Guest interview with Kelly Britton
Hi, what is your name and how old are you? Kelly Britton, and I am 38 years old. Tell us a little about yourself, what do you do, why you started to skateboard and how long have you been skating? I am a single mom, working as a chemistry technician in a girls’ grammar school, and I am currently studying a BSc(Hons) Natural Sciences (Chemistry) degree, part-time, through the Open University. I am also a horserider and organize a monthly dressage show at a local yard. I started skateboarding in August 2018. I initially got into surfing in 2017, after the loss of my mom, but not being able to surf regularly, living quite far from the nearest surf, led me to skateboarding. I have very fond memories of my teen years where my best friends were all skateboarders, and I used to video them skating and then we’d watch the footage back and analyze their tricks. Now, some 20 odd years later, it’s finally me on the board! How does it feel to do something as cool as skateboarding? Absolutely amazing! I feel a great sense of achievement, especially starting ‘later in life’, and I am addicted to the adrenaline and challenges of skateboarding. It also makes me feel free and immensely happy. The best therapy there is! What do your friends and family think about it? I do get called crazy every now and then (but only in a good way) but everyone has been incredibly supportive and encouraging. My friends tell me they love watching my skating journey and seeing my progress and tell me I am inspirational. Have you had any injuries since you started? And if so has it deterred you from skateboarding in any way? I do slam quite a lot, resulting in many bruises and am generally a permanent shade of purple in some places, but that doesn’t stop me. The worst injuries have been a sprained ankle and wrist. I’m not particularly good at ‘resting’ and generally keep going, but if I’m feeling quite sore, I ‘skate-safe’ (meaning I just stick to what I know I can do easily and leave anything challenging until I feel better.) How has skating changed you as a person? I find skating incredibly therapeutic. It makes me feel stronger, more determined and it makes me really happy. However, it’s not just the skating that has made me feel this way, but also all the awesome people I have met through skating and the wonderful sense of ‘family’ that have contributed to me being a happier person. What do you think about skateboarding being in the olympics now? I think it’s fantastic. Skateboarding is a challenging and awesome sport, and I feel that being a ‘recognizable’ sport will only help it grow and get the respect that it deserves. I think it will have a great impact on skateboarding and encourage many more people to get into it. What’s your opinion on the girls skate scene now? The girls’ events that I have attended are awesome, and so incredibly supportive and encouraging. I remember the first ever girls’ night I attended in London and just being absolutely amazed at the number of girls attending. I was so unaware of how many girls where skaters. Having said that though, I haven’t seen many girls skating at my local park, but there are more and more girls getting into it so feel it’s growing in strength. It’s been nice to see that more venues are putting on ‘Girls Nights’ so hopefully will appeal to more girls in other areas. We have a lot of great ambassadors for growing the girls scene, and have girls organizing beginner sessions, producing awesome zines, designing clothing (specifically for girls) and so on. Having many girls absolutely shredding it and getting out there is helping to build the ‘girls scene’ and show everyone that skateboarding is for everyone! Where do you see yourself in the skate scene in 10 years time? Hopefully still shredding with a smile and inspiring others! I have a great love for transition skating and am particularly fond of the vert scene so hopefully will be doing greater things on the vert and in the bowl! And, it would probably be nice to be able to do an ollie by then too 😉 What advice would you give anyone just starting out, either young or old, to help them keep skating? Enjoy it, skate however makes you happy, and don’t give up! Introduce yourself to skaters in your area and don’t be afraid to ask for help. I have an awesome support crew and feel that is vital to keeping up the motivation and progression. Do you think a skate school is a good way of learning? And is coaching needed in skateboarding now? Absolutely. My first go on a skateboard was having a lesson. I didn’t even know how to push then, but my coach was fantastic and gave me so much encouragement, gave me things to work on, and so I left feeling excited and motivated. Starting on your own can be very daunting and it is so easy to feel intimidated if you’re skating on your own at a park full of really good skaters. Joining in lessons helps build confidence and skills, and you meet other skaters that can support you. I often find that what I ‘feel’ like I’m doing and what I ‘look’ like I'm doing are not the same thing, so having someone watching me and telling me what I need to do has helped my progression so much. Learning is endless in skateboarding! Any final words you would like everyone to know about how you feel about skateboarding? Skateboarding has changed my life. I feel motivated and excited and look forward to every skate session. It helps me get through the toughest times and when you achieve something, no matter how big or small, it’s the best feeling in the world!