Calleigh Little Keeps on Pushing

Calleigh Little Keeps on Pushing

Calleigh Little is doing something quite incredible in the world of skateboarding. She is going across the USA via longboard solo. We caught up with her in Wyoming. Before we get into the interview, here are some of Calleigh’s impressive contest results:

Adrenalina 2016 – 2nd Place Women’s
215 miles – Miami Ultraskate 2017 (Second Place Women’s)
188 miles – Chief Ladiga Sk8 Challenge (Second Place Women’s)
Central Mass Skate Festival 8 – Women’s First Place

 Somewhere in Nebraska

 

 

Why do you find long distance and downhill skateboarding so enjoyable?

It’s not so much that I find long distance or downhill enjoyable- I truly feel like both disciplines ask things of me I dont normally do. They enable me to extend myself in ways I never would in any other part of life. Long distance requires a mental focus, extensive planning, and full body commitment. I find that when I am in a situation where my entire being is used, I have an opportunity to see how far I can take it. And then I take it further.

Downhill, on the other hand, is a streamline of panic, fear, focus, and commitment. I absolutely adore the moments where I have no idea whats coming up after a turn. How will I react? Do I fully tuck or do I have to prepare for a predrift? When I’m going fast, no other questions matter. I dont worry about student loan bills. Who cares what that guy said to me last night? All that matters is that I make it down safely. I love that.

What made you decide to go solo across the USA?

When I first came out as a transgender woman, the world hadn’t even begun to bring it into the mainstream news. I didn’t have all kinds of acceptance, and I certainly didn’t have the friends I do now. That was 3 years ago. The world wants to make it seem like it’s being shoved down their throats, but its just a new thing the media is okay with talking about.

Now, three years later, I didn’t want to run away from anything. I had friends all over the globe from competing. I wanted to do it solo for me. I came to a point where I wasnt learning anything anymore from the people I interacted with. I knew there had to be more to learn. If I did it with someone else, the experience could have been about our experience together, and not my experience with the world.

Where do you think your competitive spirit comes from?

After a long life of being beaten down and coming up short, I found that my competitive edge was a product of me wanting to rise above. People tend to think that I have always been on top- its simply not the case. I experienced enough life to a point where I had to fight back, I had to be myself, and I had to win. I have been so sick and tired of sitting in the back of the class. I trained and fought and trained a bit more. And when I sat down at the end of the day, I thought about training again.

What has been your best experience so far within skateboarding?

I think the best experience within skateboarding has been the vast amount of friends I made. Every event I attend has people I look forward to meeting, whether it is downhill or long distance. I learned of a world where people encouraged me and pushed me, and made me work for everything I had.

If I had to narrow it down to just one experience, my absolute favorite was winning the Central Mass 8 women’s division. It was a race I attended for years, and I picked up everything I could to figure out how to win it. It was neck and neck all the way to the end and a true photo finish. My friends dumped champagne on me at the podium and for once in my skate life I had earned my title.

What has been the worst experience and how did you deal with it?

Worst experience…they are few and far between. The world is a good place. The absolute worst, though, was when I had just kicked off for the 24 hour Ultraskate in 2017. My biggest competitor had turned around and said, “If you’re going to race as a woman, you need to pee like a woman.” I could have taken it a million ways. I could have dwelled on it for 24 consecutive hours of skating around in a circle. I could have quit. Instead, I appeased the proposal- given that I only urinated once in 24 hours anyways, I retired to the bathroom and peed. The guys usually just drop their shorts and pee as they skate. I did go on to lose to her by only 10 miles that year, but it burned a fire in me to fight harder.

Adrenalina Marathon

You mentioned at the Longboard Girls Crew website you are lost between jobs and are questioning the meaning of everything. The fact that some stole your intellectual property must have been devastating. Is this trip helping you deal with that loss?

It totally hurt that the company I was working for used me for my creative work, forced me out, and then didn’t pay me. Legally I have all of the rights to everything I created as an independent contractor without a signed contract. I didnt have the means to hire a lawyer. I was flat broke. I began selling my collection of boards and gear to make end’s meat and often went days without eating. It hurt a lot.

