Lizzie Armanto Talks Air + Style, Tokyo 2020, & Her New Vans Colorway
Hailing from Santa Monica, California, the home of skateboard culture, Lizzie Armanto was born to skate. With Air + Style Festival around the corner, we were surprised to find out that this will be Armanto’s first time in the competition—even thought it’s practically in her backyard! We sat down the the pro skateboarder, who’s got over 30 skate awards under her belt already, to talk the upcoming Air + Style competition, being a woman in the sport, and onwards to Tokyo 2020, which is set to be the first Summer Olympics to ever host a skateboarding contest. Read on below and cop your tickets to Air + Style here.
Have you been watching the Olympics?
I watched the snowboarding, and I’ve been seeing clips of other stuff, but I haven’t been avid about it.
I feel like everyone watches snowboarding and figure skating, and then it kind of drops off.
Yeah. There’s a lot that goes on. It’s kind of a commitment to watch a lot of them.
How are you feeling about the Summer Olympics in Tokyo?
I don’t know, I’m kind of taking it one step at a time. On the skateboarding side of it, I know they’re still trying to figure out everything, and watching them try to figure it out, it’s scary because I want it to be done in the right way. Including skateboarding in a place that it’s never been before, to an audience that doesn’t know skateboarding, it should be represented hopefully adequately. You want it to try in the best way possible.
Yeah, you want it to be authentic and sincere.
Yeah, and that’s really hard when you go to a platform like the Olympics. There’s so much structure to it, it’s overwhelming, honestly.
I feel like the Olympics are put on this huge pedestal, and they’re so revered—not that it’s stiff, but it’s so full of tradition. It would be interesting to have skateboarding there.
Yeah, it is full of tradition and all of these things. It’s a really old event that’s been happening throughout the world. It was the pinnacle of sports at one time, and they’re trying to keep it that way. How things have changed, the world is so different. It’s not the same place it was 100 years ago. It’s not the same place it was 30 years ago.
Yeah. As far as Air + Style Festival, I’m curious as to how you got involved. I know there’s the competition, but is this your first one? How long have you been competing in it?
This is my first one, and I’ve never been to the event but I’ve seen clips of it through social media, and it’s crazy because it’s in Los Angeles, and it’s across the street from where I’ve grown up. It’s cool that they’re adding skateboarding, and the event people who are running the skateboard side of it, I do other events with them. I think it was a natural fit for them to ask me be a part of it. I’m excited to see what kind of event they’re going to throw, because it’s invite-only and they’re not going to have it be a free-for-all, it’ll be a styled event, if that makes sense.
Do the girls and guys compete together? Or is it going to be separate?
Yeah, it’s all together.
I don’t know a lot about skateboarding competitions, but for this kind of thing, do you have tricks prepared or is it more on the fly?
Well they make up the course a week before the event, so you pretty much skate it as much as you can leading up to the event. But before the course is built, I’ll probably try and skate someplace similar to the layout that it appears that they’re making. Every skateboarder has a certain bag of tricks, which they’re comfortable with, and things that they’re working on. My approach to most events is having a backup of what I know how to do, and there are things that I’ll push myself to do depending on how good I’m feeling and what I think I’m capable of doing at that time. In practice, I’ll find out that medium, once I feel the course out.
Cool. So I know that you’ve been skateboarding for years, how do you feel like it’s changed since you’ve started?
I think you could go any which way with that question honestly. It’s changed so much. Skateboarding when I was younger was definitely popular, like it wasn’t not known about. I grew up in Santa Monica, which is kind of the home of skateboarding, or the start of it at least. It’s more largely accepted now; there are larger parks. When I was growing up and started skating, there was like one really good park in the area, the Santa Monica Skatepark, which was relatively new when I started skating. Then there’s the Old Venice Skatepark, which is like trash[Laughs]—well it’s not trash, but it’s not of the same caliber. Within five years after I started skating, there were multiple parks in the area, so that changes skateboarding a lot, locally. Outside of California, it’s definitely grown. At all the events, I’ll pretty much know who I’m going to see there, for girls who competitively skateboard. But nowadays, there are so many girls on Instagram, it’s crazy! There are so many people that I don’t know. It’s expanded so much.
When you started out and there weren’t that many girls, did you expect it to blow up so much? Or does it still surprise you to see girls you don’t know who are competing?
I don’t think I thought that far ahead about it. When I first started, I was just having fun, and I liked doing it. It didn’t even matter that there weren’t that many girls doing it. Starting out, there weren’t a lot of girls doing it, so it wasn’t even a conscious thought that there should be more. And then, as I started doing contests and actually skating with other girls, that’s when I felt like there should be more.
So with the 2018 season ahead, what are you most excited for?
Well this year, there’s more events for Park Series, which is a Vans contest series. They’ve added three women’s stops, so I’m excited to go to those places. Last year they only had one qualifying and a final. They had regional qualifiers, but they weren’t main events. Now we have our own contests, at a couple of the stops, which is really big and exciting.
Cool. Are there any competitions in New York that you would come out for?
There’s not competitions there, but there’s a couple events that I do. I’m actually going out there next month, almost exactly a month from now. I think on the 16th, there’s a women’s skate night at the House of Vans, and we’re doing some sort of activation there.
That’s awesome. We’ve been out there for another event earlier this month.
Yeah, they do girls skate night like once a month, or once a week, I can’t remember. They’re doing a big women’s activation, and I think they’re going to do a bunch of fun stuff at the House of Vans.
Oh, and one of the other things I’ve been working on this year that is really exciting this year, I totally blanked on this, but in spring when they release the spring collection, I’m going to be having a colorway. I got to design my own colorway on the shoe, and that’s coming out, and that’s really exciting because I’ve never had that before.
Yeah, I think a lot of people are anticipating it. Including myself! [Laughs]
I appreciate it!
Featured image courtesy of Hannah Bailey
Stay tuned to Milk for more from the world of skateboarding.