Surf / Skate
Who are you?
Sabina Edwards; married to Ralph for 32 years, two grown-up children.
How old are you?
What are your sports?
streetluge, skateboarding; park/ramps, bowl and downhill, longboarding, rock-climbing/bouldering, Gym
How did you get into longboarding?
I was looking for a longboard surfboard when I came across longboard skateboards through the internet. I thought it would be a good way to practise surfing technique and thought the longboard would be easier for someone of my age (I was 50 then). I liked the idea of cruising and dancing and thought I might be able to do that at least (as opposed to park or street skateboarding).
Describe longboarding, as opposed to skateboarding. How does it make you feel when you do it?
Skateboarding has many categories, and different disciplines within each one. For instance, skateboarding can be street, park, bowl, vert, slalom, freestyle and longboarding, within which is dancing (also known as freestyle), long distance push, cruising, tech slide and downhill. Or so I understand. Ask different skaters and get different answers. However, I think we would all agree on the way it makes us feel. Coming to the skater party late, (I was 50) I couldn't believe how it raised my confidence and my spirit, and made me walk a little taller. I'm by no means a proficient skater but I have improved over the years and look forward to continuing to skate and luge wa-a-a-ay into my twilight years. I love the community, the gnar, the shared appreciation and encouragement. I love that I laugh like a kid again.
You haven’t just descended into the ‘usual’ idea of what a 50-something woman should be doing! What brought you to the realisation that what you are doing is possible/achievable/rewarding?
It was pure ‘flook’ (or was it? Dun, dun, duuuun!) It was on a random family holiday when we decided to take advantage of a special offer on a 2-hour surf lesson in Sennen that got me into surfing; sometime later, I was searching e-Bay for a longboard surfboard and came across longboard skateboards so thought it might be fun. Then I used Facebook to connect with others... I typed in 'longboarders' and added words like 'women', 'Sussex', Christian, and so on and found there was a skater group for all and every person! Joined all the groups, rocked up and got chatting, was completely welcomed and the rest is history .... ;-)
Do you come across many others of a similar age to you in the BDSL? Is the league divided into age-groups?
The BDSL has a groms / juniors section for those up to age 17, but otherwise it's just 'Open', 'Women' and 'street-luge' – 17 to 107 and over! I am probably the oldest women who competes in downhill but I think there are a few guys older than me....?
We have read about the Very Old Skateboarders & Longboarders - that seems more recreational than competitive?
Yes, the VOSL is a great community group on Facebook with members from around the world, also of all ages. If you look at the group’s description it's for all those who have been told 'you are too old to skate', and that can be those still in their teenage years!
Would you say that you're still improving your longboarding?
For sure! Although I've taken some time out from skateboarding, especially downhill, and spending more time on streetluge, which I definitely want to master – as far as downhill is concerned. I was beginning to spend a bit more time on the skateboard in the park but that's all on hold at the moment.
Do you do any physical training/gym work to stay strong enough to do the sports you love, or to cope with/avoid injury?
For the last nine months I have been going to the gym 4 times a week and seeing a Personal Trainer once a week to improve my core strength as well as cardio. I have seen an improvement in my PB for street-luge at a recent time trials event, so pleased with that, and that my hard work is paying off. Now that we are restricted in our going out, my PT is writing weekly session plans for me.
What do you like/love most about your sport?
The thrill, the adrenalin, the learning a new skill, the sense of well-being, the being chuffed when you notice your technique has improved, just being fairly good at something, better confidence, lifted spirits, the jokes, the smiling ... need I go on?
We’ve read on one of your posts that you enjoyed earning points in competition, would you say that you are competitive?
Er, just a tad ...
Were you always sporty, interested in being active?
It has always been about the thrill and adrenalin. I was always a bit of a 'tomboy' as a kid and as soon as I could I got into riding motorbikes and spent some time as a courier in London. I met my husband through a rock-climbing club and that was our main activity as a family too.
What are the benefits to you personally, outside sport itself, of the fitness/excitement you get from it, i.e. perhaps adding to quality of life as compared to the generally accepted notions of what life is like as an older person?
My quality of life certainly changed when I took up surfing, and then skating. I had become fairly 'settled' in my 40s and am so, so happy that I found surfing and skating – like my faith, it gave me a second chance!
Do you have any (sport-related) ailments/have you had any injuries? How do you/did you deal with them? If yes, (how) have they affected your boarding?
I have never broken any bones but have definitely lost some skin and had a couple of bumps on the head. I always wear a helmet and protection. The nurse at our local surgery taught me how to take care of my 'gravel rash' and I also trained with the ambulance service as a First Responder so have some experience at patching up.
Would you say that the ‘thrills and spills’ you experience when longboarding influence your outlook and attitude to life in general? Or is it the other way around, your attitude makes you a longboarder?!
I think it is definitely my attitude that suits this activity. I've never accepted that I can't do something, unless I just don't want to do it!
As we get older we have found for ourselves - and read the same about others - that involvement in extreme sport helps with keeping you sharp and alert, and generally feeling ‘vital’. Do you find this?
Yes, absolutely, it definitely makes you focus and it's good to know you still can.
On a similar theme, we feel that demanding exercise is a really important element contributing to keeping your brain healthy. Do you agree?
Yes, like the question above, putting yourself into a situation where you really have to focus is brilliant brain training!
How long do you imagine longboarding for?
Competitively, I will almost certainly streetluge more than downhill skate. However, I will continue to skate in the park and cruise along the prom as long as my legs continue to move!
Tell us about Thrill Magazine?
Thrill Longboard Magazine began back in 2012 as a printed magazine supporting the UK longboard skateboard community and sharing stories from the riders and the events they organised. It converted to an online presence in 2015 and, after spending some time as one of the many contributors, I took over ownership and became it's main editor in 2017. It was either that or it would close. I now have a co-editor in Robbie Stevens and he has been a God-send, getting to many events here in the UK and abroad, covering events the UK riders participate in. We try to cover skateboarding events of all categories and it can be challenging getting contributions to the magazine. We really are an open-source mag and want to continue to support and promote gravity sports here in the UK.
Other Silver Greys have mentioned that one of the things they like about doing sport is interacting with people of all ages. Do you find this? You teach at Tic-Tac Skate School, and are active in Longboard Girls Crew - presumably there is an element of this with these?
I am an 'honorary' ambassador for Longboard Girls Crew, stepping down a couple of years ago, after 6 years representing the UK. I continue to support and represent women in board-sports, and believe the LGC do an awesome job representing women of all ages across the world. I am new to Tic-Tac Skate School as a coach and look forward to the end of the current restrictions for public gatherings and being more involved in the future.
Anything else you'd like to say about being so active at the age you are, and why others should do it?
Your questions pretty much cover everything!
Thank you very much.