The queen bee of British skateboarding chats to us about skating, school, shinpads and dodging pesky police...
Name: Helena Long
From: Greenwich, London
How did you get into skating? Through friends that already skated. And Tony Hawks Pro Skater game on PS2, ha ha!
When did you start to take it seriously? Well I don’t think it ever got ‘serious’ but I just became addicted to it! Landing new tricks, finding new skate spots and watching others land tricks just gives me an adrenaline rush and a drive to go out and skate.
Did you find it pretty hard to break into a male-dominated sport? Nah, not at all. All the friends I skate with regularly are guys so no problemo there!
Can you give us a run-down of your average day? I don’t tend to have an average day unless it’s a school day! There’s always something that pops up! But when I’m not at school I’m either relaxing, going out, attempting to play some sort of musical instrument, shopping, but generally skating whenever I can! Even if I’m a complete loner and no friends can come out, I’ll just go and skate by myself!
And if you could have the perfect day, what would it include? Having a nice lie in, a good breakfast (maybe peanut butter and honey on toast), skating some good spot or park, a good Subway lunch, skate some more, go home have a shower, a quick and yummy home cooked dinner (like fish, rice and peas) and then finding the energy to go out with friends!
What are your plans for this summer? Well a combo of a family holiday, trip away with friends to a music festival in Valencia, skating, a skateboarding tour of some kind (if I can make it!), hopefully passing my driving test! And chillaxing.
What’s your favourite place to skate? Well I love Mudchute Skatepark and Milton Keynes. As for street spots, Canary Wharf is amazing! Despite the fact that you get kicked out in like 5 mins...
Do you still get nervous before a big contest? I do weirdly! I always think of contests as just a normal skate session but with some people watching you, but I suddenly find myself overwhelmed with butterflies in my stomach as I feel this sudden pressure to land tricks!
What is the atmosphere like behind the scenes? Just the same as it is on the scenes!
What are your suitcase essentials when you're on the road? Ah, good question cause I love my ‘sensible’ packing techniques! I usually write a check list and it looks a little like this: bag, keys, phone, train ticket + railcard, money, ipod, magazine/book, skating clothes, sleeping clothes, nice going out sorta clothes, underwear, skate shoes, normal shoes, skate tools, first aid, make-up bag, face wipes, tent if needed, shin pads, food and my skateboard.
What have been your biggest career setbacks? An annoyingly sprained ankle, police/security and school exams. I guess nothing too serious!
What have your greatest achievements been so far? Urmmm, I guess competing and somehow ending up with first place at NASS and the National Womens Day skate comp at Projekts Skatepark in Manchester! But generally landing new tricks and other tricks that may not be new but take me forever to land keep me happy and I think of them as good achievements!
Who or what are your inspirations? My friends and inventive, extremely skilled skaters like Rodney Mullen (I mean he invented the frigin kickflip!) and Danny Way (you can’t not admire him, he flew over the great wall of China for gods sake!). Plus skating skills like those of Lucas Puigs in Lakai 'Fully Flared'.
What affect does skating have on your personal life? Skating isn't a job that I’m earning a living out of, it’s just an addictive and exciting hobby really! Being sponsored and getting a chance to skate alongside others in comps and jams and stuff is just a big bonus!
How do you relax when you get the chance? I find some good snacky food and watch TV and then fall asleep!
What’s up next for you? A lot of the same stuff really! Lots more skating, eating, school exams and stuff like that.