Holly Lyons stands out as one of the most memorable skaters because she has assisted in blasting any stereotypes about women on wheels and has given a new definition to ‘skating like a girl’. Skating like a girl is badass….. especially when you have the skills and guts of Holly Lyons.
Besides being busy with her new website (www.Sk8Grl.com) dedicated to girls who are passionate about ripping up the half-pipe or stunting on cement playgrounds, she is a five time X Games competitor, World Cup skateboarding champion, stunt double and hosting as an action sports reporter on television. Can a girl get a breath? We would like her to but at the same time, we don’t want her to stop. Thanks Holly…..for loving life, loving what you do and passing on the enthusiastic spirit for us all!
RRRG: Hi Holly…let’s start with the basics, where were you born and raised? And if a fan wants to stalk you, where would they find you now? ;)
HL: I was born and raised in Walnut Creek, California and my mom still lives in the same house. I now live in Encinitas, California.
RRRG: How long have you been skating? And how old were you when you first started?
HL: I’ve been skating since 1993. I was a teenager and played with skating and the idea for a while before I really got addicted to it.
A true California girl…
RRRG: How did you get into skating?
HL: I was dating a pro skater and I loved watching the boys skate. Him and his friend hooked me up with my first skateboards and t-shirts. I was really scared to skate in front of them and luckily I had a friend who wanted to learn too. So, it was us against the world because we were so bad….LOL
RRRG: Were friends inspirational to you at the time you started to skate? If so, who? And do they still skate too?
HL: Yes, everyone was really supportive. The guys and girls I knew all thought it was cool. Girls were scared and they always said I had a lot of balls, but I don’t think so, I just loved it that’s all.
The more I got into it, the guy I was dating didn’t like it. He said it was his job and he didn’t want to come home and hear me talk about it. After we broke up it was the fuel to my fire to prove to him I could do it too. He has since apologized which meant a lot to me even though I didn’t realize it until he apologized.
The girl I learned with was better than me starting off, but she didn’t stick with it.
The only time I’ve had a problem is with a guy or girl who sees me as a threat. So, if anyone is ever mean to you, know that it’s because they are insecure inside, it has nothing to do with you. You are just out there having fun and doing something you love. They are just projecting it onto you and please don’t let others discourage you about anything in life, it’s your life to live the way you see fit. :-)
RRRG: That’s a great perspective I’m sure many girls can be helped with. Were there many girls that skated in your area or parks you would go to? Or did you skate mostly with guys?
HL: No, not at all. I was like a sideshow freak. Seriously, I’m not kidding. I was in Hawaii one summer and a guy got video of me because he couldn’t believe a girl could really skate. It was unheard of to him, especially a girl that looked girly. Also, lots of girls asked me how I can do it since no girls do, and again I just loved it and it had nothing to do with what other people do or think. I don’t think much about popular thinking, if you get my drift. So, I always skated with guys.
RRRG: How did the guys treat you as a female skater if there weren’t many girls?
HL: They were all really positive to me. At first, I skated in shorts and my legs were all bruised up from this mini ramp. The guys didn’t like that ’cause they said it looked like I got beat up. I liked it though, because it meant to me that I was pushing myself. Guys were always cool to me because I didn’t care what they thought. Honestly, I would suck but I’d still try to charge and get lots of runs in. I was a big snaker even when I was learning. They were stoked on it! Do your thing and don’t look to others for approval, consent, etc. and people will be stoked on you for doing your thing.
Lots of times if I saw a cute guy I would want to show off, so I would just throw my skateboard around in front of him or his group. They may have made fun of me behind my back, but I never knew or thought about it, I liked showing off. People make fun of people on and off skateboards, you have to get over it and just charge doing what you love.
As I got better, I was intimidated in front of some of the pros or at contests, but I would just keep thinking I was skating with my friends and having a good time. I don’t look around at other people when I’m skating, I look at what I’m skating or at a friend I’m skating with. Stay focused on what you are doing and just be in the moment.
All the pro guys are super supportive but when you are practicing with them it’s a snake session and each person for them self. If I took a look around especially at X Games it was scary but it’s easy to trick your own mind and tell it this is no big deal and I’m just skating with my friends and then the nerves go away.
RRRG: When you first started skating vert, did you have any fear of injury or failure? If so, how did you deal with it?
