Who's Rad? Emily "The PROSSecutor" Pross.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Photo Klaudie Moravcova

We have heard about Emily for years now. We missed meeting her when we went to the Maryhill SheRide a few years back and since then she has been competing with the men in downhill... and winning. This young woman doesn't let anything get in the way of her goals, and when she hears "you can't" or "It's never going to happen" that fuels her even more. She skates downhill faster than most people drive their car on the freeway, is an IDF champion, skates for Team USA and still manages to attend college to get her degree. Whew!

We are extremely pleased to share this " Who's Rad" interview featuring Emily Pross with you!

Photo Gael Abudarham

 Who's Rad?   Emily Pross 

Age?       23 years old

Home is? 

I was born and raised in Vernon, New Jersey. But I have lived in Mineral, Virginia for the last two years.

How long have you been downhill racing? 

I have been downhill racing for the last 7 years. I originally started downhill skating in 2012, but I was mostly into the freestyle aspect of it at first. By freestyle, I mean technical slides and flowing down the hill with style and grace. It was not until 2013 when I realized my love for downhill racing on a skateboard. Now I just want to go as fast as I can downhills. 

Photo CGSA Downhill

What made you get interested in doing downhill?

Well, growing up, I could never really figure how to ollie or do any of the fancy flatland street skating tricks on a regular skateboard. So instead I took my skateboard to the top of this hill I lived on and rode down that, and honestly, I could do that all day. I loved that gravity powered speed feeling.

You are going to school and racing – how do you juggle both?

I do and it is pretty rough. Fortunately, I took online classes through Berkeley College. Generally my plan of attack with school, and traveling to races, was trying to get all the work done ahead of time that I was assigned in the weeks I would be gone. Generally, the season would start in Australia, and I would be gone for about 3 weeks and go to two races. So I would talk to the professors and they would give the work for those 3 weeks I would be gone, because I knew once I got to my destination I would not feel like doing any kind of schoolwork. So I would knock out 3 weeks' worth of school work in 4 classes ahead of time. I would start this grind about a month before I would leave. It was very draining, mentally, having to all that extra work on top of the work that was due that week in all those classes.

What are you getting your degree in?

I am currently pursuing my Bachelor’s of Science in Marketing and Communications. I’m actually in my last semester finishing that up.

Can you tell us what an average day is like for you? 

Since I am currently working on an internship with Twente Additive Manufacturing. My day starts out, getting up early around 5am or 6am. Try to complete some school work, before heading out the door to work at the internship at 8:30am. Then at the end of the day, I train at the gym generally around 5pm, for about 1 hr 1/2 - 3hrs, how long I train depends on how I feel. And then I return home, eat dinner, study some more, then go to bed, and repeat. Depending on my schedule, sometimes I’ll try and do some training in the morning before heading to work or doing anything else I have planned that day.

Speaking of training – can you tell us what type of training you do to prepare and keep your body in shape for your sport?

Generally, during the racing season, I participate in HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and keep a good mix of endurance, strength, and balance training in with my HIIT routine. To give you an idea, my favorite routine, is warming with low weight on weight lifting exercise, like say squats. Then without rest in between weight sets, I will sprint on the treadmill, or outside (depending on the weather) for 1:20 at a 10mph pace. I will repeat this 4 times, without resting in-between weight sets, while also adding weight to my strength training exercise. I’ll also do this with other weight training exercises in one training session. Aside from this, I also like to go for long-distance runs on occasion. As well as go to the bouldering gym. 

 We know you like to go FAST – what is the fastest speed you have clocked on your skateboard?

Photo Tyler Topping

 "The fastest speed I clocked on a skateboard is 135.00kph. Which is 83.88 mph. This was at the top speed challenge up in Quebec Canada, I achieved the fastest for the ladies in that contest up there"

How did you get the nickname “The PROSSecutor”?

The nickname was actually given to me by one of friends in the downhill industry, Max Dubler. He gave me the nickname back in 2015 at an international Downhill Federation (IDF) race in Lillehammer, Norway. 2015 was when I started to realize my potential to do well in the open category. Because I had a decent qualifying time and made the final 64 man bracket in Open/Pro Men’s category, people were saying those that qualified worse than I got “Prossed.” That was when Dubler took it upon himself to say, “No, you all got PROSSecuted.” The name and term stuck ever since then.

Can you tell us about the different divisions in downhill, women, open, etc?

Of course. So much like other sports where they have a governing organization like NFL, NHL, and MLB. The IDF is the league and sanctioning body we race in as downhill skateboarders. In this league, we race under they're set of rules, and racing divisions/classes. These multiple different classes under their umbrella, have a points chase across multiple different races around the world, in order to crown a World Champion. The classes the IDF offers races in are, a Master’s Division, which is for people 35 years and up. A Women’s division, which all women of any age can compete in. A junior division that anyone under the age of 18 can compete in. A street luge division which, people who participate in, street luging, race against each other in. Lastly, they offer an Open category, which is the main racing division the IDF offers. In the Open category, anybody is allowed to participate, including those participating in the other divisions, excluding luge. The open category is very much similar to a “Pro Men’s” division, however, women are allowed to compete, which is called “Open.” 

Photo Tyler Topping

You are winning all the women’s comps and are also beating the men – can you tell us a little about what racing with the men is like, where it took place, and how it felt? 

