Browsing Tag

women’s skateboarding

Interview

ZORAH OLIVIA

This interview first appeared in the Yeah Girl 2017 magazine and was featured in the printed KrakMag issue that was shipped with the ‘Yeah Girl’ KrakBox.

From an internship at Camp Woodward to shooting some of the world’s biggest skate events for Mahfia.tv, Zorah’s photography career has gone from strength to strength. To top it all off, she recently had five of her photos published in Thrasher Magazine. It’s fair to say that Zorah is leading the way for female photographers in the skate industry.

PHOTOGRAPHY RUNS IN YOUR FAMILY; HOW MUCH DID THIS INFLUENCE YOUR DECISION TO PICK UP A CAMERA? DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE STANDARDS TO LIVE UP TO BECAUSE OF YOUR FAMILY HISTORY?

My parents were always open minded and supportive of whatever I wanted to pursue. They were even there cheering me on when I had my heart set on soccer or taekwondo, even though my interest usually didn’t last long. I so many fond memories from my childhood of days spent on photoshoots or in the studio watching my mom paint.

I remember my family telling me that a career in the arts would be difficult and often unreliable but the most rewarding as long as your heart remains in your craft. I don’t feel like they have placed any standards on me other than to be the best person I can be and treat others with kindness, I’m so thankful for their love and support.

WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE SKATER TO SHOOT?

The list is too long to pick a favorite but recently I have been going out shooting with Dave Mull and The Worble crew, it’s always a good time! I love those dudes. Jenn Soto and I have an amazing skater/photographer relationship as well. There’s never any pressure, we just hype each other up!

 

Vanessa Torres

 

YOU SHOOT A LOT OF STREET PHOTOS BUT YOU’VE ALSO SHOT SOME BIG EVENTS LIKE STREET LEAGUE. WHICH DO YOU PREFER AND WHY?

Creatively, I prefer shooting in the streets but contests challenge me in other ways! When I’m out street skating, it’s often just me and the skater and we have time to collaborate and plan how we want the photo to look. With contests, everyone is skating at the same time, it’s almost like a marathon to capture all of the tricks happening around you at once. I love it though!

YOU’VE BEEN SHOOTING SKATE PHOTOS FOR A WHILE, BUT YOU GOT YOUR BIG BREAK THROUGH MAHFIA.TV. HOW DID THIS CONNECTION COME ABOUT AND WHAT OPPORTUNITIES DID IT PRESENT?

I emailed Kim Woozy, the creator of Mahfia, about summer internships back when I was going to college in Maryland. I actually forgot that I emailed her when I received a response about 2 months later. She told me that she checked out my website and really liked my photos. We ended up talking on the phone for 45 minutes and she invited me to shoot X Games on that same call. I wouldn’t be where I am today without Kim Woozy and Mimi Knoop’s support. The thank you list is a long one, there are so many incredible men and women in the skateboarding community that have supported me over the past year.

 

Stella & Andrew Reynolds

 

DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY IN LA WHEN YOU’RE NOT SHOOTING PHOTOS

Sleep in a little longer than usual, make a nice breakfast , and spend the day reading on the beach somewhere far from the city.

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR DREAM PHOTOGRAPHY ASSIGNMENT? WHO, WHAT, WHERE AND WHEN?

I would love to spend a year traveling around the world with a skate team/brand, preferably with all of the girls! My fantasy though is being a personal photographer for Ru Paul or Ellen Degeneres (I’m laughing to myself as I read this).

 

Nora Vasconcellos

Interview

Founders Interview: Pauliana Laffabrier of BAD ASS Skateboards

FIRST OFF, CAN YOU PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF?
I started skating when I was 17, about 10 years ago now! First it was in the streets of a small town near Bordeaux, as we didn’t have any skateparks. I started with a bunch of friends on a plaza. I wasn’t lucky with my ankles so I stopped for more than a year. Then in 2010, I discovered bowls, transitions and ramps when I moved to Bordeaux. I fell in love! I managed to win the French championship twice, in the bowl and in the vert category. I got on the French Team for the next Olympic Games, which means I get to travel with the girls. It’s pretty awesome!

