Noelia Otegui, Spain
Born in Argentina, but currently living in Madrid, 31 year old photographer Noelia is already a sponsored longboard downhill rider. Having just a few years' experience of downhill, Noelia shows a real understanding and passion for the sport, both behind the camera and on the board. A favorite spot for Noelia is Molinos, in Avila, for its fast curves, long rides and lack of busy traffic.
"I love Downhill, because it gives me a thrill that other disciplines doesn’t give me; adrenalin, speed, emotions."
It's clear that she has just as much love for photography; Noelias images are amazingly well balanced, presenting great play with movement and perspectives, as well as a great use of light.
Valeria Kechichian, Spain
When going to this years WIB (women in board and action sports) conference in Biarritz suitably themed “The power of female connection”, I met a truly amazing woman who made a powerful and lasting impression on me. That woman was Valeria Kechichian, Co-founder and Managing Director at Longboard Girls Crew.
I had already heard her speak about the cool phenomenon of Longboard Girls Crew at ISPO tradeshow earlier that year, but this time I was deeply moved – Not only by the extent to which the LGC community has spread across the world, but by the passion behind the initiative of LGC.
Longboard Girls Crew, LGC, is an international longboard community created in the summer of 2010 by a group of female skaters living in Madrid.
Tired of being the only girls in mostly boy's crews, they decided to get together more often and used social media to keep those connections alive. They soon started to realize that the energies were different when the riders where females only, so they started their journey and mission of getting together to ride, placing female longboarding on the map.
Now, just a few years later, they have become one of the biggest longboard movements worldwide, acknowledged in more than 180 countries. They have a whopping + 150K fans on Facebook, over 8 million views in their 7 videos, ambassadors in more than 70 countries and a worldwide platform that supports and spreads word of female longboarding. So many amazing things have happened during the years, but most important of all, is having encouraged thousand of women to grab a board and start longboarding.
And Valeria is truly the perfect ambassador, having a huge heart, passion and dedication for the sport, for gender equality and for pushing the whole action sports scene forward towards equality in general.
“We're being witness of a real change in gender labeling in our sport. It's so rewarding just to think that maybe we had something to do with that and that we're still working to make a difference. Talented female skaters have been practicing and competing at a professional level since the 1960's, and yet the sport continued to be plagued by the usual gender stereotypes; people were surprised to see girl skaters, and even girls themselves had been put off by skating. But all that is changing now. Together we have built something big, something that has changed female longboarding and the way people see it worldwide.”