The Afternoon Interview
Words by Hannah Bailey
Photos by Hannah Bailey and Leo Sharp
“I don’t get up early’ Lizzie Armanto states as we chat about seizing the day. She doesn’t exist in the morning. So I wait until the afternoon right before the Tony Hawk Vert demo at NASS to quiz her for Sidewalk, take her on the waltzers at the fairground (that were almost the end of me) and then watch her skate. The fact I take her on the most disorientating ride right before she heads to do inverts on the vert ramp might not seem like the best idea, and you’d be right about that. It was the worst decision of my life, and by every spin of the ride I came to regret it even more. Holding on to my two cameras for the life of me, my neck locked to the back of the seat and Lizzie shouting “are you ok?" It’s definitely a keeper of a memory. The idea to head on the ride came off the back of wanting a bit of wind in the hair for the shots, but I think this was going to the extreme. As the ride stopped the lens turned on me, as Lizzie started recording my struggle to walk, talk and get off the ride. She stood there seemingly unaffected (phew), obviously used to rotations. From the transition of the waltzer to the transition of the vert, Lizzie showed up to the show on top form with her bag full of tricks. Asking me “did you puke?" before heading up top to drop in. But before all that happened, the waltzers, the wonders on a board and all that was in between, first up we got chatting…
If someone built a bowl or vert ramp for you anywhere the world where would you put it?
For the experience I would put it in Japan. I’d like to get stuck there for a year. I’m so curious about their culture. The last time I went there it was so much fun but I feel like I didn’t get that much of it, I scratched the surface. They have a little skate scene, it’s smaller so there are fewer excuses to go out there.
What about if it was just for an epic photo? Somewhere scenic to get the shot…
It’s weird mixing skateboarding with nature, as it’s such an urban thing to me. I picture it happening in the city, in a place where there are a lot of people. When you are talking scenic, it’s such a contrast it’s hard for me to think skateboarding. It’s hard to imagine it would be cool. Where you skate is not in a scenic place, they don’t have skateparks in national parks. You wouldn’t go to Yosemite to skate, or go to the Sahara desert to skate…
What’s your optimum performance time?
I don’t like getting up early. I have been waking up here in the UK early because of the jet lag. Usually I don’t exist in the morning, or mornings don’t exist in my life. I feel like in the evening I am so ready to go. When it gets late I can keep going. In the morning, starting up is so hard…
So you skate in the evening?
Yes I skate in the evening, sometimes I skate in the afternoon but I don’t like it. Half of the time I skate indoors, at Tony’s ramp. It’s perfect! I have been skating a couple outdoor parks too.
Have you thought about doing the megaramp?
I have skated the landing, not the whole thing. I have to find people to go with, I don’t want to do it by myself. I would want to do it to try it, to see if I enjoy it. When I watch it, it’s so different from other skateboarding I’ve seen that I don’t relate to it. It seems like everything is in slow motion, you are waiting all the time, with lots of time to think; ‘oh I’m really high in the air! This is scary..’.
Another use your imagination question, if you could do a stunt, like Danny Way and the Great Wall, what would you do?
I wouldn’t want to do that. I enjoy skating but I’m not trying to set a world record. I feel like with that you are trying to establish you are the best. Some people have the drive to do that and think that’s what they need, but I don’t need a record to say I am established or that I can do this the best or have gone the furthest with it. I don’t need recognition. I’m just happy what I’m doing.
I’m influenced by the people I surround myself with, which happens to be some of the best skateboarders in the world. Having their approval and friendship matters a lot to me. At the same time if there’s going to be people who are negative, I don’t want to concern myself with that.
But if you had to have a Guinness record to your name, away from your skateboard, what would it be?
Most Kinder Buenos eaten in a day… I don’t know how many I have eaten in a day but it’s probably a gross amount. If I could get a lifetime supply…
Could do the kinder surprise with the toys and then have a collection of them..
That’d be amazing! But actually in the US the eggs are banned, probably because people tried to eat the eggs whole. Liability is a huge issue in America. People sue for things like coffee being too hot, but wait, do you want it cold? Wait for it to cool down!
