The third of our ‘hello my name is…’ interviews…welcome Calleigh Little!
First of all…please introduce yourself. My name is Calleigh Alice Little (pronounced CAL-EE) and I’m a 26 year old girl who grew up in Boston, Massachusetts and moved to San Diego, California after college. I do long distance skateboarding and downhill competitively.
How and when did you get into Skateboarding and when did you start Long Distance Skating? I was sort of always involved with skateboarding. I was never really any good as a kid because I always liked bigger board like 8.5” popsicle decks for street skating. My friends were always better than me. In high school I had a neat Wal-Mart brand longboard and commuted to school everyday, and in college my girlfriend got me my first Sector 9. It got stolen, but I quickly bought a new one and would always be out trying to go down hills and skate far. When I dropped out of college, I used my board to get away and give myself something to do instead of dwelling on my problems. Eventually a longboard was my only form of transport and I started seeing how fast I could get from A to B- then I took it further and ended up skateboarding across every state line that bordered Massachusetts as a passion project.
Speaking of influences… who inspires you? Someone in the Scene, friends, family or someone else? As I went through a lot of mental issues, Mina Caputo from the hardcore band Life of Agony was there for me. She spoke with me often and helped me through tough times with her music and just talking. I eventually met her near her home after a long skate through Brooklyn, NYC and she sort of put my thoughts in perspective: kick ass, fuck everyone, and make em eat my dust!
What is your very personal reason and goal? WHY are you skating long distances?Personally I want to see more women in skateboarding. As I’ve racked up records and accomplishments, women all around the globe have told me they think I’m inspiring. Thats cool and everything and I’m happy to be that person, but I want to inspire more women to get on skateboards and chase their own dreams. My goal is to prove to the world that trans women can be visible. Trans women are no different from other women and we can do amazing things. I skate long distance to show the true nature of a person who wants nothing but the best for themselves. As I chase my dreams, I want to inspire women to chase their own dreams.
How do you train? How do you prepare yourself prior Races and Trips? Any tips for the reader? My only training is to keep skating. I used to skate the same route over and over to try and get faster. Then I tried skating further and further. My philosophy is that it would be really difficult to be bad at something you never stopped doing. So keep at it, over and over and over until you get better and better and I promise you’ll see an improvement.
My biggest tip: cut your toenails. You’ll thank me later.
As Distance Skating means spending lots of time on a board… do you have any remarkable memories to share? Lots of remarkable memories. Nothing compares to the feeling of crossing a state border after working your ass off to get there. But for me in long distance adventure skating, the memories go beyond the board. It’s the people who beep and wave at you as you climb a huge hill, it’s the cyclists who smile when they see a 30 pound backpack on your person, it’s the shop owners who go out of their way to make sure you are fed and comfortable, it’s the feeling of taking your backpack off and being soaked in sweat that you earned. The memories meld together as one long trip over time.
My MOST memorable experience was skating from Boston, MA to Hartford, Connecticut. I left at 430 am with a 40 pound backpack. It was raining and snowing. I followed a plow truck for miles on the wet pavement in 5 degree (Fahrenheit) weather. My shoes froze to the skin of my feet about 10 miles in and I did the remaining 60 miles barefoot after peeling them off. It was crazy how much effort I put into that skate and I think it set the precedent for every skate after that.
Your most glorious or heart-touching Moment from the past? My most glorious moment had to be the 2016 Ultraskate. Nobody knew me. Everyone thought I was some weird LGBT kid. I showed up and stood tall on the podium in women’s second place with 172 miles. I worked tirelessly to get there and it all paid off.
My most heart touching moment was coming into a town after a crazy long day of skating and being forced to walk 16 miles along the Oregon Trail. I blistered up all over my feet and ran out of water. The sun had set and I was terrified as I held out my knife walking on the dusty roads. When I finally hit pavement again, I found a rest stop. I begged them for a place to set up my tent at the end of the day and they offered their theater room for me to sleep in. Then, a girl working there offered to take me to her home so I could rest in a comfortable bed. I made a friend for life.
Biggest long distance fail moment? (Skating in the wrong direction, injuries, broken kit etc)? My biggest fail was thinking I could skate across the country with way too much gear. Not even 5 miles in, I ditched most of everything I bought. Over the next 100 miles I ditched almost $1000 in camping gear along the highway, and reduced my pack to 17 pounds.
Goals for the future? What will happen next? Plans? Right now I’m pretty focused on finishing this 3,300 mile skate across the USA. I hope to be able to place 1st in womens at an Ultraskate and set a new record. Other than that, I have the road, a tent, and a board to rely on. Who knows?
If you had one wish… what would be your biggest dream related to Distance Skating? My biggest dream in distance skateboarding is to create a route across the USA and set up a race like the Race Across America like the cyclists do. I would love to see the world tagging along as some of the greatest athletes tackle an adventure that is wildly obscure. I think setting up an organized way to track these adventure skates and be able to keep records for future generations to challenge is a major goal of mine.
Last point. Anything left you’d like to say? Feel free to say whatever you want! Never be afraid to chase your dreams. Be who you want to be. Dont let anyone tell you you are anything besides what you see yourself as. If you practice that you are the best, you will eventually be the best. The world is a good place with good people and you should never be afraid to be yourself. If your dream is to skate down a big hill, do it. If your dream is to skate to the next town, DO IT.
Ten facts for you related to Distance Skating:
- My first distance skate was 64 miles.
- My first distance race was the 2016 Ultraskate.
- My longest daylight-hours skate was 138 miles in 14 hours, ascending almost 5k feet.
- In 1 years time, I beat my personal Ultraskate record by nearly 50 miles.
- When I sleep in a motel on a distance skate, I sleep on the floor in my sleeping bag.
- On any given day, I eat 5-10 thousand calories a day when I am training.
- During 2017 Ultraskate, I got sick for 2 hours and placed second by 10 miles.
- I have skateboarded across all 5 state lines bordering Massachusetts.
- I never wear sunscreen. Ever.
- I ride for Original Skateboards, Orangatang Wheels, and newton Trucks.