Definitely the sexiest interview we have ever had on our site. We catch up with wandering Viking and dear friend, Ishti, as she skates her way across the world spreading the stoke from riders to riders.
Dearest Ishtar, how are you?
I’m great! Happy, excited and stoked! Bawo ni Ore mi atata? Hahaha
Last time we spoke you were about to leave Australia, where are you now?
Man I miss that place, so much! I can’t wait to get back to OZ! But right now I’m here and I’m very happy to be so. I’m being hosted by my dear friends Brandon Stewart, also known as the founder of Caliber trucks, and his beautiful fiance, Lexi, here in Santa Cruz. We just got back home after spending a week at Burning man. I am so, SO thankful to these two rad people that they brought me there, I love them so much! I’ll head back to San Fran tomorrow and enjoy my last two weeks with great friends and epic skating!
Why were you watching a man burn?
Oh its so much more than that. Well I guess the main act is when they burn this gigantic wooden man that they built up, it has a spiritual meaning, there’s a lot of fires during the week of burning man, and I think it’s because it’s all about getting rid of your sorrows and embracing new beginnings.
Many may think that Burning man is this crazy non stop party in the middle of the desert that people get rowdy at. But my experience and understanding of this magical place has changed ways of my life, and I am so happy to have gone! It was really one of the greatest gifts I could give to myself.
What new beginnings are you embracing now?
I got to connect on a similar wave of energy, a level where there was no judgment, only acceptance and unconditional love. Nakedness, expression, colours, sex, happiness, art and creativity just floating in this circle in the middle of the desert. Once I accepted and stopped trying to understand and control my thoughts, I floated up to this same level of vibration and I was connected.
Wow, this is deep, but I want to explain that this feeling, this connection that I got to vibe with, has touched me and I’m embracing it fully and completely. I want to bring this connection back to the “real world” and help spread that stoke and enlightenment.
Can’t help but notice you said there was also sex floating in this circle… Was it that kind of party?
Hahaha, I’m happy you caught that out of everything! But yeah man, expression, and some felt like they were comfortable and had the need to share it with each other. In many different ways. I won’t say I didn’t have fun! One love.
How does this impact the skateboarding aspect of your life?
I have reflected on this, and I thought about the connection I had out there in the desert with all these strangers and the connection I have with my skate family. It’s very easy to get so involved in the skate scene, take so many things personally and forget that there is a world outside of skating. Having the “time off” and getting to know people, vibe with them and connect, I understood that I am very lucky to have found the community of longboarding. I understood that my friends are not only my friends, I care so much about them, its almost ridiculous! We are so lucky to be in this scene together.
What new perspective does stepping outside the skate family give you?
To realize that the world is battling between reality and norms from the past right now. Some call it the time of enlightenment. Many people are realising that there are other things that make them happy, they are getting more connected with themselves and they will start listening to their own emotions, and thoughts. Understand themselves more and hopefully be brave enough to search for happiness inside of themselves, to do what they love.
When I got to step out of the life I live that is so surrounded by skating, I could feel and reflect on all the people who are involved in the longboard community. We all do it for the love, there is so much stoke that is changing peoples lives. Many have changed their lives, given up the “real norms” of having a 9-5 job or stability of a home just to be able to take part and share the good vibes of skating. We all are getting so creative to come up with new ideas of how to share and play our part in the community, to contribute in the best way possible to be able to spread even more stoke around the world. This is a beautiful, and wonderful thing!
It’s so freaking amazing to see how we dream and make our dreams into a reality! And I can back this up with never ending stories to prove my point, just take the West Coastin project to start with!
If there was one lesson that you could share with the community to help it grow in love, what would it be?
I know we can all feel it. We know there is something special going on. And especially right now I think its very important to keep supporting each other, and to stay together. Great things are happening that are setting our future, and we are building it, right now. So, we have to make sure to what is right, with loving intentions, so that we build a clean and fresh future! Keep on being stoked, do it for the love and everything we wish for will come true! True story!
