In Loving Memory: Kyle Bazner; Northern Michigan Skimboarding Pioneer

In Loving Memory of Kyle Austin Bazner
May 12, 1992 – October 6th, 2013

kyleBAZ

Up North Skim & J-Gordon Team Rider Kyle Bazner
Words By: Josh Wright

             Just like many other innovative sports that have traveled off the beaten path before like skateboarding, snowboarding and many others, flatland skimboarding has been slowly developing into a globally celebrated pastime. I’m willing to bet that if you asked any flatland skimmer why they love the sport so much, the answer you’d receive would reflect the freedom, creativity, and pure good vibes that it entails.full (1)
I was introduced to the flatland skimboarding scene by my closest friend, Kyle Bazner. With help from Jim Gordon, owner of J-Gordon Skimboards, Kyle was able create a sector of flatland that hadn’t been explored, in Northern Michigan. The northwestern side of our mitten-shaped peninsula was introduced to a world of watersport that had yet to be pioneered in our region.

1909746_136306855991_7126488_n

Sadly, my dear friend Kyle passed on from this world during October of last year (2013). I can honestly say that I have never encountered a person who represented the true vibe of skimboarding like Kyle did. Kyle had a laid back demeanor that was calming to be around. Being at the beach with him and just tossing our board’s down and enjoying the vibes of the sun and good company will be memories that I will hold and cherish forever.

kylebazner011
I hope the streams are shallow enough and free from jagged rocks for you up there in the big skim spot in the sky, my brother.

Your passing has touched a lot of people, but I don’t know if flatland skimming will ever be the same without you. Until we meet again, Baz.

-Josh Wright

 

full (2)

Kyle Bazner was my team rider that brought flatland skimming to the Great Lakes. This was back when no one knew what flatland skimming was all about. – Jim Gordon – J-GORDON Skimboards

full (7)
full (6) 
full

full (5)

Check out Kyle Bazner skim videos.

 

2009 Skim.co Rider Interview
http://skim.co/skimboarders/kyle-bazner/

 

UP NORTH SKIM | MYSPACE
https://myspace.com/upnorthskim/photos

kb

Kyle Bazner was paving the way for flatland skimboarding in Northern Michigan. If you watched you-tube videos
circa 2007-2010 then you definitely stumbled upon a Up North Skim video featuring Kyle Bazner and his crew of talented riders  Adam Scarbrough, Nate Sharpe, Josh Wright,  Russell Tandy, Jesse Wright
and the rest of the shredders from that area. – Mitch E.

In Loving Memory : Northern Michigan Skimboarding Pioneer Kyle Bazner

 

 

 

Brad Domke in Sports Illustrated

brad-domke-skimboarding-960

Profesional skimboarder and big wave rider Brad Domke was recently interviewed in Sports Illustrated Magazine. We are 90% sure that this is the first time a skimboarder has been interviewed in SI. We are stoked for Domke, Exile Skimboards and skimboarding overall with this new exposure!

Read the intro below and the full story by clicking here.

When Brad Domke travels to ride massive waves at such destinations as Puerto Escondido, also known as the “Mexican Pipeline,” he packs light. Whereas most big-wave surfers use boards over 10 feet to help paddle into waves, or “tow-boards” with foot straps, Domke’s quiver has neither. He doesn’t pack a surfboard. Instead, he prefers a 52″ skimboard. It’s 5/8″ thick, made of carbon fiber epoxy, symmetrical in shape, and weighs five pounds. It has no fins, no foot straps, no leash.

“I rarely get charged for it when I fly,” Domke says of his board of choice.

A lack of baggage fees is far from the only thing that distinguishes the 27-year-old regular footer from Wabasso Beach, Fla., from his peers, whether they are skimboarders or surfers. Domke is in a category all his own. The board on which he skims through shallow water into the shorebreak is the same one he he uses to ride waves of over 30 feet. Yet, it’s what happens after Domke lets go of the tow rope from the Jet Ski that whips him into the giant surf that seems to defy physics. Without the aid of fins he can hold a line and maintain control on the face of a wave. He can stall in the barrel, then race out and land 360 or 720 pop-shove-its, moves usually reserved for skateboarders.

Read the FULL STORY on Sports Illustrated

Two Women And Their Love Of Skimboarding

Erin and Lorena looking for waves

Meet lovebirds Erin Carpenter and Lorena Zeppilli who currently reside in San Diego, California. Most of you know 28-year old professional rider Erin Carpenter who ranked 5th overall on the 2014 United Skim Tour. Lorena is 26 years old, born in Lima, Peru, who moved to California when she was 7 years old. Lorena is brand new to skimboarding but has already shown great enthusiasm for the sport.

The idea came to me to contact Erin and Lorena for this collective interview after once again meeting a female skimboarder on Instagram who identifies as lesbian or bisexual. As someone who embraces all the colorful people in this world who make this life special, it is important that as a sport we celebrate diversity amongst our community. Although in my thirties now, I can still recall how challenging my youth was particularly with my identity. This interview is for all of you confused, lost and looking for support including you boys. You are not alone.

Words by Kelli Bean
Photos by Chris Beletsis

Let’s start the interview off with Erin…

Q: When did you start skimboarding?

A: I learned how to slide along the shore in college, but that was while I was living in Riverside, CA about 40 miles east (inland) of Orange County, CA. Seeing as the beach (with traffic) was sometimes an hour plus away, I didn’t make it out to the beach as often as I wanted. But I instantly fell in love with the sport. Once I moved to San Diego, CA in 2009, I went almost daily and still do, when the weather and my job permits me to.

Q: What do you love about skimboarding?

A: The adrenaline rush and the fact that it is like skateboarding but more forgiving when you fall. Also that it is something that gets more fun the better you get, so it’s completely addicting. I love the fact that you almost defy physics and glide across the water. I have always loved being in the water and any sort of board sports, so it is the perfect combo.

Q: Will you be competing this year?

A: The Victoria Contest for sure, and maybe Oktoberfest. I just got a new job so time off for anything more is not looking too promising. I have a bad history with Oktoberfest, I always choke at that contest (not to mention almost drowning a few years ago). This year I was considering not doing Oktoberfest, but the fact that I always choke pushes me to want to end on a good note, so we shall see.

Crotching time with Erin Carpenter

Erin Carpenter at Wipeout Beach

Erin slicing a nugget in San Diego, CA

Back to shore with Erin Carpenter

Let’s see what Lorena has to say about our favorite sport…

Q: Had you heard of skimboarding before meeting Erin?

A: I had heard of skimboarding before meeting Erin, but I had never seen people actually get up on the waves and ride them with skimboards before. I feel like my most accurate memory of skimboarding (and this is sad that it has to be this) is from that show “Laguna Beach”. I used to watch it in high school and the character Stephen used to skim a bit.

Q: What were your initial thoughts of the sport when you first tried to run, jump and glide on a skimboard?

A: The very first time I skimmed was at the San Diego event “Skim Fiesta” back in January. I immediately fell in love with it. The ocean was huge that day, so I hardly got out on the water, but there was plenty of wet sand to glide on. I was able to do a 360 turn on the wet sand, with Erin’s guidance, and I couldn’t get enough.

Q: As a newcomer what advice can you give for those wanting to try but are too scared?

A: I would have to say, it’s really fun and that overcomes the fear any day. Also, the skim community is very nice and they’ll gladly teach you the safest, best way to do it.

Q: What have been some of your struggles you have had to or are overcoming in the sport?

A: My biggest struggle right now is feeling like I am plateauing or regressing. I’ve only been skimming since January, and I’ve had a lot of people tell me that I caught on really fast and that I’m doing great. For the past few weeks or more I’ve been falling a lot, or I have been unable to catch many waves, and getting more of that feeling like someone brand new might get. It’s been discouraging but when I look back and remember that I have only been doing this for a little over 3 months I feel better. It’s good to have the falls too and know that I can still get back up and skim. I know that I’m going to be skimming for a long time and this is just the beginning learning stage.

Lorena bailing

Lorena bailing like a pro

Erin Carpenter flying

Even pros like Erin Carpenter bail

Whether you are a professional rider like Erin or a newcomer like Lorena, you will bail and wipe out. It is all part of progressing in the sport!

