Face Time: Lizzie Armanto
Lizzie Armanto's 2012 win streak included a sweep of the World Cup Skateboarding women's bowl and vert events -- and her third consecutive World Cup championship title -- as well as a vert win in November at the Exposure contest put on by her competitor Amelia Brodka, director of the documentary "Underexposed: The Rise of Female Skateboarders."
Armanto appears in the film, and is also featured prominently in Julian Bleeker's new photography book, "Hello, Skater Girl." With the news this month that X Games is adding a Women's Park event into the mix at the Barcelona stop of the 2013 Global X Games circuit, and with the 2013 World Cup Skateboarding series starting up next month, we figured it was time to catch up with her for a status report on the state of women's skateboarding.
ESPN.com: Big things happened both for you and for women's skateboarding in 2012.
Lizzie Armanto: This year's been really great and I'm super excited for all the girls out there who have been coming up, because women's skateboarding has been growing like never before. This year I saw the most girls I've ever seen out there, from girls out on the street riding to the market to girls at the skatepark throwing down and new girls popping up at contests and surprising everybody. When I started skating there literally wasn't another girl at the skatepark ever, for the longest time. That whole thing is changing: now a bunch of little girls are coming up and they're going to change everything.
What was the highlight for you this year?
Skateboarding allowed me to travel to new places this year, which makes me love it even more than ever. This year I got to go to Australia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Peru... those were really amazing trips that I'm going to remember for the rest of my life. And I've progressed a lot, too. I skated in and won my first ever vert contest -- Jono Schwan's Rocky Mountain Rampage contest in Colorado Springs was the first women's vert we've had since it was dropped from X Games -- and Amelia Brodka's Exposure contest was probably the best contest I've ever been to for girls. I'm excited to see her do some follow-up events.
What was your reaction to the news that the Women's Park event was added to the Barcelona X Games?
I've never had a chance to compete at X Games. The most I've ever done is a demo there, and even that was exciting. I'm really excited to compete and even more excited to get to go to Spain if I get the invite. I think a lot of the girls are really excited because these will be top-caliber events and a tremendous spotlight for all the girls out there to see. The X Games vert contest was the most legitimate women's event we had and then when it got taken away a lot of girls quit skating vert altogether. I hope this move has the opposite effect, and gets a bunch more girls out there heading to the skatepark and venturing into the bowls.
Who do you see as some of the top skaters, the girls people should be watching for as [the X Games] unfolds?
Allysha Bergado is my best friend and she's also my biggest competition in my mind. My friend Nora Vasconcellos, too: we're all friends but we're also each other's biggest competition, and that's the way it should be. Alana Smith is a really rad girl from Arizona. She's the girl who landed the 540 at the Exposure contest. She's just killing it out there and I'm really excited to see her progression. And you've got to figure some of the older girls like Mimi Knoop and Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins Pastrana will want a piece of that X Games scene again. They'll be tough competitors for sure. I'll also be watching out for some young girls nobody's ever heard of: they're out there.
Besides the X Games events, what are you most looking forward to in 2013?
I'm looking forward to skating with all my friends. I like competitions, the do-or-die time, but it's the practice sessions I most look forward to, with everyone pushing each other and just having a really great time. I'm excited about filming a bunch this year, traveling some more, and definitely want to thank my sponsors for making it all possible: Bones, 187, Independent, Santa Monica Airlines, and Mahfia.tv have been giving me a ton of opportunities. Mahfia.tv is a cool new all-female action sports channel online and this year they'll be launching new episodes every week, so I'm really excited to be filming for that.
What's your sense of the international scene for women's skateboarding?
I'll say this: when I went to Peru I went with this organization called Step Up and we did one clinic that was exclusively for girls. The amount of girls skating there, and the amount of talent, was just incredible. There's a lot more girls skating around the world than anybody knows, and I think having the level of exposure X Games offers is only going to raise the whole level of everything.