Hello! Please tell me if this is your first ever interview or maybe you had such an opportunity before?
Hello! As far as i can remember I’ve never had such pleasure.

Allright! This is a new experience then! A bit nervous?
I’d rather say I’m excited!

Definitely nothing to worry about! Could you please introduce yourself? Where do you live? How old are you? What do you usually do?
Anna Kulig, I’m 23, and I live in Warsaw at the moment. Born and raised in Jastrzębie-Zdrój, Poland. I usually skate a lot. When I’m off the board i like to chill with a good book or go for a bike ride. Most recently these daily routines have been replaced by the rehabilitation process, now I also do some drawing and watch Fifa World Cup 2023 on TV.

Early Grab / Prague

I didn’t know you were interested in football! Is that some of your long-time interests or do you rather treat it as a time-killer during recovery? I’m also interested in the drawing part? Do you just do it for yourself or is it something serious?
My Grandfather is a football coach, so as far as I can remember, soccer was always around. I’ve always liked to play. At some point my grandpa even encouraged me to become a football player – but I choose skateboarding. Back in the day watching football on TV since it was only men games put on was no fun for me. Things are quite different now! It’s really nice to watch the Women World Cup, it’s much more interesting for me to see female teams compete. When it comes to drawing, it has also been around since I was a child. I treat it mostly like a fun thing to do. It allows me to express my imagination and emotions.

I feel it’s important to be able to find something you can do in different life situations, and to know ways, in which you can express or sort out your emotions. I’m really happy to hear that you try to spend your time in creative ways. I know that currently you are going through a serious injury. Do you want to tell us what happened?
True! It’s important to sort out your emotions so you could learn a lesson and find inspiration for further moves. Beautiful place, friendly atmosphere, proper warm-up and one not-so-bad-looking slam I took at Vienna City Gnarathon. I was trying to keep my thoughts positive. I went through two different knee surgeries before, and I thought it might not be too bad this time. The pain was tolerable, and I had full knee mobility, so I didn’t expect the worst-case scenario. Unfortunately, doctor’s diagnosis was drastic. I torn both meniscus and ACL in my right knee. Instinct helped me act immediately, and I decided to get a surgery. But I was mentally devastated.

Bs fifty / Poznań

Injury time is the most difficult trial for a skateboarder. I wish you to become stronger physically and mentally so you could come back to skateboarding in even better shape than before <3 How do you deal with the injury-reality? You said that you draw and watch football? Are these your main occupations right now? What do you do when you can’t skate? How does your day look right now?
Thank you so much <3. My main occupation now is rehabilitation, exercising takes a lot of time. Few days a week I’m seeing physiotherapist, I go to the swimming pool, spend few hours in a CPM rail and the day becomes short. Daily activities take much more time when you are only allowed to use wheelchair or walk with crutches.

So, most of your time goes for the rehabilitation process and to handle the injury. You said you’ve been through two different knee surgeries before? Were these some similar injuries? Do you feel like the experience of going through such situations before helped you to navigate the current circumstances?
Similar injuries, both in my left knee. First, I had a part of meniscus removed. Few years later an ACL reconstruction. My experience taught me to get MRI as fast as possible and discuss it with an orthopedist. Reaction time turned out to be crucial in my case. After checking my knee, doctor recommended immediate surgery. He offered to do the surgery right the next day. The experience I have, helped me to make my decisions calmly, and I was more confident about what I was doing.

I see you have lots of wealth in knowledge and despite your young age we can say that you’re quite a Robo-Cop! Do you think that going through all these injuries had an impact on the way you skate or how do you pick your spots? Do you feel like all that you went through changed your skateboarding?
Haha, luckily, I don’t have any metal parts yet! I think it had a huge influence on me. After previous injuries I didn’t take proper care of my mental health. It resulted in growing lots of barriers and doubts that affected my skateboarding. I lost a lot of self-confidence. Trying tricks turned into unnecesary battles with my own thoughts. My imagination was giving me the worst-case scenarios. I gave up jumping big stairs or gaps and replaced it with technical maneuvers. Maybe it’s a matter of age as well, but I started to use my brain more while skateboarding haha. I realized how much of a difficult discipline it really is and how complex should the preparation be. I’ve learnt to take proper care of my warm-up and when it is time to say „stop”. I’ve learnt to listen to my body when it tells me that I’m tired.

Boardslide / Warsaw

I was thinking about it. Creative and technical spot approach is something that makes your skateboarding unique. Things you do are original and different, and these are the reasons it’s fun to watch you skate. I also think this is super wise what you say about learning the proper dialogue between yourself and your body. You have to know how to prepare for a trick and when to stop trying it. In the past you were considered much more of a competition skater, but your solid section in the „Neighbours” project shows, that skatepark isn’t the only environment you are doing well at. What is your approach to skateboard competitions and to filming street skateboarding? Which part of the fun is a more demanding challenge for you? Do you like both of these forms equally or maybe one of them is more pleasant or more interesting for you?
It’s really nice to hear:). Indeed a few years ago competitions were a big thing for me. Back then I had an impression that it’s an inherent part of skateboarding and the only way to have a skateboarding career. I rarely appear at competitions now. I’m not saying “No” to them. It’s good to feel the adrenaline rush when you have a run. Filming is more challenging for me though. It evokes my perfectionism, stimulates my creativity. It’s definitely more drastic in dragging me out of my comfort zone, but it also gives me more space for self-expression. Choosing spots, tricks, what to wear. Sometimes you can land a trick in few tries and sometimes the battle takes hours! I really like this unpredictability, this range of emotions you go through and all these little, different factors that have a huge impact on getting a single clip. I find both of these forms interesting, but in the future, I would like to focus on street skateboarding under the eye of camera a bit more.

