Priviyet Maria! Where are you from?
Привет! I’m Russian, from a town nearby the capital – Odintsovo.
When did you start skating?
In the UK, Canterbury. I was studying there and I took my inline skates with me, but then realized I wanted to ride a board. I found some guys from the local team and they put me on this trolley. Btw, if they’re reading this – HEY GUYS! Thanks Canterballs.
You never skateboarded as a kid?
Nope, I was always an inliner. I tried, I could even do some simple tricks like the ollie, but I never enjoyed skateboarding. Even now I don’t like those short boards.
Who were the guys who showed you the light?
Gav! My first guru. He helped me a lot, with my first slides and with my first board. I still use the gloves he gave me. And all those guys from Canterbury and Thanet… Andy, Ben, Pete, Jamie, there were lots of them. I met them all together when we were riding a secret spot. Got lots of advice.
How long did you ride with them for?
I think it was from February till April.
Did you skate anywhere else in the UK?
Canterbury, Broadstairs, Ramsgate, London, Lambourn and the secret spot! I was studying there and could not skate far away from the library.
What was the community like in the UK?
Pretty much the same as my country. It’s not about language or nationality but about longboarding. And this is the same in all countries. The only difference is that the level of UK riders is higher than Russian, but give us some time and we will catch up! Anyway, there was a friendly atmosphere, nice guys of all ages and skills. Not so many girls though. Never saw girls longboarding in Canterbury, only some of them in London. But I don’t mind getting more attention because of that haha.
What sort of riding were you doing?
I was and I am doing freeriding – slides, light downhill, carving, freestyle, light dancing, some park. Everything actually! But sliding is my favourite.
What did you ride in the beginning?
A Rayne Vendetta, I was riding it till yesterday! Now I have a Rayne Rival. And Randalls II 180. My first wheels were ABEC-11 Flashbacks.
What do you like about these boards?
They are light, so I can do freestyle, I like the shape, concave, kicks… I was looking for MY board very long, I wanted everything in one board and I think I got it. Now these shapes are really good and everybody knows it, but back when I was looking for a board all the people I knew were riding something else, and that was hard for me.
What’s the skating like in Greece?
I like it, there are some cool mountain roads. Some of them are dangerous and have traffic, but one road here is really cool. I hope I can do a nice video from here at the end of this summer. The bad thing is that I must not injure myself, not even a bit. I work in the salt water all day and even a little scratch can be dangerous. Recently I had a minor wound and it ended up with an infection and a deep scar. Sad, but I must be extremly carefull here.
You’re a mermaid?
Haha sure. I’m also a windsurf instructor. But I might have a fish tail, need to check.
Does your tail help you skate?
Sure. I don’t have a fish board, so at least something should be a fish for good slides.
Who do you ride with in Greece?
Well, mostly alone, but my college is a skater and he started to like longboarding as well. He also has longboard wheels and he put them on his skateboard. I hope he will help me to film my favourite road. But I probably need to teach him how to drive a car first haha.
When did you first skate in Russia?
When I came back from the UK, in May. We have a special rollerskate track in our town – perfect for longboarding. I went there the day after I came back. But then I left to Greece without my board. So, it’s my first summer on wheels.
Who do you skate with when you’re at home?
Longboarding in Russia is very popular now, almost everyone has a board. Lots of people ride. But of course we have teams and communities. I ride with my friends, for whom longboard is not just a modern accessory to have… like a bag or a little pink dog.
Are there people who treat their longboard like a pink dog?
Sure, because now “it’s so awesome” to walk on the street with a longboard in your hand. Silly! But for some people it’s good money, so I don’t care. The same story was in snowboarding when I was younger.
What is the problem with having people like this?
I think it’s like comparing Rockstars and Biebers in the scene. I don’t really mind them, I don’t care actually. But again, that’s money for board makers, advertisement and a means to get some new good riders in the sport!
Do you all call them Beibers?
I just invented it! Your interview gave us a new nickname for them, haha. Some people call them Hipsters. I call them Burton Girls. When I was 15/16 it was “so awesome” to have a Burton Snowboard, a pink board jacket and to sit on a slope the whole day trying to catch some guys.
How do Russian longboard girls catch guys?
Ha ha ha, well… I think… I don’t know. The girl should just come to a spot and say “Wow… you are so cool. Let’s go to my flat” ha ha ha. Well, not really, I think she just needs to love longboarding and not shout at her guy because he chooses to ride, not go shopping with her.
Is there a big community in your town?
Yes, we have a nice place to train, so it’s logical. But there are some good places in Moscow as well. And it’s only 7km from Moscow to our town. So the people mix.
What’s it like to ride there?
There are no cars, good asphalt, good hills and forests. Relaxed and comfortable. We have a couple of rollerskate tracks in Moscow and in Belorussia.
When did longboarding in Russia become popular?
I think the last year gave a big push. But it was quite common during the last 2-3 years.
Where are the big communities?
Moscow, Odintsovo, St. Petersburg, Belorussia (Minsk,Raybichi). Ukraine (Kiev,Dnepropetrovsk,Lvov). Probably more – but these ar the guys I know.
Have you met any other girls who skate there?
I have met many, but the level is not really high. Some girls are doing very well, they will really burn wheels soon. We also have a Longboard Girls Crew Russia, another big community.
What kind of stuff are they up to?
Freeride as well – carving, sliding, downhill – those with whom I ride. I’m sure there are lots of cruisers and town-riders, but I’m not into it.
What’s your role in LGC Russia?
Not really big. I just post my photos and videos there and they sometimes repost them. I’m not in Russia for most of the time, so I don’t really have a chance to organise things. I can’t even participate in the events most of the time, because I’m always away. Now I focus more on photos and videos. If I have a chance to participate or organise – of course I will, and they know it.
Who organises big events in Russia?
The big communities in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Belorussia and Ukraine and people who are pushing them – they organise events. But the biggest is probably Longboard Day in Russia and Belorussia. Sometimes we have some small contests and cruising events, like night rides in Moscow.
Have you attended any of these contests?
I was at a slide contest in Ukraine. I am always away for the ”Longboard Days”. These cruising events are not interesting for me though. I usually attend the season opening since I am always at home. We ride every day, with or without contests.
Are the Ukrainian guys skating a lot?
Ha, I just saw their new video when you were writing this question! Yeah, there are some really good riders and nice spots! But Belorussian rides are also wheel burners.
Who are the people making things happen there?
There are not so many of them like in Russia. I know only one community in each country, but that’s enough!
Where would you like to see the scene in Russia in the next 3 years?
I’m sure the level of longboarding will be much higher, we will have riders that can be compared to European Pros, more events – slide and downhill contests and more sick videos!
What are your plans for the rest of the season?
Go back to Greece, make a good video from there, then come back to Russia in Autumn and learn some new tricks to catch guys. Haha
Choose 3 numbers between 1-36
7, 21, 32,
7 – What is your favourite meal?
Strawberries in chocolate.
21 – Would you pick the red or blue pill?
32 – Laura Hatwell asks – what makes you a happy skater?
It was nice to talk to you again Maria, maybe skate together again sometime!
You never know, I hope so! It was nice to talk to you as well. If you’ve read ALL of this, well done on your patience and curiousity, now GO skate!