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Bondi’s Not So Tall Poppy

By Fleur Castlereagh on April 3, 2012 in People

Photo: Grant Brooks

When local Bondi girl Poppy Olsen decided at the age of eight to take up skateboarding her parents were less than impressed.

“We hated it when she took it up. I guess we had a really stereotypical idea of skating, but we couldn’t have been further wrong,” said Thomas Olsen, Poppy’s mum.

Once they realised Poppy was a very good skater and she was determined to do it they supported her fully and have found the local skating community to be incredibly welcoming.

“They have all given so much of their time to Poppy in shaping who she is and how well she skates. It’s all because of those guys down there at Bondi and her coach Hagan McCreath. It’s just a really beautiful community and it’s given us a real sense of community in Bondi,” Thomas said.

Poppy started competing just seven months after she first tried skateboarding and this year she won the Hurley Australian Bowl-riding Championships, ranking her the number one female skater in Australia at just eleven years old.

Most of the girls competing were much older and she landed a trick that she had never managed before to take the title.
“It was a great feeling; I was the youngest by about ten years,” said Poppy.

Poppy toured the United States last year for three weeks and successfully competed amongst the best skaters in the world.
One of her highlights so far has been skating with world famous skater Tony Hawk.

“I have skated with Tony Hawk a few times. He was going to be at Monster Skate Park (Olympic Park) last year, so I went there and he asked me if I wanted to skate with him. So I did one of my airs and he did a big air over the top of me,” Poppy said.

Poppy is known for her air-time and free-flowing style of skating.

Not surprisingly, the reason that she loves the sport is that she finds it “fun and relaxing”, which you can see when she is skating.

Even when she was the only girl invited to compete at the Australian Open of Surfing Beach Bowl competition, where thousands of spectators were in attendance, she was not phased by the attention and loved every minute of it.

Poppy trains almost every day, and once a week she heads to Homebush for an aerial awareness session.

“They have foam pits there and we do a lot of work on trampolines and train for over three hours,” Poppy said.

When Poppy is not training she loves to draw and she has turned her passion into an avenue to help fund her trips.

Her drawings are beautiful and intricate and she sells them at various markets.

“Selling cards and her various sponsors (Perfect Moment, TSG Helmets and Pads, iSkate and Monster Skate Park) help her to get to the States,” Thomas to The Beast.

So what is the long-term goal for this talented skater girl?

“Trying to get to America to compete every year is my goal and I would like to land a 540, which is one and a half times around in the air,” Poppy said.