Marisa has been involved with many LGC projects, and is a great ambassador for our sport. The following interview contains information about everything you’d ever want to know about our dear friend.
Hi Marisa! Where are you from?
Heyooo, I’m from Lima, Peru, and I was raised in Miami, FL, USA.
When did you start skating?
I started skating about 7 years ago. That’s when I bought my first longboard. I started skating down hills about 4 years ago. I started competing not long after. I fell in love with racing as soon as I started. I started riding in Miami with a group of friends who would get together at my university’s parking garage every week to skate down it. I initially got my first longboard to ride around in my Uni, just to get to class faster and with more style, hehe.
How does skating make you feel?
In the beginning it was FEAR. But then, when I made it safely to the bottom of the garage, that fear turned into mad stoke! I wanted to do it again and again and again. Eventually I bought my own downhill setup, which was a Kebbek Bassi Haller. I loved that board, until I realized that I preferred a shorter wheelbase and top mount.
The rush of going down a slope fast. The thrill that you can share with your buddy skaters. The feeling after avoiding a crash and not knowing how. The extent of the traveling and the experience and knowledge you get from the places you never even imagined going to in our life. Knowing that all those other ‘normal’ people who don’t skate will never know or understand all these feelings. Our community is so small yet so powerful and united. We have so much admiration for each other. It’s really like a family. This is all that has been consuming me for the past 3 years. I’d call it stoke.
Why did you decide to take a break from Uni?
I decided to take a break from Uni when I was offered a sponsorship with Daddies Board Shop. At that point it was the most solid contract I had ever gotten and it looked very promising for my skating and traveling future. That was when I decided to dedicate myself fully to this. I haven’t had one speck of regret since. A lot of support from my friends and family too, which was the major part for me.
Have you ever skated in Europe?
I have! This year I competed in the IGSA Eurotour. I arrived in Italy right after the Maryhill She-ride and the West Coastin’ tour with 4 other girl shredders. I raced in Teolo, then Peyragudes in France and went to Decente in Switzerland but didn’t race because the road wasn’t protected enough and I didn’t feel comfortable.
I spent the most time in Switzerland though, stayed in Zurich for about a week and skated all over the place. Switzerland has to be the most perfect country for downhill skateboarding in the world. The roads are always perfectly paved and abundant in hairpins! Absolutely loved that country.
I also went to the Giosteka Freeride in San Bernadino, Switzerland which was an awesome road as well. That event was sick in general, it was a 4 day freeride with free dinner, live performances and dancing every night at the campsite. I was the only non-european person there, everyone else had gone back home already. I had a really great time getting to know the European riders on a more personal level. Definitely planning on the whole tour again for next year and KNK and Giosteka freerides.
Was this your first time riding in Europe?
This was my first time competing in Europe, but I had previously visited Spain for the Endless Roads tour with the Longboard Girls Crew. We visited and skated 9 cities.
How did you end up on Endless Roads?
I was contacted by the lovely women from Longboard Girls Crew in Madrid one random day. They happened to be looking for a couple of international girls to go on their Spain tour to film the next big vid by Mr. Juan Rayos. Jaw dropped, eyes wide open, speechless. When I finally gathered myself, I said, “Claro que si!!!” (Of course!!!). I was so stoked you could not imagine. We all got to work together and made this happen with only a couple of months notice. It turned out to be the best skate trip of my life, with the most beautiful video edit I had ever been in, along with the raddest chicks I had ever met in my entire life. Spain was amazing and so was the crew.
Which skate culture which mirrors your soul?
Has to be the one in Australia. I was there for a little over a month, and I experienced nothing but positivity from the people involved in the skate scene. Not just good vibes towards me, but also towards each other. Everyone seems to really care about each other and they have a lot of love give. Especially my buddies Rob and Maga McWhinnie, this is the raddest skate couple I’ve ever met. These two are really special people and they really know how to live actively on the bright side. Miss them like crazy! Can’t wait to see them again in Aussie land next year.
What was the highlight of your time here?
Top was winning Newton’s Nation followed by a rad vacation in Byron Bay where we stayed at the Early Skatehouse with Austin, Flavio and Matias. Such rad and chill guys who love to surf and skate and just live life in the moment.
Who is Ishtar?
Ishtar Backlund is one of my closest girl friends in the world. She is a Swedish freelance artist and downhill skater. She’s in love with the world and hasn’t stopped exploring it since she started about 2 years ago. We often plan our trips to the races together and always have the best time. A lot in common between us. Hi Ishtar!
We’ve been in Peru, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, drove down to LA, California and back up to Maryhill for the She-ride. It’s been long ride and it still ain’t over.
The Maryhill She-ride was an event only for the girls, put on by Deano, the guy who organizes all of the freerides at Maryhill. It was a really successful turn-out actually, about 50 girls from all over North America showed up and we all got to skate the hell out of that road for 3 days straight.
When did you first race against women?
I first raced against women in Guajataka, Puerto Rico in 2010. I placed 2nd of 4 girls.
Is racing with women different?
Yes it is. Women tend to be more gentle than men. They choose safety over winning most of the time. Of course, it depends who you’re racing with and if it’s the final heat or not.
How was this past season for you?
This 2012 season has been remarkable for me. I traveled farther than I ever thought I would, and skated more amazing roads than I knew existed. Met so many rad people and all so helpful and as passionate about downhill as I am, we’ve shared some really awesome moments skating together and just getting to know things we didn’t know. I’ve been to Los Angeles, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, back down to California, Portland, Italy, France, Switzerland, back to work for Rayne in Canada, Colombia, Argentina, and finally back at home base in Peru. I’ll be here for the next month until I leave to Florida for the King of Clermont race and Puerto Rico in January.
Looking back at this year, it all seems hard to believe that a pro downhill skateboarder can have these kind of experiences, but then I realize, that skateboarder was me, it actually is possible! Holy crap, life’s great at the moment! But like all life experiences, there is a balance of good and bad. I did have a few really tough moments in which I thought I was screwed, but pulling through made it all worth the worries.
What’s the toughest thing you learnt this season?
The toughest thing I’ve learned was to sleep outside in a broken tent on a cold and rainy night. That was not fun.
Any thank yous?
I’d like to thank Darth Vader and Mickey Mouse. Oh yeah, and also my sponsors.
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