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Agata Halikowska – Challenge yourself

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Agata has been in this business for a long time now. She is one of those girls who I remember from many years back, before the female skateboarding boom. Back then I didn't have many chances to skate with her, as we were living in different cities, but I remember that she was always good and a few levels higher than other girls at that time. Today, after years, I can tell without any doubt that she is one of the best female skaters in Europe. I like to work with her because apart from being very confident on her board, she has a great style. I am never worried when she is trying tricks, she is always focused and knows exactly what she wants to do. She never gives up, she works really hard and is always super motivated – as a photographer, I greatly appreciate that. Agata is also the coolest person so everybody likes to skate with and spend time with her. I'm stoked that she has joined the Grey Area crew, and I'm sure that you will hear more about her soon!

- Kuba Baczkowski

AGATA HALIKOWSKA OLLIE WARSAW KUBA BACZKOWSKI

Ollie

You’re at the sea at the moment?

Yeah, vacation job at the summer camp. It’s mostly for surfing and kitesurfing but I’m here to teach skateboarding and I also surf a little bit.

Are there good surf spots in Poland?

The main surfing spot in Poland is here on the Hel peninsula.

"I’m not skating skateparks"

I did some research and I’ll start off with what I heard is the most important question: How to make a good omelette?

[laughing] That’s from Michal [Juraś] I guess. It’s my breakfast everyday. There’s no secret behind it. You just have to do it everyday to be good at it, just like skateboarding.

You’re skating every day?

I’m trying to but sometimes I have to rest.

Which spots do you skate then? Sessions at the skatepark or skating street?

I’m not skating skateparks. This year so far I’ve been to parks maybe 3-4 times. I only skate street. We’re working with Kuba [Kaczmarczyk] on a new project, which will be recorded on one spot, so most of the time I'm there. But my favorite spots are gaps, bumps and stairs.

AGATA HALIKOWSKA FS BOARDSLIDE POPOUT HELSINKI KUBA BACZKOWSKI

Frontside Boardslide Pop Out

How is Warsaw for skating?

For me It’s the best city in Poland for skating. There are all those marble spots, some plazas, and there are spots in all districts of the city. But if you just go to the city center, there’s everything you need for a good session. In recent years, Warsaw has been developing a lot and many interesting spots have been created, the only problem is that skateboarding disturbs people and they often call the police.

Let’s go to the start. How did you get into skateboarding?

I started when I was 13. First my older brother was skating and he wanted me to come with him and show me tricks. But since my brother was doing it, I didn’t want to do it. That’s how siblings work. When I was 11 I started with rollerblading, which was cool back then. Then I went to the skatepark and saw people skating there and thought it was cooler. So I tried and did an ollie first try. After that I wanted to start with it and go to skateparks everyday. My cousin wanted to also so we saved some money and together bought a skateboard that we would share. The beginnings were not easy, it took me 1 1/2 years to learn a kickflip.

You have a solid kickflip now, so it was worth the time.

Now it’s my favorite trick.

You also do this nollie pressure hardflip.

The fun thing is, I learned how to do it on my fingerboard.

You’re fingerboarding as well?

No, I just did it for fun when I was younger.

AGATA HALIKOWSKA HEELFLIP HELSINKI KUBA BACZKOWSKI

Heelflip

How is skating in Poland? Is there a big scene?

It’s quite big, just as in other European countries, and it’s getting bigger. What helps it grow is the fact that there are skateparks in every bigger city and also I think the Woodcamp is a place where young talents are growing and getting better. Since skateboarding became an Olympic sport, many skate schools have opened, where kids can do their first steps. I’m a skate teacher, so I see how it is. We also live in times where we’re above gender divisions and that has an effect on the girls scene. When I started only a few other girls skated. Now I don’t know how big the scene is but every time I go skate, I see new faces and it makes me happy.

What other female skaters from Poland should we have on the radar?

You have to check Zuzanna Bone, Anna Kulig and Nelly Zarzycka, a young ripper.

You went to CPH Open this year. They tried to be more inclusive and there were a lot of female skaters. How was your experience?

