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Skateboarding and motorbikes - an addiction
Influx caught up with 2017 European Female Skateboarder of the Year Josie Millard in her hometown of Brighton to discuss her love of two and four wheels.
Influx: When did you get into skateboarding?
Josie Millard: “I probably started skating properly when I was about 12, 13 – which is like seven or eight years ago now. I never thought it would become what it is to me now. We were just super young messing around outside the front of our houses on homemade wooden ramps and stuff. We’d just come home from school every day and go out and play with all the kids in the neighbourhood. That’s how I started skating and then I guess after a few years I got super hooked on it. Quite quickly I was obsessed but it was a few years later that I started really getting into it and going to loads of different skateparks. We kind of started only street skating, which was cool, but it took a few years for my confidence to build and to go to skateparks all the time.”
Influx: Do you remember the first time you actually picked up a skateboard?
Josie Millard: “The first time was in Brazil when I was living there about 13 years ago. I was probably like eight or nine at the time, or maybe a bit younger. It was a friend’s birthday party and they had this massive house and this sort of tennis court bit in the back of their yard and a little ramp as well and I just had a mess around on it. I loved it, although I quickly forgot about it, and then picked it back up a few years later.”
Influx: What has skateboarding become for you now?
Josie Millard: “It’s my career now, which is fantastic. It’s all I want, ever. I would never have dreamed, as a 13-year-old, about becoming obsessed with skating, that it was possible as a career path. To go skateboarding and travelling and for that to be your job, that was kind of a dream to me back then. So it’s awesome, so awesome, that it’s managed to happen.”
Influx: How did your love of motorbikes come into it? Was it as a result of your interest in skateboarding or was it just another passion?
Josie Millard: “It was separate but I have always been attracted to the more extreme sports or activities so it does make sense that I found motorcycling and fell very quickly in love with it. My dad’s super into rock climbing and he got me into that years and years ago. Then there’s mountain biking, skateboarding and I think motorcycling sort of goes hand in hand because it’s similar in the way that it gives you a buzz and it’s fun. They’re all very easy to become obsessed with.”
Influx: When you got your CBT did you go straight into mopeds and 125s?
Josie Millard: “I did my CBT when I was 18 and I got a geared bike right away. I had a little Honda CG125. It was quite cool and quite pretty. It was like a little café racer almost but it was from 1982. About a thousand things went wrong with it and after a year I was pretty ready to move onto something bigger.”
Influx: What attracted you to the bike you’ve got?
Josie Millard: “I’ve always loved the aesthetic of the Ducati Monster. Before I actually knew anything about bikes, when I was just riding a little 125 and didn’t know about performance or anything about bikes, just the way it looked was cool. I just thought; ‘Wow, that looks awesome and I want one’. I then got far more into bikes and I began to have more of an understanding on performance and what different bikes can do and it seemed that actually the Monster was right for me. It’s just that perfect balance of sportiness and almost naked café racer in a way. It’s a nice blend of different styles of motorcycles.”
Influx: Is there much of a marriage between people who are into skateboarding and motorbikes?
Josie Millard: “There’s a few girls in London who I met through skating who are also into motorbikes which is really awesome. It’s awesome to see other girls on motorbikes as well, it’s rad, let alone other girls who skate and are also on bikes. It’s awesome to see that and hang out with other women who are into similar things. It’s quite rare to find other women who are into stuff like that. Here, in Brighton, there’s a couple of skaters who ride bikes. My partner rides motorbikes and skates, which is awesome, but there’s not too many. I don’t have any girl friends here who skate or ride bikes really. There’s a couple of girls, obviously, who skate who are my mates but there’s not really anyone on bikes.”
Influx: What’s been your biggest achievement or most exciting moment so far in your skateboarding career?
Josie Millard: “My greatest achievements with skating would just be the fact that I am travelling around the world to skate and the fact that it’s my job. I can’t really think of one specific moment, really. It’s more just I’ve had all these fantastic opportunities.”
Influx: What would you say to young people, not just girls, that want to try skating for the first time? Or people who are a little bit older and want to have a go on a bike?
Josie Millard: “For both – just do it. It’s fantastic. It’s not something you’ll regret. Riding a bike and getting into skating, I think, is very good for the mind and the soul. It’s fantastic and you’ll become obsessed. It’s very freeing and fantastic and all things good will come from skateboarding and motorbiking.”
Influx: What does the future hold for you?
Josie Millard: “Ideally things will continue to progress as they are and I can continue skateboarding and riding bikes every day as that would just be fantastic. I’d like to visit new countries and cities, skate in new places and ride bikes abroad.
“I haven’t done that, I really want to do that, so I just want to keep travelling, skating and riding my bike.”
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