top of page

Push: Lilly Strachan

Interview by Sam Beckett

Photography by Leo Sharp and Rob Whiston

Firstly, what’s your name?

My name is Lilly Strachan.

And where are we, Lilly?

We are in Hemel Hempstead, in Five Guys, having a whale of a time.

OK, this sounds too formal, but I’ll get on with it. What are your earliest memories of skateboarding?

The first thing about skating that I remember is, ordering a skateboard, and it came, and as soon as I got it, I unwrapped it, and I went straight into my garden and spent four hours just trying to do random stuff. I didn’t know any tricks or any moves, so I was just messing about for ages.

What was the thing before that, which made you think, “I’m getting a skateboard”?

One, I went surfing, and I don’t live near the sea, so they said, “you should get a skateboard”. And two, it just looked really cool. I think I saw a movie where there were skateboarders in it, and I thought, “oh my God, that looks really fun”.

Do you remember what film it was?

Erm… no, it wasn’t a film actually, it was Dennis the Menace.

No way! So Dennis the Menace got you into skating?

Yeah (laughs).

Lofty backside air during a deserted Friday afternoon in Brum. Photo: Rob.

What age were you when you started skating, and what were your hobbies or interests before?

I was nine or 10. At that time I was doing loads of sports at school. I was doing swimming and hockey and everything, but as soon as I started skateboarding properly, I kind of dropped everything else, and just went skateboarding all of the time.

I feel like skating has been your main focus ever since.


What influenced you early on? What skateparks, people or places have led Lilly Strachan to where she is today?

My local skatepark in Thame has a pretty cool bowl. It’s not too big, but it has got loads of obstacles. I was just messing about there for years, then I started going to indoor skateparks like XC. I started skating the big bowl there, and as soon as I realised I could face my fear and skate that, I just kept on skating massive bowls.

What is it about skating big pools and vert that you enjoy so much?

I just think they look really cool. Even before I was skating, I thought they looked so cool. The speed you get from them, when you’re dropping in, it feels like you’re flying.

There’s some flying going on these day, which is cool. So the last couple of years, you’ve been entering a lot of comps, and you’ve gotten involved with SkateboardGB. What has that journey being like? Did you set out to skate so many comps?

I was skating a lot at my local, and everyone was saying, “you should go to this jam, or come to this comp”. I think the first comp I did was Blockless Combat in 2019. I got really nervous beforehand, but as soon as I did it, I was like, “oh my God, that was so fun”. I really wanted to keep on doing them, but then we went into lockdown. Darren (Pearcy) DM’d me and asked me if I wanted to do the Nationals in 2021, and I was over the moon, like “this can’t be happening”. Then I saw all of the other girls that I’d be skating with, and I was like, “this is insane; I never thought I’d be here, ever”. After that, I started doing more comps; I did the next Nationals and applied to be on the SkateboardGB team. At the time I thought, “I may as well”. I knew some people on there so thought I might have had a chance, and I was so happy when I got in. I didn’t really think that I would get in, but it was a massive confidence boost, and it’s sick to be on a team with those people as well.

It’s been really interesting for me to see it unfold as well, because it’s never happened before. It’s cool that you’re there at the beginning of this thing, and being a part of it. So moving on to comps, what is your approach to them, and how do you manage nerves, skating in front of so many people?

Practicing for a competition, I’m always thinking about how it would feel to land my whole run. That’s basically it. I’m never thinking about what position I want to finish in, I’m always thinking about the run and what tricks I want to land, and I think that really helps because I’m not so focused on the outcome. Obviously I do get nervous, as most people do, but as soon as I start to feel overwhelmed, I have to remind myself that one, there’s going to be so many more competitions, and two, it’s just fun. Everyone is just playing around on a wooden plank.

Is it a staleslide? A fishtail? Either way, Lilly stalefish tailslides the breezeblocks of Bristol. Photo: Leo.

Something that I’ve noticed with you is that you’ve progressed really quickly, and like you say, your focus is on the tricks you want to do. I guess, for me that’s really cool to see, that you seemingly just want to learn every trick, and can just hoover them up. What is it that you enjoy about learning new tricks?

The feeling that you’ve accomplished something, especially when you’ve worked really hard for it, and expanding your repertoire. Being so comfortable on your board that you can just learn the trick, then learn loads of variations of it, which will unlock another trick. It’s like a chain of events each time, and it’s so fun.

You’ve done a lot of traveling this year. For skating, what has been the most memorable trip, or the best place you’ve been?

Can I do my top three?

Yeah, let’s hear your top three.

