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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Lyn-Z Hawkins for I Skate, Therefore I Am... The interview.

Interview with Lyn-Z Hawkins, by Xavier Lannes

Lyn-Z Hawkins
Lyn-z is considered as one of the top female skateboarders in the world.
She started skating at a young age but was constantly surrounded by
some of the top women in the field. Lyn-z has been impressive to watch
 since she stepped on the board and today she regularly finds herself
atop the podium at almost all of the contests she enters.
Lyn-Z is a skateboarding phenomenon: she was the first female to jump the gap in the DC ramp in 2004, and she was only 15 years old at the time (see the video from here), she was the first female to land a McTwist 540 on a skateboard in an art and music event held in Paris' historic Grand Palais, built for the 1900 Paris Expedition. She is also a sensation in contests (see results below): she got the 1st place at the X Games 10, 1st place at the X Games 13, 2nd place at the X Games 14.

In 2005, she broke her arm and in 2006, she had ACL knee surgery which sidelined her for eight months. In 2009, she finished 3rd at the Protec Pool Party, but pool is not her cup of tea and she is really better in ramp where she can perform her legendary airs, her specialty. Lyn-Z was also the big winner at the X Games XV, dropping in from the top of the landing bank and well-dressed in her always-classic Tuxedo T-shirt and the big winner at the Dew Tour in Boston. Lyn-Z is also a web prodigy: she has 2500 followers with twitter and 3000 friends with Facebook. Incidentally, do you know what she considers as the hardest part of her job?... “emailing interviews and answering over 200 Facebook Messages”....

After remaining healthy for a year, Lyn-z amped up her training. The
multi-board sport competitive athlete usually spends her winters snowboarding in Mammoth.

In the last year, however, she decided to stay closer to home and focus on
skateboarding. She started training more with Hawk, who invited her to come to the Tony Hawk Show in Paris. Lyn-Z is also was a character in two of Hawk’s video games including the recent “Tony Hawk: Ride.”

During the interview, she talks about how Cardiff is the best place on earth, why surfing is important in her life, how wonderful is drinking champagne after landing her now infamous 540 and how she feels about some new kids on the block. She definitely deserves more coverage in the media than she currently has, so shut-up and here’s the interview…

I am really stoked and thrilled to be have been able to get an interview with the beautiful Lyn-Z Hawkins.

Next: Interview with Lyn-Z in her own words

Lyn-Z Hawkins, I Skate, Therefore I Am
From Lindsey to Lyn-Z
 isTia: Why did you switch from Lyndsey to Lyn-Z?
Lyn-Z: When I was 9 years old living in Sayulita Mexico for half the year each year I came up with “Lyn-z” because I didn’t like writing my name all the way out. My Mom liked it and said it was creative and catchy and would be perfect if I was ever “famous”…

isTia: How did you first get into skateboarding?
Lyn-Z: My parents got my brother and me skateboards when I was about 1 and a half so I have been around it my whole life. When I was 6 years old my brother got me a membership to the local skate park but it wasn’t until the summer I was 11 that I really got into it and started competing.

Lyn-Z Hawkins
isTia: I heard you play soccer on top of skateboarding, surfing and snowboarding. How do you manage to do the three at the same time?

Lyn-Z: I played soccer for 8 years, only until I was 12, I competed in surfing at skating at the time and didn’t have time for it anymore, it wasn’t fair to my team to miss so much because of my skating. I also played baseball for 5 years, basketball for 6, swim team, diving, gymnastics, and whatever else my little heart desired.

isTia: You are a big Fan of the Padres. How do you support them?
Lyn-Z: HECK YAH I AM!!! I have to have San Diego pride! I wear SD Padres hats on almost every podium, I have an SD on the front of my helmet like on hats, and I go to as many games as I can. I got to throw out the first pitch at a game last year and that was one of the highlights of my year! I also know one of the pitchers Kevin Correia #29, he just signed another 1 year contract with them and moved to Cardiff, very exciting!

isTia: You are one of the very few truly skateboarders worldwide, in the sense that your skateboard skills are so comprehensive because you also practice surfing and snowboarding. Nowadays, the vast majority of skateboarders have either totally lost contact with surfing and the spirit of surfing that transcended to the Z-boys and beyond or plainly don’t give a dam about surfing… It that sad or is that evolution?
Lyn-Z: It’s evolution and I don’t think it matters at all, they are 2 completely different sports now, it’d be like saying American Football originated from Football (soccer) and its sad that its nothing alike now.

isTia: Is vert skateboarding an extension of surfing, or is new surfing some kind of skateboarding in the water?
Lyn-Z: New surfing has definitely been created by skating and evolved from skating… so I guess it came around full circle.

