Destined to Soar: An Interview with Florida Grace, Skateboarding, Cheer athlete

Destined to Soar: An Interview with Florida Grace, Skateboarding, Cheer athlete

Celeste Kocabay

 Destined to SOAR.

This interview series is aimed at celebrating, recognising and promoting the incredible talent and ferocious courage of our young women of tomorrow. 

Let's recognise the magnificent effort of girls' in sport across all codes!

Today our interview is with youth sensation Florida Grace. Soar Active had the privilege to catch up with and chat about her love of Drums, Guitar, Skateboarding and Cheer.

1. Florida, tell us about your early life?

Florida: As a young child, I loved all things music and movement I was singing and spinning, everywhere I went, so naturally I joined in dance classes. 

I’ve grew up living close to the beach, spending many days playing and tumbling on the sand. I tried out nippers and did some surfing too. 

2. So how did you discover skateboarding and cheer and music? 

Florida: I would always be watching the skateboarders, in the skate park next to the beach. I thought it looked like a lot of fun and I liked the idea that I could try skateboarding almost anywhere.

I had too much energy for dancing, always cartwheeling and jumping, so my mum took me to try out a cheer class, I knew it was for me there and then, I felt I could express myself more.   

Around the age of 7, I kept telling my mum I wanted to play the drums. I just liked hearing the drumming in songs. Mum is supportive of me in trying new things, so organised some lessons for me.

3. What was your next step?

Florida: I started skateboard lessons. I did lessons in a group, then I progressed to skating at different parks, private lessons, and at 9 years old entering my first skate competitions. 

I joined a cheer team, and began working on tumble skills. I was so excited, at 7 years old, as I had my first cheer competition to train for.

I began going to the music school once a week for a drum lesson, and quickly feeling comfortable on an acoustic drum kit, and I soon got my first drum kit. After about a year of drum lessons, I wanted to try the guitar too.

4. How do you balance having so many extra activities and managing school?

Florida: Each week I do a skateboarding lesson before school, I do cheer training, and I do my music lessons, one for drums, and one for guitar. Sometimes I do my homework in the car, or on the weekend. I don’t mind because I love going to school. On weekends and school holidays, I love that I can play on my instruments, and skateboard as much as I want. My mum lets me know when it’s time to go home.

My cheer competitions and skateboarding competitions are not all the time, so I never feel any pressure. If I have a skateboarding or a cheer comp coming up, or a music goal, then I will spend extra time focusing on this. Sometimes my mum has to tell me it’s time to stop what I’m doing, as I need to go to school.

5. What do you do in your downtime?

Florida: I really like to read, and try out different crafts. I spend time in my room, listening to music, and I like to skate a lot in my free time. I love being with my friends. And if you ask my mum, she’ll tell you I am always tumbling.

6.    What makes you feel happy, brave, and strong? 

Florida: Being with my friends and doing what I love makes me feel happiest. I am lucky to spend a lot of my time doing this, so I am a pretty happy person.

I feel strong when I achieve something I’ve been working really hard on. Looking back at my progress, and seeing what I can do now, always makes me feel strong.

When I’m performing and in competition, I feel both brave and strong. Just being there and trying my best, showing others what I can do, and getting out of my comfort zone.

7.    Tell us about a special moment in the last year? 

Florida: In music, I got my first electric guitar. It was my 10th birthday and my music teacher was there to give it to me. I felt so special in that moment.

In cheer, my team got our first Gold. It’s taken 3 years of working together, but we got there, and it felt amazing, a huge reward for all of our hard work and dedication.

In skateboarding, I found the courage to drop in 9 foot unassisted, at my local skatepark. It was my biggest skateboarding goal I had set myself for the year, I knew my skate coach believed in me.

8. What is your ultimate goal?

Florida: I am very focused on getting into a strong music program for high school. It’s important to me that I do well in music. 

In skateboarding I want to enter more competitions, my dream is to be a pro skater. I know I have a lot of work to do, and that’s okay.

In cheer I want to help coach others as I get older. 

9.  What's your favourite attribute about yourself?

Florida: I love that I always want to give everything a go. A lot of people tell me I am determined. I feel it’s just that I want to do my best, not give up, and to achieve my goal.

10.    Favourite song on repeat right now?

Florida: Cruel Summer by Taylor Swift. I am also loving the cover to this song performed by G Flip.

11.   What has music and skateboarding taught you about life?

Florida: You have to love what you do! You don’t have to limit yourself to one thing! 

It is my journey, and I have learnt not to compare myself to others. We all have things we are strong at, and things we need to work on. 

It’s okay to fall or make a mistake, this doesn’t mean you have messed up or failed, but are still learning. As long as you keep trying, and keep moving forward. 

12. Who inspires you right now?

Florida: I really look up to my music teacher. He is so talented, and a fun person to be around.

I did get to see Tony Hawk skate recently. As a young skateboarder, I was so inspired by the whole experience. 

There is a young female drummer called Nandi Bushell. She can do anything on the drums, and I have wanted to be like her since I started drumming at 7 years old. 

13. What would you say to other young females about following their dreams?

Florida: Surround yourself with people who make you happy. You can be anything you want, and don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t do something. Find those who support you.

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If I do this, I stop enjoying myself, and can get frustrated. Just stay focused on what you are trying to do, and be sure to listen to what others say.

You will need to leave your comfort zone, and when you do, it will feel amazing. You are good enough. Never give up on your dreams.

Follow Florida's inspiring journey on Instagram


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