Arielle ’14 performs a Fakie 270 to Axle Revert; skating backwards, she spins her board 270 degrees when her back trucks (wheels) hit the coping (lip) of the bowl. Arielle then skates into a Backside Air trick, getting as much air as possible and then grabbing the backside of her board while airborne.
Arielle was one of two girls featured in a documentary aired on NBC profiling sixty teen skateboarders who attended Skateboarding Camp in Simi Valley for four days in August. At the camp, professional skater Steve Badillo trained participants aged six to sixteen in new skills, tricks and techniques that they can now use and practice at skate parks on their own.
Arielle discovered skateboarding in February of 2010, after playing on a toy skateboard that she found around the house.
“I just started riding around on this toy skateboard we had and I thought it was really fun,” she said.
Arielle has been skateboarding at least three days a week for the past ten months. Along with her own practice, she has a lesson from Steve Badillo, her former camp instructor, once a week.
Lizzie Armanto, a sponsored and reputable professional skater, inspired Arielle to pursue competitive skateboarding.
“My brother also skates, and one day I had gone with him to the skate park. I saw Lizzie Armanto there and thought she was so cool and talented. I said to myself, ‘I want to be her someday,” Arielle recalled.
Though neither sibling has competed yet, Arielle and her brother both hope to participate in a few competitions this season. Their passion for the sport convinced their father to build a skateboarding ramp in their backyard so they could practice more often. When Arielle is not skating at home, she skates in Simi Valley or Glendale where many skate parks, such as SkateLab, are located.
“Ari and my son, Elliot, came to us last Christmas and said, ‘Instead of getting presents this year, we want to get a ramp,’” Tracey Smolin said. “We ordered the ramp and it arrived in pieces. With some help, it took my husband three days to build the 16-foot ramp.”
This year, the siblings again decided to give up all holiday presents in order to buy a new hand-made spine ramp, which will act as an extension to the ramp they already have.
“This is 100% Arielle. She found everything and is just very determined to do this. I’m amazed at how far she has come in such a short amount of time,” Arielle’s mother said. “She’ll just decide that she is going to do a trick and she’ll work on it over and over again until she gets it.”
Although she’s new to skateboarding, Arielle believes that with determination and hard work she’ll be able to improve her skills and learn a lot about the sport very quickly.
“In skateboarding, progress is huge,” Arielle explained. “You learn new stuff so often that you are able to improve a lot if you’re willing to work hard. My favorite part about skating is the feeling of accomplishment you get after landing a new trick you’ve been working on, and knowing you’ve taken a successful risk.”
In the future, Arielle plans to compete and one day get sponsored. It is important for professional skaters to get sponsored as financial support for things like boards, wheels and contest entrance fees.
“I really just want to get my name out there. Hopefully if enough people know who I am, I’ll have a good chance of getting sponsored,” Arielle said. “If you have a sponsor people really respect you, and it shows you’re serious about skating.”