Having a reputation for a sweet, soft-spoken demeanor, it’s a bit ironic that American skater, Gaby Ponce’s actions on a half-pipe would just scream out at you like it does. This beautiful mix of Puertorriquena and Cubana gets down. And this girl FLIES.
Soon to be embarking to the west coast after growing up on the east for all of her life, she is about to have a lot more time to skate (and study! She’s moving for college!) as the sun shines out there for her. She was nice enough to grant us an interview and share her thoughts on skating and life in general. We wish her the best of luck and can see her continuing down a path of success in her skating and studying!
RRRG: Where were you born and raised?
Gabby: I was born and raised in Tenafly, NJ (a town about 15 minutes away from New York City) and I still live here. I am moving to California in August for college.
RRRG: How long have you been skating for?
Gaby: About 6 years
RRRG: How did you get started in skating? Was it from a person? Tv?
Gaby: I’m not really sure. My mom got me a skateboard for Christmas but I was so young and I can’t quite remember why I wanted it. I think I just wanted it on impulse.
I was having a lot of fun with it and just took it from there. It got to the point currently where we have to drive 2 hours to get to a vert ramp because there is nothing closer where I live. Now since I have my license my parents and I switch on and off as to who is driving so it’s not as tiring. We go about to the vert ramp four days a week but I’m pretty sure that will change once I move out to San Diego.
RRRG: Yeah, that’s pretty far…but that’s some dedication! Do you feel like there are a good number of skilled female skaters?
Gaby: To an extent I think there is. But I would have to argue and say that “the more the merrier” because you can never have too many people involved in such an exciting sport.
RRRG: How does it make you feel when you see skate mags that don’t have any girls in them…or events where it’s male-dominated?
Gaby: I think it’s unfortunate that the girls don’t get as much coverage as the guys. If there were more girl skaters then we would all push each other to become better… then the level would rise, allowing more publicity and coverage for us.
RRRG: Have you ever been made aware of your gender while skating at a park with all guys – whether good or bad? What I mean is, have you ever had an experience while skating where you thought, ‘Dang….it’s because I’m a girl……’
Gaby: No, I’ve never really thought of that and I if it did happen, I would probably ignore it. I think if more girls believed in themselves, they could get just as good as the guys. Then women’s action sports would progress a handful because I believe that anyone can do anything if they put time into what they are trying to accomplish. It may take some people longer then others to achieve there goal but it’s not where or how you start, it’s where you end up.
RRRG: What tricks are your specialty?
Gaby: Kickflip Indy
RRRG: What tricks are you learning right now?
Gaby: Kickflip variations, 540’s
RRRG: Do you mostly skate vert? Street? Both?
Gaby: I skate mostly vert now. When I first started skating I was a street skater, then I moved to the mini ramp/transition…and now vert.
RRRG: Do you ever feel afraid about injuring yourself when you are learning a new trick?
Gaby: Sometimes. It depends on the trick really. If I am trying a trick for the very first time I always have an initial fear until I get comfortable with the motion after a few tries.
RRRG: How do you deal with being scared then?
Gaby: I try not to over analyze or think about it all day. I just go for it without thinking about it, hoping that I don’t hurt myself.
RRRG: You are graduating this year from high school….what are some of your plans?
Gaby: I plan on going to college in California. I’ll start at a community college out there for the first two years then transfer to a university in order to save money. I would like to take the path of a pre-medical student and am interest in studying either biology or chemistry. I’m not sure what I want to become a doctor in. I want to keep my mind open and just see what I am best at in that career field.
RRRG: Do you have any other hobbies? Snowboarding? Surfing? Sewing? ;)
Gaby: Health food and medicine. I try to eat as healthy as I can like organic and high-quality foods. I would buy all organic food but it is too expensive. I eat a lot of veggie burgers, vegan products and fish but I wouldn’t call myself vegetarian because I eat yogurt and have a piece of meat every once in a while. As for studying medicine, I like to read up on medical news. I also watch the TV show ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ ever so often but I don’t think it would be healthy to dream about my goals all day so I try to learn material that I will need in college to assure myself that I will get the grades to further my education in the medical field.
RRRG: Have you gotten to travel much to compete?
Gaby: Compared to my other skateboarder friends, no I haven’t traveled much. The farthest away I’ve been from New Jersey is Oregon, Washington and California. I’ve never been out of the country.
RRRG: When is your next competition? What will it be?
Gaby: X-Games again if I get invited. Also, the Mountain Dew Tour if they have another women’s competition. Their first one ever was last year.
RRRG: Do you feel nervous competing?
Gaby: No, I think it’s fun and I think of it as a big get together since the vert skaters are so spread out across the globe.
RRRG: Where are your favorite skatepark(s)?
Gaby: Woodward Skatepark of Philadelphia, Woodward Camp.
RRRG: What kind of board are you currently riding on?
Gaby: Plan B
RRRG: Who are some of your sponsors?
Gaby: Sk8grl Clothing, Gatorade, Bones wheels, Motto griptape.
RRRG: Who has inspired you the most (male/female)?
Gaby: I think anyone that has a positive attitude towards skateboarding is inspirational. They show you what you can accomplish if you put your mind to it.
RRRG: Any shout outs??!!
Gaby: I would like to thank my parents and sponsors for all of their help and support.
RRRG: Thanks a ton Gaby!! We see you going nowhere but up in the coming years!
Check out a short video on one of Gaby’s sessions at Allen’s Ramp:
All photos and video courtesy of Gaby Ponce
Interview by Christine Cauble