Two unique and exciting mountainboard riders: it’s the World’s leading Ladies Martina Lippolis & Senka Bajic
All ladies who take part in this crazy sport of ours are supergirls; dedicated, courageous, and certainly not defined by pre-conceptions. And of the few mountainboard ladies, some push themselves and therefore boundaries still further, challenging social ideas of femininity, pushing competition conventions and more importantly pushing themselves. Oh and most importantly having a laugh and enjoying the ride 🙂
Now let’s sit down for an international chat with two of the greatest current female mountainboarders anywhere on Earth; Italy’s Martina Lippolis and Senka Bajic from Serbia…
Well Hellooo Ladies! First off, big congratulations on the World Boardercross titles.. Numbers One and Two in the world respectively!
S: Hey hey! thanks a lot but you know me, I am always aiming for the gold!
It’s great for mountainboarding to have so many riders from different countries come together for big events like the World BX Championships in Serbia. Tell us what the 2014 event was like for you both…
S: Well, it was rainy and the track had never been slower :/ But the organisers did a great job even though it was raining for ages.
M: This year for me was the second time in Serbia, I had a great time there, great memories. I met a lot of riders from all over the world, everyone with different styles on boards, it was amazing.
Were your friends & families proud when you got back home with Gold and Silver trophies?
M: Everybody was so stoked and proud of me! The best thing was to share with Team mates my result, mostly with Roberto Facchinetti and Simona Petrò- We always train together and I’m so happy that she got third in Serbia.
S: Yes my family was there supporting, watching me and cheering, and like they say “I always make them proud” ^^
It’s great to have the support of the people who matter! What was life like when you were growing up? What sort of kids were you?
S: I looooooved my childhood! Always active, running around, doing some sports, playing games….actually I am still that kid.
M: For me it is similar. When I was a child I used to be hyperactive, I didn’t play with video games and was mainly outdoors! I used to travel a lot by van with my parents, my dad is a windsurfer! In my trips I learned inline skating, windsurfing, a little skateboarding and skimboarding. When I grew up I fell in love with team sports; I like female soccer and I love basketball, in fact I played in a team as Playmaker until a few years ago.
Wow! yes, team spirit is actually very important to a lot of riders even though it’s a ‘solo’ activity…
And you’re also now well into the snow scene Martina…
M: I really love snowboarding too. Don’t know what I like more, I guess they are both amazing.
And you’ve been doing well in Snowboard comps for the past few years too, like Chicks on Board…
M: Yes last year I won 2 Snowboarding contests in Italy, and the best Trick Prize at Chicks on Board, a female snowboarding jib contest.
Rad. We can tell in your mountainboard riding style that you’re used to snowboard butters, nose rolls and jibs.. How does it compare to on your mountainboard?
M: Mountainboarding is so similar to snowboarding, so I try to make the same things with both.
And Senka you have been into Snowboarding for years as well… what are the Serbian ski slopes like?
S: Yes, I like Serbian mountains but I think that ski tourism in Serbia should be more developed, for example making some snowboardcross tracks and making new slopes for everyone.
You did comps too (like the Kop Snowboard Jam) and then got introduced to mountainboarding by the Serbian Crew…?
S: Exactly, After one Snowboard contest where I was competing, Predrag Marckic sent me the message about joining the team, that changed my life… and here I am now riding my board across the Europe 😉
Do you both remember your first ever time on a mountainboard? What did you think of it?
S: I was in love! I knew that that was the first day of the rest of my life 😉
M: First time I ever saw a mountainboard I was at Bergamo night summer festival, I was inline skating with some friends that night, and I met Roberto and AMBG guys at their stand. There I took off the Inline skates and I strap in to the mountainboard- first I balance, then I ollied, it was love at first try as well! Then after a few weeks I went to Bardonecchia, where there was the World Downhill Championships with Tom Kirkman and Pete Tatham!!! It was inspiring, when I get back home I started with mountainboard!
You’re both very different in your approach to mountainboarding… Can you define your style and attitude?
S: Hm, hard question. I try to give my best in everything I do?
M: Technical, Smiling and Competitive
When racing, do you feel the girls have a different ‘mindset’ to the guys?
M: I do not know, I’ve never been in a man’s mind! But I think not, each person has a different mentality from the others , and I don’t think that it depends on being man or woman.
S: Hmm, Maybe I do have a different mindset, and for sure I think that girls should be respected more: like Hellooooo guys we are riding on the same track…or maybe they are a little bit scared when they see us on the same track, riding like them without any easy parts… I am very proud when I see girls riding.
What about when not in competitions- are bonding & friendships as important as the actual riding?
S: Of course. When I am on competition, I try to focus and stay professional, but friendships can be made anywhere at anytime..
M: Yes friendships are very important, I have a lot of ” rider ” friends and a lot of other friends which take part of my everyday life.
Yes I think that is true for all mountainboarders!
So Martina, for a local, how do you feel about Val Trompia Park? and what are it’s ‘King of the Park’ comps like?
