Words by Kelli Bean
Photos by Michael Jappell
Q: Where do you live and skimboard?
A: Manahawkin, New Jersey, USA and I skim at Long Beach Island, NJ.
Q: Flatland, wave rider or both?
Q: How long have you been skimming?
A: Started in 2014, at 20 years old.
Q: How were you introduced to the sport, and what initially attracted you?
A: I was introduced to the sport by watching other skimboarders skimming on the beaches and my old friend, who was the main reason why I got interested with the sport. What attracted me was it kind of brings surfing to the shoreline and I’ve always wanted to surf but was too afraid to. This made me feel like I was going to get the same feel, excitement, and rush, on a skimboard, that I would get if I surfed.
Q: If you know any tricks, which is your favorite as we say good-bye to summer?
A: I’m just finally starting to get the hang of backside wraps and I’m so excited. Nothing makes me smile more than when I get a backside wrap so that’s definitely my favorite trick so far.
Q: You went to your first contest this summer. Which contest did you attend and what was your overall impression as a newcomer?
A: I went to the Zap Am Champs contest in Dewey Beach, Delaware, in August. From the minute I walked on the beach and saw all the tents and all the skimboarders out in the water, I knew I was going to be hooked and want to come compete next summer. Everyone in the skimboard community is so genuinely nice and always out to help any beginners with questions and advice. One of the other main reasons why I love the sport so much is because everyone is out to help each other. The contest just had such a great atmosphere and I enjoyed every second of it. Definitely going to be coming back to every contest next year.
Q: Awesome! You mention competing next summer, are you interested in becoming a professional athlete?
A: I would love to become a professional. I’m actually going to continue to go to the beach every single day, all through the fall, winter and spring, to practice and be ready for contests in the summer. I’m very determined and feel I will be ready to come out and compete next year. If I keep practicing, get better, stay motivated and start competing next year, there could be a chance in the future for me to become a pro.
Q: Which riders do you look up to and admire?
A: The rider I look up to and admire the most is Amber Torrealba. She’s been my idol since day one. She’s an amazing skimboarder and has such a happy, positive attitude about everything, that’s what makes me admire her so much. Alexandra Badie, Casey Kiernan, Paddy Mack, and Tim Fulton are other riders I definitely look up to and admire as well.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world to skim, which skim spot would you pick?
A: If I could skim anywhere in the world I would pick The Wedge in Newport Beach, CA. Going to California, especially to skim, is a dream of mine I hope I can make into a reality very soon. I watch a bunch of skim videos that are filmed at The Wedge and it’s just awesome. One day.
Q: You show a lot of enthusiasm for the sport but also, for health and wellness as a whole. Share a bit of why being positive is important to you.
A: Being positive is important to me because life is a gift that we were all blessed with. Staying positive every time we wake up until we fall asleep at night gives us the opportunity to go out in the world and chase our dreams. Gives us the motivation and determination to accomplish all of our goals. The last person in life you want to give up on is yourself. Everyone is worth it and deserves to make their dreams reality.
Q: I couldn’t agree more. In the spirit of positivity, what advice do you have for groms feeling shy about learning to skimboard?
A: If you want to learn how to skimboard, just pick up a skimboard. I’m telling you, you will be so glad you did. I used to be extremely shy to skim and scared that I would hurt myself but every head turn, every ‘good job’, every fall, every scratch, every bruise is all worth it and sooner than later, your shyness will disappear. Don’t be afraid of falling and getting hurt. Don’t ever quit yourself. Also, if there are other skimboarders around, you can always ask for help. I’m 100% sure they won’t mind. All the beachgoers will always cheer you on too. So, my advice is, if you want to learn, don’t be shy. I promise, you won’t regret it.
Q: Wonderful advice. What are your skimboarding goals for next summer?
A: My skimboarding goals for next summer is to be improved, have learnt a lot more tricks, and ready to compete. My main goal for next summer is definitely competing, I really want to get out there and experience it.
Q: Besides skimboarding, what makes you happy?
A: What makes me happy besides skimboarding is my family. My parents and three little sisters are my everything.
Q: That’s sweet, and a great way to end to your interview. Any last words or shout outs?
A: I want to thank everyone who was helped me since day one, my friends, sisters and sister’s boyfriends who have kept me motivated and take my pictures for me. I want to thank everyone who takes the time to give me pointers and advice, everyone who gives me support and positive feedback. I love you guys! Most importantly, I want to thank you, Kelli. You’ve been there helping me, supporting me since day one. You’re like my skimboarding mom and I don’t know what I would do without you. Thank you.
Thank you Cassandra, I can mirror your sentiments and say you have been a breath of fresh air in the skim community, particularly on Instagram.
For those not following Cassandra, her account is @cassandra_nicole9310
You can also find Cassandra on Facebook: Cassandra Mendes
Cassandra loves to post GoPro shots, here are a few to wet your visual skim appetite.