Maga McWhinnie – International Stoke Spreader
Maga is a really rad skater from Peru, who has been skating since 2011. She tells us about falling in love over wheels, racing in Australia and her recent European adventure.
How are you sis?
Good, feeling goofy after a +12 hour sleep session with Robdog, he is still snoring next to me….he he
Who’s got the louder snore?
He is for sure! I don’t snore haha.
Why have you been asleep for so long?
We woke up really early to go for a skate with our mates Duddie and Benny up the coast and got stopped by the police on the way because our Car-Rego ran out when we were away, got a big fine and came back a bit stressed and just fell asleep playing with our budgies. Hours later I woke up starving!
Starving for bacon or vegemite?
Where had you been away to?
We just arrived from our Euro-Tour. We went to skate Switzerland, France, Germany, Austria, Slovenia and Italy. Rad times and events!
Yeah it was the third time we went to Europe and second one skating. We LOVE Switzerland! In fact next time we are planning to stay longer or move there. I love Spain too, lots of our mates live there, but my heart is in Switzerland. It’s just so vertical and pretty!
What’s special about Switzerland?
Fibretec is located in Zurich (we love Fibretec)! We have great friends all around the country, we have the time of our lives skating there, there is always a new skate spot which blows my mind, driving there feels like driving in the future and it’s so small: everything is so close. Love it!! Oh and did I forget: lots of EPIC MOUNTAINS!
Did you both get on Fibretec at the same time?
Haha yes! They knew about us because we used to ride our lovely flying pans while we were in Peru and here in Australia. Later I got an email inviting both of us to the team. Happy days!
Where are you from?
I’m from Peru. I was born in the south of Peru but moved out to Colombia when I was really young, then to Venezuela and back to Peru when I was 13.
Where did skateboarding first meet you?
Here in Australia. After I met Rob in 2008, he tried to teach me but I ended up destroying his favourite skateboards so I gave up at that time. In 2011, we moved to Byron Bay and he was recovering from a broken leg. I met this group of girls all linked to Swedish skateboarders and we all got together and tried to bomb my local street. Since then I haven’t stop skating.
Was it easier to learn with other women?
YES! There was no pressure just stoke! We all learn from each other and just watching your girlfriend accomplish something new on a board was so inspiring. So we started a skate crew BCBBS and invited more girls from around Australia and started organizing skate trips.
Who else was in this crew?
At that time we started skating with Vicky Anderson, Melissa Pope and Kate Daniel. Later we met more girls: Natalia from Spain, local Louise, Tiia from Finland and more. Not just from Byron but from Brisbane too like Gemma Holland and from Sydney Lea Robertson (first girl I saw racing a DH event at Mt Panorama).
What’s Mr Panorama?
Mr Panorama is the designer of Mount Panorama Road! Haha. It’s a very fast, intense and very famous race track for V8 cars in Bathurst, Australia. Skaters though, can accelerate faster than the V8 cars on the corners.
What kind of stuff did you get up to on your boards?
Well we all had different styles. We all ride the same hills but I would be trying to tuck it (following Rob’s style) Kate will be dancing or cross stepping at speed, Vicky will be carving so fast and Mel will be trying to slide all the way down.
Has Rob been the biggest influence on your skating?
Of course. He taught me so much and he is my best friend. I also got really inspired at the start watching girls mobbing down Mount Panorama or any big hill.
How did you meet?
Haha Rob used to be my next door neighbour in Chippendale, Sydney. He started coming around my house one day when he got locked out and then he started showing up more frequently with gifts or bottles of wine.
Haha and eventually with a skateboard?
Yeah my room was on the front /first level so he knew I would be sitting there on my computer in front of my window studying and he’d pull up tricks or just roll around in front of it until I said ”Hi Robbie.”
Which girls inspired you to race Newtons?
That year: Katie Nielson. I was in the camera control box and I saw more than any spectator did that year. They didn’t broadcast the race on the net but they did it on the mountain. I saw her mobbing all the time even on the rainy days. It was inspiring!
How fast had you gone up to that point?
Until then I’d only jumped once on Rob’s skateboard and I probably went 5km\h holding his hand. I almost fell off and ended up pushing Rob’s skateboard into the main road, and I’d got crashed by a bus twice… so I didn’t persist on it.
What did seeing Katie inspire you to do?
I saw a brave and talented girl. She was doing really well on the weekend but on the last day a lot of the boys were freaking out when it started raining and some of them didn’t race or skate at all. I thought the girls would do the same or just go really slow and carefully, but they all pushed hard and went down solid down that monster track.
Did you think you could do it?
I thought: ”I wish I could do that one day.” When I started skating in Byron Bay my goal was to skate there one day.
How long did it take you to achieve that dream?
Probably not too long, maybe I rushed! I started learning how to skate in summer 2011 and the next Newtons Nation race was in summer 2012. So I set up that goal and started training for it.
Was Byron Bay a good place to get comfortable skating fast?
