Meet Kelsey Skrobotz, one of the 60 girls at the First Maryhill She Ride. I watched her eat it hard on the Winsport Final coverage, and then I broke my leg doing downhill, and then I reached out to see how she was, cause it sucked, and I wanted to tell someone who cared. Haha. We’ve made it through the dark tunnel to the light at the end, and we interviewed each other about our days on the couch.
Daisy: I remember when you fell. I was having a Twitter conversation about the race with All Around Skate. Tell me about your last day of skating.
Kelsey: My last day of skate eh? I was at the competition in Calgary, not really competitive to begin with, Just loving the fact I can go down a hill that has hay bales. So when the pressure is on during race day I get stressed out and it ruins the reason why I board, at the same time my heads conflicting the fact that I want to do another run down this hill. So after arriving late to the hill with a couple of the boys from sector (which I hear is very common for them), I was upset at how many runs I missed out on before the race.
D: How did it happen, and what is it exactly that you did physically?
K: I was sitting at the top of the hill, in line with the rest of the girls in my heat and along comes Jacko who sits beside me and tells me ‘don’t break a leg like me’. Sure enough right after he said that I slid feet first into a hay bale that was right up against a barrier, looked down to find my leg twisted funny below the knee, and just kinda screamed in shock while I waited for the paramedics. I Broke my Tibia through and through in two places and my fibula in one place.
K: I remember talking to you a bit about your accident, you said it happened at Maryhill, Care to go into details? Such as when it happened, what the damage was, your thoughts, etc. Better of been the ride of your life ahah!
D: Yeah at the freeride. Anna, Victoria, and Elena have made a tradition out of dress runs at Maryhill, and I like those girls, so I wanted to skate with them! Took my leathers off, skated in my yoga pants and a tank top, the outfit I wear under my leathers. We filmed, and the first run got kinda hairy going through Cowzers. The right corner pinches at the end, and I had to change my line right at the kink and put a hand on Elena to avoid taking her out. At the top of the next run, Elena sat out and another girl joined. I’m not really sure how my leg broke, and it’s the first time I fell without KNOWING I was gonna fall. Usually, I have that thought… “blew it, falling.” But this time it was like “hold your line…. oh… that’s the sky”. The other girl lost her balance and her hands hit my wheels as she supermanned across the pavement. Instantly sent me cartwheeling. Tried to get up, couldn’t walk.
Convinced myself it was a bad sprain or strain, and I didn’t go to the hospital for a week until it showed zero signs of improvement. I’ll never forget the doctor coming in like, “Yeah. Ya broke it.” As far as breaking my leg goes, not so bad, just a fracture, not broken through, but not being able to walk for 6 weeks (or longer in many cases) is not really that awesome.
D: So you just got your first day out on a board, right? How did it feel? How long has it been?
K: It has been a good couple of never ending months. Feels good you know, to have that long lost smile back on my face, the one that brings out the laugh when I bail or the laugh when I succeed 🙂
D: I know! Ahh, the first time I tried to ride a skateboard at all since, just a tiny bit in a warehouse, I got wheel bite and hit the pavement within the first minute. I was so happy. Haha.
K: I love longboarding and at first being around a bunch of boys was nerve racking /embarrassing, but I got over it quick and adopted the name “Barbie” proudly.
How did you feel entering into the skate scene being a girl?
D: Hmm, I loved it. Felt like coming home. I’ve often been the “only” girl in my group of friends, but I found longboarding at a time when I was mostly surrounded by girls. I knew within my first 20 minutes at a session that I wanted to be in the doing-stuff club with the boys not the sitting-on-the-curb club with the girls. Work hard, play hard, laugh hard. The boys I met first skated til midnight and went to work at 8 am, so I did the same. Boys make sense to me, it’s awesome to be around them. I’m never confused, and there’s not a lot of x factors involved. Definitely the skater time warp, but whatever.
D: I’ve seen some pics of you traveling with your crutches, where have you been as an invalid?
K: Well, my dad planned a trip with his girl around some of the U.S and told me since I was sitting on my ass anyways I might as well sit on my ass looking out at America. I got to tour around to all the national parks we could find, lots of hiking trails in those places, and I’d be damned if I let my broken leg stop me from hiking them myself, was definitely a great way to pass the time.
