Located on the very West Coast of Canada sits Vancouver Island. When you’re always steps away from the ocean and are able to see the mountains from basically any look-out point you go to, there’s no question why it has been ranked one of the best islands in the world. It’s also a great destination to skate and surf, as it has become home to a large number of skateparks over the past decade. Lucky for Una Farrar, she gets to call this place home. I got the chance to catch up with Una, an 18 year old skater and V.I. native. She was able to tell me about her love for the island, how she got into skateboarding, details about her most recent sponsor, and her opinion on Drake.
MJ: Lil Tubsy! How’s it going? What are you up to right now?
UF: Yooo Jonesie Bones! I’m doing good, currently doing a little shoe-goo repair job.
Nice. So you grew up in Victoria, B.C. What was it like learning to skateboard out there?
Learning to skate here was pretty fun, and I consider myself fairly lucky with my facilities, skate shops, and homies to skate with. The island is a beautiful place to grow up and the people are mellow. I grew up skating with all boys, but I never once felt deprived of any support or opportunities.
What’s it like skating there now that you’ve become so familiar with it?
It’s amazing honestly, and only improves with time. The sense of community is vibrant and being from a smaller city I almost feel like I know every skater on the island.
Because you’re living on the island, and Tofino being one of the top surf-destination towns in the world, do you surf as well?
My older brother Liam is going to say I’m lying if I call myself a "surfer” but I do try to at least get a couple sessions in during our semi annual-ish family trips. I think the ocean is a beautiful, vast, and terrifying place. I would mostly bail on the wet suit and go skate the Tofino or Ucluelet park, haha. We did do a surf trip to Nicaragua a couple Christmases back and that was super fun. The warm water makes it a lot easier to jump in. You feel me?
Yeah, I hear that. I know your older brother is pretty into skating too, and that you guys built like, a half-pipe in your backyard. Do you think Liam was one of your top influences to pursue skating?
It was mainly me and my dad who built the ramp in the backyard, but Liam was definitely a big help as well. I made a screen-saver on my dad’s computer that said, “Work on the ramp with Una” so I was constantly bugging him to help me even when I wasn't there. I was like twelve, OK!? When Liam first started skating, I was still pretty young and got frustrated easily. I didn't find it fun at all. Skating was actually the first thing to make me say “shit" out loud. I begged Liam to not tell our mom.
But I would say the top influence for me to pursue skating was my closest friend who lived down the street. He started skating when we were in middle school and since we hung out almost everyday, I started skating too, but only because it was boring to just sit and watch. His dad built a box/rail/kicker set-up, and we spent hours everyday skating them. His part of the street had much better pavement than mine.
I know you’ve said The Sour Solution is one of your fave skate videos. Growing up, did you read skate magazines or watch skate videos frequently? Or did you find yourself focused mainly on just skateboarding itself?
I definitely read skate mags before I actually started skating, and once I did start, videos became a huge part of it too. Before Instagram, YouTube was how you stayed updated on all your favourite skaters, so me and my homies were constantly subscribing and watching videos. I also started filming and editing with my friends early on and it’s now become one of my favourite parts of skateboarding.
Were there any teams or skaters that you found yourself focusing on and looking up to?
Honestly, I looked up to my friends around me and the skaters in my town the most. I found myself wanting to learn tricks usually because I saw someone do it at the park or one of the local videos.
Each friend I skated with growing up — am currently still growing — was good at different things so I learned from each of them. I have a really good group of friends here, including my boyfriend who's amazing and also a very talented skateboarder.
You’ve skated in bigger cities than Victoria, like L.A. and Vancouver for certain events and such. Do you see yourself staying on Vancouver Island, or do you feel like you need a transition? Where would you go?
This is a hard question to answer but a very relevant one because I’ve been asking myself that a lot lately. I love where I live and who I live with, and coming home to the island after skate trips always feel right, like I belong here. I’m also a very proud Canadian. Shout out free health care!! For skating on the other hand, bigger cities are more beneficial in many ways. A huge part of the skate industry is based out of California, and living somewhere like that would be insane productivity wise. There's pros and cons to both, and I’m currently trying to figure out which path I’m going to take.
True, yeah. Being 18 years old, you’re sort of at an age where you gotta make certain decisions about where you want to direct your future. Is skateboarding playing a large role now in that kind of decision-making?
Yeah, I find skating has already taken me to amazing places while still being for fun. It’s also taught me important life lessons along the way. And this only the beginning!! Big things big things.
You might be sick of being asked this, so I'm sorry, but I have to know your answer. What’s your opinion about skating being in the Olympics?
It’s interesting for sure. I think it’s going to be a good time for whoever goes. That’s history right there! But at the same time, skateboarding is an art form, and big contests and they way the decide to judge them are fairly questionable.
You’ve most recently been involved with Friend Ship Skateboards. Wanna talk about that?
They just put me on the team!! Super hyped on that. The homie I usually stay with in California ended up crossing paths with Tim Olson, the owner of the Friend Ship. Tim had been thinking about putting a girl on the team and one thing led to another. He ended up getting in touch, being stoked on my footage, and now we’re here! I'm going back down to Cali in the middle of April and going to be working on a video project with Tim and the Friend Ship, stay woke.
Whoa! Congrats lady! You've skated with Meow Skateboards in the past, and currently with local Victoria brands like Coastline and Cake Supply. What’s the story behind your first sponsor?
My first sponsor was Lyrics skate shop, which is now out of business unfortunately. It was run by the summer skatepark supervisor and close friend of mine Alexander Eddy, but we call him Eddy. At one of the local summer skate comps here, I placed first in the boys category for my age group, and Eddy was watching and put me on the team then and there. Before sponsoring me, Eddy always helped me as much as he could hooksin’ deals on skate stuff I couldn't really afford.
Dope! RIP Lyrics. If you could skate for any company, who would it be?
Patagonia. Or Vector, because that cereal is bomb as fuck.
True. Breakfast lunch and dinner. Do you listen to music while you skate?
I used to skate with headphones a lot but now I’m way too talkative when I skate to do that. But if there's a speaker or something, I really enjoy skating to tunes. It’s like dancing.
What do you think of Drake’s More Life?
Holy shit I love it. But I like every Drake album, so that’s not saying a whole lot. I listen to it almost everyday though. Teenage Fever, Ice Melts, Portland, and Passionfruit among all the other songs are pieces of art, brilliant job Aubrey <3
Nice. I listened to Ice Melts on repeat for an entire day recently and I’m still not sick of it haha. Alright, do you want to tell me about your best “Hall of Meat” moment?
Oh man. Yeah, for sure. Anyone who knows me knows I fall a lot, so it’s pretty hard to narrow it down to one moment. But I think it would have to be when my friends and I were filming out in the industrial part of my town. I was trying to kick flip a 7 stair, and was only like 13 or 14 years old so this was a big deal for me. Although kick flips still suck. Anyways, I ended up landing full impact on a folded foot and my ankle immediately swelled up and I knew my shit was messed up. We got it on film though! I was stoked on that.
Holy wow that sounds painful. You’ll have to show me that footage someday. Speaking of struggle, what have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve had to deal with in regards to skateboarding? What keeps you motivated to keep skating?
The biggest challenges for me are the ones I set for myself every day. Realistically, living in Victoria, we do get a lot of rain so that makes it more difficult to skate. But if you really love it, there's ways around that… parking garages and stuff.
Skating for me is a not only a physical battle, but also mental. Everyday it makes me face my fears. It teaches me perseverance and dedication. There's no coaches or organized practices to keep me involved. It’s the love that keeps me going, and it’s the only thing I’ve found that's made me feel that way.