Meet Chelsea, an 18-year-old from Columbus, Ohio, and our newest etnies Girl of the Month!
etnies Girl: What are your interests?
Chelsea: I love skateboarding, surfing and snowboarding with a passion. They are quickly beginning to consume my life—I can't seem to get enough of them. I also play lacrosse, paint, draw, and fiddle around with the guitar and attempt to sing from time to time.
etnies Girl: What are your talents?
Chelsea: I consider myself a pretty talented artist in both visual arts and musical arts. My voice is my best instrument, followed by piano or guitar, and my painting is coming around. I am not the most talented skateboarder, although I am probably most passionate about it. I have had five knee surgeries, so my abilities on a skateboard are limited, but I try hard not to let that stop me from riding.
“Never be afraid to live life to the fullest and end up with a few scars.”
etnies Girl: How did you get involved in skateboarding, surfing and snowboarding?
Chelsea: Skateboarding really started with my best friend Nick, he has skated for a long time and after watching him and seeing how passionate he was about it I just had to try it. I loved watching the X Games and skate videos so I figured I might as well give it a go.
The first time that I ever surfed was in Surfer's Paradise, Australia. I visited the summer of my sophomore year in high school and fell in love with it. There is no feeling in the world like being connected with nature through riding a wave. Surfing is probably the most tranquil, peaceful sport in the world, but when you least expect it Mother Nature can rear up and throw you for a loop as well. It’s exciting, wild and relaxing all at the same time, and I’ve fallen head over heels for it.
When I decided that I wanted to try out snowboarding, I gathered up one of my closest friends, Sara, and we drove in a blizzard to "Midnight Madness" at Mad River Mountain in Ohio. I went down the slopes only once; I attempted to push myself towards the lift when all of a sudden, my boot went straight through the fresh powder. I shifted my weight in an attempt to free my foot and wound up ripping my cartilage because my board slid out from under me. Well, to make a long story short, I couldn't stand to get tossed around like that and there was no way that I was going to let the injury slow me down. I got a snowboard for Christmas and as soon as I healed I went back and dominated the slope that tore me up. Now it’s my passion and I plan to stick with it for as long as I physically can.
etnies Girl: What do you like about etnies Girl?
Chelsea: I love etnies Girl because it gives talented girls huge exposure for sports that are, or at least started out as being, male dominated. I don't think that enough guys realize that there are girls out there who can really shred.
etnies Girl: Why are you an etnies Girl?
Chelsea: I am extremely independent. I have always been my own person regardless of what people think about me. When I first began skating I was made fun of quite a bit for the sole fact that I was a girl—which only made me stronger and want to show up all of the boys.
etnies Girl: What do you do for fun?
Chelsea: Typically I skate or just hang out with my friends. I would surf and snowboard more but it’s so seasonal. That’s what makes skating great—you can almost always do it, indoors or out. I like to go to concerts. I love music so i try to surround myself with it. I can usually be found in a coffee shop listening to someone play guitar, down in an underground concert hall in Columbus or skating around town.
etnies Girl: Where do you find inspiration?
Chelsea: I try to find inspiration within myself. Throughout the past six or seven years I have had to face a lot of physical hardship with my knee problems, and really the only person who can make me keep going and stay active is myself. I do have idols just like everyone else though, and one of my biggest idols is Bethany Hamilton. She lost her arm in a shark attack while surfing, but she continues to compete and surf today. That simply takes guts, so I don't know how you couldn't find inspiration in her and her story.
etnies Girl: What’s your biggest accomplishment?
Chelsea: My biggest accomplishment thus far is probably overcoming my physical limitations with having knee surgeries and still pursuing the sports that I love. It would be so easy for me to give up and take it easy—as many people have advised me to do—but I don't like taking the easy way out all of the time. There are certain things in life that you just have to do, and doing actions sports is one of those things for me. You only live once.
etnies Girl: Why do you love action sports so much?
Chelsea: I love the simple thrill of action sports. There is nothing more exciting than feeling a wave pick you up ten feet in the air and then riding it all the way through from top to bottom knowing that you could get tossed at any second with one false move. There is nothing more peaceful than cruising from place to place on your skateboard and then hitting up a park after school to try to land a new trick you’ve been working on. I love action sports because they are thrilling, a challenge, and they take guts because you have got to be willing to take chances in order to succeed.
etnies Girl: Can you tell us a little about your knee surgeries and how you’ve still managed to keep active despite your physical limitations?
