X Games came to a close this past weekend in Austin where hundreds of competitors competed in a variety of sports. There were two skateboard events for women this year, “Street” and “Park.” Even with inconsistent weather, and some cancelled sporting and music events both of the women’s competitions went off without a hitch.
One event that’s been absent since 2013 is the Women’s Skateboarding “Park.” Even though Lizzy Armanto was favored to take the gold medal, 16 year old, and Japan native Kisa Nakamura virtually came out of nowhere and out-performed everyone to take home the Gold Medal.
While visiting the practice the day before the competition I viewed all of the competitors and noticed one woman standing out above the rest. She was zooming around all the other girls, doing trick after trick and just not falling down. She caught my eye because of her skill, but also her dedication on the street course. I knew I had to interview her because from my completely novice point of view she looked like a real contender.
Allie Hanley: Hi Kisa; So I am excited to interview you because I went to college in Kobe which is where I hear you are from?
Kisa Nakamura: Yes, I am from Kobe.
AH: So, I went to school in Sanomiya.
KN: I am from Sanomiya! <giggles and points to her nose>
AH: So how has your experience been at X Games?
KN: It’s very big, and very hot.
AH: How long have you been skate boarding?
KN: I am sixteen years old, and I started when I was eight, so I guess for eight years now.
AH: Do other girls ride skate boards in Kobe and is it popular?
KN: No, not really at all. There are very few girls who ride skateboards.
AH: What about boys?
KN: It’s way more popular for boys than girls. I practice at home with the guy who won the silver metal.
AH: Do you get a lot of respect from the guys when you skate since you are one of the only girls?
KN: There really aren’t any other girls, and it doesn’t matter. They treat me the same. It’s really not an issue.
AH: So how did you get into skateboarding when there aren’t any girls doing it?
KN: When I was a child, my dad recommended it to me because he use to surf. He actually wanted me to surf but I was too small, so he thought I should start with skateboarding. I also snowboard in the winter.
AH: What are your expectations for X Games competition?
KN: I want to win a medal, -any of them would make me happy.
AH: How much time do you spend a day practicing?
KN: I practice three or four hours a day.
AH: Do you go to High School?
KN: I got to a special school that is for talented people. I am the only girl at my school with this talent.
AH: X Games is invite only, what did you do to get invited?
KN: I have been to other world competitions before and I wanted to come here. So, I contacted them letting them know I wanted to go and they invited me.
I’ve been here for six days and I haven’t had a chance to do anything but stay in the hotel and practice here at CODA. I have been to Jamba Juice and Starbucks. (Circuit of the Americas)
AH: Why do you think girls should get into skateboarding?
KN: It’s really fun… and you make a lot of friends outside of school. If you become really good and go to competitions you will make even more friends!
Don’t be discouraged just because you are the only one, you can still have fun!
<Interview was conducted with a translator>
Kisa won the Gold Medal the next day which is very impressive but I thought it would noteworthy to include that she had absolutely no fan or family support here onsite except for a translator. At the age of sixteen, she is very mature but has a wonderful energy about her and a magnificent smile. She is a competitor that has a bright future ahead of her and is potentially one of those rare people that would be good at anything they attempted. Kisa Nakamura is sponsored by GoPro, MAX, Casino Drive, Five Cross, OKAZAKI, ColorfulProject, and International Riders Collection Co.
You can follow Kisa on Twitter @Kisanakamuraa