K: What about you Daisy, I watched the video on your progress, what were your choices in therapy- what helped the most?
D: Well I bought a Go Pro off a friend right away, and then I left Los Angeles. Haha. That was therapy for my mind. I had skate-trip plans, and I took off for them anyway, despite not having a chance to skate. I drove across the country with Sara Paulshock on her move to Southern California and as soon as I got back, I flew to NYC for the Broadway Bomb. Stayed east for 6 weeks to see my mom for Thanksgiving, and then returned to California 6 weeks later able to walk and skate a tiny tiny bit.
I only went to the doctor twice, and I made her give me alllllll the directions on what to do for the next 3 months, as well as talking to a physical therapist over some coffee about it. I kept active as much as I could for someone who couldn’t walk. I did the ABC’s 10x per day in lower case, upper case, and cursive, no joke. I inserted skateboard poses into my yoga, and I made a balance board and got obsessed with it once I could walk.
I saw many of my non-skate homies from previous lives, my momma dukes, and I edited my first video:
D: Have you sticker-fucked your crutches? What’ve you got on there? Haha…
K: I got so excited with RAYNE; sent me above and beyond a handful of stickers! Regular Underground,
K: Did you get in on some sticker action too girl?
D: Well, I actually borrowed my crutches from a pool skater, Jackie Lum, so I’ve got some sweet Powell Peralta and OJs stickers on there. Otang, no future, home-made robot stickers, Wheelbase, Rampage, Ojoom. It really makes me super stoked to have the colors on there. Crutches are boring and useless. Haha.
K: Agreed, Definitely prefer the hopping on one foot method!
D: How good are you at hopping now? Did you get one super-human leg? OMG. I had to hop up and down the subway in NYC during the Broadway Bomb weekend. 4 flights of stairs up and down. TOO MUCH!
K: Dayyyum girl! We’ll have to compare our super legs when we see each other next. I thought I was gonna hop the goofy right out of me; I must’ve fell one hop short of riding regular.
D: Hahah! I’m pretty good at regular now. Goofy was hard at first, and riding in switch was wobbly to begin with, but it definitely helped my stabilizer muscles in my weak leg to push around in switch.
K: You made it to the Broadway Bomb eh, jealous. While you were in New York, what were you getting up to?
Well I hung out with the Blue Sky Longboards team at the Blue Sky Mile Challenge the day before the bomb. I posted up on the side of the street for the actual Bomb, and I spent a week in Brooklyn after it. I took the last train out of NYC before Hurricane Sandy hit to CT where I grew up. I had a 10-year highschool reunion of sorts with some friends I haven’t seen in a long, long time. It was really rad. But after a hurricane and a snow storm, I remembered why I left, and headed south to Washington DC, holed up in my friend’s basement for days, discovered K.Flay, and pretty much only came out to go see Kaki King play a show before heading to Fluvanna County, Virginia where my mom lives, for Thanksgiving dinner with the east coast fam. Flew back to California for December. It’s the best place for the worst month of the year.
K: Friends help so much to keep a positive attitude, specially with an injury- glad to hear you got to visit a lot of yours! Besides managing to get around, what else did you find difficult to accomplish while injured?
D: Well, I found wearing pants difficult because of the boot, haha, and a bra difficult because of the chafing from the crutches.. Leggings and tank tops for months now. I’ve even made a nasty habit of skating in them, but I think that might bite me in the ass one day. Staying positive was a challenge at parts, but I tried to do the best I could. Holding stuff was hard. Walking my dog didn’t really work very well, but luckily some friends watched her while I left town.
D: I had a lot of people come up to me during my hobbles to help me randomly, often telling stories about their own breaks, or at least concerned about mine. Did you experience anything similar?
K: Yeah! It’s funny you say that, I was kind of surprised by the generosity of strangers. I had so many people come up and help me any way they could, watching people hurry to open a door was always my favourite, put a smile on my face. Was definitely proud in breaking a bone by longboarding, especially after hearing some unfortunate stories of strangers (i.e breaking a foot tripping over a doorway)
K: Was there any scenario in particular that you remember?