It doesn’t have massive hills in the city but I was just having a great time learning how to skate and slide with my crew and every now and then I would convince them to travel somewhere with me where we could find a bigger/faster hill to try to go faster and faster.
Where was your favourite place to travel to?
My favourite place was a hill in Noosa, Queensland called Hill Climb. I think a lot of people learn how to skate there.
What skate adventures did you have in 2011?
The one I will never forget was my first race: we went to a Brisbane event ”The monkeypig Derby 2011” to support our mate Dennis on the race. I didn’t plan to race at all, I didn’t even know how to turn on a corner at that time, but Rob went and signed my name on the race. I got given some gear and I didn’t have an excuse to not do it. I “womanned up” and went down trying to stay on my board, turning somehow and slowing repeating everyone’s way of breaking whenever I felt wobbles. I ended up pushing hard on my race and somehow tucking. Don’t know how but got second place! Super stoked! Since then I started going to a lot of races.
Later we organized like 5 skate events in Byron (4 local races) and a skate trip to a 3 km long hill closed for cars, 5 hours up the coast. We invited all the girls around Australia and we called it: Our first kiss. We had like 15 girls, our travel mates and funny local boys that showed up too dressed like girls!
Go Maga! How did you feel at the end of that race?
Haha surprised, stoked and proud of myself. I called my mom straight away even though it was 3am in Peru.
Why was it important to you to organise those events for the girls?
Because we wanted to spread the stoke of skateboarding and guide them. I felt that organizing races was a safe way to make them push themselves and learn more.
Did you document the fun?
I wrote articles for Heelside Mag of our biggest skate trip. Loads of photos and few videos for us to watch and learn but most of it is in our memories that we will never forget.
What else did you get up to in 2011?
I went to my first big big race at the IGSA world cup in Tarma Peru. It was gnarly, I’ve never went so fast on my longboard but made it alive and without a scratch. Later we travel around Peru skating mondo hills in the north and south coast, the Sacred land around Macchu Picchu the central mountain area with Marisa, Ishtar, Luca, Jose, Christian and Rob and documented all.
Were you ready for World cups after such a short internship?
In my mind I was, my first world cup was the biggest hill I’d ever done at that time so I tried to get a bit comfortable with speed before I left. When I saw the hill though, it was bigger than what I thought it would be, so I was nervous at the beginning but after my first run I was super stoked!
What was the race experience like?
I met amazing people through races and I learnt so much from each track. The amount of stoke that you get out of each run, where you know you pushed harder and faster is MASSIVE and I love that feeling. Races are great opportunities to push your limits safely.
How did it feel to skate in the land of your birth?
Well I was familiar with the high altitude sickness but I never skated in those conditions so I felt very sick one whole day. It was super exciting to know that my family and friends were there watching though and Peru has the best food in the world so I had a great time tasting local tasty restaurants… maybe that’s what got me sick.
Does Peruvian bacon exist?
Of course we called chicharron, it’s heaps better!
Was that when you met Marisa and Ishtar?
Yes I met them and started the Mumma Cunt team in Peru 2011 and we became sisters forever and ever.
What was the best thing about skating such sacred land with your buddies?
The places we skated were so beautiful and on insane locations. We all felt lucky to be there and very connected to the earth (like the Incas) and we were the first ones to skate most of the spots we went. We spent an epic adventure together and discovered more about this beautiful country through skating. It was something we will never forget and we want to do it again hopefully with a bigger crew.
What did you get up to after Peru?
We came back to Sydney to get ready for Newton’s Nation and Mt Keira. We started living at the Old Hop Shop warehouse haha. No windows, filled with old skateboards and big ass projector. It was rad, we had a lot of international skaters staying for the race seasons and we saved a lot with free rent.
What is the Hop Shop?
The HopShop was the first, biggest and most supportive Longboard/Skate Shop in Australia. It was owned by James Hopkin who is a wonderful guy who owns a very successful Online Memory System company and is really passionate about our sport. So he decided to invest in it and create the Hopkin Skate Shop 5 years ago. Besides having a very large range of longboard products he became one of the biggest sponsors for the World Cups here in Australia, local events/races around our country and the best rated group of longboard riders from Australia and some other parts of the World.
He gave so much to our local scene and helped it to grow. Dave Robertson (Vice president of A.S.R.A and also a great supporter of our scene) became the Hopshop manager and a month ago bought the Hopshop and now its called BASEMENT SKATE.
Is Basement the HopShop with a new paintjob?
Sort of with a new owner too.
How did you do in those races?
I did alright. We had a really wet and slippery race at Mt. Keira, I had a few big crashes and got like 7th or so out 10 girls. Newtons was very sick but it was my first time going so fast in such INTENSE AND FAST track. I got 4th there and also had a very gnarly crash you should check it out!