Chelsea: This year I had my fifth knee surgery. My complications began with lacrosse and soccer but have never failed to limit me to a certain extent in everyday life. I have almost no cartilage left in either of my knees so it is important for me to be careful to a degree. At first I was afraid of getting hurt while skating or snowboarding, so before I decided to try any tricks I decided to get strong. I began lifting weights in order to strengthen the muscles around my knee, and once I felt strong and confident nothing could hold me back. The key to overcoming physical limitations is staying confident. If you are going to try a trick then you have to commit or else you are going to get hurt.
etnies Girl: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Chelsea: My mom and dad both always say to me, “Chels, never be afraid to do what makes you happy. You have got to live while you are young.” That simple piece of advice has helped shape me into who I am today. They gave me this advice after one of my first knee surgeries because the sports that I participate in on a daily basis are physically demanding and hard on your body, especially mine, but they didn't want me to stop doing what I love. Nothing is more important than doing what makes you happy. Skating, surfing and snowboarding are what make me happy, so they are just something that I have to do.
etnies Girl: What’s really important to you?
Chelsea: Above all, my family and friends are the most important things in my life. My education probably comes second, followed by staying healthy and my sports. I cherish all of these things very much, so I am so thankful to have a supportive family and close friends. A good education is a gift. Because I am going to go to school in Australia, I will be able to follow my dream; without school, none of that would have been possible. And of course my health and sports are important to me because I enjoy being physically active and challenging my body on a regular basis.
etnies Girl: Is there anything else you would like to say before we go?
Chelsea: I guess the only thing that I have to say is if you haven't tried it yet, get out there and skate, surf or snowboard! Never be afraid to live life to the fullest and end up with a few scars.
Chelsea’s Favorite Things
Place: “Australia. It is the most beautiful country in the entire world. It is clean, you can skate and surf all day, and the people are amazing.”
Animal: “Sharks. This is probably crazy because I am a surfer, but they are very intriguing to me. They make me want to study Marine Biology.”
Color: “Yellow…it’s wild, fun and bright.”
Hangout: “My house. Every time that I am in town, my friends all come over to my house and we just jam out and play music into the night. It is the hub of my town. Everyone hangs out there.”
City: “Los Angeles. I love L.A. because it is an artist city and it’s coastal. When I was on my way to Australia, my flight was held over in L.A. and that was the first time that I experienced the city. There were street venders everywhere, skaters all over the place and some great art shops and record stores.”
Song: “Soul Meets Body” by Death Cab For Cutie
Album: “This is so hard because there are so many great albums, but right now I have been listening to Motion City Soundtrack's new album, "Commit This to Memory.”
Band: “I love anything indie like Death Cab For Cutie or Motion City Soundtrack, but I also love the classics like Elvis and The Beatles.”
Book: “Pipe Dreams” by Kelly Slater
Movie: “Donnie Darko”
TV show: “The OC”
Sport: Surfing, skating, snowboarding and lacrosse
Game: “Tony Hawk Pro Skater. Any of them, they are all great.”
Food: “Pickles or tacos. It’s a tie.”
Candy: “Nerds Rope. I can never get sick of those things.”
Holiday: “I love Christmas because I get to see everyone in my family and my best friend, Nick.”
Smell: “Bananas or the ocean…anything tropical.”
Hobby: Skating, surfing, snowboarding and art
Guilty pleasure: “Harry Potter. I don't know if it is really a guilty pleasure, but I have been made fun of it before. I just love the books and the movies.”
Athlete: “Bethany Hamilton because she is so strong, and Kelly Slater because he is an amazing athlete.”
Hero: “My mom and dad. They have done an amazing job raising me and developing me into who I am today. They have always supported my decisions 100 percent and they are two of the strongest people I know.”
etnies Girl shoe: Callicut, Novice and Cinch
Be an etnies Girl of the Month
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etnies Girl of the Month
c/o Sole Technology, Inc.
25422 Trabuco Rd., Suite 105 #235
Lake Forest, CA 92609
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