For those of you that don’t know who Kaya is I’ll give a bit of background on her. At just 14 years old she turned ASA Pro, and continued to dominate Womens Rollerblading, street and park. She would reach the podium in pro Men events, and put out street sections that would put most men to shame. At the age of 17 she discovered skiing (thanks to D-Structure selling both rollerblades and twin tip ski’s). After working a job at two Subway locations she saved up just enough money to work on her skiing in Whistler. Within the year she signed her first pro contract. At age 28, she has now been a professional athlete for half of her life.
After skating, We had a late lunch and talked about a few things.
So you and I always grab Lebanese food, how do you rate the Montreal Lebanese food?
Lebanese food is delicious in Montreal! Food in general is delicious… just because Montreal is such a intimate city, its a melting pot and everything is in close proximity. Only when I started traveling to different cities in North America I realized how good we really have it in Montreal, on how ethnically and cultural diverse it is – with that comes a lot of great cuisine. (laughs) It’s true man, its so good, we’ve got it so good here.
So your moving from LA to Vancouver, what’s going on with that?
Well I moved to LA 3 years ago, I had the beach itch, and after 3 years I’ve decided to come back to Canada. So I’m making the move… I wanted to stay on the west coast, I love the active, healthy vibe, and the mild climate. I just wanted to move north back to my home country, since I spend a lot of time in whistler and Squamish and train with the Canadian ski team.
So will you be skating a lot in Vancouver?
I’d like to, I’m going to reach out, you just invited me to the Vancouver Rollerblading Facebook group. Just got on my skates this morning for the first time in forever, and it feels amazing. It’s like I get this high, and it brings back right back to 15 years ago, my first big life.
So your skating Seba skates now, how did that happen?
I reached out to Seba, just because my buddy Matt G, the interviewer, raved about them. I wanted a skate that was versatile, not just an aggressive skate, but something I could just cruise around my spot in Cali. So I reached out to Anthony, and we communicated back and forth, and at some point last year team Seba was in LA for a skate trip so I met up with the crew, and they hooked me up with a pair of FX skates. They’re perfect, I love them! I also use them to cross train for skiing, jumping into the foam pit at Woodward. I learned some cool stuff in them this spring, tricks that I would have never learned without rollerblading, so its like my secret weapon on the mountain. It’s fun to cross worlds like that.
What do you do when people in the ski industry trash talk your rollerblading background?
(Laughs) I don’t know, it doesn’t even bug me anymore. A lot of people have respect for me once they have seen my skating, but at the same time some people still tease and you just learn to brush it off – people just don’t get it. But you know what? I was thinking about something funny earlier, on how I am a minority in a few ways: Firstly, I’m a girl in a male dominated action sports world, so already I’m a massive minority, then I’m a skier, which is sometimes hated on by other sports, some people don’t see it as as “cool” as snowboarding or skateboarding, then to top it off, I’m a rollerblader, which from a lot of sports is ragged on… and I freaking love it. I think its the coolest thing ever, I embrace it, I rock it. Some of my best memories are from back in the day, skating with the boys, and I owe so much of what I’ve learned in my life to the sport. So when people tease me about it, in the end I just laugh because they have no idea.
Do you have anything ski related you can tell me?
Yeah actually, I’m going into a pretty heavy ski year next year, with the Olympic qualification process starting. I took 2 years off competing, and came back in the game this year, just because I needed some time to recheck myself, to reset the passion, and to heal my body. I felt like I had to pull out for a bit and come back on my terms, and I had a great season. I’m feeling excited for next season. This summer I’ll be training, but hopefully trying to take it sort of easy, because I know it’s going to be hectic going into next year.
You’re back in school, whats going on with that?
Well, I’m in school currently studying psychology, I want to become a sports/performance psychologist because that kind of stuff really fascinates me. I’m a big believer in mind over matter. I’m not just throwing that term around either, I really think its a massive component, especially in athletics, especially in creative action sports – I think we can all agree to some extent.
Kaya back in her roots, hanging on top of a quarter pipe
What was that snap chat story all about where you were racing cars in Australia?
I got to race NASCAR style cars in Aus with the GoPro crew. We were going around 170 (KM/H) on a really tight, curvy course. It was crazy!
Has your traveling schedule been busy lately?
Well, recently, in one week I left Montreal, went to Toronto, did a mini marathon for RedBull (Wings For Life), flew to Aus for 4 days, flew to LA, then came back to Montreal exactly a week later. I did all that man! Lots of travel.
Whats the next step in life for Kaya?
Well the next year and a half is going to be highly dedicated to my skiing and school, I want to finish my 60 credits into my university degree. I want to transfer to UBC (university of British Columbia) after the Olympics and continue school as I continue sport.
You’re a good student, straight A’s?
I’m a good student, I work hard for it. All A’s except for one class I got one B (laughs).
What class was that?
It was a online English class, wasn’t my jam. I work my butt off in school, it’s important to me, I know what I want to study so I really want to work hard at it. It’s a part of my future.
Are you on Tinder?
What are you looking for on Tinder?
I’m looking for someone passionate, and thoughtful, cute, typically a female (laughs), yup thats it.
Age range 25-35 (we both start laughing). All types I guess, fit is important too.
Last winter you had some bad luck and broke your arm, what exactly went down?
Oh man, everything, I broke my finger too. It’s still a little messed up but healing well. Doctors say its never going to look totally like it did before. 8 pins in my arm, 8 pins in my finger. Guys, I’ve paid my dues okay? For everyone that thinks this is the glamour life, it is in many respects and I wouldn’t change a thing, but I’ve definitely paid my dues, and I’d like to think it shows my dedication to the sports I’ve been part of, ha!
(When travel comes up, Kaya playfully interrupts my question)
I went to four continents this year!
I think so, yeah 4 continents, I only missed South America. Also, it was the first time when I travelled around the world, I mean around the whole globe! I’ve travelled a lot but I’ve never actually went all the way around the world.
Who are you favourite bladers?
Fabiola was always my favourite, Haffey of course, Aragon because he was so ridiculously on point.
Alright Kaya, thanks a lot for your time, I really appreciate you doing this.
My pleasure buddy.