SANDRA "SANKU" VUORI'S INTERVIEW ABOUT GIRL'S POINT OF VIEW IN SKATEBOARDING
You’ve maybe seen this girl earlier in our instagram and facebook posts. Who is this 26- year-old woman who look like a small 15-year-old boy? Friends know her as Sanku and she is a female skateboarder, one of a kind. She is also part of CTRL's skateboarding team. CTRL wants to support women's skateboarding and Sanku got into the crew lately because of her great attitude and obvious love to this art-form that we do not call sport. Sanku has been one of the special cases in man-dominated field of skateboarding in Finland. This girl got into skateboarding already in her childhood, a handful of years ago, and was the only girl in her hometown, ripping the streets of a small village with a group of boys. She has seen different phases of skateboarding, including women’s skateboarding and we got to talk with her about what she is thinking about the future of women’s skateboarding and what she is thinking about skateboarding in general as a girl.
Do you have a motto?
Just do your thing.
Greetings to other skateboarders/girlskaters/everybody?
Remember to appreciate one another, in the end we all are doing the same thing.
And lastly, about whom (girl skater) you would like to read the interview next?
Sarah Meurle from Sweden of Hanna Hyvätalo from Finland.
We’ll see what we can do about it…!
For how long have you been skateboarding?
I started skateboarding in the summer of 1998 so it’s about 15 years ago, isn’t it? I haven’t counted really precisely.
How did you get into skateboarding?
There was a summer holiday from the school. I didn’t get along well with the girls, they were talking stupid stuff and they had really competitive hobbies. You always needed to be better than the others. I had some disagreements with one friend who was a girl about some baseball game or something... Then I decided that I don’t want to play anymore anything or win anything or be better than anybody. Anyhow, some lack of activity bothered me during the summer heat wave.
We were living right next to the Russia border (Virojoki) and there were lots of some “cash and carry” kind of supermarkets where you got all kind of stuff real cheap. There we found a “skateboard” with my friend Mikko that we absolutely had to have. That summer went working out and falling down with that “great” toymachine.
However, that skateboarding thing did not end there, as many thought. The following summer we were a bit more informed and we bought our first real completes from Board Stock in Kotka. In the end, there were around ten “skaters” in our small town, boys and me, and no one really liked us. Since that, skateboarding has continued until this day. Fortunately, there is no need to be afraid of getting beaten up by white thrashes anymore, as it used to be in our small hometown.
What is the greatest thing in skateboarding?
Freedom and infinity, that everyone can do what ever he or she wants and this is the fact that no one should forget. There is space for all kind of opinions but opinions never should limit anybody.
What is your best memory related to skateboarding?
There are plenty of good memories and it’s hard to name only one. However, still the most unforgettable was the first stairs I was ollieing down. It was five stairs at some local supermarket in Virojoki. I had tried the whole summer to ollie those stairs down but I didn’t have enough guts to do that. I was always too pussy and kicking the board away. Boys were already going down the stairs with flips and everything… One evening one of the guys pushed me by saying “Now you just push it down Sandra, speed will fix your failures!” Then I pushed real hard and in the end I was landing down straight to the bullets. In this memory the main point wasn’t that I was ollieing down the stairs but that thing how glad and happy everyone was for me. It was maybe the greatest feeling in my life when those 10 guys were really truly happy for me, you know.
What is the hardest thing in skateboarding?
In the end nothing in skateboarding itself. Sometimes some of the external things piss me off, like prejudices and narrow-mindness.
What is your skateboarding philosophy?
Peeps are skateboarding for different things, some are skating for fun, through the joy, some are easing the aggressions and rage and rolling down the pressures or escaping the reality by skateboarding. By myself I always go skateboarding with the mentality that it can be the last sesh ever, you never know. I’ve started this thing with joy and I hope that if it ends some day, it will end the same way.
Do you like to skate flat, curbs or bowl(curves)? Why?
Flat and curbs absolutely. Curves and bowls have never interested me that much.
Where do you prefer to skate usually and what are you favorite spots?
I like to skate street, skating in the park I do not enjoy that much. As far as there is some flat I’m really happy. When I started, we were skating the first five to six years only streets and basically everything we managed to find in a small town. The nearest skatepark was ten kilometers away, in another city. I’ve never learned to skate parks with full heart within it. One of my favorite spots is New Music House in Helsinki at the moment.
What is your special trick?
Coz I’m a bit “retarted” (or you can call it “special”(laughing)) I’m doing skateboearding as goofy and snowboarding as regular so skateboarding has been a bit problematic sometimes. I like to do many tricks as fakie, it feels the most natural.
Do you have some idols or who is your favorite skateboarder?
I’ve had lots of favorite skateboarders over the years. Probably every girl who has skated even a little longer have to say Elissa Steamer. Of course she has been very significant figure for me as well, because she was the first woman who became a pro skater. I also remember being a fan of Mäksy when I was younger and I have to say Mark Gonzales as well, they have one of the coolest styles when it comes to skateboarding. Others whom I would like to mention is Swedish Sarah Meurle and Igor from Tikari Skateboards, really cool and nice looking styles and ripping. Also some favorite skateboarders are Lacey Baker and Wilson Mäkelä.
Where do you get your motivation in skateboarding?
From the friends.
Have you experienced or do you face some prejudices as a girl skateboarder? What kind of?
Yeah, of course I’ve met few butt-heads and small-minded critics. At one point, there was a taboo about the girls who skate, that they only carry the decks with them and are hitting on the guys. I’ve pretty much laughed at them in the face.
What pisses me off the most is to deal with the staff at some skate shops where they don’t know me or I don’t know them. For example, I’ve been offered some Hello Kitty sneakers or something really awkward when I've tried to buy me new skateshoes.
You’ve been skating very long and seen different phases in skateboarding. What do you think of women’s skateboarding and how do you see the future of women’s skateboarding?
Well, over these years I have seen many ups and downs of women’s skateboarding in Finland. When I’ve been skateboarding a lot with guys, some issues related to being a girl has certainly pissed me off, and back in the days I have rebelled against the “girl” issue. I guess I was 11 years old when I pretended to be a boy and dressed as a boy when we went to another town to skate in the park. It just pissed me off that much that they called me “chick” and were spitting on me. I just wanted to skate as everybody else. Fortunately, things have changed, thanks to the media for once.
In The States there is a quite of a buzz related to women’s skateboarding going on at the moment, big sponsor agreements, contests and so on… And for example vert skateboarding is on the rise. And some girls looks pretty much like guys when skateboarding, I mean they have real good style when they skate. So the attitudes has changed a lot about women’s skateboarding and there is a real new scene in women’s skateboarding over there.
Girls’ scene in Finland is still very young. Of course, there has been “can-do spirit” all the time more and more over the past ten years. There has been lots of progress since 2004 when there were the first “Finnish Championships” in skateboarding in women’s series.
Right now if you look at things with honesty, you have to say that we have pretty beautifully thriving girl skateboarding scene as well here in Finland and that is a good thing. No longer there is no need to draw a beard and dress up as a guy if you want skateboard without anybody bothering you.