Who's Rad? Valeria Kechichian.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Photo: Tom Goldwasser
Photo: Maria Ardnt
Photo: Maria Ardnt
Photo: Nicholas Littlefield
Photo: Nicholas Littlefield
Photo: Nicholas Littlefield
Photo: Nicholas Littlefield
Photos:  Arian Chamasmany
Photo: Tom Goldwasser
Photo: Tom Goldwasser
Photo: Arian Chamasmany

You know the girl who everyone loves to be around? The one who is always encouraging others and rips damn hard herself? The girl who is out there everyday making things happen, as opposed to just talking about them?  That's Valeria. She's known to skateboarders (male & female) all over the world for her rad style, grace, and general badass skating ability, not to mention her posse of girls called the Longboard Girls Crew, that seem to be everywhere taking over the streets, and encouraging even more girls to get on a board and skate. I have no idea when she sleeps because Valeria skates, writes, and gives inspiring talks all over the world not too mention creating films that inspire others.  Her LBGC skate films are beautifully done and show the top female riders skating places most of us only dream about. This girl makes shit happen, and all of us in skateboarding are forever grateful for all she has done. Read on to see what else you may not know about this awesome skater and amazing girl.  xx


Who's Rad?   Valeria Kechichian

Age:   33

Home is?     Argentinean -  living in Madrid, Spain.

How long have you been Skating?    Almost 7 years

What got you into skateboarding?

I’ve been involved in the boardsports industry since my teenage years. My first paid job was in a local skateshop in Buenos Aires, Argentina but at that time I was a street in-line skater (haha, I know). When I was 28, living in Spain, quitting some bad habits and in desperate need for new things in my life, I chose longboarding.

You co-founded and run the amazing & popular Longboard Girls Crew – can you tell us how the idea came about & a bit about the concept?

In the beginning Longboard Girls Crew was created to get more girls into the sport. It was something pretty local. We were 5 or 6 girls longboarding in Madrid and knew there had to be more. If not, we wanted to make them start. With catchy high quality videos and photos that sent a fun message we started to spread the stoke and girls and women all over the world started to grab a board and skate. We got a lot of people into the sport, now I want to achieve real gender equality and industry backing for females in action sports. Skateboarding is just the beginning.


Photo: Matt K

It seems like there are chapters everywhere across the world, which is so amazing! How many LGC groups are there?

At the moment we have more than 60 official LGC country crews worldwide, which is just amazing. They run their own LGC Facebook country pages following the LGC guidelines, do their own events, videos.. Everything is collected in our web so it’s easy to follow the worldwide news daily in www,longboardgirlscrew.com

How can a girl go about joining a chapter of LGC? Are there requirements – like skating ability, or?

 Longboard Girls Crew is an open community. Every girl that skates is part of LGC. If they want to be more involved with their countries’ crew they can contact the ambassadors through that country LGC Facebook fan page and do it. If someone wants to open a new crew in a country where we’re not they should drop me an email or write to info@longboardgirlscrew.com

When it comes to shooting new videos we usually chose based on the rider’s skills and personality. We want to portray the highest skating level but the way you behave around others is as important.

Photo: Tom Goldwasser


Are there any women out there doing rad things (skateboarding, business, etc.) that inspire & motivate you?

Absolutely. Everyone that’s working for a greater good and not just for themselves, inspire me. Everyone that’s pushing their limits and doing things for the first time ever inspires me. My mom Graciela, my sister Carolina and my sister in law Mercedes inspire me.. they are such loving fighters. I’m extremely inspired by my mentors, one of them the amazing Coco Taché from the Swiss Magazine 7sky and the Ride For Shift movement. From the industry I’m inspired by women like Mimi Knoop, Kim Woozy, Amelia Brodka and everyone in the Women in Board and Action Sports organization who are pushing the female scene as much as they can. I’m also inspired by all of you OG skaters that paved the way for us years ago and keep working pushing the scene. I’m inspired daily by emails I get from girls and women in far away countries where no one skates but they do and are hugely stoked. I’m inspired by the new generation.. 6, 8 and 10 year olds landing 540 on vert ramps or ripping harder in a bowl than most people I know. Inspiration is everywhere and it’s a huge moment for women in action sports to get together and take us to the next level of exposure.


