Five Favorite Parts With Vitória Mendonça

📷 Photo by Greg Navarro
📝 Interview by Farran Golding

If you have been reading QS for some time, you’ve no doubt heard us echo the sentiment that your friends are your favorite skaters six million times — probably even in an intro to an old Five Favorite Parts. Vitória’s list is emblematic of that principle. All of our superheroes need that layer of humanity, yaknow? ;)


Pipa Souza — Divas Skateras: We Can Do It! (2015)

[Part begins @ 1:24]

Divas Skateras is a crew here in Brazil; they’ve been around since 2006. When I was 14 years old, We Can Do It! was the first video I ever watched. Seeing another black female skater, I was so stoked. Like, “Yo, I can do this too! I could film a video part and travel.” I’d been skating, like, six years at that point. I was street skating and watching contests but not many videos. I didn’t have a computer in my house.

Today, Pipa is one of my best friends — it’s crazy. I grew up watching her skating. When I saw her [on a session] for first time, I told her I’m a big fan and there was a connection. For me to really like someone [as a skateboarder], I need to know them because sometimes we’re fans of people who skate good, but they’re not cool people in real life.

Watching most skate videos after We Can Do It!, I was surprised because it was always just one woman, you know? One woman skating for the company, being pro for the company, or getting a colorway. Like, “Accept this and shut up.” There’s a long way to go but it’s changing. Like Rayssa Leal: I think she’s changing things with companies alongside people like Alexis [Sablone] and Samarria [Brevard].

Now, Pipa has a magazine here [in Brazil], Into The Mirror, so she’s working on that. Divas Skateras still exists, but its more of a community organization for girls and queer people. Sometimes they do videos, not quite like We Can Do It! — although I wish.

Akira Shiroma — Adidas Skateboarding: DAS AMERICAS (2019)

[Part begins @ 13:08]

The first time I went on tour [with Adidas], I was new on the team and being with Akira was the same being with as Nick [Garcia]. We connected a lot on this trip. I knew of him before because Akira is pretty famous in Brazil and everyone knows who he is. He’s super creative. Watching him on this trip it was crazy: like, pro as fuck. Everything fast, every single trick landed in two or three tries. I got stoked seeing him skate.

We went to Mexico City, Argentina, then São Paulo and finished the tour back here. Everyone was killing it on the trip, but Akira is similar to Eetu [Toropainen]: looking at spots and thinking of things that no one else is. I started to see spots in different ways myself, like, “Oh, I could do this — a different kind of trick.” When you’re around someone who thinks about skateboarding differently, you start to think differently too.

Alexis Sablone — Converse: Seize The Seconds (2020)

[Part begins @ 0:22]

I first watched Seize The Seconds when I was about to start filming “For Us All,” my first video part. I was inspired and watching it a lot, especially Alexis. She skates so hard and is in her mid-30s, which is sick. I want to skate like that as I get older. She’s so powerful and skates so fast. It’s unique, you can never be someone like Alexis, you know? I can’t say more than that.

I met Alexis in Brazil in 2017, we skated the same contest together. It was the first time I saw her in real [life] and it was crazy. Before 2021, I’d never gotten out of Brazil, so I was super stoked she came here. With videos, you know people have spent time filming [those tricks], but to see her skate big stairs, in person, in the contest — kickflip, heelflip, switch flip — it was amazing. I saw her again after that. Not up close, she was just skating a spot and I was there but I didn’t say anything. I felt super shy.

Eetu Toropainen — Element Skateboards: E.S.P. VOL. 2 (2022)

[Part begins @ 17:12]

I was there when Eetu was filming for this video and it was incredible to see. We went on some trips together, it was crazy to film for this one; the first E.S.P. was [crazy] too, but with VOL. 2, we knew each other more. My English was better because when we were working on the first video, I was with the guys in the van enjoying skating but couldn’t speak English. I was using Google Translate. I went on a trip with Thrasher for Am Scramble and I spoke no English then either. I could understand it, but I couldn’t speak it. That sucked.

Eetu, you can’t expect what he’s going to do. He’ll look at a spot and do the most different thing possible. He’s creative; he’s crazy at skating. He’s nice and a bit shy but he’s always laughing, kind and funny.

Nick Garcia — Element Skateboards: “Flowers for Mom” (2022)

[This is] another one with how I was saying about liking the way people skate and knowing them personally. I like the way Nick skates and I like him in real life: the way he talks with people, the way he lives, and the way he is.

I know how important this part was for him because of his mom [Ed. note: the part is dedicated to Nick’s mom, Alison Dean Garcia]. When I watched it, I got emotional and really inspired. He is so good and so different. He’s powerful, skates fast and has technical tricks, but sometimes, some really weird tricks. The way he skates banks, like the 5-0 180 into the bank [at the end] — it’s psycho.

My first trip with Element was in 2020; we went to Copenhagen and then to Paris. At that time, I didn’t speak English. Nick was trying to speak with me, being helpful, trying to connect with me. We connected and that was super important to me. He was just Nick: a kind human being.

Honorable Mention: Marisa Del Santo — Zero Skateboards: Strange World (2009)

Previously: Andrew Wilson, Ben Kadow, Chandler Burton, Pedro Delfino, Johnny Wilson, Nick Michel, Wes Kremer, Jordan Trahan, Ariana Spencer, Elijah Odom, Greg Hunt, Zered Bassett, Neil Herrick, Trung Nguyen, Nick Boserio, Elissa Steamer, Casper Brooker, John Gardner, Bobshirt, Brandon Turner, Shari White, Nick Jensen, Tony Hawk, Naquan Rollings, Jack O’Grady, Josh Wilson, Maité Steenhoudt, Jahmir Brown, Una Farrar, Chris Jones, Mason Silva, Beatrice Domond, Mark Suciu, Justin Henry, Breana Geering, Sage Elsesser, Bobby Worrest, Nik Stain, Anthony Van Engelen, Dom Henry, Bing Liu, Andrew Reynolds, Cyrus Bennett, Jacob Harris, Jamal Smith, Paul Rodriguez, Gilbert Crockett, Ben Chadourne, Tom Knox, Louie Lopez, The Chrome Ball Incident, The Bunt, Lacey Baker, Andrew Allen, GX1000, Brian Anderson, Gino Iannucci, Josh Kalis, Sean Pablo, Wade Desarmo, Chris Milic, Chad Muska, Hjalte Halberg, Danny Brady, Bill Strobeck, Aaron Herrington, Jerry Hsu, Brad Cromer, Brandon Westgate, Jim Greco, Jake Johnson, Scott Johnston, Josh Stewart, Eric Koston, Karl Watson, Josh Friedberg, John Cardiel, Pontus Alv, Alex Olson, Jahmal Williams

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