Featured rider: Nadia Hozič

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Really happy to share this fun conversation we had with Mrs KnK. She tells us about the community in FASTvenia, skating with women and her upcoming Spanish adventure.
Živijo! Nadia, how are you today?

Hello! I’m great! It’s a nice cloudy day here, but it’s dry so whatever. It rained for almost a week. And you?

Great! Where is here?
The main city of Slovenia, Ljubljana. It’s a magical place where you can travel with a longboard to all the ends of the city.

Is that where you’re from?
Yes, I’ve lived here all my life and I still love it, just not in the winter time haha.

What’s it like in FASTvenia?
Oh is that a new name? Haha well if we forget about the politics it’s awesome. I can truly say it’s a skate paradise. We have loads of different spots just 30 min outside of the city. You can travel to the mountains or to the coast in just two hours. Everything is really accessible and you can skate all year round.

What is the most common kind of skateable terrain?
Well we’re always looking for roads with low traffic and normally we find nice long roads 4-10km with some sketchy corners or really narrow 1-2 km long roads. There is a lot of variety but it always depends on what kind of mood you’re in; if it’s a long fast run or a slide sesh on our nearest hill.
Local_hill_F_Mihael_Zadravec

Do you surf?
Unfortunatly no, but I want to try it and if we’re lucky we’re gonna try surfing in Spain.

You’re going on a Spanish adventure?
Yeah! We’re so excited. Me, Mihael and our dog Era are going to Spain. Our plan is to skate the winter away. I always wanted to go to Spain and see Barcelona and now it’s really happening. Our plan is to explore the country, find awesome roads, take billions of photos and videos and spend some quality time together. Also I’m so stoked to skate with anyone we meet on the trip and make new friends and hopefully skate with some girls because here in Slovenia I don’t have the privilege of that.

Have you been before?
No, never and I can’t speak a word of Spanish ahah.

The first phrase I was taught in Spain is – ”De Puta Madre”, and it’s got me by the last 2 years. That and ”Si”!
Oh ok, I know that one. When I was little I was learning Spanish in school but I forgot everything. Now I only know Me Gusta! Thank you internet!

Can people follow your adventures online?
Absolutely! We made a Tumblr account and we will probably make a blog or something to document our adventure and share it with people back home. We’re also gonna post stuff on our facebook accounts.
KNK2013_F_Alex_Ireton

Did you know Spain has more girls who skate than it has tapas bars?
Haha, no I didn’t know that. I know the longboard community in Spain is massive and that there are a lot of girls there but I can’t even dream of skating with more than one girl. I wish, someday, the scene here in Slovenia will be the same.

You’ve never skated with another female?
Yeah I did at KNK, but that was a run or two and they were always in the front. I’m not really used to skating with other people, because here I’m the slowest and I’m always left behind haha. It really takes me a long time to learn something new. I’m a bit of a pussy when it comes to trying new things, but I love longboarding so I still do it. I think it’s more of a mental game than anything else.

Will you ever win the mental game?
No! But that’s what I like about it. Conquering your fear and thinking about how silly you are for being afraid in the first place.

When did you start skating?
4 years ago when I met Mihael.

Who is Mihael?
The love of my life and my best friend. He’s the one that pulled me into the world of longboarding. His first present for me was a helmet haha I didn’t even have a longboard, but I had a helmet. Since then I’ve been helping to organise KNK and loving every moment of it.
KNK2013_F_Natalia_Mielniczuk_03

Haha. Were you a breakdancer?
You wouldn’t belive but yes, when I was 7 haha.

What sorts of things did you get up to in the early skate days?
Well I didn’t have a longboard in the first year of my skating adventures so a good friend of Mihael lend me his and I use it all the time …. like in the winter when I went to school I took it, by the end of the school day it was already snowing but I skated home anyway haha. When I look back I probably f**ed up the longboard (skating in the rain and snow) but he still has it and rides it. So the first year it was just getting used to the feeling and commuting. Then the sliding happened.

A bald friend?
No, it was not Nadim. At that time he was living in England and I didn’t know him. It was the opposite, a guy with really long hair (Hvala Jošt!).