Lyn-Z Hawkins
isTia: There is a paper in the January 2010 issue of Surfer (mag) that shows how surfing has evolved from laid-back-perfect-wave surfer to guerrilla surfer. Surfing is getting more and more aggressive and skate is getting more and more cool. Am I wrong?
Lyn-Z: I have no idea! I do my best to stay out of that side of the industry; I don’t need extra stress added thinking about things like that haha…

isTia: Can a professional skateboarder still be a surfer in 2010?
Lyn-Z: Highly doubtful… It is A LOT of work to do either so you really have to choose one to focus on to be able to be a stable professional.

isTia: The triathlon of a new generation, the Ultimate Boarder Championship is a one-week competition to find the athlete who can conquer the art of surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding. The competition was created in response to the growing popularity of these sports, and as a way to promote healthy, athletic lifestyles among young people. All in a positive and competitive environment that grooms role models and heroes for our country’s next generation. Basically it’s one crazily tough competition and you were the only female competing in the 2009 triathlon… Can you tell me more about that contest? Should there be more contests like this? Would you do it again?
Lyn-Z: I loved it… It was in April I think, the Snow was located in Big Bear, the Surf and Skate in Ventura…. It was a lot of fun I had heard about it the year before but was busy and decided early on that I wouldn’t miss it this past year and plan to compete again this year especially since the surf and skate are on my home turf of SD.

Lyn-Z Hawkins
Always trying to raise the bar in women’s vert, Lyn-z set a goal for herself in 2009; Adams wanted to be the first
 female to land a McTwist in competition. After unsuccessfully securing the trick at X Games, Adams successfully
 landed the McTwist at the Tony Hawk Show in Paris, France in November 2009. A successful year for Lyn-z
she also secured both the X Games gold medal and the first ever ISF World Championship title in women’s vert.
isTia: Do you prefer Cardiff or Mammoth? What’s the difference between the two?
Lyn-Z: Cardiff is a little beach town and Mammoth is a little mountain town, I have sets of friends in both, and I love them both, I have stayed in Cardiff this winter though so I can skate more and focus on my real job.

isTia: You are so proud of the city where you live that you post pictures of it on Facebook all the time. Is it really the best place to live?
Lyn-Z: YESS!!! It’s simply amazing, if you have ever been here you would see what I’m talking about, and if you live here you really know what I’m talking about! Not only is it extremely beautiful and cute and awesome it’s a great location, it’s the center of the “vert/pool skating Mecca of the world”, its not too far from down town SD, not that far from most of my sponsors, L.A., the snow, and so much more.

isTia: With the amount of professional skateboarders names like Tony Hawk, Bob Burnquist and Mike McGill, living around, San Diego is home to
more than its fair share of skateboarding legends. San Diego also has skateparks, big ramps and private pools everywhere.
Would you say San Diego is the best place to live for a skateboarder?

Lyn-Z: Like I said above its basically the vert skating Mecca of the world, we have soo many vert ramps and big pools within about 20 minutes of each other and if you don’t live around here I would imagine it would be extremely hard to be a professional vert skater people move here from all over the world for that reason alone.

