Nora Vasconcellos is working to inspire more young women to skate.
Nora Vasconcellos. Photo by Giovanni Reda, courtesy of Adidas Skateboarding.
A new digital short documenting the rise of skateboarder, Nora Vasconcellos, premieres this week in celebration of Adidas’s first female professional rider joining the brand’s global skateboarding team.
“Nora” is a 15-minute digital short charting Vasconcellos’s journey from a young girl receiving her first board on Christmas, to becoming the self-actualized woman and professional that she is today. Directed by Webby-award winning Giovanni Reda and produced by Adidas Skateboarding, the cinematic snapshot provides an inside look at a charismatic skater and her experience navigating a predominantly male-led industry. Her style is fluid, her personality infectious, and her determination unwavering.
Growing up in an athletic family in Massachusetts, Vasconcellos says she was outdoors a lot: rollerblading, mountain biking, playing soccer, and hockey in the winter. Inspired by skateboarders like Grant Taylor and Reggie Rocket from the cartoon show “Rocket Power,” she started skating when she was 14 years old.
She recently became the 2017 Vans Park Series World Champion in Shanghai in September.
“From an early age, I just thought I wasn’t going to work as hard at anything else,” she says of her love of skateboarding. “I think a lot of kids are lost, but if you find something you’re passionate about or interested in, it gives you a chance. I always felt like I could skateboard for myself and not care what other people think.”
Photo by Andrew Peters, courtesy of Adidas Skateboarding.
Vasconcellos is working to inspire more young women to skate. As a new, offbeat voice inside the skate community, her penchant for pushing boundaries makes her a burgeoning pioneer that the filmmaker hopes will transcend far beyond the board.
“We need to set the tone for the world,” Reda says. “Things need to change, and I think Nora is coming in to set that tone. We as a society need to treat women more fair and equal. Hopefully this will bring light and attention to that and change it.”
The short film also features interviews with fellow skateboarding pros, such as Lacey Baker and Sage Elsesser, as well as legends such as Elissa Steamer, Andrew Reynolds, and fellow Adidas pro rider Marc Johnson, who all speak about the power of skateboarding to move towards more inclusivity — and how it can help encourage originality.
Most importantly, the barrier to entry is low, says Vasconcellos. All you need is a board and some protective gear to get started.
“Get a skateboard and find a flat place to practice,” she says. “Find a friend to join. It’s trial and error. It’s like riding a bike — it’ll feel weird at first. There’s definitely a learning curve. But doors will open. It can be fun and addicting!”