It was so cool, I was there for the first time. It’s not like a competition. I was on the Polish Skate Federation (PSF) for a few years and we were going to comps and it always was the same but in Copenhagen everyone is together and you can do everything and skate with everyone. It’s more like a festival with a lot of people from all over the world, and there are a lot of sick spots around. I saw a lot of unused spots that would be the main ones in Poland. To sum it up, it was the best event I’ve ever been to.

"I was working on ideas for tv shows"

You mentioned the PSF. Didn’t you just recently quit there?

When the first Polish championships were organized it was the first event like this for women in Poland. I won the contest and somebody told me that the skate federation is looking for riders and asked me if I wanted to be in. So I said yes and represented my country for five years. It was a lot of good memories, good trips and I saw how everything was growing. But after five years I decided to quit because the last year was crazy. I was in PSF which involved a lot of trips. I also was filming my street part with Kuba, on the weekends I did skateboard classes, I was working a part time job in tv production and I also started my own business. It got to be too much so I decided to quit my tv job and leave PSF. I decided to focus more on street skateboarding and my own business.

How was your experience with the PSF?

For me it was important and it helped me a lot. I got the opportunity to travel all around the world. The best trip was to Rio de Janeiro for Street League. Ten days in paradise. It made me feel more comfortable with competing on a high level with big obstacles. In Poland we don’t have skateparks to prepare for a competition like that. Skateparks in Poland – especially in Warsaw – suck. So it was hard to do well.

AGATA HALIKOWSKA KICKFLIP WARSAW KUBA BACZKOWSKI

Kickflip

But you did quite well at the Mystic Cup.

I got 6th place. The contest is really close to Poland so I’ve been there a lot of times and I like the skatepark and the vibe there.

You said you stopped working in tv production. What was that job about?

It was for a Polish tv station and I was responsible for the development of new tv shows and was also doing research and production management. So mainly I was working on ideas for tv shows.

Did some of the tv shows go on air?

A few programs in which I had an impact went on air. For example, a culinary program in which I was a production manager.

Coming up with ideas for tv shows sounds like a cool job, but what are you doing now?

I just started growing my own company, it’s a building company and we do general contracting. I finished technical studies in water engineering, so the company is related to my studies. A good opportunity came up to start this so I got into it. My dad runs a similar company and we collaborate on projects, so it is easier to start with someone who is more experienced. I've learned a lot in the last year but this is just the beginning.

AGATA HALIKOWSKA BOARDSLIDE HELSINKI KUBA BACZKOWSKI

Boardslide

So you’re an engineer?

Yeah, that’s why I live in Warsaw, I studied there.

And after your studies you went into tv production?

I did two other jobs before, but tv production was the last thing.

Is it exciting to build your own company now?

Yeah it is. It’s also a little bit stressful and demanding. The paperwork and official matters are the worst. But the feeling that you created something, and when things are going well, is better.

And you’re also having a career in skateboarding. How do you balance that?

Sometimes it is hard. There are things you cannot put together, and you have to give up something else. That's why I decided to leave a few things that were taking up my time. For now I have more time for skating and more space in my head. It helps to find a balance.

"Everything changed when I started skating with Kuba and the Grey Area crew"

Seems like you need to stay busy, also doing skate camps on the side. I saw that you’ve already been to Woodcamp when you were younger, before you worked there as a coach.

Yes, I was there when I was 15 and then when I was 18 I was there the first time as a coach.

Is it the whole summer holidays?

Yeah, a whole summer of work. It takes a lot of energy cause you have to take care of the children and also you have to skate. But on the other side you can work with your friends, you do what you like and you’re at a great place in the forest next to a lake. I like this job because by working with young, receptive people, to some extent you shape who they will be in the future.

And now you’re on the beach at a Surfcamp.

Yeah, I basically do the same and just changed places cause I like water and here I can swim and surf. There are not many street spots around here, but a lot of miniramps.

Let's talk about your career in skateboarding. How did it start with getting sponsored?

My first sponsor was Malita. The owner of Malita also owns Woodcamp. I was on the team for a bit over one year and then it finished. It was only a few decks per season anyway but as a kid it was cool. Then I rode for Nervous Strong Company but I quit cause I didn’t really like it, and then I didn’t have a board sponsor for a long time. Everything changed when I started skating with Kuba and the Grey Area crew. It opened doors for me to work with the best companies like Polar, Dial Tone or Nike. I’m so stoked and very grateful.