HOW DID THE IDEA FOR BAD ASS COME ABOUT?
It’s been years since I became interested in developing women’s skateboarding. It started with skate lessons for girls for a few years, then skate camps in the summer. After a few years, I noticed there was no brand 100% for females, except Meow. So yeah, that’s how it started! I wanted a catchy name, that everyone could understand, with a reference to an emoji, because we’re so familiar with those nowadays… And so came the logo—the peach!

WHAT ARE YOU DOING WHEN YOU’RE NOT WORKING ON BAD ASS?
Most of the time, skateboarding or wake-skate. We’re trying to build a crew with the girls in Bordeaux to make a video in the city. I travel a bit but because of my ankles I’m mostly focusing on the big upcoming competitions like the Volcom Invitational in Bilbao at the end of June or the Vans Park Series in Malmö in September. I also work for a society named Board-O; I teach skateboarding all year long.

DID YOU HAVE ANY EXPERIENCE WORKING FOR A SKATE BRAND BEFORE THIS?
I never officially worked for a skate brand. I would have loved it because I love the culture and I would have been fully committed for sure! I have some experience in communication and marketing and I enjoy filming and taking pictures. Bad Ass was a new challenge and I’m happy with it for now!

CAN YOU GIVE US A QUICK INTRO TO THE SKATERS ON THE BAD ASS TEAM?
Louise Crespin, only 16 years old and just a few years of skating but already really good! Less technical than the rest of the team but she has a really nice style! She’s also pretty good in surfing… Watch out for this girl!
Jéromine Louvet, young girl from Toulouse who started skating at a really young age and you can see it in her skating! Technical and all terrain, she was French champion in bowl this year and nothing can stop her!
Jeanne Duval, the eldest, from Nantes. She likes street skating and has the greatest style! She also likes cats, just like me haha!
Last but not least, Shani Bru! My homie from Bordeaux! She’s hard working and skates almost everyday. She gets better every time I see her! She’s not really on the team because she’s on Sector 9 but I still hook her up with clothes and she supports us with pictures too!

Update on Nov. 2018: Jeanne & Shani are not in the team anymore.

Welcome Alice Atta, a young girl from Marseille who’s ripping all the bowls within the region and who’s been to the Red Bull Bowl Rippers final. Julie Betrix, a very skillful young girl skateboarding in the Alps. Aloha Bornend who loves transition and spends a fair amount of time in the ramp. And the next one will be Juliette Meudec, coming from Brittany and the youngest among us who already has a huge potential.

HOW DID YOU GET TO KNOW THESE GIRLS?
I basically know them all from Instagram, then we met at contests and most of us have been or are still part of the French team.

DO YOU HAVE ANY PLANS TO EXPAND THE TEAM OUTSIDE OF FRANCE?
I think I want to push the brand to get recognition in France first. I communicate in French on social media and we are growing a French community right now but of course I won’t be against expanding over Europe and worldwide one day!

SHANI BRU IS ALSO TRAINING FOR THE OLYMPICS WITH THE FRENCH SKATEBOARD TEAM, RIGHT? WHAT DO YOU THINK SKATEBOARDING BEING IN THE OLYMPICS MEANS FOR FEMALE SKATEBOARDERS?
Yeah Shani is the one with the biggest potential for the Olympics in 2020! I think skateboarding in the Olympics will help to get recognition from PAULIANA LAFFABRIER, cities and from people in general! Also, girls will see girls killing it on tv and a whole new wave of skater girls may come out of it, even if social media is already creating this!