Do you think that mentality affects skating in America?
It has in the past for sure, I’ve been told in the 80’s that there were a bunch of skateparks coming up but there was a huge liability issue and that’s why they all got closed down. People were afraid they would be responsible for people getting hurt. Now you sign a waiver and there are free parks, use at your own risk.
When you leave Tony’s ramp, and ramps in general, what’s your thinking on skating street?
I will go roll around the park on the street course, skate that. I go to one park just for that. Skating street is really cool and I want to have that ability. But it seems to take so much more out of me. I get wrecked and have no idea what I am doing. I do something silly and get hurt worse that I would be doing something silly on vert. You end up paying more for it!
But maybe that’s just because you are out of your comfort zone? It would be the same for a street skater trying vert…
It’s just a whole different discipline.
If you were to get in to street there are more competitions for you to be a part of, does that incentivise it to you?
It does, but I am so far from it. It’s not something I can think about right now. It’s fun. When I watch anyone skating street, I think it looks so much fun, when you watch someone good they make it look easy and you think ‘ I can do that!’ But I’m not there yet…
What if skate became part of the Olympics?
It’s beyond my control. I don’t want to have an opinion on it as it’s semi controversial. It will change skateboarding if it happens and it’s likely to. Where skateboarding is right now, it’s a great time, a cool era. It’s still new, unlike other activities. The Olympics would expose skateboarding to so many more people and I think that would be a positive thing. I don’t think it’s all bad but it won’t be as it is now. That would be a big step for it.
It’s sort of how street league changed things for guys. But this involves girls as well…
It’s such a complex discussion. The business, the skaters. Different people would control it; at the moment those in control have skateboarding backgrounds which is cool. There is an order to skateboarding. Change is good but you are ruining something too if you are changing.
If you could make the scene better or change it anyway what would you like to do?
Nothing I can think off. Not right now…on the spot.
Ok reworded, how would you like your skateboarding to be defined? Your legacy so to speak...
I’m not sure what the future holds. I’ve gone with the flow and it’s been good so far. I don’t have a mission statement. I don’t skate for a certain purpose. I skate because I have fun doing it and it allows me to travel. It’s helped shape me as a person.
I think that is your mission statement, skating because you enjoy it. Does there have to be more to it?
I feel like mission statements are aggressive and hopefully progressive, to change something. I'm not trying to mess with skateboarding or change the flow on purpose, but maybe that’s happening.
You are definitely influential on the skate scene, you are influencing other people. But maybe that’s a question for the other people.. 'how does Lizzie influence your skating or life? '
There are some people who go ahead and do something intentionally. Setting out to do something specific and influence people. But that’s not me..
But your fans, like your social media following, do you like that element?
It has it’s pro’s and con’s. It’s cool to hear feedback from other people and have such a big circle but at the same time, I have to be careful and conscious of what I do. I have to make some privacy for myself, or share with just my friends. But my platform is bigger than my friends. You have to define boundaries with how much you put out there…
Do you have people pressuring you to tweet and use your social reach?
There are certain things I have to do on socials but it’s all stuff I already do. I picked responsibilities that I'd be happy to do anyway. So it’s just the opportunity to do it how I want to.
No one ever handles your social?
I do it all myself. People sometimes assume I don’t do my Instagram or FB, there are so many people but I look at it all. People talk to me like I’m not there.
Talking of not being there, we heard you are in the new SKATE, are you a character?
Yea, I am. I did get a chance to play but I suck at it. I keep it to real life.
Most importantly did you play as you? And what colour hair does your character have?
I did and I have blue hair. I was tripping out. It looks just like me. It’s funny to see my image and know other people are putting their self into it to a certain degree.
Elissa Steamer had a character too..
Yea there were a couple of girls. Lyn-Z (Pastrana) had one. But this is the first video game with two girls in it, Leticia too.
Photo: Hannah Bailey
Photo: Lizzie Armanto
Photo: Hannah Bailey
Photo: Leo Sharp