When did you fall in love with skating?
The guy that lent me his longboard stopped my friend that was cruising in the city and invited her to a skate session. She asked me to go with her and for the whole day we were shuttling the guys up the hill. I was so excited that I had to try it myself. At the bottom of the hill I took Mihael’s longboard, walked up, got myself into a tuck and went down. Haha no helmet, I didn’t know how to stop and there we’re cars coming up. Also I had a patch on my face because the day before I was pushing on a skateboard and fell and hit my head on the pavement. I survived the run and that was it for me.
First_event_brno_may_days2010_Foto_Christoph_MortPeur

You mentioned earlier that you helped with KNK – how?
I manage the registration, get everybody registered to the police, sometimes run the start and do small jobs like setting up the track, getting the workers fed, getting stuff we need and sometimes checking if we have enough toilet paper haha. Besides the registration just doing stuff that will help everyone with enjoy their time in the camp.

What did you think about that event?
Every year we try to make it better and I think we’re doing great. The whole event for me is awesome and I can safely say it’s the best time of the year for me. I love the energy on the hill and in the camp site, talking to people that enjoy our event and are happy to be there. Also the road is sick and I’m happy for every run I make because we’re not allowed to skate it normally because of the police. I just love it and I’m happy to be a part of it. A whole week of skating in a beautiful and peaceful place is like no other, the progress you make with your skating in that week is unbelievable and the slivo is yummy!

When did you first get to ride it?
When we discovered it, I didn’t skate it because it was too steep for me. But the first real session there was on my birthday in 2011. There was a van full of us on corner no.4 and we made a whole event there with cupcakes and a sick barbeque. And back then we could skate it and the police just drove by… don’t know what happened.
Skating_Switzerland

How did you grow as a skater in that first year?
Well I think the biggest progress happened last year and this year. The first two can be ignored because I was just getting used to the feeling of things and I didn’t skate every chance I had. I’m getting more and more comfortable on a longboard as the years pass and now can’t wait to go skate. What really helped me getting stoked is doing and going to events, watching videos, meeting people that skate and trying to catch them down the hill. I don’t skate in open traffic as the guys do, because I think I don’t have the control I need to make it down safe. That’s also why I love KNK because it’s on my ground, I feel comfortable and I know the road is safe because I helped set it up. But the progress you can make is endless that’s why I’m trying to get out of my comfort zone and skate with different people on different tracks.

How far out of your comfort zone are you ready to go?
Hmm that’s a good question. Just riding with as many people as I can, trying things without thinking ”I’m gonna twist my ankle”, stuff like that. Right now I’m learning how to do a heelside standup check which is a big thing for me if you know that I just learned how to do a basic toe side pendy.

You must be goofy!
Yes.
KNK2013_F_schotterflechte

Is there a big community in your city?
No, not at all. Right now there are like 8 people that go with me and Mihael on a hill. And normally they don’t skate everyday because of school, jobs, family. And that’s it.

Are you doing anything to get more people on boards?
Well we were. Longboard Magazin was a website Mihael put up a few years ago. I was about uniting people with the love of longboarding, making sessions, having longboard classes and stuff like that. Up till last year we were doing beginner and intermediate free classes for people that wanted to know how to longboard but the people didn’t stick. There are a few people that came more than 3 times but that’s it. Some of them still longboard when they have the time. We just decided to direct our energy into doing events like KNK, for the people abroad that appreciate and are a part of a bigger longboard community.
But if there is anyone who wants to go on a sesh with us they are invited, also we take in people who like to skate other parts of Slovenia and we made some friends this way.

Do you organise any other events apart from KNK?
Well KNK is the main camp that happens every year on The Bear (the longest camp in August). Besides that was The Bear Awakening (in May last year) and The September’s freeride (this year in September). It all happens on the same road, everything is the same, only the name is different. We also did a small freeride last year on The Vixen, a one day event, for the Slovenian longboarders which was pretty cool, we had like 15 people there but it was fun as hell.
Taking a break@our longboard class_F_me

Where are your nearest skate neighbours?
Austria, Croatia, Italy – this year we made some good Italian friends and every now and then we’re doing and exchange. They come to skate our spots and we go to skate theirs. In November we’re going to Milano to visit them.

Tell me about your adventures last year.
Last year was the year that we did a lot of skating and we found the most new spots. I can say for me it was the ‘’practise’’ year because I worked on my slides and learned 180s. Whoop whoop! Yeah, I finally made the transition to stand up slides. It was all preparation for this year, because we visited the most events, we were at 4 or 5 events besides 2 of our own. And I must say, if you are a longboarder you must visit as many events as possible because for me it’s all about that. Meeting people, travelling and seeing some sick sick places that you normally wouldn’t.