DO YOU HAVE ANY PLANS FOR A BAD ASS FULL LENGTH CLIP?
We are working on something. It’s too much park footy at the moment and I would really like to take it in the streets but it’s not easy. I’m also wondering if long length still attracts people nowadays. I’d like to do something different than just another skate video.

YOU’VE SHOT SOME AWESOME PHOTOS OF THE BAD ASS TEAM. ARE YOU A SELF-TAUGHT PHOTOGRAPHER?
Thanks! I learned everything by myself, checking advice on Internet, reading books, asking tips to professional photographers and practicing a lot, because that’s the only way!

DO YOU HAVE ANY PLANS TO START SELLING IN OTHER COUNTRIES OR WORK WITH A DISTRIBUTOR LIKE RIOT? WHY DO YOU ONLY DISTRIBUTE WITHIN FRANCE?
We still produce small quantities and cannot afford to go bigger yet. I hope it will change in the future! You can order from anywhere in Europe on the website though.

DO YOU CONSIDER BAD ASS TO BE A SKATE BRAND FOR FEMALES OR A SKATE BRAND FOR EVERYONE?
Well it’s a brand created by a girl who tries to push the skate girl community but we aren’t so close-minded and I think guys like the peach so they can find a way to enjoy what we are doing!

WHO WORKS ON THE DESIGN OF YOUR APPAREL?
The peach on wheels was created by YA.LD but I’m now working with a French skater girl, Clemence, on some new boards. It’s gonna be awesome!

WHAT’S IT LIKE SKATING IN BORDEAUX? THEY’RE REALLY STRICT WITH PEOPLE STREET SKATING IN THE CITY, RIGHT? DOES IT CHANGE THE VIBE?
A few years ago, they were very strict, people got tickets all the time. It’s been about a year since skaters met the representatives and thanks to guys like Léo Valls, skateboarding is taken a little more seriously now. There are even some hours they let us skate some plazas in the city! But on the flip side, the only bowl in town is left behind and getting more and more dangerous!

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO SKATE THERE?
I have to drive for an hour to find my favourite bowls like in Libourne or Gujan Mestras for example.

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THIS SUMMER?
A few days in Bilbao in June for the Volcom contest at La Kantera bowl. Then beginning of July we are supporting a 100% female surf and skate event in Brittany where we will give skate lessons and demos. We will stay for a week round Lorient to skate and surf a bit. Then we plan a skate trip to the Basque coast with some girls from Bordeaux, camping in bowls and eating tapas! The last 2 weeks of August I will be on a skate camp mission as a teacher and photographer for Board’O Association! Then finally comes the Vans Park Series in Malmö followed by a holiday to Copenhagen and I will start an architecture and design traineeship in October until next summer!

 

Pictures by Clement Le Gall

Lisa Whitaker of Meow Skateboards
Interview

Founders Interview: Lisa Whitaker of Meow Skateboards

Lisa Whitaker has a long and impressive history in skateboarding. Though you might not recognise her name, if you follow women’s skateboarding you will surely know her work. Lisa has filmed for a bunch of female skate videos including the legendary ‘Getting Nowhere Faster’ by Villa Villa Cola. She also founded Girls Skate Network and works with the Women’s Skateboarding Alliance. In her most recent venture, Lisa founded Meow Skateboards, which supports one of the best all-female skate teams in the world.

Lisa Whitaker behind the lens

Lisa behind the lens

Why did you decide to start Meow and what were your goals for the company when you first set it up?
My husband had the initial idea to start a company after getting a tax refund. He grew up skateboarding as well and thought it would be a fun project we could work on together.

For me the spark was being at one of the biggest contests with some of the top female skateboarders in the world and realizing a majority of them didn’t have board sponsors and even the top three on the podium were only “flow” and not officially part of the team. I skated for Rookie Skateboards in the late 90s, which was an awesome opportunity for me; now I was in the position to make something similar happen for the next generation.

We weren’t setting out to make a “girls” skate company. We just wanted to start a company for fun that would support a female team, give them something to be a part of and a platform to be seen.