Lyn-Z Hawkins
isTia: In one of your posting in Facebook, you say, I quote: “You know it was a good day when... 1) your feet hurt to walk. 2) your legs are so tired you want to collapse when you stand. 3) you skated 3 parks in one day. 4) you learned a new trick. 5) you're showered and laying in bed by 8pm.... you know it was a great day when you wake up the next morning and wanna do it all over again!.. good day CHECK, great day PENDING”. Do you have that hectic schedule that often?
Lyn-Z: No! I don’t have that hectic of a schedule all the time but when I have the energy to I actually LOVE it! That’s how my everyday was when I was little but now that I’ve gotten older my body can’t really do that every day haha…

isTia: Did you ever find it intimidating skateboarding around a bunch of guys when you first started?
Lyn-Z: No… way! I was always with my brother and he and his friends didn’t scare me, then as I got better I had most of the top pro guys take me under their wings and look out for me, so it was comforting like a big happy family on the vert ramp haha…

Already considered the top women’s vert rider in the world, Lyn-z Adams Hawkins sealed her place in skateboarding lore when she became the first female to land a 540 McTwist
Lyn-Z at the XGames. Photo MRZ

isTia: What kind of influence did your Dad have on you? Did he push you into skateboarding? Was he supportive?
Lyn-Z: He didn’t push me at all he just 110% supported me in everything I ever wanted to do, he was my biggest fan!

isTia: A lot of skateboarders are into healthy foods. Some are even into vegetarianism (I think of Ed Templeton, Bob Burnquist, Steve Berra, Geoff Rowley , etc…) Are you yourself Vegetarian , do you support Vegetarianism or do have any special foods you eat to keep in top skating shape?
Lyn-Z: I am not at the moment. I have been a Vegetarian in the past but have found that I personally need more protein in my diet, I do my best to eat healthy but I have a bit of a sweet tooth sometimes…

isTia: For the past couple of years, there have been a lot of arguments and bickering about the man made global warming. Do you believe in the green revolution or is that a scam?
Lyn-Z: Well, I believe in doing things that are better for the environment and do my best to contribute in… I enjoy being a part of A.S.E.C. (Action Sports Environmental Coalition) and using action sports to reach out to and get threw to kids/people.

isTia: In a skate, art and music event held in Paris' historic Grand Palais, built for the 1900 Paris Expedition, you made history as the first female ever to land a McTwist on a skateboard right after Tony Hawk landed another highly demanded 900. How did it feel to be the first girl to land a McTwist?
Lyn-Z: It felt incredible…. I was kindof in disbelief, but it was one of the biggest accomplishments of my life so far. I was in so much shock, I just went up the other side of the ramp then dropped to my knees and then everyone tackled me. I was kind of in disbelief, but it was one of the biggest accomplishments of my life so far.

isTia: You landed it in front of thousands of people in the Grand Palais. Had you landed it before?
Lyn-Z: No, I had never landed it before, that was literally the first 540 a McTwist any women has ever landed on a vert ramp, that’s why it was such a historical thing. It marks a turning point for us (females) to show that we are learning new stuff and we are progressing. It might be taking longer than the guys, but it is happening, and hopefully it will give a lot of girls motivation to learn something new.

The McTwist was a milestone in skating’s progression and is still considered and elusive trick among professional skaters,” Hawk said. “To have Lyn-z conquer it opens new doorways of possibility for women’s skating in general.
Sabree au Champagne (Moet & Chandon -That is) in Paris, France...

isTia: I have heard that you apparently bet your McTwist with Tony Hawk, Sal Masakela, and Kelly Slater and that they now owe you some money? Is that correct? How did that happen?
Lyn-Z: Yup!! Hahaha!! Well it all started in Columbia Missouri at Tony’s Twitter Hunt Demo, he offered me money if landed it in 3 tries, then said that the offer would be there whenever I make it, then in Vegas at The Tony Hawk Foundation Stand Up for Skateparks event Sal was announcing and offered to match Tony if I landed it, and I didn’t but like Tony he let it stand for whenever I made it.. Then in Paris, Kelly was on the vert ramp and asked if throwing some more money in would help and then said actually I’ll match Tony and Sal.. I feel honored that 3 such incredible dudes support me that much!

