On one fateful trip to Los Angeles, Hong Kong resident, SJY, discovered the skating scene at Venice Beach and was so inspired that she returned home with her own longboard. Three years later, she is happily obsessed, meeting new friends who help fuel her passion and motivate her to improve. It’s not the easiest sport, though, and SJY has fallen plenty of times but she’s learned to welcome mistakes and grow stronger from them. Here, she talks to Pirl about the freedom she feels when she steps onto her longboard and what it takes to get started.
How did you end up having such a passion for skateboarding?
I wanted to do something special and skating attracts me. I always think that girls can also do things people believe are for boys only. I believe girls can skate and are really cool skaters too!
I grew up and was educated in Hong Kong with my four sisters. I visited Venice Beach three years ago and bought my first skateboard there. I thought it would be so cool if I could skate! So I brought it back to HK and started learning myself.
I learned from YouTube at first because I did not know anyone who skates in HK. However, I have made a lot of friends after I started skating.
I met skaters who are much much younger than me. It is an intersting thing that I learnt a lot of tricks and technique from kids who are very experienced and we became good friends. We hangout to practice every week.
Even my old friends reached out to me wanting to learn skating with me ever since they saw my photos and videos. This keeps my passion on as I wanna inspire people around me and spread the positive energy. I am like addicted to it once I can master it. I just cannot get rid of it.
What do your friends think about it?
They found it amazing and unbelievable because it is not common in Hong Kong, at least not with girls. They (both my boy and girl friends) think it is a really cool thing.
What feeling do you have when you skate?
I feel relaxed, happy and cool! It helps me release pressure from work and family. I also enjoy the freedom when I step on my longboard. Endorphins make you happy and healthy!
Favorite place to skate?
I love to skate along the sea promenade during night time. I also practice basic steps at home during rainy days.
“Here is my favorite part of my bedroom. My little corner behind the bedroom door with my favourite things!”
Compared to your home, what was it like skating on the strand in Venice?
It is more a hobby thing when I skate in HK; when I skate outside of HK, it makes me feel that skating can bring me to the world. I would like to bring along my longboard wherever I travel from now on! So far we have only been to Macau, China, LA and Vegas. I came to Venice again in 2017 to revisit the beautiful beach and wanted to check out the skating playground again. I miss it a lot!
Do you think you need to be brave to skate?
You have to be brave to take the first step and it will make you braver when you get to advance in more tricks. I think skating makes you tough and strong, coz you will learn from failures and falls.
How do you get over the fear of falling?
I wear protective gear to minimize the chance of getting hurt. It is true for skating that you will learn more from mistakes you made. Every time you fall, then you will improve gradually.
What would you tell other girls about starting to skate?
Do not be afraid of failure. If you believe you can do it then you will succeed. It is a really fun process from your first step – then to grab the balance – then to be able to walk and dance on the board! Girls who skate are special and attractive.
The best part about skating?
You will feel happy and carefree on a rolling skateboard. You can dance beautifully on the board, you make new friends, you will just get addicted to it! It also brings you unexpected opportunities. I have had the chance to participate in a movie and TVC which widened my horizons. You never know what new experience and opportunities that it will bring you!
What makes a girl strong?
Be confident, love yourself, find your passions, be curious to try out new things. Always believe you can do it. There is a quote by R.S. Grey: “She believed she could, so she did.”
SJY’s Favorite Things
My hockey sticks, my guitar, my rollerblades and of course my skateboards! <3
SJY’s Instagram account is sjy.longboard.