As one of the female faces of Van’s in the UK, Helena Long is fast becoming known for her far-from- gutless street maneuvers (as you can see from her photographs) and also for her striking, playful personality. Actually, her photographs are how I discovered her; specifically the magnificent one by Jenna Selby. I was googling images and I typed “girl skater” and wa-lah!, there was Helena doing a magnificent move so far up off the ground I thought she was flying……
Who is this GIRL?! I thought…..must. interview. And I found her. :)
“Hells” as she is affectionately called by her mates, is being featured in a new, girl’s skate film that was masterminded by the incredibly, talented Jenna Selby. When Helena is not busy being a star subject in the film and photography world, she finds time to practice her 360 nollie heel for the next competition. Already, Helena has won 1st place ranking in the girl’s skate comp at NASS (National Adventure Sports Show Festival – Europe’s biggest urban sports, lifestyle and and music festival) and also placed 1st one year at the National Women’s Day skate competition in Manchester, UK.
She told us if she could have one super power in the world, it would be to fly. Believe me, we can see her getting there!
RRRG: Where are you from, Helena?
Helena: I’m a Southeast Londoner and have lived in Greenwich all my life so far.
RRRG: What inspired you to start skating in the first place?
Helena: I think it was friends who were giving it a go at the time and I was also very influenced by the Playstation, Tony Hawk games. Although, unfortunately it’s not as easy to do a McTwist as I thought!
RRRG: How long have you been skating?
Helena: I think it’s been a few years 4 or 5 maybe?
RRRG: What kind of board are you riding right now? Why do you like it?
Helena: I’m currently riding a Rogue board and they’re pretty cool because they’ve got really concave edges which give a really nice pop.
RRRG: Are there a lot of girls that skate in the UK?
Helena: Very very few! But for me, I find it quite exciting because I rarely get to skate with other girls and when I do it’s so much fun!
RRRG: If we were to try and peek at you practicing, where would we best find you? Where is your favorite skatepark?
Helena; Oh, I reckon it has to be Mudchute… it’s not too big and it’s got a cool and kinda quirky layout. I try and skate whenever I can but with work and school it ends up being about twice a week with maybe a couple of little sessions here and there.
RRRG: Do you compete? In what areas do you (or have you) compete in?
Helena: When there are competitions I’m always up for taking part; usually general street skating or mini ramp comps.
RRRG: What competitions have you been in?
Helena: Apart from a couple of mini local ones, I’ve taken part in St Albans Girl’s Skate Jam (street and mini ramp) for the past few years; Nass, Skegness mini ramp comp and a National Women’s day comp at Manchester’s Projekts skatepark. I’m sure there have been a couple of others but there have been quite a few!
RRRG: Have you been able to travel around the UK and out of the country yet to compete? If so, where have you been?
Helena: Yeah i think that’s what I’ve enjoyed most is being able to travel the country to discover new places and parks to skate. I’ve been to Wales, Leeds, Bradford, Manchester, Skegness, Sheffield, Liverpool, Birmingham, Brighton, Broadstairs Rochester, York, and Cornwall!
RRRG: How do your parents feel about you skating? Do they like it? Do they worry about you getting injured?
Helena: Whilst they do worry about me getting injured (probably my mum more than my dad!) they are extremely supportive; taking me places or even looking up skateparks where we might go to on holiday!
RRRG: Cool parents! :) What is your favorite trick? What tricks are you working on getting down pat right now? How long does it usually take to get it down?
Helena: I think my favourite trick would have to be the one I do most, which is a nollie inward heel. Urm.. I usually find a new trick to learn on the day I go for a skate – always trying to land something new and as I’m so determined it could take all day for me to land a trick! Currently I’m trying to learn a 360 nollie heel.
RRRG: Besides skating, what are your other hobbies?
Helena: I’m a bit of a drummer and have played for quite a few years, playing in bands for weddings and birthday parties and general gigs mainly around London and Brighton….. even teaching a bit!
RRRG: That is so awesome! Who are some of your skate heroes?
Helena: To be honest they kinda change all the time but i’ve pretty much always stuck with Rodney Mullen because he’s always set the standard and always looks like he loves what he does.
RRRG: Do you think girls get much attention for their skills and accomplishments in skateboarding as much as they deserve??? If not, why do you think this is?
Helena: I think they could always do with a bit more support and help because in a way I think it’s a lot harder for girls to get the confidence to take up such a male dominated sport and really stick with it.
RRRG: What are your future plans involving skating and personal?
Helena: Well, just to continue to enter comps, learn new tricks and i’d love to do another video and love to do a bit of travelling (the board will always come with)!
RRRG: I saw one of your favorite books is “Lord of the Flies”….do you read a lot? What did you love about this book? :)
Helena: I don’t read as much as i should! But that book was one i studied for my English GCSE and at first I must admit I didn’t really like it – thought it was a little old fashioned. But after rereading it I found it was a great story based on the idea of a world without rules and authority and run by kids.
RRRG: If you could have any super power in the world, what would it be? (invisible, strenght, x-ray vision, etc… :)
Helena: Ah flying for sure! Trying to learn how to do it through skating is proving to be a little difficult!
RRRG: hahaha…..that would be sweet. Who are your sponsors?
Helena: I’m currently sponsored by Vans shoes and Rogue Skateboards who have been awesome support!
RRRG: Any last shout outs?? :)
Helena: Vans, Rogue lasses, Skater dudes: Jamie, Chris, Moby, Shakes, those bloody Northeners in Leeds and Bradford: Cora, Lois Martyn, Manhead, Ben Powell, Rye, then there’s Sam Brucey, close friends (you know who you are) and the family. Thank You!
Every london street skater should check out is http://www.facebook.com/l/52b58;www.ukskate.co.uk
Interview by Christine Cauble