The follow is a 2008 interview with Igor Miklousic from kolektivmag.com (Croatian action sports lifestyle magazine).


IM: Hey Kelly, so if you would introduce yourself to our riders. Where are you from, what do you do etc...

KL: I live in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, U.S., been here since the age of 5. Surfing was my first love but skateboarding soon took over, I've been skating since the age of 9. I also love to snowboard, been doing that since 1991. I turned pro skating in 1978 when I was 14 and rode professionally for teams like Markel Skateboards, Santa Cruz (NHS), Gullwing Trucks, and Gordon & Smith. I'm now 43 years old and still as addicted to skating as ever. I've been competing in Masters Pool Contests and Pro Banked Slalom Races the last few years and I'm having a blast! I'm a co-owner of Soul Trip Skateboards and I've also been a graphic designer for over 20 years, that has allowed me to be creative and pay my bills at the same time.


IM: Could you tell us a little about how you began skating?

KL: My older brother Fred got me into surfing and skating. Whenever the waves were flat (which is a lot in Florida) we would go skate instead. In 1976 the first skateboard park in the United States opened up in Daytona Beach which is about 20 minutes from where I live. The park was called "Skateboard City", I was skating there every weekend and started competing in contests and began to pickup sponsors. I basically lived at that park, it was my home away from home for several years.


IM: Can you also tell us a bit about the skating scene back then?

KL: The skating scene changed dramatically between 1975 and 1980. It went from people riding narrow plastic boards with bare feet on sidewalks to riding very wide laminated wood decks with wide trucks and urethane wheels with precision bearings. The improvements that were made to skateboarding equipment in those few years were huge. The quality of wheels, trucks & decks was improving very rapidly so the level of skating improved equally as fast. Pretty much every session tricks were being invented and things were being done for the first time. The first generation of skateparks in the late 70's allowed the first true generation of skateboarders to emerge. I never thought about it at the time but now looking back I'm very proud to have been a part of that era.


IM: A lot has changed over the years, industry grew, a lot of new kids changed the sport, but what does skate and skateboarding stand for to you, and has that changed over the years.

KL: I think at the heart of it skating with your friends and having fun is what it's all about, not contests, sponsors or coverage. Wether it's skating a pool, a skatepark, street skating, slalom, whatever... The friends you make skateboarding are your friends for life! For me it's still that way, and I hope it doesn't change.



IM: Why pools :D

KL: I started out doing a little of everything so I have an appreciation for all aspects of the sport. But for me there's nothing better than a backyard pool session with a few of your good friends. The excitement and intensity in a good pool session is hard to describe. It's like the best drug you've ever had. Pool skating is very aggressive, but it's a creative and healthy way to unleash your aggression. As long as I can lay into a good frontside grind in a pool I will remain content, that's all I need!


IM: If you had to name 3 things, what would you say are highlights of your career.

KL:

1. Winning the title of "Florida State Freestyle Champion" in '76 at the young age of 12. I was competing against all age groups and was one of the youngest competitors in the contest. It was the first big contest that I had entered, winning that title really motivated me to continue skating and competing.

2. Winning the Clearwater Pro Halfpipe Contest in '78. I had my share of wins but that one in particular was a real personal victory for me. My knee was totally blown out and had a lot of fluid in it at the time. It was extremely painful and I could barely walk the morning of the contest. Somehow I pulled it together, made both my runs and won the contest. It made me realize what you can accomplish when you really put your mind to it, even when you may think your not physically up to the task.

3. Inventing the Layback Invert (Layback Air) in '78. Having all this time pass and still seeing people stoked on doing that trick is pretty cool!

If I could chose a couple more recent highlights I would say being inducted into the Florida Skateboard Hall of Fame in 2002. And winning 1st Place this year in the Banked Slalom Race at Kona Skatepark. Kona was celebrating their 30th Anniversary this year, they are the oldest skatepark still in operation. There's a lot of history behind that race, I've wanted to win it since I first went to Kona in '77. To come back and take first place 30 years later felt pretty dam good!


IM: You are now a co owner of Soul Trip skateboards. Can you tell us a bit more about that? How, Why, Who...

KL: Soul Trip was started back in '92 by Bruce Walker (owner of Walker Skateboards and Ocean Avenue Distribution) and Chuck Dinkins who was a Pro Skater for Walker at the time. It was around for several years but eventually had to be set aside as they both moved on to other aspects of their lives. A few years ago Chuck and Bruce decided the time was right to bring Soul trip back. They brought in Pro skater Clay King as a partner to help get things going. Shortly after that they asked me to come on board as both a rider and Art director. Being part of a skateboard company has always been a dream of mine so I immediately accepted. More recently Reggie Barnes (ex pro and owner of Eastern Skateboard Distribution) has also been brought in as a partner. We're all stoked to be involved in the company and doing our own thing in the skateboard industry.