I think both of these forms bring something good, but I feel like street skateboarding is more comparable to artistic expression, and that’s what is cool about it. For how long do you skate for Vans now and how did it start? When did the idea of taking part in the „Neighbours” project come about?
I received my first package from Vans a day before Polish Skateboarding Championships Finals in 2018. That’s when the support started. There was no official welcome, and I didn’t really know the rules. I think that the Polish Vans team structure was not so organized at that time. I was really happy for this co-operation though! It brought many possibilities for me. The “Neighbours” project started with a tour to Prague in 2021. It was my first trip with the Vans team, and I have some good memories about it. It was productive time on the spots of Czech Republic.

No comply tailslide / Poznań

The trap of filming in the city where you live, “We can always come back here”, and you never do. Hahah. There wasn’t many of them, but which trips, during filming for the project, did you like the most and why?
I really like to film on trips, being in a different place, first time at some spot. Knowing that you probably can’t come back anytime soon brings motivation. On a trip you also rarely go on a solo mission only with your filmer. The crew sitting nearby or someone trying a trick with you, often brings encouragement. I live in Warsaw for only few years now. When I skate with Krzysztof, I get to know some new places all the time so sometimes I feel like on a trip without going anywhere. The only less conducive factor is the possibility of postponing a trick to a different “more suitable” day, which is difficult to designate afterwards.

The trap of filming in the city where you live, “We can always come back here”, and you never do. Hahah. There wasn’t many of them, but which trips, during filming for the project, did you like the most and why?
I have the best memories about going to Prague. We spent a few days there, we had time to skate and get a bit used to the new place. The Czech crew shown us some good spots. We had a really nice, holiday-like atmosphere going, and I filmed some clips I’m quite happy with.

Crooks / Wrocław

It was a good trip! Out of all the people involved in the project, who made the best impression on you? Maybe you became closer friends with someone especially?
I didn’t really make closer friends with anyone, but I think I get along well with everyone. People involved in the project were changing throughout the time we were working on it. I was very impressed seeing the confidence in skateboarding of our colleagues from Czech Republic, it didn’t take them long to get their tricks done. I really like Andrzej Kwiatek’s creativity and a bit of madness. Versatility of Dida and Bartek Piguła. Style, pop and flow of Filip Dziewięcki, patience of Krzysztof Godek. Except for this I think every skater has some unique skills and style, and that everyone of us left a lot of sweat, blood and heart in this project.

Well said! If you had a possibility of doing your own dream skateboarding project and go to any chosen place in the whole universe. What would this project be and where would you want to go?
As every skateboarder i have a whole list of places I would love to visit. At this moment I would choose Tokio and London. A long, peaceful trip. Time to accustom, lots of time to film and just as much time to rest and sightsee. The project would also be showing behind the scenes of the whole trip in a nice artistic way. When it comes to crew selection, except for the Polish Vans team, I would love to involve more women. Having female skateboarders from Poland and some other countries would be great.

Pivot shove it / Warsaw
Noseslide / Warsaw

Sounds amazing! I wish this dream trip comes true! Speaking of female skateboarding. Please tell us who are your favourite female skateboarders?
Thank you! There are new names coming up all the time on the worldwide scene. Helena Long is definitely a great inspiration right now. She seems like a super positive person who does a lot in skateboarding and also some cool different stuff. I really like to see versatility and creativity. In Poland i have to mention Weronika Choromańska who is doing a great job. I also wait for Agata Halikowska’s come back. She stepped up to the international scene in the past years and currently she’s also fighting with a knee injury. Greetings and a lot of good health for you Agata! It’s really inspiring for me to see how many women skate so good right now, and how many of the young female skateboarders are progressing so fast.

Female skateboarding is flourishing at the moment. I try to follow the scene myself and I’m genuinely impressed about how girls skate so damn good. It seems like a good accent for my last question: What are the closest future plans for Anna Kulig?
To see the final effect of the “Neighbours” project! And then continue my battle for coming back to full mobility and getting in shape to skate. Step by step. The knee situation is changing dynamically. New goals appear every day, and I think all of this might have some positive outcome in the other areas of my life. I’d like to use these months for personal growth, getting stronger mentally and physically and to look for some new passions. Afterwards I will be coming back to skateboarding. Patiently and with no rush. My goal is to feel better than ever before.

I’m happy to hear that, despite the difficult situation you’re at, there is so much positive plans in your mind. And I’m especially happy that I see you want to turn current situation to your advantage. I wish everything goes as planned! Thank you very much for all the positive words and all the interesting insight. See you soon Anna!
Thanks a lot for the chat! <3 Greetings for you, lots of love and see you soon!

Interview: Mateusz Kowalski
Photography: Kuba Bączkowski




Leave a Reply