Let’s shift the conversation to sexuality. As someone who runs a community for over a thousand girls, I have firsthand witnessed more and more female skimboarders identify as lesbians or bisexuals. I understand the nature of sexuality can be a very sensitive subject and as such I want to share how much I appreciate both of you being open to talk about yours. It takes a lot of courage to open up to the public so I ask that the skim community respect Erin and Lorena’s bravery.

Q: Erin, when did you first discover you were attracted to girls?

A: I guess if I want to be really honest with myself, and with you, and now everyone who reads this… I always knew I was attracted to other women. But I never felt comfortable admitting it. I had a boyfriend all through college who made me very happy, but we were young, and had many differences. Things didn’t work out for many reasons, one of them being that I needed to learn to be comfortable on my own, and find ways to be happy without depending on someone else. I also fell into a group of friends who were very open with their sexuality and ultimately provided me with the comfort zone I needed to be able to admit to myself and others how I really felt.

The first time I ever kissed a girl, I was in college and was at a club. My friend, who was already openly a lesbian, saw me do it and said, “oh my God I KNEW it!!” She told me she caught the whole thing on film and had sent it to all of our friends. She was just kidding and let me tell whoever I felt comfortable telling but I was very embarrassed because it didn’t mean anything, yet I knew it felt right. I think that was my turning point to really admitting to myself that I was interested in women.

Thanks for sharing! That would be mortifying but sounds like it played an important role in your admittance process.

Q: What about you Lorena, how do you identify sexually and when did you realize this?

A: I identify as bisexual. I know I am attracted to both sexes, and I’m very much into true commitments with individuals I care about. I have been dating women for three years now. I guess you could say back in 2011 was the lightbulb moment when I realized the full potential of my sexuality and really felt like I needed to venture away from men and explore women. Once you admit to yourself that you do want to be with women, then it’s easy to realize those feelings were there your whole life.

Q: Erin, what has your experience been like telling your friends and family?

A: My family took it really well, except older generations tend to have a slightly harder time with it. My parents are very open-minded and accepting and are more worried about me being accepted and happy than they are about what gender I date. My sister and cousins are all super supportive, and I love them to death for it! My friends are all pretty accepting. I do struggle though when I come into a new environment or job with how to say I have a girlfriend or that I am into women. You never know how people will react. Some people who I am pretty sure have very different views than me, I will avoid mentioning it as much as possible, because it is not worth it.

Q: What advice would you give to teenage girls and boys struggling with their own sexuality and “coming out of the closet”?

A: Be strong. Trust yourself, and who you are. Be the best person you can be. Only do what you feel comfortable doing. Don’t let anyone tell you when or where or with whom you must come out to. Do it at your own pace. Also, remember you are not alone and trust the people who love and support you, because I bet they are more accepting than you are willing to give them credit for.

My father once told me, and I think it is true, that if you are being discriminated against or you have the potential to be discriminated against, then you have to be a better person. You cannot be an asshole he says, because then they have two reasons to dislike you. No one is perfect, but if you always at least try your best to do the right thing, then you aren’t giving people who have skewed beliefs much to work with.

My other good friend Sera once told me that if you are going to be openly ‘gay’ then you have to set a good example. When people have questions, answer them. If all someone knows is what they see on TV or hear about secondhand then when they meet you they might be curious. If you prove that you can be a good person and be successful, and you are also gay, then they will see that gay people can be good people. If you are the only gay person they have ever personally met, then that’s what they will think of when they think of ‘gay’. You are then changing the world’s opinion one person at a time.

Great advice all around!

Now your turn Lorena sharing what your experiences have been and continue to be with telling those in your life you are bisexual.

A: Sharing my identity with my friends and family hasn’t been the easiest thing for me. The hardest part was telling my mom. She has been loving and understanding for the most part, but she was raised Catholic in Peru and it takes her a little bit more time to fully understand it. I haven’t outright told everyone in my life, although I’m sure some of them just know from social media or certain events. I feel like it’s easiest for me to assess the situation when deciding when and if I am going to tell someone. I also dislike that dating someone of the same sex means you have to take the time to pause the conversation and essentially come out to someone to tell them “hey this is my girlfriend” and then there are questions that come along with that. I wish it didn’t involve the extra step and that it was just seen as completely normal.

I can understand that.

Q: Here is a question for both of you. As an adult looking back, what would you tell your younger self in one sentence to let her know everything will be okay?

Erin: The world is much larger than you ever imagined, so keep an open mind and heart and have faith that things will turn out okay.

Lorena: Things happen at certain moments to get you to the next step in your life to allow your life to progress toward better, happier things.

Nicely said.

Before we turn the interview back to skimboarding, I have one more question.

Q: What do you like and love about each other?

Erin: I LOVE that Lorena is into skimming!! Plus she rips, and has picked it up super quick! I like her passion for adventure and trying new things, her perseverance, honesty, openness and that she is extremely sharp and driven. She’s a cutie and we have amazing chemistry.

Lorena: Erin is just about the nicest, most caring person that I have ever met. She is patient and compassionate; I am completely in love with her personality. Oh and those beautiful blue eyes don’t hurt either.

Aww, isn’t love grand?!

Erin teaching Lorena in San Diego

sharing laughs and stay warm

Q: Erin, how did the initial subject of skimboarding come up and what was Lorena’s reaction?

A: Well, haha, we met on Tinder (yup I admit it) so we started talking before we actually met. I told her I was addicted to skimming and she saw pictures. The first time we met I took her to the beach. She was watching my friend and I skim and then I asked her to try it on the sand. She said she wanted to wear a swimsuit next time so she could try. I must admit I was impressed. She picked it up even on the sand quicker than most do.

Q: How has the experience been so far teaching Lorena to skimboard?

A: It has been fun, but challenging at times because she gets frustrated with wanting to progress quicker. Patience is a virtue and this sport take loads of it.

Q: Most groms I speak to would love to fall in love with another skimboarder. I admit I share the sentiment as well. What do you love about being able to skim with your girl?

A: I can have my cake and eat it too. Both of my loves in one place.

Now it’s Lorena’s turn…

Q: Do you enjoy learning how to skimboard from your girlfriend?

A: Another quality I love about Erin is her patience and positivity, this makes it really easy to learn to skim from her. If I am having a bad day and falling a lot, she will wait for a good wave, tell me when to go and after that I will have a smile on my face. Not to mention, she is a really good skimboarder. I mean she’s pro, so it helps that she has the knowledge to help me learn the sport.

Q: Any tips or pointers we can use when teaching our partners to keep them motivated?

A: I think patience is key. But also there has to already be a passion for the ocean and the beach to keep someone motivated and to keep having fun.

Good point.

Lorena learning to skim

Great form for newcomer Lorena

Nice spray with Lorena

Q: Lorena, have you felt welcomed by the skim community at the beach?

A: The skim community has been extremely welcoming. Everyone is so nice and they all enjoy having conversations while waiting for good waves.

Q: What about the skim industry and social media platforms?

A: As far as the industry, it would help to showcase newcomers on social media maybe a couple of times a month? Overall, female skimboarders have to be shown on social media more often. This is venturing away from the topic of newcomers, but there are plenty of female professional skimmers out there and they are not getting nearly enough attention.

Q: As we wrap the interview up, what other things do you and Erin enjoy doing together?

A: Well it goes without saying we have a mutual love for the beach. We also enjoy cooking together, catching up on all of our favorite shows together, listening to podcasts, and having long conversations together. Erin is the best cuddler ever too!

Q: Last words before we say good-bye?

Erin: Thanks so much for interviewing me Kelli! My experiences by no means reflect anyone else’s because we are all unique, but I hope it helps!

Lorena: As far as skimboarding goes, I think it’s a really awesome sport. I already love it more than surfing because there are so many steps to it that all have to come together just right to get to that magic moment where you’re riding a wave.

Perfectly said.

Q: Erin, who would you like to shoutout?

A: Shoutout to the San Diego, California skim community for being one of the most open-minded and hearted group I have ever met! I love them all and appreciate all the tips and tricks they have taught me along the way, and for being super accepting to me.