D: Someone had broken both his legs in the same way, by the tops of his feet being forced abruptly to his shins from a hard landing in motocross. I can’t even. UgH.
D: I think I always knew that I would get hurt some day doing downhill. I was never sure how I would react after, but I always knew it was dangerous and I would probably get burned. How about you, what were your feelings toward injury when all you were experiencing was some gnarly road rash? Have you been hurt badly before this?
K: Honestly, I thought I was invincible, no joke (especially in leathers heheh). I’ve been skating fast and crashing hard all season, couple scrapes/road rash here and there- never serious. So it was quite the shock to break a bone for the first time in my life by boarding, still can’t believe it. So I figure you and I have done our time in the badly injured area, think i’m gonna stick to road rash.
D: Rash me up, girl. I’m stoked to fall a hundred times on water when I don’t have any road rash though. Just surfed for the first time ever. It’s a different kind of getting your ass kicked for a thrill, haha.
K: Oh, totally agree! Surfing is way easier on the body when you bail.
K: Is there a sense of fear that wasn’t there before (when it comes to boarding) for you?
D: Umm. Not really. I want to take things cautiously while my muscles are not fully ready and learn how to anticipate others moves better during downhill. I’ve only ridden rough roads like Barrett Junction and a Mexican road since the injury, which were both vibrating a lot which was scary at first, and I’ll probably be freaking out when I ride in a pack again. Also, I took my visor off my full face for training days. It sounds like a space-ship in there, and I feel like I have to watch out for people around me more now. I’ll just put it on for race days. I think that will work well for getting in “the zone”, anyway.
K: Wishing you good luck with your move to San D, I’m stoked for you and hope one day I can do the same! With all this talk about injuries, what are your plans for the future?
D: The future seems so far away! This year I’ll be doing sales within the skate industry, competing at US events for Blue Sky Longboards and promoting the girl’s scene hard. I have my heart on Costa Rica for a bit, too.
K: I’m hoping to see you at the she-ride, gotta do a run down Mary together! Promise I won’t bail in front of you and cut you off hahah!
D: Haha, no worries if you do. But if we’re taking a casual run, let’s just see if each other are alright before running off. Na’mean? Hell, maybe someone needs an ambulance.
D: What other events are you planning on going to this year? I’m pretty stoked on Ditchslap in Albuquerque and gonna head out to Nebraska for Hummel Havoc in the Buck Trucks RV for April 20th. Super down for the Bomb again, and as many events as I can fit in really. Where can I see you again?
K: Sounds like you’ve got a pretty good start to the year, I’ve just got home races, planning on going to the salt spring slip and slide in Feb. really excited to be attending that for the first time, gets bigger and bigger every year. I’ll most likely be attending all the races in B.C , would really like to go down to Cathlamet Downhill Corral and mary hill for sure. We’re bound to meet up somewhere in there!
D: What kind of advice do you have for a girl (or anyone) that gets hurt worse than thought they would downhilling?
K: Injuries are part of what we do. Being able to respect the consequences of our mistakes is important, it keeps us within our limits. Sometimes when you get hurt, adrenaline and excitement can keep you from knowing the severity of your injury. When someone is able to stop, take a step back, and not ‘tough it out’ so they can actually heal their shit properly is far more admirable than for someone to just ‘walk it off’ and potentially do more damage. Respecting our body is something we all need to do, especially when we put our lives on the line when we skate. Patience is key (though it wears thin). When you break you need to fix, and waiting till you’re absolutely healed and ready will result in becoming a stronger and wiser person rather than the silly person who ignores the body’s signs of pain from injury.
D: Thanks for chatting with me Barbie. Anyone you want to thank?
K: Well, I would like to thank my sponsor Regular Underground and all my friends who’ve helped me through while I was injured- makes all the difference.
It’s fun times talking with you Daisy, Thank you :)!
D: Awesome Kelsey, sounds like we’ll have lots of stories to catch up on at Maryhill SheRide 2013 on July 20th and 21st. Stay rad til then. DON’T break a leg. 🙂