M: Valtrompia Park is actually the best park in Italy, it’s located in Gardone Val Trompia near Brescia, that’s about an hour away from Orio al Serio Bergamo, where I live, near the Ryan Air Airport. The upper side of Valtrompia Park is full of jibbing features, box rails and easy ramps, in the lower side there are a couple of ground kickers, the jibbing wheel, and a big air step down kicker, and there are also two short downhill tracks, very funny for warming up.
King of the park is the annual competition we organise there, is not only a contest, but is a big party and a chance to meet the best italian and international riders. Last year we had Matt Brind, Perre louis Vine and Diego Anderson visit and I think they had great time!
Matt said it was great… I’m sure we’d all love to visit some time!
You have both been ‘in the media’ with interviews for web & TV… How do you feel being in front of the camera and being ‘role models’ for the sport?
M: I prefer riding instead of being in front of a camera, because I can express myself the best way that way. I think that promotion of the sport is so important, so I like interviews to let everybody know how Mountainboarding is…
S: For me the feeling is great, like you know that you are doing something big for the sport. It is still young and is going to develop more, it is inspiring, that’s the moment to live for…
In the UK there are far less lady riders around than 10 years ago… why do you think there are fewer females in this sport? Can we change it and encourage new riders?
M: The problem of mountainboarding is that is seems to be dangerous; this problem affects more ladies than men, because we are more prudent. Mountainboarding in Italy is not ”cool” like snowboarding or downhill bike, so only few very passionate people practice it.
I think that to promote our sport it is very useful making a lot of videos, in particular girls videos like mine and Senka’s, because everybody understands that our sport is safe and everyone can try it and have fun.
I think that with techique a woman can reach the same level as men, this means only more training and more time than men that are physically stronger…I’m not trying to say that next year I’ll be doing doubles haha But really girls out there can be soo good on boards, they just need to be confident and train a lot.
S: Yes! We have to stick together and build this sport that gives us joy…
Some of the places we are all travel to and ride are very beautiful, with nature, landscape, sunsets… Is this side of life and mountainboarding important to you?
M: yes, I really love nature and to ride in nature is one of the best things!
S: My favorite place to ride is Fruska Gora, which is near Novi Sad my hometown, and I must say that the feeling when I am on the top of the track and I see my hometown in the distance… well it actually can’t be described, it has to be felt.
It’s in the heart! Do you both find the physical side of the sport demanding?
M: For sure mountainboarding needs a good background of training, you have to be physically prepared and get to proper level, in particular for ladies..
S: YEEEEEESSSS. I know I am ready for the contest when I feel strong both in technical riding on the track, and physical strength which is developed in the gym and on the conditional trainings.
Senka, as well as studying for a PhD you’re a Personal Trainer- i guess a day out riding is like a good workout at the Gym!
S: You got it. Sometimes I feel that the Gym is my second home 😉 Like a Personal Trainer my job is to make people understand that “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing”.
And Martina, you teach mountainboarding at YFT. That must be cool, although you surely have a day job or Uni too…
M: I work at Asl Bergamo, a public office of health department. Is a little bit boring job, but I have a lot of spare time. I also study Food Technlogy at Milan University, and I will finally get my degree in March 2015.
And yes, I also teach mountainboarding, with AMBG, but only for passion. This year I just started a collaboration with Your Freestyle Trainer, there I train myself at Zero Gravity, an indoor facility with foam pit etc, in Milan and I will teach a little mountainboarding in the next spring.
Cool. You’ve also just dropped a great video, your promo, a compilation of 2 years worth of riding.. Tell us about it!
M: I’ve always wanted a full video-part of my riding, and this year the dream came true! I have to thank a lot Antonio Losa, in my opinion one of the best film makers out there, and also Anna and Roberto for the additional camera footage!
The riding is sick, playful free ride & free style jibbing, and there are some real creative shots and effects! Do you take part in suggesting shots or editing etc?
M: : I just choose the best scene cause I’m not good with computers, so i said to Antonio and Anna Losa to make the best he could with our footage…
They did a great job- Let’s take a look!
And what’s with the Zebra thing???!!! haha
M: I really love to dress in a funny way that exalt the way I ride and my style. At The King of the Park I dressed with flamingo style pink trousers, and in my video I have a zebra style shirt and a black and white stripes tee, in serbia purple trousers…who can say what’s the next step?!
Rad, we look forward to next season’s rad trends !
And Senka, for your promo earlier in ‘14, it was downhill with body armour and full-face helmet…. and a bit of cooking!?
S: Yeah, you can do everything with good organization skills, and a little bit of video effects 😉
Haha, it’s a great vid!
You have also done a series of photos in a glamorous evening dress, posing with your board! How did this come about?
S: A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do! we did something different and the crowd loved it 😉
You don’t say!!? Now back onto the racing…
You both went head-to-head in Serbia ’13, August ’14 at the European Cup in Italy, and then again in September at the World BX in Serbia.. What is the rivalry like between you?