Erin Carpenter in the zone

Sprayyyyy with Erin Carpenter

Pro Erin Carpenter boosting

Follow Erin and Lorena on Instagram for all their shenanigans.

You can follow photographer Chris Beletsis on Instagram and Flickr

xo, Kelli

If you need someone to talk to, find me on Instagram, Twitter or email me any time: kelli@SkimMermaids.com

DB Skimboards Rider Series featuring Adam Balaam

Adam Balaam and the Goon crew in Northern California are redefining flatland skimboarding. Adam started skimboarding in Sacramento recently moved to San Francisco where he now calls Baker Beach home. Adam is a progresive skimboarder who is pushing the limits of what can be done and will be done on a skimboard.

Adam exclusively rides the Sac Pro skimboard and you can snag your very own here:
dbskimboards.com/shop/pro/sac-pro-2015

Follow DB:
instagram.com/dbskimboards
twitter.com/dbskimboards
facebook.com/dbskimboards
db-skimboards.tumblr.com

thumbnail

Q&A with Adam Balaam:

Birthdate: March 14th, 1993

Years Riding: 8 years

What skimboard do you ride: Sac Pro, what else…

Local hood: Ap – Carmichael

Who do you go skimboarding with: The GOONs

Where is your local skim spot: Paradise but, now its Baker

What’s your favorite trick: Baby Kilers

Favorite skim event: Skimfest

What you do when you aren’t skimboarding: Skating and chillin at the beach with homies.

How, when and where did you discover skimboarding: I was introduced to skimboarding for the first time when in was down at the river with my friends in Sacramento. It was back in 2008 when I was in high-school. The first guys that really got me into it and stoked were the ISM boys including Lon Porteous.

Quote to live by: “Your never gunna get layed unless you show a little butt crack.”

The one thing you buy at a gas station: 40oz

Make sure to follow Adam, Dallas, Derek, Cardo, Mike and the rest of the Goon skimboarding establishment on Instagram at @goonmedia

Interview With Skimboarder Lisa van Leeuwen

Lisa van Leeuwen at Barcelona Extreme Festival, Spain by Marc Costa Lucero

I met Lisa van Leeuwen, 20-year old flatland skimboarder, online a few ago. I was impressed by her love of the sport right away and she quickly became someone I looked out for and supported. This interview includes the European skim scene, which will excite a lot of you interested in The European Skimboarding Cup. It is an honor doing this interview with Lisa! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did putting it together.

Words By Kelli Bean

Above photo at Barcelona Extreme Festival, Spain by Marc Costa Lucero

Hey Lisa!

Q: Let’s start off with where are you from and where you are living now?

A: I’m half Dutch, half Italian. I was born in Leiden, The Netherlands and this is where I’m still living.

Q: You are a flatland rider, have you skimmed waves before as well?

A: I have tried riding waves a couple times. Holland is not very good for wave riding so I only get to try it on some beaches in France. I had a lot of fun the few times I tried!

Q: How long have you been skimboarding?

A: The first time I ever tried skimboarding was in July 2004 when I was 10 years old. I have been skimming every summer since. I would say I started skimboarding more seriously since 2010 when I was 16 years old.

Nice!

Lisa van Leeuwen taken in France by her mum
Lisa hitting a box by Jean Michel.

Lisa van Leeuwen in France taken by her mum
Lisa in France, taken by her mum.

Q: How were you introduced to the sport?

A: Like many other young kids I was only skimboarding during summer vacations. I couldn’t do tricks and I rode a simple board from the local surf shop. I was 16 when I found out through a friend that there was an actual skim association in Holland that organizes contests. I was hooked ever since.

Q: Where do you normally skim and with whom?

A: I usually skim with Max van Leeuwen, Adrien Raza, Luke Dirks and Mees Oostdijk at the Zevenhuizerplas in Rotterdam. Unfortunately Luke has moved to South Africa. I also skim with the guys from the North of Holland (Brend, Kor, Jorn, Sebastiaan, Mathijs) and with the guys from the South (Jermo, Dali, Maxim, Thijs).

Q: Which riders influence your skimboarding?

A: Mainly the riders I skim with. Also Lexi Hutchings used to be an inspiration. Really too bad I dont see any new footage lately. Also skimming with other girls (Iza Batko, Aleksandra Dubas, Marta Czarna!) influence my riding. It pushes me to try new tricks and try even harder.

I understand your sentiment about Lexi and missing new footage of her talent. Let me share with you in hopes it brings a smile to your face – Lexi will be collaborating with DB Skimboards as well as myself to bring some new footage to all her fans in 2015!

Q: Describe the skim scene in The Netherlands for those of us who have never been.

A: The Dutch skim scene isn’t really big. There is a group in the North, in the South and the Rotterdam area. I know there are many other skimboarders out there I have never met. I think it would be nice if we managed to connect everyone. This is a goal of the Dutch Skimboarding Association. The DSA has an important role in the Dutch skimboard scene. They organize a tour of wave and flatland skimboard competitions and they go to events (festivals and other extreme boardsports events) to promote skimboarding and give clinics.

That is amazing!

Q: Which riders are pushing the sport right now, in your opinion?

A: Adrien Raza, Max van Leeuwen,Mees Oostdijk, Arjan Boom, Adam Szablak, Daniel Preiss,Friedrich Fluh, Semjon Szillat, Leo van Gemmern, Brend Plantinga, Kor van der Vegt, Jorn Plantinga, Sebastiaan Breitsma, Mathijs Volker, Michal Puchalski, Kuba Groth, Mariusz Wojt, Jedrula Tomaszewski, Remigusz Miczek, Marek Wolkanowksi, Gaba Kulka, Iza Batko, Isaac Thomas, Blake Zimmerman, Goon crew, Bick Skimboards crew.

Q: Which companies are pushing the sport right now in Europe?

A: I would say my own sponsor, SkimGuru. SkimGuru is involved in the Dutch skim scene and supports the European Skimboarding Cup. Also Seventyone is doing an amazing job!

Lisa van Leeuwen at Off the Hook Contest, Hoek van Holland, The Netherlands. Photo by Cris Bertona
Off the Hook Contest in Hoek van Holland, The Netherlands. Photo by Cris Bertona

Q: You are in a relationship with professional skimboarder Adrien Raza, who is the 2014 European Skimboarding Cup Champion. Does having the same passion for the sport benefit your relationship?

A: In a way it definitely does! We do skim a lot together and we both go to the same competitions. That means we get to travel together and explore the places we go to. Last year, for example, we went to the Barcelona Extreme Festival for a stop on the European Cup. We decided to stay a couple days longer and enjoy the beautiful city.

That’s wonderful. Let’s shift into competition now.

Q: When did you start competing?

A: I started competing in 2010. I joined the last event of the skim season. At the event there were only Dutch skimboarders and I remember how they taught me to go over my first ramp. After that year I joined many (nearly all) Dutch competitions. It became a way to see my friends from all over the country again.

In 2011, I joined my first “not Dutch” competiton. Me, Adrien, Luke and Max went to Scharbeutz, Germany. I competed with guys only and I dont remember much of my own performance.

January 2012, 2013, 2014 I went to the Boot Dusseldorf Indoor Skimjam in Germany. The first time was very overwhelming because in a skimpool you don’t have much space, so everyone lines up and looks at you.

2012 was also the year I went to Poland for the first time to join the famous Polish Skimboarding Open. It was a great experience and my first time competing with only girls. I don’t remember what place I took that year, it wasn’t great! 😉 The year after (2013) I did a little bit better and ended 6th.

In 2014, apart from the European Skimboarding Cup stops, I also went to Swider Skimfest in Poland. I took 2nd place. I also got 3rd at Polish Skimbording Open behind Iza (1st) and Marta (2nd).

Iza, Marta, Lisa at PSO 2014 by Seventyone
Lisa on the women’s podium with Iza and Marta at the Polish Skimboarding Open. Photo by Seventyone

Lisa van Leeuwen on a balcony Apartment Jelitkowo (after PSO 2014), Gdanks, Poland photo by Adrien Raza
Lisa on a balcony in Jelitkowo, Gdanks, Poland after the PSO. Photo by Adrien Raza

You have an impressive contest history spanning over the past four years!