Finland, for Mans-e-Rama. Every skater there was so sick. The parks we were skating, the vert ramp, the Kinneli DIY… everything about it was just so fun.

The next one is Argentina. Because it’s so far away (laughs), I was like, “this is on the other side of the planet, this is just really mad, I’m not going to take this too seriously”, and I ended up doing better in the comp than I expected. I like Argentina because of the mountains and the lakes too.

Even if you’re not feeling that ‘thumbs up’ yourself, just doing a thumbs up will make you feel more ‘thumbs up’.

We went on a mission to the edge of the Andes.

We went to those sand dunes that looked like Mars. What was that?

We were just driving along, up to the mountains, and spied this crazy landscape that looked like the moon, then went for a bit of an explore.

Yeah, and there were loads of little shiny crystals in the sand as well. It was cool. My last one is probably Prague, because it was literally the most fun I’ve ever had. We went with BaySixty6 and it was a really funny group of us, messing about, taking bikes around the city and stuff. It was really fun.

That sounds like a good top three. Here’s a question from Darren. You like a trip to the cinema - I feel like you guys are film buffs - what are your favourite films? Give us your top three.

That’s quite a lot of pressure. The top three I’ve seen in the cinema… I went before the summer because it was raining a lot. I saw Oppenheimer, and the new Indiana Jones, and the new Mission: Impossible. I was just really enjoying movies at that point, but as for top three films of all time…

What film do you think you’ve watched the most? That could be embarrassing, actually.

The film I’ve watched the most is Finding Nemo. I used to watch it every day when I was a baby.

Lilly prepares for nosepick re-entry in Birmingham. Photo: Rob.

We’ll take that; that’s a good one. OK, the SkateboaardGB team is a pretty eclectic group of people. What’s it like for you, traveling with that crew?

It’s really funny how we’re all different ages, and we’re all at different stages in our lives, but we all still like doing the same thing. It’s such a laugh, and it’s sick that everyone is just so motivated to do it, and have the same sort of goals. It’s encouraging that everyone else is along for the journey with you.

It’s definitely felt like it’s been a journey this year. We’ve got a couple more questions from Darren here. What are your top tips for travelling? What item couldn’t you go without?

I couldn’t go without… a good book. When we were travelling over the summer, I started reading loads, especially for long flights, because it’s easier to read a book than it is to stare at a screen.

What books have you enjoyed lately?

Where the Crawdads Sing. I think that’s my favourite book ever, and the movie is really good too. Reading is a good escape from skating and everything else that’s going on.

You’re juggling a lot, between school and skating. How are you finding balancing everything? Especially with your GCSEs coming up.

It’s definitely difficult sometimes, but I’ve got to remind myself that it will be so sick if I became a really good skater and get my GCSEs as well. I don’t want to put too much pressure on one thing, because it would suck the fun out of it, so I always want to have a backup.

I guess it helps when you’ve got supportive parents.

My dad is the best. He takes me to every skatepark ever, comes on all of the trips, he’s fun, and he has really good music for a session. Also, he’s really funny (laughs).

Just to note, Craig (Strachan) is sitting here (laughs), so Lilly is hamming it up. But I can vouch for Craig, though, and his music choices.

I wouldn’t be where am I today without my dad. I wouldn’t be able to even attempt any tricks because I wouldn’t be able to go to skateparks. So thanks, Dad! My mum is super supportive and hypes me up all the time in skating, too; she’s the best at keeping me motivated and helping me in every way possible. The same with my grandparents; they’re so supportive and encouraging.

The Campus corner finds itself on the receiving end of the Lilly Strachan invert treatment. Photo: Leo.

This is the last question I reckon. You’re partial to a good thumbs up - why is that?

Because it is a positive vibration, and it spreads the good vibes. and if someone is having a photo with me, or with anyone, I will always put my thumb up (laughs). It’s better than sticking your middle finger up… and it’s child friendly.

Shall we leave it at that?

No, wait. I need to say more about the thumbs up.

It’s definitely rubbed off on me, the thumbs up. I find myself doing it in meetings all of the time.

Even if you’re not feeling that ‘thumbs up’ yourself, just doing a thumbs up will make you feel more ‘thumbs up’.

Craig: It’s the international sign for ‘all is OK’.


I think that’s a good place to call it. Have you got anything else you want to tell the world? Anyone you’d like to thank?

Big thanks to Samuel Beckett, no, Stewart Beckett, Darren Pearcy, and Craig Strachan for all the support. Leo Sharp, Rob Whiston, and The Skateboarder’s Companion for having me.

Follow Lilly - @lilly_strachan

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page