#gnarlygirlgang Interview with Yuri Cruz, aka @thegnarlynurse
Yuri is a passionate nurse, author, and recreational skateboarder. She is originally from New York and grew up a majority of my life in Maryland. She is also an author of a sweet skate journal called "Kickflips and Chill." Learn more about her below!
photos by @spicyredbeans
What made you want to start skateboarding? How long have you been skating?
If it wasn’t for me going through a pretty rough time, I wouldn’t be skating. I don’t know if it was too much Rocket Power or Tony hawk gaming as a kid lol because I didn’t know anyone else who skated. However, as a naturally adventurous person, I wanted something to make me feel alive, and I wanted to be surrounded by what seemed to be an awesome community. During those dark moments in my life, I wanted to do something for myself. So, I randomly bought this crusty board off of craigslist, and skateboarding ended up being one of the best random decisions of my life lol. Fortunately, that same day I went to the park, and someone saw my struggle board and gave me their spare haha. I started skating in the summer of 2018, so this summer is going to be my 3-year skating anniversary.
Wow same! I grew up on Tony Hawk and Rocket Power as well. That's awesome someone gifted you their board!
I see you’ve been doing the 31-day skate challenge. How’s it going? What have you learned?
The challenge is still going strong, and I’m writing this on day 33. I learned so much! Trick-wise, I had a lot of fun learning full cabs, fakie/reg hospital flips, and alpha flips. Not saying I’m consistent with any of these, but I did learn them even if it was for like a day or 3, haha.
Your skate journal is an amazing idea. What inspired you to make it?
Thank you so much! I was kind of on a book-writing binge, and this is the 3rd book I published. This was actually the book I was most excited about. I started writing to help other people accomplish their goals and to remind others to invest in themselves. In general, a lot of people would come to me for advice and ask me questions about how I did things, so I started writing it out. Personally, I utilized writing to track my own skating progression and saw how it helped me to remain focused, stay inspired, and progress faster. So, I wanted to share one of my own tools with others in an effective manner.
I love it! It's so useful.
You’re a nurse. Has that had any effect on your skating?
Oh yeah! I started skating more. I thought once I finished school and started working, this part of my life would become non-existent. However, it inspired me to skate even more, especially with research showing that nursing is ironically one of the unhealthiest occupations out there. Yes, skateboarding is fun, but it can also be great for physical and mental health. In today’s society, we tend to get so busy that we forget to invest in our health. I try to make sure I make time for that and encourage others to do the same.
That's great that you still make time! I didn't know nursing was unhealthy, but now that I think about it I could see why. I'm sure it's stressful!
Do you feel like the skate community is accepting, or have you had any issues?
Whoo! That can be a double-edged sword because there are people who start or have been skating for a while and have a tough time being accepted. I empathize with them and definitely would encourage people to be kind to anyone having a tough time if and when they encounter them. For me, it’s been one of the best experiences of my life, and I’ve definitely found a home in the skate community; and I’m humbled and so grateful that it’s been as accepting as it has been for me.
What advice do you have for other skaters?
Study your favorite skaters and your own body mechanics. It’s one thing to just do the trick, and it’s another thing to be able to fully understand that trick. During this challenge, I learned that I don’t always need to push myself SO hard to improve my skating. Sometimes just paying attention to the subtleties in your movements can make all the difference in landing a trick. I remember when I first started skating, I asked someone if they could tell me what I was doing wrong in a trick, and they basically told me to figure it out. They weren’t being discouraging, but they were directing me to recognize my own errors, which was more valuable than them telling me, and they were so right.
That's great advice and so true.
Has skating taught you any life lessons?
Too much to write. But one big one for me is to follow your passions…passionately. Get lost in your art, get lost in your creativity, and express yourself. You were born with something so unique that only you can share it with the world in a way others can’t. Since I started skating, it helped me gain more confidence to express myself creatively. This has opened so many doors and connected me to so many like-minded and different-minded individuals who have made my life even more awesome. It literally has changed the whole course of my life, and it helped me to learn more about the world and about myself, which is why I think people should stop reading my interview and just go skate! lol
Thank you so much! If you want to keep track of your skating, go check out her book!