Change is in the air, where do you think we are headed?
It is really exciting right now! And I knew that at one point it all would lead to this. I have been reading a lot of different perspectives on the matter and its really interesting to hear what people with different opinions and moral standings have to say.
Everything is always changing, this fact will never change. And I believe that naturally the ones with the most experience, and knowledge, riders themselves and people that have been in the sport, seen it grow and been involved long enough to understand the basic importance and also relate to and respect the stoke and love that this sport really carries will be the ones to share their knowledge and help set up well planned and well organized events.
What is your perspective, as someone who has been attending IGSA races all over the world recently.
I have attended more IGSA races lately, especially during the last year. And I have learnt a whole lot during my short time in the scene of racing. I guess we’re talking about politics… Man I don’t know. I want to be all smart and come up with the perfect answer, but that is super boring. I’m exited and I can’t wait to see whatever happens! I will for sure be here supporting and helping the growth of the sport, and If there is anything I can do, I’ll gladly help!
What is the ”west coastin project’’ you mentioned earlier?
Yes! Five of us, all girls and all connected somehow in the scene, finally got a real chance to meet up, hang out and realised at that same time that we have to take advantage of that moment. We could all feel that something very special was going on. But the weekend that we had for ourselves to spend time and have fun was coming to its end. Thats when we started started thinking out loud, and not even 24h later, we came up with the perfect plan of how we could stay together and make the best out of it.
Who were the girls and how did you meet them?
Pam Diaz, Amanda Powell Daisy Johannes, my soul sister Marisa Nunez and I.
We are all concted in the most epic and random ways! Which makes this story so interesting! We all share a bond from the past. Personally, my bond with these girls started in the Dominican Republic, when I was living over there last year together with Pam. We would travel the whole island and skate and have adventure for a month, we had so much fun. Shortly after that I met Marisa, lurikng in the Peruvian jungle, and many may already be familiar with some of our stories, which I will carry forever!
Marisa would tell me about Amanda, and I was always curious to meet her, and I knew I would some day. When that day came, we were all together: Pam, Marisa and I at the IGSA race at Maryhill. I really liked the vibe we all shared and I could feel that something was about t happen. Lovely Daisy kinda just happened to be at the right spot at the right time and joined in on the stoke on one of our sessions out to GMR!
What did you decide to do to ensure you spent more time together?
We all made some major sacrifices! it was amazing!!
Monday morning, after spending a whole weekend together in LA I woke up at the pad that Amanda, Dane and Adam Colton share in Santa Monica, finding Amanda still home. Normally she would be gone hours earlier before we woke up, on her way to the cookie baking job she had miles away. I looked at her as she told us that she quit her job. She was tired of wasting her time not doing what she loved, and that she was ready to go all in on our project and skating career! Pam woke up, she had a flight to catch back home to the Dominican Republic in a couple of hours, she cried and said she wasn’t gonna leave. She wanted to stay and make this dream of ours happen! Marisa was headed back to Canada for the Whistler race, but also decided to stay, and Daisy who was going through a major move out, trying to find a new home put that to the side and we all got into work!
We named the project “West Coastin” and the goal was to find enough support to do a girls only skate trip through the west coast of the US, with a final goal to attend the very first “She- ride”.
WOW what did you hope to achieve with this project?
As a Longboard Girls Crew associated project, our goal is always to embrace the feminin side of the sport, to share the sisterhood and to develop our skating abilities as we spread the stoke! The girls in Spain made sure to help us out a lot! Many funny Skype sessions with all of us, laughing getting exited and creative!
After 4 days, we had a rad trailer that Pam put together. We had found enough money to make it happen, we had set a plan of all the cities and hills that we were gonna hit up. A week later, we were on our way up North! It was so amazing. The support we got from friends and companies was unbelievable, and I couldn’t believe how our drive and stoke led us to achieve our dream in less than a week! So cool.