Of course. I know it sounds weird, but I now have 2 “first” wins under my belt against the men. One was at a non-IDF sanctioned event in North Carolina, called Mt. Jefferson. This win happened in 2017. And my other was my first win in an IDF event, at the Seaside track in the Philippines. This happened in 2018.

The Mt. Jefferson race track is one of my favorite race tracks in the world, the track pretty much has all the features I like in a race track. Back in 2017 when I won, I won in the rain. Skateboarding in the rain is a whole different ball game. There is no traction, so you have to calculate and think about your technique and lines while navigating the road. I also remember it being particularly cold here, I remember being lined up on the starting for the final heat, and not being able to stop shivering. I honestly credit the cold to me winning, because, literally every heat I wanted to get to the bottom as fast I could so I could get out of the rain and try to warm myself up.

At the Mt. Jefferson race because it was not IDF, they only offered one class, open. However in the Philippines, I raced both Women’s and Open. This race was also extremely brutal because of the extreme heat and humidity. From the Quarterfinals till the end I was racing 2 race heats per round, and in the heat and humidity, it was extremely difficult. But this win was particularly special to me, because not only did I win against the men while racing an additional race heat per round. But I won against two former Open world Champions, who had the reputation of being hard to beat, so that special.

I like to think, unrealistic goals, lead to unrealistic outcomes. I relate this to my goal of winning an open race because I was always told, “you can’t” “It’s never going to happen.” When something you worked so hard to achieve finally happens, you are left with this feeling of, what now? What do I do? 

Photo  Ras Sarunas

 You are setting records like this and paving the way for women in the sport – are there more goals like this coming up for you?

"For sure! My main goal in downhill is to inspire others, whether I have accomplished that or not, I do not know. But, my main goal for next is to be better than I was last year, as a competitor. Both mentally and physically"

Do the guys treat you differently now that you are competing with them and beating them?

Yes and no. Some guys, I can tell I have earned their respect as a competitor. However, I can still sense some resentment in the attitudes of some others.

You are also an IDF champion – how many times and which years?

Yes, I am a 5x IDF World Champion, 4x being undefeated. And with the win at the World Roller Games in Barcelona, I now have 6 World Titles.

You were named recently to the USA National Team – what does that mean to you?

As a whole, it felt really cool because this was the first time Downhill Skateboarding has ever been apart of something at this magnitude. All in all, it was a huge step forward for the sport, and I felt proud to be apart of the downhill community.

Can you explain what it was like to go to Barcelona and compete?

The event in Barcelona was beautifully run. It was really spectacular to see all the best skaters in the world come together at a single event. Normally at most events, everyone can’t make it, so it was cool to really see the whole downhill scene come together.

You brought home the gold for the USA there – what does your medal look like?

The medal is pretty cool. The medal actually looks like a wheel. It has a gold rim with a concrete center. In the concrete, the WRG games logo is stamped along with downhill’s event symbol. On the inside of the medal is a gold skateboard bearing with “World Roller Games” engraved into. The bearing spins too, which is pretty neat. 

Photo Via Kebbek Skateboards

You have your own pro model board with Kebbek – sweet! Tell us about the graphics, the design, how that came about? 

The graphic is pretty cool, it was made by an artist out in Nelson, BC. The focal point of the graphic is a Bald Eagle, which I thought was pretty sweet considering I’m one of their few riders from the United States. This design came about from testing and riding multiple different boards in the market. I gleaned a little bit from each of the boards I liked, and have ridden in the past, and mashed all these components together to make my pro-model. 

 Any advice for girls who want to follow in your footsteps?

Rusty Williams

"If you believe in yourself, you can accomplish anything. At times you are going to feel alone, but remember to keep your eyes on the prize and stay focused on the end goal."

"Do not let others tell you that you can’t, because they are only saying that to scare you from what you CAN do."

Girls in action sports that inspire you?

I love following Crossfit and the athletes who compete in the games. Women, such as Tia-Clair Toomey, Katrin Daviosdottir, and Jessica Griffith. These women, are major inspirations for me in keeping me motivated in my passion for training and working out. 

I’m also a huge fan of American Ninja Warrior, and I have massive respect for Jessie Graff. She helps keep me inspired to compete against all humans, rather than just the women. 

Sponsor Shout Out:

Kebbek Skateboards

Three Things You Don't Know About Me...

1. I’m a huge fan of kombucha, and do my own home brewing. In the future, I would like to possibly start a kombucha beverage company.

2. I have a fear of falling from high places, and I credit this fear to my sister. On family vacation whenever I would look out of the edge of a cliff, or something similar, my sister would also come from behind and give me a little nudge/jerk forward. This would cause me to lose my balance and think I was about to free-fall off the edge. Because of this, to this day, I hate being close to the edges of cliffs even if there is a safety railing across it.

3. I’m currently learning another language, Portuguese.

What’s Next? 

Honestly, I am not sure. I would like to keep pursuing the IDF world tour. But, since the sport is so small it is very hard, for me financially, to fund all that traveling year after year. One thing Would like to do is pursue coaching. I think I could bring a lot of stuff to the table to help someone succeed in this sport and others. For now though, I kind of just going to go with the flow, see what doors open, and close, and go from there.

Make sure you follow Emily at:

Instagram @emilylongboards
Facebook  facebook.com/emilypross

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