Meet Helena Long

In our ongoing series spotlighting the women of Vans, we caught up with Helena Long to learn more where she is at with life.

March 18, 2024
  • Women of Vans
  • Skate
  • Athletes

It’s hard to imagine Helena Long not smiling. Hailing from Greenwich in South London, Helena first cut her teeth skating the streets of London where she quickly became a mainstay of the UK skate scene. Having recently recovered from double knee surgery, Helena seems to be making up for lost time. Whether out on her bike searching for new street spots, or skating local Stockwell park, a stone’s throw from London’s female run skate shop Brixton’s Baddest, Helena’s obsession with skateboarding shines through. Never one to stay in one lane Helena also plays drums in the band Upset Stomach. As part of our ongoing series on the women of Vans, we gave Helena a call to see where she was at with life.

What have you been up to recently?

Well, a combination of skating when it's dry, going to the gym and doing physio bits as I am still recovering from an injury, playing music and helping out with skate related things here and there in between.

What does it mean to you to be a female skater in your community today and in turn, the evolution of that community?

It's kind of a crazy one just because there's so just many female skaters now. So yeah, it feels like quite a privilege to be where I am with it as at the moment and be surrounded by a way bigger scene. It’s become so big and overwhelming in a positive way I feel like I am watching it almost from the side lines. It’s great to see it grow and being a small part of it doing what I’m doing.

Nowadays the community vibe of women’s skating is amazing, it’s pretty standard to go to your local spot whether that be a park or a well known street spot - it’s 50 / 50 guys to girls ratio. And then in addition to that, smaller communities and different scenes are just popping up everywhere.


How important is it for you to be like a role model in your community?

I feel like it's kind of by accident, just as I have always been skating, and it’s only in the last few years or so that it has really blown up. A role model - if that's what I am to people, then I feel pretty blessed. I guess in sense of the word ‘blessed’ that if I have been that influence for some people through skating, and wanting to keep going and keep doing it then that’s an honour. It’s a happy accident, because I don't think I would be doing anything different.

Who are your role models?

My friends and the female skate scene - certain names like Lois Pendlebury, Lucy Adams, and Sam Bruce, they were there from the very beginning, they just seem to be on their own path and have this incredible sort of confidence that transcends all they do. I’d say transatlantic wise, Alexis Sablone was always a massive role model for me, just because I remember hearing the commentary on a skate contest where she was doing ridiculous stuff. And then also, you know, the commentator saying; “she's a fully-fledged architect too”, for me that was just incredible - a boss at it all I guess!

How do you see the global women’s skate community evolving?

It's wild! I feel like social media has helped a lot with it. I actually feel the Olympics has done a lot for skating, some of the skaters you see coming out of Japan and China you wouldn't have maybe seen them necessarily through social media or skate videos until the Olympics brought them to the world stage. The contest stuff is really amazing. It's very far removed from what I know, but the level of talent is inspirational.


What advice would you have to girls that are starting out skating?

It's a lot about learning to fail, and that’s okay. You're gonna fail most of the time before getting the trick or getting adjusted to what it feels like to be on a board. And maybe, hopefully, that's for you, and if it is; just keep on going. It’s hard for everyone at the beginning - even after years of skating and even being professional now, I still find it difficult. But if you love it, just stick with it!

Do you have any last words?

Just thank you, I guess probably thank you for all the support I've had from friends for skateboarding. I'm just beyond grateful to continue to get to do what I love doing most. Thank you skateboarding.