Interview Kristin Ebeling Photo 1
Photo by Arel Watson

Interview with Kristin Ebeling, Pro Skater and Team Manager of Krux Trucks

May 28, 2021

Let’s meet Kristin Ebeling, from Seattle, Washington, to learn more about her skate life, turning pro for Meow Skateboards, managing a team, producing videos, running the Skate Like A Girl organization, and other things. We also talked about the Olympics and she shares her vision of it and the impact it will have for women and diversity in skateboarding.
When did you start skating?
I started skating when I was 12 years old and I was really inspired by Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. A bunch of my friends had started skating around that time, in 2000-2001. I didn’t really take it that seriously at first, I didn’t think of it as a sport, like all the other sports that I played at that time. I was playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and I saw Elissa Steamer and I was like, “What? There’s girl pro skaters!”, it blew my mind all of a sudden, I was like, “Okay, I really want to be a skateboarder”. There’s other girls that do it professionally, that means I can do it. After that point, I was going out at the skate park all the time.
Were there other girls who skated with you during that time?
I had a couple girls that I started skating with but they all kind of just quit, probably within six months to a year. So after that, I was pretty much on my own, and they weren’t as serious about it, they played other sports or they were just into something else, and that’s true for a lot of my guy friends. A lot of the guys that I started skating with, they lost interest after six months or so, so then I just became friends with people at the skate park and they became my friends, but out of those people there’s definitely no girls. I didn’t meet another girl skater until I was a late teenager, like 16 years old.
Interview Kristin Ebeling Photo 3
Was it intimidating to be the only girl?
They commented on my body all the time. At first we were all really young but as soon as all of us started going through puberty, and the boys started getting interested in girls, like more romantically, they definitely started treating me differently. The bullying got so bad, I just skated by myself, probably when I was 14-15-16, in my garage, because if I went down to the skate park, they would say things like, “Girls aren’t girls if they wear baggy pants”, just weird shit. I would do a trick and they’re like, “That was cool but it doesn’t matter because you’re a girl”. They were just a**holes for no reason, you know.
Do you think that the Olympics will be a turning point for women’s skateboarding?
To answer the question yes, as far as women’s representation, it will be equal to men. That is going to be so huge. The thought that people across the world will see a skateboarding contest for the first time on this massive stage and they will see men and women share that space, is just so rad. Part of this will also include shattering much of the racial stereotypes in skateboarding. For a long time, skating was seen as such a white thing to do, very much southern California centric. I think the stereotypical skater being the white dude in his twenties will be shattered at the Olympics. In just thinking about the US team, there’s skaters like Samarria Brevard, Mariah Duran, and men like Maurio McCoy and Zion Wright, who represent diversity, many didn’t historically think of when they thought of what types of folks skateboard.
Interview Kristin Ebeling Quote 1
And what about getting more funding for the Skate Like A Girl organization you run?
We’ve already experienced that boom, we’ve already seen more people at our events, more grants, more donations. More people are excited about skateboarding as a sport and activity. It’s moving from this subculture that was negative with all these negative stereotypes. I think the public opinion on skateboarding is shifting and I think that is impacting our ability to be a sustainable organization. People see skateboarding as a more respectable activity, a more positive activity, whereas before it was people that were trying to destroy things and break the law and break their necks and spray paint and deal drugs, all the negative stereotypes about skaters. I think all of that is changing because of the Olympics and that’s going to be positive for all of skateboarding, hate it or love it. I think there’s going to be more skate parks, more skate spaces, more opportunities for all social skate projects. We’ll see what happens but there’s a lot more opportunity for skateboarding to grow in new ways and diversify and all that, versus like ever before, which is really cool.
Have you always had that goal to become a pro skater?
Yeah! Like every kid, when you skate, that’s who you look up to because they’re all in the magazines and in the videos and in the video games. So I’ve always put my best foot forward in that department, but I think because of the age, if I were 20 now, I would be really going for the Olympics, I’d be really going towards a professional career. I turned pro very late. I turned pro last year, and not a lot of people turn pro in their 30s. When I was in my early 20s, in my prime so to speak, it was the economic collapse, it was 2008-2010. I was focused on graduating college and figuring out how to get a real job because I didn’t think any opportunities would exist for me in skateboarding. Fast forward 10 years later, there’s so many opportunities, and I’m a pro skater now. I think I always had that dream but I kind of gave up on it for a while in the mid-2010s, I was like, “Well, I got my college degree, I’m gonna try to make Skate Like A Girl my job because if I can’t be a pro skater, I can at least be a pro community organizer”, and now I get to be both which is pretty rad! I’m really grateful for that.