As the gender gap in skateboarding closes, do you see Meow ever sponsoring guys?
I don’t want to compete with things that are already being done and done well. My passion has been filling this void. I’m very excited by a future where a company like this won’t be needed and I’m open to changes as long as we’re doing something unique.

 

Lacey Baker, wallie. Photo: Anthony Renna

Lacey Baker, wallie. Photo: Anthony Renna

Where did the name ‘Meow’ come from? Being a corgi owner, I wouldn’t pick you as the “crazy cat lady” type…
At the time we were trying to come up with a company name a lot of my friends were saying “meow” to each other instead of “hello”. I’m not even sure how that all started or if there was another meaning to it… I was just hearing it a lot and thought it would be a fun name. I also love cats and would likely be a “crazy cat lady” if my husband wasn’t so allergic to them, but don’t tell that to Milo (my corgi).

You have an impressive team of skaters including Lacey Baker and Vanessa Torres. What do you look for when considering skaters for the Meow team? How much of it depends on skill vs. attitude and personality?
I love our current team, we have such a great mix of amazing skateboarders and personalities. It is hard to put in words what I look for, but I know it when I see it. Skill, style, trick selection, speed, personality, self motivation, ability to create content (photos/videos) and sometimes location all factor in.

Mariah Duran, kickflip. Photo: Alex Coles

Mariah Duran, kickflip. Photo: Alex Coles

Do you run Meow entirely on your own? How do you find the time (you have a kid now too!) and the motivation to do it all?
My husband helps pack orders when I have my hands full and he designs the catalog. Other than that I do everything myself… usually in the middle of the night when my son is sleeping. Lack of time is my biggest struggle right now, but I know he won’t be this small forever so I’m enjoying my time with him. It doesn’t take much for me to stay motivated because I love skateboarding and all the people it keeps me connected with.

Last but not least, where can people get their hands on Meow products?
Over the last year or so we have opened several distributors, so our product can now be found around the world. If your local skate shop doesn’t have what you are looking for in stock then you can ask them to order it for you or get it on our website.

Kristin Ebeling, b/s smith. Photo: Tim Urpman

Kristin Ebeling, b/s smith. Photo: Tim Urpman

This interview was originally featured in the printed special edition Yeah Girl KrakMag that shipped with the Yeah Girl capsule box. Want to get your hands on a copy of the next printed KrakMag? Want to receive epic skateboarding product every two months? Check out the KrakBox now!

Yuri Murai filming Sayaka Jino Giannini
Interview

Meet Yuri Murai the filmmaker behind Joy and Sorrow 3

There’s a lot more to skateboarding in Japan than the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Though it only dates back a little over 30 years, skateboarding has deep roots there and a particularly strong girls scene. Filmmaker Yuri Murai, has been documenting Japan’s female skaters since 2013 and last year released the third video in the series, Joy and Sorrow 3.

This is the third Joy and Sorrow DVD you have made. Why did you decide to start filming them and what inspired you to keep making more?
I had always wondered why there were no girl skate videos, although there are many boy skate videos. I met many girl skaters who were really good but there were no girl skate videos. I thought, if only there was a video that I could use to shout out to the world that there are many good and cool girl skaters in Japan. So I decided to make it.

I made more because thoughts like “I wanna try this idea”, “I should’ve filmed it from this angle”, and such go through my head and it’s so fun to actually make the improvements in the sequels. To me it’s an endless fun cycle of creating and improving.

Mirei Tsuchida

Mirei Tsuchida

What camera do you usually film with?
I use a Sony VX2000 camera. I always film skating (no photography) as I want to show the audience the speed and aggressiveness of the movement.

Do you film, edit and produce everything yourself? Do you have any support from skate brands?
Yes, I film, edit and produce everything on my own. None of the videos were sponsored or supported by skate brands. I personally think skateboarding is nothing but playing around, so when it comes to making videos, I just try to play around as seriously as I can.