I learned, once again, to fight back. Even if I did sue for my rightful property it could have been years of litigation. I wasnt going to see a dime that could have helped me at that moment. I looked for a new career for two months, struggling along, doing 2 or 3 interviews a day and ended up with a job at a burger place. I knew I was worth more than a job at a burger place, so I formulated my plans to follow my dreams. I could only struggle for so long.  I sold my motorcycle, stopped paying rent, threw away everything I couldn’t sell, and fit my life in a backpack. With the help of my friends, the companies who support me, and the money I earned from selling my belongings, my dream didnt seem so far off. So I made it happen. No longer was I going to slave away at a job I hated putting money in someone else’s pocket. I realized this life is mine and it is what I make it.

What do you plan to do once this feat is accomplished?

Honestly, I have no idea. I’d love to expand on my blogs and sell them as a book. I’d also love to turn around and go back the other way. Mostly, I plan to take my experience and use it to be the number 1 female distance skater in the ultraskate. As for where I’ll live or what ill do for money, who knows? I still have a tent and a skateboard- the world is my oyster.

 

Harsh question to ask – but I would like to ask what do you say to people who feel this whole “transgender thing” is all about seeking attention? Instead of seeing your bravery, they just question your entire reason.

Haha. I get these comments all the time. It’s hard for me to take them seriously. Its not about being transgender, and it certainly isn’t for attention. I planned and left for this ride in a month’s time. I’ve been trans for as long as I can remember. I race with the girls as any other girl would. There was an article written about me on Gay Star News that wanted to highlight my identity as a transgender woman because of the relevance to their audience and people saw it as a big slap in the face, like I purposefully slathered my identity around. Trust me, if I could be seen and accepted as any other girl is, I would kill for the chance.

But I think the use of telling people of my transgender identity is more for other trans people in the world. I want them to know I am trans. I want them to see that we dont have to hide in our bedrooms. We can go to the corner store as ourselves and we can be a part of society. As I skate I see all different kinds of people, and the grand majority have accepted me and spoken of my bravery. I think it gets a little twisted when you read it in an article versus witnessing it in real life.

Imagine seeing someone skateboarding past your house with a 30 lb expedition backpack and saying, “You just want attention!” Its a little ridiculous. At the end of the day, I’m out here making my dreams come true, tethered to nothing, while others somehow find a reason to feel taller than me. I’ve never felt taller for making someone else feel small.

What’s been the reaction from the various articles you’ve had written about you?

I spoke about this in the last question a bit, but its really a mixed bag. I can with 100% certainty say that it has been all straight white men who have a problem with me. I am a woman, I have lived as a woman, I have endured the horrible society women live in every day, and their opinions don’t change that. Whether they want to fall back on some pseudo-scientific argument to denounce my gender or just speak out of bigotry, it doesn’t change anything. I have never sought respect from anyone who didn’t have mine.

 You can donate to Calleigh here. Find out more here:Instagram: @supergirls_pantiesFacebook: /supergirlLDPTumblr: trans-america.Tumblr.comSkatecrosscountry.com

Skogging (skating meets jogging)

Skogging (skating meets jogging)

Why Skogging?With all the styles of skating out there, why skogging? ” Isn’t it just pushing a board?” “What’s the big deal with using both legs?” “It can’t be that hard, right?”These all seem like great questions to ask. To be completely honest at first I wasn’t sure what the hype was all about when I first heard of skogging. Mr. Chris Yandall set his board down in front of me years ago and said, “Give it a try.” I pushed a few pushes and he said, “Now push with other leg”. I ate it. The feeling of “pedidexterious” as Chris coined it was so foreign to me. I skated regular footed for over 30 years. When I moved to SoCal I want to skate for the workout/exercise aspect of it. I have major medical issues that require me to workout my core. Chris showed me the footwork. Push regular foot then back foot (mongo) then repeat. Switch kick to other lead leg using one of many ways. (I use either foot slide back or cross step. All can be seen on the Skogging101 YouTube videos/channel.)So now the rider is pushing goofy foot then back foot (mongo) repeat then switch kick again. Skogging is all about the constant flow. It’s all about the movement. So why skogging? It’s actually an easy question to answer. Why not? If you are into long distance pushing it is the style that makes sense. Constant motion, constant flow all the while getting a killer core and full body workout. Miles upon miles tore up and your body is NOT tore up. Skogging takes time to get. It is a total retrain of muscle memory. It is better if you’re new to skateboarding, at least then you won’t be conditioned to push one leg. I offer the same advice that was offered to me by my mentor Mr. Chris Yandall. Practice on carpet then on a tennis court. Learn the footwork then rage! So give skogging a shot. If you need help in any shape or form, email me skogging.ca@gmail.com. Or find me on social media or just look out your car window, chances are I will pass you. Your Friendly Neighborhood SkoggerSteven MeketaContact: skogging.ca@gmail.com