The European Skimboarding Cup takes place over 6 contests.

Q: How many were you able to participate in 2014 and what was your overall experience like?

A: I was able to participate in 4/6 contests. I missed the contest in Sweden and the one in Latvia.

The first stop took place at the Boot Show in Dusseldorf. The skimpool is placed with many other extreme watersports. Although the contest itself isn’t huge, there is always a big amount of spectators which makes it very exciting.

The second stop was the Dutch stop. It took place at the opposite side of the lake, where my homespot is. This was a cool stop because I made it through to a second round.

The third stop was in Barcelona at the Barcelona Extreme Festival. We skimmed an inflatable pool which was placed inbetween a mountain bike megaramp and a skatepark and there was an awesome view of Barcelona.

The last stop I participated in was the Polish Skimboarding Open (PSO). The spot was prepared on the beach next to the sea and around the event there were loads of other things going on.

It is exciting for the flatland community in North America to witness The European Skimboarding Cup’s success in 2014. We have multiple board companies along the west coast but we are overall lacking the competition component. European companies take initiative and I find this inspiring, to witness flatland companies understanding the importance of offering their team riders and groms who love their product a way to come out, compete, meet the pros and have a great time.

Q: What do you love about competitions?

A: Although Holland is a really small country I don’t see my Dutch skim friends very often. These contest days reunite us. For me that’s the best thing about competitions. And of course the same goes for contests in other countries. I have been to Poland four times now and when I go back it’s great to see everyone again. It’s always a warm welcome. Another good thing about contests is that you’re pushed even more to try new tricks or new obstacles. You can learn a lot from the people participating.

I agree. Good luck at the first stop of the 2015 European Skimboarding Cup in Dusseldorf, Germany this weekend!

Q: What was the experience like for European skimboarders during last year’s Polish Skimboarding Open when some of DB Skimboards team riders traveled to the contest?

A: It was really cool to have met all the people we had only seen in videos. The funny thing is that in Holland/Europe we don’t really treat our pros like pros and they don’t act like pros; they just skim with everyone else and are easily approachable. It was nearly surreal when the DB team came and they had an autograph session at PSO. Quite cool!

Lisa van Leeuwen at the Polish Skimboarding Open 2014, by Lukasz “Fish” Gieraltowski Fotografia
Lisa at the 2014 Polish Skimboarding Open. Photo by Lukasz “Fish” Gieraltowski Photography.

Q: What do you think about flatland connecting between Europe and North America?

A: I think it could be very interesting but we are not quite there yet. Both scenes should first grow separately. Only when they are both ready it would be time to start thinking about connecting them. I can’t say anything about North America because I don’t know the scene too well but I think Europe is doing very well. The European Skimboarding Cup has a major role in connecting European countries.

Q: Do you have any ideas on how to bring the continents together more?

A: I think it would help if companies sponsored more internationally so the team would consist of people from different continents and/or countries. Traveling from Europe to America is really pricey. In my opinion that’s the biggest barrier. So bigger sponsorships and also more prize money to (at least) make up for the plane ticket would be a start. Generally speaking, more money flowing in the sport would help bring the continents together, in my opinion.

I agree with you, as this being a positive step forward. Seventyone recently picked up Canadian rider Anna Penn.

Q: What do you think about this new partnership?

A: I think it’s really cool! Especially for female skimboarding. Skim companies are already sponsoring male skimboarders overseas but as far as I know, no women. So I think it’s great Seventyone picked up a Canadian rider. I think it would be a good thing if American companies would also sponsor more girls in Europe!

Q: Who are you sponsored with?

A: I am sponsored by SkimGuru. SkimGuru supplies me with boards, clothing and supports my traveling to competitions.

Q: For groms wanting to be sponsored, what advice would you give them?

A: Compete!! Doesn’t matter in what category, just go for it! From day one I competed against guys, simply because there were no girls to compete with. At first it was scary and I was afraid to make a fool of myself. I’ve had quite some pushes in the back from my mum at the beginning but now I really enjoy competing with the guys. In a way there is less pressure and you can learn a lot from them.

Great advice!

Lisa van Leeuwen at Bretagne, France. Photo by Cris Bertona

Lisa van Leeuwen in Bretagne, France. Photo by Cris Bertona
Both photos taken in Bretagne, France by Cris Bertona

Q: Which boards do you ride?

A: I ride a customized medium standard DB Skimboards board. I also own a 2010 Lexi Pro, love the design but it’s a little bit too flexible for me.

Q: What are your favorite tricks?

A: One of my favorite tricks is the frontside big spin. Otherwise I like trying new ramps and fun setups. I wouldn’t say it’s my favourite trick now but this year I finally learned how to do 360 shuvs and that was a big relief.

Awesome!

Q: Where is your all-time favorite skim spot?

A: For pure flatland skimboarding I love a spot in France called La Baie des Trespassés. It’s just an endless slide! I also love the skimpark in Sopot, Poland. Unfortunately it wasn’t there last summer.

Q: If money was not an issue, where would you love to travel to skim?

A: I would love to skim the Virgin River in Utah, USA. Also I would love to travel through Europe and meet people from all different countries. Recently I found out people are skimboarding in Finland and Russia and I’m sure there are communities in other countries I don’t even know about. I really like how skimboarding connects people from different countries.

I love that aspect of the sport as well. I recently found an Instagram account from Moscow to check out!

Q: What are some goals you are thinking about for the 2015 skim season?

A: I definitely want to try to participate in as many competitions as possible. My dream would be to be part of the top 10 in one of the stops of the European Skimboarding Cup. In terms of tricks, I want to learn how to pop.

These are great goals.

Q: Let’s wrap things up. Besides skimboarding, what makes you happy?

A: I like cooking and sports. I really enjoy all types of sports; surfing, bodyboarding, snowboarding, skiing, yoga, pilates, tennis, and fitness. When I was young I also loved gymnastics and Judo.

Thank you for doing this interview with me Lisa! It’s always a pleasure connecting with you.

Q: Do you have any shout outs before we say good-bye?

A: First I really want to thank my sponsor, SkimGuru, for believing in me and putting so much effort in the sport. A big shout out to all the amazing people I have met the last couple of years in skimboarding. Also, Kelli keep up the good work! 🙂

Thank you Lisa, I will!

Lisa on Facebook
Lisa on Instagram

SkimGuru on Facebook
SkimGuru on Instagram

Lisa van Leeuwen skimming a flooded alley in the Netherlands by Marianne Mentink
Love this #ThrowBack shot of Lisa skimming a flooded alley in the Netherlands by Marianne Mentink

xo, Kelli

Photos by Marc Costa Lucero, Jean Michel, Cris Bertona, Seventyone, Adrien Raza, Lukasz Gieraltowski Photography, Marianne Mentink and Lisa’s mum.

Interview with Philippines skimboarder Ian Olmedo

Ian Olmedo by Mark Olmedo

Most of you who skimboard and are online will know Ian. This interview is a treat, especially for me. The sport is made up of a lot of beautiful riders; settle in with a warm cup of delicious and enjoy this interview with Philippines skim mama, 26 year old rider Ian Olmedo.

Words by Kelli Bean

Ian Olmedo by Mark OlmedoBoth photos by Mark Olmedo at Sitio Liwliwa San Felipe, Zambales

Hey girl!

Q: Let’s start off with your full name. A lot of us have wondered at some point what Ian stands for.

A: Arianne Rachelle M. Olmedo

Q: What part of the Philippines are you from?

A: The province of Cavite.

Q: Are you a flatland rider, wave rider or both?

A: I’m more into wave riding.

Q: How long have you been skimming?

A: I have been skimming since 2009. I was 21 years old back then. So, about 5 years.

That’s right we started skimboarding in the same year.

Q:  Tell us how you were introduced to the sport.

A: I was into surfing at first then a friend (Hi Ton!) suddenly asked if I had tried skimboarding. I didn’t give much thought to it at first because I liked surfing better. Then I looked for a surfboard online and was introduced to Gerwin Bautista (owner of Skate Skim Surf PH) who sells surfboards. He told me about Alon Skimboarding Club. I checked them out and got introduced to Arlene Nonato. One thing led to another, then I was on a skim trip every weekend with them.

