In Conversation with Skateboarder Sky Brown

We caught up with the teenage athlete on a cold night in London to talk skateboarding and more.

Sports
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Sky Brown, the Nike sponsored skateboarder and Olympian, is not your average teenager. The British-Japanese athlete, now 15, became the youngest person to represent Great Britain at the Summer Olympic Games when she took part in the delayed Tokyo 2020 tournament a couple of years ago. It was a milestone moment both for the skater and the sport, marking the first time skateboarding featured at the Olympics.

Samsung, one of Brown’s sponsors, recently joined forces with both the skater and with Skateboard GB – the sport’s governing body in the UK – to launch the Drop In with Samsung Flip Park, an activation space in Shoreditch, east London that’s part skatepark, part immersive art, music and culture experience. It launched at the end of November and is going into its final weekend, open until December 16  (you can find more information here).

Hypebeast caught up with Sky on a cold night in London to talk about skateboarding, style, her goals, and what she’d say to any other girls wanting to get into the sport. You can read our full conversation below.

You’re an icon and inspiration to a lot of people, but who inspires you?

I look up to a lot of people but someone I really looked up to is [skateboarder] Christian Hosoi. He is a legend. He’s one of the most stylish skateboarders there has ever been. I’m thankful I’m close with him. He helps me so much with my skateboarding, teaching me, telling me what to do. He makes skateboarding look beautiful. And that’s what I want to do, too.

You mentioned style, how would you describe your sense of style?

My style changes a lot, but I’m actually a girly girl! When I skate I like to wear cargos, crop tops, do my hair and makeup. I can skate and still be a girl!

How do you find the time to train and compete, but also be in school and see friends and family?

It’s actually pretty easy because skating and surfing is a lifestyle. It’s what I love to do and, yeah, I just wake up in the morning, go surf, come back, eat breakfast, do school. I do both English and Japanese at school. I try to wake up early so I can fit in more in the day. When I go to hang out with my friends, we skate and surf again. It really depends on the day. I try to skate and surf every day, but also fit in everything else.

What do you do when you’re on the road?

When I’m traveling, I guess I just like to stay in touch with my friends and keep them updated. Keep my supporters updated. And my family. So having Samsung by my side is really awesome for that.

What are some of the most exciting things about working with a brand like Samsung?

It’s incredible. The flip phones. It’s just insane. I never really thought I’d get to film myself skating, but, you know, it can stand by itself! I film myself skating and doing my tricks and can see what I’m doing wrong. I’m just really thankful to have them by my side. 

Is it important for you to have similar goals and values as your brand partners?

Yeah, definitely. With all the brands I work with I tell them my goal, and they help me so much to have a voice which is really nice. 

What are some of your goals right now?

Well, my goals are to get two gold medals in Paris [at the summer Olympics next year]! And with skating, I’m really just trying my best for that. I also love teaching. And I wanna dance more!

I’m sure you trained for it for years and years, but what was going through your mind the moment you found out you were going to the Olympics?

A lot! Finding out I was going to be in the Olympics and being in the first ever Olympics team for skateboarding… I knew it was going to be super special. So, yeah, finding out I got in? A lot of thoughts went through my head. It felt like a dream. A dream come true.

Who’s the first person you told?

I’m pretty sure my family told me! You know, I just skate. I don’t really think about the scores or anything when I’m skating. But yeah, I’m pretty sure my family told me. It was definitely a special moment.

Skating has historically been quite a male-dominated sport. Have there been any hurdles you’ve had to overcome as a young female skater?

It was definitely not easy growing up being a little girl showing up at a skatepark. Like Venice Beach or anywhere with so many skaters, a lot of people out there were like “what is this little girl doing here?” But I always thought it was not fair that boys get to have all the fun. So I just like show them what’s up and show them that we girls have it too. And yes, since the Olympics a lot has changed. I’ve been seeing a lot more girls – and just people in general – skating. The sport has grown so much. And the progression is crazy, too.

Do you have a message for young girls trying to get into the sport?

My message would be to enjoy the journey. That’s the most important thing. You’re gonna have some hard times, it’s not always easy. You know, when you’re learning new tricks, it’s not going to be easy to learn, so just enjoy the journey of learning things. Have fun, just have the best time, and also never give up! It can get frustrating. You can learn a trick or you can fall and get hurt, and, you know, that can scare you. But that can’t stop you. You’ve got to keep going. it’s a lot of fun skating!

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