Sidewalk Sidelines: mini documentary with skater and musician Helena Long

Long time UK ripper Helena Long breaks down the similarities between playing drums and skateboarding

Anyone who’s skated in the UK for any length of time will already be familiar with London-born ripper Helena Long. She’s been a face on the skate scene for a good 15 years, racking up coverage in magazines, in physical videos, on the the Internet and entering (and winning) contests since long before the recent explosion in numbers of female skateboarders across both this country and the world.
In many ways Helena is somewhat of a pioneer in so far as being a leading figure in the first-wave, (or technically ‘second’ if you include the late 1970’s/early 80’s), of female street skating, alongside fellow OG rippers such as Lucy Adams, Samantha Bruce, Zeta Rush and Lois Pendlebury, to name but a few.

Film/edit: Ryan Gray

Back when Helena first started to make a name for herself, visible female skaters were quite a rarity full stop, visible female street skaters even more so, but talent, tenacity and in Helena’s case, an ability to weather the grimmest looking slams, insured that she was immediately recognised as a woman pushing the boundaries, almost from day one.

Helena was also the first woman to appear in a First Light feature during the days of our paper magazine back in 2011, (also possibly being the first British woman to be documented skating a real handrail on the street in the same feature). She’s had video parts in both of Jenna Selby’s all-women skate videos ‘As If and What‘, and ‘Scratch the Surface‘, dropped a self-designed pro model on Rogue Skateboards, and, more recently, has appeared in the US-based Skate Witches output, landing herself a cover of their zine and a section in their latest video ‘Srsly‘.
In short: Helena Long is as OG as it gets and she is a good friend of ours.

Alongside her prowess on a skateboard, Helena is also a talented musician, having played drums since her early teens, currently taking on ‘human metronome’ duties in the excellent Upset Stomach Band, whose tunes you may well recognise from some of Sidewalk’s recent video output as they kindly agreed for us to use them in recent Sidewalk Sessions shot at Ramp 1 in Warrington and Devon’s Secret Bowl.

If you want to hear more from Upset Stomach Band then you should check out their Instagram @upsetstomachband and/or the Upset Stomach Band Facebook for information on gigs near you, along with the release of their first album.
Click the flyer below and get yourselves to the launch party for shoe-gaze overload.

With the above in mind, we’ve spent a month or so skating with Helena in her native London and nearby Milton Keynes, and then grabbed her recently for a chat about her experiences playing music and gigging across the UK and the similarities she sees between her life as a skateboarder, and as a musician.
Helena is one of the best humans out there so we hope you enjoy the first of this new series exploring skaters and their complementary passions.
Welcome to Sidewalk Sidelines: mini documentary with skater and musician Helena Long.

Helena’s skateboarding is supported by Santa Cruz Skateboards (via the lovely people at Shiner Distribution) and Vans.

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