HL: I had more fear of not being as good as I wanted to be, or what I saw in my minds eye. And honestly you can always be better, so it’s like a never ending chase. My mom had fears and I would tell her to please not share them with me as I don’t want it in my mind. I have had many injuries but they just made me mad and I wanted to be better after I healed, so they actually helped me to be more determined. I have been told I have a high threshold for pain and again I used to think pain meant I was pushing myself and testing my mortality and I liked that. Life is all perspective. That’s why I was attracted to vert to begin with. It was big and you got big air, I didn’t think about getting hurt I thought about what can I learn. If you think about getting hurt you will, if you think about learning new tricks you will. You are a collection of your thoughts remember to think about that :-)
RRRG: If most of the skaters you looked up to were male, did it affect you to want to see more girls skating? For instance, did you wish there were more female skaters as rolemodels when you were first starting? Do you think this may be an issue today for girls?
HL: I totally wanted to meet more girl skaters, and slowly they came out of the wood work. I didn’t think about wanting more role models, it just wasn’t a thought, but when I saw girls that were good snowboarders and surfers I was stoked. Then I entered my first All GIrl Skate Jam in 1999 and I was hooked on contests so I could meet other girls like myself. I think today girls have more role models than ever, so I hope it’s inspiring for them. They will skate and be role models for others, so it’s good for everyone to do their thing and be positive.
RRRG: I noticed in most skate mags, there are not much girls at all. Why is this? Is it because there aren’t many women that skate? Or are women just not marketable?
HL: Ask the magazines, we fight for this all the time. Most are run by guys, guys buy most of the skate magazines, so that’s probably why.
RRRG:. Do you compete currently?
HL: I had reconstructive surgery on my hand in summer 08 and last summer I was practicing for X Games and hurt my knee, so we will see.
RRRG: Will you be involved in the X games this year – competing or hosting?
HL: Hopefully! : -)
Soccer player David Beckham hired Holly to teach his son how to skate…out of all the people he hired, he rocks for hiring a female!! : D
RRRG: How has skateboarding changed since you first started?
HL: Wow, where do I start. It’s WAY bigger than when I started, like I have said I was a needle in a hay stack so to speak when I started. It’s much more accepted and main stream. It’s normal for little girls to skate. There’s more contest money on the pro level, but less contests right now. I see girls at every park I go to now and before people used to trip out on me. I think it’s great!
RRRG: Everything has changed except the magazines and exposure! Where are your favorite skatepark(s)?
HL: The Encinitas YMCA, vert ramps anywhere; all cement parks with transition are fun! I like it all.
RRRG: Have you traveled a lot out of the country for competition? What are some of the favorite places you have been?
HL: Yeah, Canada, all over the USA and Mexico. I love Canada, Vancouver and Montreal are beautiful.
RRRG: What advice would you give girls just starting out skateboarding and in competition?
HL: Have fun! Skate because you love it and you love competing. Everything else is secondary, if you skate for free stuff or to be sponsored you are doing it for the wrong reasons. Skating is not easy and no matter how good you are, you will get hurt. It’s just part of skating, so you have to like all parts of skating. If you do anything in life because you love it you will be the best you can be and you can’t ask for more than that. After that, let the judges decide and that’s all you have to do.
RRRG: I saw you have a new website up, please tell us about it…..
HL: I started a company called SK8*GRL over 3 years ago to inspire and empower girls to skateboard. We have a ‘social network’ too so girls can meet other girls and inspire each other. Let them know they are not alone, especially if they live in a small town. I want girls to have the things I didn’t have. It was scary doing something no one else did, but at the same time I couldn’t help myself. It’s such a great addiction and I want to make it as fun as possible for the next generation through our site. www.Sk8Grl.com
Holly reporting on action sports news and updates
RRRG: What are some of your future projects?
HL: I have been doing hosting work for Planet X and doing KUSI ‘Action Sports Reports.’ Working on my company and doing everything I can to be a good role model for the youth and making a positive difference where I can.
RRRG: What are your other hobbies?
HL: Being with my Chihuahua Rerun, yoga, reading, meditation, working on my company as it really is a labor of love and such a fun hobby too.
Holly trying out a different sport! :)
RRRG: Is skateboarding the reason why you are so fit or do you have a
fitness/training schedule you follow?
HL: LOL, thanks. Yes, skating has made me a buffed chick. I have good genes too. I do like to do aerobic exercise and yoga too but I don’t have a fitness schedule of any kind. I just listen to my body and body likes to move, so it’s easy for me. I love exercising and moving around.
RRRG: What board have you been using lately?
HL: Lester Kasai’s board
RRRG: Thanks so much for the interview Holly!
For additional information, check out Holly’s new website: www.SK8grl.com!
Holly and Rerun!
Video of Holly in action….:
Holly in the snow on a different kind of board
Holly playing on the full pipe
Interview by Christine Cauble
All photos courtesy of Holly Lyons