The Alon Skimboarding Club seems like a great skim family.

Q: What do you love about skimboarding?

A: What I love about skimboarding is the adrenaline rush of running and getting that perfect wave even if it’s 1 super stoked wave per session. Also, the travelling! “Travelling helps a lot in riding different waves. It helps a lot to progress when you ride different waves from different countries.” -Matthieu Thibaud

What a great quote.

Q: Like myself, you have not gone the route of professional athlete but instead support others to achieve their dreams. What motivates you to give back to the community as much as you do?

A: At first, I was really concentrated on just getting better to be like Jen Jacobs, Keiao Bucasas and Anna Prophet. I tried competing and luckily won some. Then one day, it hit me, free riding is way better. I get to travel a lot because of skimboarding. I see that a whole bunch of kids have a lot of potential in the sport and the scene is growing bigger and bigger. I thought it’s time to share skimboarding in the Philippines to the rest of the world! So, I started locally first. 😀

Malaysia Contest with Tonet, Arlene and Ian Olmedo
Malaysia Contest with Antonette Bombase, Arlene Nonato and Ian

Q: Now that your focus is on supporting the community, how do you participate in contests?

A: Helping with the registration, organizing the riders with their heats, announcing. I don’t know if it’s help but I like how skim competitions run. I get tips from my travels on how to organize skim competitions. It’s also a learning process. 🙂

Q: Describe the skim scene in the Philippines for those of us who have yet to visit.

A: The skim scene in the Philippines is huge! Since we are a country that has 7107 islands and in the middle of the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean, it’s super fun to have noticed that almost all the coastline in the country has skimboarders. Everyone is happy, sharing boards and taking care of their local skim spots.

I cannot imagine how fantastic that would be!

Q: Which riders are pushing the sport right now?

A: Biased or not, these riders sure push the envelope in skimboarding and I’m proud to say they have represented PH Skimboarding greatly. Jerry “Arjun” Jimenez (Cebu), Roderick “Manoy” Bazar (Eastern Samar), Sonny Boy “Bayogyog” Aporbo (Mati, Davao), Leo Espada (Tanauan, Leyte), Roberto “Obet” Yanuario (Tanauan, Leyte) and Rodel “ Panggoy” Patawi (Mati, Davao).

Manoy Bazar by Ian Olmedo
Manoy Bazar competing at Oktoberfest 2014, photo by Ian

Sonny Boy by Dylan Uy
Sonny Boy Aporbo by Dylan Uy

Q: Which companies in the Philippines are pushing the sport?

A: Philippine Boardriding Co. (FLUIDSURF) and Driftwood Local Enterprise. These two companies have been there from the start and they encourage younger ones to continue with the sport.

Q: Where do you see skimboarding going in the future?

A: Touring South East Asia for skimboarding competitions. Of course, this needs a whole lot of planning but once we get united with the idea, I’m sure this will push thru. I’m really hoping for it.

The industry in North America hopes for synergy with your athletes and South East Asia!

Q: What were your initial thoughts when you read in Aaron Peluso’s interview him share an excellent UST Stop would be in the Philippines? What do you think having a stop would do for PH skimboarders?

A: When I read Sir Aaron’s interview about thinking of having a UST stop in the PH, I was grinning from ear to ear. Everyone will freak out (including myself)–in a good way. I mean, all of the pros from the United Skim Tour are really huge in our country, basically like celebrities. But like I said, it’s a GREAT idea but reality checking, we need a whole bunch of supporters who could fund everyone to get here. And of course, on our side, we need to thoroughly plan that event because as we all know, there’s no money in skimboarding. We’re going to need government support! But hey! UST Stop #9 Philippines- YEEEW!

I was grinning as well!

Q: You mention earlier you have been fortunate enough to travel a lot, what has it been like to travel for the sport?

A: First, I was very fortunate with meeting Alon Skimboarding Club (especially Arlene and Brien Secades) because they were the ones who introduced me to the world of skimboarding and I get to travel with them locally and internationally (Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore). Then we tried taking it to the next level and worked on going to Taiwan and USA with Arjun and Manoy. Travelling for skimboarding is way better than I expected because it’s like the time is always limited. For example, we have to go to this spot because it’s where they shot Stimulus, MOV, Random Analog. It’s very awesome to experience our idol’s skim spots.

I bet!

Ian Olmedo and Manoy at Aliso Beach, California
Ian and Manoy at Aliso Beach in Laguna Beach, California

Q: What things have you learned in your travels that you can use to support the PH community?

A: Sharing, always share. Humility. Being very appreciative. The true meaning of responsibility and patience, which has got the best of me. Of course, respect for the local spots with the places I have visited.

Q: You are a very talented artist and Jaromanoy Skimboards is lucky to have you onboard using your artistic abilities. When did you start drawing/painting?

A: Wow, thank you! I started drawing when I was in kindergarten. I saw my sister doing some sketches and I tried to copy her. Then it progressed, I don’t know how, but I just started drawing and drawing, then started painting those drawings. I still have a lot to learn though and I am thankful for my tattoo artist friends because they give tips and help me a lot.

Ian Olmedo skim art
Photo by Dhen Migrino

Q: You also take footage, edit and create skim videos. I commend your hard work and thank you for showing us some of the PH lifestyle. What do you enjoy about making skim videos?

A: I enjoy being behind the scenes and witnessing everything about skimboarding; the surroundings and the riders, everything’s just natural. Then it escaladed to “how can I show the people how stoked it is to be a skimboarder?”

Sounds about right! I would love to ask you a few personal questions before we end the interview.

Q: Where do you normally skim and with whom?

A: I’m always in Liw-Liwa, Zambales with the Jaromanoy Skimboards crew, and mostly with Manoy.

Q: Where is your all-time favorite skim spots?

A: Magic Left and La Paz in Zambales.

Ian Olmedo by Manoy Bazar
Photo by Manoy Bazar

Q: What are some skimboarding goals for yourself you are working towards?

A: I really would love to finish the skim documentary here in The Philippines that I’m not yet half-way making. And still, working to travel to more skim spots. Someday..someday.

I am excited to hear you are working on a PH skim documentary!

Q: For the groms, what board do you ride?

A: Exile Skimboards double carbon hybrid.

A lot of groms tell me they want to fall in love with another skimboarder. You are engaged to pro rider Manoy Bazar.

Q: How did you meet?

A: We met at a skimboarding competition back in 2009. But before that, I was asked to design the poster of that event. I asked who the was guy on the poster I’m editing, and they told me that I’m about to meet him. Then we met at that skim competition. They introduced me to him as ‘the guy you were editing on the poster’. When I saw him skim, my jaw literally dropped.

Aww

Q: What is it like to be in a relationship with someone who loves the sport as much as you?

A: AWESOME! haha (Manoy, don’t flatter yourself 😉 ) But seriously, it feels nice because he gives me tips all the time and encourages me to go beyond my comfort zone in skimming. Like for instance, I used to be scared of riding backside, then he dedicated skim sessions for me just doing backside wave rides. Also, we get to travel a lot in the sport and it’s not just all about being lovey-dovey, we’re more like a team, coach/student, client/manager. Haha!

That is awesome!

Q: Besides skimboarding, what makes you happy?

A: Music and being a recording engineer.

Q: Do you have any last words or shout outs to wrap things up?

A: Ton Gregorio, if you had not mentioned skimboarding to me during our conversations, I never would have gotten curious about it. Mom and Dad for always supporting me! And to my idols Keiao and Muchu [Matthieu Thibaud]. For my videographer inspirations, Toeknee Bianchi, Matt Adams and Adam Hayward, I love all your work. Hi Manoy!

KGB and Ian Olmedo
Keiao Bucasas with Ian

Muchu and Ian Olmedo
Muchu and Ian at the Victoria Skimboards shop

Thank you Ian, it is always great to talk with you! Your enthusiasm for the sport in contagious. I cannot wait to meet you.