S: Who is this girl Martina? Kidding, I am very glad that I have chance to ride with different riders and develop my skills as well.
M: Haha.. Senka is a very fast rider, especially at her home track, in Novi Sad. Last time I won, but next time she could easily win or another girl too, there are really a lot of fast girls out there, and the final result is never obvious in competitions. I think that the rivalry between us is pushed by others, we have a good relationship. A little bit of mountainboarding gossip is good to pump the lady’s scene???!!!
In any case, I’m just very competitive in the race as I think she is too, in this sense we are similar. Before every contest we always talk about the track the weather and so on. I do not feel a really rivalry!
Who or what influences your riding the most?
M: My friends from AMBG and Mountainboard Brescia mostly. I also love to check out international videos from Mbs Riders, in particular I love Mason Moore’s style and his tricks! I often watch his videos and then I try the same tricks, like nose manuals and rolls, beliving I’m Mason, but I mostly scratch my wrist and face trying this ahahaaaa 🙂
S: For me it is the track: If I have a track where I can practice, the magic happens, if I don’t have track ready for the practice, I still give my best…
What are your mountainboard plans for next year?
S: Wait and see 😉
M: I’ve always dreamed about to make a mountainboard trip in England with my friends, in Italy we consider England a dreamland for mountainboarding! I also really love to go to Poland and to France, expecially in Monistrol, but I have to check out how will be the work and money for next year.
So, can you try and sum up what this crazy sport means to you both right now?
M: Mountainboarding is what we love. When I ride I’m happy and I only think about it, everything else is put aside.
S: Mhm….I don’t want to get emotional now! That’s why I’ll stick with something that gives me amazing strength 😉
Do you have any words or advice for new riders getting into the sport, especially for the girls?!
S: Be brave, it will be amazing experience and remember: Fall down seven times, get up eight.
M: Try it and you’ll love it!
‘SHOUT OUT’ TIME! love & props to….
S: Family, Boyfriend, Friends, Trampa Boards, Team, Supporters, Fans…
M: Thanks to my friends, my family, Mountainboard Italia Association, AMBG, Mountainboard Brescia Valtrompiapark (www.mountainboardbrescia.it), Progetto Penice, FLS Sauris, Antonio and Anna Losa, Your Freestyle Trainer, Zero Gravity Milano, Bergamo Acrobatica, FIHP, UISP Bergamo, PMS Board, Airoon, Speedflash Europe, ice-key.
Great! Now ladies…. Let’s do some Remolition quick fire questions… Woooo!!!!!
M: Backside boardslide
S: Switch Double Cork 1080 Stalefish to FS Double Cork 900!
Current fave album/music?
Last film you loved?
M: Into the Wild
S: Guardians of the Galaxy
How many pairs of shoes do you own?
M: Too many!!! for me is a passion, I love to collect shoes, mostly skate and basketball shoes, like I’m a Centipede ahahaaa
S: Highheels? You don’t wanna know…
Worst job you’ve ever had?
M: Bacteriological analysis on carcasses slaughtered
S: :-O !
Best Animal ever?
M: I really love animals and nature, but I would say…Zebras!!!
S: I love them all
M: Work with sports, for example teaching mountainboarding.
S: Being Senka B 😉
M: Mountainboarding session with Mason Moore, so he could teach me how to make a proper nose manual! obviously both of us dressing in a flamingo shirt ahahaaaa 🙂
S: With the guy who is next to me for the past 2 years…How romantic am I 😀
Dream mountainboard destination?
M: USA and Brasil
M: In 2013 during a snowboard contest I broke a back muscle psoas during a fs 360
S: Broken arm
M: When I ride
S: Winning contests
Goofy or regular?
MBS or Trampa?
M: PMS deck with mbs accessories
Sunrise or sunset?
Fancy a drink?
S: Tea, please
Your place or ours?
M: It’s the same!
S: You know me 😉
Martina & Senka, grazie & хвала! We raise our glasses to you: Salute! živeli! cheers! xx
Rem report on the 2014 World BX Championships in Serbia
IMA report on the European Downhill Championships ’14
MIA – Mountainboard Organisation Italy
http://www.ambg.it/ – Association Mountainboard Bergamo
Mountainboard Brescia.it – Valtrompia Park
Interview feature film on Serbian TV- B92.net
In the press on 24 Sata
TV Feature on the Serbian European Challenge 2010
Grazie & хвала & thanks to Martina & Senka’s friends for helping with English language translations.
A big thankyou to all contributors. Pictures have been used from Facebook with kind permission from the girls –
Photographers included: Andrey Yenin, Tony Dogga, LaCori, Andrea Guerrini, Djile.net, Slobodan Junior Andelkoviç, Valentina Chiodi, Elena Vermi, Irene Bosio, Marco Cancian, Andy Rolfe, & to anyone missed out sorry but thanks again!!!
Interview by Dan Wilson. © Remolition Yo. X