Interview Kristin Ebeling Gif 1
How does it feel to have your name on a board?
It definitely feels pretty crazy, but also my boards aren’t out yet because of the Covid delays, they’re not really going to come out until October I think. So it’s been a while, it’s been a little weird and it’s been great that people have been so congratulatory, but it’s a little bit of a bummer because my boards aren’t out yet. Definitely a dream come true but it feels a little weird because I’m like, “Oh, it’s still not done” [laughs].
Do you have some of them to skate at least?
I got a few of them but they’re not my real board if that makes sense, they just got them screen printed for the release of my board but they’re not actually my board.
So you’re the new team manager of Krux Trucks, how did this happen?
I am sponsored by Krux and my friend Alex [White] is the brand manager and team manager but also a women and non-binary riders’ specialist, so she helps with all the brands at the distribution company NHS working with all their women and non-binary riders and highlight and elevate them. So that left the team manager position open, and so Alex basically was like, “Hey, I need a team manager”, and I suggested a bunch of names. She interviewed a bunch of people, but ultimately no one was a good fit, and so she ended up just interviewing me. You have to do this little personality test to get the job and also do an interview. I did really well in my interview but I also did really well on my personality test, and they offered me the job and I was like, “I don’t know if I have enough time for this but I can try”. So far so good, I’m pretty busy but I make it work, I don’t have kids, I’m not in school, I just try to work and go skateboarding. Working at Krux gives me more opportunities to go skating, going on trips and things like that, so I’m pretty happy so far.
Interview Kristin Ebeling Quote 2
A lot of good news for you lately, turning pro, this new job, it contrasts a bit with what we are living right now in the world.
Dude right! I feel like I’ve gotten so much busier in the pandemic [laughs], but it’s all good.
What’s your job as a team manager?
Alex and I meet once a week and we just talk through what the different riders are doing, so my goal is to keep all the riders busy doing something that they’re happy with. Some of our riders are competitive skaters, like Candy Jacobs, other skaters are more into traveling, like Ryan Lay, other skaters are working on a video part right now, like Marbie Miller. My goal is to coordinate the trips for people to do what they need to do for the brand. I book hotels, book flights, things like that, make little budgets and stuff to make sure that we’re not spending a million dollars. I also help get stuff from the team, so sometimes I’ll be like, “Hey, can you send me some skate clips to put on Instagram or whatever”. So I just coordinate between the brands needs and the riders and the riders needs and brands. Another thing I do is I send products to people, help enter the orders in to make sure the riders have what they need. But I think in the future, I’ll be more on the road, in the van, making sure people are getting footage and the filmers are doing their job and they’re getting photos and all that stuff. For now, since it’s the pandemic, just coordinating from afar, which has been good to kind of ease into the job.
There’s over 50 riders in the Krux team, how do you manage this big team?
Well the good thing about trucks as a skater, you probably skate one set of trucks, two sets of trucks maybe per year, so it’s not like people are breaking down my door to get new sets of trucks all the time. I feel lucky I’m not a team manager for a board company or a shoe company!
Interview Kristin Ebeling Photo 2
Kristin with her pro debut deck
Would you go crazy if the skaters asked you for decks every week?
Oh my god, I would go crazy, especially right now with all the product shortages. We’re lucky that we have pretty good inventory, we got some new products that’s good, too. So yeah, it hasn’t been too much, it’s honestly really easy but you know, just calling the skaters, being like, “What are you working on? Oh cool, you want to film a video part? Okay, let’s line up a filmer”, it’s just coordinating and picking people up, giving people what they need and asking for what we need.
How do you handle being the team manager and an active team rider at the same time?
