was the rest of your trip?
It was hella fun! Went from Biarritz to Hossegor where I met up with all the Le Surfing crew - (holla!) and gave 'surfing' a few more attempts, then went to Lyon for a day of sightseeing, then on to Tignes for 5 days and then home from Geneva via Annecy for some pre departure skate action. It was hectic bordering on whistle-stop. I loved it.
You had a few good looks going on that week, like the Dogtown style and thrift store chic combo. Where do you get your style inspiration from? We're guessing you don't buy cheesy girlie mags or shop in Topshop!
Haha! Thank you kindly. You're right I don't shop at Topshop! I hate those places: firstly they're over-priced, then I hate the fact that they prescribe style to the shopper - everyone looks the bloody same! The high-street churns over trends and styles so quickly it's just another capitalist process, it all moves too fast for me! I will shop in the Gap sale for essentials but the majority of my bought clothes are from charity shops. It's a much calmer process shopping in charity shops and is one that allows you to think and create your own style. I love being fluid in what I wear - it's funny skating in shorts and long socks or baggy tees and scruffy jeans, then showering and putting on a dress or some vintage leopard print and going for a boogie! It's like being able to express the different sides of a personality.
Have you had any big slams we should know about lately?
Which girl skaters are impressing you right now?
Helena Long always impresses me, her attitude towards and determination in skateboarding are a joy to witness. Big Love to Helena - who this week got burgled just before leaving to the CPH Girls Skate Camp. She awoke at 5 am for her flight, got dressed etc went downstairs to find her packed suitcase had been stolen, it had in it her purse, ipod, drivers licence, passport, plane tickets and the biggest slight of all a collection of her favourite t-shirts including her Vans tee with the 3 headed wolf on it! Join this group to help restart her t-shirt collection.
That's a wrap, thanks Lois! Anything else you'd like to add?
Massive thanks to all at Roxy, Oakley and Vans. And thanks to Woodie at Le Surfing for putting me up (again!) in Hossegor
To see her live in action and to get an idea on what's going down at the Ladies Skateboard Series, watch these two clips of the tour 2010:
"The Phoenix Night" comp, Manchester
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