Photos by Mark Olmedo, Dylan Uy, Dhen Migrino, Manoy Bazar and Ian Olmedo

Ian Olmedo Facebook
Ian’s Instagram: @iandbanana

Jaromanoy Skimboards
Jaromanoy Skimboards Facebook

Alon Pinas Skimboarding Club

Ian Olmedo by Mark Olmedo
Photo by Mark Olmedo

If you would like to do an interview with me, please email me at ms.kellibean@gmail.com

xo, Kelli

Meet Flordia skimboarder and U.S. Marine Eric Bitz

Eric Bitz is a 21-year old skimboarder from Clearwater, Florida who has been skimboarding for 13 years now. Eric has a unique story since he is a U.S. Marine serving with 2nd Battalion 8th Marines as an infantry machine gunner and has been on one combat tour to Afghanistan. He normally skims anywhere along the east coast of North Carolina due to being stationed in the area, but his main spot is Emerald Isle and a secret spot that won’t be mentioned.

eric-01

Q. Who do you skim with? 
A. My best friend and roommate Justin Daniels and Martin Downs.

Q. What is your favorite skim spot? 
A. That’s a tough one…where ever the waves are firing.

Q. Where have you traveled to skimboard? 
A. I’ve been all up and down the east coast of the United States and all over florida.

eric-02

eric-03

Q. Where do you want to travel to skim? 
A. I’d like to get out to Cabo. Hopefully, next year I will.

Q. What was your time spent in Afghanistan like? 
A. It was extremely different and extremely hot one day it got up to 138 degrees fahrenheit. It was ridiculous. I couldn’t believe I was on earth. Everything is extremely different, but the people over there are extremely hard workers, but mainly I spent my fine conduct patrols around the local area, working out, standing post (security) or watching skim movies on my DVD player as well as the thousand other movies and TV series I watched and cleaning my machine gun.

eric-military-01

Q. When you were serving with the 2nd Battalion did you think about skimboarding very often? 
A. In simpler terms just put 2/8 and yes everyday. Where I’m currently stationed I actually skim everyday in North Carolina, but while I was deployed it was on my mind a lot. 

eric-military-02

eric-military-03

Q. What board(s) do you ride? 
A. Zap. I have two Boomhowers, but one just broke and a Rocket Fish.

Q. Do you wave skim? Flatland? Both? 
A. Wave 95% of the time flat 5%. LOL. When it is flat I skim flat.

Q. Do you compete? 
A. I do.

eric-04

Q. If so, what competitions have you competed in? 
A. Outerbanks skimjam and zap am pro world championships.

Q. And what are some of your contest highlights? 
A. Getting a textbook wrap with a huge spray to a barrel.

Q. Do you have any sponsors?
A. Yes. Kowasa Clothing, they are one of the most reliable sponsors I’ve ever had. They’re a new clothing brand based out of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and they have some really sick products I encourage everyone to go check them out.

Q. What other board sports do you partake in?
A. Surfing, longboarding, skating, wake surfing.

eric-06

Q. Where do you see the skimboarding going in the future? 
A. I believe skimboarding will be as big or even bigger than surfing in the next 5 years, face it we’re not as big as surfing, but with big names and faces changing how people view skimboarding such as Brad Domke, Austin Keen, Morgan Just and Blair Conklin the sport will sky rocket and I hope to join those names in the next few years. At my local spot for the longest time I never really saw young groms skimming and all of a sudden everytime I go out I see new groms with boards trying to rip. Everywhere I go no matter what beach tourists ask what is that and I explain skimboarding to them and I ask them to please go on the internet and watch videos and look up specific people.

Q. What riders influenced your skimboarding? 
A. Mostly my best friend  Justin Daniels, but a lot of pros have such as Shawn Kenny, Tim Fulton, Monster and Max Smetts.

Q. What riders are pushing the sport right now? 
A. Pretty much every rider I know.

Q. If you were stranded on a desert island that already has a plentiful resource of skimboards what three things would you bring?
A. Well, it doesn’t look like I’ll need my boards if there’s many boards there, but I’d bring my wife, my daughter and my board. Even if there is plenty of boards I’d still want mine.

Q. When you got back from Afghanistan what was the first thing you did when you were home?
A. Besides hugging my family, friends and my wife my bestfriend handed me a beer, that was the best damn beer I’ve ever had also there we’re so many pictures being taken. Later that day I went down on the beach and sat down and listened to the waves.

eric-military-04

Q. What was your first skimboarding session like after you got back from Afghanistan?
A. I was extremely rusty, but I was still able to keep my skills. It was one of the funniest sessions I had. The waves were prefect and there was no wind at all it’s like the ocean knew I was home…

Q. Where was that first skimboaridng session?
A. It was in Emerald Isle, NC it’s a local beach not to far from where I live, this pic below was from that first session.

eric-01

Q. What makes you happy? 
A. Well there’s a lot that does but mainly good waves, having a good laugh with my friends, my wife, seeing my daughter smile and skimboarding in general.

Q. If everyone rode a skimboard would the world be a better place?
A. It be a nice dream if it was, right? 

Q. What skimboarding goals do you have?
A. Many, my main goal is within the next 3 years I plan to be on the pro tour I’ve been busting my ass this past year.

Q. What is your favorite skimboarding trick? 
A. I love doing airs.

Q. Last words? Shout outs?
A. Well, I really appreciate you guys doing this interview on me it’s an awesome thing what you guys are doing. Thanks to Shawn Kenney for supporting the military. A huge shoutout to my sponsors Kowasa Clothing! Everyone check them out Kowasaclothingco.com also give them a follow on Instagram/Facebook. Also, my wife for supporting me and taking all of my pictures and my best friend Justin for pushing me to the level I’m at now. Without him I wouldn’t be where I’m at to this very day so thanks bro!

Interview With Australian Skimboarder Daniel Voysey

 Aussie skimboarder Daniel Voysey
Meet 30-year old skimboarder Daniel Voysey from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia!

Words by Kelli Bean
Photos by Kirsten Voysey

So great to meet you, Daniel. It is not everyday I meet a skimboarder from Australia so I appreciate your interest in me interviewing you. Let’s start off with skim style.

Q: Are you a flatland rider, wave rider or both?
A: I used to do a little bit of flatland but just wave riding these days.

Q: How were you introduced to the sport?
A: I was camping at Double Island which is a long stretch of beach where you can camp right on the beach just behind the sand dunes. A family friend had a timber board that he had brought back from Bali and we spent the whole weekend sliding back and forth along the shoreline. After that weekend I went straight home and made my own timber skimboard which was a pretty wild shape. It had no rocker and was like an ice cream cone with the end chopped off. I rode that board into the ground. I tried to get myself a proper foamcore fiberglass board (a Zap Wedge!) back then from Skim City, but shipping prices were through the roof and nowhere stocked skimboards in Australia. My passion for the sport waned a bit after that but years down the track I got back into it and found that one of my local surf shops stocked heaps of skimboards. So I paid $800 for a carbon Exile Hybrid and the obsession hasn’t stopped since then.

Q: That is impressive how you made your own board in order to skimboard. How long exactly have you been skimboarding?
A: I have been skimming for 16 years. I first started in 1998 when I was 14 with a timber board. It wasn’t until 2006 that I got my first foamcore board.

Q: Where do you normally skim and with whom?
A: Most of the skim spots in Queensland are on the Sunshine Coast. The main beaches are Moffat Beach and Shelley Beach. There is a small crew that skims here but it isn’t a huge scene.

Q: Yet. Ha! Where are your all-time favorite skim spots?
A: My favourite spot to skim is the Yorke Peninsula down in South Australia. Spots like Plan B, Shatters and Batters which have had a bit of exposure on the international scene. Plan B is a perfect shore break for wraps. Shatters is a right to left sider opposite to Wedge which can get pretty gnarly but when it’s working it’s one of the best waves in Australia. Batters is just a huge shore break that we say is Australia’s equivalent to Cabo, Mexico, big, gnarly and right on the shore!

Daniel Voysey by Kirsten Voysey
Photo taken from Daniel’s home break in Queensland called Moffat Beach.

