How do you combine skateboarding at this level with still going to school?
Well, there’s always a lot going on, between World Championships, European Championships, Belgian Championships and what not. Plus, sometimes things are announced super late. So, it isn’t easy to make it all work but I manage. For skateboarding, there’s no sport status like there is for soccer or tennis. Luckily, school is very flexible and understanding.
Congratulations again on that Belgian title by the way. How would you describe the vibe at such an event to an outsider?
The location (‘t Kuipke in Ghent) was perfect. The whole setting was constructed especially for the championship and then broken down again afterwards, but it was great. It was easy to have a nice overview and to see everyone in action. The atmosphere was really fun, it’s almost like small family reunion. Keep in mind that there aren’t that many female skaters, so it really is a close-knit group. There’s no competitive vibe, we all root for one another.
With skateboarding becoming an Olympic sport, there’s been a lot of debate. How do you feel about the subject?
You can definitely notice an increased attention from the media. Which doesn’t have to be a bad thing, because it’ll expose more people to skateboarding and could result in some more appreciation. I might go and it could be fun, but it’s not necessarily a goal. I try not to take contests too seriously, not even the Olympics. What matters most is having a good time on and off my skateboard and seeing different places.
Classic question, but how did you get into skateboarding?
I was around 12 when I got into it. At after school care, a friend of mine would often skateboard so through him, I started trying to do the same thing. A little later my dad took me to a toy store to get my first board, in plastic (laughs). When my mom dropped me off at the local skatepark for the very first time, I was a little girl surrounded by all these older skateboarders. They probably were surprised at first, but they immediately accepted me and took me under their wings.
Were there any other girls there?
Just one. Evelien, who’s about 10 years older than me and who actually is my coach these days. Nowadays, the two of us are still there, plus a bunch of other female friends like Sara, Aura and Maithé.
When did you realize that you were good and wanted to keep doing this?
When I noticed that I could keep learning new tricks and progressing. That’s the cool thing, everyone can progress, even the best skateboarders can learn new tricks. The variety is enormous and keeps growing.
Do you think it could ever turn into something you make a living off?
Maybe. The popularity seems to keep growing and I think that if you really focus on it, it may be possible. I would be into that for sure. Doing what I love all of the time seems like a cool idea. But honestly, before you asked me that question, I’d never really thought about it (laughs).
Skateboarding is full of personalities. Is there anyone in specific that inspires you?
Someone that I think has an awesome personality and incredible skills is Nora Vasconcellos. She’s very creative on and off her board too. I love her style.
You’ve already travelled a lot, what are some of your favorite places so far?
Rio de Janeiro. It’s a huge city that has everything. Mountains, the ocean and great skate spots. Some of the world’s best skateboarders are Brazilian. It’s like they have the ultimate discipline and the will to become the best.
And in Belgium?
When it comes to indoor parks, nothing beats Rampaffairz. It’s not only the biggest Belgian indoor park but also the best. I’m lucky to live so close to it. There are some good outdoor parks too, but those are less my thing.
You must be kind of used to being interviewed and having your picture taken by now. Is it still weird at times?
I can deal with it pretty easily. I don’t really think about it too much. I just do my own thing and as long as the vibe is relaxed and easy-going, it’s cool.