How was the journey to the she-ride?
We laughed, screamed, loved, cried, got sassy, got gnarly, got stoked! So many emotions! 5 girls in a van, together for 16 days! Haha it’s a trip! And I loved it. It’s so interesting to spend this much time, so intense when I’m normally surrounded mostly by guys. It’s a different vibe, emotional. Honestly, the stoke I felt when I skated was the best ever, so much support, we all inspire each other, we all had our strength and we could help each other. SO cool!
What did you enjoy most about it?
Sharing this epic time with these girls. We did something new, and we made it happen. We put this thing together and we could take pride in all of it. I felt strong, and it was really cool to know that us five, worked hard for all this!
How will it changed the world?
Episodes are on their way out, and I hope that many, many girls, and boys out there are gonna get stoked and feel motivated to reach for their dreams, because anything is possible!
What was it like that weekend at Maryhill, just riding with babes?
To start with, Maryhill felt different, I’m so used to being surrounded by so much energy normally when I’ve been there. This time the place was so peaceful. All the girls were so stoked, and I had a blast. I was so, SO happy to be able to do runs with girls that never skated down hills before, show them my lines and see how stoked they got!
There were some rad ladies there that really amazed me! One of them was this 9 year old who had never bombed a hill, she was flying down SO fast on her buttboard! Crazy little thing! She was so stoked, we became buddies quite fast and she was the first out of the U’haul and first down the hill all weekend. I was so impressed, and made sure to follow her down with the camera, had a tough time keeping up! She knew how to take those lines!
I wrote a blog post for daddies board shop where I describe more of my experience at the she ride, check it out: http://blog.daddiesboardshop.com/2012/09/04/west-coastin-4th-report-by-ishtar-backlund/
Where were you before all this West coast naked fun?
I spent a month and a half in Canada! Attending the roots of racing as the season got started over there. Radical to meet everyone who’s been in the scene since the beginning. Lots of rain, racing almost every weekend, parties and good times! Canada is cool, reminds me a lot of Sweden.
They have Vikings in Canada?
Not really… not at all. But they’ve got the nature and stuff.
You went to Canada straight from Oz?
Yes we flew over there. Marisa was really into that and I joined. Haha I was excited to see everyone again. We had some sweet times in Oz though, the last two weeks we spent in Byron Bay with the Early crew. It was freaking paradise!! Byron bay is pure sweetness, and I can’t wait to go back!!
What races did you do?
We raced every weekend. And it rained almost every weekend. Mt. Wash was the gnarliest!! Hoooly! Its one of the fastest races out there, over 60+miles if you get to do it properly, but in my case it was storming! Water flooding down the hill, and at one point, with my visor open, it started hailing! I was literally crying that whole day, but I just felt that I had to do it, I’d been looking forward to it for so long, and I did! With great support from my friend Charlie David. In the last heat we started by holding hands for the first part of the run! I love her.
Yeah Gnarly Charlie. <3
Do you miss home?
I miss my mum, my brothers and my sister and my grandparents. But where I was raised doesn’t match with where I want to be. I’m not tuned in with the vibes where I came from, and the culture. So I’m happy to be doing what I do. I’m on my own life adventure, and the world is my living room!
Will you ever go back?
Of course! don’t get me wrong I love Sweden, the summers are rooted in my soul. And I love to spend time with my family and friends. But I don’t want to live there again. As I said, it’s not really my ideal culture. I need heat, and passion haha. Sweden has that, in their own way I guess.
Where do you want to be?
Right where I am. haha I think that’s enough!
In Santa Cruz?
In Santa cruz, or in San fran, Japan, anywhere in this hot body of mine, right here ,right now! I’m pretty happy with my situation and I don’t know if I want to wish it away. Whatever happens will happen for a reason and I’m open for it. I guess it will be obvious if I decide to settle for a while at some point. You’ll notice, I bet.
What did you enjoy most about this time in Canada?