And that all started when you moved to Warsaw?

No, I met the guys from Grey Area just two years ago. It all started when Kuba called me and asked me if I wanted to go skate with them and maybe film something. So we started to stack clips and after my first part in Standard Observer Kuba asked if I wanted to ride for Polar. Of course I wanted to! The same with Dial Tone. Before that I was on Nike, Vaughan [Baker] texted me on instargam and asked if I wanted to be on the team. I think that Kuba had an impact on that, too. [laughing]

The first time I saw something of you was the Aphrodite-tour video.

It was my first real trip – besides the contest trips with the PSF. I was very stressed before. I didn’t know anyone there but the people I met were great and it was ten days of really good spots. I experienced how it is to skate street and stack clips, before that I mostly skated skateparks. It was a beautiful experience and Greece is a beautiful place for skating and tourism.

New sponsors, going from park to street – a lot of changes in the last two years.

Yeah, a lot has changed. Now skateboarding is different for me. I fell in love with street skateboarding. This is something beautiful. The best is to commune with the city and find new ways to skate something. Also, collecting tricks on tape is like capturing memories.

How is it now to skate for companies like Dial Tone or Polar that are run by legends like Josh Stewart and Pontus Alv?

It’s like my biggest dream came true. With Dial Tone I’m now on the same team as Alexis Sablone, who was my role model when I was younger and still is a big inspiration for me. This is the best! Polar is also a brand that I am stoked about! If somebody in the past told me that I will be riding for them I would never believe it. It's great that these brands are made up by people who are 100% in skateboarding.

Josh also told me that Kuba brought back his VX from retirement so he can film you for Dial Tone.

I got some clips but we’re working for more.

AGATA HALIKOWSKA RIDE ON BS 5 0 WARSAW KUBA BACZKOWSKI

Ride on Backside 5-0

I heard your work ethic is really strong – and I guess that shows with all the stuff you’re doing. How do you approach things?

I’m trying to be focused and to think about spots and tricks before I go skating. I have notes in my phone about tricks I did and tricks I want to do, but sometimes it’s freestyle. I’m trying to give 100% in skateboarding. You know, when I have nothing to do I feel like shit. I need to challenge myself all the time.

I heard in a Game of SKATE you challenged Jugga pretty hard and won against him.

Yeah, that’s a legendary game. [laughing]

Which tricks got him letters?

For sure my pressure flips.

You do more than just the pressure hardflip?

I can do a few combinations with pressure flips. I like skating flatground, I did it a lot when I was younger. I skated on the street in front of my house.

But in your parts you also skate big spots, you skate fast. How do you like your skating?

I don’t know, I just like skating. When it comes to trick selection, sometimes I plan stuff and sometimes it comes when I skate and have fun. It depends on the day and how I feel. If I think that something will be good and I can do it – I try, even if it is something that I’ve never tried before. It's hard to define which tricks are easier and which are more difficult. Sometimes I fight more with those seemingly easier, than with tricks on big spots.

And you don’t stop trying, cause I saw some gnarly slams, but you always do the trick in the end. Have you ever given up on a trick?

I don’t like giving up. Sometimes I feel tired and I come back a few days later, sometimes I leave and look for something different. It happens that I come back for the same trick several times.

Another thing is that you and Michal are a couple. How is it being together with another skater?

This is the best thing that happened to me! It’s beautiful that we can share our passion and can skate together, go on trips together, watch skate videos together. When we started dating I was worried that when we will be skating together he will be like ,“don’t do that, you can hurt yourself”, but it appears that he has a poker face when I slam and he is more like, “Yeah, do it!” [laughing] It is important to me that he supports me and my ideas, and trusts me that I can land something difficult. Wherever we go, we bring our skateboards with us, and we always have some spot check when we drive with the car. We’re looking at the same things along the way, but our relationship is not only skateboarding. We also have similar life experiences.

With your last video part, you had the ender in Push the button to destroy the world. What is planned next after filming an ender?

We will see. For now I want to do my best and get better. I want to film more clips and push myself more, but first I need some recovery. Last month I was ill a few times and I hurt my knee, but soon I’ll be back.

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