In front of the Eiffeil Tower, accross the Seine river, on the
other side of the Grand Palais. Ph. Unknown.
isTia: Had you been to Paris before the Quicksilver event? If not, what did you like most about it? I have heard that you had an hotel close the Eiffel Tower. Did you know that place is the cradle of skateboarding in France and a place were almost all pros went? I’m talking about “Le Trocadero” and “Les Bassins”…

Lyn-Z: I had been to Paris when I was 14 but didn’t do much besides sleep… This was the first/only year Quiksilver did this event… The hotel being so close to the Eiffel Tower was AWESOME, I got to do some site seeing as well it over all was just an amazing trip, we had such a fun crew, and I couldn’t believe it was in the Grand Palais its such a beautiful building.

isTia: Thirty years ago, we were skating that same place, between the Grand Palais, The Tour Effeil and the Bassins and we never thought that one day an event of the magnitude could take place here. What was it like skating in such a historic and beautiful building?
Lyn-Z: It was breathtaking just to be in the building, my mom is an artist so I have some of that in my blood and I could really appreciate the beauty of the building.

isTia: Did you meet French pro skateboarders? (Meaning, did you had sesh with them?)
Lyn-Z: Nope… I know Jean Postec pretty well from home, though. He has lived out in California for a long time now.

isTia: Who’s your favorite French skateboarder?
Lyn-Z: Jean of course!!!

isTia: You were in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Did you celebrate after the event? That champagne that Tony poured on your head, did you drink some too?
Lyn-Z: Hahaha!!! Yes!! I had some, I had never drink champagne before, it was… interesting…

Jean Postec
isTia: Did you know that in France, even if teenagers are not permitted to drink alcohol, if you are caught drinking some, the worse that can happen is a reprimand from the cops? How does that compare to the US?
Lyn-Z: Well I am 20 so I’m pretty sure in France I am able to drink but in the US the drinking age is 21 and you get in A LOT of trouble for drinking when you are under age but it depends on if you are in a bar or something because then the bar gets in trouble or whoever you are with who is over 21, its complicated.

isTia: Are there any other girls you skate with that you think might be able to pull a McTwist, now that you've kind of laid the grounds for girls doing it?
Lyn-Z: Not sure about a Mctwist but I know Karen Jones and Gaby Pounce are working on other kinds of 540’s.

isTia: Tell me what happened at San Diego at the All Girl Skate Jam in 2000. Is it really when you started being really involved into skateboarding?
Lyn-Z: Yes… Before that I never really know that there were girls who could skate well and who competed and stuff, it really opened my eyes to what kind of potential opportunities there were for me.

isTia: Who are the other skateboarders that inspire you?
Lyn-Z: Wow there are so many, but here’s a few Tony Hawk for his continuous love and dedication to the sport... Bucky Lasek and Chris Miller for their style, kindness and ability to teach… CB Burnside for basically creating women’s skateboarding and still going strong and Kevin Staab for his unique style that inspires me to be as colorful and unique as I want.

isTia: Who are the other skateboarder girls that inspire you? From the 70’s, the 80’s?
Lyn-Z: Read above… and Jen O’brien she and CB Burnside really took me under their wings and paved the way for me to be where I am today.

isTia: What are your preferred skate videos?
Lyn-Z: I don’t really watch skate videos.

isTia: If someone asked you what was your favorite scene from a skateboard video of all time, what would you say?
Lyn-Z: The DC Video… Danny Way… Mega Ramp.

isTia: Who do you like to skate with?
Lyn-Z: Kevin Staab, Zach Miller, Tony, Mimi Knoop, Bucky, CB Burnside, and whoever has a good attitude.

isTia: How’s your little brother doing so far?
Lyn-Z: He is killing it! He is an amazing snowboarder and loves surfing as well, so he’s a little action sports kid like me… I take him skating as much as possible, its fun, and its cool that he like to skate vert and bowls with me.

isTia: What tricks are you working on these days?
Lyn-Z: Nothing in particular… Just want to get the tricks I can do wired.

isTia: You worked as skate teacher in Woodward. How did you like the experience? Are you willing to go teach to the new Woodward facility in China?
Lyn-Z: I never taught at Woodward… But I am hoping to go to the opening of the China Woodward!