I was very happy with the experience I obtained going to those races and had a great time at each event. But I wanted MORE. So one day I got a letter from Koma letting me know they had a spot free for me at Peyragudes! After a big search I found an extra spot for Rob not just for Peyragudes but for Kozakov and Descente too. 2 weeks later we were off to our 2012 EURO-TOUR!
Was that your first time in Europe?
I was there in 2010 for our honeymoon but this was the first time there skating.
Did you guys skate down the aisle?
Haha that would have been interesting with my super tight dress.
How long did you spend on our continent?
Only a month we wanted to stay longer though! We didn’t know that it was going to be so RAD.We almost left Europe crying!
Tell me about your first Euro tour!
Well we arrived directly to Prague a day before Kozakov, we got picked up by the Fibretec crew. We had a great time at Kozakov, I was so nervous and excited to skate this track. Sadly on the race day we had a wet, patchy race. We drove to Teolo next, crossing by the massive Italian mountains. Teolo was very chill compared to Kozakov but still a fun track to skate. It was super hot though, we were melting inside our leathers.
Later we went to Peyragudes which was sick and super fast! Man I’ve never been so fast into a full stop in such a short time: it was gnarly! (So glad they changed the finish line system this year). Descente was a bit of a surprise, after skating so many sick roads in Switzerland we expected a super road, but this track was hardly protected and it was super patchy and rough. After IGSA decided to make some changes to protect the riders we decided to give it a go even though half of the crew decided not to race, it ended up being super fun and gave me more experience on really rough roads. Overall we had a great time at the events, the roads we skated in between and with our mates from all around the world. It gave me more experience and knowledge of racing and freeriding.
It must have been fun to finally meet the Fibretec family!
Yes! Reinke is such nice guy. We had a great time with Raoul, Alex and Camaron driving all around Europe in our funny van.
Have any of the friendships you made between events endured?
All of them! We were back this year and saw almost the same crew and it was so nice to meet up again. That is one of the best things about our sport: We are all a big family. I love that.
What’s it like to be one of them?
Well it’s really like our t-shirt says: not just a team but a FAMILY and that’s how it feels. Proud to be part of Fibretec Skateboards, they are amazing and build beautiful handmade boards. This year I built and designed my own one.
Who are your other sponsors?
Hopkin, Basement Skate, Unplugged Byron Bay, Hawgs Wheels, Bear Trucks, Heelside Magazine and Riptide Sports….and Do Epic Shit.
What’s Do Epic Shit?
It’s Robs advice to the rest of the world: Do Epic Shit!
How did 2013 treat you?
Amazing! We had a great time at Newton’s Nation this year and we just arrived from another and even better Euro-Tour (this time 2 1/2 months).
No Newton’s or Kiera next year right?
I don’t think so. For what I know : Mt Keira is closed due to a constant risk of landslide and they haven’t fixed it (funny though it was the same in 2012 when we had the race). The local council in Bathurst where Newtons is, are not making it easy for ASRA to plan another race there.
Is there anything the community can do to help ASRA’s fight against The Man?
If they are from Australia: find a good hill contact the council and contact ASRA or Newtons Nation the organization and Support your local, they help sponsoring and paying for these events to happen.
Will ASRA have an offering for the community next year?
Well nothing 100% sure yet. Still trying to find a hill for 2014 or maybe for 2015.
How did you do on your second time on Mt Panorama?
It was heaps better, I enjoyed a lot more the track and I pushed myself a bit more too (comparing to last year) I finished second this year.
Where did you have the most fun in Europe?
Skating Switzerland! But my favourite event was Knk.
What will you be up to for the rest of the year?
Saving up for next year. Planning to go to South America at the end of the year to visit my family and skate some Peruvian roads. Maybe go to Mega Grand Prix .
Any NorAm races?
Maybe next year, before going back to Europe!
What do you do when you’re not skating?
I’m working at a skate shop or playing with my budgies.
What are your budgies names?
Sashimi and Pollo.
What would your life be without skating?
I can’t imagine it. I would probably be working more as an Architect but feeling really curious and tempted to join all the kids bombing-down hills.
Pick 3 numbers between 1-13.
4 – do you have any recurring dreams?
I usually dream different stuff but they all happen in the same cities I designed in my head, my architectural-designer side I guess. I always recognize all the areas of each city.
6 – if you could have any super power what would it be?
I would be cupid.
9 – what would you choose as your last meal?
Aji de Gallina.
It’s been so so so fun having this conversation with you. Hope we get an excuse to do this again soon!
Thank you, it’s been awesome talking to you and get to know you too. Stoked on our sport and our community that keeps on growing and growing.
Any thank yous?
Yeah to my sponsors that support me so much! Unplugged Byron Bay, Fibretec, Hopkin, Basement Skate, Hawgs, Bear, Heelside Mag, Riptide Sports and Do epic Shit all the time! And you for the interview.
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Luca Coleman, Rob and Maga McWhinnie spend an epic month cruising around Peru, racing, exploring, partying, and generally shredding the gnar every where they went. “It’s all downhill from here” is a 5 part series