Leah Caprani - Skateboard/Surf/Snowboarder (UK)

 

Your Age: 26

Your Location (where do you ride mostly): I live in London, so you will find me skateboarding in local parks most evenings or in more regional parks during the weekend. Living in a landlocked capital city means that I have to travel to catch waves! I usually surf in Portugal or in Devon (if there’s any swell!), and enjoy travelling further afar to places like Bali, Costa Rica, Sri Lanka, Australia, and the Philippines to get my surfing fix.

Weapon(s) of choice: Skateboard, Surfboard, Snowboard.

What’s an average day for you like? 8am - Wake up and do some surf exercises at home.
9am - Skate to work and get changed into my suit.
10am - Start work in a medium size law firm in London.
1pm - Watch skateboarding tutorials on YouTube during my lunch break.
6pm - Go skating with my girls/boyfriend after work to various parks around London.
10pm - Finish skating and chill out at home.
During weekends I will either be skating ALL DAY or will head down to Cornwall/Devon for a cheeky surf.

What is the most difficult part of your activity/sports for a beginner? The fear is the most difficult part! Once you have got your balance, it is actually quite easy to get to grips with the basics. It’s the constant battle against your mind and pushing your limits to land harder tricks which is most difficult and can be frustrating at times. Once you’ve got your fear under control however, the sky is really the limit!

What is the best and worst thing about being female in your sport? In surfing guys tend to be more likely to drop in on girls, as they wrongly assume that we are not going to take the wave.
I guess females are also often underestimated in skateboarding too. For example I’ve had guys attempt the same trick, which I’ve been trying to land for ages, right next to me just to make themselves feel better.
The best thing however is that the more girls who start shredding and breaking those boundaries, the quicker we can re-educate guys and change their mindset for good!

What would you like to see change in your sport to make it better for you and other female athletes? More girls shredding! As the more girls who start, the higher the bar will be raised and the stakes will be more even with the guys. It would also be nice to have more girls at the skate park to hang out with!

Besides your ability and style factor as an athlete, how would you describe your personal style? At work I’m suited and booted, but once it hits 6pm my favourite combination is a baggy t-shirt, shorts and knee socks (if it’s warm!). I would definitely say my style is a laid back surfer girl type of style.

What are your favorite brands/designers for your sports apparel and for stepping out? Obviously SheShreds.co is my favourite, but aside from that I love wearing DC/Globe/Roxy/Nike SB/ Converse/Etnies/Vans/Oakley etc.

Let’s hear your thoughts on how important looking good is to feeling good. “Being” your personal best? Like with anything, you can't accomplish anything if you don’t feel comfortable. I normally feel most comfortable when I am confident with what I am wearing, as its one less thing to worry about. Although I must admit that although it may not be fashionable, I do like wearing knee pads/helmets/wrist guards when skating as they give me the confidence to attempt harder tricks.

How dangerous do you really think it is compared to what people do in their regular activities? Skateboarding can be gnarly! I constantly have bruises all over my legs, I have broken my wrist in the past and have knocked myself out (before I started wearing a helmet!).
I have also had quite a few falls in the snow park and a couple of sketchy incidences surfing too, but the feeling when you land a trick is unbeatable and makes all the pain worth it!

I bet in your experience you have seen some crazy crashes. Describe one. A few years ago I was skating at my local park and I was riding over this big mound and a kid on a scooter literally came out of nowhere, leading me to swerve and fall. My wrist hurt so much, but all the guys convinced me that I was overreacting and to continue skating. A week later I was skating at the same park and fell onto my wrist again, but this time I could see that something was wrong as my wrist swelled up straight away. I went to the hospital and they confirmed that my wrist was broken and recommended that I choose a “safer sport” (haha yeah not going to happen!)

What usually gets people hooked on your activity/sport? Catching your first green wave, cruising down a mountain in the snow and landing your first “trick” are definitely the feelings which get you hooked. The culture and community vibe also keeps me coming back for more.

What is your favorite trick? I enjoy doing Half cab Rock’n’Rolls, but Kickflips will be my favourite trick when I eventually land one!

Do you own any other toys? I love my DSLR camera, my GoPro hero 5, my iPhone, my keyboard and all my guitars.

What gets you pumped up for the day? Well caffeine plays a large part in it, but I would definitely say watching skate/surf/snowboarding videos is a great way to get pumped for a session.

What are three things you could not live without? My skateboard, my surfboard and my iPhone to share my photos with all you girls.

What are your expectations for this activity/sport? To stay fit and healthy, to push my boundaries outside my comfort zone and to keep shredding until I’m 90!

Who have been your biggest supporters in getting you to where you are now? My boyfriend is always on hand to help me expand my limits in skateboarding, surfing and snowboarding and to encourage me to go travelling around the world in pursuit of my goals. My skater chicks also offer a lot of support. From holding my hands whilst I tried new tricks to telling me not to give up , I would not be where I am now without their patience and enthusiasm.

