Meet London skater Helena Long

The No Comply contributor shares her love for skateboarding and rediscovering the magic of skating in London over lockdown.

By Somerset House

Meet Helena Long

Professional skateboarder and drummer

Helena Long by James GriffithsSomerset House

Introduction to the scene

'When I started I was quite fortunate to have found a group of guys who were skating and that’s how I saw it. Because it was pre-social media, it happened quite organically and they just took me under their wing.'

Helena Long by James GriffithsSomerset House

'I think I was very naive, I didn’t think about how I looked so much - I obviously became very aware of my body as I became more of a teenager but I remember thinking I don’t care about bruises, I don’t care what it looks like skateboarding...'

Helena Long by James GriffithsSomerset House

'But equally, that’s a big thing that really prevented females from taking up skateboarding because it’s obviously incredibly male dominated and it looks quite intimidating sometimes.' 

Helena Long by Rich WestSomerset House

On wellbeing

'There’s a lot of pressure today to prove yourself…. skateboarding-wise, you don’t have to prove yourself to anyone.'

'I think it's been so ingrained in us that we’re not allowed to fail. So for a lot of people in the education system - which doesn’t always work for them - skateboarding allows you to realise that it’s okay to fail....'

'It’s okay to fall over and it’s really nice because even the best of the best fall over, all the time.'

Helena Long by Henry KingsfordSomerset House

Skating in lockdown

I’m usually away all the time. Pretty much all the UK skate scene was in London. So it was good to constantly see the same faces and not just in a fleeting way. 

The city felt like a playground again. Offices were empty and security was pretty laxed. Spots became spots again because usually it’s just too busy, you’d always get kicked out. There was an opportunity to really go and skate London again - which I hadn’t done in a long time.

Helena Long by Rich WestSomerset House

'It’s also pretty cool creatively - you’re always using your head'

A day in London with Helena

Credits: Story

Excerpts taken from an interview by Somerset House Future Producer Francesca Rechere.
Visit No Comply: Skate Culture and the Community at Somerset House, London from 19 July - 19 September 2021. 

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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