Where have you made the most friends this year?
Oh I don’t know, maybe Italy for new friends and KNK for reuniting with old ones.

What is it about skaters that makes you love meeting them?
You have a common interest and many of them are really easy to talk to, you can just skate and not say a word but when you get to the bottom of a hill or do a new trick it’s just high fives everywhere. I like the positive energy in the longboard community and a common goal – skate better and improve every day. Maybe I’m romanticizing a little bit, but for me it’s all about that, improving yourself and the things you do.
KNK2013_Natalia_Mielniczuk

Do you have a favourite KNK memory?
Just doing a run and making every toe side turn perfect. I just learned it so I’m really proud.

What’s the biggest thing you’re still to learn?
I would have to say toeside standup. After heel side check comes toe side check!

How has this year been for you?
Being free, visiting some awesome places and progressing in my skating abilities. Also travelling with my dog and taking her everywhere and seeing how people love her, she’s like our baby and the best dog in the world!

When you get to Barcelona, you must look up Eider and Marta. Awesome people, and like many Spanish skaters – they have cute dogs!
Will do.
Travelling_My dog is excited about the road_F_Me

What do you ride?
Deck – Root satanico pandemonium
Trucks – Sabre
Wheels – Cult Cerebrum

Are any of those your sponsors?
I don’t have sponsors haha, but they are all KNK sponsors if that counts.

Maybe Darkwood will sponsor you one day?
Oh maybe, if I’m lucky. Yeah Darkwood decks and gloves really look awesome. I think my next deck will be Darkwood for sure, I really like the shapes and as a girl I love the graphics! Have you seen them? I have my eye on them and can’t wait for them to hit the stores.

Who made them?
An artist right here from Ljubljana. He’s really talented and can draw whatever you want. His name is Maksim Azarkevič and has mad skills.
learning_standup_fotoMihael

Is it possible to work on KNK full-time?
Well I don’t think so, but it would be awesome.

What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Just skate as much as possible and not see snow. My dog loves it, but I don’t.

Does Era skate?
Not exactly. She can sit on a longboard and you can push her. I have to teach her to push herself. But she just loves running after me.

What do you do when you’re not skating.
I just started sewing. The idea was to fix all skating pants so we don’t have to buy new ones but it got exciting for me. Other than that nothing much, waiting to go to Spain and thinking about skating.

What are you looking forward to most about Spain?
Tapas and good weather.
KNK2013_F_Tadej_Anclin

What’s so important about skating with other women?
It’s an exotic thing which I’m not used to. It’s a different feeling if you skate with other girls. It’s not like the skating is different – I mean a girl shouldn’t be applauded just because she can stand on a longboard, but should be applauded if she can actually skate, there is no difference between guys and girls.

Did you meet many lady skaters this year?
Yeah I met some and we did a few runs together I had a lot of fun. Passing each other and hoping not to fall and ruin their run haha. It was really a wild goose chase down the hill.

Have you done anything to get more girls around you skating?
Like I said we were doing free classes for people who wanted to longboard. So some girls came into the picture and got stoked. I also got to know the girls who interviewed me on the Vixen event and I got to teach them some basic stuff, now they are riding on their own. Also I made a Facebook page where girls can contact me if they need any information about gear, safety and riding. But all in all there aren’t many girls here in Slovenia that want to do this on a daily basis like I do. For now I think I’m the only girl who can safely go down a hill at more than 30km/h. Sadly in the 4 years I’ve been longboarding, I haven’t met a Slovenian girl that I can do this with. There is only one girl that I know of that is on her way to skating faster and in which I see some potential. I want to emphasize – that I know of.

What is your dream?
To have my own house on a hill with my private paved road.
finding_new_roads

Pick 3 numbers between 1-40.
7, 9, 35

7 – What is your favourite meal?
A green smoothie fresh from my blender!

9 – What song would you like played at your funeral?  
Erykah Badu – On and on

35- Which world leader would have been the best downhill skater, and why?
I don’t know…I’m not that into politics haha.

It has been really fun getting to have this conversation. Hope I bump into you in Barcelona or FASTvenia next year!
Yeah thank you it was my pleasure! You really have to come to Slovenia to skate with us.

Any last words?
A big thanks goes to Mihael for putting up with me, my dog and my friends!

Links.
http://spainskateboardexplore.tumblr.com/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Longboard-Girls-Slovenia/161228923971101
http://www.absorbshop.com/
http://knk.longboard.si/
http://www.skatedarkwood.com/
http://www.chickita.si/

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