Maria Arndt / Valeria

Two friends enjoying a after-action-moment, laughing freely and naturally, not paying attention to self-monitoring for the camera. Usually, women are often not allowed to be shown as spontaneous, feeling and thinking individuals. But this is what fellowship, friendship and happiness looks like.


Maria Arndt

girlsinlongboarding.com

GirlsInLongboarding is Maria Arndts personal photo project, to showcase girls and womens true passion for longboarding, through photos. Being a skater herself, she has a great understanding on how to best capture the magical moments.
“It's hard to see them, so it felt necessary to show them! This project just started while I was watching several photos of girls I took.”
Marias website is a sneakpeak of what is to come, as she continues to document girls in longboarding and their stories.
 

Valeria Kechichian, Spain

longboardgirlscrew.com/valeria-kechichian

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.”
At that awesome conference I attended in Biarritz, Valeria shared some important words of wisdom and anecdotes talking about the importance of growing the scene to include anyone interested in action sports, a vision that we at High Heaven share with LGC.
Valeria told us about a photographer, who wanted to help her when editing the photos after a shoot, by removing her cellulite on her thighs: But she did not want her cellulite removed, as they are a perfectly normal part of the human body, especially the female body. Valeria told this story with such dedication and empathy, such respect for the whole topic of sexism, that I decided then and there to never, ever retouch any of my action sports images ever again, and that I would start posting photos that tells the Real and Diverse story of the action and extreme sports lifestyle- Valeria is one of the reasons that the #BodiesOfAction campaigns exists.
Thank you Valeria!