IM: For those who haven’t heard about it before, what would you say Soul Trip skateboards stands for.

KL: Soul Trip is all about the heart and soul of the sport, skateboarding for the pure love of it, respecting the past and moving into the future. We're down with all aspects of the sport, young or old, in our eyes skateboarding is skateboarding, one big world wide family. Our vision for Soul Trip is to embrace and promote the whole creative lifestyle we all love... skateboarding, music and art.


IM: Kelly Lynn pro model, aka Mans Ruin, directional shape. Reminder of a better time, or a practicality?

KL: For me it's a practicality, I've always liked the feel of a square tail. It's totally functional and can still be ridden switch if that's your desire. It's not a street board, it's made for pools and parks. I've never thought that all boards should look exactly alike, variety is good.


IM: Let's get back to your riding. You won the Banked Slalom Race at Kona this year, you have been winning contests since you were just a tiny kid, but with a considerable gap. Can you tell us more about those first contests, why you stopped and how do you keep it up?

KL: There wasn't a lot of money in contests back in the late 70's. Normally you were competing for a title or bragging rights. Still there was a certain pressure to perform and to keep your sponsors happy. For me contests were more about skating with people from other areas you normally didn't get to session with. Sometimes the best sessions went down after the contest was over. By 1980 most of the skateparks in Florida (and in the U.S.) had gone out of business and shut down. Skateboarding was on the decline and those who continued to skate did so solely for the love of the sport. All of my friends who skated started getting back more heavily into surfing so that's the direction I took as well. Skate contests were few and far between and my last sponsor Gordon & Smith had to let go of the the east coast team. I never quit skating, I was just surfing more and when I did skate it was for fun not in a contest. We built a halfpipe in the woods on my friends property and skated that for many years thru the mid 80's. Thru the 90's I was still surfing and skating but had recently discovered snowboarding and fallen in love with it. I was working as a graphic artist and saving everything I made for snowboard trips in the winter. Being a snowboarder who lives in Florida was not an ideal situation. Around 1999 skateparks started to come back in the U.S. and all of the sudden there were several really good parks within an hour of where I lived. Old guys were coming out of the woodwork everywhere and the scene seemed to be re-fueled once again. Around 2001 Steve Marinak started the FloridaSkater.com website which was responsible for getting a lot of older skaters back into it. In 2002 the Florida Skateboard Hall of Fame was created and I was honored to be among the first 12 inductees. The older you get the more you appreciate your friends, skateboarding and the lifestyle that surrounds it. Keeping in good enough physical condition to skate has been a challenge as my body has taken a beating over the years. I plan on skateboarding the rest of my life. I think you just have to keep moving and stay as active as possible, if you stop moving your body will rust and eventually seize up on you.


IM: Ultimate question, perfect park bowl or a backyard pool while the owners are out of town.

KL: Thank god for skateboard parks, but for me backyard pools are where it's at. That's where it all began and that's never going to change.


IM: Does Soul Trip plan any tours, and will we see you in Europe any time soon.

KL: One of our pro riders Falco Balty's travels extensively spreading the good word at skate camps and demo's across the U.S. and occasionally Europe. Clay King can be found at any given time killing one of Florida's better skateparks. Bruce Walker still regularly participates in demo's annually at the Surf/Skate Expo's in Orlando Florida. Chuck Dinkins and myself travel to New Mexico several times a year to skate pools, parks, ramps, and to compete in the ditch races. I'll also be competing in the Florida Bowlriders Cup Series as well as the Grind For Life contest series this year in Florida. A European Tour has always been a dream of mine so I wouldn't rule anything out.


IM: With your history, your experience and determination in mind, have you any words of wisdom for the newborn pool scene and the new “old school “movement in Croatia?

KL: I'd say you guys are on the right track, building your own bowl is a dam good start! There is a lot of heart, soul and history in the oldschool scene I think that's why people are drawn to it. Just skate with your friends, have fun and be creative as possible. That's one of the best things about skateboarding, there are no rules. Be creative and take it wherever YOU want to go!


IM: Thank you for your time! Hope to see you guys in this side of the world soon. Our pool is always open, and beers and accommodation will be arranged! Peace!

KL: My pleasure... sounds good to me! Come to Florida sometime and checkout the new skateparks, we will give you the grand tour. Keep up the good work over there!


IM: PS... Do you still do layback inverts?


KL: Yes... I'm still known to bust one out on occasion.