Cooler Exclusive! Hiking Hollywood With Lizzie Armanto

Catching up with the X Games Gold medallist and all round rad skater...

Hannah Bailey

Photography by Neon Stash, video by Shade Media.

Ahead of the Van Doren Invitational women’s bowl contest tomorrow on Huntington Beach, here’s our exclusive video and interview with Lizzie Armanto filmed whilst we were in LA last month. She takes us on a hike to the infamous Hollywood sign and we get some time to catch up. Here’s what happened that day…

It’s another sunny day in Hollywood and we’re on the road with Kim from Mahfia TV. Although currently injured, Lizzie Armanto is up for a little hike and we’re invited. Along for the ride is best buddy and skater in crime, Allysha Bergado. Just two normal girls who enjoy chit chat and bubble tea, except they just also happen to be two of the worlds greatest girl skaters.The transitional twosome are progressing the skate scene for girls worldwide as they rip up the mega, park and vert, travelling the world to do so. Both are amazingly humble considering the skills they have on skateboards.

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So it’s refreshing on this calm Sunday in LA, to be heading for a different kind of activity, away from the park, we should have known it would involve some sort of illegal activity when there are skaters involved.

The road up to the Hollywood sign is wiggly, as we’re ascending the frontside the letters grow taller as if we are zooming in with our camera. Lizzie has a local spot to take us to so we won’t be in the line up with the rest of the tourists. After a bit of a drive, the road stops and we are confronted with a ‘do not enter, private property’ sign. Undeterred we leave the car to continue on foot.

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Up the dusty desert path, Lizzie and Allysha leading the way. All of a sudden we are below the sign at what feels like an arms length. We have our cameras in hand and Lizzie Armanto is the only thing standing between us and the sign, right where she is supposed to be.

‘It was really exciting to go to X Games for the first time and to be able to do well in the event was really awesome.’ Lizzie reminiscing on the highlights of her success last year as we scale the hill. Winning an X Games Gold at her debut appearance in women’s park in Barcelona, then going on to win the Vans US Open title, Lizzie had a standout 2013, but just as things were going great, she got injured, tearing her PCL then her MCL. It was 6 months off a board for her.

‘Not being able to skate is so frustrating for me,’ she tells us ’but at the same time I think I really needed to have a break and breath. All last year it was trips and skateboarding all the time. Which I love. But too much of a good thing…’

There was definitely no hiking for a bit, but she seems glad to now be back in an active state that means she can see the board at the end of the tunnel. Thanks to her desire for adventure and keeping active, we have got to this amazing location for the shoot, but as we’re loading up a new Polaroid film we hear an announcement from above. ‘You are trespassing on private property. A unit has been called…’

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Time to scramble! Running down the bush covered hill in our skater shoes, which are definitely not made for a wild run like this (but should be able to outrun a cop). Lizzie makes it down well ahead of everyone, maybe due to practice, but more likely due to the months of rehab paying off. ‘I’m really really really really really looking forward to getting back on my board and getting back to 100%.’ explains Lizzie ‘Right now I just started skating again and its definitely bittersweet.’ 

With the only stop on the competitive circuit for skaters like Lizzie coming up at the end of the month, she is determined to get back to full health and go for the top spot again. ’It’s kind of tough because in my head I’m still where I thought I was but my body hasn’t caught up.’ Lizzie explains. However based on the recent footage she sent us for our exclusive edit above, we think otherwise…

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Skating is what Lizzie does. There was no crochet to fill the hours that a skateboard would normally when injured, it was a waiting game, physically and mentally. Her tale is to inspire you to get back on a board after injury, the most difficult bit. ‘Want to skate in San Diego? We’ll go to Tony Hawks Ramp.’ she suggests as we are parting ways for the day. A vision of us getting chased by guard dogs and scrambling over a fence enters my mind, but she assures us ‘I’m allowed!’.

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Be sure to watch Lizzie and Allysha as they compete in the bowl at the Van Doren Invitational tomorrow 4pm PST.

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