Who’s your favorite rider/shooter? Skatewise, my favourite rider is Nora Vasconcellos. I would love to skate with her as she always looks like she’s having a blast! Surfwise, I love Coco Ho’s style!

What do you do in your spare time when you’re not riding/shooting/competing? I love music! I sing, play the piano/guitar and write songs.

How about in the off season to stay in shape? Well there’s not really an off season for skating (as there are many indoor parks for when it rains), so I guess I stay in shape by skateboarding all year round. I also try to do some surf exercises most days to keep up my strength for my surf holidays.

What is your biggest goal to accomplish this/next season? I want to place in the next Unicorn Girls Skate Jam and to learn lots of new tricks in the meantime.

What do you do to prep for a competition? I’ve learnt from last years Unicorn Girls Skate Jam that the key to winning is knowing a multitude of different tricks and being able to fit them all seamlessly together in runs. So my preparation for a competition would be eating well, working on my fitness and preparing my lines beforehand.

What competitions and other awards have you won? Unfortunately I have not won any sports competitions yet (watch this space), as I dedicated my childhood to the performing arts. However as a result I have quite a lot of musical qualifications including ABRSM Singing Grade 8 and LAMDA Acting Grade 8 (Gold Medal) amongst others.

What’s your favorite “way” to ride? I would definitely say I am more aligned to street skating, as I find it less scary and therefore progress a lot quicker. However recently I’ve really enjoyed getting to grips with ramps and cruising around the bowl.

Favorite conditions? Obviously sunny (but not too hot) for skateboarding.
Shoulder high, clean offshore peeling waves.
Clear skies and fresh powder without all the track lines.

Where would be your biggest dream place to ride and why? I would love to go snowboarding in Colorado and New Zealand, surfing in Nicaragua and Peru, and skateboarding around the USA.

What song(s) do you listen to while riding that puts you in the zone? Although I typically listen to Rock, I really enjoy listening to “Alive” by Sia whilst I’m riding as it is very energetic and inspirational.

What turned you on to your sport? Well… (although I am about to sound really uncool), I actually first stepped on a skateboard after seeing Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated” music video. Cheesy I know, but she just looked so cool cruising along and it looked like so much fun!
I then started surfing after I met my boyfriend seven years ago. He tried to take me bodyboarding with him and I disliked it straight away. Rather than sit on the beach watching him, I thought I would rent a surfboard instead and the rest is history! I have since converted my boyfriend to surfing. Oh how the tables turn!
I have just started snowboarding and I guess it is just a natural progression from my other board sports.

Any new moves you’re working on? I am constantly working on a variety of new tricks, but I am focusing Kickflip tricks and 50-50s at the moment.

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done in your sport? I entered my first skateboarding jam last June and have had the opportunity to surf in lots of cool places worldwide.

What other extreme/action sports are you into? Rock Climbing and bouldering, hiking, flow rider, wakeboarding. I would love to try skydiving and windsurfing in the future.

If extreme/action sports didn’t exist, what would you be doing with all the free time you’d have? I’ve only fully committed myself to skateboarding since I came back from travelling in March 2016 and now skate at least 5 times a week. I couldn't skate the other weekend due to injury and really didn't know what to do with myself! I walked around London for about five hours and then watched TV all evening (very boring!).

What’s your favorite board/bike/sled to ride and why? I love my Skateboard Café 7.75 Pink Planet Donut deck, as not only is it pink with donuts on it, but it’s made by a really cool local brand and is really nice to skate.I also recently purchased a new 6'0" cuttlefish surfboard, which is obviously a shortboard but rides more like a longboard due to its volume. It’s perfect for small mushy surf (typical of the UK) and it gives you that extra push when paddling.I'm hoping to get a new snowboard soon too!

What’s the trick to riding and not hurting yourself? COMMIT, COMMIT, COMMIT! If you don’t fully commit, you will bail and most likely hurt yourself! You also shouldn’t try to do tricks outside of your comfort zone when you are tired at the end of a session. Oh and BEND YOUR KNEES – It always helps!!!!! ;)

How would you describe your style? Laid back and breezy.

What would you say is your signature move? I’m still working on that!

Favorite drink of choice to refresh yourself after a long day of riding? Lilt. I think its only sold in the UK, but it’s this delicious Pineapple and Grapefruit fizzy drink which initially sounds really disgusting, but is actually very yummy and refreshing!

What do you want to be when you "grow up"? Haha… I guess ultimately I would like to be a Lawyer, but secretly I would love to be a pro skateboarder!

Any of your own web pages or social media buttons you want links to? Instagram: @leahcaprani / Facebook / Twitter: @Leahc44