isTia: Skateboarding exploded with a populist bang in the '70s, only to grow exclusionary and dangerous. Tony Hawk says that if you don’t skate vert, then you don’t skate. Is that also your philosophy?
Lyn-Z: I don’t believe that he says that…. And I don’t believe that at all.. I think to each his/her own, skate anything and everything that appeals to you!

isTia: Since the infamous Thrasher magazine cover, several times, it has been said that vert was dead. Until very recently, there was actually no new blood in that discipline, all the vert champions are in their late 30’s early 40’s. It had almost been scratch from the last X-Games in Los Angeles 2009. But by amazing chance, a new discipline was added and now everybody wants to do vert and skateparks. So, how do you see the return of the old school: vert and skateparks?
Lyn-Z: I hope that the industry can see that it’s not dead and there is TONS of new young talent out there and I hope it keeps growing and more and more events come back.

isTia: Is skating vert a tough discipline for strong guys or is it art?
Lyn-Z: It’s both, there is some strength and endurance involved but style and grace are also a big factor.

Lyn-Z at Bucky Lasek's Pool

isTia: One of the sport's leading zine, TransWorld Skateboarding, currently owned by a Time Warner Media subsidiary, has a readership that is "98 percent males with a median age of 15”, according to editor Eric Sentianin. The magazine occasionally spotlights female standouts, he says, "but we're dedicated to showcasing a certain level of talent, and with male and female skaters, well, it's the same difference as the NBA and WNBA." How do you feel knowing that your fans are probably the same demographics and that 98% of them are young males with a regular age of 15?
Lyn-Z: That’s totally fine, I am stoked to inspire anyone male or female any age.

isTia: Some skater girls got pissed off because the IASC (International Association of Skateboard Companies) did not pick even one girl for their polls regarding the best skateboarders of the last 4 decades. It seems that women like Laura Thornhill, Ellen Oneal,

The combi pool. Vans skatepark at The block. Photo by Josh Lazie
Peggy Oki, Vicky Vickers, Robin Logan, Kim Cespedes, Cindy Whitehead, Judy Omaya, Cara-Beth Burnside, Holly Lyons, or you never skated, never won contests, never were sponsored or never existed. Does that enrage you? Are you preparing a vengeance for them by being better on the ramp than most boys?
Lyn-Z: I didn’t even know about that…

isTia: How do you compare skating a bowl contest like the Pool Party, to skating a contest like the X Games or the Dew tour?
Lyn-Z: It's harder for me to skate a bowl contest because I don’t skate bowls/pools that often and a lot of what you are judged on is connecting lines and liptricks/grinds and my specialty is airs, and also the vibe is a lot different, there are quite a few disrespectful kids out there right now skateing those contests, and I grew up being very respectful and knowing propor “skate edicit” but the new generation could care less about that… I’m working on it though, if I had it my way I would probably not skate those contests at all but with there only being 1-2 vert contests for me a year I kind of have to.

isTia: Do you think that there’s more camaraderie at the Pool Party than at other events?
Lyn-Z: There is a lot of love there, lots of friends and fun times, but it’s very hectic!

isTia: At the Protec Pool Party, how did you approach your run in something as gnarly and with as many line choices as the Combi Bowl?
Lyn-Z: I just practiced as much as I could, asked for advice from the guys and hoped for the best, I’m hoping to learn some new lines/tricks in there for the contest this year.

isTia: It looks like there are more and more girls in the high level of skateboarding this year. Which other girls are pushing you?
Lyn-Z: On vert Karen Jones, Cara-Beth Burnside, Mimi Knoop, Gaby Pounce, and Allysha Bergado (read Allysha Bergado interview here).. in bowls Julie Kindstrand, CB, Mimi, Allysha (Bergado), and Priscilla Lee.