Q: Describe the skim scene for those of us who have never been.
A: The skim scene in Australia is still pretty small and underground but very tight knit. Everyone that is serious about the sport knows each other and will always help each other out if they travel interstate. I have mates in every state that I know would show me around their spots and put me up for a couple of nights.

Q: Sweet! Who in particular is pushing the sport right now in Australia?
A: Jake McIntosh from South Australia is really getting skimboarding out to the greater public. He has done a bit of an interview with a national show “Totally Wild” as well as working towards filming and editing an Australian skimboarding film to showcase some of Australia’s top riders and spots to the world. Both of the Kaye brothers, Alex and Elliott, have also been pushing the sport for years now. What they can do on a skimboard is crazy. You can see both them featured in a new skimboarding movie being released soon by Duncan Robinson called “Sink or Skim”.

Q: How exciting, the rest of the skim community will be interested in watching these two films when they come out. Why do you think the sport is so small in Australia?
A: I feel like because Australia has such a history of surf culture that when people see skimboarding they mostly just ask why don’t you just surf instead. They don’t realize that catching waves on a skimboard is even possible. Most people think that skimboarding is just sliding back and forth across the sand on a timber board. Also because the beaches that are set up really well for skimboarding that have a consistent wave are quite few and far between so it isn’t as accessible as it is in other countries.

Q: That makes sense. Which riders influence your skimboarding?
A: I have always loved to watch Paulo Prietto ride. He has such a smooth effortless style that I have always tried to emulate. When Austin Keen came out to Australia for Skimdulgence in 2010 he definitely showed me what sort of level the Pro’s were riding at and that lit a fire in me to get better and try to get to that level. Both Alex and Elliott Kaye from Perth have always pushed me to get better just to try and keep up with them.

Q: Have you traveled to skim?
A: I have travelled all around Australia for skimboarding and have had the chance to skim most of the top spots here. Just recently I got to travel to Oahu, Hawaii (for my Honeymoon) and was lucky enough to catch up with Keiao “KGB” Bucasas who showed us around and took us to Sandy Beach for a skim. The waves were pretty good but I was shocked with the crowds they had to deal with just to be able to skim. That’s why it’s always good to travel to new spots and skim different conditions that you don’t necessarily get to skim in at your home breaks.

Daniel Voysey in Hawaii

EDIT 2
Sandy Beach in Hawaii

Q: What was it like meeting the 2013 UST women’s champ?
A: It was really cool to meet Keiao when I was in Hawaii. She was super nice and even came and picked me and my wife up from Waikiki and took us to Sandy Beach so we didn’t have to hire a car again for the day. The group of skimboarders we met were all really cool and welcomed us into the group as if we had been a part of it for years. We even went to Costco for lunch which was pretty cool for us! I think it’s amazing that I can message someone that I’ve never met before and organize to meet up with them halfway around the world for a skim. That’s what I love about our sport, because we have that one common interest you are automatically friends.

Keiao by Kirsten Voysey

KGB 2
Photos of KGB taken at Sandy Beach

Q: That’s awesome you were so welcomed, I am not surprised at all. What about competitions, have you ever competed before?
A: I have competed in a few competitions down here in Australia. They aren’t normally your usual heats, semis, finals sort of competition but more of an expression session/rider poll over a whole weekend. I’ve been voted best rider at Skimdulgence which is Australia’s biggest skimboarding event twice now, plus have won best wave at the event as well as placing in the top 3 in a few different structured competitions around Australia. I would love to be able to make it out to Laguna Beach, California for one of the UST events, especially The VIC, and see how I stack up against everyone else. It would be interesting to see if I could hold my own against the best in world. Hopefully next year I will make it over there, that is the plan anyway.

 Daniel Voysey by Sam Squires
Photo by Sam Squires from the annual Skimdulgence event held on the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia. The spot is called Shatters.

Q: Good luck with your plans coming to California next year! What is your favorite trick?
A: I love wrapping a wave, it’s just the best feeling in the world. Big slow wraps or quick schwacks, just the feeling of turning on the wave on this thin piece of fiberglass is what keeps me coming back.

Q: Which skimboarding goals do you have?
A: I really want to travel to Laguna Beach and see all these spots and meet all the skimmers that I have grown up watching in all the DVD’s and online videos. To be able to see Aliso Beach, 10th Street Beach, The Wedge and all the other spots and skim these waves with all the Pros will just blow my mind. I know that is something I have to do. I also want to travel to Japan and experience their skim scene. I’ve skimmed with Kaori Oda from Japan here in Australia when she has been here a few times and I would love to go see where she skims and compete in their M-1 Skim Festival.

Q: I would like to meet Kaori and skim with the Japanese skim scene as well. Who are you sponsored with?
A: I’m lucky enough to be sponsored by Exile Skimboards Australia and Lets Party Traction Australia. I remember thinking to myself when I first got my copy of Beard.ed that it would be amazing to be sponsored by Exile Skimboards and now 8 years down the track that is a reality. It’s really cool that I can help these companies out just by doing what I love.

Q: It is pretty cool. Where would you like to see skimboarding in Australia go in the future?
A: I don’t think skimboarding is ever going to be as big as say surfing or skateboarding here in Australia, but I would love to see it become big enough that people would actually know what it is and not just associate skimboarding with sliding back and forth across the sand. I think it would be great if we could all get together and start a bit of a national tour not unlike the United Skim Tour for Australia. Something for the top riders to be able to compete in at the better spots around the country with a bit of a reward at the end. Maybe even get to the stage where we could have a UST Stop here in Australia. I know we have the conditions capable of holding an event, it’s just a pity that we really are on the other side of the world from where the main skim scene is.

Q: It is a pity as I know a lot of Pros would love to skim and compete in Australia. Besides skimboarding, what are some of your other passions?
A: If I’m not at the beach skimboarding I’m usually out in my kayak fishing. I also enjoy photography and videography and always put out a bit of an edit from Skimdulgence such as Skimdulgence 9 and Skimdulgence 10. It’s always interesting seeing each year how everyone has gotten a bit better.

Q: Any shout outs before we end the interview?
A: I would like to thank Nic and Tim from Exile Skimboards Australia for always keeping fresh boards under my feet and Adam from Lets Party Traction Australia for keeping those boards looking the best with all their awesome pads. Also Steve Taylor from Exile and Lets Party Traction. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be able to help promote these awesome companies. Lastly, if you’ve ever thought of coming out to Australia for a holiday, definitely do it! We have an awesome community of dedicated riders that will be more then glad to show you around. Plus we have Koala’s! They are awesome!

Haha, Koala’s are awfully cute. Thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview with me.

You can follow Daniel on Instagram at @danielsondownunder

EDIT
Sandy Beach in Hawaii

Interview With Bella Killgore

Bella Killgore by Hailey Nelson
Meet 14-year old freshman Bella Killgore. Bella is from Northern California, been skimboarding 4 years and hopes to one day be sponsored.

Words by Kelli Bean
Photos by Hailey Nelson

Q: Name?
A: Bella Killgore

Q: Age and grade in school?
A: I’m 14 and I’m a freshman at Oak Ridge High School.

Q: Where are you from?
A: I’m from El Dorado Hills, California, just outside of Sacramento.

Q: Flatland, wave rider or both?
A: I ride both flatland and waves.

Q: How long have you been skimming?
A: I’ve been skimming for about 4 years, since I was 10.

Q: Which boards do you ride?
A: I ride a Zap Wedge medium or an Exile Recruit for wave riding and a DB Skimboards Streamline for flatland.

Q: Where do you normally skim?
A: I normally skim on the Folsom Lake, or occasionally I take a trip to Santa Cruz to practice wave riding.

Bella Killgore by Hailey Nelson

Bella Killgore by Hailey Nelson

Bella Killgore by Hailey Nelson

Q: Describe the skim scene in El Dorado Hills for those of us who have never been.
A: In El Dorado Hills, skimboarding is on the rise. In the spots I skim, I usually see one other person skimming, if any, but if I take the trip up to Paradise Beach there is a lot more. (Paradise Beach is a skimboarding spot on the American River.)

Q: Where is your all-time favorite skim spot?
A: My all-time favorite skim spot is Oak Beach on Folsom Lake. It’s flat and doesn’t have many rocks, and you can drive right down to the water.