309.5 Miles on a Skateboard in 24 Hours? Four Questions for Andy Andras

309.5 Miles on a Skateboard in 24 Hours? Four Questions for Andy Andras

What is it about long distance skateboarding that gets you fired up?I grew up street skating in the 80’s and 90’s as a kid. I always felt a personal connection with my skateboard, whether I was pushing around town to skate spots or shredding in a skate park with friends. I always got this unexplainable feeling of freedom on the skateboard. As I got older the short board was put away and I stopped skating. I joined the Military and after that became a firefighter. Then all of a sudden in my mid 30s I discovered the Longboard and instantly fell in love with it. The nostalgia and feeling I use to get as a kid riding my skateboard all returned to me.Pushing hard on the Chief Lagida Trail. I used my longboard every day to commute around Miami Beach and was approached one day by another longboarder who told me they where hosting the first every outlaw push race “South Beach Bomb”. I entered that event and won it. I was hooked! I looked for other races and found the Skate IDSA was the sanctioning body for legit organized races and started competing. Competition and love for riding got me in shape but I realized that distance skating was bringing so much more to my life that just that.  There was mental and spiritual aspect to it all and it came in my life at the right time. I found that skating distance gave me time to think, disconnect and meditate. It was the perfect recipe for getting the stress out of my life in a healthy way. The last thing that really gets me fired up is the friendships and people I have met doing this sport. I away said that the recipe that makes up a Distance Skater is 1 part Skater, 1 part Athlete and 1 part free spirit hippy. So the pusher you meet out there are very cool and influential to say the least. Video from CNN profile:Andy in his CNN interview. What is some of your advice for those skaters intrigued by what you do but are a little overwhelmed?So first off I would tell them to just come out to the event and have fun. Experience it, take it all in and ride to your hearts content. The only pressure at 24 Hour Ultra Skate is the pressure you put on your self. Pick an easy goal like making 100 Mile Club or the 150 Mile Club and grow from your experience. NEVER BE AFRAID TO FAIL! The best lessons in life are from the ones you did not accomplish. Its makes it that much sweeter when your get determined and come back stronger next year.  It shows you that you worked hard and eared it. How the hell did you skate over 300 miles in 24 hours? I mean that’s not human, is it?!My peers starting calling me “La Maquina” The Machine, due to my uncanny ability to hold the same pace from start to finish in a 24-hour event.  But I hurt, tire and cry like any human during this endeavor. It’s all just happening on the inside. I truly thought that the 300-mile barrier would not be broken for a few more years. I have set the 24-hour record for the last 4 years and I felt I was reaching my limits at 285 miles. I was sure that one of the “Youngblood’s” as I call the next generation of Distance Skaters, would reach it in a few years because they are growing and pushing this sport by leaps and bounds. But to my astonishment this year we did the unthinkable and 3 riders surpassed the 300-mile mark. Eric “Danger” Palmer hit 305.1 in Miami Ultra. Rick “The Dutch Destroyer” Pronk completed 307.3 at the Dutch Ultra this summer and I currently hold the World record at 309.5 in 24 hours.To put it in perspective, you have to skate at 13 miles an hour non-stop for 24 hours to hit those distances. And some how we pull it off. If anyone is interested in checking out the world rankings for all the 24 hour ultras that happen around the world head over to Pavedwave.org and check it out. We call Pavedwave the bible of Distance Skating and if you hit the 200-mile club in a sanctioned Ultra you get ranked. Tell us the craziest experience you’ve had while pushing in an ultra marathon.Truthfully the craziest stuff in Ultra goes on between you ears. Its just as much a mental endeavor as it is a physical one.  Somewhere around the 18th hour when it’s the darkest and hardest part of the night you mind will start to mess with you. The skeletons come out of the closet in the forms of self-doubt, questions of why, and the thoughts of just quitting. Your mind will tell you anything it can to try and convince you to stop. So battling your mind along with exhaustion and sleep deprived hallucinations can really bring you to tears. But if you stay the course, dig deep within yourself and find the resolve to make it to sunrise the next day, the Sun rays peeking over the horizon will melt all those emotions away and you’ll realize nothing but glory awaits when the clock strikes 24 hours and you have eared your passage as an Ultra Skater! Next up: the 2017 Ultraskate in Miami.