Pro Chat: Mimi Knoop

Cooler Pro Chat interview with US Skater and The Alliance co-founder Mimi Knoop riding a bowl
Fleeing the winter darkness in Argentina – photo: Stephen Knoop

With the weather getting colder and the first snow flakes falling in the mountains, we’re checking in with other boardsports-lover who’s ahead of a long and dark winter…. Or maybe not that dark after all. 

Interview by Anna Langer

Cooler Pro Chat interview with portrait of US Skater and The Alliance co-founder Mimi KnoopHey Mimi, what are you up to at the moment?
I just got home from an awesome skate tour down in Argentina. I was down there with Poseiden Foundation helping give back to the kids and community there. We also skated a bunch of parks with the locals too! I met so many amazing girl skaters… I will have some photos for you guys from the trip soon [check back end of the week for a photo diary]!

You had a speech about girls in skateboarding at the Women In Boardsports Retreat last year, could you give us a quick summery of your points made there?
Yes, the WIB retreat in Saas Fee was so amazing! I met such inspirational people at that conference – thank you again Women in Boardsports! But, I basically did a presentation on my history and how I became a professional skateboarder. I also spoke about my personal involvement in creating the Alliance and the brand hoopla skateboards. Good times!

What has happened since?
Well, we have grown our hoopla brand a lot since then, and we have some great projects in the works through the Alliance as well. Girls skateboarding itself is blowing up, and there are more girls skating now than ever before!

What about their visibility?
I think with the help of the internet, there is now much more visibility available for girls skateboarding. Also, mainstream media has taken an interest in girls skateboarding as well; I am seeing girls skating in commercials, TV shows, and advertisements all the time now. I skated in a soap commercial last year too. Thank you Method!

With the Salt Gypsy magazine from the dudes at Surfers and some smaller publications in Europe there seems to be coming more media space for girls too, what do you make of that?
I think these new media outlets and magazines are great for the girls when they come around. But I wouldn’t suggest waiting around for them to give us exposure – we all need to take our own initiative and promote / market ourselves. We need to continue to make our own things happen to grow women’s skateboarding. That’s what I tell all the girls anyway.

I think these new media outlets and magazines are great for the girls when they come around. But I wouldn’t suggest waiting around for them to give us exposure – we all need to take our own initiative and promote / market ourselves.

Do you have any advice what girl skaters can do themselves to get more coverage?
Yes, we are living in the age of the internet! Everything is found online now, so that is where girl skaters should be promoting themselves! The whole world is watching… It’s a great resource for athletes and brands in general.

You’re already doing your part in supporting the girls with your brand hoopla. Any news there?
Yes! Our hoopla team is amazing and we also just launched a new hoopla cruiser for the holidays. I helped design it and it was tested by our team before production! Also, our team rider Alana Smith recently landed a 540 mctwist during a contest – making her the first female skater ever to do so in competition (and the 2nd girl to land a 540 – Lyn-Z was the first)! These girls are ripping today, and the standard keeps going up. It’s amazing to see, and we are stoked on all of our hoopla riders!

Cooler Pro Chat interview with US Skater and The Alliance co-founder Mimi Knoop
The hoopla Team at Woodward

There’s so much talk about the recession in skateboarding and who companies are forced to stock down on their girls stuff because of it. As owner of a brand yourself, how do you see that?
I think the recession effects everyone. Now is the time to be smart and frugal! But, we have some great momentum going with hoopla right now, and we see a huge market developing with girls skateboarding… I think the time couldn’t be better for hoopla!

I love the elephant in your logo – where did you get the idea / inspiration for that?
Cara-Beth Burnside and I brainstormed one day and we came up with the name “hoopla”. We chose the name first – it symbolizes something we thought would work for a young skateboard brand; whimsical, fun, chaotic, creative. Then I thought of the elephants in the cartoon movie “Dumbo”… The ones that fall into the pail of beer and start flyin around and being crazy. That’s what I thought of when I thought of “hoopla” – so, I just drew out my own version of that! And there you have it! hoopla.

Cooler Pro Chat interview with US Skater and The Alliance co-founder Mimi Knoop riding a bowl
Photo: Dan Sparagna

Your art work was also featured on a bunch of Nikita styles, any new coops you got going lately?
I actually have an artshow tonight in LA with Tony Alva and some other skate legends. I made two paintings for it, so I am pretty hyped on being included! I am also working with Dakine on some future collab.s.. And I of course designed some new graphics for hoopla coming in Spring 2013 too!

Cooler Pro Chat interview with US Skater and The Alliance co-founder Mimi Knoop doing a handplant in the bowl
Photo: MRZ

What about your own professional skateboarding career, are still actively pursuing that or have you shifted more to supporting girls behind the scenes with your brand and the Alliance?
I am definitely still skateboarding professionally. I have been filming the past 8 or 9 months and I hope to release a little video part in the near future.. I’ll also be competing in the Vans Combi Pool Classic in January 2013. (I designed the name and logo for the event for Vans; something I was honored to have had the chance to do!)

Don’t worry about what people say or if you look dumb – just get out there and make it happen! Life is too short to not spend time doing what you love.

Any new developments with the Alliance?
Yes! We are actually rebuilding our website right now. The guys at Mitten United are putting together some really beautiful work for us. We will also be continuing our work with ESPN and X Games in 2013 as well – and we should have some really great news/announcements to release soon concerning that partnership! Other than that, we will be collaborating with some other companies on some projects in 2013 too… We will have more details on that soon!

And last but not least some space for you to say anything you’ve always wanted to get off your chest….
I guess I would tell all the girls out there that want to pursue skateboarding, (or snowboarding, surfing- playing the piano – whatever it is you like to do) that they should do it! Don’t worry about what people say or if you look dumb – just get out there and make it happen! Life is too short to not spend time doing what you love.

Mimi is sponsored by Nikita, Vans, Nixon, Movietickets.com, hoopla skateboards, Independent, Bones, MAHFIA.com, and 187 pads

Cooler Pro Chat interview with US Skater and The Alliance co-founder Mimi Knoop riding the bowl
Saran Wrap – photo: Nate McDonald
  1. Girls Skate Network

    Mimi is the best!!!

  2. gideon

    featuring the best videos, news,

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