Q: If money and time were not an issue, where would you travel to skim?
A: If I could, I would want to travel to Kauai, a Hawaiian Island, to skim because I have heard it has some amazing beaches. For flatland, I want to travel to Texas to skim because it looks like a lot of fun with a lot more options than we have here in Nor-Cal.

Q: Nice! Tell us about your first time competing.
A: I had a really good experience competing at the TAC Skimblast in Santa Cruz, CA (September 14th). I didn’t place but it was really cool meeting new people of the community and watching some of the best from around the world as well as getting to know what it’s like to actually compete. I was in a really good heat with Jackie Gollbach and Lily de la Espriella who are both amazing skimmers. I learned a lot and now know exactly what I need to work on for my next competition!

TAC Skimblast by Fabiana Badie
Bella in the semi-finals at TAC Skimblast with competitors Lily de la Espriella and Jackie Gollbach. Photo by Fabiana Badie

Q: Excellent! What is your favorite trick and which tricks would you love to learn?
A: My favorite trick is the pop shuv-it 180 because it’s easy and fun to do. I want to learn how to do a trick off a rail and to ride different kinds of rails. In wave-riding, I want to learn how to wrap and to do an Ollie from a wave.

Q: Great choices, Bella. Is there any skimboarders in the sport you look up to?
A: I really look up to Brad Domke because he does some of the craziest tricks and rides the biggest waves I’ve ever seen. I saw him in Santa Cruz last year and he’s just amazing to watch. He brings the sport to a whole other level. I also look up to Lexi Hutchings because she is a really good flatland skimmer and is really successful.

Brad Domke and Lexi Hutchings
Brad Domke by Joe Bailey and Lexi Hutchings making the cover of Flatland Mag. Photo by Sara Holt

Q: I agree with you! Tell us one of your skimboarding goals?
A: One of my skimboarding goals is to get sponsored because I love the sport and the more I can do to help push it, the better.

Q: Which companies would you love to be sponsored by?
A: I’m not looking for any company specifically to sponsor me. DB Skimboards, Zap Skimboards, or Exile Skimboards would be a dream-come-true, but XTOutfitters or any clothing company would be amazing as well.

Q: Where would you like to see skimboarding go in the future?
A: I would like to see skimboarding become a respected and world-wide known sport.

Q: Besides skimboarding, tell us another passion of yours.
A: Besides skimboarding, I’m really passionate about soccer. I play goalkeeper in a national league.

Q: You have some great soccer photos on your Instagram! Any shout outs you want to give before we end the interview?
A: Thanks to my mom and my dad for always supporting me no matter what. And Hailey Nelson, who always drives me out to spots and takes the best pictures!

You can follow Bella on Instagram at: @bella_killgore

Bella Killgore by Hailey Nelson

Bella Killgore by Hailey Nelson

It was great interviewing you Bella, I look forward to watching you progress in the sport!

Interview with Newcomer Cassandra Mendes

Cassandra Mendes by Michael Jappell
Interview with 21-year old New Jersey skimboarder, Cassandra Mendes.

Words by Kelli Bean
Photos by Michael Jappell

Q: Where do you live and skimboard?
A: Manahawkin, New Jersey, USA and I skim at Long Beach Island, NJ.

Q: Flatland, wave rider or both?
A: Both

Q: How long have you been skimming?
A: Started in 2014, at 20 years old.

Q: How were you introduced to the sport, and what initially attracted you?
A: I was introduced to the sport by watching other skimboarders skimming on the beaches and my old friend, who was the main reason why I got interested with the sport. What attracted me was it kind of brings surfing to the shoreline and I’ve always wanted to surf but was too afraid to. This made me feel like I was going to get the same feel, excitement, and rush, on a skimboard, that I would get if I surfed.

Cassandra Mendes by Michael Jappell

Q: If you know any tricks, which is your favorite as we say good-bye to summer?
A: I’m just finally starting to get the hang of backside wraps and I’m so excited. Nothing makes me smile more than when I get a backside wrap so that’s definitely my favorite trick so far.

Q: You went to your first contest this summer. Which contest did you attend and what was your overall impression as a newcomer?
A: I went to the Zap Am Champs contest in Dewey Beach, Delaware, in August. From the minute I walked on the beach and saw all the tents and all the skimboarders out in the water, I knew I was going to be hooked and want to come compete next summer. Everyone in the skimboard community is so genuinely nice and always out to help any beginners with questions and advice. One of the other main reasons why I love the sport so much is because everyone is out to help each other. The contest just had such a great atmosphere and I enjoyed every second of it. Definitely going to be coming back to every contest next year.

Q: Awesome! You mention competing next summer, are you interested in becoming a professional athlete?
A: I would love to become a professional. I’m actually going to continue to go to the beach every single day, all through the fall, winter and spring, to practice and be ready for contests in the summer. I’m very determined and feel I will be ready to come out and compete next year. If I keep practicing, get better, stay motivated and start competing next year, there could be a chance in the future for me to become a pro.

Q: Which riders do you look up to and admire?
A: The rider I look up to and admire the most is Amber Torrealba. She’s been my idol since day one. She’s an amazing skimboarder and has such a happy, positive attitude about everything, that’s what makes me admire her so much. Alexandra Badie, Casey Kiernan, Paddy Mack, and Tim Fulton are other riders I definitely look up to and admire as well.

Amber Torrealba by @mik3g on IG
Cassandra’s idol professional rider Amber Torrealba, photo by @mik3g on Instagram.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world to skim, which skim spot would you pick?
A: If I could skim anywhere in the world I would pick The Wedge in Newport Beach, CA. Going to California, especially to skim, is a dream of mine I hope I can make into a reality very soon. I watch a bunch of skim videos that are filmed at The Wedge and it’s just awesome. One day.

Q: You show a lot of enthusiasm for the sport but also, for health and wellness as a whole. Share a bit of why being positive is important to you.
A: Being positive is important to me because life is a gift that we were all blessed with. Staying positive every time we wake up until we fall asleep at night gives us the opportunity to go out in the world and chase our dreams. Gives us the motivation and determination to accomplish all of our goals. The last person in life you want to give up on is yourself. Everyone is worth it and deserves to make their dreams reality.

Q: I couldn’t agree more. In the spirit of positivity, what advice do you have for groms feeling shy about learning to skimboard?
A: If you want to learn how to skimboard, just pick up a skimboard. I’m telling you, you will be so glad you did. I used to be extremely shy to skim and scared that I would hurt myself but every head turn, every ‘good job’, every fall, every scratch, every bruise is all worth it and sooner than later, your shyness will disappear. Don’t be afraid of falling and getting hurt. Don’t ever quit yourself. Also, if there are other skimboarders around, you can always ask for help. I’m 100% sure they won’t mind. All the beachgoers will always cheer you on too. So, my advice is, if you want to learn, don’t be shy. I promise, you won’t regret it.

Q: Wonderful advice. What are your skimboarding goals for next summer?
A: My skimboarding goals for next summer is to be improved, have learnt a lot more tricks, and ready to compete. My main goal for next summer is definitely competing, I really want to get out there and experience it.

Q: Besides skimboarding, what makes you happy?
A: What makes me happy besides skimboarding is my family. My parents and three little sisters are my everything.

Q: That’s sweet, and a great way to end to your interview. Any last words or shout outs?
A: I want to thank everyone who was helped me since day one, my friends, sisters and sister’s boyfriends who have kept me motivated and take my pictures for me. I want to thank everyone who takes the time to give me pointers and advice, everyone who gives me support and positive feedback. I love you guys! Most importantly, I want to thank you, Kelli. You’ve been there helping me, supporting me since day one. You’re like my skimboarding mom and I don’t know what I would do without you. Thank you.

Thank you Cassandra, I can mirror your sentiments and say you have been a breath of fresh air in the skim community, particularly on Instagram.

For those not following Cassandra, her account is @cassandra_nicole9310

You can also find Cassandra on Facebook: Cassandra Mendes

Cassandra loves to post GoPro shots, here are a few to wet your visual skim appetite.

Cassandra Mendes GoPro

Cassandra Mendes GoPro

Cassandra Mendes GoPro