Babes & Bruises: Carlita the Gypsy

Introducing our new series of stories, where girls who ride tell us about epically bailing and show us their bloody kneecaps. No pain, no gain, right?

Girls who ride know that failing is part of the game. After all, no pain, no gain, right? So welcome to “Babes & Bruises”: a series where we ask riders to show us their brag-worthy bruises, tell us how they went down and explain how they kept pushing afterwards, bloody kneecaps be damned.

All photos courtesy of Carla

Meet 23-year-old, London-based shredder Carla Calero, aka Carlita the Gypsy. Although she claims to suck at riding ramps, she’s been a staple of the UK skate scene for quite a few years and has been covered by mags like Coven and Girls Skate UK. Like many other skaters, she’s had to deal with a pretty inconvenient injury—so we got the lowdown on what happened  and how to keep the stoke alive when you’re forced into a temporary break-up with your skateboard.

GIRLS ARE AWESOME: Hi, Carla. How did you get into skating and how often do you hit the streets?

I just wanted to learn; I always found skateboarding such an interesting thing. It’s a way to express yourself. I usually skate like twice per week, probably six hours in total. It depends on the weather, obviously.

Do you prefer street skate or ramps?

I’d rather skate street; I’m terrible at ramp. I feel more comfy hitting a rail or a bank, but I can also have fun on a ramp, even though I suck.

Tell us about your injury. What went down?

I’ve been in the game for five years and last year I tore my ACL [Anterior Cruciate Ligament] and meniscus.

How long were you out?

I went under the knife twice—the first time was last year when I had my meniscus surgery, and after that I was meant to be alright. But after a couple of months, my knee start to feel stiff again. So, I went to the doctors and they decided that I needed an ACL reconstruction. I had surgery two months ago and I am still recovering from the operation, and obviously can’t skate.

Did you manage to land the trick you were trying out once you got back on your board after your first surgery?

Yes, I did—after my first surgery, I had a couple of months to skate and I recovered every trick. I was pretty stoked to get my frontside flips and fakie big flips back and I learnt new tricks such as full cab flips, wall rides and wallies.

Keloke keloke sketchy insta clips 🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️ can't wait to be back on my board 😭 @killboock

A post shared by 🌹Scarleg johansson🌹 (@carlita_the_gypsy_) on

How did you deal when you realized you needed surgery, though, and had to stop skating again?

I just started college to kill time and do something productive with my life. When I first got injured, I was a bit bummed about the idea of not being able to skate, and obviously about my injury, because it was a serious one. But with time, I realised that there’s more aside from skateboarding, so I got into filming and photography. I play guitar and I also like to hang out at the skatepark, even though I can’t skate. I do some filming and take some pics while I am out of the game.

Any advice or healing tips you’d like to pass along to our fellow riders out there?

Yes! Be patient, do loads of PT [Physical Therapy] and you will be back in no time. If you smoke and drink, I’ve been told that you have to quit, because those habits slow down recovery. Having a good diet is very helpful and very important. Also try to do exercises like squats, stretching and try to walk as much as you can (obviously don’t force it). I’ve heard that doing pilates is pretty cool or going to the gym once you feel better and you’re more comfy with your injury.

Thanks, Carla.