Which skate video gets you most hyped to skate?
Ummm, there’s no video in particular. I just watch whatever video that matches my mood at the moment.

Although I do love watching the billiard part from “Overground Broadcasting”, a Japanese skate video created by Morita Takahiro. I recommend anyone reading this to check it!

How long have you been skating and what’s your favorite thing to skate?
I skate about 3–4 times a week. I don’t have any particular obstacles that I like skating. To me, it’s more about who you’re skating with. Any obstacle is fun as long as I’m skating it with people who I click with. I’d say quarter pipes are my forté though.

Yuri Murai on the VX

Yuri Murai on the VX

There are more and more female skaters from Japan, like Aori Nishimura and Kisa Nakamura, making names for themselves around the world. Has the number of Japanese female skaters increased recently or are they just now starting to travel and compete globally? What do you think has changed?
The number of female skaters in Japan has definitely been increasing over the past few years. It’s true that there have been some female skaters that went and skated abroad but most of them went for vacation and not for contests like Aori and Kisa. I think it’s only recently that skateboarding started becoming popular in Japan. To be honest, I’m not sure why this is happening. Maybe it’s because there are more skateparks in Japan than before.

What do you think about skateboarding being in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics?
Now, skaters are being picked up on general TV shows. It was impossible until now for something like this. It’s really changing. Even the number of skate parks is increasing. The number of people who started getting interested in skateboarding is up. I hope many people who are interested in Japanese skaters, parks, and films want to come skating in Japan from all over the world.

Can we expect to see Joy and Sorrow 4 in the future? What’s next for you, Yuri?
Joy And Sorrow 3 is going to be the last one for the series. My next goal is to create a video that would inspire other girls to be filmers.

Nanaka Fujisawa, noseslide

Nanaka Fujisawa, noseslide

Cover image: Yuri Murai filming Sayaka Jino Giannini. All photos courtesy of Yuri Murai.

This interview was originally featured in the printed special edition Yeah Girl KrakMag that shipped with the Yeah Girl capsule box. Want to get your hands on a copy of the next printed KrakMag? Want to receive epic skateboarding product every two months? Check out the KrakBox now!

Yeah Girl capsule box
Box

Introducing the Yeah Girl capsule box

Earlier this year we discovered Yeah Girl, an organisation that aims to document and celebrate women in skateboarding through events like their annual international skate photo exhibition that raises money for Skateistan.

We loved what we saw so we wrote to the founder, Sarah Huston, to introduce ourselves. After chatting for a while, an idea was born… what about a Yeah Girl x Krak collab box that only features products from female run and orientated brands?

After many months of planning, and following on from the 2017 Yeah Girl exhibition in Copenhagen, we’ve teamed up to bring you this limited edition collab box. Dig deeper into the world of women’s skateboarding; we’re taking you behind the lenses and behind the scenes to uncover the brands and people across the globe that celebrate ladies of shred.

The Yeah Girl x Krak collab box will include special edition prints from this year’s Yeah Girl exhibiting photographers; products from Meow SkateboardsGirl Skate UKSpitfireBad Ass, and Girls Are Awesome; a new release women’s skate dvd; and a limited edition skate deck, created by the legendary Paul ‘The Professor’ Schmitt exclusively for this box.

It’s not just about the products though; it’s about the stories behind them. Also included in the box is the KrakMag print edition, featuring interviews with the people behind the brands and with the photographers from this year’s Yeah Girl exhibition.

For every Yeah Girl KrakBox sold, $2 will be donated to Skateistan, a non-profit organisation that uses skateboarding as a tool for empowerment.

Dig deeper into the world of women’s skateboarding; we’re taking you behind the lenses and behind the scenes to uncover the brands and people across the globe that celebrate ladies of shred.

The box is now available for pre-order and will ship on January 15.

Click on your region to get your box!
Australia
USA
Europe