To keep on hanging out and spending much time with my friends. I do miss many of them, and to be able to fill up that little battery and get to know them better as we skate and chill was rad. Canada is a very friendly country with rad skating.
Did you race more this year than last?
Yes, I think so! Last fall and this spring has been filled with races, its been really cool to learn so much about that whole world. So much to learn. I’m happy I got to experience it all! And with time learn what plays big roles in that world. The whole knowledge of taking lines, riding in tight packs, using all that adrenaline to make it down fast as possible down the hill and what not. As I got more into that whole world, I realized how much support I had from my sponsrs, Daddies hooked me up with some dope new NJK’s which made my experience so much better! I got hooked up with Abec 11 so that I didn’t need to hustle for wheels for every race, and Rayne made sure to provide me with the sweetest piece of wood that I can use for all kinds of fun riding! Still in love with my Kaha trucks! So thank you so much for all the support and love!
You’re on the green team with all your girls now!
What was your setup for this season?
I’ve been riding my Rayne baby killer, Kahalani 184’ trucks, 70mm 78’ flashbacks and Venom bushings. I’m looking forward to trying out the Rayne Rival! Been very inspired by some ladies that kill it on flat land tricks, I need those double kicks.
What’s your relationship with Rayne?
I love them, they are one of my dream teams and I love the support they give me. It was so rad to spend time at the warehouse and hang out with all the dudes! Heaps of fun. They support me and I support them, just like it should be.
How have you grown as a skater?
I’ve been very inspired especially by all the girl skaters I’ve been hanging out with this summer, and realising that Longboarding is such a broad term. There are so many diferent styles of riding and I’m so curious to learn more about everything! I love the feeling of working hard on tricks and getting stoked and making it!
Living with Amanda must have been fun, especially that crazy honey butter eating man!
I love love love love Adam so much!! He is a rad person and so inspiring. He is true to himself and does what he wants. Amada and her hubby Dane are a rad couple, so supportive of anybody stopping by town and I’m so happy I got to stay with them. They made sure to let us have the best of times and skate so many rad local spots!
How does the West Coast scene differ from the other places you’ve been?
They are really good over here, dialed, experienced and inspiring. I love coming over here and spending a whole summer hanging out, skating and chilling and having so much fun.
Where is next for you?
I just got a email today from Ayumi in Japan, in 4 days I’m arriving in Tokyo, and the day after we fly over to the north isalnd of Japan to stay with her friend and explore and skate all the new spots we can find. So stoked!
Who is Ayumi?
Ayumi Oride is my new love haha, I love that girl. I met her at Maryhill this year and we got along very well from the first moment. She was a big support when I was thinking about where to go next, I’ve always known that I’m gonna visit Japan at one point and meeting her was just that boost that I needed to buy my ticket and start planing my adventure over there.
Ayumi is a big part of the very new and fast growing longbaord scene in Japan, and I feel so fortunate to head over there and help her and the rest of the radnes to grow!
What are you hoping to find in Asia?
I’m just out for the experience, I want to learn about a foreign culture. I feel there is a lot of respect in the cultures over in Asia and I’m interested to practice my patience. I want to learn more about the mystics that lie in the bottom of many cultures over there, and I would love to get in contact with a teacher and teachings that I could learn from. I’m excited!
How long will you be there for?
I dont know. I really dont. We’ll see what happens. A lot to see and a lot to experience.
Anything you want to say to the Europeans?
Hahaha, Yeah! You guys rock! I miss the history and vibes from Europe, and as a European I feel the need to be in contact with the land and cities I’m in. I miss all the old architecture that we find over there, all the old streets and small bars and cafe’s.
Europe has some radical roads, and I can’t wait to come back and skate and hang out with local skaters!
As always my dear, it’s been a pleasure speaking with you, stoked vicariously on your adventures. Hope our paths cross soon, maybe in a desert, maybe in a skate park. Stay Ishti.
Take care Ore mi atata ! <3