Interview: Letícia Nogueira - Photos: Raisa Abal
Hey Steffi! I remember meeting you on a beautiful afternoon in Munich after we’d been skating all day across town. I mean… I'm from Portugal, you’re from Austria, and we met in Germany. Isn't it crazy how skateboarding can take you around the world and make you cross paths with beautiful people!?
Thanks, Leti. Yeah right? Munich was such a great weekend. The week before I had just started skating again after more than a year of break because I had two back-to-back injuries, one on the knee and then when my recovery bike rides for the knee got a little too wild, I hurt my shoulder, too. To be honest I really hadn’t been feeling all that good in the time when I was injured. Skateboarding was the one thing that I loved the most and that made me extremely happy: the community, the adventures you go on together with our friends, the sweaty hugs and the vibes you share when someone is landing a trick. I had really missed it and felt very sad a lot of times.
So when we were heading to Munich, I was a little nervous, I hadn’t really been skating in such a long time and felt quite insecure on my board. The days before I had tried some super easy tricks in my home bowl, but I was so scared to hurt myself again and I felt so blocked that I just couldn't do them anymore. But as soon as we got to Munich, I met all of you girls, happy, fully hyped and full of energy. You just instantly made me feel confident again and we had the best sessions ever. Everyone was sending it, hyping each other up and was just having a good time. It was incredible!
Yeah, what an amazing weekend! It was lovely, skating together and meeting everyone. I will never forget it. Tell me, where else has skateboarding taken you this year?
I went to Copenhagen Open with my very best friends Valli and Nadia, and also to Barcelona for the Girls Rule project, where we had a blast. Later on in summertime I visited my friends Mischka and Roy in Portugal. At the moment I am in Buenos Aires with my boyfriend. But in the end, I guess it’s not about the places, but about the little memories on the way, having deep, drunk talks till sunrise in Copenhagen, getting dressed up in Stefani Nurding's clothes for a party night out in Barcelona and having all the vibes with the girls, singing „Boys, boys, boys“ at the top of our lungs on a car ride through Portugal, dancing all night at a Milonga in Buenos Aires with my love or simply feeling the hype of a session with people you just got to know and sharing your passion for skateboarding with girls from everywhere.
Tell me about a special skate spot.
The first street spot I have ever skated was a bobsleigh track in a little town in the Tyrollean alps. Peter, my now boyfriend and his friends took me there on a street mission. The track has high quarter pipe walls on one side all the way down, is like 1 meter wide, has really rough floor and cracks. One of our friends did a backside rockslide on one of the walls. He was so fast that he nearly crashed into the wall on the other side of the track. Somehow he managed to save himself, landed the trick and bombed down the hill full speed. We were so hyped! At the time I had not been skating for long, so I was only doing kick turns on the quarter pipe walls while going down the track but I was having such a fun time on this very first street mission with the boys and I guess that’s where it all started.
Tell me about your video part, how did that come about?
I started going on more and more adventures with Peter and his friends. Searching for street quarter pipes but also trying to skate street with them. We had actually just wanted to film a little video together but we ended up having such a good time skating that we filmed a whole part.
Why did you decide to call it ‘Better late than never’?
Just like many other girls and unlike most of our male skate buddies, I didn’t start skating in my teen years. Back then, female skateboarding wasn’t really a thing where I lived. At the time, I never even considered that it could be something I would enjoy doing. Crazy, right? I discovered my love for skateboarding when I was 25. From that point on, I spent most of my time and energy trying new tricks and going on fun skate missions and I was definitely having a ball. I am really happy that I gave skateboarding a go. There is no timetable for life and it is never too late to start doing something that you love… better late than never!
What are you interested in these days besides skating and traveling? Surprise me!
I love mountain biking. My brother and I have been biking most of our childhood and teen years until I started going to university. I really enjoy being in the forest all by myself, riding as fast as possible and only hearing the sound of the wind…
Just recently, I started playing the piano again and I really love how (just like skateboarding) it makes me forget about space and time, even when I am injured.
You have such a sweet personality, you're so kind and a pleasure to be around. If I had to guess, I would say your parents raised you really well. Were they supportive?
Awww, thanks, Leti! I can definitely consider myself very lucky to have been raised in a very loving and caring way. I only have my dad now but when I was younger both my mum and my dad spent a lot of time with my brother and me. I was never really a girly girl, so they loved taking both of us on mountain bike rides and hiking and climbing tours. Mum always spoilt us with delicious food and took time to listen to our worries and gave really good advice. Dad was the one who supported me a lot in my teen years when I went on mountain bike races all over the country but also picked me and my friends up after parties. To be honest, I think he really loved those drunk late night talks with us teenagers in the car.
And now the question we've all been waiting for: what's the secret to get front rocks on lock?
Haha Leti, I still get days when they‘re scary, but I really love doing them.
The first time I did a front rock, I was mind-blown by the way this new trick felt, the twisting of the body, the coming down, everything. When I went to bed at night I couldn’t wait to go skate the next day, do the trick and get to feel this new sensation again. I guess I just instantly fell in love with it.
What's your life motto?
There can never be too many dried fruits, nuts, seeds and sprouts topping your food!
That’s great, I second that. Thanks for being such an inspiration Steffi. Brb just booking a ticket to Austria to come and skate with you asap!