You also started taking the industry by storm with your beautiful longboarding films – what gave you that idea – as it really has not been done before with women in skateboarding?

I don’t recall any longboard video before ours where so many female skaters where featured and shot in such way. But if there is, please let me know, I would love to see them! When I came up with the idea of shooting our first video ever featuring 14 Spanish riders cruising around Madrid I didn’t give it much thought. I just thought that the boys were doing it and so should we. At that time the problem was finding that many girls.. haha.

Photo: Katie Neilson

Can you tell us about your new movie OPEN and when we might be able to see the film? Everyone is so excited to see what you girls have done!




It’s almost ready! We’re just working very hard in all the technical features and in making a movie that not only portrays the highest longboarding level so far but also the story behind it. 14 female riders from 11 different countries skating Israel is quite a story.


On top of all this you find time to longboard, write articles for Concrete Wave Magazine, do speaking engagements and continuously promote women in skateboarding in such a positive way – how do you find time & what does your “typical” day look like?

At the moment and for the past 6 months I’ve been doing all LGC work by myself. That includes updating the web every day, checking what’s new around the world, all social media (LGC’s and mine), managing the 60 crews worldwide, emails, press, marketing, PR, brochures, projects, LGC camps, the shop, OPEN related issues (premieres, sponsors, riders, legal..), products… just to mention a few. As you said I also write articles for other publications and give lectures in associations or Universities about the role of women in action sports and achieving real gender equality. I also need to coordinate all these with my trips that multiply in the spring/summer time while I find time to skate, surf, snowboard or go for a bike run. So to be honest, I wonder every day how I do it!  ha ha. At the moment I work around 15 hours a day but I’m recruiting new staff members so hopefully I can go back to sleeping 8 hours a day sometime soon.

My “typical” day while I’m in Madrid is waking up early and working until late night. I go skating as much as I can, especially to my local bowl. During the trips there’s no “typical” I just squeeze the days as much as I can skating everywhere, meeting as many people as I can and being high at life all the time. I love it so much.

Photo: Tom Goldwasser


When you girls are traveling shooting the films it takes a lot of energy – any healthy eating habits you can share when you are on the road? Favorite foods, etc?

I’m very healthy when it comes to food. I just have too much of a sweet tooth and cake plays a big role in my alimentation. Besides that, tons of fruits, veggies, grains and cereals in general are part of my diet. During trips fruits and cereal bars save my life.

Photo: Val Grinda

Favorite place you've ever skated?

So many! But I’m gonna say all the roads I skated in California for longboarding and the Pavel Indoor skatepark in Dusseldorf, Germany for skateboarding. Unfortunately this last one was torn  apart some weeks ago. That bowl was a dream.


Favorite Trick or manuver?

Anything stand up sliding.

Photo: Tom Goldwasser

Sponsors:

Concrete Wave Skateshop in Cologne, Bastl Boards, Hawgs Wheels and some of my friends and mentors.


Three Things You Don't Know About Me:

1. I can eat 2kg of dulce de leche (typical Argentinean sweet, a paste similar to toffee) without a problem. If anyone doubts it, I will gladly accept a food challenge. Anytime.

2. I’m a witch and so are some of my friends.

3. I cried when I saw Free Willy.

What’s Next?

The LGC Camps are around the corner: a week in northern Spain surfing and skating all day. This year I’ll do two camps, the last week of August and the first one of September. For more info check www.longboardgirlscrew.com/camps I’m also working on the Open premieres and I’m releasing a new LGC board designed specially for girls. The female market is getting bigger and we need products designed specially for our features. I’m also closer to the big ladies in skateboarding and together we want to push the female scene, shorten the gap between longboarding and skateboarding and work generally for women in action sports. Too much stoke.

Photo: Arian Chamasmany

Make sure you follow Valeria at:

http://instagram.com/valeriakechichian
https://www.facebook.com/valeria.kechichian
https://twitter.com/ValKechichian
http://www.tumblr.com/blog/valeriakechichian

Make sure you follow Longboard Girls Crew at:


https://www.facebook.com/longboardgc
http://instagram.com/longboardgirlscrew
https://twitter.com/longboardgirls
www.longboardgirlscrew.com


Thanks for all you do Valeria! xx

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