Lyn-z doesn’t limit herself to one discipline, she skates vert, bowl and street and rips at all of them. She has had
 extensive exposure in television and print media in both national and international markets. After a small set back
 with a knee injury in 2006, Lyn-z kept active in the contest scene by attending all the World Cup Skate events and
 commentating for them, a skill she continues to capitalize on when the opportunities present themselves today.
isTia: Who else are you looking forward to seeing, both on the guy’s and the girl’s sides?
Lyn-Z: I love to watch/skate with Bucky I’ve been skating the combi with him lately and he blows me away every time, his creativity is insane and he has been doing some gnarly stuff in there!

isTia: You were the first girl to skate the Mega Ramp. Where you frightened? What is the feeling on that ramp?
Lyn-Z: Yah I was terrified the first time! It was the scariest and most amazing feeling ever! I really hope to skate it more but I only skated it a few times when I was 15, once when I was 18 and a few days at x games this past year.

isTia: How do you compare hitting a Mega Ramp to putting together a run in the Combi Bowl?
Lyn-Z: Hahaha! It’s 100% different! The mindset, the training, everything.

isTia: Lyn-Z, you have the last words. Something else you want to add?
Lyn-Z: “Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall”

2009 contests results:

Protec Pool Party results:
1. Julie Kindstrand

2. Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins
3. Megan Brown

Boston dew Tour
1. Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins
2. Gaby Ponce
3. Karen Jones

X Games 15, Los Angeles
1. Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins

Other contests prior to 2009:

X Games 14, Los Angeles, California, 2nd place (vert)

X Games 13, Los Angeles, California, 1st place (vert)
Soul Bowl, Huntington Beach, California, 2nd place (bowl)
Pro Tec Pool Party, Orange, California, 2nd place (bowl)

West 49 Canadian Open, Toronto, Ontario, 20th place (street)
Pro Tec Pool Party, Orange, California, 5th place (bowl)
X Games 11, Los Angeles, California, 2nd place (vert)
X Games 11, Los Angeles, California, 9th place (street)
Globe World Cup, Melbourne, Australia, 4th place (street)
Globe World Cup, Melbourne, Australia, 8th place (mens vert - best trick)
Tampa Am, Tampa, Florida, 3rd place (mens vert)

X Games 10, Los Angeles, California, 1st place (vert)
X Games 10, Los Angeles, California, 4th place (street)
Gallaz Skate Jam, Dortmund, Germany, 6th place (street)
Vans Triple Crown, Cleveland, Ohio, 99th place (street)
Vans Triple Crown, Cleveland, Ohio, 14th place (mens vert)
Vans Triple Crown, Vancouver, British Columbia, 12th place (street)
Vans Triple Crown, Vancouver, British Columbia, 8th place (vert)
Globe World Cup, Melbourne, Australia, 8th place (street)

X Games 9, Los Angeles, California, 3rd place (vert)
X Games 9, Los Angeles, California, 2nd place (street)
Next Cup, Aguanga, California, 2nd place (mens street)
Next Cup, Aguanga, California, 3rd place (highest wall)
Slam City Jam, Vancouver, British Columbia, 3rd place (vert)
Slam City Jam, Vancouver, British Columbia, 5th place (street)
West 49 Canadian Open, Toronto, Ontario, 14th place (street)

Slam City Jam, Vancouver, British Columbia, 3rd place (vert)
Slam City Jam, Vancouver, British Columbia, 5th place (street)

All Pictures from Lyn-Z Facebook & MySpace pages, from Cindy Whithehead's Blog, Ashley Baker, Josh Lazie and from Getty Images.

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I skate therefore I am: skateboard pools, pipes, parks, bowls and vert, daily skateboarding news...
posted by Xavier Lannes @ Tuesday, January 19, 2010 

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January 20, 2010 at 4:57 AM  
Blogger Cindy Whitehead said...

Love this interview - I have worked with Lyn-Z and never knew 1/2 of this stuff about her - so awesome! She is rad girl and really pushing it for women in skateboarding - love her and the article! Great job!!

January 20, 2010 at 7:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice interview, great skater. Your results are off for the 2009 Pro-Tec, though, Julie Kindstrand won that contest for the ladies.

January 20, 2010 at 9:47 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

AWESOME coverage, YOU ROCK LYN-Z!!! Cool pic of the frontside invert in Houston!

Lee Leal
Embassy Skateboards

January 20, 2010 at 1:12 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

nice girl ! she rocks ! nice interview too, pretty complete !

January 22, 2010 at 2:59 AM  

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