Lyndsay McLaren is a bubbly multi-tasker. Not only is she the marketing manager of Ultrasports (handling brands such as Contour, Nitro, Bern, Smith, amongst others), she is also a sponsored longboarder. Oh and she likes to travel, is an avid snowboarder and much much more. Since returning to the UK 6 months ago (after 6 years in the US), we thought it was a good time to find out more…
I was first introduced to skateboarding when I was about 14 years old. My best friend Anna and I would hang around the top of the St Nicholas Shopping Centre in Aberdeen, wearing ripped jeans and some seriously worn in Vans. St Nic was a hot spot for skaters in Aberdeen before the skater haters came along and put stoppers up everywhere.
When I say we would hang out there, that’s literally all we would do. I didn’t skate at the time, and to be honest never considered even trying it. My friends were all skaters and I loved watching them but for some silly reason, my 14 year old self didn’t think I had it in me.
I discovered the dry slope at Garthdee. Every day I’d walk past it on my way to uni and watch in envy as people went flying down the slope. My friends and I decided to give it a go. I started off on the nursery slope and embarrassingly stayed there for a while. Although I wasn’t a natural, I loved every minute.
Three years down the line, I decided I’d had enough of Aberdeen and in search of some adventure and travel, I applied for the Camp America programme. A couple of months later found myself in Upstate New York working at summer camp called Frenchwoods for 12 weeks. I had the time of my life and caught the famous travel bug quite severely. So much so that I ended up moving to Miami a year later to fulfil my dream of going to university in America.
Although the constant sunshine was amazing, I missed the snow and mountains. I also had no car and was getting fed up of walking or taking public transport everywhere and that’s when I found skateboarding.
I had some friends who skated to class everyday so whenever we had breaks I would borrow their boards and fool around outside, learning to push and tic tac. One day as I was walking home, I saw a new skate shop had opened right beside my school. I had some Christmas money saved up so decided to go in and buy a board of my own. I decided I wanted a longboard. A little while later I walked out with my first ever board – a Sector 9 pin tail called the Mama Say. I spent the rest of the afternoon in an empty car park just pushing around and playing like a little kid. I became hooked.
From that point on, I never left home without my board; I skated everywhere. For almost a year, all I did was push around every single day, to and from uni and wherever else the wind took me. If I had nowhere to go and nothing to do, I would just go skating and see where I ended up.
When I graduated from university in Miami, I moved to New York and had only lived there for a month or so when I heard of a skate event called ‘Broadway Bomb.’ It’s an 8 mile race down Broadway from 116th Street to the Charging Bull sculpture in lower Manhattan’s Wall Street area. It is an unsanctioned race, which means there are no closed roads and takes place in normal city traffic. It is absolutely mental. Over 1000 skaters turn up and take over Broadway.
I had no idea what to expect and I knew no other skaters in NYC who I could buddy up with, but I wanted to experience the madness so decided to turn up. Before I knew it, my board was under my feet and I was cruising down Broadway dodging cabs, pedestrians, other skaters, traffic lights and potholes. The atmosphere was unbelievable, people on the street were cheering and taking pictures, the taxis were going mental and honking their horns but everywhere you turned, everyone was smiling. That day remains one of my fondest memories.
After that I became even more passionate about skating and wanted to learn everything. Every day I would go to the park and skate til dark. Despite still being relatively new to the game, some local companies started to support me with skate gear, which eventually led to plane tickets to compete and attend skate events and competitions around the country. It was unreal!
NYC was a great place for me to grow and flourish as a rider, surrounded by so many other skaters with a passion and drive to skate everything and anything. It was great living in a city with such an active community of skaters, with events, races and slide jams taking place on a regular basis bringing everyone together. I loved skating in all the jams but I was often quite intimidated as there were very few other girls taking part and the pressure of performance was quite intense.
After living in America for 6 years I returned to the UK for good at the beginning of December last year (my visa eventually ran out). I was pretty gutted to start with and sad to leave my friends and my favourite skate spots but I always knew I would come home at some point, so I just got on with it.
I’ve now been back home in the UK for 6 months and couldn’t be happier, especially now summer is on the way with warmer, longer days. The skate scene here is thriving at the moment and its great to be a part of that. I have a new board sponsor, Icone Longboards and also joined the Concrete Wave Skateshop team in Cologne. My other sponsors are Bern Unlimited, Stance, Abec 11 Wheels and Thrill.
I am the UK ambassador for the Longboard Girls Crew, promoting and supporting females in longboarding and boards sports. We have some exciting things coming up this year and I’m looking forward to hosting some events.
I also started working full time with Ultra Sport EU as their Marketing Co-ordinator and have moved from Scotland down to Nottingham. I work with some of my favourite brands; Nitro Snowboards, Bern Unlimited, Smith Optics, Drake, Northwave, Amplid, Contour, Boombotix, Arbor, to name but a few. To work in the industry I love, with like minded people, doing a job which allows me to be creative, social and expressive is a dream. Every day is different and my location often changes from an office to the top of a glacier to a skate or bike shop in the city. It’s perfect….hectic, but perfect.
Snowboarding and skateboarding have opened so many doors for me. I took risks, followed paths I was advised not to, got back up when I fell and didn’t settle for ‘normal.’ It’s worked for me so far, I’m having a blast.