Well, I’m not a pro on Krux per se, I’m just on what you call a product incentive contract, so it’s kind of in between flow and pro. I don’t have a terrible amount of expectations on me but I can work on filming a video part or going out to things and I think Alex, the brand manager, knows that I’m so busy, she doesn’t have huge expectations for me. But every once in a while, I’ll film a little edit and give it to Krux to post or give them some photos or something like that. I would say when you’re in a position like mine, I’m able to pursue whatever feels good. Right now I’m working on a video part for Meow that will drop when my boards come out. Krux knows I’m really working on that Meow part, so they’ve just been supporting me with that and they’re not really asking me to do a bunch of things for Krux. But maybe after my Meow part’s done, maybe I’ll film a part for Krux.
Interview Kristin Ebeling Quote 3
So you produced and directed the Meow’s Grandma video for Skate & Create 2020, I really like it because it’s a fun video mixing skits and skating. How did you find the idea of it?
My friend Shane [Auckland] films VX1000 and he got me into that. I have my own VX1000 camera and stuff, and so we knew that we wanted to do something with the VX but we had to make it make sense. One of the older riders on Meow, Vanessa Torres, was out with a knee injury but we wanted to try to include her in some way, so that’s why I got the idea of a fairy or a fairy godmother or a grandma or something where Vanessa could be included as a character. And there’s a classic cliche of a grandma that will kick you out of the spot, yell at you or whatever, that’s happened to me a few times. So I was like, “Would it be funny if the grandma was actually cool and skated or used to skate?”, I thought that’d be kind of a funny unexpected little twist, so we wrote the different skits of how the grandma could be involved with her cane, some cookies, helping get knobs off, teaching us to bondo, and all that stuff. Once we had the idea, we just started ripping on it and everyone was just throwing out different ideas and it worked out really good.
It made me think of the Girl videos and all the skits. I miss that and I feel like there’s still room for it.
Totally and it’s definitely missing because now videos are more serious, or people just put out parts but it’s not really a part of something, it’s just a standalone part. It’s just weird how skate content gets put out these days, that’s why I really look up to the guys at WKND and Girl for keeping the skits alive, I think it’s good stuff.
Do you think skateboarding is getting too serious?
I think it is because of the Olympics, but honestly just like in physics, with every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. I try to think of skateboarding that way, as much as there might be some seriousness in the Olympics with these bigger brands and maybe people with Red Bull contracts and stuff, but there’s still going to be the WKND dudes or more core or underground stuff. I think people look at that like, “Oh that’s stupid, we’re gonna do the opposite”, and that’s what I think is cool about skaters is we’re super creative and kind of vibe off of each other. I don’t think everything’s getting more serious, I think some stuff’s getting more serious and some stuff is getting funnier and more lighthearted, that’s at least my take.
When will we see Grandma 2?
I’m working on this Meow part right now and I was hoping to get some skits in there and get some team footage and stuff like that. I gotta ask Lisa [Whitaker] what we can make happen there. I would love to fly the team out to LA and do another skit with Vanessa as the grandma, and maybe get some more footage of the team members.
Interview Kristin Ebeling Gif 2
You conducted all the Nike SB Gizmo riders’ interviews for Thrasher magazine in 2019, how was it to interview (the legend) Elissa Steamer?
Dude it was such a trip and so cool. She’s really straightforward and basic, she’s no bullshit so she doesn’t really put on that show you know. I had to really think about what would be good questions to actually ask her, and I actually had to interview her twice because I interviewed her and I sent it in to the editor of Thrasher and he was like, “You need to get more, you need to ask more shit”. I was excited to call her back and she was cool about it, she let me ask her some more specific questions and stuff. That was really cool honestly. I liked interviewing Leticia Bufoni, probably the best, she was really interesting but yeah Elissa and everyone was great too.
So what’s next for you?
Working on this Meow video part, doing some cool stuff with Skate Like A Girl, we’re trying to go back to in-person programming, trying to figure out how to do that and plan our next Wheels of Fortune event, which will be in May 2022. So starting the planning process with that stuff, which is cool and exciting. In my personal life, I’m working on building a house right now with my husband, basically it’s gonna be like an indoor skate park with an apartment on top. I’m really excited about it because my husband plays drums, so I get a little skate park and he’ll have a place to jam. We’ll both have a place to do what we love to do at our house.
Make sure to check out Kristin’s Instagram and the Skate Like A Girl website.